Scott Spiegel


Elizabeth Warren, Wuss

December 17, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Economy

09-1o021-carr1c-300x300“There is a lot of talk coming from Citigroup about how Dodd-Frank isn’t perfect. So let me say this to anyone who is listening at Citi – I agree with you. Dodd-Frank isn’t perfect. It should have broken you into pieces.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Who ever said Senator Elizabeth Warren was a tough populist warrior fighting for the middle class? She’s one of the most timid politicians in Washington.

Liberals have been crowing about how terrified Republicans are since two far-left Senators—Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders—assumed greater leadership positions in their party and started receiving buzz over how they should launch 2016 presidential runs. Columnists have been swaggering about how the establishment told the powerful, heroic force to be reckoned with named Warren (aka Lie-awatha) to be quiet—but she wouldn’t!—and now scared Republicans are on the run.

Proving yet again that liberals have no idea what conservatives think, Republicans are giddy at the prospect of these two stale socialists lending their economic views as the new face of the Democratic Party.

Warren, who thinks rather highly of herself for someone who claims merely to be humbly representing the downtrodden, frequently brags about her “outsider” status and how it allows her to speak hard truths that insiders like Hillary Clinton can’t.

She opposed the recent omnibus $1.1 trillion spending bill because it rolled back a provision of the Dodd-Frank reform bill on corporations trading derivatives. The provision forced FDIC-insured banks to contract their derivative trading—betting on future commodity prices to protect against loss—to smaller, partner banks. Warren explained her nay vote thus: “A vote for this bill is a vote for future taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street.” (Hey, why does Elizabeth Warren want to shut down the government and cause the U.S. to default on its debt?)

Warren’s posture supposedly represents a tough, populist stance against corporate interests and a contrast with Wall Street-friendly Clinton.

But note how Warren doesn’t come out directly against bailing out big banks. She merely supports reversing some minor regulatory efforts that might make bank failures less likely.

I’d be more impressed if Warren supported letting banks sink or swim, i.e. leaving them free to make risky investments, but also abandoning them to suffer the consequences if their investments go sour.

If the federal government regulates banks and they fail, Warren well knows that the feds will simply bail them out. Wouldn’t her anti-Wall Street pose be tougher if she supported allowing banks to go their own way and profit handsomely if they succeeded, yet fold if they failed? That’s the only scenario in which she could guarantee that the middle class wouldn’t be forced to bail out banks.

Corporations and banks are by definition larger and wealthier than your average citizen, and therefore have more to win or lose. That wealth-seeking investors took the time and capital to form corporations suggests that we’d expect a wider range of outcomes resulting from their business models, including wild successes and humiliating bankruptcies.

Throwing one’s savings into a startup company because you believe in its vision is brave. In contrast, your average taxpayer has decided, out of a desire for security, complacency, or a lack of interest in getting rich, to live out his life on a playing field with considerably lower stakes. Most of us working 9-to-5 jobs won’t become multimillionaires, but we also won’t lose our shirts and find our names splashed ignominiously through the press.

But courageous progressives like Warren will have none of this diversity of life choices. “Income inequality” is a scourge to be wiped out via heavy-handed government intervention including regulations that squash wealth creation and bring everyone down to a lower but more equal level.

Brave crusaders like Warren and Sanders are so risk-averse that they do everything in their power to prevent other people from assuming risk—and in the process diminish others’ chances of either failing or succeeding. They claim that banks and corporations’ mistakes and unfair practices harm private citizens, yet refuse to acknowledge that this wouldn’t be so if we took a hands-off approach to financial regulation and let corporations live with both the good and bad resulting from their decisions.

Liberals’ definition of bravery is: “Obnoxiously advocating the destruction of other people’s chances of making more money than everybody else.”

The other reason Warren opposed the omnibus bill is because it loosened restrictions on wealthy donors to political campaigns. Again, commentators characterized Warren and other progressives’ willingness to sabotage the bill’s passage as brave. But what’s brave about trying to control candidates and parties’ ability to get their message out and prevent Americans from deciding which views they prefer?

Despite progressives’ claims, wealthy donors don’t control electoral results, they merely allow candidates or parties to disseminate their views. A majority of voters won’t accept a repellent candidate or view, no matter how much money supporters channel to it. (See Lyndon LaRouche or Ron Paul.) Election spending isn’t directly proportional to votes earned—after a certain point, there are sharply diminishing returns, and ideas have to stand on their own.

Why is Warren afraid of Americans getting to hear the other side’s views? Is she scared that voters might prefer a free-market capitalist message to a redistributionist screed? Why do we all have to rearrange the most stable electoral system in the world to cater to her petty fears?

One of the great myths about contemporary liberals is that they’re liberty-loving and liberty-promoting. And one of the great myths about “courageous” left-wing, statist politicians like Warren is that they’re anything but cowards.

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Senate Intelligence Committee Pulls a Rolling Stone

December 10, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: War on Terror

?????????????????????????From the well-established principle that liberals are terrified of Americans hearing the other side of any policy debate, witness recent evidence of the corollary that they’re just as terrified of hearing it themselves.

Last month the pretentious Trotskyite rag Rolling Stone published a sensationalistic cover story on a gang rape at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house at the University of Virginia. The “victim,” a student named “Jackie,” made accusations that were specific, sweeping, and shocking. Author Sabrina Rubin Erdely indicted a “culture of hidden sexual violence” infesting UVA and other American universities. Jackie’s accusation led President Teresa Sullivan to suspend all fraternity activity indefinitely.

Then Rolling Stone was forced to retract the entire story. Deputy Managing Editor Will Dana explained in an apology that writers and editors had never questioned or contacted the accused perpetrators to get their side of the story. Numerous details Jackie had relayed were contradicted by other evidence.

Dana rationalized, “Because of the sensitive nature of Jackie’s story, we decided to honor her request not to contact the man who she claimed orchestrated the attack on her nor any of the men who she claimed participated in the attack for fear of retaliation against her.” He added, “[W]e have come to the conclusion that we were mistaken in honoring Jackie’s request… [W]e should have worked harder to convince her that the truth would have been better served by getting the other side of the story.”

Why did Erdely fail to apprehend the basic journalistic prerequisite of talking to people she was accusing of grievous felonies? No doubt a combination of dispiriting factors was in play, including the desire to write a reputation-enhancing blockbuster of a story and the belief in the righteousness of her cause. But most of all, this gullible reporter and her editors evidently feared encountering fatally disconfirming evidence that might have emerged had they talked to the other party.

Meanwhile, 100 miles north, a cabal of Democratic Senators led by Intelligence Committee Chair Diane Feinstein were busy for five years scouring CIA records for evidence that the Bush administration inflicted gruesome torture on innocent victims that produced zero critical evidence regarding imminent terrorist plots. The Senate Committee’s report, written entirely by Democrats, was released on Tuesday, and has had the mainstream media in a tizzy.

There’s just one problem with Feinstein and company’s $40 million, taxpayer-funded, 6,200-page hit job on former CIA directors and their staff: Feinstein and company never bothered to talk to any former CIA directors or their staff.

We learned this when, the day the report was released, former CIA directors George Tenet, Porter Goss, and Michael Hayden, and former deputy CIA directors John McLaughlin, Albert Calland, and Stephen Kappes, published a 2,400-word rebuttal blasting the report as grossly inaccurate and excoriating its authors for not speaking to them before completing it.

The CIA directors documented numerous instances of the use of enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) yielding specific intelligence about al-Qaeda’s inner workings and helping to thwart imminent plots. For example, they outlined how the CIA linked counterfeit claims by two detainees, then cleverly used this false concordance to pursue a key figure—Osama bin Laden’s courier—a connection that led to the terrorist leader’s apprehension.

Supporting their claim retroactively, former Obama Defense Secretary Leon Panetta confirmed last year that EITs used on high-level detainees were instrumental in finding bin Laden.

Tenet et al. delivered the following indictment of Senate report authors: “Astonishingly, the staff avoided interviewing any of us who had been involved in establishing or running the program… [There were] six former CIA directors and deputy directors, all of whom could have added firsthand truth to the study.”

Tenet et al. concluded: “[C]ommittee members or staff did not want to risk having to deal with data that did not fit their construct… [They] ‘cherry picked’ their way through six million pages of documents, ignoring some data and highlighting others, to construct their argument against the program’s effectiveness.”

In addition, the ranking Republican on the Intelligence Committee, Saxby Chambliss, and five other Republicans released a 100-page dissenting view of the committee’s interpretation. Current CIA Director and former top Obama advisor John Brennan bluntly declared at a press conference that the program was effective.

Meanwhile, Feinstein’s response to these CIA and Intelligence officials’ bewilderment over her failure to contact them is a snarky Twitter campaign in which every tweet ends with the condescending hashtag #ReadTheReport—all 6,200 pages and 38,000 footnotes of it, presumably.

Here’s a deal: Conservatives will read liberals’ 9,000-word diatribes about the U.S.’s rape epidemic and doorstop-sized reports on why the CIA was useless in preventing terrorist attacks. In return, liberals must show a modicum of interest in talking to people they accuse of monstrous crimes before making their charges public.

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Online Fact-Checkers Rate All Their Rulings Infallible

December 03, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Crime/Ethics

politifactIn a recent skirmish with Georgetown Professor and MSNBC regular Michael Eric Dyson, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani got into trouble for noting that 93% of black homicide victims are killed by other blacks. The Washington Post’s Fact Checker gave Giuliani two Pinocchios, claiming that he “omitted important context”—namely, that 84% of white homicide victims are killed by whites.

That “important context” is utterly irrelevant to Giuliani’s point.

To set the stage: Giuliani was responding to racial agitators’ charge, in the context of the Darren Wilson-Michael Brown shooting case in Ferguson, Missouri, that the most serious threat young black males face today is racist, trigger-happy white cops.

Giuliani argued that those who profess concern about racial justice should focus on the reason for the preponderance of cops patrolling black neighborhoods—high black homicide rates—and the primary source of high black homicide rates—black homicide culprits.

Dyson retorted that cops make an oath to uphold the law, whereas most black homicide culprits are punished and sent to jail. Giuliani responded by asking why the black community didn’t work to bring down the black homicide rate so that black neighborhoods don’t need so many cops.

Why did Giuliani specifically address black-on-black homicide? To the extent that blacks are killed at higher rates than whites and other groups, there’s a societal interest in examining such cases more thoroughly to see whether there are trends underlying their causes, such as blacks being more likely to come from broken homes, belong to gangs, suffer poverty, or emulate gangster culture.

But Dyson reacted with outrage to Giuliani’s statement that “The white police officers wouldn’t be there if you weren’t killing each other 70-75% of the time” (an underestimate). Dyson cried, “Look at this! This is the defensive mechanism of white supremacy in your mind, sir!”

Except that Giuliani didn’t claim that only white police officers are capable of stopping crime in black neighborhoods. He was simply responding to Dyson’s argument that there are too many white cops in black neighborhoods. He did so, not by demanding that cops in black neighborhoods be white, but by explaining the reason behind Dyson’s claim that there are too many white cops in black neighborhoods—namely, these neighborhoods need lots of cops, and most cops are white.

Similarly, Giuliani wasn’t claiming that the intraracial nature of black homicides is responsible for the preponderance of white cops in black neighborhoods. Giuliani recommended that the black community work to reduce black-on-black killings, not because black homicide perpetrators are more lethal than white ones, but because racial agitators like Dyson always lump people into communities based on skin color and foment racial divisions. If it’s “black lives” that we’re focusing on, Giuliani implied, then why don’t blacks step up and change a culture that tolerates killing so they don’t need white cops around?

But all of this was irrelevant to Fact Checker Michelle Ye Hee Lee, herself guilty of “omitting important context”—namely, why Giuliani made his comments in the first place.

Lee—who joined chief fact-checker Glenn Kessler at the Post last week—wrote that Giuliani had implied “that intraracial violence in black communities is uniquely bad.” But Giuliani never implied any such thing. He was simply responding to Dyson’s illogical demand that society focus disproportionately on white cops killing blacks.

Lee’s absurd reaction to Giuliani’s comments would be like a feminist claiming that most insults directed toward women are generated by males, with a male social scientist responding, “Actually, studies show that 93% of insults toward women are generated by women”—and the feminist crying, “You’re lying, because 84% of insults directed against men come from men!”

You don’t say. Was anyone asking that question? In our hypothetical example, men weren’t out there raging that men are being verbally victimized primarily by women and not other men.

Similarly, Giuliani was simply refuting the claim that blacks’ high homicide rate is largely due to racist white cops.

(In fact, to the extent that interracial violence occurs, blacks kill whites nearly twice as often as the reverse. According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, 7.6% of black homicide victims in 2013 were killed by whites, compared to 13.6% of white homicide victims who were killed by blacks.)

The Giuliani-Dyson dustup demonstrates the flaw in these supposedly neutral fact-checking sites: namely, they’re so unreliable that they need their own fact-checkers. The exposés they publish regularly betray political bias by putting the most liberal possible spin on a statement if there’s any conceivable room for differing interpretations.

Lee’s closing argument gives her game away: She says that Giuliani’s statement “lacks significant context—especially because race relations and police treatment of minorities are complex and emotionally-charged topics.” Got that? Because Giuliani didn’t make up claims as a sop to the weepy emotional crowd that thinks there’s a pandemic of white cops shooting innocent black boys, Lee calls him a liar.

Yet Post editors are simply “thrilled” with Lee’s first week on the job, writing, “Her work already is making an impact, with a post on Rudy Giuliani’s claim about black-on-black violence that was a big hit with readers.” That’s true—if by “a big hit with readers” you mean “a big hit job that generated about 95% hostile comments from readers.”

Given the biased character of online fact-checkers, a statement made by a conservative rated ‘False’ likely has more truth value than a ‘True’ statement made by a liberal.

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Why Did the Michael Brown Case Go to a Grand Jury?

November 26, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Crime/Ethics

f_surv_ferguson_140815_fc4b4377e4f790941ed2809c99d5d7b9The media are spotlighting Ferguson, Missouri rioters who are upset over a grand jury’s recent decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year-old resident Michael Brown. But they’re ignoring the actions of the individual who may inadvertently have been most responsible for unleashing this recent wave of unrest: prosecutor Bob McCullough.

In mid-August 2014, about a week after Brown’s shooting death, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCullough made a fateful decision that would end up subjecting the citizens of Ferguson, Missouri—and the nation—to three months of nail-biting suspense and an all-but-guaranteed second round of mayhem and property destruction. McCullough set this chain of events in motion by submitting the Brown case to a county grand jury instead of declining to press charges against Wilson. He made this decision, even though the subsequent release of the grand jury proceedings’ transcript reveals that he had to have known that there was little or no physical evidence of criminal wrongdoing on Wilson’s part, and therefore no reason for a grand jury to convene.

How can we surmise that McCullough knew a grand jury was unnecessary? For one thing, McCullough took the unusual step of declining to file a charge before convening a jury. Contrary to his usual M.O., McCullough went straight to the jury, as though he didn’t believe there was enough evidence to prosecute Wilson.

McCullough also clearly wasn’t expecting an indictment based on the content of his remarkable press conference following the grand jury announcement. Social media was abuzz with Brown supporters who were aghast at how quickly McCullough seemed to have folded in buying into the jury’s decision, and how much time he spent agreeing with their conclusion that there wasn’t enough evidence to indict Wilson.

McCullough actually made some rather incisive statements about prosecutorial methods for corroborating witnesses’ statements and physical evidence, and even the very nature of epistemology. Here’s the key passage from his 30-minute summation:

“A common and highly effective method of challenging a statement is to compare it to the previous statements of the witness for consistency and to compare it with the physical evidence. Physical evidence does not change because of public pressure or personal agenda. Physical evidence does not look away as events unfold. Nor does it block out or add to memory. Physical evidence remains constant, and as such is a solid foundation upon which cases are built. When statements changed, witnesses were confronted with the inconsistencies and conflicts between their statements and the physical evidence. Some witnesses admitted they didn’t actually see the shooting or were only repeating what they heard on the street. Some others adjusted parts of their statements to fit the facts.”

Yet most of this compelling physical evidence was available before McCullough decided to convene a grand jury. So why did he insist on initiating this nonstarter if the evidence strongly suggested he do otherwise?

As with Florida special state prosecutor Angela Corey’s dubious, politically motivated decision to bring second-degree murder charges against George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin shooting case in 2012, Democratic officeholder McCullough evidently wanted to give the appearance of being racially sensitive, even though he knew that his actions would only build anticipation in the populace and foment anger when the jury’s decision let them down.

McCullough’s words don’t match his actions: “I’m ever mindful that this decision will not be accepted by some, and may cause disappointment for others. But all decisions in the criminal justice system must be determined by the physical and scientific evidence and the credible testimony corroborated by that evidence, not in response to public outcry or for political expediency.”

So why did McCullough waste millions of taxpayer dollars on a two-month-long hearing whose conclusion we now know was foregone? Indeed, in a case that appeared so complex to outside observers, that required hundreds of hours of testimony, the grand jury deliberated for just two days before delivering their decision not to indict Wilson on any of the five possible charges against him.

Had McCullough used his prosecutorial discretion to decline to press charges back in August, there most certainly would have been outrage. Yet leading the public to believe that there was good reason to indict Wilson, when McCullough had seen all the evidence and knew this to be false, was irresponsible in the extreme. Leading Brown’s family and friends on was simply cruel.

Getting outraged over a perceived injustice and burning down innocent shop owners’ businesses is unjustified. But callously ginning up an aggrieved class of citizens into a murderous frenzy out of political cowardice is despicable.

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Pass the Bill So We Can Find Out Who Wrote It

November 19, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Obama

FrankenG-640-LIIt’s ironic that conservatives are outraged over MIT healthcare economist Jonathan Gruber’s comments about lack of transparency being necessary to pass Obamacare due to Americans’ stupidity. It’s conservatives who saw through bill architects’ obfuscation and contempt for voters’ intelligence, and liberal suckers who fell prey to their sweet nothings.

Consider Gruber’s history of tricking liberals by “misspeaking”:

The Supreme Court will soon hear the case of King v. Burwell to reconcile disparate lower court rulings regarding whether the federal government can create a healthcare exchange with tax credits for the 37 states that decided not to set up their own Obamacare exchanges. Though the administration claims that the failure to specify the legitimacy of establishing a federal exchange is a typo—and the left believed it—Philadelphia accountant Rich Weinstein caught Gruber on tape arguing in favor of the funding stipulation as a necessary feature to get states to set up their own exchanges.

Recently Weinstein unearthed video of Gruber admitting at a conference at the University of Pennsylvania, “This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies… [I]f you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in… it would not have passed… Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass.”

Gruber claimed that his remarks were “off the cuff” and inaccurate.

Then Gruber was caught in a second video saying the same thing. Gruber again claimed that he misspoke.

Then Gruber was caught in a third video saying the same thing. Once again, Gruber claimed that he misspoke.

Then Gruber was caught in a fourth video saying the same thing. Gruber isn’t even bothering to defend himself anymore.

Obama spokesman Josh Earnest disavowed Gruber’s comments, claiming that they don’t represent the views of the administration—though Obama once claimed he had “stolen ideas from [Gruber] liberally.” Obama paid Gruber $400,000 of taxpayers’ money for the privilege of incorporating those ideas into Obamacare.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi went further, saying she didn’t know who Gruber was and that “he didn’t help write our bill.” Then video emerged of Pelosi citing Gruber by first and last name and institutional affiliation, and commenting on the pivotal role he had played in shaping the bill’s cost-cutting measures. Pelosi’s spokesman lamely responded, “She said she doesn’t ‘know who he is,’ not that she’s never heard of him.”

To paraphrase Pelosi, I guess we have to pass the law so we can find out who wrote it.

Meanwhile, visitor logs show that Gruber attended 19 meetings at the White House to discuss the bill.

As Slate’s John Dickerson points out, the left played up Gruber’s influence on Massachusetts’ health care bill before the 2012 presidential election, and argued that Gruber’s Obamacare ideas were identical to those that influenced Romneycare. If the left can use Gruber to bash Romney, then the right can certainly use him to indict Obama.

Even The New York Times called Gruber a liar for not disclosing his sole-source consulting contract with the Department of Health and Human Services before penning a pro-Obamacare column in their pages.

Conservatives saw through the administration’s lack of transparency and paternalistic attitude all along. Obama and Gruber’s constituents were the ones who were snookered.

Let’s see: Was it The Washington Times that was stupid enough to be taken in by Gruber’s lies about the amazing cost-cutting properties of Obamacare? Was it FOX News? Was it conservative radio hosts? No, it was The New York Times, whose editors desperately wanted to believe Gruber’s reassuring lies.

Was it economist Thomas Sowell who gushed over Gruber’s rosy projections? Was it George Will? Was it Charles Krauthammer? No, it was liberal columnist Ron Brownstein (among many others), who published a 2,600-word puff piece on Obamacare in The Atlantic, parroting Gruber’s claims without bothering to learn or report that Gruber had a paid contract with the administration.

Brownstein’s article was so influential that President Obama declared it “mandatory reading for all senior staff… [E]veryone involved in, or covering, the health care debate should see the piece.” Brownstein centered his story around Gruber’s analysis, citing Gruber five times in the first three paragraphs. Yet we’re supposed to believe that Gruber had no influence on the bill.

The Democratic National Committee invoked Gruber’s name and contributions to Obamacare in 71 emails to subscribers. Liberal politicians who lauded Gruber include Obama, Pelosi, Harry Reid, and John Kerry. Yet we’re supposed to accept that no one in the party ever heard of Gruber or absorbed his ideas.

Left-wing politicians and wonks uncritically cited Gruber’s work as evidence that Obamacare would insure 30 million more Americans, all while lowering costs, increasing choice, but failing to hire a single new doctor. How gullible can you get?

Obamacare authors’ failure to see how thoroughly most Americans rejected their scam reveals how transparently stupid they are.

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Slightly Better Than Eric Holder Is Still Pretty Awful

November 12, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Crime/Ethics

eric-holder-loretta-lynch-7c14ac64016affe7If it’s not a red flag that President Obama nominated U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch to succeed Eric Holder as the next Attorney General on a Friday evening, without notifying top GOP Senate officials including presumptive Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, then the fact that Lindsey Graham is already gushing over her should be.

Democrats and RINOs alike are extolling the credentials of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, including her role in high-profile cases such as U.S. vs. Volpe (the Abner Louima case) and prosecution of an illegal immigrant smuggling ring involving owners of nine New York City 7-Eleven stores. But several bright spots on Lynch’s resume don’t compensate for some troubling aspects of her career and legal philosophy.

Like Holder, Lynch champions the practice of trying terrorist suspects in civilian rather than military courts. She argues that this procedural adjustment is necessary in the age of home-grown extremists, and is also the best and perhaps only way to gain valuable intelligence from suspects to help thwart future attacks. She fails to explain, however, why intelligence-gathering can’t be accomplished in more secure military courts that are isolated from the mainland and the citizenry.

(On a positive note, at least Lynch has spent part of her career prosecuting terrorists—in contrast to her predecessor, who defended them.)

Lynch claims that voter ID laws that require people to prove they are who they say they are before voting are racist and will undo the legacy of the civil rights movement. She’s apparently unmoved by the fact that citizen journalist James O’Keefe recently filmed election officials in dozens of polling places consenting to give him ballots belonging to people who hadn’t voted in years in her home state of North Carolina. She has pledged that her Justice Department would continue Holder’s legacy of wasting millions of taxpayer dollars suing states over such laws, even though they’ve already been upheld by the Supreme Court.

Lynch has had nothing but effusive praise for the divisive and disastrous tenure of Holder, the first Cabinet-level official in American history to be held in criminal contempt by Congress—with the support of 17 Democrats.

Lynch is better than Holder only in the sense that anyone would be better than Holder, who’s in a loathsome class of his own.

As Breitbart’s Joel B. Pollak noted, Lynch will have to answer tough questions about the Department’s actions in the aftermath of Operation Fast and Furious, the IRS scandal, the decision to dump the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case, and incitement of racial mistrust in the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown cases. She will have to provide responses for these questions, as well as her thoughts on the propriety of Obama’s imminent immigration amnesty pronouncement, even though Obama undoubtedly nominated her because she is outside his political circles and won’t be linked to these policies. Lynch may not have had a role in any of the aforementioned miscarriages of justice, but she will have to say how she plans to right those wrongs—or whether she even sees them as wrongs.

Pollak also suggests that Obama may be hoping Republicans will be reluctant to criticize a history-making black female nominee, just as they were his presumptive Secretary of State nominee Susan Rice. (If Republicans take a tough line against Obama’s nominee, prepare to be assaulted with a predictable slew of left-wing opinion pieces claiming that the GOP is “Lynch-ing” her.)

Senate Democrats are itching to start Lynch’s confirmation process and wrap it up before newly elected Senate Republicans take office in January. Democratic Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill offered this lame excuse for prompt confirmation: the grand jury’s decision in the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri could be released any day now, and we will desperately need an Attorney General to butt in and inflame racial politics—I mean offer words of wisdom and investigate atrocities committed against rioting protestors.

The New Republic’s Sam Kleiner criticized Grassley for cautioning that “U.S. attorneys are rarely elevated directly to this position.” Kleiner sniffed, “The suggestion that a U.S. attorney is unequipped to serve as attorney general makes about as much sense as claiming that a governor is unprepared to serve as president.” Except that, um, two paragraphs later Kleiner admitted that “[I]t is rare for a U.S. attorney to be selected directly for the position of attorney general.” So I guess some caution is warranted after all, as long as it doesn’t come from a Republican.

It doesn’t matter whether, as Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly recently claimed, Lynch is the most acceptable choice out of anyone Obama might nominate—i.e. is slightly less awful than Eric Holder.

After the drubbing Democrats suffered in the midterms, in which Americans made clear their disgust with Obama’s party, why should Republicans settle for a marginally less horrific nominee for the nation’s top law enforcement post who will serve during Obama’s final kamikaze two-year rampage in office?

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Democrats: We Didn’t Want to Win Anyway

November 05, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Elections: 2014

sour-grapesDemocrats’ sour grapes after the 2014 midterms are so acerbic they’re practically vinegar.

According to the left’s spin on the electoral results, hinted at before their trouncing and now solidified into Democratic doctrine, winning the Senate is a curse for the GOP.

That’s right—Democrats spent nearly two billion dollars and hundreds of thousands of hours campaigning and volunteering to achieve an outcome they didn’t even want.

I know liberals love throwing billions of dollars of other people’s money at intractable problems they have zero chance of solving, but this is ridiculous.

According to this argument, Republicans are now in charge of both chambers of Congress, which means that they’ll be blamed for future gridlock. As The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank wrote, “Republicans have set themselves up for chaos, if not outright fratricide.”

Except that there will be minimal gridlock in Congress compared to the gridlock under Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The gridlock will be between Congress and the White House, and the press will blame it on Obama.

When the Republican House and Senate—whose members are much closer to each other ideologically than either is to Obama—pass bills that are popular with the American people and send them to the president, and Obama stonewalls and sits on them and makes excuses for not signing them, the public will see where the real political dysfunction lies: with Democratic politicians who thwart the will of the people and blame Republicans. Obama may denounce a popular bill on ideological grounds, or perhaps ignore it and go play golf, but either way voters will see who’s “not getting anything done.”

There are many other reasons why, contrary to Democratic pall-casting, Republicans winning the Senate is a fantastic outcome. For one thing, the GOP currently has 52 seats, and will likely win 2 more undecided races in Alaska and Louisiana. If they take the Presidency (and Vice-Presidency) in 2016, they’ll have leeway to lose as many as four net seats to Democrats in 2016 and still retain the Senate. And they’ll need that leeway, because the 2016 Senate landscape is much less favorable to Republicans than in 2014.

Another advantage of taking the Senate is that this year’s election results are eroding the questionable reputations of left-leaning polling prognosticators faster than you can say “Five-Thirty-Eight.”

The biggest surprise in Nate Silver, Sam Wang, and other statisticians’ election forecasts wasn’t their GOP under-predictions in seat tallies. It was the extent to which they underestimated Republicans’ victory margins:

  • Out of 34 Senate races, polls over-predicted Democrats’ performance in 26 and Republicans’ in only 8
  • Of the 7 competitive races in which Republicans sought pickups—Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina—polls over-predicted Democrats’ performance in 6, with New Hampshire the sole exception (1% over-prediction for Republican Scott Brown)
  • Polls over-predicted Democratic performance in the three additional states Republicans picked up, including Montana (12%), South Dakota (8%), and West Virginia (6%)
  • Over-prediction of Democrats’ performance also included Tennessee (12%), Kentucky (9%), Virginia and South Dakota (8%), and Maine and Iowa (7%)
  • Out of 35 governors’ races, polls over-predicted Democrats’ performance in 28 and Republicans’ in just 7

As Silver—who was recently lecturing us on how polls usually under-predict Democratic performance—admits, “[T]he average Senate poll conducted in the final three weeks of this year’s campaign overestimated the Democrat’s performance by 4 percentage points. The average gubernatorial poll was just as bad, also overestimating the Democrat’s performance by 4 points.”

That’s a lot of Democratic over-predicting for something the left allegedly didn’t want in the first place.

One final boon from the midterm results is that they exposed the futility of Democrats’ bogus “War on Women” meme.

If Republicans are waging a war on women—or minorities—then their opening salvo appears to be saddling their adversaries with political power.

In 2014 the GOP demonstrated their contempt for women and nonwhites by electing or reelecting:

  • Joni Ernst, the first woman from Iowa to win a U.S. Senate seat and first female combat veteran in the Senate
  • Shelley Moore Capito, the first female senator from West Virginia and first Republican senator from the state in half a century
  • Mia Love, the first black female Republican elected to Congress
  • Nikki Haley, South Carolina’s first female governor (reelected)
  • Mary Fallin, Oklahoma’s first female governor (reelected)
  • Susana Martinez, New Mexico’s first female governor and first Latina governor in the U.S. (reelected)

Meanwhile, female Democratic candidates lost in droves, including incumbent North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan, Kentucky senatorial candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, and Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, the latter two of whom didn’t even win the female vote in their states.

The War on Women campaign theme was such a bust that even the Denver Post endorsed Cory Gardner over Mark Udall—the latter of whom they endorsed six years ago—because Udall “devoted a shocking amount of energy and money” trying “to frighten voters rather than inspire them.”

The GOP also elected Tim Scott, the first African-American from South Carolina in the Senate, and the first black Southern senator since Reconstruction—a result the left celebrated by calling Scott vile racist names.

Don’t listen to Democrats who pooh-pooh the 2014 midterm results just like they did four years ago. Good news is good news, and we’re going to need a lot more of it in 2016.

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You Say ISIS, Liberals Say U.S.

October 29, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: War on Terror

53777866The left has just proven that the U.S. is as brutal as the Islamic State.

The New York Times reported over the weekend that the Islamic State waterboarded its American and British hostages before it killed them. The U.S. also waterboarded several terrorist suspects. Ergo, we are as savage as the Islamic State.

The site Left Wing Nation, for example, intoned, “[W]e have reaped what we have sown… The first Fox News talking head to call this ‘torture’ should be taken out into the street and kneecapped.” (Author Justin Rosario apparently doesn’t find it ironic to accuse conservatives of supporting torture while advocating the kneecapping of broadcasters.) He continues, “I look forward to the torture apologists twisting themselves into pretzels to condemn what they’ve been championing for the last decade.”

In fact, the U.S. might be even worse than the Islamic State. According to liberal logic, Westerners who joined anti-American terrorist groups were disillusioned with the U.S. and Europe because of rampant Islamophobia, and felt that no other group besides IS could be their ideological home. If only the West didn’t hate peaceful Muslims, then these marginalized persons wouldn’t have become radicalized enough to join a group too extreme even for al-Qaeda.

Also, IS waterboarded prisoners because they were imitating us.

Rosario admits that James Foley, Stephen Sotloff, Alan Henning, and other murdered hostages probably would have been killed no matter what the U.S. did to its prisoners, but adds, “I’m also quite certain the horrors they had to endure leading up to their deaths can be laid solely at the feet of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and their ‘legalized’ torture regime… They must be so proud of what they’ve unleashed on the world.”

I know that I’m proud of what they’ve “unleashed on the world,” so I happily accept Rosario’s challenge to condemn IS’s actions while championing them on the U.S.’s part:

First, Islamic State captors not only waterboarded their prisoners—not to gain information, by the way, but simply to inflict suffering— they starved them, chained them to radiators, hung them upside down by their feet, squashed dozens of them into tiny cells, beat them while they were naked, and carried out mock executions on them.

Also, um… carried out actual executions on them, in the form of beheadings that they recorded on film, which they then distributed around the world.

I seem to have missed the stage of the Iraq War in which the Bush administration interrupted Gitmo prisoners’ World Cup tryouts to haul them in front of cameras and behead them.

IS is more savage than the monsters of the French Revolution, who at least used a guillotine with a sharp blade to decapitate their victims in one stroke. IS sawed off the heads of their victims with glorified steak knives.

The most egregious crime of which the left has accused U.S. intelligence services is: waterboarding three high-level terrorist suspects under strict medical supervision to ensure no permanent damage. That’s it. While beheadees were forced to wear neon orange jumpsuits, waterboardees under U.S. custody were probably given neon orange life preservers to make them feel like they weren’t drowning.

Unlike IS, the U.S didn’t demand millions of dollars in ransom for its prisoners. That’s because we didn’t capture suspects to raise money to fund our Defense Department, but rather to gain intelligence that would prevent the slaughter of more of our civilians.

And citing what a few miscreants in Abu Ghraib did—which doesn’t approach the brutality of what IS did—doesn’t make the case that we’re as bad as the enemy. The Abu Ghraib pranksters disobeyed protocol and were punished for their actions. IS militants followed standard IS operating procedure.

IS underlings would have gotten in trouble if they hadn’t tortured and beheaded their prisoners.

In addition, IS grabbed noncombatants, including journalists, doctors, and medical aid workers. The U.S. nabbed only suspects with terrorist connections.

IS captured, tortured, and killed their hostages in an attempt to keep the rest of the world from challenging them on the battlefield and halting their territorial gains in Iraq. IS targeted intrepid journalists to intimidate reporters from relating to the world what was happening in Iraq. The U.S., in contrast, apprehended terrorists to glean information that would prevent al-Qaeda and IS attacks against the West.

Most importantly, IS is a terrorist organization whose charter is to establish a worldwide caliphate. The U.S. is a Western democratic republic whose mission is to stop organizations like IS from enslaving hundreds of millions of innocents in Iraq, Syria, and the rest of the Middle East, and to prevent IS from reversing the gains the U.S. made during the Iraq War.

Only if you believe that the U.S.’s moral standing is no greater than that of the Islamic State could you argue that what America has done in the war on terror is as bad as what IS has done.

From liberals I would expect no less.

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4 Out of 5 Presidential Election Voters Prefer Governors

October 22, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Elections: 2016

Republican_Governors_Association_Logo-500I used to think Republicans needed to run either a governor or a senator as our next presidential nominee, but after studying the electoral history, I’ve decided that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is right—it’s gotta’ be a governor.

Or at least it does in 2016, given that the senatorial map is much more favorable to Democrats in 2016 than in 2014, and that Republicans’ likelihood of keeping the Senate (assuming they grab it in 2014) skyrockets if Republican senatorial candidates are able to run on the coattails of a strong Republican presidential candidate.

And consider the following facts about strong presidential candidates:

Forty percent of all presidential winners in U.S. history have been former or current governors, including Jefferson, Monroe, and Tyler (Virginia), Van Buren, Cleveland, and both Roosevelts (New York), Polk and Andrew Johnson (Tennessee), Hayes and McKinley (Ohio), Wilson (New Jersey), Coolidge (Massachusetts), Carter (Georgia), Reagan (California), Clinton (Arkansas), and George W. Bush (Texas). A similar percentage—thirty-seven percent—have been former or current senators.

But twenty-one percent of all winners ran for president while sitting governors. In contrast, only three winners—seven percent of the total—ran while senators, including Harding, Kennedy, and Obama.

If you count only elections after 1854, the year the Republican Party formed, thirty-one percent of winners were sitting governors, compared to only ten percent who were sitting senators.

So we’ve elected as president former or current governors from New York, Virginia, Tennessee, Ohio, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Georgia, California, Arkansas, and Texas. If we’re trying to repeat history, Christie (New Jersey) and Rick Perry (Texas)

In an intriguing analysis, Patrick J. Egan recently identified Republican governors John Kasich (Ohio), Bill Haslam (Tennessee), Robert Bentley (Alabama), Brian Sandoval (New Mexico), and Dennis Daugaard (South Dakota) as having higher-than-expected support in the polls in their current reelection bids, controlling for statewide factors such as party control of the legislature and percentage of voters who usually choose the Republican presidential candidate. Egan suggested that these governors’ higher-than-predicted popularity margins make them especially strong potential candidates in a general election.

A few Republican governors have been getting presidential buzz—Christie, Rick Perry (Texas), Scott Walker (Wisconsin)—but most haven’t, including Rick Scott (Florida), Mike Pence (Indiana), Bobby Jindal (Louisiana), Susana Martinez (New Mexico), Nikki Haley (South Carolina), Sean Parnell (Alaska), Rick Snyder (Michigan), Jan Brewer (Arizona), Nathan Deal (Georgia), and a dozen others I haven’t mentioned.

Why aren’t more of these governors household names, at least among Republicans? Do we want to learn something from electoral history and win the 2016 presidential election or don’t we?

I’ve argued that the executive branch may be a more natural fit for the Republican Party, and less suitable for Democrats, because governors have more “actual responsibilities” such as balancing budgets, making unpopular decisions without being able to hide behind 99 weasels or vote “Present,” and fighting sleazy opposition party opponents who file baseless accusations that risk embarrassing entire states. This suggests that the best route to the presidency for Republicans is through governorships.

The directive that we choose a governor as our 2016 nominee does rule out some fantastic Senatorial candidates—such as Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Mike Lee. But let’s save these politicians—each just 43 years old—and others in the adolescent stage of their careers for an election in which the Senate map is favorable to Republicans again, or at least until these candidates have served as governor.

And just because Christie is on the warpath demanding a gubernatorial nominee doesn’t mean he’s the one we should pick. I’d be equally happy with Walker, Perry, or former Governor Mitt Romney.

Radio host Mark Levin, willfully misinterpreting Christie’s remarks (as usual), recently cited the counterexample of Abraham Lincoln, one of only three presidents whose highest elected office attained was U.S. Representative. But clearly Lincoln is an exception that proves the rule. (And remember that only three sitting senators have ever been elected president.) Nominating a sure-thing liberal Republican rather than taking a chance on a viable conservative candidate would be a betrayal of principles. But why can’t we aim for a conservative and someone with governing experience?

If we acknowledge which high-profile office is most commonly held by those elected president, then the first stage of our 2016 nomination process is clear: We’ve got to choose a Chief Executive as our next nominee for Chief Executive.

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Nobel Peace Prize Committee Still Lauding Frauds

October 15, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: War on Terror

tumblr_mjgwj3FzTe1qzxm3co1_500Conservative sites have been posting joint portraits of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize co-winner Malala Yousafzai and former winner President Barack Obama with captions implying that one of the photo’s subjects deserved the award and the other didn’t.

They’re right that one of the two winners is more deserving than the other. Unfortunately, he doesn’t much deserve it, either.

As no one has been reporting in the press, education activist Malala Yousafzai may hold the distinction of being the youngest hit speaker on the international Marxist convention circuit.

Last year Malala prepared remarks for the 32nd Congress of the Pakistani branch of the International Marxist Tendency (IMT). In her statement, which was read in her absence by “Comrade Javed Iqbal, a Pakistani comrade,” she gushed, “First of all I’d like to thank [Pakistani Marxist organization] The Struggle and the IMT for giving me a chance to speak last year at their Summer Marxist School in Swat and also for introducing me to Marxism and Socialism.”

While other teenage girls idled away August making crafts and learning to swim, Malala spent her summer at a camp studying Lenin and Trotsky.

In her statement Malala declared, “I would like to send my heartfelt greetings to the congress. I am convinced Socialism is the only answer and I urge all comrades to take this struggle to a victorious conclusion. Only this will free us from the chains of bigotry and exploitation.”

Yes, this is the same Malala who was shot in the head on a school bus by the Taliban in 2012, endured a long and painful recovery, and resumed her work as an education activist.

This Malala promotes an ideology that was responsible for the deaths worldwide of 94 million people in China, the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, Cambodia, Vietnam, North Korea, Africa, Afghanistan, and Cuba.

Malala merely rejected one murderous totalitarian ideology—radical Islam—to flirt with another, even more murderous totalitarian ideology—Soviet-style Marxism. Applause, please, comrades.

Officially, Malala’s cause is the transformative power of education to improve people’s lives and the eradication of disparities in girls and boys’ education in hard-line Islamic societies. Yet if her ideal communitarian society came into being, then people’s intellectual and economic power would be diminished even further, and the sexes would be equal only in that their educational opportunities would be equally stifled and impoverished.

If Malala preaches that Marxism and socialism are the only way forward, then she doesn’t believe a word she says about freedom, dignity, or respect.

Some might argue that Malala’s dalliance with totalitarianism is a mere schoolgirl crush, a regrettable youthful phase she’ll grow out of once she experiences more of real life. Great—but then why are we giving Nobel Peace Prizes to naïve children with no understanding of the world? (The same question could be asked about Obama.)

Others have suggested that Malala is a mere mouthpiece for her father’s communist propaganda—an even more damning indictment of her worthiness of the prize.

It’s clear that a big reason the Nobel committee was delighted to give Malala the award alongside Indian activist Kailash Satyarthi is that it allows them to go around cheering about some supposed symbolic unity in the Indian-Pakistani conflict.

But such a mentality assumes that India and Pakistan—proxies for the West and radical Islam—are on an equal moral playing field and share culpability for prolonging their ideological struggle. Yet India and Pakistan don’t have the same moral weight: one is a pro-Western, pro-democracy, free economy that assists with the war on terror; the other is an anti-Western, anti-Israeli theocracy that gives comfort and aid to those perpetrating that war.

Satyarthi, who is sixty years old, has been a child labor and anti-human trafficking activist for decades, and actually deserves the prize. Like Malala, he survived physical attacks and improved the lives of tens of thousands of children—yet unlike Malala has not gone on record extolling the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Should anyone be surprised that one of Nobel’s 2014 co-winners has such a background? This is the same committee that lauded former Al-Jazeera owner Al Gore, anti-Semite Jimmy Carter, modern terrorism founder Yasser Arafat, Marxist terrorist and liar Rigoberta Menchu, and white-haired commie Nelson Mandela.

It would have been shocking if the committee hadn’t granted the award to someone with loathsome political credentials. When I first heard they had given it to Malala (before I knew she was a Red), I was suspicious about why they had chosen such an honorable recipient.

If the committee wanted to grant the Peace Prize to an anti-Taliban activist who has risked his life, why not honor Malala’s fellow Pakistani Zahid Khan, founder and head of Swat Quami Jirga, the anti-Taliban tribal council, who was also shot in the head, survived three assassination attempts, but has yet to endorse the ideology that brought us forced collectivization, great famines, and the gulag?

As Khan graciously put it, “Malala is a talented girl, no doubt… I have been attacked. Shot. Almost killed. But no one is honoring me. The state hasn’t given me a cent in compensation.”

In addition, dozens of other anti-Taliban activists have been shot and killed in recent years, but apparently their stories didn’t incorporate a politically correct feminist slant, and therefore weren’t enticing enough to the committee.

Hard as it is to believe, the committee has honored someone even less deserving of the Peace Prize than Obama. Obama’s mentors may have been Saul Alinsky, Frank Marshall Davis, and Jeremiah Wright, but give him credit—at least he’s not an avowed Marxist.

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