AreYouLiberal.Com
9Jun/12Off

Sen. Sherrod Brown Shuts Down Dana Loesch: ‘Not From You I Don’t’

Kudos to Sen. Sherrod Brown for giving CNN contributor/Breitbart.com loon Dana Loesch exactly the amount of respect she deserved, when she popped up like a malevolent jack-in-the-box at the Netroots Nation conference.

The wingnut blogosphere won't take this deadly insult lying down, of course. You can expect the crazies to start cranking out the phony persecution rhetoric any minute now. First out of the gate -- Michelle Malkin's fake news site Twitchy.com: An Inconvenient Tweet? Al Gore Quickly Deletes His Retweet of Dana Loesch.

Al Gore may have gotten cold feet (or made a political calculation), but I'm not running for anything ... and I'm not deleting my retweet:

...or my message of congratulations to Sen. Sherrod.

Dana Loesch isn't going to be fair in her "reporting" -- that's absolutely proven at this point, many times over. She's not a journalist, she's a hyper-partisan hit woman. Her only purpose for being at conferences like Netroots is to find something/anything with which to smear and attack the President, the Democratic Party, and liberals in general, and anyone who doesn't realize this, and behave accordingly, is being played for a fool.

Sen. Brown said, "I'm not going to be played for a fool." Way to go, Senator.


9Jun/12Off

‘Border Militiaman’ Runs Away With a 15-Year-Old Girl

Read the whole story here.

You could chalk up some of border militiaman Todd Hezlitt's troubles to bad luck - who knew when he associated with Shawna Forde in 2008 that she would end up killing people the next year and drag his name into the mud?

But his most recent trouble - deputies say the 38-year-old Hezlitt ran away with a 15-year-old girlfriend - seems to be of his own doing.

Hezlitt was arrested in April and accused of two counts of sexual conduct with a minor, a student in the Flowing Wells Unified School District. Then on June 1, the Pima County Sheriff's Department reported that Hezlitt and the girl had both disappeared, apparently together.

He's facing felony charges of sexual conduct with a minor and has violated the terms of his release from jail by contacting the girl, causing an arrest warrant to be issued, Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Sgt. Dawn Barkman said.

It's Hezlitt's latest passage under a spotlight that has repeatedly shown the flaws in a man who made his name in Southern Arizona as an ex-Marine patrolling areas south of Three Points for drug smugglers. Even doing that, he got mixed up with murderers and for a while was falsely rumored to have been involved in a fatal home invasion in Arivaca.

[...]

[While in the Pima County Sheriff's Department academy], Hezlitt was already involved in the activity that would absorb much of his time in coming years - going out on independent, armed patrols of the borderlands, trying to detect smugglers, spending years in teams of off-duty or former military members that Adams organized. That activity brought Hezlitt, a 5-foot 3-inch livewire, into contact with border-militia leader Shawna Forde - and it got him in trouble.

In fall 2008, Hezlitt and Forde both appeared in a news story on Norwegian TV about Americans who were patrolling the borderlands on their own. When Forde and two others were arrested in June 2009 and later convicted of the home-invasion murders of an Arivaca man and his 9-year-old daughter, that appearance led some to believe Hezlitt was involved in Forde's group, Minutemen American Defense, or even the murders. [Emphasis added.]

[...]

If you're hanging around with Shawna Forde and patrolling the US-Mexican border with weapons, that's not bad luck. That's maliciousness, stupidity, or both. So is running away with a 15 year old.

I didn't remember that Shawna Forde went on Norwegian TV. It didn't seem significant in 2010 when I was following Forde's murder trial... but it sure does now. Maybe that's why 'Fjordman' [Peder Jensen] thought Mexico was going to take over the US. He was listening to Arizona racists.

Todd Russell Hezlitt ARIZONA DAILY STAR FILE


9Jun/12Off

Peter Gabriel and New Blood Orchestra: That’ll Do

The gorgeous theme song from Babe: Pig in the City, written by Randy Newman, performed here by Peter Gabriel at O2 World Berlin with the New Blood Orchestra. Watch out; if this song catches you in the right mood you might find yourself tearing up. That's right, tearing up. Over a pig.

This is from someone's video camera, but has surprisingly good audio.


9Jun/12Off

Obama really does believe ‘the private sector is doing fine’

President Obama is trying to fight back against the hue and cry raised over his saying the private sector is doing fine.

Saying the private sector is doing fine may have been a blunder, but it wasn’t a gaffe. It may have been a revelation to some, to others it was a confirmation.

Mitt Romney quickly pounced on Obama’s tone deaf statement calling it an “extraordinary miscalculation and misunderstanding by a President who is out of touch.”:

“Now this morning, the President had a press conference. I don’t know if you heard it, but he called a press conference and pulled people in and said a number of things, and one of the most interesting things he said was this: he said the private sector is doing fine. He said the private sector is doing fine. Is he really that out of touch? I think he’s defining what it means to be detached and out of touch with the American people. Has there ever been an American president who is so far from reality as to believe in an America where 23 million Americans are out of work, or stopped looking for work, or can only find part-time jobs and need full-time jobs, where the economy grew in the first quarter of the year at only 1.9 percent, where the median income in America has dropped by 10% over the last four years, where there have been record number of home foreclosures, for the President of the United States to stand up and say the private sector is doing fine is going to go down in history. It’s an extraordinary miscalculation and misunderstanding by a President who is out of touch, and we’re going to take back this country and get America working again.”

The Romney campaign quickly launched a @ObamaDoingFine parody Twitter site. The RNC put up a YouTube video titled “Doing Fine,” showing headlines highlighting the lousy economy, Obama saying “the private sector is doing fine,” and asking how can President Obama fix our economy if he doesn’t understand what’s broken?

Other Republicans joined in.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker told The Weekly Standard that Obama’s comments reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of the economy:

“There are two very different views in the country,” Walker said. “The current administration seems to think that success is measured by how many people are dependent on the government. I think success is measured by how many are not.”

Speaking at the regional Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Chicago, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie called Obama’s statement an outrage:

“It is an outrage to have the president of the United States stand up and say to hardworking governors, to Republicans and Democrats around this country that state and local government hiring is moving in the wrong direction and we’re to blame because the economy is not growing. He’s the one who put forward an ineffective wasteful stimulus plan that did nothing to help this economy. He’s the one who saddled us with all these federal rules and regulations that don’t allow governors to have the freedom to do what we really want and then he has the audacity to stand up this morning and say it’s the nation’s governors and the nation’s mayors who are driving our economy down by not hiring enough people for government work. If you need to understand with anymore clarity the difference between conservative Republican principles and this president, you don’t need to listen to one more word in this campaign than what he said behind that podium at the White House today.”
After less than five hours, Obama attempted to clarify his the private sector is doing fine statement by saying it’s absolutely clear the economy is not doing fine:

“It’s absolutely clear the economy is not doing fine. That’s the reason I had a press conference. That’s why I spent yesterday, the day before yesterday, this past week, this past month and this past year talking about how we can make the economy stronger.

“The economy is not doing fine. There are too many people out of work. The housing market is still weak, too many homes underwater and that’s precisely why I asked Congress to start taking some steps that can make a difference.” – President Barack Obama, Remarks after bilateral meeting with President Aquino of the Philippines, White House, June 8, 2012.

Confused? Don’t be. Saying it’s clear the economy is not doing fine is not a retraction of the private sector is doing fine. It doesn’t mean Obama doesn’t believe the private sector is doing fine. To the contrary, both statements support Romney’s observation that Obama seeks a government-centered society. Romney laid out the Romney’s private equity vs. Obama’s public equity comparison in his “Obama’s Government-Centered Society” speech after sweeping the primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington, D.C.:

“The president has pledged to transform America. And he’s spent the last four years laying the foundation for a new government-centered society. I will spend the next four years rebuilding the foundation of an opportunity society led by free people and free enterprises.”

Today Obama’s so-called truth team is out with another misleading ad, still trying to distance Obama from his the private sector is doing fine statement. The “Romney Economics: Fewer Teachers, Fewer Firefighters, Fewer Police Officers” ad implies that Romney wants fewer firemen, policemen and teachers. That is not what Romney said. Romney pointed out that Obama says we more firemen, policemen and teachers, then asked whether Obama got the message from the rejection of the Obamacrats attempt to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker:

“And his answer for economic vitality, by the way, was, of course, pushing aside the private sector, which he said is doing fine.  Instead, he wants to add more to government. He wants another stimulus.  He wants to hire more government workers.  He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers: did he not get the message in Wisconsin? The American people did.  It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.” (Gov. Mitt Romney, Remarks, Council Bluffs, IA, 6/8/12).

The new ad is still more deception and distortion from Obama.

9Jun/12Off

Union Clout Crumbles

Union losses in Wisconsin and California don’t bode well for the future.

 

Tuesday night’s recall election results in Wisconsin were hailed as a ’victory for all America’ and I believe this to be true. A conservative governor who campaigned in 2010 on a [...]

9Jun/12Off

Bloggers under fire: Arizona conservative lawyer/activist targeted by left-wing Arizona State Bar

I’ve turned the lights back on here at MichelleMalkin.com after “going dark” to help raise awareness about attacks on blogger free speech. Every phone call, e-mail, tweet, and letter you wrote yesterday to elected officials, state and federal government attorneys, and media outlets about SWAT-tings/convicted bomber and lying vexatious litigant Brett Kimberlin/his funders/his online cabal has made a difference. I am told there are now up to 83 congressional representatives who have signed their names to a letter — demanding “thorough examination at every level” of these terroristic crimes and threats — that will be sent to Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday. And I can tell you there’s much more in the works. At every level.

While we continue to speak out and work in front of and behind the scenes to support the bloggers targeted by Kimberlin, I want to call your attention to how speech-squelching progressives have targeted another conservative activist/blogger who needs your attention and help.

Rachel Alexander is a Townhall.com columnist, RightWingNews.com contributor, attorney, and veteran blogger at IntellectualConservative.com. In 2009, she was named RightOnline’s activist of the year for being a “force multiplier” through her training sessions to get citizens online. She founded her own personal bankruptcy law firm, served in the Arizona Attorney General’s office, and worked in the Maricopa County (Ariz.) Attorney’s Office as a Deputy County Attorney.

In April, the Arizona State Bar suspended Alexander’s law license for six months and one day (the order is here). The order became effective May 10. Less than a week later, she was granted a stay on the suspension as she pursues an appeal. But she’s been hit by another bar complaint as progressive opponents work to destroy her reputation and career.

Why did this happen to the dedicated, outspoken, and unapologetically conservative young lawyer? Her nightmare has all the makings of a partisan political vendetta and witch hunt.

Rachel’s boss at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office was Andrew Thomas, a staunch law-and-order advocate who tried to clean up corruption in his ranks. Thomas also represented tough-on-illegal immigration Sheriff Joe Arpaio. In gunning for Thomas, the liberal State Bar is trying to claim underling Alexander as collateral damage. Her actual role in Thomas’s attempt to prosecute corruption was minor. Her direct supervisor Peter Spaw, who played a much larger role, has not been targeted by the Bar.

RightWingNews.com founder/veteran blogger John Hawkins, who stepped up to defend his colleague, first recounted the saga last fall:

Thomas ran for re-election in 2008 on a platform of stamping out public corruption with Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Together they decided to take on powerful politicians who had gotten away with corrupt acts for years. Don Stapley, the Chairman of the County Supervisors, raised thousands of dollars to run for president of the National Association of Counties, even though he did not have an opponent. He then spent that money on personal luxury items. Stapley allegedly spent $6000 of these funds at Bang and Olufsen electronics, along with $1300 for hair implants, $400 for candleholders and $10,000 for furniture for his home. He also spent these funds, solicited as campaign money, to buy tickets to Broadway plays and movie theatres. He bought flowers, paid the grocery store and department stores, paid for massages – and paid for family trips to Sundance, to Utah to ski, a trip for his son and friends to Florida and a three-week vacation in Hawaii for his entire family at a beach house costing approximately $11,000.

Thomas brought charges against Stapley and a jury indicted him. Stapley was also indicted for failing to disclose his real estate dealings on financial statements. His business partner, Conley Wolfswinkel, is a convicted felon. Thomas also brought charges against Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox. She was indicted for voting on giving money to Chicanos por la Causa while failing to disclose she had a sweetheart loan deal from them. Wilcox, who drives a 2006 Corvette, gave herself prime real estate territory at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport through the “minority-owned business” affirmative action program.

What happened to those indictments? They were all dismissed. Most of the prosecutions were conveniently transferred to now retired judges — Judge Kenneth Fields and Judge Gary Donahoe, who threw them all out. Donahoe was subsequently forced to resign in disgrace in June of this year. Realizing he could not get anywhere against the corruption in Superior Court, Thomas and Sheriff Arpaio filed a racketeering lawsuit against the supervisors, judges and their legal counsel. The supervisors refused to authorize any outside counsel to assist Thomas with it. Vastly understaffed, Thomas decided to turn the investigation over to the Department of Justice and withdrew the suit.

… Blogging while conservative is not a crime. Fighting against illegal immigration and corruption is not a crime. However, misusing the justice system for purely political purposes is absolutely despicable and the more sunlight that shines in on this issue in Arizona, the more the cockroaches who are persecuting conservatives will start to scatter.

(FYI: In a detail reminiscent of Brett Kimberlin target Aaron Walker’s legal nightmare in Maryland, it was a group of retired judges who were responsible for getting the corruption charges filed by Thomas against the supervisors dismissed. Useful tools, those retired judges, eh?)

Ever since the corruption case was dropped, the Arizona State Bar has waged a selective prosecution war against Thomas, Alexander, and another former Thomas employee, ex-deputy county attorney Lisa Aubuchon. The latest? Aggrieved county supervisors refuse to fund Alexander’s appeal, so she has been forced to file a notice of claim against Maricopa County for $67,000 to cover the legal fees of her fight against the law-license suspension. (The notice of claim is here.)

The free speech implications are alarming. Alexander was served with interrogatories last summer demanding to know everything she has ever blogged or written online between 2005-2010 on any topic, whether anonymously or signed, including comments.

I have uploaded the document and you can read it right here (click for full-size):

Alexander Inter Rog

I quote from Interrogatory Number 4:

“Please name any and all aliases that you have used in posting, publishing, or sharing any of your opinions on the Internet, including those ins blog entries, during the relevant time period.”

Fishing expedition, anyone?

Renowned libertarian lawyer Clint Bolick (who happened to be a critic of Thomas and Arpaio) has stepped up to serve as a mentor to Alexander as she appeals her case. Another Thomas critic concluded that the targeting of Alexander “is both selective and overreaching.”

Absurdly, one of the blog posts she was admonished over was one she didn’t even write — the John Hawkins post cited above! Arizona blogger Barbara Espinosa exposed the witch hunt:

If that’s not a gross infringement upon her First Amendment right I don’t know what is. Nothing ever happened to the Bar for this gross overreach, and the media never reported it. During the trial, the Bar prosecutors attacked Rachel for posting an article on her website written by a prominent conservative columnist defending her, John Hawkins of Townhall and Rightwingnews.

The toll Rachel has taken as a result of this witchhunt against her has been brutal. Rachel has been told by numerous people that they will not hire her services because of all this, and her bankruptcy business is suffering. An IP address from Maricopa County government was involved with hacking her website last June, getting it banned from Google for months and permanently banned from Google News. Her website traffic went from 4000 unique visitors per day down to 1000 as a result. She developed a stalker during the Bar trial whose harassment about the trial became so threatening she had to get a restraining order against him.

Arizona blogger David Roney added:

Alexander is being charged, despite a long, unblemished record at MCAO [Maricopa County Attorney’s Office], solely for her role working on the RICO case. What was her role? She worked under her supervisor Pete Spaw’s direction. [Spaw] was an experienced RICO attorney who, according to my sources, started the drafts of the pleadings, finalized the drafts of the pleadings with Andrew Thomas, and developed the key theories in them. He exclusively dealt with opposing counsel, and filed all of the pleadings electronically. Alexander’s role consisted of mostly research for the pleadings, and taking direction from Spaw, nothing further. Yet Spaw was not charged by the Bar, only Alexander.

The real issue here is [an] allegation that Alexander sought to burden and embarrass county supervisors. The allegation is nothing short of hilarious on its face…. The supervisors, with a few exceptions, have done a pretty good job of bringing poor press and embarrassment upon themselves. And they did so all without the help of Alexander…

…digging deeper, the charges against Alexander reek of fulfilling a vendetta for running a political blog, and a conservative one at that. Most of their unfettered discontent comes from blog posts they attribute to Alexander, that she in fact did not write. The Arizona State Bar is anything but a right-leaning organization, and it appears to seek to censor a person with whom they disagree, while leaving others untouched.

Blogger Selywn Duke came to the same conclusion:

So this is a story of corruption. There is the garden variety, in which those who walk tall and stand against evil are targeted by those who wish to continue enriching themselves. But then there is the kind that is another hallmark of despotic regimes: political persecution. It is a phenomenon of fascism, whereby those who toe your line get benefits, and those who don’t get intimidated into silence or, when they’re too stout-hearted, destroyed. By any means necessary.

Then, once big business and all other prominent people and entities are marching in lock-step, you have complete control over civilization. This is Chicago – and, it appears, Maricopa – politics. And we allow it to stand at our own peril.

Rachel could use any financial support you are able to help provide. You can donate through her Paypal at az4vlad@hotmail.com. Spread the word about her case.

Make no mistake: This is just another nasty battle in the Left’s long war to marginalize, demonize, and criminalize conservative dissent. The selective protection of free speech is unconscionable. The freedom to blog is under assault on so many fronts. It has to stop.

The first step in fighting back: Sunlight. Lots of it.

9Jun/12Off

The Conservative Legacy of Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury emphasized the importance of the written word. The totalitarian left – including the left in Fahrenheit 451's dystopia – destroys books. Ray Bradbury is dead.  His literary career spanned an incredible 73 years, and his influence was felt across the broad spectrum of American thought.  Bradbury was very conscious of the fact that [...]

9Jun/12Off

The Executive Order, “Stroke of the Pen, Law of the Land. Kinda’ Cool”

Everyone accepts that presidential action is justified in emergencies (as earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes), but the job of the executive branch is to carry out the laws that Congress makes. It’s not to rule by decree, thus vesting power of a monarch on whoever happens to hold the office of the presidency. Political affiliation is [...]

9Jun/12Off

Ask A Libertarian is Back

Got a question for a libertarian? Then give it your best shot on
Tuesday, June 12, when Reason's Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch
answer any and all queries, such as:

Should anything be banned?
Aren't libertarians just Democrats who hate poor people?
Do you really want to legalize Heroin?
Who will you be voting for in November?
Where did you get that blouse?

Gillespie and Welch are the authors of the book The Declaration of Independents: How
Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America
,
out in
paperback June 26

On Tuesday, from 11AM ET til 4PM ET, Gillespie and Welch will
receive questions via Facebook, Twitter, and email, and, with the
help of Reason.tv's crack team of videographers, will post
rapid-fire video responses to your most probing and provocative
queries.

The lines are open, so think up your toughest question and send
it our way.

To ask via email, send to letters@reason.com
To ask via Facebook, go to Reason's Facebook
page

To ask via Twitter, send to @reason
To ask via YouTube, comment to this YouTube video

And on the day of the event, we'll scan the comments section at
Hit & Run and our Ask a Libertarian
page.

About 40 seconds. Produced by Meredith Bragg.

Visit Reason.tv for
downloadable versions and subscribe
to Reason.tv's YouTube Channel
to receive automatic updates
when new material goes live.


9Jun/12Off

Biden spends $1 million a year on weekend travel?

**Written by Doug Powers

It certainly wouldn’t be surprising. After all, it was “middle class Joe” who said said we have to “spend money to keep from going bankrupt.” Apply that philosophy to this report and the only conclusion we can reach is that Joe Biden is simply doing his part to save America from economic ruin:

Every Friday, Biden takes a helicopter designated as Marine Two from the vice president’s residence to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland and then hops on Air Force Two to fly back to his home in Delaware. At the end of the weekend, he returns on Air Force Two, usually a Boeing C-32.

During warm weather, Biden regularly returns to Andrews on the airplane on Saturdays to play golf at the Air Force base with President Obama. After the golf game, he flies back to Delaware and returns to Washington on the plane on Sunday evening — all at taxpayer expense.

The cost of flying Air Force Two is $22,000 an hour, so each half-hour trip to or from Delaware costs about $10,000. Each golf game costs taxpayers $20,000. At that rate, the annual cost to taxpayers of Biden’s weekend trips is well over $1 million.

In addition, the Secret Service rents more than 20 condominiums in the Wilmington, Del. area for agents who must accompany Biden when he returns to his home state.

Area condos? Doesn’t the Secret Service know they can rent from Joe and stay right on site?

Bonus points: Last year, Biden was put in charge of the Campaign to Cut Waste. Again, the above story doesn’t contradict that in any way as long as you subscribe to “the more you spend the more you save” philosophy of taxpayer dollar stewardship like the Stimulus Sheriff does.

(h/t Weasel Zippers)

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

9Jun/12Off

Among the Deniers at Denia-Palooza

Fraud Christopher Monckton goes birther and Heartland tries to get into classrooms, while sponsors flee.

Heartland Education initiative

[Link: www.shawnotto.com...]

leaked budget describing education initiative

[Link: shawnotto.com...] 2012 Heartland Bud...

Tennessee "Monkey" Law- Scientific American

[Link: www.scientificamerican.com...]

Louisiana Science Education Law

[Link: video.msnbc.msn.com...]

[Link: arstechnica.com...]

Joe Camel is Innocent!

[Link: climatecrocks.com...]

[Link: heartland.org...]

Heartland Smoker's Lounge

[Link: heartland.org...]

Joe Bast's Love Letter to Big Tobacco

[Link: climatecrocks.com...]

More on Unabomber billboard

[Link: www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org...]


9Jun/12Off

Holder orders investigation of recent leaks

**Written by Doug Powers

Senator John McCain has wondered aloud if recent national security leaks have come from the highest levels of the White House for political purposes, comments the White House called “grossly irresponsible.” In yesterday’s press conference, President Obama said he was “offended” by those kinds of accusations. The administration is so adamant to track down who is responsible for the leaks that Jay Carney told reporters they would… oppose an independent probe.

Enter Attorney General Eric “if you see a reference to ‘Fast & Furious’ in my memos I might have been talking about the movie or something but definitely not the gun running operation” Holder, who last evening named two federal prosecutors to open a criminal investigation into the source(s) of the leaks. It’s Saturday and my skepticism is on vacay until Monday, so we’ll leave it at that and let ABC News take it from here:

Holder appointed Ron Machen, the U.S. attorney for the District of Colombia, and Rod Rosenstein to lead the criminal investigations into recent leaks concerning a disrupted bomb plot by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and a New York Times story about President Obama ordering cyber-attacks against Iran with the Stuxnet computer worm.

“These two highly-respected and experienced prosecutors will be directing separate investigations currently being conducted by the FBI,” Holder said in a statement. “I have every confidence in their abilities to doggedly follow the facts and the evidence in the pursuit of justice, wherever it leads.”

The appointment of the prosecutors comes days after the chairmen and ranking members of the Congressional Intelligence Committees and other members of Congress expressed outrage over the recent leaks. Some members were calling for Holder to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the leaks, but Holder’s move may neutralize those calls.

Rosenstein was a Bush appointee kept on by the Obama administration, and Machen was an Obama nominee who has donated thousands of dollars to Obama’s campaigns over the years. (h/t Drudge).

We’ll see what direction this takes, if any. I have my suspicions.

McCain does seem to have a point, given the fact that most of the recent leaks just happen to show how relentlessly our country’s Nobel Peace Prize Winner-in-Chief kicks butt and takes names overseas — a reputation Obama must make legendary before the election to counter the drag cause by his biggest enemy on the domestic front: Himself.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

9Jun/12Off

Darcy Burner: Bringing The Crazy to the WA-01 Election!

I had heard that Darcy Burner – best known for being a Democrat who couldn’t beat a Republican in Washington state during the two worst election cycles for Republicans in living memory – spoke yesterday at Netroots Nation in Providence, RI (I happen to be in town myself for the much cooler Breitbart Awards conference that the Franklin Center/the Heritage Foundation is putting on). Feeling all very nostalgic about Ms. Burner and everything, I decided to see if she had been up to anything. Turns out? Yup! Darcy’s doing what she does best: making life easier for Republicans.

It goes like this. WA-01 is a recently redrawn district (more on this later) that is going to be strenuously fought over this election cycle.  It was held by Democrat Jay Inslee, but he resigned the seat in order to run for Governor. As everyone reading this probably knows by now, House seats may not be assigned; if there is an empty seat then there must be an election. So there will be two elections in November: one for the month remaining in the current, and one for the next, full term. This happens all the time, and people should treat the news that this sort of thing causes headaches for the national parties with all the respect that such news deserves: yup, you guessed it, none at all.

But it does cause headaches, and the Washington Democratic party thought that they had a reasonable way out of the quagmire: they would get everybody running in the general election to agree not to run in the special election, and have a placeholder run in the special. This is important because Washington state has a jungle primary system AND has to run the special election using the old district lines (warning: dKos link*).  Also consider that WA-01 went from being solidly Democratic to a D+3 district: that means that candidates for the general election would effectively have to appeal to voters who would not be voting for them.

So… as elections shenanigans go, this one is not particularly outrageous; it’s possibly not outrageous at all**. It, in fact, was fairly clever.  Alas, the maneuver also required that the Democratic slate for the WA-01 primary consist of people who could be relied upon to not urinate in their own well, so it all collapsed when Darcy Burner decided to go ahead and file for both elections.  Needless to say, then so did everybody else (including Republican John Koster, who will almost certainly be the Republican nominee in the likely case that he’s in the top two).  And nobody’s happy… except probably Koster; confusion among one’s enemies is always nice to see.

Moral of the story?  Well, there’s two.  One: jungle primaries are almost as a bad idea as are multi-party fusion tickets.  We have a two-party system in this system, and that system GETS CRANKY when forced to accept assaults on it, no matter how well-meant.  Two: Darcy Burner is a (metaphorical) bomb-throwing idiot with poor aim who makes my life easier.

Err… thanks?

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*I know, I know. But David Nir is pretty good with the mechanics of election districts. Too good for dKos, but it’s about as high as the guy can realistically aspire.

**Translation: “We should try this trick ourselves.”  Mind you, I am a partisan Republican hack.

9Jun/12Off

The Lousiest ObamaCare Defense You’ll Read Today

The legal challenge to ObamaCare’s
individual mandate, which requires the purchase of
government-approved health insurance under Congress’ power to
regulate interstate commerce, rests on the idea of judicial
precedent. When the libertarian and conservative lawyers
challenging the health care overhaul argue that requiring all
Americans to purchase a product from a private company is
unprecedented, they mean that the Supreme Court’s existing line of
Commerce Clause cases in no way authorizes the federal government
to engage in such behavior. As a result, the legal challengers are
not asking the Court to overturn a single previous decision, not
even the Court’s notorious 1942 ruling in
Wickard v. Filburn
, which held that cultivating and
consuming wheat entirely on your own farm still counted as
interstate commerce. Instead, the challengers are asking the
justices to recognize that the individual mandate exceeds the
bounds of what the Court has previously allowed and strike it down
as a lawless exercise of government power.

And yet despite all of that, some ObamaCare defenders still
persist in accusing the legal challengers of trying to repeal the
New Deal and return America to the alleged horrors of the Gilded
Age. The latest example of this faulty argument comes courtesy of
former Obama administration lawyer Robert Weiner, in a guest post
at the liberal legal blog Balkinization.
Weiner writes
:

To a remarkable degree, the challenges to the Affordable Care
Act reflect an effort to codify legal nostalgia as legal doctrine.
The opinions of some lower courts striking down the individual
mandate, as well as the arguments of the States and private
plaintiffs in the Supreme Court urging that result, repeatedly hark
back to bygone eras of American jurisprudence. This legal facsimile
of reincarnation seeks to revive not just the long discredited
doctrines invoked by an ossified Judiciary to thwart the New Deal.
It goes back further still, to the dogma of an earlier time when
the Judiciary regarded its principal function as the protection of
private property, even at the expense of social justice, democratic
values, and other individual rights.

These arguments don’t stand up to scrutiny. Nowhere in the legal
briefs challenging the health care overhaul filed by either the
multi-state challengers or by the National Federation of
Independent Business will you find anything in favor of reviving
any “long discredited doctrines.” So Weiner strikes out on that
count. And his bogus historical claims don’t fare any better.

According to Weiner, before the Supreme Court took a progressive
turn on economic questions during the New Deal era, “the Judiciary
regarded its principal function as the protection of private
property, even at the expense of social justice, democratic values,
and other individual rights.” In fact, he asserts, economic rights
trumped civil rights to such an extent that “minorities could not
get a fair shake.”

Yet Weiner conveniently ignores the fact that one of the most
significant civil rights decisions of the first half of the 20th
century came about precisely because of the judicial protection of
property rights, the very thing Weiner dismisses as mere dogma.

At issue in the case of
Buchanan v. Warley
(1917) was a Louisville, Kentucky
law segregating residential housing blocks by race. NAACP president
Moorfield
Storey
, a libertarian lawyer who helped found the pioneering
civil rights organization, won the case by arguing that this Jim
Crow law violated property rights under the Due Process Clause of
the 14th Amendment. As Justice William Day held for a unanimous
Supreme Court, “Property is more than the mere thing which a person
owns. It is elementary that it includes the right to acquire, use,
and dispose of it.” Furthermore, Day wrote, the 14th Amendment
“operate[s] to qualify and entitle a colored man to acquire
property without state legislation discriminating against him
solely because of color.”

It was a major ruling. As the George Mason University legal
scholar David Bernstein has explained, “Buchanan almost
certainly prevented governments from passing far harsher
segregation laws [and] prevented residential segregation laws from
being the leading edge of broader anti-negro measures.” Civil
rights leader W.E.B. DuBois credited the case with “the breaking of
the backbone of segregation.”

So not only does Weiner fail to accurately describe the legal
issues at stake in the ObamaCare case, he also flunks out on the
legal history. That's not what I'd call a winning argument.


9Jun/12Off

Baylen Linnekin on Why Bans on Feeding the Homeless Are Unconstitutional

Starting around 2006, various cities began
arresting, fining, and otherwise oppressing private individuals and
nonprofits that feed the homeless and less fortunate. In New York
City, for example, Mayor Michael Bloomberg banned food donations to
the homeless earlier this year "because the city can’t assess their
salt, fat and fiber content." Baylen Linnekin explains why these
bans are unconstitutional, discriminatory, and wrongheaded.

View this article.


9Jun/12Off

Tech at Night: Privacy is unpopular, Leave Google alone, Apple app developers Union is silly

Tech at Night

You want more proof that every single private industry privacy debate in DC is completely wrong headed? MSIE 10′s do not track default is unpopular. People don’t care. They value cheap/free stuff and convenience over privacy protection.

Other countries are looking to tax American businesses online. Does Barack Obama have the guts to fight for us? Or will he bow once again?

Here we go again. Just like with Net Neutrality, the FCC wants to take something unregulated, and regulate it for the sake of expanding government. Now it’s the “Special Access” debate, and both IIA and ACI have the story on why we don’t want government sticking its nose into the marketplace, trying to make designated disfavored firms subsidize designated favored firms, the later likely politically connected or prioritized.

Only a fool who is completely ignorant of the history of Internet competition, and of the low barriers to entry, and of the technical definitions of antitrust violations in America, would try to have the government come after Google search for antitrust violations. The Obama administration is apparently loaded with fools, and I fear some Republicans are also being led down the fool’s path. Google defends itself, and NTU also makes the case for letting the people decide in the marketplace. The Internet search marketplace is a pure democracy that lets the public decide who wins and who loses. Government is not needed.

Dumb idea of the day award: An Apple app developers union is simply not needed conceptually. There are no wrongs to redress, no abuses to correct, no advantages to stop Apple from taking. Apple provides a great service, an easy service that has made people rich, has created jobs, and has changed the world in a small way. People who don’t want to develop iOS apps can always go write Android apps, where they don’t even have to use the Google or Amazon stores.

But no, these union folks want to stay with Apple but have it on their own terms. That’s not far. Apple’s made an offer. Apple’s not forcing anyone. They can just say no to Apple if they don’t like the offer.

I’m glad we have the House: Talk of compromise on Cybersecurity in the Senate. I have confidence though that just as Republicans in the House beat SOPA, so too will Republicans in the House beat a bad bill in this case. It wasn’t Dick Durbin and Harry Reid that shut down PROTECT IP. It was Eric Cantor and John Boehner who killed SOPA, after Darrell Issa and others made their stand. So even if this Senate bill is bad, we’re not licked yet.

Spectrum, Spectrum, Spectrum. America is going to use more and more of it for wireless Internet, and we need policy to catch up. Making government get efficient and give up some of its overbloated spectrum ranges, so that firms like LightSquared can have a fair chance to compete to improve further the already-dynamic market, can only help.