The New York Times is going after the Koch Brothers once again. No news there, of course. But it’s worth noting that the Times has found a new angle to pursue—or should we say, a new club with which to cudgel the Kochs—namely, the legal curlicues of campaign finance. Liberals, no doubt, will be cheering for the Times, but they ought to be careful, because two can play at this game.
Democrats have reversed the partisan imbalance on the federal appeals courts that long favored conservatives, a little-noticed shift with far-reaching consequences for the law and President Obama’s legacy.
Conservatives have long decried the left’s drive to “criminalize” politics as a means to achieve ideological ends. Last month’s politically-motivated grand jury indictment of Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry even drew the ire of some on the left, such as President Barack Obama’s chief political strategist David Axelrod, who dismissed the charges as being “pretty sketchy.”
For the first time in more than a decade, judges appointed by Democratic presidents considerably outnumber judges appointed by Republican presidents. The Democrats’ advantage has only grown since late last year when they stripped Republicans of their ability to filibuster the president’s nominees.
Still, some progressives seem intent on pushing the criminalization of political differences to score short-term political advantage without considering long-term consequences. Indeed, the left’s rush to deem corporate money in political thought as legally actionable is one progressives would do well to quash.
Democratic appointees who hear cases full time now hold a majority of seats on nine of the 13 United States Courts of Appeals. When Mr. Obama took office, only one of those courts had more full-time judges nominated by a Democrat.
Case in point: progressive New York Times op-ed writer Thomas B. Edsall’s banal and one-sided screed against Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers, those reliable boogeymen of liberal nightmares. In a breathless Wednesday piece titled “Karl Rove, the Koch Brothers and the End of Political Transparency,” Edsall served up heaping doses of phony outrage over the perfectly legal practice of conservative 501 (c)(4) social welfare organizations receiving anonymous donations.
The shift, one of the most significant but unheralded accomplishments of the Obama era, is likely to have ramifications for how the courts decide the legality of some of the president’s most controversial actions on health care, immigration and clean air. Since today’s Congress has been a graveyard for legislative accomplishment, these judicial confirmations are likely to be among its most enduring acts.
Right-leaning individuals expressing their political views in today’s post-IRS conservative targeting scandal have just cause to use anonymity as “a shield from the tyranny” of the Obama administration and as a means to protect themselves from “retaliation… at the hand of an intolerant” Internal Revenue Service.
But one day, under a different administration, so, too, might liberal activists.
From the New York Times…
OVER the past two decades, the majority of Americans in a country deeply divided over gun control have coalesced behind a single proposition: The sale of assault weapons should be banned.
That idea was one of the pillars of the Obama administration’s plan to curb gun violence, and it remains popular with the public. In a poll last December, 59 percent of likely voters said they favor a ban.
But in the 10 years since the previous ban lapsed, even gun control advocates acknowledge a larger truth: The law that barred the sale of assault weapons from 1994 to 2004 made little difference.
It turns out that big, scary military rifles don’t kill the vast majority of the 11,000 Americans murdered with guns each year.
In all honesty it looks as if the author was trying to build up to a “ban handguns” argument, rather than a “don’t ban scary guns” argument. That’s fine, let them turn their focus to handguns. There’s a good reason Handgun Control Inc. changed it’s name to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence–arguing for banning handguns is almost a deadly a political stance as privatizing Social Security, without the benefit of actually being a good idea.
For all the ridicule heaped upon George W. Bush’s so-called “Coalition of the Willing” by President Obama, Vice President Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry, among others, the US-led 2003 operation to liberate Iraq and overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein was assisted by 49 nations that provided material military support including troops, intelligence cooperation, material, logistics, ground facilities, and financial assistance.
Only nine nations are part of what President Obama grandiosely titles his “broad coalition” to assist the US effort to “degrade” and “eventually destroy” the Sunni terrorist ISIS army in what is now officially being called “a very significant counter terrorist operation.” What actual support those states have in fact offered remains unclear.
Normally, international military coalitions are forged prior to their being formally announced. In the case of the anti-ISIS coalition, President Obama proclaimed the establishment of a US-led “broad coalition” of nations committed to the military defeat of the terrorist ISIS army before any specific agreements were reached with any partners. More significant perhaps than the list of states that have signed on is the list of those who have not. The most important and reliable US allied nations have almost all begged off; as have critical regional allies.
US Secretary of State Kerry also found it difficult to rally allies to partner in a war that the American administration refuses to call a war. Of course, according to US constitutional law, no President can unilaterally declare war. Only the Congress has the power to do that. But many others suspect the reasons the administration is avoiding the “war” word is far more political than it is constitutional. After all, President Obama regularly, and some would say recklessly, disregards or ignores US constitutional provisions that he feels prevent him from achieving his policy goals. The President’s left-wing anti-war base is getting restless. Perhaps the White House thinks that banning use of the word “war” will prevent its key constituent supporters from breaking out into outright opposition.
Read the full story at Breitbart.com.
The Department of Labor coordinated with the White House on whether or not to release hidden portions of former Labor Secretary Hilda Solis’ schedule as Solis battled an FBI investigation into her illegal fundraising for President Obama.
New emails provided to The Daily Caller from the nonprofit legal research firm Cause of Action show the White House thanking the Department of Labor for “flagging” a public information request for “withheld” portions of Solis’ schedule. (SEE THE EMAIL CHAIN). The White House then asked for the name of the conservative group making the request — information that Labor officials were eager to give up.
As TheDC previously reported, Solis illegally fundraised for the Obama campaign and headlined a Latino-themed Obama fundraiser while on a trip in her official capacity as a Cabinet member, which is forbidden by the Hatch Act.
A quiet, behind-the-scenes FBI investigation into Solis’ Hatch Act violation led to her resignation from the Obama administration at the beginning of his second term – and handed Solis a hefty check for legal advice from the Washington arm of the politically-connected Chicago law firm Sidley Austin.
Read the full story at The Daily Caller.