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Archive for September 9th, 2009

Inquiry Opened into New Black Panther Case
By Jerry Seper

The Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility has begun an inquiry into the dismissal in May of a civil complaint against the New Black Panther Party and two of its members who disrupted a Philadelphia polling place during last year’s presidential elections.

The inquiry was disclosed in an Aug. 28 letter to Rep. Lamar Smith, ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee who first raised questions about the case’s dismissal and asked Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., to make available the head of the department’s Voting Section for a closed-door briefing about the decision.

In the letter, Mary Patrice Brown, acting counsel, told the Texas congressman that the Office of Professional Responsibility had “initiated an inquiry into the matter” and would “contact you with the results of our inquiry once it is completed.” A copy of the letter was obtained by The Washington Times.

“I am pleased that someone at the Justice Department is finally taking the dismissal of the New Black Panther Party case seriously,” Mr. Smith said Wednesday. “The Justice Departments decision to drop a case against political allies who allegedly intimidated voters on Election Day 2008 reeks of political interference.”

Mr. Smith said the department’s refusal to provide Congress with an explanation for the dismissal “only further raises concerns that political favoritism played a role in this case.”

“Voter intimidation threatens democracy,” he added. “These cases must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law without political considerations. I look forward to seeing the results of the Departments investigation.”

In January, the Justice Department filed a civil complaint in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia against the New Black Panther Party after two of its members in black berets, black combat boots, black shirts and black jackets with military insignias purportedly intimidated voters with racial insults, slurs and a nightstick. A third party member was accused of managing, directing and endorsing their behavior.

The complaint said two NBPP members engaged in “coercion, threats and intimidation . . . racial threats and insults . . . menacing and intimidating gestures . . . and movements directed at individuals who were present to vote.”

The case gained national attention when it was captured on videotape and distributed on YouTube.

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“The goal from this White House is to have as much nonspecific language passed by Congress in policy areas like health care and the environment and then use Sunstein’s office to put in place the regulatory language called for by Congress that gets us to where we want to be. It may very well be the most important job in this administration, given the lack of success we may have on Capitol Hill.”—The American Spectator

 Sunstein Flunks Gun Rights Test

THE WASHINGTON TIMES EDITORIAL

University of Chicago law professor Cass R. Sunstein, the president’s embattled nominee to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, misfired one time too many.

Mr. Sunstein has been assuring Second Amendment advocates, including key Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, that he strongly believes the Constitution protects an individual right to bear arms. In a July 14 letter clarifying his positions at the request of the senator, Mr. Sunstein wrote:

“Your first question involved the Second Amendment. I strongly believe that the Second Amendment creates an individual right to possess and use guns for purposes of both hunting and self-defense. I agree with the Supreme Court’s decision in the Heller case, clearly recognizing the individual right to have guns for hunting and self-defense. If confirmed, I would respect the Second Amendment and the individual right that it recognizes.”

There’s no wiggle room in that statement, and Mr. Chambliss dropped his hold on the nomination based on Mr. Sunstein’s assurances. But it turns out that the professor has held a certain contempt for the very viewpoint he suddenly claims to espouse.

A videotape has surfaced of a lecture Mr. Sunstein gave on Oct. 23, 2007. Here is what he said:

“My coming view is that the individual right to bear arms reflects the success of an extremely aggressive and resourceful social movement and has much less to do with good standard legal arguments than [it] appears.”

Discussing the anti-gun laws in the District of Columbia, he said a critic of such strict gun control would say that a “trigger lock interferes with his efforts at self-defense against criminals. What on Earth does that have to do with the Second Amendment as originally understood?”

Later in the lecture, Mr. Sunstein said, “My tentative suggestion is that the individual right to have guns as it’s being conceptualized now is best taken as a contemporary creation and a reflection of current fears – not a reading of civic-centered founding debates.”

Mr. Sunstein’s overt hostility to the idea that the Constitution protects an individual right to bear arms, including for purposes of self-defense, is not something that should be welcomed from somebody whose job might entail weighing in on the value of anti-gun regulations. It also makes his more recent assurances that he is a Second Amendment stalwart seem rather disingenuous, at the very least.

 


 

On October 23, 2007, Cass Sunstein delivered a lecture titled “The Second Amendment: The Constitution’s Most Mysterious Right” as part of the University of Chicago’s Best Ideas lecture series. The university issued the following promo to promote the talk:

“What does the Second Amendment mean? The Supreme Court has not told us, and the history seems shrouded in mist. Professor Sunstein will argue that as a matter of history, the Second Amendment probably does not create an individual right, because it was designed to protect state militias. Modern readers have immense difficulty in recovering the original meaning, because our circumstances are radically different from those of the founding. He will also argue, however, that the Court should not reject an individual right, in part because the nation is so polarized. The discussion will have many implications for constitutional interpretation and the role of the Court in political life.”  [emphasis mine]

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Refining Away Affordable Fuel

LCFS isn’t about making the fuels on which we rely today better, cleaner or more energy-efficient. It’s about making those fuels scarcer, more expensive and less available to those who need them.

By David Holt

It doesn’t matter where you buy it. It doesn’t matter what you drive. It doesn’t even matter which octane you choose. Every gallon of gasoline combusted in our vehicles emits a chemically consistent 19.4 pounds of carbon dioxide. Congress wants to change that — and it isn’t about to let a silly thing like fuel science stand in its way.

You’ve heard of cap-and-trade. Now meet the low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) — its younger, quieter but just-as-harmful kissing cousin. Cooked up in a California political laboratory over the past decade and being advanced on Capitol Hill by powerful members of both chambers, LCFS has as its goal to force refiners to start producing fuels with a lower-intensity carbon profile. Same price, same power, just with less carbon dioxide coming out of the tailpipe.

Who can be against that?

The laws of science, for starters. It turns out that, short of engaging in outright alchemy, tweaking the molecular profile of refined fuel products isn’t done easily, safely or well. But if an LCFS can’t actually effect a chemical change in the carbon makeup of our fuels, how can its supporters claim it will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide they emit?

The answer is that LCFS isn’t about making the fuels on which we rely today better, cleaner or more energy-efficient. It’s about making those fuels scarcer, more expensive and less available to those who need them. Achieve that, the logic goes, and the alternative energy technologies that can’t compete right now — for one, because they don’t exist in commercial quantities, if at all — will have a fighting chance in the future of gaining market share from the reliable, all-too-affordable energy sources that dominate our markets today.

But, having established that an LCFS can’t simply decree low-carbon fuels into existence, how would a program like this actually work?

Here’s how: First, bureaucrats gather up separate samples of the feedstock involved in producing fuel — crude oil. Each sample is assigned a carbon score, not based on how much carbon is in the oil (remember, that’s constant), but how much energy (and therefore, carbon) it’s estimated was used to bring that oil to market.

Heavy crudes require more energy to produce than light crudes and therefore receive a higher (read “worse”) “life-cycle” carbon score. Oil sands from Canada and oil shale from the American Intermountain West are treated even more harshly under this system. And corn-based ethanol? The way the bureaucrats see it, ethanol is even worse than the rest because farmers in developing countries likely will have to cut down more of their trees to grow corn because Americans are using so much of theirs for fuel. Follow all that?

Once the carbon scores are tallied up, fuel producers are presented with a fairly straightforward choice: Stop using heavier forms of crude to refine into gasoline or start buying up “credits” from the federal government for the right to remain in business. Sound familiar? It’s the exact same transfer mechanism involved in cap-and-trade legislation recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. It’s also the exact same mechanism that will result in your paying a lot more for a gallon of gas in the short term and perhaps even losing your job after that.

But an LCFS is even more sinister than that. Consider: An LCFS, by definition, is set up to discriminate against some forms of crude and benefit others. As it turns out, the forms against which an LCFS discriminates happen to be the ones most readily and affordably available to us — homegrown oil from California and Colorado; Mayan crude from Mexico; and oil sands from Canada, our most important economic and strategic ally in the hemisphere.

Who’s got all the light crude — the kind an LCFS scheme is rigged to favor? The vast majority of the world’s lightest, sweetest crudes happen to be controlled by some of the world’s least reliable and most unstable regimes.

How would turning over an even larger share of our nation’s fuel and energy markets to Middle Eastern energy producers impact American national security? LCFS proponents don’t have a whole lot to say on that front.

The vast majority of Americans have never heard of an LCFS, just as its proponents prefer — and even the ones who have heard of it struggle to remember what the less-than-descriptive acronym stands for. Now you know: An LCFS means higher prices at the pump, fewer good-paying jobs for Americans, complicated Wall Street trading schemes and expanded dependence on energy from unstable regions of the world.

Sounds a lot like cap-and-trade, right? We’d be so lucky.

David Holt is president of Consumer Energy Alliance, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization in Houston.

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BREAKING: Senate Voting on Regulatory Czar Cass Sunstein Today

By: Meredith Jessup

According to the legislative calender posted on the Republican Policy Committee website, the Senate will be rushing to vote today to approve Cass R. Sunstein‘s nomination to be Obama’s Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). 

If you thought Van Jones was extreme, Sunstein is just down-right kooky. 

In his own words:
—In a 2007 speech at Harvard University, Sunstein said “We ought to ban hunting.”

—From his book Radicals in Robes: “[A]lmost all gun control legislation is constitutionally  fine.  And if the Court is right, then fundamentalism does not justify the view that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms.

—From 2004 book Animal Rights: Current Debates and New Directions: “Animals should be permitted to bring suit, with human beings as their representatives…”

2007 speech at Harvard: “[Humans’] willingness to subject animals to unjustified suffering will be seen … as a form of unconscionable barbarity… morally akin to slavery and the mass extermination of human beings.

Arguing for a Fairness Doctrine of the Internet in his book Republic.com 2.0: “A system of limitless individual choices, with respect to communications, is not necessarily in the interest of citizenship and self-government.”

—In an article he co-authored entitled, “Why We Should Celebrate Paying Taxes”: “In what sense is the money in our pockets and bank accounts fully ‘ours’? Did we earn it by our own autonomous efforts? Could we have inherited it without the assistance of probate courts? Do we save it without support from bank regulators? Could we spend it… if there were no public officials to coordinate the efforts and pool the resources of the community in which we live?”

Same article: “[T]ax day is not a day of national mourning. Without taxes there would be no liberty. Without taxes there would be no property. Without taxes, few of us would have any assets worth defending. Indeed, property owners are more deeply “dependent” on government than food-stamp recipients.”

Seriously?  Where did this guy come from?  Oh yeah, Chicago and Harvard.  Sound familiar?

Sunstein wrote a book called Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech.  First of all, it’s troubling that a “constitutional scholar” would describe the First Amendment as a “problem” of democracy.  In the book, Sunstein argues, America needs to “reinvigorate processes of democratic deliberation by ensuring greater attention to public issues and greater diversity of views.” 

Sunstein’s worried about the present “situation” in which “like-minded people speak or listen to mostly one another,” and thinks “we must doubt whether, as interpreted, the constitutional guarantee of free speech is adequately serving democratic goals.”  Sunstein favors a “New Deal for speech” that would draw on an “insistence on the role of free speech in promoting political deliberation and citizenship.”   Hm… this sounds like a RESOUNDING endorsement of the so-called “fairness doctrine.” 

More lunatic quotes of Cass Sunstein can be found here.

Majority Leader Harry Reid is considering a cloture vote–against the objective holdings of three U.S. Senators. If you value your First Amendment rights, your Second Amendment rightsand/or pay any taxes, you might want to contact your Senators about this one–Click here to urge your Senator to oppose Stalin’s Sunstein’s nomination today!  Or call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121. 

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COURAGE UNDER FIRE

Kilroy Was Here, but Not Long

Representative Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH) dropped by the Facts Not Fear rally in Goodale Park in Columbus to encourage the 30 or so Obots to persevere in the fight for Obamacare. Kilroy touted the Bread and Circuses Administration’s line about vast majorities of Americans supporting Brother O’s transformation of the health care system and informed the Obots that she came armed with truth and ready for questions.

However, when blogger Hourglass1941 began asking the D-OH representative some pointed questions regarding HR3200, Kilroy beat feet for the tall grass with the blogger in hot pursuit firing questions as the fleeing congresswoman tossed short answers over her shoulder in a desperate attempt to get away.

In one shoulder-tossed answer, Kilroy claimed that HR 3200 excluded illegal immigrants from receiving health-care coverage. However, the bill does not have enforcement capability to prevent illegals from receiving heath care because committee Democrats defeated a Republican amendment that would have prevented the coverage from happening.

The final blow came when Hourglass1941 asked the “courageous” Kilroy how revenue will be raised to pay for the bill; the befuddled lawmaker would not answer, stepped up her pace, and high-tailed it out of there.

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Mainstream Media Fails Again

by Nancy Matthis at American Daughter

The mainstream media made no mention of the controversy surrounding Van Jones until AFTER he resigned. The usual suspects, who have shaped the news for years, — CBS, NBC, the Washington Post, and the New York Times — carried no news at all until the Jones affair was over.

Then they reported, briefly (trying to minimize the damage to Obama), that Jones had resigned as the result of a vicious right-wing smear campaign. That is a very biased way to characterize an exposé consisting entirely of video clips of the man’s own speeches. How do you smear someone by quoting his very words?Jammies Brigade

The bloggers, the radio and cable television talk shows, and the social networks were the only sources of information. Yet it was sufficient to inform the public, who raised an outcry that brought results.

It would seem that the mainstream media is no longer necessary. More than that, it is pretty obvious that they are not doing their jobs. So we will not feel sorry for them when they whine about declining subscription numbers.

At the Washington Examiner, Byron York asks — Why did the press ignore the Van Jones scandal?:

Certainly there’s bias involved. Given what we know from the formal and informal polling of journalists at mainstream organizations, most of the people involved in political reporting are liberals, and likely Democrats. They want the Obama administration to succeed….

There was a day, not too long ago, when … influential news organizations could kill a story … simply by ignoring it. Sometimes they still try. But it just won’t work anymore.

The erstwhile media moguls are not taking their downfall gracefully. At Townhall, David Limbaugh notes The Mainstream Media’s Temper Tantrum:

With the resignation of green czar Van Jones despite their efforts to protect him, the mainstream media have finally been reduced to sputtering incoherence, as they’ve observed the un-deification of their anointed messiah and experienced firsthand their own diminishing relevance.

The MSM are engaging in a colossal temper tantrum over their lost news monopoly — a monopoly they forfeited through their bias, arrogance and self-imposed insulation….

This is an especially hard pill for them to swallow considering that during the past year, they’ve been stewing in the intoxicating delusion that they were again supreme, as they appeared to be getting away with their conspiratorial enthroning of King Barack Obama. And they’re not handling rejection well.

If you have time, read the rest of Limbaugh’s piece. He details the arrogant and self-serving remarks made by the media dinosaurs in the aftermath — a sorry lot they are and it is so heartwarming to see them squirm. It puts one in mind of that famous remark:

“You couldn’t have a starker contrast between the multiple layers of checks and balances [in the mainstream media] and a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing.”

It is a stark contrast indeed. Just not the way that he meant it.

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