Wednesday, July 23, 2014

NY Times is So Scared it is Trying to Redefine "Wave"

One of the things I have learned in my time in Washington, DC is that the New York Times is a reliable propaganda arm for the DNC.  So when the New York Times’ Nate Cohn wrote this week “Goodbye to the Republican Wave?” I knew they were writing to get the Democrat “spin” out the election on two matters. 

The first one is obvious.  Republicans aren’t going to do as well as they think, buck up Democrats. 

The anti-Democratic wave might still arrive. But with three and a half months to go until November’s elections, the promised Republican momentum has yet to materialize.
The race for the Senate, at least right now, is stable.

This is funny as well; if the Republicans win, it is “Anti-Democrat” (in other words failures of the Democrats to be liberal enough).  And since when is “stable” a loss of multiple Senate seats and control? 

Fortunately, another non-propaganda source explains what is happening in a more honest way in a National Journal Article entitled “The Odds of a GOP Wave are Increasing”:

There's plenty of race-by-race evidence to suggest that most contests are trending in a Republican direction. Over the past several months, the Iowa and Colorado Senate races have turned from long shots to promising Republican pickup opportunities. In Iowa, Republican nominee Joni Ernst is running evenly with Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley in the Real Clear Politics polling average, a marked shift over the last two months. And in Colorado, Democratic Sen. Mark Udall only holds a 1-point average lead over GOP Rep. Cory Gardner, according to RCP, in a race that's shaping up to be a barn burner.

And there isn't much evidence that red-state Democrats have gained ground in recent months, either. In Arkansas, reliable public polling has been sparse, but GOP Rep. Tom Cotton has led Sen. Mark Pryor (D) in three straight public polls, along with the GOP campaign's last two internals. Pryor didn't release any polling of his own to counter. An April NYT/Upshot survey showing a double-digit Pryor lead, which shaped public perception of the race, is now looking more like an outlier.

In Louisiana, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) has never hit 50 percent in any of the all-party primary surveys, with most polls showing her well short of the mark.

But there is another second more insidious reason for the article.  The New York Times is trying to frame a Republican victory as “not a wave.”  A “wave” election gives momentum to the winning party going forward for its agenda and the next election.  The New York Times can’t let the GOP have legislative momentum.  Fortunately National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar explains the fallacy of this :

Cohn argues that if Republicans merely sweep red-state Democratic seats and perhaps pick off a stray swing seat, it's not a wave election—even if Republicans net seven seats on their way to the majority. To accomplish that feat, Republicans would need to oust four sitting Democratic senators. Over the last decade, Republicans have defeated only three sitting senators (Tom Daschle in South Dakota, Russ Feingold in Wisconsin, and Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas). Surely, a red-state sweep would signify the conclusion of a political shake-up in the South, where voters are so disgusted with the national Democratic Party that they're willing to throw out senators who had previously relied on split-ticket voters to win. If a Republican takeover by picking up seven Senate seats isn't a wave, it's awfully close.


Democrats and their propaganda allies the New York Times are scared of this fall’s elections; so scared they are even trying to redefine “wave.”  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Major Blow to Obamacare

The D.C. Circuit Court struck down a major portion of Obamacare today, ruling “that the IRS went too far in reinterpreting the language in ObamaCare to extend subsidies to those who buy insurance through the federally run exchanges, known as HealthCare.gov.”

According to the USA Today, “If allowed to stand, the ruling would blow a major hole in the law, since tax credits or subsidies are what make the private health insurance policies offered on the exchanges affordable to most Americans without employer-sponsored insurance plans.

Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute says, “The purpose of Halbig was to end the massive economic and political disruption caused by the president’s decision to ignore the clear statutory language he is sworn to uphold.”

Monday, July 21, 2014

House Republicans Set to Vote on Obama Lawsuit

The House of Representatives will take up a resolution before the August recess that would empower House Speaker John Boehner to file a lawsuit against President Obama. Speaker Boehner will be our special guest star at this year’s RNLA Republican Lawyer of the Year Reception tomorrow night.

The resolution empowers the Speaker to “initiate or intervene in one or more civil actions on behalf of the House of Representatives in a Federal court of competent jurisdiction to seek relief . . . and to seek appropriate ancillary relief, including injunctive relief, regarding the failure of the President . . . to act in a manner consistent with [his] duties under the Constitution and laws of the United States with respect to implementation of (including a failure to implement)” portions of Obamacare and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act.

The resolution would empower The Office of the General Counsel of the House of Representatives to represent the House in “any civil action initiated.”

At last week’s House Rules Committee hearing on the resolution, Florida International University law professor Elizabeth Price Foley argued that standing is clearly established under a four part test. First, the lawsuit must be explicitly authorized by a majority of the House. Second, the lawsuit should target the President’s suspension of an unambiguous law. Third, “the lawsuit should target presidential action that cannot be remedied by a simple repeal of the law or any other effective and proportional political remedies.” Lastly, the injury alleged should be “one that reasonably can be characterized as a nullification of legislative power.”

Even Jonathan Turley, liberal law professor at George Washington University, recognized the need for this action. “At some point this body has to take a stand and try to realign these branches. If it doesn’t I think this system is going to change in a very significant, and in my view, dangerous way.”

As Speaker Boehner said when he announced the lawsuit, “In 2013, the president changed the health care law without a vote of Congress, effectively creating his own law. . . . That’s not the way our system of government was designed to work.  No president should have the power to make laws on his or her own.”

Friday, July 18, 2014

EAC's Bad Apple

Lost in all the news yesterday was the White House announcement of the Republican Commissioner Nominees for the Election Assistance Commission(EAC).  Congratulations to Mr. Masterson and Ms. McCormick.  Now the EAC has four nominees for a full commission. 

However, one of these nominees sticks out as not just unqualified, but an incredible partisan without any interest in improving our election process.  That nominee is Myrna Perez. 

Ms. Perez is such an extremist that she has taken positions in opposition to the President’s own Commission on Election Administration (PCEA).  PCEA came out in favor of “list maintenance,” or keeping accurate and up to date voter rolls.  Perez regularly calls such good election practices “list purging” that happens “probably every day.”  Fear mongering important bipartisan efforts such as list maintenance to aid the Democrat Party is wrong for anyone 
involved in elections, let alone a national commission on elections.  

Another purpose of the EAC is to collect accurate information on elections.  Ms. Perez has been caught in rampant exaggerations in the past and is quite frankly not reliable. 

Most damming, she has never worked as an election official.  Her background is built on working for vote-fraud denier and pro-Democrat party groups like the Brennan Center.  Contrast that with the Republican nominees, who have spent their careers working in a non-partisan fashion for open fair and honest elections. 

To be clear, RNLA’s opposition to Perez is not based on her being a Democrat.  We do not oppose her fellow Democrat nominee.  We oppose her because she is an unqualified partisan extremist.

If the President is serious about the EAC, then he should immediately withdraw Perez’s nomination.  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Larry Lessig: Hypocrisy Squared

Instead of barbeques and patriotic indulgence, publicity hungry law professor Larry Lessig spent Independence Day frantically urging supporters of his Mayday PAC to reach his July 4th goal of $5 million dollars.

Lessig posits large political donors—the “funders”—have hopelessly corrupted America by influencing election outcomes. His solution is Mayday PAC, which collects huge sums from Silicon Valley billionaires. This money will be used to help elect proponents of draconian campaign finance restrictions. Hypocritical? Lessig “gets that,” but says the “irony” should be “embraced” for the greater good.

But Lessig’s hypocrisy goes beyond his methods to his justifications. He mischaracterizes studies, uses weak anecdotes, and myopically envisions a complex environment in rudimentary terms. The real “irony” is this Harvard professor cannot produce a persuasive case based on the academic literature as it stands and must resort to evidence gerrymandering.   

Professor Lessig repeatedly cites a recent Princeton study by researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page as evidence the average citizen is powerless in policy decisions compared to the well-off. The study does conclude “economic elites,” defined as those making over $146,000 in 2012 dollars, are policy winners. As a campaign finance metric, however, the study is practically meaningless.

Gilens and Page gathered simplistic pro/con responses to numerous policy issues and sorted the answers by economic class. It then compared the admittedly imperfect data with real world results.

But survey participants were never queried on their political giving; contributions are only mentioned twice in passing. Lessig simply extrapolates “economic elites” into his “funders” formulation. While large political contributors are by definition, “economic elites,” the reverse is not true. This sullies the study’s empirical value for campaign finance.

But even discounting this major deductive flaw, the study fails Lessig. It describes a high positive correlation between the policy desires of average citizens and “economic elites.” As the authors state, “Rather often average citizens and affluent citizens . . . want the same thing from government.” In other words, Lessig’s theory that the funders bamboozle average citizens out of their preferred policy preferences doesn’t hold. In fact, the opposite is true. Average citizens are more akin to “free riders” receiving their policy preferences without expending electoral capital.  

But what about where the preferences do diverge?  Some are not easily put into a simple yes/no dichotomy: “trade restrictions,” “corporate regulation,”  “tax policy.” But others are: “abortion” and “school prayer.” To these could be added gay marriage and immigration where average and elite opinion often deviate. Does Lessig and his Silicon Valley sugar daddies really want average citizens deciding these issues?

Other evidence suggests the super-rich moderate American politics, pushing policy toward the center. A recent study found only four of the thirty richest political donors—George Soros, Sergey Brin, and Larry Page on the left, and Charles Koch on the right (sorry David)—fell outside the respective parties’ mean ideological Congressperson.

If the “.01 percent” are buying elections, they are buying mushy middle. Conversely, small donors, whom Lessig venerates, are disproportionately ideological extremists.

Lessig further argues big money distorts policy choices through implicit threats against legislators. He cites an anecdote from former Senator Evan Bayh, calling it “perhaps the most illuminating exchange that I have ever seen about the effect of Super PACs on our democracy.”

Implied threats do exist of course, functioning as a form of public lobbying. Many groups use “scorecards” and “ratings” to influence legislators. A third recent study analyzed the effect of threats and found legislators aware of the “dangers.” But overcoming threats from the ideological flank, as in primary challenges, is democracy, not a subversion of it. And negative independent spending can benefit constituents, providing information about voting behavior and ensuring ideological alignment with the district.

As former Obama counsel Bob Bauer notes, lawmakers operate in a complex, dynamic environment with multiple and varied pressure points. Assigning primacy to campaign spending ignores the complex calculus lawmakers process for any issue. Despite Lessig’s anecdote, social science suggests campaign finance is a bit player in these considerations.

But demonizing a small cohort of Americans in primitive “boogeyman” terms does yield flashy PowerPoints and media adoration. Unfortunately, Lessig’s intellectual rigor fails to match his fundraising zeal.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

House Rules Committee Holds Hearing on Obama Lawsuit

The House Rules Committee held a hearing today on whether to allow the House to move ahead with a lawsuit against President Obama. The lawsuit, spearheaded by Speaker John Boehner, is in response to Obama’s intentional failure to enforce Obamacare’s employer mandate. House leaders expect the measure to move out of committee and receive a floor vote before the August recess.

At the hearing, Committee Chairman Pete Sessions said, “My fear is that our nation is currently facing the exact threat that the Constitution is designed to avoid. Branches of government have always attempted to exert their influence on the other branches, but this President has gone too far.”

House Speaker John Boehner has said the lawsuit “isn’t about Republicans versus Democrats; it’s about the legislative branch versus the executive branch, and above all protecting the Constitution. [Obama] believes he has the power to make his own laws — at times even boasting about it.”

Johnathan Turley, a liberal law professor at George Washington University, testified that the lawsuit is a “worthy” effort. In regards to standing, Florida International law professor Elizabeth Price Foley testified that, “When a President unilaterally waives, delays or suspends a law such as the ACA, he squelches any opportunity to have a robust, political debate about the workability of the law, and thereby undermines democracy itself,” thus establishing standing.

Recent Supreme Court decisions seemingly indicate an increased likelihood of success for the lawsuit. Ronald Rotunda, Chapman University law professor and featured panelist at this year’s National Election Law Seminar said of the lawsuit, “I never would have thought, 10 years ago or even five years ago, that recess appointments would ever get litigated at the Supreme Court. If there is a theme here, it’s when it gets to the Supreme Court, the president loses.”

Even Obama-appointed Justice Sonia Sotomayor has indicated during oral arguments that she is wary of letting the president decide whether to enforce laws. “If we call this a political question and don’t address the merits, the outcome is that the president is saying that he’s entitled to ignore the Congress. I don’t know what kind of message that sends, but it’s a little unsettling…”

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Vote Fraud Techniques Being Applied to IRS and Other Voting Scandals

For a longtime the far left has fought against any real effort to perform list maintenance or update voter rolls.  They have fought for voting systems such as “Same Day Registration.”  This helps to ensure chaos and problems at the polls. 

The reason for this, in part, is that it also makes prosecution of vote fraud more difficult.  Without accurate records, prosecutors cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt where the incompetence ends and the fraud begins.  Add to this, the left screams partisanship if vote fraud is mentioned or even asks for vote fraud investigators to be prosecuted.
 
Then of course, the left defines vote fraud as only existing if there is a successful prosecution.    

The far left is now using this same playbook in other voting related scandals.  Professor Rick Hasen wrote on the IRS Scandal a few weeks back:

When it comes to IRS mess, think Hanlon's razor: don't attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence.

What Hasen does not understand, or chooses to ignore, is incompetence does not preclude crime.  In the possibly related scandal of the FEC lawyer who campaigned for Obama who had her, wink-wink, hard drive destroyed by incompetence just as in the IRS scandal:

The FEC [Office of Inspector General] sought to pursue criminal charges stemming from Ms. Sands’s solicitation of political contributions while on duty inside the FEC building. However, the FEC recycled Ms. Sands’s hard drive before the OIG was able to seize it, and therefore the OIG was unable to show that Ms. Sands’s solicitations and political activity were done from an FEC computer. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia thereafter declined criminal prosecution. 

Sands admitted to the crime and still can’t be prosecuted. 

Sands worked for the current center of the IRS Scandal Lois Lerner when Lerner was at the FEC and, while so far there is no evidence they directly communicated, there is evidence that will likely cause more “incompetence”:

It is unclear whether Ms. Sands ever communicated with Ms. Lerner after Ms. Lerner moved to the IRS; however, the Committee is aware that Ms. Lerner maintained communication with some former FEC colleagues. Ms. Lerner even apparently shared information protected by section 6103 of the tax code with the FEC.

It is an unethical scheme that should be illegal.  Commit a crime, destroy the evidence, attempt to block investigations with allegations of partisanship; and then say nothing happen beyond incompetence because prosecutors decline to go for a criminal conviction.  It is the playbook the left has used for years on vote fraud, and now it is being used in the related efforts in the IRS scandal and FEC investigations.

Does anyone on the left care about the truth?