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Senators report, terrorists respond

In 2009-2010, I did a daily comic strip in collaboration with the great artist Kevin Tuma. Called “The Gentleman from Lickskillet,” the comic featured the adventures of a Tea Party-type Congressman, his family and constituents, and their friends and adversaries.

Here’s a strip from May 30, 2009.  That week’s strips depicted a terrorist cell, led by mastermind Omar the Barracuda, which was meeting to plot an attack in the town of Lickskillet.

[In order for the image to display properly, I’m inserting some space here. Scroll down for the comic.]




















The War of All Against All

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and policy.]

Once upon a time, when I was a reporter, I uncovered a number of schemes by which politicians perpetuated themselves in office. Often, these involved “giving” people things without accounting for the cost of those things.

One exposé early in my career involved a job-swap between the districts of Congressman A (not his real name) and Congressman B (likewise). The federal government would move a few dozen jobs from Fort A in Congressman A’s district to Fort B in Congressman B’s district. In turn, the federal government would move a few dozen jobs from Fort B in Congressman B’s district to Fort A in Congressman A’s district.

Congressman A took the opportunity to put out a press release announcing the new jobs at Fort A, with the clear implication that he, Congressman A, through his hard work on behalf of his constituents, had secured these jobs. News stories about the new jobs strongly implied: We’d be fools to get rid of this guy, Congressman A, who’s doing such a great job for us.

Congressman B took the opportunity to put out a press release announcing the new jobs at Fort B, with the clear implication that he, Congressman B, through his hard work on behalf of his constituents, had secured these jobs. News stories about the new jobs strongly implied: We’d be fools to get rid of this guy, Congressman B, who’s doing such a great job for us.

It was a good deal, except, of course, for taxpayers, who had to pay for moving the jobs from one place to another, and for the federal employees who had to pull up roots and move hundreds of miles. From the standpoint of the politicians, it was a win-win for all concerned. Although the number of federal jobs in each district stayed the same, each Congressman got to show that he was one of those guys who bring home the bacon.

I lived in the district of Congressman A. When I figured out the scam, I called a counterpart of mine in the district of Congressman B, and we shared information, and we broke the story jointly. It came as no surprise that I got a call from Congressman A’s press secretary, tell me that I was completely irresponsible, and may have ruined things for everyone by ruining the deal that was bringing new jobs to our district. Who was I, a lowly reporter, to interfere in the workings of great men?

It’s the kind of thing that happens all the time in politics. Read all »

Labor Watch: Obama’s Secret War on Women: Women will pay a price for “paycheck fairness,” overtime rules, and Obamacare

Obama’s Secret War on Women

Women will pay a price for “paycheck fairness,” overtime rules, and Obamacare (PDF here)
By Diana Furchtgott-Roth

Summary: For years, President Obama and his supporters have accused their opponents of conducting a “War on Women.” The real War on Women, though, lies in the President’s healthcare plan and in his proposals on wages and working hours, which make it harder for women to get jobs and provide for their families.

In April, President Obama declared, “If Republicans in Congress want to . . . show that they, in fact, do care about women being paid the same as men, then show me. They can start tomorrow. They can join us in this, the 21st Century, and vote yes on the Paycheck Fairness Act.”

But passing the misnamed Paycheck Fairness Act would not help women. Neither would Obama’s other ideas for “helping” women: raising the hourly minimum wage to $10.10, increasing the number of women affected by rules on overtime pay, and the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare.

These ideas may make good soundbites to use in campaign ads, but the dirty little secret is that they would actually harm the employment prospects of women—and men. The Paycheck Fairness Act would raise the cost of employment, reducing jobs for both sexes. A higher minimum wage would reduce job opportunities for low-skill women. Raising the overtime pay ceiling to $50,000 a year would mean women whose earnings are below that level won’t be able to receive compensatory time off instead of overtime pay. Lastly, Obamacare forces women into part-time jobs while it discourages marriage. Read all »

Your own lyin’ eyes

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and policy.]

Last year, I wrote about Type B deception—a form of deception that can be so powerful, it works even after it has been exposed.

Here’s how I described it (http://capitalresearch.org/2013/04/that-arms-race/):

. . .  Edward J. Epstein calls [it] “Type B deception” – a type of deception aimed at “distorting the interpretation of the meaning of a pattern of data, rather than at the observable data itself.  Type B deceptions are designed to confuse, confound or mislead the cognitive processes of an adversary.  Type B deception need not rely on camouflage or concealment.”

In Type B deception, the more closely one observes, the more likely one is to be fooled, as when Hitler convinced himself (with Allied help) that the Normandy invasion was a carefully planned deception and refused, day after day, to let himself be tricked by it. Supporters of President Obama’s policies often point to the failure of those policies, from the “stimulus” to support for the “Arab Spring,” as proof that the President’s ideas weren’t followed with enough zeal. People who believe that Sarah Palin and the Tea Party movement are racist see the election, due to Palin/Tea Party support, of the majority of the country’s “nonwhite” governors and U.S. senators as vindication of their belief (because those officials are Republicans, therefore Uncle Toms and traitors to others of their ethnicities). James Hansen, a leading proponent of the theory of catastrophic man-made Global Warming, wrote recently in the Washington Post that the failure of Global Warming theory to predict actual events meant that proponents of Global Warming theory were even more correct about the threat than they had realized.

Here’s an example that shows how our brains are hard-wired to “see” certain things. Which square is darker, A or B?

Are you sure?

Read all »

Media Matters for the Left: David Brock’s mission to boost Hillary Clinton and smear non-leftist sources of news and commentary


Media Matters for the Left:  David Brock’s mission to boost Hillary Clinton and smear non-leftist sources of news and commentary

By Matthew Vadum, Organization Trends, December 2014 (PDF here)

Conservatism is a disease in need of eradication, according to Media Matters for America (MMfA), a decade-old pretended media watchdog that focuses on a unicorn known as “conservative misinformation.” Of course, those few conservatives who actually work in the liberal-dominated media are not infallible. A bona fide media watchdog that monitored the Right and kept reporters and pundits honest might contribute something of value to society, but that’s not what Media Matters is about.

MMfA’s primary mission at the moment is protecting Hillary Clinton, who is expected eventually to announce her 2016 presidential run. The electoral wipeout of Democrats coast-to-coast in the November congressional elections may free up MMfA’s resources to focus on getting Mrs. Clinton past the finish line. Clinton bragged in 2007 that she helped create what she called “a lot of the new progressive infrastructure,” including Media Matters. The group was founded in spring 2004, in time for the presidential election campaign. It was initially funded by $2 million in contributions that radical philanthropist George Soros and former Clinton White House chief of staff John Podesta helped raise.

Media Matters CEO David Brock is a former Clinton antagonist who made peace with the Clintons years ago. “David is immensely valuable to Hillary,” an affluent Democrat with ties to Brock told a newspaper. “It’s like having your former prosecutor running around saying you were wrongfully prosecuted. He’s living proof the right wing is out to get Hillary. … I don’t think anyone really trusts him. He’ll never get a job in the [Hillary Clinton] White House, but he’s useful” (Newsday, Sept. 6, 2006).

Brock even founded a group in late 2013 called Correct the Record to fend off pesky questions about Hillary Clinton’s behavior and record in political office (Slate, July 29, 2014). Correct the Record complements the work of American Bridge 21st Century, a super PAC, that was also founded by Brock as part of his growing empire of activism and “dark money.”

Earlier this year Brock was elected chairman of the ethically shaky left-wing watchdog group CREW, which stands for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. But Media Matters is still the crown jewel in Brock’s constellation. Masquerading as an impartial media watchdog, it is actually a left-wing opposition research organization that aims to bully reporters into toeing the liberal line and to terrorize Fox News. Even the New York Times describes Media Matters as a “highly partisan research organization” (Nov. 1, 2008). Every working day the lavishly funded outfit churns out political propaganda calculated to pressure journalists into unquestioningly backing the Democratic Party line. It has absurdly characterized Chris Matthews and former New York Times editor Bill Keller as sellouts to the left-wing cause.

Media Matters’ mission is to stigmatize and marginalize conservative ideas in order to save Americans from themselves. It carries out this crusade via an aggressive outreach program. The group says it works “to notify activists, journalists, pundits and the general public about instances of misinformation, providing them with the resources to rebut false claims and to take direct action against offending media institutions.”

The news content analysis of Media Matters is a complete sham. Such examinations of political news traditionally focus on detecting journalistic bias, but MMfA’s approach is to try to stamp out views with which its left-wing content analysts disagree. That isn’t hard to do if you can think creatively and tolerate mind-numbing hairsplitting. Media Matters will typically isolate a small facet of a media story that can be twisted in such a way that suggests that the reporter or commentator is a liar or hypocrite. That tidbit is then used to suggest that everything the original source says must be false and deserving of censure.

Read all »

Briefly Noted: December 2014

National Action Network founder Al Sharpton played a significant role in President Obama’s selection of federal prosecutor Loretta Lynch to replace Eric Holder as U.S. attorney general, according to various news reports. Lynch, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, was first appointed by President Obama in 2010. She shares a lot of Sharpton’s radical left-wing views such as the belief that voter ID laws are racist. Lynch also belonged to the Harvard Black Law Students Association in the 1980s when she was a student. That radical group brought representatives from the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to speak on campus, GotNews.com reports. BLSA leader Mohammed Kenyatta called for the “liberation of Palestine” and expressed support for the PLO.

Voting by illegal aliens and other non-citizens is so prevalent throughout the nation that it gave us Obamacare, according to a study by two Old Dominion University political science professors. The new report by Jesse Richman and David Earnest “examines participation rates by non-citizens using a nationally representative sample that includes non-citizen immigrants,” a first in voting studies, they claim. “Non-citizen votes,” which are almost always illegal, “likely gave Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass health care reform and other Obama administration priorities in the 111th Congress,” the authors write. North of 14 percent of non-citizens in both the 2008 and 2010 samples reported being registered to vote. “Our best guess, based upon extrapolations from the portion of the sample with a verified vote, is that 6.4 percent of non-citizens voted in 2008 and 2.2 percent of non-citizens voted in 2010,” they wrote. And yet left-wing groups such as Demos, Brennan Center for Justice, Center for American Progress, and Advancement Project claim voter fraud is a myth.

Read all »

The Bauman Family Foundation: Funding community organizers for a progressive paradise

The Bauman Family Foundation:  Funding community organizers for a progressive paradise

By Jonathan M. Hanen, Foundation Watch, December 2014  [PDF here]

Summary:  The Bauman Family Foundation is not well known, but it and its head, Patricia Bauman, are significant leaders of the American Left.  The real estate heiress donates to liberal politicians and holds powerful positions with far-left flagship institutions like the Democracy Alliance, the Brennan Center, and Catalist.  Her foundation supports “social justice” by fighting to redistribute wealth, stop voter ID laws, deny workers the secret ballot in union elections, and otherwise achieve the Left’s goal of fundamentally transforming America’s constitutional order.

Little is known about Lionel R. Bauman, the New York lawyer and real estate investor who founded the progressive philanthropy known as the Bauman Family Foundation (BFF), now headquartered in Washington, D.C. According to the foundation’s website, Bauman was born into a family of immigrants in 1911, grew up during the Great Depression, and earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania, followed by a law degree from Columbia. According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, on Sept. 13, 1963, Bauman was “elected national president of the American Friends of the Hebrew University by the board of directors of the organization.” The BFF website claims Bauman was a “proud New Yorker” and that “throughout his lifetime, he maintained a passionate commitment to social justice and civil rights and liberties, shared with his wife, Sylvia Dlugasch Bauman, who predeceased him in 1975.” He established the foundation “in the early 1980s.”

The foundation’s website states that, “recognizing that his family had earlier been well provided for, Mr. Bauman bequested [sic] his entire Estate to the Foundation upon his death in 1987.” Although the website provides no documents written by Lionel Bauman regarding his donor intent, the foundation appears to be adhering to its late benefactor’s wishes. There is only the testimony of his daughter Patricia Bauman, the foundation’s second president, who says, “He believed in philanthropy not just for services or for bricks and mortar, but also for advocacy for progressive social change.” The website claims “He was deeply engaged in education and in bringing the arts to disadvantaged children, among his other philanthropies” and that “during his lifetime, Lionel Bauman was a generous supporter of education, the arts and progressive social justice.”

“Progressive social change,” “social justice,” and “economic democracy” are vague terms that are rarely defined by commentators on the far left. In practice, when the demand for social justice comes from the leadership of a left-wing nonprofit, it is typically a shibboleth for the attempt to use the power of the regulatory state to supplant the traditional American notion of justice, which aims for the equality of all citizens before the law, with the social democratic ideal of justice which aims for equality of result.

Read all »

Philanthropy Notes: December 2014

Can Hillary take a hint? The Democracy Alliance, a secretive club for radical billionaires, snubbed presumed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at its semi-annual planning meeting in the nation’s capital last month by not inviting her to address the group. Instead its donors who fund left-wing political infrastructure invited progressive populist Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-N.Y.) and Vice President Joe Biden to address them. Warren “got a rock star’s welcome during a closed-door speech to major donors, one of whom interrupted her by yelling ‘Run, Liz, Run!’” Warren received multiple standing ovations during her oration, Politico reports.

The Project on Fair Representation, an Alexandria, Virginia-based legal defense fund, filed suit against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in an effort to have their affirmative action programs banned. The group claims that the two schools’ policies limit admissions of high-achieving Asian-American and white students and that Harvard has a quota limiting how many Asian-Americans it accepts. The group’s ultimate goal is a noble one: to have race-based admission standards prohibited in all colleges in the country.
Read all »

Wintertime, and the lyin’ is easy

Enjoy the winter! (It was 70 degrees in DC today. Darn that Global Warming!!) Yes, if you’re reading this on December 1, this is the first day of meteorological winter in the United States. In other words, it’s the beginning of the three-month period with the coldest weather, relative to the three months at the opposite point on the calendar, is December through February, more or less. (It varies by location, but, for nonscientific purposes, it’s close enough to the December-January-February period for us to “round it off.”)

Of course, you’ll hear it stated often—by TV weatherpeople, especially—that the “official” first day of winter is the winter solstice, sometimes even narrowed down to a specific time. (The Northern Hemisphere’s winter solstice, which falls between December 20 and 23, is when the North Pole is tilted farthest away from the sun.) In fact, there’s no “official” beginning of winter. The “official” first day is one of those things that everyone knows but that isn’t true.

Well, not everyone. Last Friday on “CBS This Morning,” WBBM-TV meteorologist Megan Glaros, at the end of her weather report, said, “By the way, meteorological winter starts Monday, Michelle,” to which Michelle Miller of CBS News replied, “Is that so?? Well, thank you, Megan, for letting us know.”

Here’s an article I wrote a while back about lies about the calendar, from ancient Rome to the (fake) holiday President’s Day to the (fake) beginning of the 21st Century on January 1, 2000: http://capitalresearch.org/2014/02/presidents-day-not-they-even-lie-about-the-calendar .

Lying, or spreading untruths, about the calendar may seem like a little thing. But ever time politicians, bureaucrats, academic pseudo-intellectuals, and people in the media lie or spread false information about little things and get away with it Read all »

Briefly Noted: November 2014

George Soros’s election-rigging project is back from the dead. The Secretary of State Project (SoSP), a 527 political committee that went dormant two years ago, has been reincarnated as iVote. SoSP helped to elect community organizer Mark Ritchie, the ACORN-loving Minnesota secretary of state who oversaw Al Franken’s controversial victory over Republican Norm Coleman for a U.S. Senate seat in the 2008 election cycle.

In its own words, the Washington, D.C.-based iVote is a “PAC of grassroots activists and veterans of the campaigns of last three Democratic nominees [sic], launched a campaign to ‘flip the script’ from playing defense on voter suppression, to playing offense, not only on voter protection, but also on expansion of voting access.” Like SoSP, iVote is trying to help left-wing candidates, who think voter fraud is a figment of your imagination, become elected as secretaries of state in states across the country, where they can then change election rules to discriminate against Republicans. iVote was founded by Jeremy Bird of 270 Strategies, national field director for the 2012 re-election campaign of President Obama.

Read all »