The Patriot Post · http://patriotpost.us/digests/28006
Aug. 6, 2014
“Although our prospect is peace, our policy and purpose are to provide for defense by all those means to which our resources are competent.” –Thomas Jefferson Letter to James Bowdoin, 1806
TOP 5 RIGHT HOOKS
U.S. General Killed in Afghanistan
A high-profile U.S. military official was the victim of a “green-on-blue” attack by an Islamic Taliban sympathizer in Afghanistan. The Wall Street Journal reports, “An Afghan soldier killed a two-star U.S. Army general when he opened fire on a group of Western military officers Tuesday, officials said, claiming the highest-ranking American casualty in more than a decade of war and resurrecting concerns about the U.S. exit strategy from Afghanistan. … The attack took the life of Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene, 52 years old, an Army officer who had recently returned to Afghanistan to serve as deputy commander of the coalition transition force responsible for training and equipping Afghan troops, making him the highest-ranking military officer killed since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, U.S. officials said.” Despite the unraveling of Iraq after U.S. troops were withdrawn, Barack Obama is still planning to abandon Afghanistan to make good on a campaign promise. But as we’ve stated before, ending wars isn’t the same as winning them. Yesterday’s tragedy is a perfect example. More…1
FDIC Shoots Down ‘Operation Choke Point’
In May, the FDIC targeted2 gun shops and gun manufacturers, labeling them “high risk,” which would slow or even halt their ability to get bank loans. FDIC recently revised its guidelines to “Operation Choke Point” on Monday, stopping the back-door attack on the Second Amendment. Darrel Issa (R-CA) told an audience at the Cato Institute, “If you empower the government to pick winners and losers within lawful enterprises, then there’s no place to stop.” Let’s be clear: It’s legal to own a firearm and legal to run a business dealing in firearms. More…3
VA Lied to Members of Congress
After the health care system landed in the hot seat over the secret waiting list scandal, The Daily Caller reports at least five instances where the VA misled politicians in places like Pittsburg, the Pacific Islands and Alabama. And this happens just after Congress sent a bill to Obama’s desk4 giving the VA more money, including $360 million in bonuses for VA employees. After he learned VA officials in his state lied to him, Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) wrote in a statement, “I visited these facilities and I was repeatedly assured that the activities described in this report had not occurred. I very specifically asked whether there was any evidence of deliberate falsification of data, manipulation of appointment dates or any other attempts to intentionally cook the books. The VA leadership present told me none of it occurred. This report proves they looked me in the eye and lied to me.” Meehan added, “At every turn, the VA has thwarted any attempt of honest, effective oversight.” More…5
58% of Budget ($2 Trillion) Went Towards Benefit Programs
More than $7 trillion6 has now been added to the federal deficit under Barack Obama’s watch, and it’s not rocket science figuring out where most of that money goes. CNSNews reports that means-tested and non-means tested government programs provided $2 trillion to Americans in fiscal year 2013. “Most of the benefits doled out from the total of $2 trillion, or 69.7 percent, came from non-means tested government programs that, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, provide benefits to recipients who qualify regardless of income,” they found. “Means-tested government programs, which require income to be below a certain level to be eligible for receipt, contributed to 30.3 percent of the total amount in benefits.” How does this compare to the total budget? “[T]he federal government totaled $3,454,253,000,000 in outlays for fiscal year 2013,” CNSNews continues. “This means that benefits, totaling $2,007,611,200,000, amounted to 58.1 percent of the total spending.” Meanwhile, military budget cuts have prompted layoffs at the front lines7. What a despicable example of priorities. More…8
Boehner Addresses ‘Do-Nothing’ Accusations
Lawmakers’ purported inability to pass legislation has many labeling them the ‘Do-Nothing’ Congress9. Most of the blame comes from Democrats who say Republicans in the House serve as nothing but obstructionists unwilling to compromise (in leftist terms: bow to the Left’s agenda). But House Speaker John Boehner’s office set the record straight this week, writing, “While some media pundits would like you to believe otherwise, the Republican-led House of Representatives has been busy all year long, focused on policies that will help create jobs for American workers and their families. While more than 350 House-passed bills [emphasis aded] continue to stack up on Senator Reid’s desk, that has not deterred the House from its work on behalf of the American people. In July alone, Speaker Boehner sent more than half a dozen bills to the President’s desk for passage into law.” Who exactly is doing nothing? Because Democrats aren’t getting what they demand, they’re exploiting the emotions of low-info constituents by, for example, ridiculing the Koch brothers and Washington Redskins – neither of which demand any of Congress’ attention. More…10
For more, visit Right Hooks11.
EPA Power Grab Has Huge Economic Consequences
Barack Obama’s checkered history – his string of scandals, his divisive demeanor as chief executive, his unconstitutional executive fiats and his damaging foreign policy – causes many people to wonder whether he even cares about the U.S. or her people and wants to punish us simply for being America.
Case in point: The EPA rules for coal plants. In 2008, Barack Obama promised that “[u]nder my plan of a cap and trade system electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Coal-powered plants … [and] natural gas, they would have to retrofit their operations.”
Rep. John Dingle (D-MI) pointed out, “People don’t realize this is a tax, and a great big one.” This is one promise Obama intends to keep.
After having his pet project denied by Congress, Obama decided to create an alternative system for reducing carbon emissions. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy recently introduced the Clean Power Plan proposal, a mess of regulations that would deal a huge blow to the power industry and the entire economy if enacted. Even though over 80% of the nation’s electricity is produced by power plants burning fossil fuels, the EPA would require them all to lower carbon emissions enormously.
“Even before we put pen to paper,” said McCarthy, “we … held 11 public listening sessions nationwide. We heard from thousands of people through phone calls, emails, meetings, and more.”
She added, “Starting June 2 … we officially entered the public comment period … We expect great feedback at these sessions. [W]e also expect a healthy dose of the same tired, false and worn out criticism that commonsense EPA action is bad for the economy.” So the EPA expects the debate to be over before it even begins.
McCarthy claimed that by 2030, the EPA would shrink electricity bills roughly eight percent. Right.
For a bit of perspective, average electricity prices more than doubled between 1984 and 2014. Prices reached a record high in June, but annual per capita production peaked in 2007. Meanwhile, the Census Bureau says that between 2007 and 2014 the population increased 6%. So while there’s an increasing demand for electricity, production is being cut to Obama’s target levels for carbon output. The Congressional Budget Office estimates Obama’s witch hunt against coal will cost the average family an additional $1,600 per year.
The EPA’s regulations treat old and new coal-burning plants differently. Those for the new plants are so harsh that any further construction would almost certainly be canceled.
Those for existing plants vary according to the state where they’re located, but the EPA’s formula would still result in plant closures. Those who manage to retrofit and stay profitable would have to raise prices astronomically. Many plants already operating wouldn’t make the cut. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) predicts Mississippi’s entire coal industry would be shut down. Of course, any business that uses electricity would be seriously affected as well.
As usual, Obama hits people hardest who can least afford it. People who’ve lost jobs and families living paycheck to paycheck face the impossible – choosing between heating their homes in the winter and feeding their families. This is how the NeoComs12 add to their underclass. Obama’s senseless policy will devastate the American middle class.
Some activist groups are angry. One NAACP representative writes, “[T]he race to a cleaner energy future is … like a bad game of dodge ball with communities of color on the losing side.” Historic loyalty to the Democrat party among blacks is beginning to slip.
Obama acknowledged the biggest challenge is making voters understand the necessity of the changes. But his efforts at converting them are failing. In a recent Pew study, 55% of the public doesn’t believe in man-made global warming. Hence he simply acts against the people’s will.
Two rays of hope could foil Obama’s designs. First, states have been directed only to develop plans by 2016 for executing the changes, allowing Obama to dodge responsibility once the rules are implemented. A Republican president and congressional majority in 2016 could rescind the entire plan before it gets off the ground.
Second, a study conducted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Rhodium Group concluded that while Obama’s plan would cut demand for coal, it would simultaneously stimulate the already rapidly growing demand for natural gas. Several states sit atop fields of enough natural gas that over time could make us energy independent, create thousands of good-paying jobs and powerfully stimulate the economy.
The short-term news isn’t good. But if enough of the American people refuse to go along such as Gov. Rick Perry, who has previously defied EPA regulations in Texas, the U.S. economy could yet survive Obama.
Nine Things Voters Can Learn From Michelle Nunn’s Campaign Strategy
Last week, National Review gave the Washington beltway a juicy tidbit13 of afternoon reading. Somehow, its reporter Eliana Johnson got her hands on a leaked copy of U.S. Senate Democrat candidate Michelle Nunn’s campaign plan.
The 144-page memo14 rips the curtain away from the modern campaign. For us writing about Washington outside the beltway, we see this document as a guidebook on political communication. Think of it as the Democrats’ strategy to win friends and influence people.
In the next few months, the midterm elections will gear up and candidates all around the country like Michelle Nunn will run television spots, pose for photo-ops and kiss babies. By understanding Nunn’s strategy, we understand more of how the politicians are trying to convince us that they should be the ones going to Congress next year. We also learn how the Left, specifically, targets certain demographics and plays certain groups to accomplish its goals.
Here’s what we learned reading through the document:
The modern campaign takes a lot of science and number crunching. This may be a no-brainer. However, the memo starts off by looking at the history of voter turnout in Georgia and estimates how many votes the Nunn campaign should rake onto their side. The Feldman Group wrote, “[W]e need 1,378,001 votes to win. Rounding up reduces the risk and so 1.4 million is my recommended goal.” For this purpose, the Georgia Democratic Party keeps a massive voter list, probably with data such as voter history and the like. In fact, voter data is big, shadowy business15.
The Nunn campaign was researching to find out what voters wanted to hear. When this memo was written in December, Nunn didn’t define much of her message. Only a few months later, when her challenger would be decided in the Republican primary, would she forge the details of her running platform. For us not living in the swamp along the Potomac, this shows a candidate is not motivated by integrity, but by what tickles the ears of the voters during election season. They certainly ride the winds of opinion.
The Nunn campaign said it was looking for groups of Republicans to endorse Nunn. The Nunn campaign created two political groups to help lend some weight to their campaign. The groups, Republicans for Nunn and Independents for Nunn (we’re sure there is no pun intended), would be on call to be quoted in the media. This was an effort to reach demographics that Nunn herself was not comfortable reaching in person – like conservative, rural folks.
The Nunn campaign, in conjunction with Georgia’s Democratic Party, has a Voter Protection Program, which is there to deploy people to monitor the campaign, work the polls, and deal with any “voter protection incidents.” Election law is no joke. Mess with ballots, or manipulate voters, and you are manipulating the democratic process itself. For this reason, the Nunn campaign wanted to recruit lawyers or law students. For the non-law types, it was going to create an outline for those people to bone up on their election law, then turn around to advise the campaign. Go figure.
What kind of voter you are depends on what message you’ll hear. In the memo, there was a PowerPoint slide labeled “CONFIDENTIAL & PROPRIETARY” in which it identifies three kinds of audiences. First, there are the “Strong supporters.” In their mailboxes, Facebook accounts and online ads, they see messages reminding them to vote, give money or volunteer. Second, the “Drop-off voters” are probably people who support the candidate but somehow don’t make it to the polls. They need more persuasion when it comes to getting out and voting. Third, “swing voters” need to be persuaded about the candidate.
If the campaign were to get dirty, Nunn would be prepared. Early on, her campaign was compiling books of information about her possible Republican opponents. Her staff would gather all the information the public record had to offer on her opponent. Furthermore, the Democrat Party of Georgia hired a tracker. His or her job is to show up at press conferences, county fairs, fundraisers and videotape the opposition candidate whenever possible. The footage would be transcribed and analyzed for quotes, developments in the opposition’s campaign and for possible attack ads hitting the airwaves. The campaign’s research also went into debate preparation – policy documents refuting the arguments Nunn’s opposition would make.
Nunn’s memo bluntly goes through several demographics and their use to the campaign. Like a typical liberal, Nunn planned to use blacks and Latinos for their votes, and she targeted Jews, homosexuals, Asian-Americans and CEOs for their money. But these are not the only groups the Nunn campaign targeted. Her campaign viewed religious leaders as “validators” – people that she could leverage to get voters, especially Latino voters. For gun owners, Nunn herself wouldn’t reach the Second Amendment crowd (probably not her type of person). Instead, she would target the group around hunting season, releasing a newspaper ad or two, using people who did own guns as endorsers of her campaign.
When it came to Veterans, Nunn’s campaign had plans for them too, using them as “validators.” In her memo, the campaign wrote: “The veterans community will be organized primarily as validators. The campaign will work to recruit leaders in all areas of the military community and release their support prior to the primary. Following the primary, the campaigns will release their names of a larger number of military supporters, thus showing growing support.” Like many politicians, the Nunn campaign only gives veterans lip service in exchange for more votes. Such respectful treatment for the people who chose to bear the responsibilities of uniform!
Finally, the campaign has a love-hate relationship with the media because much of the outreach to voters is played out in the media, which can write whatever it wants. The campaign’s goal is to stick to a set of campaign talking points and repeat them again and again until Election Day. The media is hounding the campaign for any crack or deviation in the message. “In fact – in 21st century campaigns with wall-to-wall media coverage and super-pacs able to put millions of dollars behind video behind a single cellphone video – a slight deviation from the agreed upon message could end up being very damaging to the campaign,” the memo said. The communications team even rehearses the stump speech. Part of the team’s job is to “push back against negative research hits” using the strategy to “kill or muddy the story.” Remember that the next time you read a political piece on a candidate.
OPINION IN BRIEF
U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark (1927-): “A right is not what someone gives you; it’s what no one can take from you.”
Columnist Terence Jeffrey: “The truth is all true rights come from God. If any other power claims to be the author of our rights, that power is attempting to usurp an authority that belongs only to God, and is attacking the only basis for the rule of law that forms the foundation of free societies. Our Founding Fathers rightly said all men are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr, rightly said: “A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.” The problem for the leaders of America’s cultural left is that some of the things they demand our society must recognize as “rights” cannot plausibly be held up as God-given rights. Thus, they simply are not rights. Period. … Because it is so implausible to argue that men are endowed by their Creator with a right to kill unborn children, or a right to marry people of the same sex, America’s cultural left is moving away from the founding principal spelt out in our Declaration of Independence. What will they replace it with? Their own arbitrary power.“
Columnist Ben Shapiro: “Hamas’ goals in this conflict did not include military victory; Hamas may be evil, but it is not stupid. Its main goal was to shore up its base by achieving small concessions from Israel and Egypt, as well as the Palestinian Authority; those concessions could only be achieved if Israel could be portrayed as an international aggressor against a terror group. And that’s where the media manipulation came in. Hamas placed heavy restrictions on journalists and even threatened them. Hamas put women and children and mentally ill people in harm’s way for the cameras, and as a deterrent to Israeli military action. And the media went right along with it, proclaiming balance all the way. … They have turned balance into a synonym for amorality. In doing so, they have handed a propaganda victory to evil.”
Comedian Argus Hamilton: “Chicago Police Chief Garry McCarthy was on the hot seat over three-hundred-fifty shootings and forty-seven murders in Chicago so far this year. And it just never ends. Chicago is the city where U.S. secretaries of state train to arrange all their cease-fires in the Middle East.”
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team
Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform – Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen – standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.