Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Left Vs. Free Speech

Townhall.com ^ | July 6, 2016 | Brent Bozell 

It's a paradox. The liberal media champion themselves as the most open-minded people on planet Earth who are devoted to the freedom of speech. How can intelligent people be so wrong? In reality, liberal elites have a nasty tendency to dismiss "conservative thought" as an oxymoron. They don't read conservative books or magazines, and they wouldn't lower themselves to watching conservatives on television. They have disdain for conservative talk radio. They're virtually illiterate on conservatives and conservatism.
What happens in the event that the inclusive and tolerant elites identify some spark of conservative brain activity? They respond with journalistic censorship.
This gets more interesting when a conservative book charges the left with seeking to crush conservative freedom of speech, seeing it as the quickest route to political victory. Oh, the irony!
Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley Strassel has written a book called "The Intimidation Game: How the Left Is Silencing Free Speech." The New York Times is not under obligation to review it, nor is any conservative surprised that it won't. But it has no right to misrepresent its circulation. This is precisely what the Times is doing: playing games with sales figures to suppress Strassel's book from its best-seller list.
In its first week in print Strassel's book ranked sixth on the Nielsen BookScan list of best-sellers. Somehow the Times couldn't find a space anywhere in its top 15, despite including on its list books that sold less than Strassel's did on the Nielsen list.
Best-sellers beget more sales, and The New York Times is trying to thwart that possibility. Conservative authors, from Ted Cruz to David Limbaugh, have seen these games before. But this book is about suppressing free speech, so the shamelessness is even deeper.
Strassel's book paints a broad picture of liberal intimidation at the highest levels. It tells the real story that the pro-Obama press refuses to report regarding the efforts of the IRS to harass tea party groups, deconstructing Barack Obama's fiction that this campaign was limited to a few low-level agents in Cincinnati, Ohio. It reveals how Democratic senators have misused their positions to hassle universities that offended them by employing the "wrong" kind of climate scientists.
Here's another story the left-wing "news" media have refused to report: how liberal Wisconsin prosecutors used secret subpoenas and predawn raids in an attempt to criminalize some 30 conservative groups that had dared to supported Gov. Scott Walker's attempt to reform state government. Strassel also tells a sad story about how average Americans have had their cars keyed and their businesses flash-mobbed for having the temerity to support conservative ballot initiatives.
The title "An Inconvenient Truth" was taken. But that's what Strassel does. She tells inconvenient truths that liberals want to hide -- first by refusing to report the stories and then by censoring those who do.
There have been numerous books written over the years about this left-wing censorship, including last year's "The Silencing: How the Left Is Killing Free Speech" by Kirsten Powers and "End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun)" by Mary Katharine Ham and Guy Benson. (Like Strassel's book, neither was reviewed by The New York Times.) These tomes are a call to action. Conservatives ought not to be silent about this censorship. They need to respond to the left's effort to crush free speech with more speech designed to expose their raging and cowardly agenda.
Liberal open-mindedness? There's your oxymoron.

Why Don't Politicians Tell the Truth About Social Security?

Townhall.com ^ | July 6, 2016 | Star Parker


The boards of trustees of our Social Security and Medicare programs just issued their annual report, and we learn, once again, that both programs are fiscally insolvent.
The trustees project there will be insufficient funds from the Social Security program to pay its obligations beginning in 2034, 18 years from now, and Medicare will fall short in 2028, 12 years from now.
Given that both of these programs play outsized roles both in the federal budget -- combined they represent 41 percent of federal spending in 2015 -- and in the personal lives of just about every American citizen, you'd think there would be a big uproar about this.
But the silence is deafening.
In a recent Gallup poll listing 17 issues "extremely/very important" to voters in their considerations for the presidential race, neither Social Security nor Medicare are even on the list, which may be the reason why neither of the presumptive presidential candidates seem to be too serious about this.
AARP asked the Clinton and Trump campaigns how both plan to deal with Social Security.
Hillary Clinton is so unconcerned about the massive projected shortfalls that she actually wants to expand the program. She wants to transform Social Security into another huge welfare program by expanding benefits for lower-income earners and raising taxes on higher earners.
The response from the Trump campaign was equally enigmatic in that there was no response at all, except to assure us that if the economy grows everything will be just fine.
Social Security has been called a Ponzi scheme because it is not an investment program. The taxes paid by those currently working pay the retirement benefits of those currently retired. But this scheme has become increasingly unviable as our population has changed and aged.
As the trustees point out, "Both Social Security and Medicare will experience cost growth substantially in excess of GDP growth through the mid-2030s due to rapid population aging caused by the large baby-boom generation entering retirement and lower-birth-rate generations entering employment."
But the games we play with ourselves are even worse. Social Security is already in shortfall and has been since 2010. What has been happening is that part of our Social Security taxes were used to establish a "trust fund," and interest from this so-called trust fund is used to cover the shortfall.
But what is this trust fund? U.S. treasury bonds. In other words, we buy our own debt -- issued by the U.S. Treasury -- that we owe to ourselves and call it a trust fund.
According to the trustees, this interest will cover the Social Security shortfall through 2019, and then "interest income and redemption of trust fund asset reserves from the General Fund of the Treasury will provide the resources needed to offset Social Security's annual deficits until 2034, when the reserves will be depleted."
The last projection on Social Security from the Congressional Budget Office was more pessimistic than the trustees' report. According to the CBO, "Social Security's trust funds, considered together, will be exhausted in 2029. In that case, benefits in 2030 would need to be reduced 29 percent from the scheduled amounts."
Without taking action, the CBO says, Social Security benefits will be substantially cut in just 13 years.
Social Security, originally conceived when the nation had 40 plus workers to support every retiree, is no longer viable now that we have about 3 workers for every retiree.
Too many politicians see their business as telling people what they think they want to hear rather than what they need to hear.
Social Security needs a dramatic overhaul. I have written for years that we need to transform this government tax-and-spend program to one of private savings. This will, in particular, help those of low income who have barely any savings or opportunities to build wealth.
But we won't go anywhere if we have no one with the courage to tell the truth and lead. Where are these people?

James Comey Just Gave Donald Trump a Huge Political Gift

Fortune ^ | 7/5/2016 | Dan Friedman 

FBI Director James Comey’s announcement Tuesday that the agency will not recommend charges against Hillary Clinton was blatantly political, just not the way critics claim.
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump tweeted that Comey’s decision not to seek charges against Clinton over her use of a personal server while she was Secretary of State shows a “#RiggedSystem.” Other Republicans chimed in to suggest Comey corruptly sought to appease his potential future boss.
But it was to avoid such criticism that Comey wandered into political positioning. Anticipating attacks and probably worried about the appearance of Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s ill-advised meeting with former President Bill Clinton, Comey tried to telegraph evenhandedness. He balanced his announcement with information about the job he was given, recommending whether to charge Clinton, with views that were not his job to share.
Comey, a Republican picked by President Obama for a 10-year term, did not have to hold a news conference to say the FBI was not seeking charges against Clinton. He said doing so was “unusual.” It was more like unprecedented.
Comey opened the surprise press conference by noting that neither the Justice Department, to which his recommendation went, nor the the rest of the Obama administration knew what he would say. The director built drama by waiting until the end of his statement to announce the FBI’s recommendation. Before he got there, he took care to trash Clinton’s handling of classified information with the immediately famous words: “extremely careless.”(snip)
Those characterizations are notable because, as he said in the same statement, Comey was not tasked with opining on Clinton’s conduct. He was in charge of the investigation into whether a crime occurred.
(Excerpt) Read more at fortune.com ...

“Those who lived under communism understand exactly what just happened”

Legal Insurrection ^ | William Jacobsen 

There are a lot of details on why this was a miscarriage of justice. The best starting place is Andy McCarthy’s column at National Review, FBI Rewrites Federal Law to Let Hillary Off the Hook.
But those are mere details. Important details, critical details, details worth writing about — but not the big picture.
Noah Rothman at Commentary wrote:
No amount of cynicism could have prepared Americans for what they witnessed on Tuesday morning, and 2016 has not been short on cynicism.
Getting closer.
The best truly big picture view I saw was from Karol Markowicz, a columnist for the NY Post and an ex-Soviet who moved the the United States as a child.
In response to the Comey verdict, Markowicz tweeted out a statement as to how others who came from the USSR expected no other result:
(Excerpt) Read more at legalinsurrection.com ...

FBI Rewrites Federal Law to Let Hillary Off the Hook

NR ^ | July 5, 2016 | Andrew C. McCarthy 

There is no way of getting around this: According to Director James Comey (disclosure: a former colleague and longtime friend of mine), Hillary Clinton checked every box required for a felony violation of Section 793(f) of the federal penal code (Title 18): With lawful access to highly classified information she acted with gross negligence in removing and causing it to be removed it from its proper place of custody, and she transmitted it and caused it to be transmitted to others not authorized to have it, in patent violation of her trust. Director Comey even conceded that former Secretary Clinton was “extremely careless” and strongly suggested that her recklessness very likely led to communications (her own and those she corresponded with) being intercepted by foreign intelligence services.
Yet, Director Comey recommended against prosecution of the law violations he clearly found on the ground that there was no intent to harm the United States. In essence, in order to give Mrs. Clinton a pass, the FBI rewrote the statute, inserting an intent element that Congress did not require. The added intent element, moreover, makes no sense: The point of having a statute that criminalizes gross negligence is to underscore that government officials have a special obligation to safeguard national defense secrets; when they fail to carry out that obligation due to gross negligence, they are guilty of serious wrongdoing. The lack of intent to harm our country is irrelevant. People never intend the bad things that happen due to gross negligence.
(Excerpt) Read more at nationalreview.com ...
NR ^ | July 5, 2016 | Andrew C. McCarthy 
Posted on 7/6/2016, 1:23:35 PM by Jim 0216
There is no way of getting around this: According to Director James Comey (disclosure: a former colleague and longtime friend of mine), Hillary Clinton checked every box required for a felony violation of Section 793(f) of the federal penal code (Title 18): With lawful access to highly classified information she acted with gross negligence in removing and causing it to be removed it from its proper place of custody, and she transmitted it and caused it to be transmitted to others not authorized to have it, in patent violation of her trust. Director Comey even conceded that former Secretary Clinton was “extremely careless” and strongly suggested that her recklessness very likely led to communications (her own and those she corresponded with) being intercepted by foreign intelligence services.
Yet, Director Comey recommended against prosecution of the law violations he clearly found on the ground that there was no intent to harm the United States. In essence, in order to give Mrs. Clinton a pass, the FBI rewrote the statute, inserting an intent element that Congress did not require. The added intent element, moreover, makes no sense: The point of having a statute that criminalizes gross negligence is to underscore that government officials have a special obligation to safeguard national defense secrets; when they fail to carry out that obligation due to gross negligence, they are guilty of serious wrongdoing. The lack of intent to harm our country is irrelevant. People never intend the bad things that happen due to gross negligence.
(Excerpt) Read more at nationalreview.com ...

Comey’s FBI Helped Convict Navy Reservist who “Handled Classified Materials Inappropriately”

Judicial Watch ^ | July 6, 2016 

Illustrating that FBI Director James Comey is a liar and a fraud, his agency helped convict a Navy reservist last summer of the same crime that he just cleared Hillary Clinton of committing. In that case the reservist from northern California got criminally charged—as per FBI recommendation—for having classified material on personal electronic devices that weren’t authorized by the government to contain such information. The FBI investigation didn’t reveal evidence that the reservist intended to distribute classified information to unauthorized personnel, so he was just being “extremely careless” like Clinton and her top aides.
Similar offenses, vastly different outcome. The key factor, of course, is that one subject is a regular Joe without Clinton-like political connections. His name is Bryan H. Nishimura and last July he pleaded guilty to unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials after the FBI found such materials were copied and stored in at least one “unauthorized and unclassified system.” Clinton had droves of classified and top secret materials in an “unauthorized and unclassified system.” Nishimura had been deployed to Afghanistan as a regional engineer for the U.S. military and had access to classified briefings and digital records that could only be retained and viewed on authorized government computers, according to the FBI announcement , which defines the reservist’s crime in the following manner; “handled classified materials inappropriately.” So did Clinton on a much larger scale.
Last July Nishimura pleaded guilty to “unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials” and was sentenced to two years of probation, a $7,500 fine and forfeiture of personal media containing classified materials. He was further ordered to permanently surrender all government security clearance. Hillary Clinton could soon have the highest security clearance available if she gets elected president making Comey’s inconceivable recommendation that “no charges are appropriate in this case” all the more outrageous. Incredibly, during his 15-minute press conference this week Comey provided details of how Clinton violated the law by exchanging dozens of email chains containing classified and top secret information and how she mishandled national defense information on her outlaw email server. The FBI director even outlined how Clinton compromised the country’s national defense to “hostile actors” yet he asserts Clinton and her cohorts didn’t intend to break the law. “Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information,” Comey said, “there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.” Enough to be criminally charged like the Navy reservist from northern California.
When Comey, the federal prosecutor in the Martha Stewart case, put the television celebrity in jail for participating in an insider trading scheme, he acknowledged the importance of not granting special treatment to a rich and famous person. Stewart went to prison for obstructing justice and lying to investigators about a sudden stock sale that helped her avoid losing thousands of dollars. In an interview with his college newspaper a few years after Stewart’s conviction Comey, then U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said that if Stewart were Jane Doe she would have been prosecuted. “I thought of my hesitation about the case due to someone being rich and famous, and how it shouldn’t be that way,” Comey said. “I decided we had to do it.”

Hacked Email Shows Democrat Party to Spend $800,000 to Disrupt RNC and Harass Delegates

Gateway Pundit ^ | Jul 6th, 2016 8:34 am | Jim Hoft 

Internet hacker “Guccifer 2.0” released the Democrat Party’s plan to disrupt the RNC in Cleveland and harass delegates at the convention.
Democrats plan to spend at least $800,000 on operations to torment Republicans at their convention.




Smoking Gun
Hundreds of paid liberal activists will also converge on Cleveland to disrupt and cause mayhem.
The Smoking Gun reported:

The Democratic Party’s plan to crash this month’s Republican National Convention is heavy on gimmicks and stunts meant to highlight a possible “Trumpocalypse,” as well as to ridicule the presumptive GOP candidate’s purported spray tan, tiny fingers, and dog whistle proclivities.

The Democratic National Committee’s “Counter Convention Plan Sketch” covers 22 pages and outlines the party’s activities in Cleveland, where the Republican convention begins July 18. Democratic operatives will launch their operation a week earlier, on July 11, to coincide with the opening of the RNC’s summer meeting.
A copy of the plan was obtained by the hacker “Guccifer 2.0,” who breached party servers and made off with DNC financial records, e-mails, research reports, and other documents. In e-mails to TSG, “Guccifer 2.0” has claimed to be a Romanian “hacktivist,” though security researchers who have examined the DNC breach have said that the infiltration appears to be the work of a Russian espionage unit.
The DNC plan notes that the party’s efforts in Cleveland will cost in excess of $800,000. In addition to 16 staffers on the ground, the party will have numerous surrogates available for media interviews and an RV to “serve as a mobile billboard” and green room. The plan was honed when the GOP field narrowed to Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich. Subsequent updates focused primarily on “gimmicks” to ridicule Trump.

ObamaBox

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Same writer

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Oh Bill

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I Brexit'd

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