"Nothing is more certain than that a general profligacy and corruption of manners make a people ripe for destruction." --John Witherspoon
Congress may be on vacation, but the presidential campaign is heating up. Barack Obama knows he's in trouble -- perpetually bad economic news has him grasping at straws and making some of the more despicable charges and ads we've seen.
In one sense, it's understandable. Mitt Romney has out-raised Obama in three consecutive months, including a $101 million to $75 million advantage in July. Overall, Obama maintains a large fundraising lead over his Republican challenger -- after all, he's attended more than 200 fundraisers since declaring his bid for re-election, more than the previous five presidents combined. But the Fundraiser-in-Chief has taken to playing the victim nonetheless. "I will be the first president in modern history to be outspent in his re-election campaign if things continue as they have so far," Obama warned. Perhaps an awful lot of people really want to fire the president.
Obama's response has been straight out of the Chicago playbook -- the politics of personal destruction. He sent out attack dog Harry Reid to make wild and unsubstantiated charges about Romney's taxes, which is doubly interesting because of all the records Obama refuses to release. But the lowest blow came in the form of an ad by leftist super PAC Priorities USA.
In the ad, sympathetic former steelworker Joe Soptic explains, "When Mitt Romney and Bain closed the plant [where I worked], I lost my health care. ... A short time after that my wife became ill." He says that she didn't say anything because "she knew that we couldn't afford the insurance," but when she finally sought treatment, "they found the cancer and by then it was stage four." She died "in 22 days." Soptic concludes, "I do not think Mitt Romney realizes what he's done to anyone, and furthermore I do not think Mitt Romney is concerned."
It's a sad story, to be sure. But is it accurate and is Romney to blame? To any fair-minded person, no and no. Bain bought the steel company in 1993 at which time it was already in severe financial trouble. Romney stopped actively managing Bain in 1999, two years before the steel company declared bankruptcy, one of Bain's relatively few failures. Soptic's wife still had her own job with insurance when he lost his job in 2001, though she lost her job and benefits in 2002 or 2003 after an accident. She was diagnosed with and died of cancer in 2006.
Even if Romney had personally shut down the steel company, he would hardly be to blame for a spouse's health five years later. Former Obama Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton, who founded Priorities USA, now claims that they didn't really mean to tie Romney to Soptic's wife's death, but what other possible interpretation could one glean from an ad that misleadingly crunches the timeline to infer Romney's culpability?
The lies aren't the only problem with the ad, however. Thanks to nonsensical campaign-finance law, campaigns are not permitted to coordinate with super PACs. Yet Soptic is featured in two official Obama campaign ads run in May vilifying Bain Capital as a "vampire," as well as the Priorities ad run this week. Soptic wore the exact same shirt in the campaign and PAC ads, and while it's possible that the ads were filmed on different days and Soptic had merely done his laundry in the interim, the most likely explanation is that Priorities deliberately piggybacked on Obama's ad with tacit if not explicit approval from the campaign.
The Obama campaign knows this could be trouble, and first went into full denial mode. Spokeswoman Jen Psaki insisted, "[W]e don't have any knowledge of the story of the family." Right -- it didn't make that, someone else made that. The only problem is that, as Politico reported, the campaign had a "conference call in May in which Soptic told reporters the very story featured in the Priorities spot." Oops. Indeed, when they realized they were caught, Psaki admitted that they did know Soptic's story after all.
It's quite a spectacle to see the candidate of Hope 'n' Change™, the one who promised unprecedented transparency and a new tone, practicing such slander only to then plead ignorance and innocence. And if he's set a new standard of culpability for misfortune, Obama must bear the blame for innumerable tragedies during his dismal period of economic management.
The Left is also attacking Rep. Allen West (R-FL) with an ad depicting him beating women and taking their money. No low is too low.
Fortunately, Congress has adjourned for their August recess and the Leftists won't be collectively mounting legislative assaults on Liberty while they're outside the Beltway. Thus, given that your Patriot Team members work very long hours in defense of Liberty, I insist they take a week off every August for some well-deserved R&R with their families. They will be out on a recess -- or, as Congress now calls it, a "District Work Period," next week. Of course, our Patriot Headline Report and The Right Opinion will be updated around the clock. Please visit our website for those resources. Also, our Founder's Quote Daily emails will be delivered on schedule. (If you are not subscribed to Founder's Quote Daily or Tuesday Patriot Humor, login to your account and select those options.) We'll be back on the regular publication schedule on Monday, Aug. 20.
Government and Politics
Ohio Military Voting Under Scrutiny
Ohio recently passed a law creating a uniform policy throughout the state for early voting. Previously, local election boards set hours and days for early, in-person voting, which led to varied policies among the state's 88 counties. The new law set early, in-person voting to extend all the way until the Friday before an election for all but military voters, who will have another three days to cast their ballots. The Obama campaign called the distinction "arbitrary and capricious" and sued, seeking to "restor[e] in-person early voting on the three days immediately preceding Election Day for all eligible Ohio voters."
The Obama campaign's legal challenge provoked opposition from conservatives and military groups, though the campaign says it's not trying to take rights away from military voters, only to "level the playing field" for all voters -- i.e., remove the Friday deadline, not impose one on the military. What they fail to acknowledge, however, is that military service often conflicts with voting, and their argument is at minimum insulting. When members of the armed forces are deployed suddenly or are given orders for training exercises, they are sometimes unable to vote. It's absolutely reasonable to have laws that acknowledge this reality, and the courts have already determined that treating military voters differently does not violate the Equal Protection Clause, as the Obama campaign now alleges.
Instead of insulting military voters, perhaps the Obama campaign should combat voter fraud. Obviously, they won't because Democrats depend on fraudulent votes, so instead they vigorously oppose voter ID laws. Minnesota Republican Senator Norm Coleman lost his 2008 re-election bid to absurdist Al Franken by 312 votes after numerous recounts and legal challenges. Of the 2.9 million ballots cast in that election, felons submitted 1,099. Think very many of them voted for Coleman? Franken's victory provided Democrats a 60th vote in the Senate, which in turn resulted in the passage of ObamaCare. Voter fraud can have enormous consequences.
News From the Swamp: Unfinished Business
Congress adjourned this week for its summer recess, leaving undone some serious legislative business that must be concluded after Labor Day. One key item on the agenda will be passage of a continuing resolution to fund the government into 2013, but House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and the White House recently struck a deal that averted a shutdown. Unfortunately, it just continues government bloat -- the Congressional Budget Office reported Tuesday that this year's federal deficit stands at $975 billion through July, meaning the deficit will have exceeded $1 trillion each year of Obama's term.
The other big problem on Capitol Hill will be avoiding the scheduled massive tax increase and steep automatic defense cuts that could severely hobble the American military. House Republicans moved to extend the current tax rates on all income levels, but Senate Democrats remain committed to tax hikes for earners over $250,000 no matter the risk of sending the economy into a tailspin. The looming "fiscal cliff" is already harming the economy.
Other disputed issues include bailing out the Postal Service, which recently posted a $5.2 billion loss in the last quarter. Another is renewing the welfare reform law that Barack Obama gutted with an executive order that allow states to exempt work requirements. Members of Congress will have only 13 days in September to resolve these issues. Then they return to their districts to campaign for re-election. So, once again, the biggest issues will have to be decided at the last minute while the fate of the economy hangs in the balance.
The BIG Lie
"It's like Robin Hood in reverse. It's Romney Hood." --Barack Obama on Mitt Romney's tax plan, which would cut taxes by 20 percent across the board
On the contrary, according to The Wall Street Journal, "Every major marginal rate income tax cut of the last 50 years -- 1964, 1981, 1986 and 2003 -- was followed by an unexpectedly large increase in tax revenues, a surge in taxes paid by the rich, and a more progressive tax code -- i.e., the share of taxes paid by the richest 1% rose."
Not that facts matter -- Obama just wants his class warfare. As if to justify it, he says, "I would end up having to pay more under my plan, and it's not like I love paying taxes, but I understand that I have to do more."
New and Notable Legislation
Congress managed to send the Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act to Barack Obama's desk before splitting town for recess. The bill provides health care for Marines and families who were exposed to contaminated well water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. It also bars protesters from picketing military funerals two hours before or after a service and keeps them 300 feet away from the site.
The bill is aimed at countering the reprehensible behavior of Westboro Baptist "Church" members, who protest at military funerals and celebrate the death of American soldiers as punishment for the nation's tolerance of homosexuality. Yet Congress's effort smacks of political pandering -- it's a thinly veiled attempt to demonstrate they can actually get something done, and very few people on either side of the political aisle approve of Westboro. The law doesn't stand a chance of surviving constitutional review on First Amendment grounds. A nearly identical law was struck down by a 2011 Supreme Court ruling. But at least members of Congress can feel good about themselves as they leave Washington.
From the 'Non Compos Mentis' File
"Bless their hearts, [Republicans] act upon their beliefs. It's an ideology -- we shouldn't have a government role. So, reduce the police, the firemen, the teachers. Reduce the role. Give tax cuts to the high end, that will stimulate the economy, everything will be good. And I say to them, do you have children who breathe air? Do you have grandchildren who drink water? ... As a mom, I was vigilant about food safety, right moms? I mean, if you could depend on the government for one thing it was that you had to be able to trust the water that our kids drank and the food that they ate. But this is the E. coli club. They do not want to spend money to do that." --Nancy Pelosi
"What is infuriating about Pelosi's comments is the silence that greets them from the same cloying mob of bleaters and emoters who demanded a 'new tone' not so long ago. How is saying the Republicans want to kill your children less 'extreme' and irresponsible than anything uttered by Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin? Why hasn't it occurred to all of these media outlets currently reporting the news that Jared Loughner has pled guilty to mass murder to do a story on how the new tone they demanded hasn't materialized with Nancy's Pelosi's repugnant musings as exhibit A? Perhaps it is because the whole 'new tone' censorial fraud was always aimed rightward. When liberals accuse conservatives of wanting children to die, that's hardball politics. When conservatives put banal targets on congressional maps, that's incitement to murder." --National Review's Jonah Goldberg
Judicial Benchmarks: Black Panthers Redux
Judge Reggie B. Walton of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia ruled this week that conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch is entitled to attorney fees from the Justice Department because the latter delayed the release of documents related to a dropped lawsuit against the New Black Panther Party. Judicial Watch maintains that the Justice Department dropped a voter-intimidation lawsuit against the Black Panthers for political reasons, and they sought documents on the matter through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The lawsuit was originally brought against the far-left, racist Panthers by the Bush Justice Department in 2008 for physically intimidating white voters in Philadelphia during that presidential election. Members of the Black Panthers were caught on video blocking entry to a polling place, carrying clubs and shouting at potential voters. The case was a sure winner, but, predictably, after Obama became president, the Justice Department dropped the case.
Internal documents revealed that political appointees at the DoJ pushed to have the suit dismissed and proved Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez's statements to the contrary to be false. Emails demonstrate that Perez, who heads the DoJ's civil rights division, and other high level officials were involved in the decision, even though the Justice Department continues to maintain that the matter was decided at a lower level. There is also reason to believe that Attorney General Eric Holder and possibly the White House were at least aware of the decision to drop the case and may have even been part of the decision process. The media has basically buried this story for nearly three years, but we hope Judge Walton's decision will shed new light on the scandal-ridden Obama Justice Department.
Income Redistribution: 'Bank of Washington' Last to Be Bailed Out
It costs nearly $100 billion a year according to a recent Cato Institute study, but the transfer of the public purse to favored private interests continues unabated under the Obama administration. While the takeover of GM and Chrysler was an egregious misuse of public money to prop up the favored constituency of the United Auto Workers, at least the automakers continue to make and sell usable products. (Obama wants "to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs, not just in the auto industry, but in every industry.")
Making usable products isn't the case with Energy Department-backed solar panel maker Solyndra, which returned to the news pages this week when its bankruptcy plan was revealed. Taxpayers at the "Bank of Washington" -- as Solyndra CEO Chris Gronet referred to the federal government in a leaked e-mail -- will be lucky to recover $24 million of their $527 million "investment," but favored private investors stand to get back over half of their $70 million stake. Stunningly, the federal government allowed these investors first dibs on the few assets Solyndra had.
Government attempting to pick winners and losers is never a good idea, for it runs counter to the American ideals of free enterprise and equal opportunity. But this administration has done such a great job of investing in environmentally correct companies that the smart money should be running the other way if it's learned the Department of Energy is considering a guaranteed loan to an energy company. Unfortunately, taxpayers won't have a choice in the matter until November.
Obama Looking for Testimonials From Those Who Built That -- With His Help
You know something has become a parody of itself when the original meaning is turned upside down before returning to where it started. After Barack Obama remarked to a campaign audience that the idea of a self-made business is offensive -- "If you've got a business, you didn't build that," he hollered -- he denied that he said it or meant it that way. But now the president is doubling down by soliciting success stories from business owners who will acknowledge they indeed received help from the government.
One Tweet from Obama quotes "Rachael," a small business owner in Wellesley, Massachusetts, who wrote, "We who are privileged to be in [this] position DO owe the country something for our success." Maybe Rachael is a friend of "Julia," the composite woman the campaign created earlier this year to trumpet its cradle-to-grave government assistance for women.
Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that a huge majority of small businesses are hurting, as the nation's stagnant high unemployment rate attests. While big businesses get all the attention, the majority of the American workforce still calls these mom-and-pop shops their employer -- that is, if they've been able to survive the last half-decade of economic collapse.
Between the dual threats of increased taxes and eventual adoption of ObamaCare, the business environment is becoming more and more treacherous. If Obama really wanted to help small employers, he would stop tearing things down faster than they can be built. With the illusion that we cannot succeed without government, though, we won't hold our breath for another flip-flop on the subject of building things.
Regulatory Commissars: Gibson Guitars Fined
We brought this to your attention almost a year ago, but the saga of Gibson Guitars and its alleged violations of the Lacey Act came to an end with the company incurring several monetary penalties: a $300,000 fine for admitting to buying Madagascar ebony, which is "endangered," a $50,000 "community service payment" to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for promoting conservation of protected trees, and the forfeiture of $260,000 worth of ebony and other wood products seized from its factory. The feds also coerced a promise from the company to adopt a compliance program to make sure it doesn't use illegally harvested products. All this came in exchange for the federal government not criminally charging the company.
Simply put, this was a shakedown of a business that perhaps unknowingly ran afoul of a recently passed law regarding the harvesting of allegedly endangered forest species. The Department of Justice, which can't get its hands around the tracking of weapons across international borders, was certainly on top of this case, saying in a statement, "This criminal enforcement agreement goes a long way in demonstrating the government's commitment to protecting the world's natural resources." But protecting constitutional rights? Not so much.
Warfront With Jihadistan: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Syria?
The festering Middle Eastern boil that is Syria continues to ooze, smearing everything it touches with nothing good. Since the start of the uprising to oust the current Syrian regime led by the thuggish Bashar al-Assad, more than 20,000 Syrians have died at the hands of Assad's forces and more than a quarter-million are refugees. The fighting has increasingly divided the region along the usual sectarian fissures, pitting the mainly Sunni rebels, backed by Sunni-led powers Turkey and the Gulf Arab states, against Assad's mainly Shiite government that is backed by a terrorist-friendly Shiite Iran. This week, Syria's Sunni prime minister, Riyad Hijab, defected, further roiling Assad's government and highlighting the Sunni-Shia split.
Not surprisingly, the UN has given up on Syria. Kofi Annan, former secretary general and the UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, resigned his post last week after calling out the UN Security Council for failing to protect Syrian civilians. "When the Syrian people desperately need action, there continues to be finger-pointing and name-calling in the Security Council," said Annan while finger-pointing and name-calling, completely ignorant of the fact that finger-pointing and name-calling is all the UN ever does.
All of this is par for Obama's foreign policy course, as the president's decision to allow the UN, Annan and his Russian and Iranian enablers to dictate Syrian policy has only increased the body count and solidified Iran's military and terrorist networks in Syria. Apparently thinking better late than never, according to yet another White House leak, Obama signed a secret order authorizing U.S. support for the Syrian rebels, although stopping short of giving the rebels weapons, even though other U.S. allies are doing just that. Officials have noticed improvements in the effectiveness of Syrian rebels in the past few weeks, and the leaked report said that the U.S. was collaborating with a secret command center operated by Turkey and its allies. If true, it would appear that the Syrian uprising is pitting multiple, powerful alliances against each other. Of particular concern is terrorist-backing Iran, which is soon to be if not already nuclear-armed. Let's hope Syria doesn't become the trip wire to a much wider, more lethal war.
TSA to Unionize
Thanks to a presidential administration bent on catering to labor unions, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently announced plans to unionize. "For 10 long years AFGE [American Federation of Government Employees] has fought hard so that Transportation Security Officers would have collective bargaining rights," AFGE's Facebook page reports. "We have often looked back and wondered why it was taking so long. Today we begin to look forward." Of course, while AFGE is looking back, forward, and every which way, the American people are still looking for a security policy that targets real terrorists instead of groping, harassing and otherwise humiliating children, the ailing, elderly and anyone else who belies every terrorist indicator.
Unfortunately, unionization promises to make things only worse -- both for travelers and for security. In Canada, for example, 250,000 passengers were allowed to board planes unscreened after a union unhappy with negotiations purposely backlogged security screenings. Yet unionization is coming soon to an airport security checkpoint near you. And while the TSA's newly unionized public-sector workers will be enjoying "new rights" at your expense, don't think a restoration of any of our constitutional rights will extend beyond the union label. Indeed, if you thought flying the friendly skies was fun before, just wait until security screenings are in the latex-clad hands of a union.
Immigration Front: As Seen on TV, for Just $465
For only $465, illegal immigrants can become legal under the terms of Barack Obama's executive ordered "DREAM Act." Great deal, right? Not so fast. The latest details of Obama's new "DREAM" policy were just released, outlining the eligibility requirements for those seeking legal status. Any illegal alien under the age of 30 who entered the U.S. before the age of 16, graduates school or college and has no criminal record is allowed entry into the program beginning Aug. 15. This, coupled with a fee of $465, will make that alien eligible for legal status.
As we noted a few weeks ago, however, the plan is far from inexpensive. The cost to taxpayers is estimated to run in the neighborhood of $585 million dollars. With hundreds of new federal workers needed for the more than one million illegal aliens expected to apply, this is just another policy that will undoubtedly place the burden on taxpayers while failing to tackle the issue of immigration. For Obama, getting the Hispanic vote is far more important than working on a logical solution.
Second Amendment: Yet Another Shooting Prompts Stupid Response
Less than a month after 13 were murdered (including an unborn child) and 58 more wounded at a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colorado, the nation is once again reeling from another mass shooting. Last Sunday's massacre at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, stole from us not only six human beings but also another piece of our collective peace of mind. And like clockwork, the Leftmedia are busy blaming guns and trying to tie the shooter, Wade Page, to the "right wing." This is empty rhetoric, of course, but as the saying goes, "politics is perception." The media are banking on discrediting conservatives as hate mongers who are intolerant of others and advocating violence to achieve their goals.
Yet by all accounts, Page was a very dangerous person. A self-proclaimed white supremacist, he was a member of two "hate" bands and a neo-Nazi group. After serving in the U.S. Army in the 1990s he was found unfit to re-enlist, and was even being watched by law enforcement, the Anti-Defamation League, and the leftist Southern Poverty Law Center. As reprehensible as his actions and affiliations were, however, he was never associated with anything actually on the political right, namely, advocating free-market capitalism, lowering taxes, reducing entitlements, traditional values and other issues. Furthermore, as much as we tire of correcting the record, Nazis were left-wing -- fascists, not free-marketeers. To the deceitful Left, however, racism equals right-wing.
Neither was Jared Loughner a "right-wing nut." On Jan. 8, 2011, Loughner opened fire in front of a Tucson, Arizona, supermarket, killing 13 people and critically injuring several others, including then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. After the Leftmedia launched a full-blown spin campaign on his alleged political agenda, it was revealed that Loughner suffers from schizophrenia. After a year of psychotropic drugs in prison, Loughner was recently deemed competent to stand trial. He pleaded guilty to 19 crimes this week and will spend the rest of his life in prison, with no possibility of parole.
In suggesting that the political right is, by its very nature, violent, the Left is also practicing its trademark disinformation. Mass murderers are a fixture of the extreme left, most notably Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong. These tyrants murdered millions of their own people for explicitly political reasons, but somehow they are always excluded from the Left's musings on politics and violence.
Faith and Family: Leftists' Intolerant Protests and a Court Defeat
As our readers well know by now, last week's kerfuffle over Chick-fil-A resulted in a record-breaking day of sales for the fast-food chain when people flooded their local restaurants for "Appreciation Day" to support Christian business practices. Our own letter of support now has over 32,000 signatures.
What you may not know, however, is that homosexual activists had demonstrations of their own, staging a "Kiss In" at Chick-fil-A locations last Friday. First, notice the difference: Conservatives show up to do business, Leftists show up intending to disrupt business and offend people. Second, it's hardly surprising, but the protest was such a flop that the Leftmedia largely couldn't find an excuse to cover it.
That said, Chick-fil-A was just one stop in a campaign of harassment for businesses and organizations that dare oppose the homosexual agenda by standing for traditional values. Michigan-based direct seller Amway is the next target. Amway president Doug DeVos is an outspoken Christian and his company gave $500,000 to the National Organization for Marriage in 2009. Fred Karger, president of the Rights Equal Rights Foundation, is calling for a boycott of Amway and its affiliates, as well as the Orlando Magic basketball team, which is owned by Amway co-founder Richard DeVos and DeVos' father. We expect results similar to those of the "Kiss In."
Finally, in related news, a U.S. District Court in Hawaii denied two women a new right to marry each other and upheld a state marriage law. According to the court's synopsis, "The right to marry someone of the same-sex, is not 'objectively, deeply rooted in this Nation's history and tradition' and thus it is not a fundamental right." The court also found that the legislature acted rationally in concluding that same-sex marriage doesn't meet the need of procreation or provide the best environment for raising children.
Though drought ravages much of the country, killing crops, hurting livelihoods and driving up food prices, there is a bright spot for one industry. Many homeowners are turning to lawn care companies that specialize in painting grass. Rather than run sprinklers all the time, these homeowners are going with green paint. "It looks just like a spring lawn, the way it looks after a rain. It's really gorgeous," said one retiree, who greened 830 square feet for just $125. Many of the companies that perform the service normally only do it for golf courses and athletic fields, though with the lack of rain, many homeowners are turning to paint, and business is booming. Who says there's no such thing as a green job?
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team