Thursday, February 27, 2014

Obama's Minimum Wage Ruse

My article in today's American Thinker:

Obama's Minimum Wage Ruse

By Matthew Vadum

President Obama's newfound enthusiasm for the minimum wage is the political equivalent of a ruse of war.

With an eye on the approaching midterm elections, the Demagogue-in-Chief hopes to lure his Republican enemies into a discussion on his ideological home turf so he can pound away at them mercilessly and distract from his own political problems.

As his approval rating slides, Obama has heartily embraced the red herring as the cornerstone of his public relations strategy.  Bearing his by now familiar deer-in-the-headlights look, he officially knows next to nothing about what his administration is doing and is constantly on the lookout for scapegoats and other distractions.

Democrats, as well as those leftists not disillusioned with Obama, desperately want to recapture the House and hang onto the Senate in the hope of imposing even more destructive progressive policies on the populace before a new president takes over in January 2017.  The November congressional elections give these left-wingers their last kick at the legislative can during the Obama presidency.  It is Obama's final opportunity to drop-kick America over the cliff and into the bottomless socialist abyss.

Obama promises that 2014 will be "a year of action."  The president plans to keep the chattering classes busy blathering on endlessly about stuff that doesn't matter to normal people.  He knows dragging voters to the polls in an off-year election is hard, so he wants to excite his base.

Obama is pushing a minimum wage increase, an otherwise marginal issue voters place well down on the list of national priorities, because he needs to get left-wing voters emotional.  Even though under 3 percent of all workers in the nation (and an even lower percentage of full-time workers) earn the minimum wage, Obama knows that whipping up indignation over the issue gets voters to the polls.

Obama's former employer and legal client ACORN, the huge community organizing network that went bankrupt in 2010, viewed raising the minimum wage as an electoral crowd pleaser.

ACORN put minimum wage propositions on the ballot in order to drive up turn out among poor voters and the progressive faithful.  "We would like it to become a fact of political life where every year the other side has to contend with a minimum wage law in some state," said Jen Kern, director of ACORN's Living Wage Resource Center.

"This is what moves people to the polls now.  This is our gay marriage," she said some years ago before big chunks of the conservative movement went wobbly on same-sex marriage.

To further motivate supporters and distract from the weapon of mass socioeconomic destruction that is Obamacare, the president and his cabinet members are now lecturing Americans daily about things like "income inequality," "green jobs," and the alleged phenomenon of anthropogenic global warming.  Obama even made income inequality the centerpiece of his most recent State of the Union Address.

Like the minimum wage, each of these issues is a ruse de guerre that Rules for Radicals author Saul Alinsky would applaud.  Each issue can be used to recruit voters and fill the pockets of labor leaders who demand their cut of the action. 

Obama can't acknowledge what he is doing out loud so he plays the compassion card.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Obama's News Police

My article in today's FrontPage magazine:

Obama's News Police

By Matthew Vadum

The Obama administration is planning to send what critics characterize as government spies into the newsrooms of the nation’s media outlets.

This unprecedented assault on Americans’ First Amendment freedoms is part of the Community Organizer-in-Chief’s political war against the few pockets of media resistance he has encountered at Fox News and in the world of talk radio. Sending federal bureaucrats to meddle in newsroom affairs by conducting an alleged “study” will chill news coverage and make government-licensed broadcast media think twice about airing stories that place the Obama administration in a bad light.

To this end the Federal Communications Commission is moving forward with its “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs,” or CIN. Although the FCC is a regulatory body, not a research organization, it plans to send researchers to question reporters, editors, and station owners about how they decide which stories to run. In the spring a field test is set for Columbia, S.C.

The FCC intends to discover “the process by which stories are selected,” how often stations cover “critical information needs,” the media outlets’ “perceived station bias,” and “perceived responsiveness to underserved populations.” The phrase “underserved populations” is politically correct neo-Marxist jargon and a screaming red flag that some kind of quota system may be on its way.

Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee attacked the study idea, saying it was a step towards a “Fairness Doctrine 2.0.”

“Given the widespread calls for the Commission to respect the First Amendment and stay out of the editorial decisions of reporters and broadcasters, we were shocked to see that the FCC is putting itself back in the business of attempting to control the political speech of journalists,” all Republicans on the committee wrote in a letter to new FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. 

“It is wrong, it is unconstitutional, and we urge you to put a stop to this most recent attempt to engage the FCC as the ‘news police.’”

In an interview with Fox’s Megyn Kelly, news editor Katie Pavlich eviscerated the proposed study:
I don’t understand why the Obama administration hasn’t understood this idea that when the Department of Justice monitored the phone lines of journalists, and their parents by the way, that wasn’t enough to them. Now they want to send investigators into newsrooms all over the country whether it’s broadcast or print. They have no business sending those people into our newsrooms. How we gather news is none of the government’s business. And this isn’t about the FCC getting people the information that they, quote, need, as they claim. This is about controlling what people say and this is about intimidating the news through these –whatever you want to call them– navigators.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

You Subsidize Leftist Anarchy

My column in today's American Thinker:

You Subsidize Leftist Anarchy

You have been subsidizing the efforts of radical left-wing community organizers for years, and you probably didn't even know it.

Fifty years ago as Barack Hussein Obama inhaled the values of his communist parents, grandparents, and mentors, their comrades were drafting plans to destroy American civil society.

Armed with your parents' and grandparents' tax dollars, America-hating extremists Richard Cloward, Frances Fox Piven, and Saul Alinsky were hard at work in the 1960s laying the foundation to wreak havoc on America and its people in an effort to force revolutionary change. 

Progressive agitators' quest to obliterate economic freedom was aided by the "War on Poverty," a metaphorical military undertaking against an ineradicable foe.  Given its chance of success, it may as well have been the War on Rainbows.

This doomed adventure got underway while Americans were still woozy and shaken, in need of reassurance just seven weeks after an avowed communist named Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President John F. Kennedy.

In his first State of the Union address on Jan. 8, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson ushered in a half-century of government-incentivized sloth, indolence, dependency, and social decay.  He urged Congress to embark on a new belligerency against the condition of not having enough stuff, as arbitrarily determined by vote-grubbing politicians.  "Let this session of Congress be known," Johnson proclaimed, "as the session which declared all-out war on human poverty and unemployment in these United States."

Ukraine Bleeding

My article in today's FrontPage magazine:

Ukraine Bleeding

By Matthew Vadum

Parts of the Ukrainian capital were on fire last night as protesters battled security forces of that nation’s repressive government — months after it announced Ukraine would align itself with Russia instead of the European Union.

After a late-night pow-wow with opposition figures Vitaly Klitschko and Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych blamed the violent episodes on opposition leaders, but added that it was still “not too late to stop the conflict.”

Activists took over City Hall in Kiev yesterday and anti-riot police moved into Independence Square. BBC reports that at least 18 people were killed Tuesday, including seven police officers, in the worst outbreak of violence in weeks.

Many Ukrainians came to the main protest camp, the Maidan, to support activists who have reportedly been trained to defend barricades from riot police. Supporters had to walk because authorities completely shut down Kiev’s metro, claiming that there is a danger of “terror acts.” It was the first time the metro was shuttered since Ukraine declared independence in 1991.

The explosion of anger comes a month after four anti-government protesters were killed in central Kiev.

It also comes at the worst possible time for Russian President Vladimir Putin who wants to resurrect Russia’s empire and is trying to make Ukraine a key component in the revival. Putin is under special pressure right now because the eyes of the world are fixed on the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, nearly 900 miles southeast of Kiev in the Islamist-infested Caucusus mountains. Opposition groups in Ukraine have reportedly called on Ukrainian athletes to stop competing in the ongoing Olympic competition to show solidarity with their cause.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

MSNBC's "The conservative case to limit voting"

I have no beef with reporter Zachary Roth. He quotes me accurately in today's piece, "The conservative case to limit voting."

But the assumptions underlying the article are in my view wrong.

Roth writes:
Progressives think of voting as a right. It’s the way a society of equals makes decisions. That’s why progressives generally see bringing new voters into the process as a good thing in itself. The more people involved, the more democratic the process, and the more legitimate the outcome.
Well, I'm not sure that conservatives have a uniform position on voting and elections but I think it's fair to say that conservatives also think of voting as a right, but conservatives, unlike left-wingers, don't think elections should be a free-for-all. Unless you're overseas perhaps (it takes time for ballots to arrive in America) you shouldn't be voting weeks or months ahead of Election Day. Ballots should be cast in the same fairly narrow window of time when everybody has had access to the same information, watched candidates' debates, and had an opportunity to evaluate the candidates and their policy positions. Measures should be taken to make sure that criminals aren't negating legally cast votes through vote fraud. Voter ID is a must.

Jeffrey Meyer of NewsBusters also weighs in on Roth's article.

Showdown in Caracas

My article in today's FrontPage magazine:

Showdown in Caracas

By Matthew Vadum

In a move that almost guarantees violent clashes, Venezuela’s increasingly nervous Marxist caudillo is calling for his supporters to take to the streets Tuesday to combat a large planned march by that oil-rich nation’s opposition.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is asking his allies, including state employees, to demonstrate in force against Leopoldo Lopez, leader of the opposition party, Popular Will (Voluntad Popular). Lopez, who has been accused by Maduro of inciting violence, asked Venezuelans to dress in white and march alongside him, daring authorities to arrest him.

Opposition Governor Henrique Capriles, who was beaten by Maduro in the dubious April election, said the government was instigating the unrest to “hide the grave problems that the country is facing with the scarcity of food, medicine, the inflation, devaluation and insecurity.”

Demonstrations against the Maduro regime have become commonplace because socialist economic bungling has caused shortages of consumer goods, food, and medicine. People have good reason to be upset. Runaway inflation is destroying savings. Inflation more than doubled over the past 12 months, rising to 56.3 percent in January, the central bank reports. The bank’s scarcity index shot up to an unprecedented 28 percent, which means that at any given time more than one in four basic goods was out of stock.

Meanwhile, Lopez, who is now in hiding, vows to allow himself to be arrested.

“I’ve not committed any crime,” he said in a YouTube video. “If there is a decision to illegally jail me, I’ll be there.” Popular Will spokesman Carlos Vecchio said yesterday that the government is responsible for the protesters’ safety.

Security forces raided Popular Will’s headquarters yesterday.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Goodbye, Eric Holder?

My FrontPage magazine article today:

Goodbye, Eric Holder?

By Matthew Vadum
Embattled Attorney General Eric Holder told the New Yorker magazine he plans to step down from his post later this year, but a Holder spokesman now denies he made any such commitment.

It’s just another confusing day in the increasingly chaotic Obama administration, where, as the president’s approval ratings continue to fall, the left hand never quite seems to know what the extreme-left hand is doing.

In an interview that appears in the New Yorker’s Feb. 17 issue, Holder told Jeffrey Toobin that he intends to remain in his position “well into” the year. Holder “told me that he will leave office sometime this year,” Toobin writes in the feature article.

Although Holder has been instrumental in protecting the Democratic Party’s voter fraud rackets, stirring up racial antagonism, covering up scandals such as Benghazi and the IRS targeting of conservative nonprofits, and keeping President Obama out of legal trouble, largely by lying and stonewalling, rumors have long persisted that the conservative-hating cabinet member was on his way out at the U.S. Department of Justice.

In what appears to be an inept attempt at semantic game-playing, a Department of Justice spokesman now claims Holder didn’t tell the New Yorker he was planning to resign. In damage control mode, DoJ spokesman Brian Fallon tried to spin away the resignation story by arguing that the attorney general did not explicitly say he would quit this year, but that he would stay “well into 2014.”

“The most the Attorney General has said is that he still has a lot he wants to accomplish on issues like criminal justice reform, voting rights and LGBT equality,” Fallon said. “He did not speak about his plans any further than that.”

Of course, an admission that Holder is staying “well into 2014″ isn’t exactly a denial that he’s resigning this year.

And any public utterance by a Justice Department official must be taken with a grain of salt.

In the Obama era DoJ spokespersons aren’t exactly known for their honesty. They openly collaborate with George Soros-funded slander shop Media Matters for America (MMfA). Investigative journalist Matthew Boyle discovered that Holder’s communications staff conspired with MMfA in what Boyle described as “an attempt to quell news stories about scandals plaguing Holder and America’s top law enforcement agency.” DoJ and MMfA also worked together to attack journalists covering DoJ scandals, Boyle found when he obtained internal government emails through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Robert Reich’s Revolutionary Rants

My article in today's FrontPage Magazine:

Robert Reich’s Revolutionary Rants

By Matthew Vadum

To distract from Barack Obama’s failing presidency and the misery it is causing millions of Americans, leftist gadfly Robert Reich is wheeling out tired old paranoid rhetoric about class warfare and “inequality.”

Using language out of the Communist Manifesto, Reich inveighs against an invisible, cartoonish, Monopoly Man-type villain. Of course, Reich has no interest in talking about the vicious war that President Obama and his allies are waging against productive members of society, those who have affordable health insurance, and those who pay the taxes used up by the nonproductive.

Long a thuggish shill of the now-dying labor movement, Reich rants that
“Opposing a minimum wage hike, blocking unemployment insurance, cutting food stamps, keeping millions from accessing Medicaid … I believe these positions are part of a concerted effort to keep struggling folks down that represents nothing less than a war on the poor and working class.”
Although poll after poll has shown that “inequality” doesn’t register on American voters’ radar screens, Reich and the Left are pushing hard to raise the federal minimum wage, a move that will hit the young, especially young people of color, the hardest. Under 3 percent of all workers in the nation (and an even lower percentage of full-time workers) earn the minimum wage.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Republican Leaders Fight Back Against IRS Power Grab

My article in today's FrontPage Magazine:

 Republican Leaders Fight Back Against IRS Power Grab

By Matthew Vadum

Republicans are fighting back against proposed new IRS rules that they say would make formal the tax agency’s infamous crackdown on Tea Party groups that oppose the Obama agenda, stripping them of their free speech rights during election cycles.

“Every American needs to know about this abuse of power,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) said in a recent speech on the Senate floor. “Let me be clear: What the administration is proposing poses a grave threat to the ability of ordinary Americans to freely participate in the Democratic process.”

The new rules, first unveiled around Thanksgiving when no one was paying attention, would prevent so-called 501c4 advocacy groups from participating in certain kinds of political activity. Such nonprofit organizations would be prevented from communicating with voters about candidates or political parties within 60 days of a general election.

On the House side, Speaker John Boehner (Ohio), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), Dave Camp (Mich.), and Hal Rogers (Ky.) have signed a letter asking newly minted IRS chief John Koskinen to kill new proposed regulations dating from November that they say are intended to silence conservative groups.

On the Senate side, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Minority Whip John Cornyn (Texas), John Thune (S.D.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), and Richard Shelby (Ala.) also signed the letter that suggests Koskinen would be perceived as a puppet of the Obama White House if he didn’t pull back from the regulations. In the Obama era IRS officials have been accused of spending an inordinate amount of time at the White House and getting far too cozy with top administration figures.

“It is our view that finalizing this proposed rule would make intimidation and harassment of the administration’s political opponents the official policy of the IRS and would allow the Obama administration to use your agency as a partisan tool,” the lawmakers said in the letter.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Memo to Conservatives: Republicans Aren't Your Friends

My article from today's American Thinker:

Memo to Conservatives: Republicans Aren't Your Friends

By Matthew Vadum

One of the reasons the national Republican Party is such a mess is because Republicans are far too reluctant to criticize their own.

Republicans are nice people.  Too many Republicans think it's wrong to criticize other Republicans. This failure to be forthright has had consequences.  It has allowed the Republican Party to take up political space it has no business occupying as it embraces left-wing statist tyranny.  Much of the time, the GOP is merely Democrat-lite.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are so dangerously out of touch and out of control nowadays in part because other Republicans have allowed them to get that way.  Boehner and McConnell regard conservatives as a nuisance to be overcome, co-opted, subverted, and if necessary, eliminated.

A new way of thinking is required.

For a start, if you self-identify as a Republican and you are serious about restoring the Constitution, shrinking the government, and reducing government spending, it is wrong to think of other Republican Party members as necessarily being your friends.

A political party isn't a club or a sacred religious order.  It isn't a brotherhood or fraternity.  The other people in the party aren't necessarily your friends, or even people you'd feel comfortable lending your lawnmower.

Here is wisdom: if you, as a Republican, remain true to small-government principles, many of your worst enemies will be found in your own party, and they are likely to be much more vicious, petty, vindictive, and malicious than most of your adversaries on the left.  Intra-party squabbles and in-fighting are among the most brutal of all political conflicts in America.

Hate email from someone of diminished capacity

Apparently unemployed computer guy Forrest Trenholm of Weymouth, Mass., didn't like my appearance on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" on Wednesday (Feb. 5, 2014).

It's not entirely clear what he was objecting to since he was incapable of explaining himself properly but I thought the email was amusing so here it is:

Forrest Trenholm
7:20 PM (16 hours ago)
Listen to yourself on the Daily Show, imbecilic and disgusting. Don’t tell me, they took things out of context, or re-edited. Look at yourself, you are a Pig.
Start your own Country and get the fuck out of Ours, Fascist. Take Scalia with you.

I'm not sure why so-called liberals like to lead hate emails with stuff like "don't tell me they took things out of context" as if I'm supposed to be defensive about what I said on the show.

I like to think I'm pretty careful when speaking and I stand behind what I said on the show, which was, by the way, entirely factual and very mild in tone.

The only person whining is this guy, Forrest Trenholm.

Left-wingers are on a never-ending quest to be offended. Good luck on your journey, Forrest Trenholm.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Matthew Vadum on The Daily Show last night

I was on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" last night discussing national political organizations getting involved in local political fights.

For some reason I was labeled a "political insider" on the chyron (see above screen grab), which is definitely not a label I would self-apply.

Here is the video clip from yesterday:

My appearance was written up by The WeekHuffington Post, and CNN.

This was my second appearance on "The Daily Show." I was previously on the show on Oct. 30, 2008.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

ObamaCare’s Economic Destruction Exposed

My article from today's FrontPage Magazine:

ObamaCare’s Economic Destruction Exposed

By Matthew Vadum

A new government study projects that Obamacare will kill 2 million full-time American jobs in 2017, confirming the approaching economic devastation about which the budget-busting program’s critics have warned for years.

The study came as Obama administration allies unveiled plans to saturate the airwaves with animal videos in a bid to dupe young women into signing up for the failing government program.

As the government report shows, contrary to the promises of President Obama, the Obamacare law will boot people out of their health care plans, encourage idleness, drive wages down, increase the government’s tax take, and fail to put a dent in the number of Americans without health insurance coverage.

In other words, it’s Wednesday at the White House.

The job destruction caused by Obamacare will climb to 2.5 million in 2024, according to ”The Budget and Outlook: 2014 to 2024,” a new publication of the Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan research arm of the U.S. Congress. “The decline in full time-equivalent employment stemming from the [Affordable Care Act] will consist of some people not being employed at all and other people working fewer hours…”