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Entries in ALG (1557)

Monday
Jun282010

NRN - Must Reads for June 28, 2010

Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson's quote of the day on public sector union politics getting in the way of troop funding: "With fresh concerns over the strategy in Afghanistan, Democrats must consider whether they really want to hold back war funding over an unpopular domestic policy priority — bailing out bankrupt state governments like New York and California. After all, it is a measure that could easily be voted on up-or-down separately."

Read more at NetRightDaily.com.

Saturday
Jun262010

ALG's TimesCheck.com: New York Times Should Report on Kennedy's Well-Documented KGB Correspondence

"Senator Kennedy undermined the Cold War policies of Presidents Carter and Reagan on an equal opportunity basis.  This is a part of history that the Times can and should cover."—TimesCheck.com Editor Kevin Mooney.

June 25th, 2010, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government's TimesCheck.com today blasted the lack of New York Times coverage of the late Senator Ted Kennedy's secret correspondence with the KGB at the height of the Cold War.

"Kennedy's many personal failings and moral transgressions are well-documented in the 2,352 pages the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) compiled on the late senator that were released earlier this month. But they only tell part of the story. There is long history of correspondence between Kennedy and high level Soviet officials during the height of the Cold War that deserves greater media exposure," said Kevin Mooney, TimesCheck.com editor.

"The same newspapers and television stations that apologized for Kennedy's pursuit of disarmament and a nuclear freeze in the face of Soviet aggression have a special obligation to fill out the historical record," Mooney explained. "Kennedy also sought support from a compliant liberal news media that was severely critical of policies that eventually brought down the Soviet empire."

Mooney said the "key ingredient" was a 1983 KGB document that includes a memo written to then General Secretary Yuri Andropov. The KGB letter to Andropov first came to light in a Feb. 2, 1992 report published in the London Times entitled "Teddy, the KGB and the Top Secret File." Paul Kengor, a Grove City College political science professor, included the document in his 2006 book: The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and The Fall of Communism.

Kennedy offered to have "representatives of the largest television companies in the U.S. contact Y.V. Andropov for an invitation to Moscow for the interview," KGB head Viktor Chebrikov explained in a letter to the general secretary dated May 14, 1983, the file shows. The idea was for the Soviet leader to make an end run around Reagan and make a direct appeal to the American people.

Kennedy suggested that Walter Cronkite, Barbara Walters and Elton Raul, the president of the board of directors for ABC, be considered for the interviews with Andropov in Moscow. He also asked the KGB to consider having "lower level Soviet officials, particularly the military" take part in television interviews inside the U.S. where they could convey peaceful intentions.

Former Sen. John Tunney (D-Calif.) operated as an intermediary for Kennedy and even traveled to Moscow to meet with Soviet contacts. In his book, Kengor points out that Tunney acknowledged making 15 separate trips to the Soviet Union where he acted as a conduit not only for Kennedy but for other U.S. senators.

"There is a case to be made that Kennedy's Soviet overtures were in violation of the Logan Act, a federal law that has been in effect going back to 1799," Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government, noted. "The law prohibits American citizens from engaging in private diplomacy with a foreign government with the intention of influencing public policy, but it is rarely enforced. This foreign policy freelancing undermines clearly constitutional directives that empower the executive with responsibility in the realm of international affairs."

Mooney suggested that a good starting point for the Times to launch a new investigation could begin with Sen. Tunney. "Is Senator Tunney willing to disclose the other U.S. senators who also had contact with the KGB? Who did Tunney have contact with in Moscow?" Mooney asked.

Mooney noted that Kennedy's perfidy was not limited to the Reagan years. Vasiliy Mitrokhin, a former KGB agent, defected to great Britain in the early 1990s and reported on contact Kennedy with Soviet officials while was challenging President Jimmy Carter for the Democratic nomination in 1980.

The Mitrokhin papers highlight a meeting that took place at the behest of Kennedy between former Sen. John Tunney (D-Calif.) and KGB agents in Moscow on March 5, 1980. The information exchanged during this encounter is included as part of a report Mitrokhin filed with the Cold War International History Project of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington D.C. The former KGB man continued to work with British intelligence until the time of his death.

"Senator Kennedy undermined the Cold War policies of Presidents Carter and Reagan on an equal opportunity basis.  This is a part of history that the Times can and should cover," Mooney concluded.

Saturday
Jun262010

ALG Condemns House for Passing First Amendment Restrictions, Urges Senate to Block Bill 

"House Democrats have been relentless in restricting and intimidating political speech for most groups while carving out explicit exemptions for special interests that favor their policies.  It is up to the Senate to rise above these crony politics that guided the passage of the DISCLOSE Act, and instead to allow the First Amendment to stand, protecting political speech for all without regulation."—ALG President Bill Wilson

June 25th, 2010, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government (ALG) President Bill Wilson today condemned the House of Representatives for passing the DISCLOSE Act that Wilson described as "an egregious violation of First Amendment rights, requiring most corporations and non-profits to comply with labyrinthine regulations while improperly exempting media organizations, the NRA, AARP, the Sierra Club, most unions and others."

"Despite all of the flak about special carve-outs for certain organizations, House Democrats embraced some of the most onerous restrictions on political speech in the history of the Republic while handing out special licenses to the highest bidders," Wilson said.

"The legislation also leaves in place the outdated blanket exemption for media organizations, which can say whatever it is they want about candidates, for or against, without any regulation or disclosure at all," Wilson added.

According to 2 USC 431 (9) (B) (i), the 1971 Federal Election Campaign Act: "The term 'expenditure' does not include any news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication". This media exemption to campaign regulation is reinforced in the DISCLOSE Act's language on page 22.

"No bribery crisis of elected officials has ever emerged over editorial endorsements by newspapers or any other media outlet, and yet they have long been exempted from disclosure. Meanwhile, we assume that such a crisis exists with all other speech," Wilson has previously stated.

After criticism from both sides of the aisle, the NRA carve-out was broadened to exempt organizations meeting the following criteria: at least 500,000 dues paying members (down from 1 million), members in all 50 states, receives no more than 15 percent of total funding from corporations or labor organizations, and doesn't use corporate or union money to pay for campaign-related expenses.

Unions also received an exemption since only aggregate contributions of over $600 would be disclosed — most union dues are less than that.

The Act's disclosure requirements include any expenditures in excess of $10,000 of express advocacy for or against a candidate, which must be reported to the FEC within 24 hours.  The disclosure requirements extend to 120 days prior to the first presidential primary or caucus, and 90 days before the first Congressional primary or caucus, and extend through general election day.  Anyone who invests or donates $1,000 or more to the company or organization that engages in express advocacy of a candidate, except for media organizations, would have to have their names submitted to the FEC. 

Wilson said that Congress was not consistently applying First Amendment protections.  "The exemptions that are in place for media, the NRA, AARP, the Sierra Club, and unions are the protections that should be in place for everyone.  The First Amendment protects political speech from restriction, even if backers of ads do not wish to have their pictures featured in ads," Wilson explained.

Wilson pointed to Supreme Court precedent protecting anonymous donations made to groups that solely make independent expenditures in NAACP v. Alabama (1958).  Then Justice Harlan's majority opinion stated, applying the First Amendment via the Fourteenth to Alabama, "We hold that the immunity from state scrutiny of membership lists which the Association claims on behalf of its members is here so related to the right of the members to pursue their lawful private interests privately and to associate freely with others in so doing as to come within the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment."

Wilson urged the Senate to reject the legislation, concluding, "House Democrats have been relentless in restricting and intimidating political speech for most groups while carving out explicit exemptions for special interests that favor their policies.  It is up to the Senate to rise above these crony politics that guided the passage of the DISCLOSE Act, and instead to allow the First Amendment to stand, protecting political speech for all without regulation."

Attachments:

Disclosure is Overrated, by ALG News Senior Editor Robert Romano, June 21st, 2010.

Friday
Jun252010

ALG - Gulf Coast Rebuilding Expert Paul Conway criticizes the Administration's inactions

Gulf Coast Rebuilding Expert Paul Conway criticizes the Administration's inactions on the Gulf oil spill in an exclusive interview with ALG.

 (Standard and high definition clips available.)

 

The former head of the office charged with rebuilding the Gulf Coast criticized Obama Administration efforts in the Gulf Coast oil spill in an exclusive interview with Americans for Limited Government (ALG).

 

 Paul Conway served two stints as acting federal coordinator for The Office of the Federal Coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding, while retaining his role as chief of staff to the office from April 2007 to April 2009.

 

To read ALG's story about the Administration's lack of action towards the Gulf oil spill and disaster, and for additional comments from Paul Conway, click here.

 

 Who: Gulf Coast Rebuilding Expert Paul Conway and Americans for Limited Government (ALG) Communications Director Rick Manning.

What: Comments about the federal government's lack of knowledge and action to clean up the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Paul Conway video quote 1:

"This is a crisis this is not a political campaign.  Soundbites don't cut it.  Action on the ground and results on behalf of people, that's what matters right now.  America is watching; what are you going to do?"

Time: 0.10/ 56.1MB (HD version) 

Click the following link to preview this clip on YouTube.

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http://www.algnews.org/videos/Gulf%20Crisis/Gulf_Oil_P_Conway_1.mov

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Rick Manning video quote 1:

"We can no longer excuse Obama's inactions as incompetence.  It's deliberate negligence."

Time: 0:07/30.2MB (HD version)

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Paul Conway video quote 2:

"After two months I think the American people would say not good enough.  And I think the person who's accountable—there's one person in the country accountable for the crisis response and that's the President of the United States.  I think he needs to ask himself, have you done a great job?  Am I campaigning or am I managing?  I think most people would say, at this point he's not managing but he sure sounds a lot like campaigning."

Time: 0.21/ 116.5 MB (HD version)

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Paul Conway video quote 3:

"You have a federal workforce that's been engaged for four years after Katrina that's got expertise on how to help people on day one.  They exist at the Small Business Administration, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Labor, the Department of HHS.  All these folks could have been utilized and they haven't been. That's the failure of leadership from the President and his appointed staff."

Time: 0.17/ 97.9 MB (HD version)

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Friday
Jun252010

NRN - Must Reads for June 25, 2010

Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson's quote of the day in reference to House Democrats being unable to produce a budget: "Pelosi and Hoyer should be held accountable for the words of their own Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt who infamously stated in 2006, 'if you cannot budget, you cannot govern'… Their failure to produce a budget due to political concerns is a dereliction of duty at a time when our nation needs heroes to step up to meet this crisis, not wannabe leaders who cower in fear and hope it goes away."

Read more at NetRightDaily.com.