Departing NPR Exec Laments Jewish Control of Newspapers

An undercover video of a departing National Public Radio fundraising executive shows him nodding in agreement as men posing as representatives of a Muslim Brotherhood front group rip Jewish control of the media.

Eventually, the President of the NPR Foundation and VP for development, Ron Schiller chimes in, saying that Zionist influence doesn’t exist at NPR, but “it’s there in those who own newspapers obviously.”

The video also shows Schiller ripping Tea Parties, evangelical Christians, and Americans in general for being stupid. He also says NPR would be better off in the long run without federal funding.

The video was put together by James O’Keefe of the ACORN sting fame. It was announced yesterday that Schiller was leaving NPR for the Aspen Institute.

It’s pretty disheartening how socially acceptable anti-Semitism has become among intellectuals as long as it’s cloaked as criticism of Israel. This is something that Jewish conservatives have warned about for a long time, but our warnings are dismissed as an effort to silence legitimate criticism.

Imagine if some white Southerners saying they were representatives of the KKK started complaining about black influence — would NPR execs even meet with them, let alone nod and smile and say, “Well, the black influence is more prevalent elsewhere”?

The whole video is below. The discussion of the Jews starts around the 7 minute mark.

(Via Dave Weigel).

Barbour Adds Key Staffer

In another sign that he’s likely running for president, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has hired Jim Dyke to work as a communications adviser on his political action committee.

The hiring of well-regarded staffers is typically seen as a sign that a prospective candidate intends to run, because the assumption is that top talent won’t join a team unless he or she has received private assurances that the candidate is likely to run.

Dyke has worn a number of hats over the years. In the 2004 election, he ran the communications department at the Republican National Committee and in 2008 he worked for Rudy Giuliani.

How Romney Could Survive the Health Care Issue

Regular readers know that I’m not shy about criticizing Mitt Romney, particularly for his role in designing and enacting a health care program in Massuchusetts that served as a model for ObamaCare. Jim made some good points earlier about why it will be such a difficult political problem to overcome, and I agree. But the question I’d like to focus on is: what would have to happen for Romney to win the nomination despite the health care issue? The simple truth is that Romney will never win over skeptics, so his best hope is merely to survive the issue.

The closest parallel I can think of is the way John McCain was able to survive his immigration stance and multiple deviations from conservatism to capture the nomination in 2008. What basically happened was that McCain’s candidacy looked dead in the summer of 2007 when the immigration issue peaked, but then by fall the Petraeus-Crocker hearings started, and the debate shifted to Iraq — where McCain was much closer to GOP primary voters. When immigration came up, he said he learned his lesson that people wanted the borders secured first. At the same time, the rest of the field collapsed. Rudy totally imploded and Fred Thompson never took off. Mike Huckabee’s surge in Iowa was enough to weaken Romney, but not enough to gain him support beyond his core constituency. So, in the end, McCain survived.

There are a number of reasons why Romney is in a different boat this time around. In McCain’s case, once the immigration bill died, conservative intensity on the issue waned. However, ObamaCare already passed, and conservative outrage over it continues. Each time another court delivers a verdict on one of the legal challenges, it will bring back the issue of the individual mandate — and Romney’s long support for it in principle, even though the constitutional issues differ at the state level. The Tea Parties also weren’t around in 2008, and they won’t be a receptive audience for Romney’s defenses.

That said, Romney, like McCain, benefits from the fact that it’s a wide open field without a real frontrunner in which all the candidates have weaknesses. Let’s say Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin either don’t run, or are unable to appeal to a broad enough coalition of voters beyond their loyal fan base. That Haley Barbour’s lobbying background turns out to be as fatal as his critics suggest. That Newt Gingrich can’t overcome his personal baggage as well as his own deviations from conservatives. That Tim Pawlenty gets hammered for stuff he said and did when he had a profile as a moderate, and that he’s just unable to connect with people. And imagine that nobody else emerges. On top of that, let’s say the economy sinks deeper, and business experience becomes more valued by voters. All of the above scenarios are perfectly plausible. In such an environment, you can see how Romney can survive as the last man standing by vowing to repeal ObamaCare, even as most conservatives still find it difficult to forgive him. Keep in mind, too, that he’ll have enough money to remain in the race for as long as he needs to.

To be clear, I’m not predicting that this will happen, but only that this is what would have to happen for Romney to win, and it isn’t totally inconceivable.

The Left’s War on Conservative Justices

Politico‘s Ken Vogel has a piece up on the left-wing war on conservative Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito (Alito has been attacked for speaking at the Spectator‘s annual dinner). What’s clear from the article is that the criticism is coming exclusively from left-wing groups, as Vogel even quotes several liberal legal scholars who say the charges are baseless For instance:

And Michael Waldman, executive director of the left-leaning Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s School of Law, called the allegations that Thomas and Scalia were biased by their affiliation with the Koch retreat “meritless. We see no basis for the accusations that the Justices’ decisions are based on anything but the merits.” He warned that “people should think very hard before asking prosecutors to investigate judges just because they dislike the decisions they make.”

With challenges to the national health care law moving up the judicial ladder, these attacks by the left are only going to get more desperate.

FL Judge Allows Admin. to Keep Implementing ObamaCare, But Orders Quick Appeal

Judge Roger Vinson, who declared the national health care law unconstitional in January, granted the Obama administration a 7-day stay allowing them to continue implementing the law, but he ordered them to file for an expidited appeal within a week.

“The sooner this issue is finally decided by the Supreme Court, the better off the entire nation will be,” Vinson wrote.
Jamie Dupree has more details. Ruling here.

Government Shutdown Averted — For Now

The Senate just voted 91 to 9 to pass a two-week continuing resolution that will keep the government funded through March 18, and thus avoid the possibility of the government shutting down on Friday.

That said, all this does is buy lawmakers more time to hash out a deal — but the two sides are still very far apart. Agreeing on how much to cut is actually the relatively easy aspect of negotiations. The more complex problem involves how to resolve the policy-related questions — such as defunding ObamaCare, defunding Planned Parenthood, and defunding the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate carbon. On those issues, there’s no way to simply split the difference and call it a day.

Paul Ryan Not a Fan of RomneyCare

Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, this morning likened the health care program Mitt Romney enacted in Massachusetts to President Obama’s signature health care legislation, and said he was not a fan of either one.

“It’s not that dissimilar to Obamacare,” Ryan said when asked about Romney’s plan at a breakfast sponsored by the Spectator and held at the offices of Americans for Tax Reform. “And you probably know that I’m not a big fan of ObamaCare.”

He went on to criticize a central element of both plans — the requirement that individuals purchase health insurance.

“I just don’t think the mandates work,” Ryan said. “I haven’t studied in depth the status of it, but I think it’s beginning to death spiral, they’re beginning to have to look at rationing decisions. I don’t think this kind of a system works.”

By “death spiral” Ryan is referring to the phenomenon that occurs when government requires insurers to cover those with pre-existing conditions, which discourages healthy people from buying insurance because they know they can always find coverage when they get sick, which in turn drives up the cost of insurance even more, and causes more healthy people to exit the market, and so on. This is what the individual mandate is supposed to prevent, but Ryan, like other health policy analysts is a skeptic that it works in practice.

Ryan went on, “That’s why I’m a believer in a consumer-based patient centered health care reforms, and I don’t think that the Massachusetts plan does it, it goes in the opposite direction.”

The Massachussetts health care plan he signed remains the biggest liability for Romney as he prepares a likely presidential run.

California’s Money Train

My cover story for the March print edition on the California high-speed rail boondoggle is now available on the main site. This project is worth keeping an eye on, because it has already claimed $3.2 billion from the Obama administration and hopes to get at least $18 billion from federal taxpayers in the years to come. In the more immediate term, California is angling for some of the high-speed rail stimulus funds that Florida Gov. Rick Scott rejected. In a broader sense, the California high-speed rail effort is a case study in what happens when liberal fantasy confronts reality.

Some highlights from the story:

— The initial $5.5 billion portion of the project, now in the works, won’t result in any actual high-speed trains running, and would merely lay tracks in a relatively low population part of the state.

— A week before the 2010 midterm elections, the Obama administration awarded $715 million in additional federal money to the project under the condition that the first segment would be built in the less inhabited Central Valley — coincidently, where two Democratic members of Congress were facing tough reelection battles.

— A number of independent analysts have questioned the cost projections and business model for the high-speed rail project — and a University of California at Berkeley study concluded the ridership estimates being used to sell the plan were unreliable.

— The project has encountered a lot of community opposition as it has progressed. Several wealthy cities (Palo Alto, Atherton, and Menlo Park) are suing to prevent the trains from tearing through their downtowns. Farmers are worried that the tracks will carve up their land. Some environmental groups normally predisposed to supporting high-speed rail have turned against the proposed route, fearing its effects on undeveloped areas.

— One state legislator in California is lobbying the U.S. Congress to stop sending his own state any more money for high-speed rail. “When they send us money, it actually costs us money,” he told me. A local mayor echoed the sentiment, and heaped praise on Govs. Scott Walker and John Kasich for turning down high-speed rail money in Wisconsin and Ohio.

 — A high-speed rail authority official acknowledged to me that they won’t be able to attract private financing for the project unless they have a steady flow of money from Washington, and thus they plan on continuing to “compete aggressively for federal funding.”

— If House Republicans manage cut off high-speed rail funding, they could deal the project a fatal blow.

Lots more in the full piece. As they say, read the whole thing here.