Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thursday, February 28, 2013

White House vs. Woodward 

As we predicted, the White House was quick to retaliate against veteran journalist Bob Woodward. Yesterday evening, Woodward told CNN that a "very senior person" in the White House warned that he would "regret doing this." We now know that the person who relayed that threat was Gene Sperling, the director of the White House Economic Council. 

Woodward added, "It makes me very uncomfortable to have the White House telling reporters, 'You're going to regret doing something that you believe in.'" It should make all of us very uncomfortable, because this isn't the first time the White House has threatened the media. 

Obama's loathing of Fox News has been well documented. Top White House officials have repeatedly tried to delegitimize Fox. But they have turned on liberals too.

The Woodward flap has given Lanny Davis, a former top lawyer for Bill Clinton, the courage to come forward and tell his story about the White House's vindictiveness. This morning, Davis told a leading Washington, D.C., talk radio show that the White House tried to shut down a column Davis was writing for the Washington Times because, even though he supported Obama, he was occasionally critical of some of his policies. 

According to Davis, someone at the White House called his editor at the Times and threatened to revoke the press credentials for its reporters if Davis' column was not cancelled! 

Referring to the White House's attack on Bob Woodward, Davis added, "You don't threaten Bob Woodward. He's one of the best reporters ever. He's factual. … Don't mess with him about his facts. You can mess with him about the interpretation of his facts, but this is not a reporter you tangle with." 

Our Founding Fathers knew how vital a free press was to the preservation of freedom. That's why they insisted on the First Amendment guaranteeing the freedom of speech. Bob Woodward is living proof of the power of truth and a free press to check a rogue government.

Conservatives have warned that this Chicago gang plays hardball. Now even members of the liberal media are on the receiving end of it. 

Fact Checking Sequester Hysteria 

For weeks now, President Obama has been barnstorming the country, holding rallies trying to convince us that the sequester cuts will result in the end of civilization as we know it. The Wall Street Journal published an editorial explaining just how much authority Obama has to minimize the "doom" he has been predicting, if he chooses to do so. 

The Journal editors added some perspective too, noting, "The truth is that the sequester already gives the White House the legal flexibility to avoid doom, if a 5% cut to programs that have increased more than 17% on average over the Obama Presidency counts as doom."

Sunday, on CBS's "Face the Nation," Secretary of Education Arne Duncan did his best to scare the American people when he said, "There are literally teachers now who are getting pink slips, who are getting notices that they can't come back this fall." 

The news was so sensational that the Washington Post decided to check it out. But when Duncan was challenged to back up his claims of "pink slips," he could point to only one county in West Virginia. According to county officials, however, the notices involved transfers, not layoffs, and were unrelated to the sequester. 

Politico also questioned Obama's veracity with a column headlined, "Is President Obama telling the truth about sequestration?" In that column it was noted that education programs are forward funded, meaning that cuts to education programs would take effect next year, not this year, giving administrators that much more time to plan and mitigate their impact. 

Illegal Immigrants Released 

Now here is something that will make your blood pressure rise. Tuesday federal officials decided to begin releasing illegal immigrants from detention centers in eight states citing sequestration cuts as the reason. But the cuts have not yet gone into effect! Moreover, as I just noted, the administration has some authority to decide how to implement the cuts. Yet already the detention doors are swinging open. 

The White House claimed it had no knowledge of this decision, but that seems highly unlikely. Administration officials tried to reassure us that the individuals released were "noncriminals and other low-risk offenders who do not have serious criminal histories." Really?

The New York Times tracked down one of the released illegal immigrants to learn his story. It turns out that he was detained after he had "violated probation for a conviction in 2005" for assault, battery and child abuse. Is that the definition of a "noncriminal" or someone with "no serious criminal history"? 

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, responded to the news by saying, "It's abhorrent that President Obama is releasing criminals into our communities to promote his political agenda on sequestration. By releasing criminal immigrants onto the streets, the administration is needlessly endangering American lives."