U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is currently blocking implementation of voter ID laws in South Carolina and Texas, claiming such measures are “unnecessary,” discriminatory and would make it harder for minorities to vote.
But if you’re planning to visit Holder’s office in Washington, D.C., you better bring a photo ID. The Department of Justice has two armed guards stationed outside its headquarters to check IDs of anyone who wants to enter — employees and visitors.
Holder’s politically motivated crusade against voter ID laws has the support of liberal advocacy organizations ranging from the Center for American Progress and Media Matters to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Advancement Project.
Each of these organizations has criticized photo identification for voting, yet they require it to enter their Washington, D.C., offices as well. There’s even a sign in the building of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law: “ALL VISITORS MUST SHOW ID.”
Holder is able to block laws in South Carolina on Texas because they are subject to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, a civil rights-era law that gives the Department of Justice authority over voting changes. It remains unclear if those states will be able to enforce their laws for this November’s election.
“The Obama-Holder Department of Justice has launched an all-out war on voter ID and other measures,” former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell said upon launching a new initiative called Protect Your Vote. “Although Holder’s actions are purported to prevent African-Americans from being disenfranchised, in reality they serve as a crass political attempt to ensure his boss gets re-elected this year.”
Liberals have long trotted out false arguments about voter ID laws, claiming they suppress the vote among those individuals who do not have photo identification. But a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court case upholding Indiana’s voter ID law revealed there was no such hardship. Opponents of the law were unable to produce a single plaintiff who could plausibly claim inability to get a photo ID. In addition, states with longstanding voter ID laws, such as Georgia and Indiana, have actually experienced an increase in turnout of minority voters.
Rob Bluey directs the Center for Media and Public Policy, an investigative journalism operation at The Heritage Foundation. Follow him on Twitter: @RobertBluey
- Voter ID (tarpon.wordpress.com)
- Video: Liberals opposing voter ID laws require ID to enter their buildings (theblaze.com)
- Justice Department files objection to Texas voter ID law – Fox News (foxnews.com)
The evidence? Among the reasons cited was McFaul’s work in Russia in 1992 for the National Democratic Institute (NDI), a U.S. pro-democracy organization the Russian television commentator alleged was “close” to U.S. intelligence agencies.
In another part of the world, Egypt recently took its long-term hostility to the NDI and other U.S. government-funded democracy-building groups to a whole new level.
Egyptian authorities raided the groups’ offices and placed travel bans on at least 19 U.S. citizens. The cases have been referred to criminal court.
For decades, U.S. organizations like the NDI, the International Republican Institute and Freedom House have promoted democracy and human rights around the world, from Russia and other former Soviet states to the nations swept by the “Arab spring” upheavals of the past year.
But some of their activities, such as monitoring elections and helping to develop political parties, are not universally appreciated in host countries. In nations where the transition to democracy is incomplete, the welcome mat can be quite small.
Governments in places like Egypt, which is still run by military rulers, and Russia, which has been dominated by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin for over a decade, often see democracy-building activities as a threat to their grip on power.
“Authoritarian regimes don’t like sharing power with their people – and they look for any excuse to distract from their problems at home,” said Brian Katulis, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress think tank who worked for NDI in the West Bank, Gaza and Cairo from 1995 to 1998.
And the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, which sparked deadly sectarian warfare and messy American attempts to build an Iraqi democracy, sparked a decline in global trust in U.S. pro-democracy efforts, experts said.
“In the best circumstances – think sub-Saharan Africa – the U.S. used to be relatively trusted for its far-sighted engagement on all three development fronts – economics, politics and security,” said Paul O’Brien, vice president of policy and advocacy at Oxfam America, an international relief organization.
“As our overall global development agenda has become more short-term and politicized to achieve narrower national interests – think Iraq and Afghanistan – our pro-democracy agenda is less trusted too,” he said.
Some critics of U.S. democracy-building groups say hostility can extend beyond autocrats to average people who don’t want foreigners telling them how to run their lives.
“Egyptians have always been suspicious of outsiders meddling. In Egypt, such meddling is called the ‘invisible hand’ or ‘foreign fingers’,” said Paul Sullivan, a professor and Middle East expert at Georgetown University.
“Any organization that is there to work on the development of voting and political parties is leaving itself open to those suspicions and considerable risk – and not just from the courts and the police,” Sullivan said.
NDI president Ken Wollack denies his organization is meddling, or trying to foment revolution or regime change in any country. “We don’t support revolution” he said. NDI’s programs have always been intended “to support a democratic elections process that reflected the will of the people.”
“People can claim that it’s meddling, but it’s based on certain fundamental principles,” he said, including a universal declaration of human rights adopted by the United Nations.
In Egypt, he said, “Obviously it’s a delicate time, but I think that we’re hoping that through this challenging period that it ultimately will lead to a constructive dialogue between the authorities and groups like ours.”
“These (pro-democracy) organizations do not dictate what kind of leadership, or what kind of elections or the results of the elections,” said Senator John McCain, chairman of the board of IRI. “But they help with voter registration, with campaigning, with constitutions, with all the things that are the fundamentals of democracy,” McCain said in a Senate hallway.
BACKLASH DATING TO AROUND 2005
Since their founding under President Ronald Reagan, the NDI and IRI have worked in more than 100 countries around the world. They have loose ties with the two major American political parties, but are not funded by them. Freedom House is older, dating back to the 1940s.
The groups are known as “non-governmental organizations,” but get most of their funding from the U.S. government – largely from the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development. The government funding has sometimes fueled the charge that they are an arm of the U.S. government, or stooges of its intelligence agencies.
Starting around 2005, a backlash emerged in some countries, especially Russia, but also in Central Asia, China and parts of Africa and Latin America, said Thomas Carothers, a leading authority on democracy promotion at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
“The backlash seems to have been at least in part a response to a new harsher perception of democracy promotion due to its close association with the war in Iraq,” Carothers said.
He cited former President George W. Bush saying the Iraq war “was all about democracy promotion – as well as the belief by some governments that the ‘color’ revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine were caused by U.S. assistance to political and civic actors in those countries,” he said.
However, he added, the U.S. efforts in Georgia and Ukraine “were at most a modest helping hand to domestic political actors who did the hard work and took the risks themselves.” Political tumult in Georgia and Ukraine in the last decade became known as the “Rose” and “Orange” revolutions, respectively.
AID, TIES WITH EGYPT THREATENED
The U.S. confrontation with Egypt over its treatment of pro-democracy groups is threatening longstanding U.S. ties with that country.
U.S. military aid to Egypt, about $1.3 billion annually in recent years, is in jeopardy, Congress and the Obama administration say. Lawmakers are furious with the Egyptians; Senator John Kerry called the idea that Americans would be prosecuted there a “slap in the face.”
A solution has not yet been found. But in the longer term, after the crisis with Egypt, the United States may want to re-examine how it funds pro-democracy groups, perhaps channeling more money to local ones in the countries concerned, suggested Julie Taylor, a political scientist focusing on Middle East at Rand Corporation.
“Egypt has its own civil society and human rights organizations that are very effective and they work on these same issues and they have greater legitimacy than the U.S. organizations. The presence of U.S. organizations ends up undermining the activities and security of domestic human rights and democracy promotion organizations in Egypt,” she said.
Carothers said U.S. pro-democracy groups can alleviate some of the concern in host countries by being as transparent as possible about their work and by being nonpartisan when they work with political parties competing in an electoral process.
“But given the inherent tensions between an authoritarian or semi-authoritarian government and the goals of outside democracy supporters, there will likely continue to be conflicts over such work,” he said.
- Who Commissioned Us to Remake the World?…Seriously. (therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com)
- Egyptian raids on U.S. NGOs conducted ‘according to the law,’ judge says (news.nationalpost.com)
- Both International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI) Agitate Citizen Activists (therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com)
Based on an article by Cliff Kincaid for Accuracy in Media
A “Take Back the American Dream” three-day conference in Washington begins on Oct. 3 that features Van Jones, the disgraced former Obama Administration “Green Jobs Czar,” a Russian TV star, and a veteran of the Venceremos Brigades to Cuba who works for the AFL-CIO. Such is the nature of the modern progressive movement.
“I think everybody should hold onto your seats,” said Jones on Thursday’s MSNBC program “The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell.”
“October is going to be the turning point when it comes to the progressive fight back,” he went on. “We are a part of something called the American Dream Movement. We’re having a huge summit on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Come — you can go to rebuildthedream.com and find out more about it. We are going to build a progressive counterbalance to the Tea Party.” Once a top figure in a Marxist group called Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM), Jones predicts “an American fall, an American autumn, just like we saw the Arab spring. You can see it right now with these young people on Wall Street. Hold onto your hats. We`re going to have an October offensive to take back the American Dream and to rescue America`s middle class.”
The Campaign for America’s Future, sponsor of the conference, depicts the conservative Tea Party as a puppet of corporate interests and protests Wall Street but remains silent about the millions of dollars that Van Jones and other progressive activists have received from hedge fund operator George Soros. Number seven on the Forbes list of the richest people in America, with $22 billion, Soros runs an “alternative investment vehicle” available only to the super-rich which is based off-shore and taps into mysterious sources of cash beyond the supervision of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Indeed, a sister organization of the Campaign for America’s Future, the Institute for America’s Future, has itself received $1.3 million from Soros’s Open Society Institute over the last several years.
Two of the conference organizers, Robert Borosage and Katrina vanden Heuvel, have just written a call to arms in The Nation magazine saying that liberals must exert more pressure on the Obama Administration and they cite the work of the Communist Party USA and other groups in forcing Franklin Roosevelt to the left and expanding federal involvement in the economy in the 1930s.
“The Socialist and Communist parties and Huey Long’s Share Our Wealth movement grew threatening enough to goad Franklin Roosevelt into the second New Deal, including Social Security; the Wagner Act, recognizing the right of workers to organize; and much more,” they say. However, they complain that progressives have spent so much of their time over the last three years helping to pass “the Obama reform agenda” that their message has been “muted.” The conference will be followed on October 5 by a rally on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol.
That the progressive movement has embraced Jones, despite his embarrassing exit from the administration, is evidence of how far to the left and how desperate modern “liberal” organizations are.
Jones today serves as the president of the Rebuild the Dream coalition of liberal organizations. His bio says that he is currently a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, another Soros-funded entity, and holds a joint appointment at Princeton University as a distinguished visiting fellow in both the Center for African American Studies and the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
According to his website, he has also returned as a senior policy advisor at Green For All, the George Soros-funded organization that helped make Jones into a national progressive star. Soros money also helped finance the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights when Jones was in charge of that group.
Blogger Trevor Loudon, who broke the story of Jones’s communist background, said he first came across his name in a socialist publication and discovered his affiliation with STORM. He then discovered that the far-left Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), which Loudon considers the Obama administration’s “ideas bank,” had published a piece by IPS staffer Chuck Collins recommending Jones for a top government job. Collins offered “Van Jones, of the Ella Baker Center, to direct the Commerce Department’s new ‘green jobs initiative.’” Loudon added, “I researched Jones again at that point and found he was a fellow at the Center for American Progress (CAP).” In the end, Jones left CAP and was appointed as a “special adviser” at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
“It didn’t take more than a few keystrokes to realize that STORM was very influential in the San Francisco Bay Area and had ties to both the Cuban and South African Communist Parties,” Loudon said. “Jones’ group and particularly Jones himself had ties to two former Weather Underground supporters — Jon and Nancy Frappier and the Bay Area branch of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS). Jones was the keynote speaker at a CCDS fundraiser in Berkeley as late as February 2006.”
Loudon’s reporting, picked up by Glenn Beck, then with Fox News, was followed by other embarrassing and damaging revelations from other conservative bloggers. It came out that Jones had called Republicans “assholes” and had signed a letter appearing on the website of 911Truth.org demanding an investigation into whether the Bush Administration “deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war.” The implication was that the Al Qaida terrorists who hijacked the planes that struck New York’s Twin Towers and the Pentagon were part of a much-larger U.S. Government plot.
On June 20, 2011, attorneys acting on behalf of Jones sent a letter to Fox News demanding that the network immediately cease using six characterizations about Jones and demanding a retraction from Glenn Beck. The letter from Sandler, Reiff, Young & Lamb insisted that Jones had communist or Marxist notions “as a young man” but had backed away “from those views” and is now “pro-market.” The letter also claimed that Jones’s name had been placed on the 9/11 letter without his knowledge and had been removed.
But Jones had said in an “Uprising Radio” interview in 2008 that his goals were a “complete revolution” to “transform the whole society” away from capitalism.
None of this, however, seems to bother the modern-day progressive movement. In a “What people who know Van say” part of his website, John Podesta, President & CEO of the Center for American Progress, says, “Van Jones is an exceptional and inspired leader who has fought to bring economic and environmental justice to communities across our country…[At the White House,] Van was working to build a common-ground agenda for all Americans, and I am confident he will continue that work.”
Podesta, who rehired Jones after he lost his White House job, co-chaired the Obama presidential transition team that filled many administration jobs. The other co-chair was Valerie Jarrett, an Obama adviser who publicly talked about how “we” in the administration had followed Jones’s career and wanted him to serve in the administration.
The new “Contract for the American Dream,” coming as the public is turning on Obama’s big government agenda, is a ten-point program to preserve federal programs and promote more federal spending and involvement in the economy:
Invest in America’s Infrastructure
Create 21st Century Energy Jobs
Invest in Public Education
Offer Medicare for All
Make Work Pay
Secure Social Security
Return to Fairer Tax Rates
End the Wars and Invest at Home
Tax Wall Street Speculation
In a YouTube video, Jones led a crowd in the chant “America is not broke” and urged higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy.
Another prominent speaker at the “Take Back the American Dream” conference is Russian TV star Thom Hartmann, who calls himself “America’s #1 Progressive Host” and has a show, “The Big Picture with Thom Hartmann,” which is “produced in the studios of RT TV in Washington, D.C., and syndicated nationally by both RT and Free Speech TV.” RTTV is the American branch of the Russia Today foreign propaganda channel funded by Moscow. One of its correspondents, Katia Zatuliveter, is facing deportation from Britain for being a Russian spy.
Another speaker, Karen Nussbaum, is executive director of the AFL-CIO’s Working America organization. The group claims three million members. During a previous appearance at a Campaign for America’s Future conference, she refused to answer and walked away when questioned about a trip she made to Communist Cuba as a member of the Venceremos Brigades.
A featured speaker, Rep. Barbara Lee, was elected to the National Coordinating Committee of the Committees of Correspondence (the same group Jones spoke to) in 1992, while a member of the California State Assembly. Most, but not all, of the members of this group were active in the Communist Party USA.
- Van Jones Warns Of A Progressive “October Offensive” Against Tea Party | RealClearPolitics (trutherator.wordpress.com)
- Can the Left Stage a Tea Party? (themoderatevoice.com)
- An Interview with Van Jones on Rebuilding the American Dream (forbes.com)
- Wall Street: Which Side Are You On? [by revolutionary communist/Obama comrade, Van Jones] (gunnyg.wordpress.com)
- American Leftists Call For October Revolution (dakotavoice.com)
Accuracy in Media
The Obama State Department and a George Soros-funded organization calling itself Global Integrity have launched an “Open Government” international initiative that should be a subject of late-night jokes.
“Here in the United States, we’ve worked to make government more open and responsive than ever before,” Obama said, as his administration fights congressional requests for information about the Solyndra bankruptcy and the U.S.-Brazil alliance to help the socialist and pro-Castro Latin American country develop its own oil resources.
Interestingly, the new “Open Government Partnership” project was announced on Tuesday at the United Nations by President Obama and Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, a former Marxist terrorist…
This would be laughable were it not for the fact that the initiative and its cheerleaders, including those at the Soros-funded Center for American Progress, are apparently taking it seriously.
But the conservative legal group Judicial Watch has filed a number of lawsuits, complaints and Freedom of Information Act legal actions against President Barack Obama and his administration “in pursuit of the president’s repeated violations of the law and his contempt for the public’s right to know.”
Obama used his U.N. speech on Wednesday to urge the world to “harness the power of open societies” in order to fight corruption. [emphasis CAJ] This sounded very much like George Soros, a funder of this new project who has been spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year promoting “open societies” in the U.S. and around the world. Soros, one of the richest men in the U.S., named one of his foundations the “Open Society Institute” but runs a secretive off-shore hedge fund, the Quantum Group of Funds, based in the Caribbean country of Curaçao, a tax haven…
…The Soros role in the U.S. housing market collapse continues to be a subject of much controversy, stemming from a meeting he had with John A. Paulson, a Wall Street trader who made billions of dollars on the decline in housing prices.
A possible Soros role in the Obama Administration’s dealings with Brazil continues to generate controversy…
…The Global Integrity group is managing the project and says that it is “supported by a diverse mix of charitable foundations, governments, multilateral institutions, and the private sector.”
Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Inter-American Development Bank
National Endowment for Democracy
Open Society Institute (Soros-funded)
Open Society Justice Fund (also Soros-funded)
U.S. Department of State
Wallace Global Fund
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
The World Bank
Google is listed separately as having provided $350,000…
The complete article is at Accuracy in Media.
H/T Gulag Bound
Richard Miniter has a very interesting article in Forbes about the damage anti-American millionaire George Soros is causing to both Central Asia and the foreign policy of the United States.
Soros is an interesting if risible figure. For good reason his name is a boogieman name for we on the right. Truthfully, though, most on the right don’t really have a full grasp on what it is he does to make his name worthy of being put in the pantheon of history’s worst haters of America…
- Word Is That Geroge Soros Might Be Involved In The LightSquared Scandal Too (businessinsider.com)
- CULTURE OF CORRUPTION (CONT’D): Soros turns up in Obama’s LightSquared imbroglio. “As Republican l… (pajamasmedia.com)
- At UN, Obama calls for government openness (sfgate.com)
- Musical Chairs Game At The UN, With George Soros Controlling The Music (thepalinexpress.wordpress.com)
- Obama Details Open Government’s Next Phase (informationweek.com)
- Obama, The Epitome of Stupidity, Ignorance and Arrogance (fellowshipofminds.wordpress.com)
- George Soros: The Double Dip Is Already Here (businessinsider.com)
- Anonymous US officials push open government (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Are Leaders Meeting at the U.N. on NESARA and Disclosure? (stevebeckow.com)
- Scott Bessent Just Can’t Quit George Soros (blogs.wsj.com)