Morning Briefing for September 24, 2009

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1. Watch me Get the ACORN Lawsuit Dismissed in 15 Minutes (or Less)

I will keep this simple. Here is the text of the suit, which is brought under the MD Wiretap Act. The suit alleges that Andrew Breitbart, working in concert with O’Keefe and Giles, intercepted an “oral communication” using an electronic device, which would indeed be a violation of the act. The problem, however, is that the statute specifically defines “oral communication” in section 10-401(2)(i) as: “any conversation or words spoken to or by any person in private conversation.”What this means, as established by the clear text of the statute (and Maryland caselaw, including Fearnow v. Chesapeake & Potomac Tel. Co. of Maryland, 342 Md. 363 (Md. 1996)) is that at least one of the parties to the conversation must have had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the conversation. In other words, if someone stands up in the town square and shouts out loud and someone else records it, that is not a violation of the act. The problem for ACORN is that, as a matter of law, the employees at ACORN had no reasonable expectation of privacy in what they said to members of the public who entered their offices. As made clear by Katz v. United States and its progeny (made applicable specifically to the Maryland Wiretap Act by cases such as Malpas v. State, 695 A.2d 588, 595 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 1997)), “What a person exposes knowingly to the public, even in his own home or office, is not a subject of Fourth Amendment protection.”Please click here for the rest of the post.

2. Rasmussen shows a close U.S. Senate race in Missouri

Today Rasmussen Reports issued their first Election 2010 survey of Missouri’s U.S. Senate race that will most likely be between Rep. Roy Blunt (MO-7) and Sec’y of State Robin Carnahan (D-we don’t know where she is). The Rasmussen poll shows a dead heat – 46-46 between Blunt and Carnahan. Both of these candidates are well-known names in Missouri, and earlier polls by other polling firms had shown Carnahan with a statistically insignificant one or two-point lead a few months ago.Please click here for the rest of the post.

3. Former Baucus Aide Complicit in Max Baucus’s Humana Insurance Harassment

Max Baucus sicks the government on health care companies doing nothing more than educating their customers on the implications of the Baucus bill.

On Monday, Mr. Baucus issued a news release boasting of what he described as his efforts to keep the health care debate honest. “Baucus-requested investigation nails insurance scare tactics,” the news release proclaimed.In the news release, Mr. Baucus said that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a division of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, had “cracked down on insurance company attempts to mislead and confuse beneficiaries about how they would be affected by health care reform legislation.”

There’s just one problem. It has come to RedState’s attention that the person at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) that issued the threat to Humana is Jonathan Blum, a former senior Baucus staffer.See here:

CMS has named Jonathan Blum as the director of (CMM). Blum joins CMS from Avalere Health where he served as Vice President of Medicaid and Long-Term Care Practice. Blum most recently served on the professional staff of the Senate Finance Committee as an advisor to Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and other Finance Committee members on prescription drug and Medicare Advantage policies during the development of the Medicare Modernization Act.

This begs the question: Did Baucus and Blum coordinate the harassment? Did Senator Baucus and Jonathan Blum coordinate to threaten private insurers if those insurers spoke candidly about the implications of the Baucus plan? It would not be unusual for a former Senate aide to help his boss out. Weren’t some Abramoff crooks caught up in doing that? It seems entirely plausible that Max Baucus picked up the phone and asked Blum to unleash hell — abuse the power of CMS to threaten, bully, and silence honest opposition.Is it legal?Please click here for the rest of the post.

4. Obama Lied, Soldiers Died

On February 17, 2009 (just about a month after swearing an oath to defend his Country against all enemies foreign and domestic) it was reported that Barack Obama was committing an additional 17,000 troops to the Afghanistan “conflict” in order “[t]o meet urgent security needs.”On March 27, 2009 Barack Obama “announced a comprehensive, new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan that is the culmination of a careful 60-day, interagency strategic review.”Two days later, on March 29, 2009 it was reported that Barack Obama was committing “4,000 troops to Afghanistan along with hundreds of civilian specialists in an effort to confront what he considers “the central challenge facing [that] country.” Now the master of indecisiveness is promising “to announce new strategies for both countries Friday” (September 25, 2009).To the detriment of us all, while Obama waffles and flips and flops (like the fish out of water we all knew he WOULD be in trying to fake it as a legitimate Commander in Chief) between all these strategies he can’t seem to make up his mind about, 317 MORE Soldiers have died fighting in defense of Operation Enduring Freedom which is more than 30% of the total lives lost during the entire 8 years of the conflict.Please click here for the rest of the post.

5. Barbara Boxer & Lamar Alexander vs. Jim DeMint & Mitch McConnell

I’ve been meaning to give praise to Mitch McConnell since last week when he began voting against appropriations measures coming out of the Senate. This is a rare thing for McConnell, who normally sides with the appropriators.But he stood up and voted no last week, siding with the Senate conservatives. It was a bold move worthy of praise.Something has happened this week too. McConnell did it again. He sided with Jim DeMint and California farmers against a small fish.What is pathetic and sad is that both Barbara Boxer and Lamar Alexander sided with the fish over the farmers.Jim DeMint offered up an amendment to the Department of Interior’s budget appropriations to sidestep stupid environmental studies about a minnow that a judge used to stop water flow in California’s Central Valley, where 50% of the US fruits and veggies are grown.Senator Feinstein called DeMint’s amendment “a kind of Pearl Harbor.”California’s Senators would rather their farmers be unemployed and crops left to die of thirst than stop a judge from siding with a minnow. Both Boxer and Feinstein sided with the minnow over the farmers.Lamar Alexander sided with them.Please click here for the rest of the post.

6. Kill Obamacare Through a Backdoor

I went to a Virginia Conservative Campaign Fund party last night for Ken Cuccinelli, Bob McDonnell, and Bill Bolling.If you will recall, in 1993 the Republicans took over Virginia. It was a clear signal to the nation that a backlash was coming against the Democrats. Consequently, the Democrats ran for cover and Bill Clinton’s liberal agenda was largely shut down.If McDonnell, Bolling, and Cuccinelli sweep Virginia this year as Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General respectively, the same thing will happen. Democrats will run scared. Couple that with New Jersey and the willingness of Democrats to carry Barry O’s and Nancy’s water will greatly diminish. Consider donating to the Virginia Conservative Campaign Fund by going here. They’ll target the money and help the candidates whose victories will mean the destruction of Obamacare.It’s a backdoor defeat, but it is still a defeat.Please click here for the rest of the post.