- The Washington Times - Monday, August 31, 2009

REID’S BEHAVIOR

Sherman Frederick, publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, on Sunday called out Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, for what Mr. Frederick described as an attempt to bully his newspaper.

“This newspaper traces its roots to before Las Vegas was Las Vegas,” Mr. Frederick said in a column.

“We’ve seen cattle ranches give way to railroads. We chronicled the construction of Hoover Dam. We reported on the first day of legalized gambling. The first hospital. The first school. The first church. We survived the mob, Howard Hughes, the Great Depression, several recessions, two world wars, dozens of news competitors and any number of two-bit politicians who couldn’t stand scrutiny, much less criticism.

“We’re still here doing what we do for the people of Las Vegas and Nevada. So, let me assure you, if we weathered all of that, we can damn sure outlast the bully threats of Sen. Harry Reid.

“On Wednesday, before he addressed a Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Reid joined the chamber’s board members for a meet-‘n’-greet and a photo. One of the last in line was the Review-Journal’s director of advertising, Bob Brown, a hard-working Nevadan who toils every day on behalf of advertisers. He has nothing to do with news coverage or the opinion pages of the Review-Journal.

Yet, as Bob shook hands with our senior U.S. senator in what should have been nothing but a gracious business setting, Reid said: ‘I hope you go out of business.’

“Later, in his public speech, Reid said he wanted to let everyone know that he wants the Review-Journal to continue selling advertising because the Las Vegas Sun is delivered inside the Review-Journal.

“Such behavior cannot go unchallenged.

“You could call Reid’s remark ugly and be right. It certainly was boorish. Asinine? That goes without saying.

“But to fully capture the magnitude of Reid’s remark (and to stop him from doing the same thing to others) it must be called what it was - a full-on threat perpetrated by a bully who has forgotten that he was elected to office to protect Nevadans, not sound like he’s shaking them down.”

Mr. Frederick added: “No citizen should expect this kind of behavior from a U.S. senator. It is certainly not becoming of a man who is the majority leader in the U.S. Senate. And it absolutely is not what anyone would expect from a man who now asks Nevadans to send him back to the Senate for a fifth term.”

MOVIE CRITICS

“Criticizing a candidate for public office can get you into a great deal of trouble in America these days,” Hans A. von Spakovsky writes in the Wall Street Journal.

“Just ask Citizens United, a conservative nonprofit that a D.C. district court ruled in violation of the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law when it produced a critical, 90-minute documentary about Hillary Clinton during last year’s presidential campaign,” Mr. von Spakovsky said.

“The D.C. court ruled that ‘Hillary: The Movie’ was a form of ‘express advocacy’ and therefore, under the rules of McCain-Feingold, could not receive direct corporate funding (the law requires all corporate campaign contributions be made through political action committees). Citizens United appealed, arguing that a pay-for-view, 90-minute film on cable was not subject to the same restrictions as widely broadcast television ads.

“Citizens United v. FEC is slated to come before the Supreme Court on Sept. 9. When it does, the Court will have an amicus brief filed by eight former [Federal Election Commission] commissioners, including me, to consider. … It’s clear to us that the D.C. court’s decision should be overturned on First Amendment grounds and McCain-Feingold ruled unconstitutional.”

HOLDER’S HISTORY

“When he served as deputy attorney general, now Attorney General Eric Holder gave a ‘neutral leaning positive’ recommendation that led to PresidentBill Clinton’s pardoning of gazillionaire fugitive Marc Rich, who was on the lam in Switzerland hiding from federal charges of fraud, evading more than $48 million in taxes, racketeering and trading oil with Iran in violation of a U.S. embargo,” San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra Saunders writes.

“Holder also had a role in the 1999 Clinton pardons of 16 Puerto Rico independence terrorists - members of the bomb-happy FALN or the splinter group Los Macheteros - who had been convicted on such charges as bank robbery, possession of explosives and participating in a seditious conspiracy - even though none of the 16 had applied for clemency. As the Los Angeles Times reported, two of the 16 refused to accept the pardon - as it required them to renounce violence - while another later was killed in a shootout with federal agents.

“During his confirmation hearing in January, Holder refused to explain why the Clinton Department of Justice changed its earlier position against the 16 commutations - citing President Clinton’s claim of executive privilege.

“So you’ll forgive me if I don’t buy into the argument that, as a simple lawman, Holder had no choice but to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate alleged abuses during CIA interrogations of high-value detainees.

“The Clinton Justice Department didn’t even make the 16 terrorists disclose pertinent information about the crimes they committed, just as they tied no strings around Rich. Yet 10 years later, Holder’s Justice Department won’t give a break to CIA officials desperate to stop another terrorist attack.”

DEAN’S CANDOR

“We’ve always suspected that fear of angering trial lawyers was the only reason President Obama refused to embrace tort reform as a crucial part of achieving his goal of reduced health care costs,” Fred Barnes writes in the Weekly Standard.

“Now we know for sure. A moment of candor by Howard Dean, the former chairman of the DNC and an enthusiastic backer of Obama’s health reform initiative, confirmed our suspicions. ‘The reason that tort reform is not in the bill is because the people who wrote it did not want to take on the trial lawyers in addition to everyone else they were taking on,’ Dean said at a town-hall meeting in Virginia last week.

“So much for Obama’s insistence that cutting costs is dear to his heart,” Mr. Barnes said. “He’s rejected, for purely political reasons, one of the most effective tools for containing medical costs. It would upset a special-interest group - well-heeled plaintiffs’ lawyers - that is one of the biggest funders of the Democratic Party.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes .com.

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