FRC Blog

Change Watch Backgrounder: Eric Holder, Jr.

by Family Research Council

December 8, 2008

POSTION: ATTORNEY GENERAL

NOMINEE: Eric Holder, Jr.

Born: New York City, Jan. 21, 1951.

Family: Wife, Dr. Sharon Malone, and three children.

Occupation: Partner in the Washington, D.C., law firm Covington & Burling

Education: Doctorate from Columbia Law School in 1976

Judicial appointment: President Reagan nominated Holder for associate judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia in 1988; served five years.

Clinton White House: Nominated by President Clinton in 1993 for U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, a position he held for four years; appointed Clinton’s deputy attorney general in 1997.

Hate Crimes

Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder testified in support of the legislation, indicating that it would strengthen federal-state law enforcement capabilities without encroaching upon state responsibilities. He also denied the claim, made by some federal officials in the past, that the federal law enforcement agencies would be overwhelmed if the bill were passed to include new hate crime categories prohibiting bias crimes based sex, sexual orientation and disability.” NOW website, June 7, 1999

Prosecution of Porn Peddlers

Some civil libertarians worry that Eric Holder will be inclined to continue the Bush administration’s crusade against pornography. They cite a June 1998 memo in which he told U.S. attorneys that obscenity prosecutions should focus on “cases involving large-scale distributors who realize substantial income from multistate operations and cases in which there is evidence of organized crime involvement” but added that “cases involving relatively small distributors can have a deterrent effect.” The Clinton administration’s actual track record in this area, however, consisted almost entirely of cases involving child pornography. “We continue to make these [child porn] cases a priority,” Holder says in the memo. Social conservatives often complained that the Clinton administration was not interested in taking on pornography made by and for consenting adults. We probably can look forward to hearing such complaints again under the Obama administration.”  [source]

Elian Gonzalez Fiasco

Mr. Holder said his agents were heavily armed when they entered the house because they had ‘intelligence that the possibility existed there were guns in the house. We had to make sure our people were protected and they were in a position to protect people within the house. I don’t know if there were any guns in the house. I don’t know if they found any guns. We had to deal, however, with the intelligence we had that we got from local sources and make sure everybody was adequately protected.’ Apparently no guns were found.” (Jerry Seper and Clarence Williams, “Holder Defends Sudden Raid For Elian,” The Washington Times, 4/24/00)

Bill Clinton’s Presidential Pardons

Holder played a major role in the decision to grant clemency to 16 former members of the Puerto Rican terrorist group the Armed Forces Of National Liberation (FALN). “Holder …has played major roles in the probe of Democratic funny-money in the 1996 elections, the Sexgate scandal and the recommendation to President Clinton on whether to free FALN terrorists from jail. A list of FALN documents withheld from Congress shows that many memos on the FALN clemency decision went directly to Holder, while Reno’s role was minimal.” (Brian Blomquist, “Ailing Reno Yielding Reins Of Justice,” New York Post, 12/15/99)

As deputy attorney general under President Clinton, Mr. Holder reviewed the last-minute pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich.” (Jim McElhatton, “GOP Hits Another Obama Adviser,” The Washington Times, 6/13/08)

Second Amendment

As Deputy Attorney General, Holder was a strong supporter of restrictive gun control. He advocated federal licensing of handgun owners, a three day waiting period on handgun sales, rationing handgun sales to no more than one per month, banning possession of handguns and so-called ‘assault weapons’ (cosmetically incorrect guns) by anyone under age of 21, a gun show restriction bill that would have given the federal government the power to shut down all gun shows, national gun registration, and mandatory prison sentences for trivial offenses (e.g., giving your son an heirloom handgun for Christmas, if he were two weeks shy of his 21st birthday). He also promoted the factoid that ‘Every day that goes by, about 12, 13 more children in this country die from gun violence’—a statistic is true only if one counts 18-year-old gangsters who shoot each other as ‘children.’ (Sources: Holder testimony before House Judiciary Committee, Subcommitee on Crime, May 27, 1999; Holder Weekly Briefing, May 20, 2000.) After the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the D.C. handgun ban and self-defense ban were unconstitutional in 2007, Holder complained that the decision “opens the door to more people having more access to guns and putting guns on the streets.” [source]

US Attorney Mixed Record?

Eric Holder gets good national press, but some of those who know something about his activities in DC know better. As a lackluster local US Attorney, he not only sat on information concerning police and water department corruption, his staff regularly signed off on excessive police overtime to keep cops friendly to the prosecutors. Holder was also instrumental in getting law changes that made jury trials more difficult for certain defendants.” - Progressive Review, 1998

One of Holder’s predecessors, Joseph DiGenova, says, “When you have corruption staring you in the face, and you fail to act, you should resign. You can’t worry about judgeships or your next job. And this from former city auditor Otis Troupe: “For years, in audit after audit, and in newspaper article after newspaper articles, we have established fact patterns that constitute crimes. And in all but a handful of case, nobody did anything in the prosecutor’s office.” - Progressive Review, 1997

As US Attorney, Eric Holder was the guy who indicted Dan Rostenkowsi and was responsible for his eventual conviction.

Waco

There have been questions about his role in the Justice Department’s conduct in Waco: “The federal prosecutor who raised questions about a possible Justice Department cover-up in the Waco standoff was abruptly removed from the case along with his boss, according to a court filing made public Tuesday.
Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder recused U.S. Attorney James W. Blagg in San Antonio and assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Johnston in Waco, Texas, from any further dealings in criminal or civil proceedings related to the siege.
Holder appointed the U.S. attorney in a neighboring district as a “special attorney to the U.S. attorney general.” Michelle Mittelstadt, September 14, 1999, Associated Press,

Miscellaneous

His firm, Covington and Burling, lobbies for the NFL and was a major player in the passage of the Internet Gambling bill.  Eric Holder did not play any part in those negotiations.

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In the Second Week of Advent, Newsweek Gave to Me…

by Michael Fragoso

December 8, 2008

Via the Corner, there is this profoundly misleading piece from Newsweek on marriage and the Bible.  In it, Lisa Miller attempts to go through the Bible bit by bit, showing how “Biblical” marriage is a ridiculous construct that no reasonable person would want-polygamy in the Old Testament, and Pauline prudishness in the New.  In the end, we should just adopt the Bible’s narrative of “inclusion” to be good Christians and accept same-sex marriage. 

Just to take one of her points: are self-described “Biblical” Christians bound to the polygamy of the Patriarchs?  Of course not.  In the 10th Century, Aelfric, Abbot of Eynsham, was asked to translate the first seven books of the Bible by his king into what is now known as Old English.  In his preface to the Book of Genesis he expresses his unease at such a task, worried that those who do not understand the canons of Scriptural Interpretation might misunderstand facts of the Old Testament.  Certain Biblical actions followed “the customs of the age” but were robustly condemned by the contemporary Church and had been since its inception, such as the polygamy of the Patriarchs or the attempted sacrifice of Isaac.  Aelfric notes that those who hear these stories should not be allowed to dwell on the literal actions of the Patriarchs, but rather on the educative functions: such as polygamy as representing the fecundity of the Church, or the sacrifice of Isaac prefiguring Christ on the cross.  Instead, he feared, any powerful Saxons who had this read to them by an unthinking priest-as the non-clerical classes were largely illiterate at the time-would see Genesis as a license to commit polygamy or engage in human sacrifices, against the expressed teachings of their Church, but with an apparent “Biblical” mandate. 

Likewise, all of Miller’s “novel” objections to St. Paul’s famous “It is better to marry than to burn” line* or questions about Christ’s evident chastity have been answered countless times throughout Christian history, but that doesn’t stop her from making them as if she’s done something terribly groundbreaking in the process.

Frankly, dealing any more with Miller’s specifics would not be at all fruitful.  She elides much of the New Testament, and her history is reliant on the quotably wrong Stephanie Coontz.  Where does one begin to answer imputations that King David was a homosexual?  How can one comprehend-let alone respond to-an argument that first apparently admits Christ’s virgin birth and then proceeds to equate the Holy Family to “Jesus has two (Immaculate) Mommies”?  The Bible is simply a weapon-at-hand for her preferred policy ends.  She’s the sort of person Aeflric was worried about. 

*It is worth noting that even here Miller’s translation betrays a prejudice.  She takes St. Paul to mean “burn with passion.”  Perhaps.  He also might mean “burn [in Hell].”  The early Fathers were divided on the issue, as were many prominent glossators.  It’s funny how the inconvenient, morally absolute reading-found in King James, among other translations-doesn’t get picked up by Miller. 

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New Mental Health Studies Dispel Myth That Abortion is a ‘Non-Event’

by Moira Gaul

December 5, 2008

News of note this week is that two new studies published in peer-reviewed journals continue to link abortion and negative mental health effects.

The first paper , published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, analyzed data from the National Comorbidity Survey, the most comprehensive national dataset on the prevalence of psychological disorders, to explore associations between abortion history and mental health. Abortion was found to be associated with an increased risk of a number of mental health problems including: panic attacks, panic disorder, agoraphobia, post traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, and major depression. The four study authors presented their research on topic at a panel discussion at the Family Research Council in October 2008.

The second paper, written by New Zealand researcher David Fergusson, analyzed data from a 30-year longitudinal study. The methodology, analysis employing two types of models for concurrent and long-term health effects, strong control for confounding variables, and comparison groups were all strengths of the study. The results indicated abortion to be associated with an increased risk of mental disorders, including major depression, anxiety disorder, illicit drug dependence, and suicide ideation.

The results of both studies add to the strong body of evidence detailing the causal association between abortion and mental health disorders. These findings continue to raise important implications concerning informed consent in healthcare. Women in this country deserve quality healthcare which provides accurate information on the associated risks accompanying abortion.

Also making news yesterday was a review paper published by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. In their own press release the university/dept. cited the review paper as the most rigorous review of the literature to date which purported that “studies with the most flawed methodology found negative mental health sequelae of abortion.” This is an insult to Johns Hopkins as a credible academic research institution. The exclusion of numerous studies published in peer-reviewed journals was a gaping omission. The ties of senior author Robert Blum to the Alan Guttmacher Institute as a board member and previous board chair as well as the funding of the university’s department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health, where three of the four study authors work, by Planned Parenthood of Maryland, serve as evidence of the political motivation behind the publishing of the study. Johns Hopkins should be admonished for stamping such sham science.

Women are increasingly coming forward to share about the negative impacts of abortion in their lives. Clinicians treating women for mental health disorders are increasingly stepping forward to tell the truth about the large numbers seeking treatment due to the fallout from abortion. The repeated lies from the pro-abortion community that abortion is a non-event or somehow “therapeutic” in women’s lives are being dispelled and the truth clearly elucidated by scientific findings.

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The True Motivations behind the Passage of Proposition 8

by Krystle Gabele

December 5, 2008

In The Mercury News (San Jose), there was an article that mentioned the strong factors in the vote for Proposition 8. These two factors were education and income. While these two factors may have had some impact in the passage, there is reasonable indication that voters still respect the institution of family.

According to a recent Public Policy Institute of California study quoted in The Mercury News, the measure drew strong support from evangelical Christians.

As other polls had shown, the measure drew overwhelming support from evangelical Christians (85 percent in favor), robust backing from political conservatives and strong opposition from liberals. Baldassare said it’s difficult to say from the polling why people with higher incomes and a college degree tend to support same-sex marriage.

Today, we often read in publications that the family is declining in America. After the recent passage of Proposition 8 by Californians, we realize the institution of family is still in tact and respected by many in our society. While socioeconomic factors and education have a significant impact in how someone will vote, it is ultimately the values that were instilled at home that guide us in our actions at the polls.

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A Ghost from Christmas Past

by Tony Perkins

December 4, 2008

The clock in downtown Ponchatoula, Louisiana had not even struck one but like a bad dream from the past the Louisiana ACLU was back haunting city officials with threats of lawsuits if the town’s Christmas Lights Festival included an illuminated cross.

Having served in public office in Louisiana I’ve traveled the state many times and Ponchatoula, the Strawberry Capital, is one of my favorite places. It is a quaint little southern town that most have only seen in the movies, kind of Norman Rockwellish. The downtown area is bisected by train tracks. Main Street is lined with antique stores that attract folks from around the state.

My wife’s family comes from that region of the state where a majority of the people attend church and overwhelmingly identify with traditional values. This is the same area of the state where the ACLU has filed multiple suits against a school board for opening their school board meetings in prayer. The leftist lawyers also sued a local court because a picture of Jesus was in the court house building.

Why is the ACLU so active in this predominately conservative area of the country? The answer is in the federal district court, the Eastern District of Louisiana, which is a hotbed of liberal activism. Ginger Berrigan, the judge who ruled against the Tangipahoa school board on the matter of prayer and whose ruling was later overturned, is the former president of the ACLU in Louisiana appointed to the bench by Bill Clinton in 1994.

This is another example of why the courts matter, even at the lowest level of the federal system. As is the case with so many elected officials operating with tight budgets, Ponchatoula’s mayor, Bob Zabbia opted not to fight the baseless claim of the ACLU for fear of what it might cost.

Tragically, it cost citizens a whole lot more in the end when their elected officials won’t defend their religious heritage and freedoms.

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Change Watch Backgrounder: Tom Daschle

by Family Research Council

December 4, 2008

SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

 

NOMINEE: Thomas Daschle

BIRTH DATE: Dec. 9, 1947

EDUCATION: B.A. in political science, South Dakota State University, 1969.

FAMILY: Wife, Linda Hall Daschle; three children from a previous marriage.

FRC SCORECARD: 107th Second Session: 22%, 108th First Session: 14%, 108th Second Session: 17%

EXPERIENCE: distinguished senior fellow, Center for American Progress; special public policy adviser, Alston & Bird; Senate minority leader, 2003-2005; Senate majority leader, 2001-2003; Senate minority leader, 1995-2001; U.S. Senate, 1987-2005; U.S. House of Representatives, 1979-1986; aide to Sen. James Abourezk, 1972-77; representative for financial investment firm; intelligence officer, U.S. Air Force, 1969-72.

HEALTH CARE EXPERIENCE: Co-wrote one book and a few papers on the subject while with the liberal organization Center for American Progress.

 

Comments on Health Care

Many believe wrongly that we have the best health system in the world … One of the most urgent priorities in this nation is making its health system accessible and affordable for all.” Daschle. Thomas, Paying “More but Getting Less: Myths and the Global Case for U.S. Health Reform,” Center for American Progress, November 2005.

Daschle’s solution lies in the Federal Reserve Board, which has overseen the equally complicated financial system with great success.  A Fed-like health board would offer a public framework within which a private health-care system can operate more effectively and efficiently … Daschle argues that this independent board would create a single standard of care and exert tremendous influence on every other provider and payer, even those in the private sector.”  Excerpt: “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis,” by Senator Tom Daschle with Scott S. Greenberger and Jeanne M. Lambrew, February, 2008

For the most part, Daschle’s views on health-care policy are predictable for a Democratic politician with long service in the Congress … the toolbox he is looking through is the same one other Democrats are also reaching for: mandates on individuals and businesses to buy or offer coverage; new government-run insurance options for the under-65 population; a national governmental agency offering anyone who wants it to sign up for insurance outside of work; large new subsidy programs; and much more government involvement in determining what is and is not effective medical care … Daschle is no free-market reformer. He believes the solution is to entrust government-run health care to people more trustworthy than HHS bureaucrats or elected members of Congress … In Daschle’s vision, such a board would be charged with making the big and controversial decisions - like what should or should not be covered by insurance plans - without having to answer to the public. Of course, this would be a nightmare scenario for those fearful of government intrusion into the practice of medicine. Once up and running, such a Board would inevitably accrue more power and authority, becoming the choke point for all crucial decisions. And the public would have little recourse to ever undo it.” Capretta, James, “Daschle’s Health-Care Plan,” National Review, August 27, 2008.

 

Pro-Life Record

Taxpayer funding of abortions: June 20, 2000, voted for taxpayer funded abortions on military bases

[Source]

Parental rights/Morning after pill: Voted against a Helm’s Amendment in 2000 that would have prevented taxpayers paying for the morning after pill being distributed to school girls. 

[Source]

Roe v. Wade:

March 12, 2003, voted for a Senate resolution endorsing Roe v. Wade.

[Source]

Partial Birth Abortion: July 25, 2002, Senator Daschle, as Majority Leader, was key on blocking the Partial Birth Abortion Ban coming to a vote in the Senate that year, despite voicing support for the legislation. “(A)bortion rights advocates are counting on the majority leader, Senator Tom Daschle, Democrat of South Dakota, to prevent a bill from coming to the floor. ‘The Senate is our firewall,’ one abortion rights supporter said.”  Hulse, Carl, “An Abortion Bill Passes, But to an Uncertain Fate,” New York Times, July 25, 2002.

Unborn Victims of Violence: March 25, 2004, voted for an alternative to the Unborn Victims Bill, the measure that provides protection and justice for women and children like Laci and Conner Peterson who are victims of violence that would have been far weaker. The measure Daschle backed would deny that the baby had suffered any injuries or death in such an attack.

[Source]

 

Tax and Reporting Problems

Make no mistake, tax cheaters cheat us all, and the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter.” Sen. Tom Daschle, Congressional Record, May 7, 1998, p. S4507.

According to the lead article in today’s Washington Post, Tom Daschle ‘waited nearly a month after being nominated to be secretary of health and human services before informing Barack Obama that he had not paid years of back taxes for the use of a car and driver provided by a wealthy New York investor.’ If President Obama were really serious about ending business as usual, he would immediately withdraw the nomination of someone who was cheating big-time on his taxes and who didn’t level with Obama about the problem at the outset.  [Source] Of course, if he were really serious about ending business as usual, he would never have selected for a major Cabinet position a former senator of no discernible talent who, while he was a senator, enabled his wife to leverage his status to become a super-lobbyist and who on leaving the Senate cashed in his access to his former colleagues for millions of dollars a year.” Ed Whelan, “Limousine Liberal,” NRO The Corner, February 1, 2009. 


Miscellaneous

Senator Daschle supported expanding taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell experimentation as U.S. Senator. [Source]

Senator Daschle was “disowned” by his Catholic bishop due to his strong anti-abortion stance.

The Senate minority leader and the highest ranking Democrat in Washington has been sent a letter by his home diocese of Sioux Falls, sources in South Dakota have told The Weekly Standard, directing him to remove from his congressional biography and campaign documents all references to his standing as a member of the Catholic Church.” Bottom, J., “Tom Daschle’s Duty to Be Morally Coherent,” The Weekly Standard, April 17, 2003.

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Change we’ve seen before

by Family Research Council

December 4, 2008

The Washington Post reports today that the very impressive e-mail and cell phone number lists that Obama’s political campaign amassed will now be moving over to the White House to be used as an action arm of the Administration to get those who supported Obama during the campaign to defend his policy decisions.  Any potential legality aside I am worried how a President could very easily misuse this technology.  Candidate Obama used this technology to try to shut down media outlets that gave a voice to any dissenters and also used it to falsely malign two writers, Stanley Kurtz and David Freddoso.

The Post article states that the Obama transition team is already using the list to tackle probably the biggest “change” that the Obama Administration is preparing for -  some form of universal healthcare.  President-elect Obama’s choice for HHS Secretary, former Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD), has already had a conference call with 1,000 of the people from the list and also has “met with more than 100 insiders,” though the only two groups the article names are supporters of taxpayer funded abortions, AARP and Families USA.

Mr. Daschle also praises the suggestions from the taxpayer funded transition site Obama’s campaign have set up for comments, “‘We want to make sure you understand how important those comments and your contributions are,’ Daschle says into the camera. ‘Already we’ve begun to follow through with some of the ideas.’ Daschle praises the suggestion of creating a ‘Health Corps’ of volunteers, modeled after President John F. Kennedy’s Peace Corps.”

Actually, someone else thought the Health Corps idea was so great that it was created 35 years ago.

Daschle then closes with a quote reassuring people that facts won’t matter as much as anecdotes - so keep those stories coming in!

Stay tuned for more on the incoming HHS Secretary…

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Christmas is a humbug for Planned Parenthood of Indiana

by Jared Bridges

December 4, 2008

The Christmas season is looking a bit Scrooge-ish for Planned Parenthood of Indiana. They’ve already been visited by two specters in recent days.

Last week (the ghost of Christmas present?), their introduction of “gift vouchers” for abortions didn’t exactly kindle the holiday spirit. This week, invoking the ghost of Christmas Past, Live Action Films introduced an undercover video featuring an “overly-helpful” PP worker who becomes hard of hearing when evidence of rape arises:

LifeNews is now reporting that the worker has been “suspended,” whatever that means. Perhaps Indiana Planned Parenthood needs a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come…

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Update on the Washington Metro Bus Ad

by Krystle Gabele

December 4, 2008

As mentioned in the November 12, 2008 Daily Buzz, the Washington, DC Metro Transit system has been in some deep heat from riders and onlookers alike for their recent advertisements on the back of buses. The advertisements are a part of the American Humanist Association campaign that says: “Why believe in a God? Be good for goodness sake.”

According to a recent article from The Washington Examiner, the Metro Transit Agency has received such complaints like, “May all your atheist buses break down.” Metro spokeswoman Candace Smith responded to these complaints by saying,

As a public agency, Metro must observe the First Amendment with respect to the acceptance of commercial advertising,” Smith said. “Although we understand that feelings and perceptions will vary among individuals within the community, we cannot reject advertising because an individual, or group, finds it inappropriate or offensive.

Metro spokeswoman Smith said the number of complaints represents a small fraction of its ridership, which averages more than a million trips on buses and trains daily.

Do we think we’re losing customers over this?” Smith said. “I doubt it.”

She said Metro responds to each complaint, urging those who complain to contact the advertiser directly. Or, she said, “They can pony up money for counter advertising.”

It is an attitude like this that sends a clear sign that the Metro does not take note or consider how offensive an advertising campaign can be to their patrons.

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Two Important Pieces from the Washington Times

by Chris Gacek

December 2, 2008

Over the extended holiday weekend, the Washington Times published an editorial and a commentary piece that are well worth reading:

  • The Times editorial appeared on Friday, November 28, and was entitled “Judicial Imperialism.”  First, the paper discusses the worrying ramifications of the recent settlement by eHarmony, a California company, which was forced by the state of New Jersey to offer dating services to gay customers in New Jersey.  Second, the editorial discusses the dangerous and illegitimate effort to have the California Supreme Court thwart the will of the Golden State’s voters and declare its recently-passed marriage amendment unconstitutional. 
  • The commentary piece was authored by Jeffrey T. Kuhner.  His first Sunday opinion column with the Times was published on September 28th.  In Kuhner’s latest, entitled “Obama vs. Pope Benedict,” he recognizes the struggle that may erupt between Mr. Obama and the Pope should the new administration pass the Freedom of Choice Act.  He sets the stage as follows:

Mr. Obama signing the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) “would be the equivalent of a war,” a senior Vatican official told Time magazine last week. “It would be like saying, ‘We’ve heard the Catholic Church and we have no interest in their concerns.’ ”

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