Thursday, November 3, 2016

My Two Days With Kim Would Beat A Weekend With Bernie!

Meanwhile, here is the new link to, Abby, our real estate daughter's profile in the Orlando Style Magazine. 

For the last several days I have been with Kim Strassel escorting her to book review meetings.  Kim, as many know, is a dear friend and a very accomplished op ed writer for The Wall Street Journal.  She
is on the WSJ's Editorial Board and is known for her "Potomac Watch" articles as well and her frequent appearances on Paul Gigot's "Wall Street Week."

Kim began her first meeting here at The Landings and 175 plus came to hear her review her most recent book: " The Intimidation Game" about how the radical left is silencing free speech.  She followed this presentation with a similar one at our home where some 60 people were present.

The next day we drove to Atlanta and, my friend of some 40 plus years, Bernie Marcus, agreed to introduce her to an audience of about 200 people.  After her presentation we had dinner with her meeting hosts, Chuck and Bonnie Berk, several of my Atlanta friends including Bernie and Rep. Tom Price and his wife. It was a  lively and interesting evening.

Kim began by telling a precious, around the dinner table, story concerning  her three children's view of what free speech meant to them.  Her oldest son ( Oliver,11 years) impressed her with his serious repeating of what he had learned in school.  Her next oldest daughter  (Stella, age 9 )was quite emphatic that everyone was entitled to free speech and her youngest daughter, ( Frances age 5) was in favor of free speech as long as it agreed with her thinking.

Kim's book is thoroughly researched and traces reactions as a result of  the  Jan. 21, 2010, case decision of Citizens United vs. Federal Election Committee, which broadened the meaning of citizen's eligibility to engage in campaign financing.. From that point an entire series of actual activities began which have taken  a variety of forms but basically all orchestrated to intimidate those engaged in exercising their Bill of Right act of free speech.

I will not enumerate all the instances Kim cited and discussed but suffice it to say freedom of speech is under attack by faceless, un-elected bureaucrats and, in Kim's view, the Obama Administration is one of the most dishonest ever  by virtue of the way it has corrupted the practices of various "independent" agencies from the IRS to the Justice Department. In example after example, Kim discusses the intimidation  of conservative groups by withholding approval of their tax free status, and the efforts on the part of Lois Lerner and the IRS Director to blame their nefarious acts upon a few misguided lower level operatives in an Ohio office.

She walks us through Gestapo like tactics pursued by Milwaukee District Attorney, John Chisholm, who employed  bizarre John Doe Legislation, rooted in the1800's,  to intimidate Wisconsin citizens. After years of litigation and intimidation, The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Chisholm's actions were  based on a contrivance of laws.

She discusses how a legislative advocacy entity (ALEC) was intimidated by demands  they turn over their donor lists causing many of  ALEC's contributors to leave and/or stop their membership and contributions nearly crippling the organization's ability to function..

Kim calls Sen. Dick Durbin and his staff on the carpet for their role in assisting the gum shoes who pursued ALEC.

She discusses how 17 State Attorney Generals have brought an intimidation suit against EXXON because of the energy corporation's comments refuting  the Obama Administration views and scientific characterization of climate change.

Then we have the efforts to silence Koch Industries and the Koch Brothers whose enormous wealth  and predominant campaign contributions are viewed as a threat because they happen to finance some conservative politicians who have differing views about capitalism, support of our Constitution etc.

Intimidation is taking many disturbing and pernicious forms involving physical harassment and outright violence against person and personal property, law suits seeking donor lists under the guise that more disclosure is cleansing and revealing and thus healthy as well as a myriad number of threatening activities financed by anarchists seeking to destroy our nation from within (Soros being among the more prominent), involving  payments to thuggish protesters and those who disrupt free speech on our campuses all the way to The Wall Street crowd as well as The Black Lives Matter group.

That freedom of speech is under attack should be evident but so many of those cited in her book and, who were victims, did not, initially, correlate.

Kim offered several ways we can address some of the issues she discussed, but the first and most important response is to recognize the reality that freedom of speech is under attack. Then we can increase  the level at which campaign contributions must be reported,  we can review and change many of the more unctuous rules and regulations seeking transparency but which are used to intimidate etc.

I take to heart the fact that Kim, through her investigative reporting, is the female equivalent of Paul Revere. Whereas he warned us The Brits were coming she is telling us Big Brother is already here, listening and intimidating.

If citizens allow our freedom of speech to be shredded our resemblance to a free Democracy, based on adherence to The Rule of Law, will be our downfall and we have only ourselves to blame.

If we stand up to and challenge  this omnipotent curse, called Big Government run by Intimidating Bureaucrats,, there is cited evidence bullies yield to Clorox.  Which will it be - succumb or respond?The ball is in our court. The outlook is dim. but not yet hopeless.

At dinner Bernie discussed a merger he rejected for reasons that caused him to become politically active. He talked about his view of Trump and what he believed Donald must/would do to restart the economy and whether he would listen to advisers, were he to become president. Tom Price responded to questions about what it takes to de-fund agencies and departments, would conservative members of The  Republican Caucus  press to throw out Ryan should Trump become president, what it would take for Congress to break the Congressional gridlock, why does it exist and, were Hillary to become president, would the legal clouds hanging over her be pursued should Republicans retain control of The House and Senate and why The Fed was unable to lengthen debt maturities. Kim responded to questions regarding Bret Stephen's stance against Trump among other inquiries.

It has been a very interesting few days and I maintain Kim Strassel is a gutsy  national treasure and someone I deeply admire.

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