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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

US Population Shifting from Blue to Red States

US Population Shifting from Blue to Red states
The 2010 U.S. Census Bureau reported their official numbers, and the subsequent impact on population shifts from the slow growing northeast and Midwest to the faster growing South and Western United States.   According to 
Overall, this represents a continued shift in the Electoral College from blue-leaning states to red-leaning states.  The U.S. Census Bureau today announced its long-awaited final population and reapportionment numbers. The official population of the U.S. as of April 1, 2010 was 308,745,538, up from 281,421,906 in 2000. The Northeast grew 3.2 percent, the Midwest grew 3.9 percent, the South grew 14.3 percent and the West grew by 13.8 percent. Overall, it was the slowest growth in the country since the 1930s.
The apportionment winners were: Texas (4 seats), Florida (2 seats), Arizona (1 seat), Georgia (1 seat), Nevada (1 seat), South Carolina (1 seat), Utah (1 seat), Washington (1 seat). The losers were: New York (2 seats), Ohio (2 seats), Illinois (1 seat), Iowa (1 seat), Louisiana (1 seat), Massachusetts (1 seat), Michigan (1 seat), Missouri (1 seat), New Jersey (1 seat), Pennsylvania (1 seat).  The rest of the states are holding their own, including Colorado, New Mexico and Oregon.    For the first time since 1920, California did not gain a Congressional seat.

The last time California did not gain seats was in 1920, when rural congressmen refused to reapportion seats, and the power that went with them, to urban states.  The new numbers reflect a generational shift of population and political power from the Northeast and Midwest to the South and West. In the Congress that’s seated in January 2013 the largest House delegations will be from California, Texas (36 members), New York and Florida (27 each). To put those numbers in perspective, since 1970 when the Sunbelt began to grow, Texas and Florida have each gained 12 seats while California has gained 10. The biggest losers over that 40-year span have been New York, which has now lost 12 seats, Ohio and Pennsylvania (seven seats each) and Illinois (six seats). 

Political pundits and campaign strategists can see the impact of the this 2010 population shift, as the big northeast states of New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Illinois have lost a combined 32 Congressional seats since 1970, while Texas, Florida and California have gained 34 seats.     The Rustbelt is declining and the Sunbelt continues to grow.   And blue states (Democrats) are flat to declining while the red states (Republican) are growing.   The new Census will impact the 2012 Presidential election by favoring the growing red states at the expense of the flat or declining (in population, votes and political power) blue states.

© 2010, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Current Events and Newsmaker on Video

Do You Want to Watch a Current Political Video?

In this day of sound bites, 30 second spots, talking points, spin and Twitter, we often miss the full context of statements by an elected politician, an appointed official or even the President of the United States (POTUS).   Rather than trying to understand political decisions and what is happening from bits and pieces, you can click through to the Video sections of some key web sites and actually watch the full press coverage, or interview or debate that you are interested in.    Politico, YouTube, RealClear Politics all have video and multimedia resources to watch and allow you to receive a full context on news, newsmakers, politicians and elected officials.  from Real Clear Politics

 For years, we have just waited for the mainstream media (MSM) to pull together sound bites from newsmakers with commentary from news anchors to “see and hear” the news.    Or wait a day or two before the local newspaper prints the story or news article.   In fact, a 30 minute MSM news program, such as ABC, NBC or CBS, consists of about 12 minutes of news and 18 minutes of commercials.    On-line, you’ll see some 15 seconds ad clips, but mostly you can just watch the full context of what is going on, whether it is a speech, interview or debate.   In 2010, you can watch and see the newsmaker without commentary, political spin or editing.   And you can make up your own mind.

© 2010, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,  

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Challenges in Funding State Government

Challenges in Funding State Governments

It is the economy…still the biggest challenges facing state and local governments.    State and local tax revenues have been declining since 4th quarter 2008, and corporate income taxes have been declining since 3rd quarter 2007.   The recession impact was felt at the state and local government tax receipts for 5 quarters (4th Qtr 2008 through 4th Qtr 2009).    Year over year for 2010 inched up at about 2% rate (1st and 2nd quarter 2010 compared to 2009) state tax revenues.     This according to the Rockefeller Institute recent report on state and local government finances.   
             However, state revenues took a major hit as tax collections were off about 20% below expectations over a 2-year period of economic slowdown (late 2008 through early 2009).   Planning for FY 2011 budgets will be a challenge, as all of the stopgap measures have been exhausted and some real budget cuts will still be required to balance state budgets.    In Colorado, the FY 2011 budget shortfall is estimated to be $1.5 billion, as compared to a $19 billion state budget.   In New Mexico, another $250 to $400 million needs to be cut from this FY budget, and it is likely that more reductions will be needed for FY 2012 (that starts July 1, 2011).
The Southeast and Rocky Mountain regions reported the largest declines in personal income tax collections at 9.6 and 6.3 percent, respectively. In fact, each single state in both regions reported declines in personal income tax collections.    In Colorado, personal income tax withholding was down about 4% in late 2009, but had slightly increased to about 3% (increase) in 2nd Quarter 2010.   According to the Rockefeller Institute, Colorado and New Mexico were experiencing declining economic activity in August 2010, as compared to the rest of the United States.   Texas continued to maintain economic growth, although is has slipped from 7th in FY06 to 13th in FY11 on the Tax Foundation state business tax climate index. 
The Rocky Mountain States are slipping on the Tax Foundation index, with New Mexico falling 10 slots from FY10 (#23) to FY11 (#33).   Under 4 years of a Democrat majority in both legislative assemblies and a Democrat Governor in Colorado, the state fell from FY08 (#10) to FY11 (#15) in the Tax Climate index.    Whereas the state of Utah as steadily moved from FY06 (#15) into the top ten FY11 (#9) in the Tax Climate index.  Arizona dropped one notch below New Mexico to FY11 (#34) after several years in the high 20’s in the Index.
Bring up the rear in FY11 are New York (#50), California (#49), New Jersey (#48), Connecticut (#47) and Ohio (#46).     Each of these state are characterized by high tax rates, significant public labor unions, and significant taxes on capital (such as California with almost 10% state tax on capital gains).
As various states struggle with a weak economy, it is likely that those states that reduce public spending and reduce dependence on government programs (and thus are able to reduce tax rates), but at the same time create a business friendly environment, are more likely to succeed economically going forward.   Clearly, as California and New York have experienced, their model is not working.  Whereas the Texas model and the Florida model are enhancing economic growth due to a better tax climate and business friendly state policies.     In the United States we have 50 models of state level democracy and free market capitalism underway.    The high tax, high regulation and high public union states are not competitive (nor financially sound), whereas the lower tax, lower regulation and less public union states are more competitive and fiscally sound.

© 2010, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,  

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Insider NM Politics

Insider New Mexico Politics

New Mexico politics are always interesting.   And especially with the change from the corrupt Richardson Democrat administration to the new Republican Governor-elect Susana Martinez.    One of her campaign themes is to clean up Santa Fe.    And based on what some of the Albuquerque, NM TV stations are running and stories we've heard out of Santa Fe in the last year of "Big Bill", it is a mess.     Add in the dramatic NM budget crunch (the shortfall was estimated at $300MM, but may actually be closer to $450MM) when the legislature gathers in January.    With the new Guv in town, less money means big changes.  

One of the best insider NM blogs is by Joe Monahan
This week he has been blogging on the changes in the NM House, as the Republicans picked up 8 seats and the Democrats cling to a narrow 37D to 33R majority.  While Speaker Lujan (R-Santa Fe) is still the Speaker nominee in January 2011, the numbers suggest that if all the R's and 3 Democrats formed a coalition, they could swing the vote away from Lujan as the Speaker.  Somewhere in the mix is empowered House Minority Leader Tom Taylor (R-Farmington), who has a much stronger hand with new Republican Governor and 8 new GOP members.  Plenty of blogger fogger.

Meanwhile, Lt. Governor John Sanchez will be in Farmington, NM right before Thanksgiving for part of the new Republican administration's "listening tour".  

(c) 2010, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,

Monday, November 8, 2010

Rep. Paul Ryan's Roadmap

In January 2010, ranking Republican Paul Ryan (R-1st District, Wisconsin) set forth a road map for the US Federal budget.  During the 2010 congressional campaign, the budget roadmap that Congressman Ryan authored became a major topic of debate, both among candidates and economists.   It is likely that Represenatative Ryan will become the Chairman of the House Budget committee.   You can link directly to the Roadmap and judge for yourself the plan that Congressman Ryan is proposing.  The voters of the 1st District of Wisconsin support him, as he was easily reelected with 68% of the vote on November 2, 2010.

MADISON, Wis. -- U.S. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District appeared on Fox News on Sunday to promote his plan for cutting government spending. Ryan is in line to lead the U.S. House Budget Committee, and he said he will try to repeal the president's health care reform bill, calling it a "fiscal and economic train wreck." The Congressman continued, "We have had spending on a gusher," said Ryan. "And if borrowing and spending and taxing and spending actually created jobs and produced prosperity, we wouldn't have all this joblessness. We wouldn't have this lame economy we have right now. So, I think these spending cuts are actually quite modest considering the pickle we are in." 

As to the role of the House of Representatives in the US Federal Budget process?     It is where all tax and spending bills orginate and with the great debate heading to Washington for America's financial future, watch was happens in the House budget committee under the leadership of Representative Paul Ryan in 2011.   It will be a very different approach to the Obama-Pelosi-Reid spending agenda.   Instead, real reductions in Federal spending will be debated in the Budget Committee.  What a concept! 

(c) Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,  

2010 Election Impact on State Legislatures

2010 Election Impact on State Legislatures

From blogging post on The Hill

Republicans took control of at least 19 Democratic-controlled state legislatures Tuesday and gained more than 680 seats, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The last time Republicans saw such victories was in 1994, when they captured control of 20 state legislatures. Republicans haven't controlled as many state legislatures since 1928.  Across the country, the map for state legislatures has turned noticeably red as Republicans now control 55 chambers, with Democrats at 38 and the remaining yet to be decided. At the beginning of this week, Democrats controlled 60 of the country's state legislative chambers and Republicans 36.  

From American Thinker

Republicans now hold 3,735 state legislative seats to 3,119 state legislative seats held by Democrats, a stunning reversal of power from 2006 and 2008. Republicans have more seats in state legislatures than at any time since Reconstruction. These gains in state legislative seats led to a number of state legislative changes flipping from Democrat to Republican. In those 87 state legislative chambers contested on November 2, Republicans captured control from Democrats in at least nineteen chambers. In stark contrast, Democrats failed to gain a single state legislative chamber from Republicans.

For a map of the State legislatures and shift in balance of power to Republicans (red states), check out the National Conference of State Legislatures.  On their web site  click on Legislatures & Campaigns & State Vote.

This seismic shift in state legislatures from Democrat control to Republican control is the most significant in the last 70 years.

So how did it go in Colorado and New Mexico?   In New Mexico, under the leadership of House Minority leader Representative Tom Taylor (R-Farmington), the Republicans picked up 8 House seats to gain a total of 33 as compared to 37 Democrats.    Not a majority, but the GOP has a strengthened hand as the minority going forward with the new Republican Governor Susana Martinez.    The NM State Senate is not up for re-election until 2012, when their present 4 year terms expire.
On Colorado, the Republicans picked up enough seats to gain a single seat majority (33 to 32), with the new speaker of the House Frank McNulty (R-Highlands) and a split on the Joint Budget committee (3 Republicans and 3 Democrats) who will preside over recommending $1 Billion in cuts to a $19B budget for FY 2011/12.  The Colorado State Senate has 20 Democrats and 15 Republicans, with Ellen Roberts (R-Durango) being the single GOP pickup.

            Finally the most significant aspect of the shift in the balance of power in state legislatures in that the Republican majorities will oversee redistricting in states based on the 2010 census.    This will give the GOP an advantage at the state level (and presidential level) over the next 10 years.

© 2010, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What a Difference an Election Day Makes

What a Difference an Election Day Makes

Election Day 2010 in the United States sent a message to Washington and respective state capitals: Enough! Stop the spending, repeal ObamaCare, create policies that encourage jobs and innovation. As US Senator Mitch McConnell said in a speech at the Heritage Foundation ,

"So the voters didn’t suddenly fall in love with Republicans; they fell out of love with Democrats. And while they may have voted to send more Republicans to Washington, they’re sending them here with clear marching orders: stop the big-government freight train and respect the will of the people who sent you there." Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky

So what happened? As we know, the President is still determined to push through his progressive (i.e., left wing Democrat) agenda. Despite the overwhelming Republican wins in the US Congress (60+ seats picked up by GOP, including the majority), some Democrats are attributing the resounding defeat at the polls in November 2010 as failure to communicate the American people. Instead of recognizing the rejection of ill-fated and wrong-headed policies of the Democrats over the past two years that were rammed through by the Obama-Pelosi-Reid trifecta, the President and his allies just don’t get it. Americans are sick of the spending, the overreaching of their national government and creation of America in the image of socialized Europe.

With excellent insight and with the power of a strengthened hand (GOP controlled House, a stronger Republican minority in the US Senate, combined with a weakened President, Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) stated:

"But, as I see it, the White House has a choice: they can change course, or they can double down on a vision of government that the American people have roundly rejected. If they choose the former, they’ll find a partner in Republicans. If they don’t, we will have more disagreements ahead.
“The formula is simple, really: when the administration agrees with the American people, we will agree with the administration. When it disagrees with the American people, we won’t. This has been our posture from the beginning of this administration. And we intend to stick with it. If the administration wants cooperation, it will have to begin to move in our direction.
“There is no reason we can’t work together to prevent a tax hike on small businesses. There’s no reason we can’t work together on energy independence, cutting spending, or increasing American exports by completing free trade agreements. And we can continue to work together to give our armed forces in Afghanistan, Iraq and around the world whatever they need to accomplish their mission." Mitch McConnell

More info on the Republicans in the US Senate:

And for the policy wonks among us, the Heritage Foundation has suggested their Solutions for America that summarizes the electoral mandate by the center/right American voters on November 2010.

© 2010, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Congressional Cheat Sheet

Congressional Cheat Sheet

For those of you who are really into how these elections turn out, you may want to check out the final “cheat sheet” from Hot Air on the Congressional races.   Each Congressional race is ranked 1, 2, 3….through the 100’s as to how likely the seat will switch parties (from R to D, or D to R) in the 2010 election.   For example, John Salazar is ranked 43rd most likely (out of 435) to loose his seat (switch from D to R).

The prediction from the political pundits and pollsters ranges from 40 to 70 seats that will switch from Democrat to Republican.   A net gain of 39 seats is needed by the Republicans to gain control of the “people’s house”.  

As for Colorado and New Mexico, here are likely “switch” ranking numbers.   The lower the number, the more likely the seat is to switch (the incumbent, in these two states the are Democrats) to the other party:

New Mexico:   NM-1:   Incumbent,  Martin Heinrich, D-NM 1st   Rank=82
                        NM-2: Incumbent, Harry Teague, D-NM 2nd  Rank=26
                        NM-3: Incumbent, Ben Lujan, Jr. D-NM 3rd  Rank=117

Colorado:  Colorado 3: Incumbent, John Salazar, D-Colo 3rd  Rank=43
                  Colorado 4: Incumbent, Betsy Markey, D-Colo 4th  Rank=10
                  Colorado 7: Incumbent, Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo 7th  Rank=96

And for those of you that would like a map to see the results, try this web site:

Enjoy the election outcomes!

© 2010, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,  

Election Day 2010

Election Day 2010

In the United States, we still are able to vote on a regular basis as a self governed people.    Today, American across the country will finish voting for candidates seeking to serve the people at the local, state and Federal level.   In most states, early voting is allowed, which means the voting process has been going on for 2 to 3 weeks, with the final window to vote occurring today, Tuesday November 2nd.
            In Colorado and New Mexico, there are competitive races up and down the ballot.   Some of the more interesting to watch:   The 3 way race for Governor of Colorado has the Democrat Mayor of Denver (Hickenlooper) trying to hold off a surging third party bid by a former Republican Congressman (Tancredo), while a the Republican nominee (newcomer Maes) has sunk to single digits in polling.  In northern New Mexico, a conservative Tea Party Republican (Tom Mullins) is challenging a well known Hispanic family dynasty (Lujan) for the 3rd Congressional seat.  Scott Tipton is positioned to win his Republican bid for the 3rd Congressional seat in Colorado, a likely upset win over incumbent Democrat John Salazar.
In Durango, long time conservative rancher JPaul Brown is running a decent campaign against newcomer Democrat and professional environmentalist (O’Donnell) for the 59th state legislative seat.   And well respected state Representative Ellen Roberts is challenging the appointed state Senate Democrat Bruce Whitehead for the 6th Senate District in southwestern Colorado.   Other races of note are La Plata County Commissioner, where my friend Bobby Lieb should out distance a Democrat and independent to win a seat on the Commission.  And in San Juan County, NM, the popular Margaret McDaniel is running a strong campaign for County Commissioner in an historically Navajo dominated district.   Her chances are better that 50-50% that she could win over the Democrat.
            The new governor of New Mexico is likely to be Susana  Martinez, a conservative Republican from southern New Mexico, who has run a successful campaign against the NM Democratic machine.    All three Congressional seats in New Mexico are competitive, with Republican pick-ups likely in 2 of the 3 races.
            At the national level,  the voters are fed up with big government, runaway spending and Obamacare.    Essentially, the Congressional races are a referendum on Obama, Pelosi and Ried and their Democrat policies that have not been working.   With the economy stuck in the mud due to poor public and tax policy, the voters are throwing the bums out and giving the Republicans another chance.    But with the volatile political climate of the past several years as a backdrop, whoever is governing better get it right, or they too will be voted out of office next time around.
            So today is your final day to vote.   Make it count!

© 2010, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,   

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Best Political Writer

The Best Political Writer…Victor Davis Hanson

In this election season, and as a student of American (conservative) political thought, a must read on a regular basis are columns by Victor Davis Hanson.    Especially this week as he summarized the voter frustration with big government in the Washington and the Obama socialistic presidency.

His insight, wit and historical perspective (in terms of political history) are unique among the political writers of our day.

He is featured on Pajamas Media


© 2010, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,   

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Senator Thune Delivers GOP Response

Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota) delivers the GOP response the week of 10.24, as the Democrats struggle to maintain their majority control in Washington, despite the failed policies of the past two years.

Senator Thune is a likely candidate for President in 2012.   Wouldn’t a debate between Senator Thune and the President be interesting?

© 2010, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,  

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Endowed by Their Creator

Endowed by Their Creator
What Article 2.1 of the Declaration of Independence actually says:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

What President Obama, in his recent speech to the Hispanic Caucus Institute said:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, endowed with certain inalienable rights: life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Source: Posted September 15, 2010    [3rd to last paragraph]

So, did the President just skip the critical reference that the Founder’s purposely included as a foundational principle of the Declaration of Independence, or did he purposely eliminate it (and any reference to the Creator) or did he miss the teleprompter? Probably reason number 2, as the full speech and context is posted on the official White House Web site (still up on the web as of 9.23.10).  Words matter.   And the words of the Founding Fathers really matter.   And the omission of words is a choice.   The President made the wrong choice.   And attempted to change what our Founder's said, "by their Creator".  

© 2010, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Scott Tipton for Congress

Scott Tipton for Congress

I've personally know Scott for about 30 years, as a fellow citizen here in Southwestern Colorado.    He and his family have been solid citizens in Cortez, Colorado, and his strong rural Colorado ties plus conservative values qualify Scott for being our next Congressmen from the 3rd CD.    Our next step as Colorado voters is to support, send money, tell our friends and vote for him on November 2nd.      He'll get the job done.

A recent column by well know political writer Dick Morris sizes up the Colorado Congressional races, in which several Republican challengers are running strong campaigns to unseat vulnerable incumbent Democrat

Colorado offers a good example. Betsey Markey was supposed to be a marginal new Democratic member. But Cory Gardner, her Republican opponent, is now more than 20 points ahead. John Salazar, the brother of the Interior Secretary and a well-established Democratic incumbent in a largely Republican district, is now almost 10 points behind his GOP challenger Scott Tipton. And Ed Perlmutter, a solidly entrenched Democrat in a supposedly nearly-safe district, is running one point behind his GOP opponent, the unusually articulate Ryan Frazier (a black Republican with Obama-esque charisma). The Republicans will probably win all three seats.     Source:  

The 3rd Congressional District of Colorado is larger than most states, has some of the best skiing in the world, and the most bueautiful mountains, strong agriculture, Indian Tribes, multi-generational Hispanic and Anglo families (and their farms, businesses and civic endeavors).      As a 35 year resident, we need on well rounded (Fort Lewis grad, business owner, long time Cortez community leader) person like Scott to represent us in Washington.     Our incumbent Congressman has voted with Nancy Pelosi and the out of touch Washington Democrats most of the time.    It time that our Colorado representatives support our conservative Colorado values.     It is time to elect Scott Tipton to Congress!

(c) 2010, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,      

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ellen Roberts-6th Senate Colorado

The August primary is over, and the winner is Republican candidate Ellen Roberts (R-Durango), who has served as our GOP state Representative for the 59th District.  We are fortunate to have a strong and experienced candidate like Ellen to running for the 6th Senate District.    She is facing the “appointed official” Bruce Whitehead, a newcomer to the State Senate, who has not faced an election in his short political career.     While Ellen has successfully prevailed in 3 general elections and one contested Republican primary, Mr. Whitehead is facing the voters for the first time.

Some quick history about the 6th Senate in Colorado: It is a geographically large and politically diverse.   The seat has been held by Republicans and Democrats.    From Telluride & Silverton (which vote 2 to 1 Democrat) to Montrose, Montezuma and Archuleta County (which vote Republican) and to Durango/La Plata County (which is now voting 60% Dem/40% Rep in 2008), it takes a well-rounded and hard working Republican nominee to win the 6th District.    In my opinion, with our dedicated help, Ellen can win this race.

Our voter registration for the 6th District, among “Active” voters:

30,589 Republican            23,124 Unaffiliated  (can’t vote ‘til General)        22,486 Democrat

So we have 77, 877 active voters, but it is likely only about 45,000 (or so) will vote.  In the 2006 Colorado 6th Senate race, about 50,000 people voted.

We’ll see Ellen on the campaign trail as she launches her General election campaign after a successful primary election, in which she prevailed with over 53.4% of votes cast by Republicans.   

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Story Behind Gaza Flotilla

Actual IDF Video on Gaza Flotilla

We’ll see how the Main Stream Media (MSM) handles the supposed relief ship headed to the Gaza Strip, when the actual story (see IDF video) may be different.
The Israeli Defense Force has blocked ships from entering Gaza ports, due to weapons and terrorist smuggling operations.     So when the supposed relief flotilla headed to Gaza and attempted to break through the IDF Naval blockade, the Israeli military intercepted the boats in the flotilla.

Here is the videos   

A bit different story on what the MSM will be reporting, as compared to what actually happened.    Unfortunately there were lives lost and injuries on both sides, but only after the people on the supposed relief mission attacked the Israeli soldiers sent in to intercept the ships.

It gets more interesting.  Based on research reports in the Weekly Standard, drawn from the US Department of the Treasury, the sponsoring organization of the flotilla is the Turkish based IHH, a known terrorist organization with ties to Hamas.

The Turkish organizers of the Gaza Strip-bound flotilla that was boarded this morning by Israeli commandos knew well in advance that their vessels would never reach Israeli waters. That's because the organizers belong to a nonprofit that was banned by the Israeli government in July 2008 for its ties to terrorism finance.

The Turkish IHH (Islan Haklary Ve Hurriyetleri Vakfi in Turkish) was founded in 1992, and reportedly popped up on the CIA's radar in 1996 for its radical Islamist leanings.  Like many other Islamist charities, the IHH has a record of providing relief to areas where disaster has struck in the Muslim world. 

However, the organization is not a force for good. The Turkish nonprofit belongs to a Saudi-based umbrella organization known to finance terrorism called the Union of Good (Ittilaf al-Kheir in Arabic). Notably, the Union is chaired by Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, who is known best for his religious ruling that encourages suicide attacks against Israeli civilians.  According to one report, Qardawi personally transferred millions of dollars to the Union in an effort to provide financial support to Hamas.

In 2008, the Israelis banned IHH, along with 35 other Islamist charities worldwide, for its ties to the Union of Good.  This was a follow-on designation; Israelis first blocked the Union of Good from operating in the West Bank and Gaza in 2002.  

Interestingly, the Union of Good may not only be tied to Hamas. Included in the Israeli list of 36 designees was the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO).  In 2006, both the U.S. government and the United Nations designated the IIRO branch offices in Indonesia and the Philippines for financing al Qaeda.  French magistrate Jean-Louis Brougiere also testified that IHH had an "important role" in Ahmed Ressam's failed "millennium plot" to bomb the Los Angeles airport in late 1999.   Source:  The Weekly Standard on-line    Jonathan Schanzer

So while the secular world and anti-Isreal Arab world is “outraged”, according to MSM reports, the real facts would indicate that under the guise of a humanitarian mission, a flotilla of pro-Gaza protesters (infiltrated by terrorists) was on their way to Gaza.    

© 2010, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media  

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Free Press, But Don't Press Obama

Free Press, But Don’t Press Obama
One of the cherished freedoms in America, is the free press.   And one of the press institutions in American is the White House Press Corp.   These are the best and brightess members of the world press corp, that have the high visibility assignment of covering the White House.    Usually, that also means covering the President.   Except for President Obama.   He is generally unavailable.  
There was some rich irony at the White House today -- President Obama signed the Press Freedom Act, and then promptly refused to take any questions.
The new law expands the State Department's annual human rights reports to include a description of press freedoms in each country. It seemed a good opportunity to showcase press freedom in this country.
Recall that last Friday the president refused to take any questions after delivering his angry statement on the oil spill in the Rose Garden. And he has not held a prime time White House news conference in many months, despite much pleading from pundits and members of the media.
So after he signed the bill, and as the press "wranglers" began aggressively herding us out of the room, I asked if he still has confidence in BP. He ignored the question so I tried this: "In the interest of press freedom, would you take a couple questions on BP?"
That did elicit a smile (from the President), and he told me I was free to ask questions. Someone else shouted, "Will you answer them?"
He said he's not holding a press conference today as we were escorted out the door.
From the CBS White House correspondent Chip Ried, 5.16.10

So, let’s not ask any questions of the President.   The usual give and take is “off limits”, as only the scripted version of the President’s views and comments are allowed, and only when the teleprompter is available.    No need to respond to a question by the Press, when that will only threaten the sanitized version of the White House story!

We’ll see how long the public relations campaign lasts before the press demands Presidential access for some real news?

© 2010, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,   

Governor Christie Unleashed

Governor Christie Unleashed

Finally, a governor, willing to be frank, and funny with firm conviction plus a tone of authority.    The mainstream media is being welcomed to the new politics, along the lines of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.    The reporter asked a question designed to trap the governor.   Governor Christie didn’t take the bait.  Instead he went after the reporter in a way that left the voters cheering.  And the folks in the room actually laughing.

It's true: Political media often focus on process and personality over policy, treating substantive and complicated issues as though they were political theater. So when a New Jersey reporter asked Republican Governor Chris Christie about his "confrontational tone," Christie unleashed a tirade on behalf of an entire nation tired of those media habits. The bipartisan consensus is that Christie's blunt response was, to put it simply, awesome.
Max Fisher The Atlantic Wire  

Compare this to the President, who hasn’t had a give and take news conference since July 2009.    Instead of the rough and tumble approach taken by the present Governor of New Jersey, Mr. Smooth uses a teleprompter to stay on the sanitized message.     One problem: Mr. Obama is getting less believable by the day.  The American people are asking: What does President Obama really think?   Can he actually answer a blunt and challenging question from the White House press corp?
The President may want some lessons in public candor from Governor Christie.

© 2009, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media  

Friday, May 7, 2010

Democrat Obey Bails Out of Congressional Re-Election Bid

Democrat Obey Bails Out of Congressional Re-Election Bid

As the 2010 Congressional elections come into view, a number of Democrats that serve in Congress are calling it quits.    The latest Democrat to call it quits, is the powerful chairman of the Appropriations Committee, David Obey, D-Wisconsin, 7th District.   A member for 40 years, Mr. Obey was one of the biggest spenders in Washington, a political heritage that is more and more difficult to defend with voters back home.

Dateline-WASHINGTON, DC — Representative David R. Obey of Wisconsin, the third-most senior member of the House and chairman of the Appropriations Committee, announced Wednesday that he was retiring after four decades in Congress, a decision that reflected both a generational shift and the difficult political environment for Democrats.

        “I’m ready to turn the page,” said Mr. Obey, 71. He told lawmakers and reporters crammed into the committee room where he has held sway for so long that he was “bone tired,” before adding, “And frankly, I think that my district is ready for somebody new, to make a fresh start.”
    Mr. Obey, an occasionally cantankerous figure and die-hard liberal who spearheaded last year’s economic stimulus legislation, was facing a competitive election in his sprawling district, with Republicans trying to show they could threaten senior Democrats.     Source:
So were does this story of Obey retiring fit into the mix of overall retirements in Congress?     He is one of 17 Democrat members, along with 20 Republican members who are not running for the House of Representatives in 2010.

The surprise retirement of Wisconsin Rep. Dave Obey on Wednesday brought the number of Democratic retirements to 17 -- short of the 20 Republicans leaving or running for other offices but still perilously close to the danger zone for Democrats in the 2010 midterms.
By political handicapper Charlie Cook's projections, 13 of the 17 open Democratic seats are marginal -- meaning that they are likely to be competitive between the two parties. There are fewer competitive districts among the 20 Republican retirements with both national House committees likely to spend campaign cash in four or five of the GOP seats.    Washington Post, Fix political blog   

So as the 2010 Election approaches,  37 members of Congress (17 Democrat and 20 Republicans) are stepping aside, rather that facing voters in November.   Clearly the anti-incumbent and anti-Washington mood among voters is creating a difficult reelection environment for members of Congress.   

© 2010, Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media,  

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Budget Cuts? 1/4 of penny?

Budget Cuts, Obama Style....

In this video clip   the recent announcement by President Obama that Team Obama will cut $100 million from the budget is put into it's true perspective.       Even your kids and grand kids will understand that cutting $100 million from a $3, 500 million budget is really just 1/4 of a penny from $100 dollars of pennies.  When will Washingon really get serious about cutting spending?    When new Congress people, with a fiscally responsible mission, are elected to replace the big government tax and spenders!     At this rate, November 2010 elections cannot come soon enough.

(c) Jasper Welch, Four Corners Media  

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ellen Roberts for State Senate

Ellen Roberts for State Senate

Campaign season is in full swing in Colorado.   On Saturday April 17th

Good morning Republicans!  I’m Jasper Welch, a delegate from La Plata County.    This morning I’m honored to place in nomination my friend & fellow Republican Ellen Roberts for the 6th Senate District.    In my 30 years of civic involvement, we have the opportunity to nominate the best-prepared candidate for state Senate.

Ellen is experienced, independent and she has the right temperament to be our next state Senator.    Simply put:  She is the right person for the job… and here’s why:

Ellen has the experience….
… in construction…health services…a successful law practice and her community involvement, Ellen knows the District, the people and the issues we face in Colorado.     We know her…and she knows us.    No need for on the job training, but rather she is well prepared to represent us.  Ellen understands southwestern Colorado…she is one of us.

Ellen has the electability
…as our 59th House representative, Ellen has met the challenge of a Colorado legislative campaign.   Her Democrat opponent has been a government employee that was appointed as a placeholder in the State Senate seat.  That won’t last.  Ellen knows that an appointed Democrat must stand for his first election.  She is ready and willing to campaign.  And with your help, and the help of voters throughout the 6th District, she’ll be our next elected (not appointed) State Senator.

Ellen is an independent thinker….
She really listens to all sides of the issues, and as a Republican, she knows how we approach the issues.  From my experience, she is independently mined, and doesn’t fit the mold and I admire that.    So the question is not, is she “conservative” or “moderate” or “whatever” enough.   But rather, does our Republican nominee have the independent judgment and understanding of limited government and fiscal responsibility to be a leader in the state Senate?   Ellen wants to know what you think and how best to represent your diverse interests at the state Capital.

Ellen has the unique ability to really listen, to really do her homework, and fight for our Republican principles.  It takes sound judgment and a steady temperament to be a state Senator.     I have personally known and worked with former Republican Senators Dan Noble and Bob DeNier.  We miss them.  They served southwestern Colorado well.   As fellow Coloradans, they had the experience, the electability, the independence and the temperament to serve.   I believe that Ellen will follow in their footsteps.

In remarks to delegates to  a Republican assembly in 1982, Ronald Reagan said:  “When the chips are down and the decisions are made as to who the candidates will be, then the 11th commandment prevails and everybody goes to work. His guidance?  Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican.”   

In the heat of party politics and nomination assemblies, with e-mails and political labels flying around, it is easy to lose site of the real goal: that is sending the appointed Democrat Senate back home, and electing a Republican to the 6th Senate seat.   It is with these things in mind, that I proudly place the name of Ellen Roberts in nomination.

Jasper Welch, delegate from La Plata County, Colorado 4.17.10

Sunday, April 4, 2010

White Washed White House Press Corp

White Washed White House Press Corp
In America, the tradition of the free press is one of the foundations of our Republic.    And tough reporting, along the lines of the late Robert Novak, has been the job of the White House Press Corp.     And while every president has publicly stated the need for a free press and access to the White House, most have scrapped, fought and had their dust ups with the Washington press corp.
So, the White House trying to control the message, access to the President, and run a PR machine, this is nothing new.     However, in the world of Team Obama, access comes with a price: Your articles are favorable to the President, you get access, and even the opportunity to write a book.   And it helps if you don’t report, when that is to the advantage of the White House.   And if you take the gloves off, as did the late Robert Novak, well let’s just say that your access and insider info dries up, and maybe your press coverage is weakened by less sources and insider info.   
Let’s hear how the issue is laid out by Steve Clemons, in Washington Note in the April 2nd edition on line  
The communications team at the White House has an extremely difficult job -- and I admire how hard Ben Rhodes, Bill Burton, Tommy Vietor, and of course Robert Gibbs and others work to connect the President's policy direction with a communications effort that furthers the Obama agenda.
The role of the White House press corps is to engage this team and work on public's behalf to report not only on what they are fed by the communications team but what they are not.
There are good friendships between White House media and those they cover inside the White House -- but they can't be FRIENDS in the fullest sense. They are supposed to be rivals, wrestling over stories and the truth that is conveyed through the media to American citizens.
But an unhealthy pattern is developing in this White House -- a trend that may very well have been a part of other presidencies as well -- but what is happening today needs comment.
Some journalists seem to be putting their self-interest above their responsibilities to the public as well as their employers.
As Howard Kurtz and Glenn Greenwald have both commented, many White House correspondents and other top tier journalists want to write Obama books.
Anything with "Obama" on it is running at a huge premium in the book publication market.
But the kind of books that sell need "inside access" and this is something that the communications team at the White House doles out minimally, and increasingly, only when favors are part of the arrangement.
What I have learned after discussions over the last several days with several journalists who either have regular access to the White House or are part of the White House press corps is that there is a growing sense that access is traded for positive stories -- or perhaps worse, an agreement that things learned will not be reported in the near term.

The White House is working hard to secure deals that yield fluffy, feel good commentary about the Obama White House. One American White House reporter used colorful terms to describe the arrangement. The reporter said, "They want 'blow jobs' first [in the press sense]. Then you have to be on good behavior for a bit or be willing to deal, and then you get access."

About Steve and The Washington Note 
Greetings, and welcome to my website. During the days, I serve as Senior Fellow & Director, American Strategy Program, New America Foundation and, in my spare time, serve as Director of the Japan Policy Research Institute. I've also been encouraged by my great friend, Joshua Micah Marshall of  to start my own blog. So, connected here you will soon find  where I will more regularly comment on public policy debates that deserve attention.

So, Chicago style politics are the norm in this White House.    Insider deals, crony capitalism, behind the scenes pressure, and murky deal making are the norm in the world of Obama.  But can you blame the President?   It is all he has known.

©  2010, Four Corners Media, Jasper Welch  

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Health Care Bill Fails Constitutional Test

Don't Let the Facts Get in the Way   [Orrin Hatch]
Faced with plummeting public support, the White House is engaged in a scorched-earth PR campaign to justify its failure to listen to the majority of the American people who oppose this $2.5 trillion health-care bill. They've even started attacking my opposition to the unconstitutional federal individual mandate citing legislation that was introduced as an alternative to Hillarycare back in the 1990s.

To be clear, I supported this alternative to President Clinton's massive federal takeover of the American health-care system, because my number-one priority was the defeat of yet another big-government assault on health care that the people of Utah overwhelmingly opposed. It's that simple.

In the intervening years, I went back and carefully examined, in close consultation with constitutional experts, the legal problems with many of the bills being supported at the time. This needed to be done, because of the hasty nature of the debate which was thrust upon us in 1994. It is simply a fact that Congress has never imposed this kind of mandate before. We concluded, as would any intelligent scholar of the Constitution, that this federal mandate requiring Americans to either purchase health insurance or face a punitive tax exceeds the authority the Constitution has given to Congress.

I have gone to great lengths on the Senate floor, in newspaper columns, and elsewhere to explain my conclusions, because I believe that this is a very important debate. Something, I might add, this administration has not even begun to do because they don't seem to care whether the proposals they support are Constitutional or not.

In contrast, I believe our liberty still requires limits on government, and I am glad that the country is today debating constitutional as well as policy issues. We would all be better off if more "policy experts" took this rational approach.

It's regrettable that instead of examining the legality of their health-care monstrosity, the administration and its allies are simply going on a smear campaign. From one experienced legislator, let me give Washington one very important piece of advice: Don't think you are right 100 percent of the time with everything you do. Arrogance and power are a terrible mix, and one the American people will not support.

One thing is clear: When the legislative battle ends, the legal battles will begin. There's no disputing that fact.

— Orrin Hatch is a Republican United States senator from Utah.

And released from the Senator's office, on his web site 3.24.10

WASHINGTON – Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, today said he supports Utah joining with other states to sue the federal government over a provision in the $2.5 trillion bill that requires every American to buy health insurance or pay a fine.

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff announced today that Utah will join other states in challenging the constitutionality of the health care bill adopted by the House on Sunday and by the Senate in December. Hatch said a challenge on constitutional grounds is in order.
“Congress has overstepped its legal authority by telling Utahns and other Americans that they must buy health insurance or else,” Hatch said. “The Constitution empowers Congress to regulate interstate commerce, but not to tell Americans what they can buy. And this is just one of the constitutionally suspect provisions in the legislation. So I commend Mark Shurtleff’s and other state attorney generals’ plan to challenge this unconstitutional Washington mandate that encroaches on states’ rights and Utahns’ personal liberty, and I will do all I can to assist them in their efforts.”