Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pelosi to Dems - Fall on your swords boys

Or something like that.

As I blogged earlier this weekend I think it is a poor tactic. Ramming Pelosicare through will only tip close raced further to the Republicans, giving them the opportunity to overturn the legislation.

But if that's the way the queen wants it, so be it. We will live to fight another day.

Fox News
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged her colleagues to back a major overhaul of U.S. health care even if it threatens their political careers, a call to arms that underscores the issue's massive role in this election year.

Lawmakers sometimes must enact policies that, even if unpopular at the moment, will help the public, Pelosi said in an interview being broadcast Sunday the ABC News program "This Week."

"We're not here just to self-perpetuate our service in Congress," she said. "We're here to do the job for the American people."

"When we have a bill," she said, "you can bake the pie, you can sell the pie. But you have to have a pie to sell."
Sounds more like a shit sandwich to me Nancy, and we ain't buying it.

Via Memeorandum

Frank Rich - Tea Partiers are "Obsessed and Deranged"

Well Frank must feel better now that he got that off his chest. Clearly he has a bad case of Tea Party Derangement Syndrome.

In this op-ed Rich still tries to pin the "Tea Party" tag (with a disclaimer) on Texas terrorist Robert Stack "But he did leave behind a manifesto whose frothing anti-government, anti-tax rage overlaps with some of those marching under the Tea Party banner." of course not mentioning Stack's anti-religion, anti-business views that are more in lines with the progressives. He also tries an interesting connect the dots between Stack, OK terrorist Timothy McVeigh, the Tea Parties, White Supremacists and Militias.

If any one is obsessed and deranged it is Frank Rich. This man is delusional and paranoid beyond belief. Sure a small minority of Tea Partiers may fall on the far nutzo right but they are no more a force in the movement than the radical progressives who's membership includes far left eco-terrorists and militant socialists. I would even say that the ultra-left is far more dangerous and has a much greater influence on the political landscape of this country judging by the direction that the Organizer in Chief, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are trying to take us.

Frank Rich is trying to make it sound like small government, individual liberty, personal responsibility and the Constitution are bad things. But really what do you expect from someone who thinks they are smarter than the rest of us?

NY Times
They loathe John McCain and the free-spending, TARP-tainted presidency of George W. Bush. They really do hate all of Washington, and if they hate Obama more than the Republican establishment, it’s only by a hair or two. (Were Obama not earning extra demerits in some circles for his race, it might be a dead heat.) The Tea Partiers want to eliminate most government agencies, starting with the Fed and the I.R.S., and end spending on entitlement programs. They are not to be confused with the Party of No holding forth in Washington — a party that, after all, is now positioning itself as a defender of Medicare spending. What we are talking about here is the Party of No Government at All.

The leaders embraced by the new grass roots right are a different slate entirely: Glenn Beck, Ron Paul and Sarah Palin. Simple math dictates that none of this trio can be elected president. As George F. Will recently pointed out, Palin will not even be the G.O.P. nominee “unless the party wants to lose at least 44 states” (as it did in Barry Goldwater’s 1964 Waterloo). But these leaders do have a consistent ideology, and that ideology plays to the lock-and-load nutcases out there, not just to the peaceable (if riled up) populist conservatives also attracted to Tea Partyism. This ideology is far more troubling than the boilerplate corporate conservatism and knee-jerk obstructionism of the anti-Obama G.O.P. Congressional minority.
Via Memeorandom

Even the British see Obama as a sham

Nice to know that somewhere the media sees the Chosen One for what he is.

Telegraph UK
Professor Obama is convinced of his own intellectual superiority. When his pupils fail to realise that he knows what is good for them, he simply repeats himself in the expectation that the simpletons will eventually understand.

Obama is becoming something of a victim of his own oratorical success.

The more he talks, the less people listen. We have heard so much from him that his words carry less and less weight. It is the law of diminishing returns.

He can't seem to grasp that voters don't want an expansion of government to cover health care. It's not a failure to understand the professor but a disagreement with the fundamentals of the lesson he's dictating.

The most amusing political intervention of last week was from former president Jimmy Carter, who indignantly rejected the increasingly common charge that Obama is "as bad as Carter".

On only one occasion since 1896 has a party lost the White House after just four years. That was when Carter was defeated by Ronald Reagan in 1980.

Startlingly, America's first black President and the man hailed a little over a year ago as the hope of a generation, is beginning to look like he could follow suit in 2012.
Or take the UK Sunday Times
WHEN Barack Obama took office last year he was compared to Superman, even joking at a dinner that he had been “born on Krypton and sent here ... to save the planet Earth”. Last January he appeared on the cover of Spider-Man.

Now, with his legislative agenda in tatters, the president has moved from comic-strip hero to comparisons to one of the great flawed figures of American literature. Ten days ago Charlie Cook, a leading election analyst, compared Obama and his battle to push through healthcare reform to Captain Ahab and his suicidal hunt for the great white whale.

Despite poll after poll showing that Americans’ main priority is jobs, the president has focused on reforming the US healthcare system and extending coverage to the 40m citizens with no insurance.

Obama has said healthcare is so important that he will get it through even if it means he ends up as a one-term president, like Jimmy Carter. He may get his wish. The latest poll by CNN/Opinion Research found 52% of Americans think he should serve only one term.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Al Gore is right

At least that's what Tipper tell him.

So the Goracle gets an op-ed in the NY Times today and while admitting that there are flaws in the AGW cabal's propaganda, he stands by his guns that we are all doomed to a fiery hell on earth because after all the great and vaunted scientists of the cabal are using cautious estimates in predicting the on coming calamity.

Never you mind that even disgraced CRU scientist Professor Phil Jones, the man at the center of the Climategate scandal, admitted the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now – suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon. And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming. Add that Professor Jones' sloppy data was crucial to the hockey stick graph that is the core of the AGW's "the sky is falling" mantra, the Goracle is still in full denial. Maybe someone needs to tell him that it looks like we are at the beginning of a 20-30 year period of global cooling.

NY Times
It is true that the climate panel published a flawed overestimate of the melting rate of debris-covered glaciers in the Himalayas, and used information about the Netherlands provided to it by the government, which was later found to be partly inaccurate. In addition, e-mail messages stolen from the University of East Anglia in Britain showed that scientists besieged by an onslaught of hostile, make-work demands from climate skeptics may not have adequately followed the requirements of the British freedom of information law.

But the scientific enterprise will never be completely free of mistakes. What is important is that the overwhelming consensus on global warming remains unchanged. It is also worth noting that the panel’s scientists — acting in good faith on the best information then available to them — probably underestimated the range of sea-level rise in this century, the speed with which the Arctic ice cap is disappearing and the speed with which some of the large glacial flows in Antarctica and Greenland are melting and racing to the sea.
So Al I salute you. It takes a strong man to stick to his guns even when the evidence points in the other direction. Maybe, just maybe we can find a job for you in the Obama administration. That way you will be around like minded people that will also never admit that they are wrong even when faced with overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Via Memeorandum

The U.S. No Longer Has a "Free" Economy

Courtesy of The Adventures of Citizen X

Study: U.S. No Longer Has A "Free" Economy

For more than ten years the Index of Economic Freedom, a joint publication of The Wall Street economic freedom index Journal and the conservative Heritage Foundation, has ranked the countries of the world by the amount of economic freedom they have.

The study focuses on ten fundamental economic freedoms: business freedom,trade freedom, fiscal freedom, government size, monetary freedom,investment freedom,financial freedom, property rights, freedom from corruption and labor freedom.

The 2010 Index was released last month, covering the year 2009.

The United States dropped to number eight on the list, its lowest ranking ever.

Worse, for the first time the U.S. dropped out of the Index's "Free" category into the next category of "Mostly Free."


Ranking ahead of the United States in economic liberty are, starting with the freest,Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Switzerland, and, yes,Canada.

America's plunge in the rankings is due to a variety of anti-market policies, including increasing tax rates and government spending.

"The U.S. government's interventionist responses to the financial and economic crisis that began in 2008 have significantly undermined economic freedom and long-term prospects for economic growth," say the Index editors."[U.S.]economic freedom has declined in seven of the 10 categories measured in the Index."

Of the 179 countries graded in this year's Index, only seven scored high enough to qualify as having a "Free" economy. Another 23, including the U.S.,had sufficient economic liberty to rank"Mostly Free."

The Index clearly shows that economic liberty is vital not just for prosperity, but for personal freedom and protecting the environment.

"The 2010 Index provides strong evidence that economic freedom has far-reaching positive impacts on various aspects of human development. Economic freedom correlates with poverty reduction, a variety of desirable social indicators, democratic governance, and environmental sustainability," notes the Index."Economies classified as free or mostly free also do a much better job promoting human development, reducing poverty and protecting the environment."


Top Ten of 2010

Year: 2010

Index of Economic Freedom World Rankings

World Rank Country
Overall Score Change from Previous Business Freedom Trade Freedom Fiscal Freedom Government Size Monetary Freedom
Financial Freedom Property Rights Freedom From Corruption Labor Freedom
1 Hong Kong
89.7 -0.3 98.7 90 93 93.7 83.1
90 90 81 87.4
2 Singapore
86.1 -1 98.2 90 90.7 95.3 80.9
50 90 92 98.9
3 Australia
82.6 0 90.3 85.1 61.4 64.9 82.7
90 90 87 94.9
4 New Zealand
82.1 0.1 99.9 86 63.6 51.3 83.1
80 95 93 88.8
5 Ireland
81.3 -0.9 92.8 87.5 71.1 61.8 79
80 90 77 79
6 Switzerland
81.1 1.7 81.2 90 68.2 68.9 81.3
80 90 90 81.8
7 Canada
80.4 -0.1 96.5 88.1 76.7 54.1 75.4
80 90 87 81.5
8 United States
78 -2.7 91.3 86.9 67.5 58 78.1
70 85 73 94.8
9 Denmark
77.9 -1.7 97.9 87.5 35.9 22 79.3
90 90 93 93.7
10 Chile
77.2 -1.1 64.8 88 77.5 89.6 73
70 85 69 75.4

Read more of the report at The Heritage Foundation

Democrats on Health Care - All In

Andy McCarthy in the National Review has an interesting take on the Democrat's new strategy on health care of going for broke. McCarthy posits that the Dems on the progressive left do not care about 2010, and possibly even 2012, and are going to use whatever means necessary to ram the bill through. His theory being that they feel that it is better for them to win now, get the bill in place and hope that it cannot be overturned when the Republicans win back Congress and/or the White House. That winning the next battle (elections) doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.

Andy McCarthy, National Review
On Sean's panel last night, when the conversation turned to how nervous Democrats supposedly are over what for now is teeing up like a very bad November, I felt like I was channeling Mark Steyn, Mark Levin and Rush. That is, I think our side is analyzing this all wrong: Today's Democrats are controlled by the radical Left, and it is more important to them to execute the permanent transformation of American society than it is to win the upcoming election cycles. They have already factored in losing in November — even losing big. For them, winning big now outweighs that. I think they're right.

I hear Republicans getting giddy over the fact that "reconciliation," if it comes to that, is a huge political loser. That's the wrong way to look at it. The Democratic leadership has already internalized the inevitablility of taking its political lumps. That makes reconciliation truly scary. Since the Dems know they will have to ram this monstrosity through, they figure it might as well be as monstrous as they can get wavering Democrats to go along with. Clipping the leadership's statist ambitions in order to peel off a few Republicans is not going to work. I'm glad Republicans have held firm, but let's not be under any illusions about what that means. In the Democrat leadership, we are not dealing with conventional politicians for whom the goal of being reelected is paramount and will rein in their radicalism. They want socialized medicine and all it entails about government control even more than they want to win elections. After all, if the party of government transforms the relationship between the citizen and the state, its power over our lives will be vast even in those cycles when it is not in the majority. This is about power, and there is more to power than winning elections, especially if you've calculated that your opposition does not have the gumption to dismantle your ballooning welfare state.

Consequently, the next six weeks, like the next ten months, are going to be worse than we think. We're wired to think that everyone plays by the ususal rules of politics — i.e., if the tide starts to change, the side against whom it has turned modifies its positions in order to stay viable in the next election. But what will happen here will be the opposite. You have a party with the numbers to do anything it puts its mind to, led by movement Leftitsts who see their window of opportunity is closing. We seem to expect them to moderate because that's what everybody in their position does. But they won't. They will put their heads down and go for as much transformation as they can get, figuring that once they get it, it will never be rolled back. The only question is whether there are enough Democrats who are conventional politicians and who care about being reelected, such that they will deny the leadership the numbers it needs. But I don't think we should take much heart in this possibility. Those Democrats may well come to think they are going to lose anyway — that's why so many of them are abandoning ship now. If that's the case, their incentive will be to vote with the leadership.
I see one major flaw in his line of thinking, dead men don't live to fight another day. If, as McCarthy sees it, the Dems do ram this bill through but lose control of Congress there are 3 possibilities that can happen with the Republicans in power.
1) 2010 is such a bloodbath after the American people get through with the Democratic Party that the Republicans gain the supermajority and scrap the bill completely.

2) There will be Constitutional challenges that the progressives will not be able defend, ultimately leading to the bill's demise.

3) The Republican controlled Congress will simply fail to fund it and the Republican POTUS will not enforce it.
The bright side, if the Dems go through with this, is that the progressives will once again exposed as the true socialists they are and be forced to the back of the line of political influence while libertarian principals may gain in infuence.

And that would not be a bad thing.

Via Memeorandum

Friday, February 26, 2010

Gary Johnson at CPAC

Not the best quality video but it gets the point across.

The more I hear from him, the more I firmly believe he is the best choice for President in 2012 that libertarian minded people have. I will do everything I can to beat the drum for this man in the hope that more people will see that we have a real choice in the next election. Forget about the media darlings and the same tired politicians that are getting the publicity from the LSM, promote Governor Johnson because it is OUR America not theirs.





Saturday, February 20, 2010

Gary Johnson on Freedom Watch 2/17

Enjoy

The Obama-ACORN connection (video)

H/T Left Coast Rebel

The Chosen One denies being involved with ACORN,



but also admits to being a partner with them.


Video courtesy of Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) at CPAC

So which is it Mr President?

Via Memeorandum

The Carbon Trading scam

While the global warming scare has turned out to be a scientific hoax and the AGW cabal of enviro-nazis have been revealed as one big giant fraud, there is another storm looming on the horizon where big businesses like GE and people like the Goracle stand to make a bundle in the shell game known as carbon trading. This scam involves large companies and their ability to buy and sell carbon credits based on their output of greenhouse gasses. It also creates a commodities market for trading the credits and one of the big winners, the Goreacle. It should come as no surprise that Gore is heavily invested in this fraud and stands to make billions especially if Crap & Tax passes in the US.

Telegraph UK
[C]arbon trading is now the fastest growing commodities market on earth. Since Kyoto signatories bought in to the cap and trade concept in 2005, there have been more than $300bn carbon transactions, prompting several investment banks, including Goldman Sachs and Barclays, to set up their own carbon trading desks. But that’s just the start. If President Obama and his supporters can institute a cap-and-trade system in the United States – and that’s a big if for this increasingly marooned presidency – demand could explode into a $2 to $3 trillion market.

And here’s the great thing about it. Unlike traditional commodities markets, which will eventually involve delivery to someone in physical form, the carbon market is based on lack of delivery of an invisible substance to no-one. Since the market revolves around creating carbon credits, or finding carbon reduction projects whose benefits can then be sold to those with a surplus of emissions, it is entirely intangible.

“Carbon developers”, many of them employed by large multinationals, travel the world in search of carbon reduction projects to sell, while firms of carbon accountants have been established to verify on the United Nations’ behalf that those reductions are real. The whole thing, though well intentioned, looks wide open to abuse and scams.
For more insight into this growing fraud, read Mark Schapiro's eye opening article in Harper's Magazine.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The "Public Option" and the Real World

Sounds great, everyone has access to health care, doesn't it? But here's the downside that the progressives fail to grasp, the more people on the government rolls, the more it costs. And since the finances (tax revenues) are shrinking, the only way to keep everyone insured is to cut benefits and payouts to medical professionals.

Since some doctors are now refusing to accept Medicaid patients, it is actually decreasing the pool of doctors available to the poor and elderly which means that the people that need it the most have less options and more competition for care.

So I have to ask, how is this going to make the current situation any better?

NY Times
WASHINGTON — Facing relentless fiscal pressure and exploding demand for government health care, virtually every state is making or considering substantial cuts in Medicaid, even as Democrats push to add 15 million people to the rolls.

Because they are temporarily barred from reducing eligibility, states have been left to cut “optional benefits,” like dental and vision care, and reduce payments to doctors and other health care providers.

The Medicaid program already pays doctors and hospitals at levels well below those of Medicare and private insurance, and often below actual costs. Large numbers of doctors, therefore, do not accept Medicaid patients, and cuts may further discourage participation in the program, which primarily serves low-income children, disabled adults and nursing home residents.
Via Memeorandum

Monday, February 15, 2010

JD Hayworth makes it official

I still wish I had a more libertarian choice but McCain has got to go.

Phoenix New Times
Former Congressman J.D. Hayworth made it official today that he will run against Senator John McCain in a Republican primary for the U.S. Senate.

Flanked by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Minutemen co-founder Chris Simcox, Hayworth made his announcement from his Phoenix campaign headquarters.

Hayworth kicked off his campaign with the announcement and will be spend the next three days touring the state trying to drum up support as he attempts to knock McCain off of the GOP ticket this November.

Simcox had also said he would be challenging McCain, but he abandoned his campaign today to get behind Hayworth.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Better to Kill or Capture Jihadists?

"Kill one to terrorize ten thousand" - Sun Tzu

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting." - Sun Tzu, The Art of War

It may be for the wrong reasons, as the WaPo posits, but in my opinion this is the right tactic by the administration. Cutting off the head of a snake makes you safer in the long run and by putting the fear of death into the Jihadist, you give them something to think about.

This tactic also puts an end to the debate whether to try the leaders in US Courts or by Military Tribunal and it also bypasses any debate over what interrogation methods are used and if they are torture. Sure you may lose valuable information, but isn't the point of any war to destroy your enemy or at least to weaken their will to fight?

Finally, it makes our brave men and women of our military safer. Instead of fighting large battles, these quick strikes put less soldiers at risk and hurt the Jhadists where it matters most, their leadership.

WaPo
When a window of opportunity opened to strike the leader of al-Qaeda in East Africa last September, U.S. Special Operations forces prepared several options. They could obliterate his vehicle with an airstrike as he drove through southern Somalia. Or they could fire from helicopters that could land at the scene to confirm the kill. Or they could try to take him alive.

The White House authorized the second option. On the morning of Sept. 14, helicopters flying from a U.S. ship off the Somali coast blew up a car carrying Saleh Ali Nabhan. While several hovered overhead, one set down long enough for troops to scoop up enough of the remains for DNA verification. Moments later, the helicopters were headed back to the ship.

The strike was considered a major success, according to senior administration and military officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the classified operation and other sensitive matters. But the opportunity to interrogate one of the most wanted U.S. terrorism targets was gone forever.
Via Memeorandum

Climategate - the Confession (sort of)

So after months of ridicule, death threats and thoughts of suicide, former director of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit Phil Jones comes clean that his record keeping may not have been up to snuff and that was mainly the reason for his refusal to comply with freedom of information requests.

Or course Jones still believes that the previous warming trend was man-made and that his poor record keeping had no influence in the climate change debate. Now all we need is the rest of the AGW cabal to admit their part in perpetrating the fraud.

Daily Mail
The academic at the centre of the ‘Climategate’ affair, whose raw data is crucial to the theory of climate change, has admitted that he has trouble ‘keeping track’ of the information.

Colleagues say that the reason Professor Phil Jones has refused Freedom of Information requests is that he may have actually lost the relevant papers.

Professor Jones told the BBC yesterday there was truth in the observations of colleagues that he lacked organisational skills, that his office was swamped with piles of paper and that his record keeping is ‘not as good as it should be’.

The data is crucial to the famous ‘hockey stick graph’ used by climate change advocates to support the theory.

Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now – suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.

And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming.
Read the rest here

Via Memeorandum

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Congressional Black Caucus - ACORN wannabees?

Interesting article in the NY Times today on Congressional Black Caucus and their fundraising methods. The article is just stunning in that the CBC has allowed itself to essentially become a front organization for lobbyist money and is operating using basically the same methods as ACORN for amassing money and influence. But really, what would you expect by a group founded people like Charlie Rangel and John Conyers and boasting members like the socialist Maxine Waters along with possible future felons Corrine Brown and Sanford Bishop. Let's not forget it's most prominent former member either, the Organizer in Chief himself.

Surely this will bring the wrath of the Raaaaacism Industrial Complex on the Times and who knows, even this humble blogger for calling out a minority organization.

NY Times
From 2004 to 2008, the Congressional Black Caucus’s political and charitable wings took in at least $55 million in corporate and union contributions, according to an analysis by The New York Times, an impressive amount even by the standards of a Washington awash in cash. Only $1 million of that went to the caucus’s political action committee; the rest poured into the largely unregulated nonprofit network. (Data for 2009 is not available.)

The caucus says its nonprofit groups are intended to help disadvantaged African-Americans by providing scholarships and internships to students, researching policy and holding seminars on topics like healthy living.

But the bulk of the money has been spent on elaborate conventions that have become a high point of the Washington social season, as well as the headquarters building, golf outings by members of Congress and an annual visit to a Mississippi casino resort.

In 2008, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation spent more on the caterer for its signature legislative dinner and conference — nearly $700,000 for an event one organizer called “Hollywood on the Potomac” — than it gave out in scholarships, federal tax records show.

At the galas, lobbyists and executives who give to caucus charities get to mingle with lawmakers. They also get seats on committees the caucus has set up to help members of Congress decide what positions to take on the issues of the day. Indeed, the nonprofit groups and the political wing are so deeply connected it is sometimes hard to tell where one ends and the other begins.

Caucus leaders said the giving had not influenced them.

“We’re unbossed and unbought,” said Representative Barbara Lee, Democrat of California and chairwoman of the caucus. “Historically, we’ve been known as the conscience of the Congress, and we’re the ones bringing up issues that often go unnoticed or just aren’t on the table.”

But many campaign finance experts question the unusual structure.

“The claim that this is a truly philanthropic motive is bogus — it’s beyond credulity,” said Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center in Washington, a nonpartisan group that monitors campaign finance and ethics issues. “Members of Congress should not be allowed to have these links. They provide another pocket, and a very deep pocket, for special-interest money that is intended to benefit and influence officeholders.”

Not all caucus members support the donors’ goals, and some issues, like a debate last year over whether to ban menthol cigarettes, have produced divisions.

But caucus members have attracted increasing scrutiny from ethics investigators. All eight open House investigations involve caucus members, and most center on accusations of improper ties to private businesses.

Read the rest here

Via Memeorandum

Judge Napolitano: Military Tribunals for Terrorists Unconstitutional

Via LewRockwell.com

I am so torn on this.

One part of me believes that no matter how inconvenient it appears, when it comes down to it, the Constitution needs to be upheld no matter what. And as we have seen with the trials and convictions of Timothy McVeigh, Omar Abdel Rahman, John Walker Lindh, Richard Reid and Zacarias Moussaoui, justice is served in a US court of law.

Also, this is not to say that terrorists cannot be detained and questioned as enemy combatants under the Military Commissions Act of 2006 but they are entitled to a writ of Habeas corpus according the the 2008 Supreme Court decision Boumediene v. Bush and therefore entitled to a trial in US Federal Court.

On the other hand however, I understand that this gives the the impression of weakness to the Jihadists, gives them a platform to espouse their agenda and also puts at risk US citizens not to mention the added financial costs of a trial.

Congress has tried to address this situation in the Military Commissions Act of 2009 by suspending the rights of aliens who are captured and held outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States as is the case with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. I'm sure this will also be reviewed by the SCOTUS at some point.

So for now I will have to fall on the side of the Constitution and previous SCOTUS rulings.

True Conservatives Condemn Military Tribunals for Terrorists

According to Judge Napolitano, an avowed disciple of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, the very concept of a military tribunal for defendants of a “war on terror” is a blatant disregard of the U.S. Constitution.

The Judge’s argument is simple –
It’s a violation of the Constitution to use the panels without a declaration of war — and just calling it a ‘war’ on terror doesn’t count.
Via Los Angeles Times
Napolitano argues that no president has yet to appear before Congress to ask for a Declaration of War – nor has Congress ever made such as declaration. Therefore, there can simply be no Constitutional justification to create military tribunals to try alleged enemy combatants  as they are enemy combatants in a war that Congress has never declared.

This is not simply the opinion of one conservative.

Prior to 9/11, there had not been a military tribunal in America since WWII when it was used to try Nazi saboteurs who had came ashore in Amagansett, N.Y., and Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., put on civilian clothes, and set out on a mission to blow up strategic U.S. targets. When the Nazis were caught, President Roosevelt determined that they should stand trial before a military tribunal for two reasons – Congress had declared war against Germany and the saboteurs had broken the rules of war.

In upholding Roosevelt’s actions, the Supreme Court ruled in Ex Parte Quirin that a formal declaration of war is the legal prerequisite to the government’s use of the tools of war.

And that is exactly how it was done before the Bush Administration decided to take their own novel approach, declaring that the Constitution allows for the use of military tribunals, a ‘tool of war’, whenever the president decides to call something a “war.”

As we know, every Supreme Court decision on the subject since 9-11 has come down against the constitutional interpretations of the Bush Administration.

American conservatives would do well to listen to the words of Judge Napolitano as he makes his case in support of strictly construing the Constitution.

Here’s a sample –
The framers of the Constitution feared letting the president alone decide with whom we are at war, and thus permitting him to trigger for his own purposes the military tools reserved for wartime. They also feared allowing the government to take life, liberty or property from any person without the intercession of a civilian jury to check the government’s appetite and to compel transparency and fairness by forcing the government to prove its case to 12 ordinary citizens. Thus, the 5th Amendment to the Constitution, which requires due process, includes the essential component of a jury trial. And the 6th Amendment requires that when the government pursues any person in court, it must do so in the venue where the person is alleged to have caused harm.
Numerous Supreme Court cases have ruled that any person in conflict with the government can invoke due process — be that person a citizen or an immigrant, someone born here, legally here, illegally here or whose suspect behavior did not even occur here.
Via Los Angeles Times
Those who support the Constitution can’t have it both ways. You either respect the rule of law, even when it is inconvenient and a bit scary, or you don’t. That’s the whole point of having a Constitution.

Don’t allow yourself to be suckered into the politics of the day. Our politicians are not leading – they are pandering. If we buy into the fear they sell in order to get our attention, then we become the same chicken-s—ts they are.

Americans are still better than that.

Read the rest here

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy Truck Day

 
Pictures courtesy of the Boston Globe

For those of you who don't know, or don't care, today was "Truck Day" in Boston. It may seem crazy but this is the Boston version of Groundhog Day, when the Red Sox equipment is packed up and begins the 1500 mile trek to the Sox spring training home in Fort Myers FL. Baseball is a passion, strike that it's a religion in Boston so while Phil seeing his shadow means 6 more weeks of winter to most folks, Truck Day means spring training is about to start and the baseball season is a little more than 6 weeks away.

If you don't happen to be like me and get all weepy over baseball and the Boston 9 maybe this opening passage from A. Bartlett Giamatti's The Green Fields of the Mind will help you understand.
It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Gary Johnson's ‘Three Point Plan for Economic Prosperity’

Instead of taking part in the partisan bickering, Gary Johnson is letting us know what his plans are for restoring our economy. He is truly a breath of fresh air and showing that he has what it takes to lead our nation.

OUR America Initiative

February 9, 2010, Washington, D.C. — Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico and Honorary Chairman of the OUR America Initiative, today issued his “Three Point Plan for Economic Prosperity” during a special press event in Washington, D.C., hosted by the Reason Foundation. Governor Johnson worked with top national economists from around the country to develop the plan, detailed below:

GARY JOHNSON’S THREE POINT PLAN FOR ECONOMIC PROSPERITY

Free markets and limited government are the foundation of prosperity. Economic policy should foster entrepreneurship, innovation, and individual choice, not direct economic activity to satisfy political interests in Washington. Americans should be free to make their own economic decisions because individuals, not government, know what is best for themselves and their families. This freedom unleashes the creativity and enterprising spirit that fuels economic opportunity and an equal playing field for all Americans.

To achieve these goals, the U.S. must adopt three approaches:

1) SLASH EXPENDITURE: Excess spending is rampant in the U.S. budget, producing an unsustainable path for federal debt. The U.S. must restrain spending across the board:

* Scale back entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, which threaten to bankrupt the nation’s future.
* Eliminate the costly and ineffective military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan; target defense spending to actions that truly protect the United States.
* Stop spending on the fiscal stimulus.
* Reduce subsidies for agriculture, transportation, energy, housing, and all other special interests.

2) CUT TAXES: The U.S. tax system imposes an enormous toll on productivity through high marginal rates, absurd complexity, loopholes for the well connected, and incentives for wasteful decisions. The government must lower the tax burden to stimulate the economy. This means:

* Eliminate punitive taxation of savings and investment.
* Simplify the tax code; stop using it to reward special interests and control behavior.
* Adopt a flat tax on income or consumption.

3) SHRINK FEDERAL INVOLVEMENT IN THE ECONOMY: Much federal intervention is a payout to special interests or counterproductive meddling that stifles competition, innovation, and growth. We should:

* Reject auto and banking bailouts, state bailouts, corporate welfare, cap-and-trade, card check, and the mountain of regulation that protects special interest rather than benefiting consumers or the economy.
* Restrict Federal Reserve policy to maintaining price stability, not bailing out financial firms or propping up the housing sector.
* Eliminate government support of Fannie and Freddie.
* Reduce or eliminate federal involvement in education; let states expand successful reforms such as vouchers and charter schools.
* Legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana; emphasize harm reduction for other drugs.
* Expand free trade and legal immigration.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Judge lets hostage taker walk

Or should I say run.

WWJJD? (what would Judge Judy do)

MSNBC
CONCORD, N.H. - The man who took hostages at a Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential campaign office in 2007 cut off his electronic monitoring bracelet Tuesday, then fled, and he is considered dangerous, authorities said.

Leeland Eisenberg cut off his monitor just after 10 a.m., one day after being given a "last chance" at freedom by a judge who released him despite multiple probation violations, Strafford County Attorney Thomas Velardi said.

GPS tracking on the electronic bracelet shows Eisenberg left his apartment in a boarding house in Dover several times Tuesday morning before cutting off the monitor. Lover could not say where he went, citing the ongoing investigation.

Eisenberg spent about two years behind bars for the November 2007 siege at Clinton's Rochester campaign office in which he claimed to have a bomb. No one was hurt in a five-hour standoff and the bomb turned out to be road flares.

He was released on probation last November. His first violation occurred soon after his release, when he failed to charge his monitoring bracelet. He was incarcerated last month after failing to take mandatory alcohol breath tests.

Velardi objected strenuously to his release.

"This office has maintained the position all along that he cannot be safely monitored in the community, that he needs to go to state prison," Velardi said. "I thought he was trying to manipulate all the agencies who tried to come up with a plan for him."

Monday, February 8, 2010

Is the "Tea Party" movement dead?

I have been wondering about this for some time on the back of my mind.

Is the "Tea Party" movement, the one of average everyday Americans pissed off at the hacks in DC from both parties and protesting the corruption of the government of our Founders, now just a fad being co-opted by Republicans as a way to keep their seat at the table or by media types like Beck, Limbaugh, et al. to get ratings or by people like Sarah Palin as a way to stay in the spotlight?

I'm not sure, but what was once a very organic movement now seems to be turning into a political platform for the right. The problem with fads is that once they become mainstream, they become something easily corrupted and discarded once the masses who were solely drawn in by their popularity get bored.

To me the anger of the people is about our government taking over our lives and getting away from what our Founders put forth in the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. It is not about what Bush, Obama or even Reagan did or didn't do for the nation. It goes back almost a hundred years when the beliefs of the Founders were overtaken by progressives like Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and FDR to name a few. We don't want career politicians from either party dictating what are rights are and who we need to give our hard earned money to. What we want is a return to small government, individual choice and personal liberty.

Politicians only need to heed the words of the Declaration of Independence, because while they were aimed squarely at King George they will hold just as true today if We the People are pushed too far.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

That is what the "Tea Parties" are really all about. Let us not forget.

Regarding the convention and the direction of the movement, this blogger has some good points.

Post Politics
The movement, that came to be officially recognized almost a year ago but whose roots go back further than that, has been snuffed out and replaced in the public mind. The movement that began as a people’s movement of angry independent, libertarians and conservatives will now be thought as the movement of people like Palin, Dick Armey, Judson Phillips, Mark Skoda, etc. Essentially, a wholly owned subsidiary of the “Official Conservative Movement” and the Republican Party.

This new tea party bears no resemblance to the one that began a year ago as a reaction to the collapse of our financial system and the subsequent bailout. That movement of ragtag and unorganized libertarians, independents and conservatives was something new and unique. An authentic protest movement angered not just by the new President, Barack Obama, who had presided over the bailouts but the president who started the ball rolling and whose incompetence had led to the crisis in the first place, George W. Bush.

The people we saw on the steps of Legislative Plaza and county courthouses across the state last year weren’t “movement conservatives.” Certainly the movement conservatives were there at those protests but the tea parties were much bigger in size, scope and concept than just traditional modern conservatism reheated. Last night, the professional conservatives fixed that for good.

These weren’t the people who were out protesting. This weren’t regular folks. This was the same old network of conservative hacks, flacks, publicists and hangers-on. This was Conservative Inc.
Via Memeorandum

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sarah Palin Crib notes compared to Obama's gaffes

Now I'm not even close to being Palin's biggest fan and don't think she has what it takes to be POTUS but let's get real, the left is going to use this as their big gotcha moment?

Tim at Left Coast Rebel puts up this great post comparing the hypocrisy of the left and how they will pounce on Palin (or any opponent for that matter) but let the Chosen One slide when he performs even greater feats of stupidity. Also, having been a semi-professional stand-up comic for a few years, I can tell you that writing notes on your hand is fairly common even among seasoned professionals and headlining acts.

So without any further ado...

by the Left Coast Rebel

It's the perfect, ah-hah moment for the left and frankly (some) on the right. Sarah Palin crib notes scribbled on her hand last night at the Nashville Tea Party speech. The crib notes are the words energy, tax and lift american spirits. Oh the howls now - Sarah Palin is a blithering idiot, a raging fool, a ninny, a nincompoop and moron. She needed to look at notes on her hand to stay on message!

Is it awkward? Sure. Is it awkward to see Sarah Palin look at her hand in the middle of an interview? Of course. However, In a case like this, when I see characters like Andrew Sullivan hailing this as the second coming of Palin Derangement Syndrome my mind hearkens to ignored facts. Is it as big of a deal as this? Or how about this?

As the fever pitch of vitiriol towards Palin increases and her performance last night accelerates it, how about a little Alinsky - Ridicule is man's most potent weapon.

If it works for them and Palin's crib notes on her hand last night disqualifies her from living on the planet then how about their Chosen One? Good for the goose.....

If this is such a big deal (h/t Founding Bloggers):


The why wasn't this:


For surely if this indicates a new level of moronic:


Then what in God's name are we supposed to think of this (the bow to Tampa Mayor):

http://www.weaselzippers.net/.a/6a00e008c6b4e588340128773a7c9d970c-pi

Or this, to an emperor, (noting superiority):

But it's not as if this is something not seen before:




Which ties in internationally with this:



Back to the United States (all 57 of them):


And then to wrap things up with a montage of Barack Obama, the Harvard genius, the Saviour:



And to think that this guy has done all of these things in one year in office and one year running for that office. There are dozens more too, while the elitist press looks away. Technology is the great equalizer. They won't get away with it. Always defend your conservative brethren that wish to bring this country back from the brink.

Did Goldman sandbag AIG?

Sure sounds like it given that a good portion of the Federal Reserve and Treasury's people are former Goldman employees and that Goldman stood to benefit the most. Is it really that hard to connect the dots?

From the taxpayers of the United States, we thank you Goldman Sachs from the bottom of our (empty) wallets.

NY Times
A.I.G. executives wanted some of its money back, insisting that Goldman — like a homeowner overestimating the damages in a storm to get a bigger insurance payment — had inflated the potential losses. Goldman countered that it was owed even more, while also resisting consulting with third parties to help estimate a value for the securities.

Behind-the-scenes disputes over huge sums are common in banking, but the standoff between A.I.G. and Goldman would become one of the most momentous in Wall Street history. Well before the federal government bailed out A.I.G. in September 2008, Goldman’s demands for billions of dollars from the insurer helped put it in a precarious financial position by bleeding much-needed cash. That ultimately provoked the government to step in.

With taxpayer assistance to A.I.G. currently totaling $180 billion, regulatory and Congressional scrutiny of Goldman’s role in the insurer’s downfall is increasing. The Securities and Exchange Commission is examining the payment demands that a number of firms — most prominently Goldman — made during 2007 and 2008 as the mortgage market imploded.

The S.E.C. wants to know whether any of the demands improperly distressed the mortgage market, according to people briefed on the matter who requested anonymity because the inquiry was intended to be confidential.

In just the year before the A.I.G. bailout, Goldman collected more than $7 billion from A.I.G. And Goldman received billions more after the rescue. Though other banks also benefited, Goldman received more taxpayer money, $12.9 billion, than any other firm.

In addition, according to two people with knowledge of the positions, a portion of the $11 billion in taxpayer money that went to Société Générale, a French bank that traded with A.I.G., was subsequently transferred to Goldman under a deal the two banks had struck.

Goldman stood to gain from the housing market’s implosion because in late 2006, the firm had begun to make huge trades that would pay off if the mortgage market soured. The further mortgage securities’ prices fell, the greater were Goldman’s profits.

In its dispute with A.I.G., Goldman invariably argued that the securities in dispute were worth less than A.I.G. estimated — and in many cases, less than the prices at which other dealers valued the securities.

The pricing dispute, and Goldman’s bets that the housing market would decline, has left some questioning whether Goldman had other reasons for lowballing the value of the securities that A.I.G. had insured, said Bill Brown, a law professor at Duke University who is a former employee of both Goldman and A.I.G.

The dispute between the two companies, he said, “was the tip of the iceberg of this whole crisis.”

“It’s not just who was right and who was wrong,” Mr. Brown said. “I also want to know their motivations. There could have been an incentive for Goldman to say, ‘A.I.G., you owe me more money.’ ”

Still, documents show there were unusual aspects to the deals with Goldman. The bank resisted, for example, letting third parties value the securities as its contracts with A.I.G. required. And Goldman based some payment demands on lower-rated bonds that A.I.G.’s insurance did not even cover.

A November 2008 analysis by BlackRock, a leading asset management firm, noted that Goldman’s valuations of the securities that A.I.G. insured were “consistently lower than third-party prices.”

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the relationship between Goldman and A.I.G. was that without the insurer to provide credit insurance, the investment bank could not have generated some of its enormous profits betting against the mortgage market. And when that market went south, A.I.G. became its biggest casualty — and Goldman became one of the biggest beneficiaries.
Read the rest here

Via Memeorandum

More AGW faux pas

It seems that the AGW cabal can't catch a break. First there was Climategate, then the revelation that we are in a cooling trend, then last week the news that the IPCC report was wrong about melting glaciers because their "peer reviewed" data was nothing more than anecdotal evidence from mountaineering magazines and a student paper.

Well the The Sunday Telegraph contains more bad news for the global warming alarmists.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) report is supposed to be the world’s most authoritative scientific account of the scale of global warming.

But this paper has discovered a series of new flaws in it including:

* The publication of inaccurate data on the potential of wave power to produce electricity around the world, which was wrongly attributed to the website of a commercial wave-energy company.

* Claims based on information in press releases and newsletters.

* New examples of statements based on student dissertations, two of which were unpublished.

* More claims which were based on reports produced by environmental pressure groups.

They are the latest in a series of damaging revelations about the IPCC’s most recent report, published in 2007.

Last month, the panel was forced to issue a humiliating retraction after it emerged statements about the melting of Himalayan glaciers were inaccurate.

Last weekend, this paper revealed that the panel had based claims about disappearing mountain ice on anecdotal evidence in a student’s dissertation and an article in a mountaineering magazine.

And on Friday, it emerged that the IPCC’s panel had wrongly reported that more than half of the Netherlands was below sea level because it had failed to check information supplied by a Dutch government agency.

Researchers insist the errors are minor and do not impact on the overall conclusions about climate change.

However, senior scientists are now expressing concern at the way the IPCC compiles its reports and have hit out at the panel’s use of so-called “grey literature” — evidence from sources that have not been subjected to scientific ­scrutiny.

It can also be revealed that claims made by the IPCC about the effects of global warming, and suggestions about ways it could be avoided, were partly based on information from ten dissertations by Masters students.
Oops

Saturday, February 6, 2010

OMG Sarah believes in the free market!

H/T Libertarian Republican



Winner of the 2009 Fraser Institute Video Contest by Mark Meranta and Terra Strong of George Mason University.

Congratulation to you both. Nice to see some of the younger generation gets it.

Rasmussen poll: Americans Reject Keynesian Economics

Rasmussen Reports
While influential 20th Century economist John Maynard Keynes would say it’s best to increase deficit spending in tough economic times, only 11% of American adults agree and think the nation needs to increase its deficit spending at this time. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 70% disagree and say it would be better to cut the deficit.

In fact, 59% think Keynes had it backwards and that increasing the deficit at this time would hurt the economy rather than help.

To help the economy, most Americans (56%) believe that cutting the deficit is the way to go.

Eighty-three percent (83%) of Americans, in fact, say the size of the federal budget deficit is due more to the unwillingness of politicians to cut government spending than to the reluctance of taxpayers to pay more in taxes.

Pat Caddell, pollster for President Jimmy Carter and others, says that “Rasmussen unmasks the new fault line of our democracy: Mainstream America rising to reassert the supremacy of their sacred right of self governance over a failed Political Class grimly determined to preserve the primacy of their prerogatives of power.
Keynesian theory, simply put, purports that the best way to get through tough economic times is for the government to spend their way out of it. That deficits do not matter and that the money put into the system helps to drive the economy to recovery. As we have seen with the stimulus and other failed attempts by both the Bush and Obama administrations to jump start the economic downturn, these methods do not work. But believers in the Austrian theory have known this all along. They know that the only way to get things going is to have the government get out of the way and let the business cycle run it's course.

Forced income redistribution does not work. The government does not have any money of their own, it is taken from productive members of society and given to those who are less productive. All it does it makes the haves poorer while the have-nots are slightly better off. Of course the government and special interests get their cut.

Take Frédéric Bastiat's The Broken Window as told by Henry Hazlitt in Economics in One Lesson as a simple and perfect example of income redistribution and why it does not work.
A young hoodlum, say, heaves a brick through the window of a baker’s shop. The shopkeeper runs out furious, but the boy is gone. A crowd gathers, and begins to stare with quiet satisfaction at the gaping hole in the window and the shattered glass over the bread and pies. After a while the crowd feels the need for philosophic reflection. And several of its members are almost certain to remind each other or the baker that, after all, the misfortune has its bright side. It will make business for some glazier. As they begin to think of this they elaborate upon it. How much does a new plate glass window cost? Two hundred and fifty dollars? That will be quite a sun. After all, if windows were never broken, what would happen to the glass business? Then, of course, the thing is endless. The glazier will have $250 more to spend with other merchants, and these in turn will have $250 more to spend with still other merchants, and so ad infinitum. The smashed window will go on providing money and employment in ever-widening circles. The logical conclusion from all this would be, if the crowd drew it, that the little hoodlum who threw the brick, far from being a public menace, was a public benefactor.

Now let us take another look. The crowd is at least right in its first conclusion. This little act of vandalism will in the first instance mean more business for some glazier. The glazier will be no more unhappy to learn of the incident than an undertaker to learn of a death. But the shopkeeper will be out $250 that he was planning to spend for a new suit. Because he has had to replace the window, he will have to go without the suit (or some equivalent need or luxury). Instead of having a window and $250 he now has merely a window. Or, as he was planning to buy the suit that very afternoon, instead of having both a window and a suit he must be content with the window and no suit. If we think of him as part of the community, the community has lost a new suit that might otherwise have come into being, and is just that much poorer.

The glazier’s gain of business, in short, is merely the tailor’s loss of business. No new “employment” has been added. The people in the crowd were thinking only of two parties to the transaction, the baker and the glazier. They had forgotten the potential third party involved, the tailor. They forgot him precisely because he will not now enter the scene. They will see the new window in the next day or two. They will never see the extra suit, precisely because it will never be made. They see only what is immediately visible to the eye.
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