Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Something Rotten in Denmark? Even Worse

The performance of Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives on Monday reminds us of Hamlet. Something is rotten there, but, like Hamlet, we are not sure exactly what, except that it is even worse than it looked. Was this a ploy to hand the presidency to Obama? Was this a trap to hang on Republican Congressmen? Was this a way to get back in new negotiations slush funds for ACORN and other atrocities Republicans had negotiated out of the bill? Probably all of the above. This was a setup that ended up costing investors twice as much as the bailout itself. To what end? I hope the country can figure it out before the election, and I hope my readers can as they view the comments of Karl Rove in the video below, and read the comments cross-posted from Powerline. We are witnessing this season’s October Surprise.

Was the Bailout Vote a Partisan Set-Up?
September 29, 2008 Powerline

Nancy Pelosi must be the most ineffective House Speaker of modern times. The Democrats have achieved virtually nothing since taking control of the House and Senate in 2006, and have consistently avoided the responsibility that goes with being the majority party. Which may explain why, until very recently, most Americans were unaware that the Democrats were actually in control of Congress.

Pelosi's ineffectiveness has been due, in part, to her unrelenting and strident partisanship, which brings us to today's vote on the bailout bill: suspicion is growing that Pelosi and the Democrats made no serious effort to pass the bill, and that it failed at least in part because Pelosi tried to misuse it for political advantage.

Everyone has heard about the weirdly partisan and inaccurate rant which Pelosi contributed to the debate on the bailout bill. But that speech did not take place in a vacuum. Public opinion is running strongly against the bill, and it required political courage to vote for it. If you look at the list of those who voted "No" in both parties, it is mostly members who are engaged in tough re-election campaigns. This is true on both sides of the aisle.

That being the case, and given the fact that the legislation was in fact a negotiated, bipartisan compromise, the first duty of the majority party is to line up its members to support the majority's bill. But evidence is growing that the Democrats did no such thing.

As of yesterday, the Democrats' House whip, Jim Clyburn said that he hadn't even begun "whipping" Democratic representatives, and wouldn't do so unless and until he got orders from Nancy Pelosi. Today, Democratic Congressman Peter DeFazio told NPR that he never was "whipped" on the bill. So Pelosi evidently left Democrats to vote their consciences--which is to say, vote against the bill if they thought it was politically necessary--while counting on Republicans to put the bill over the top.

This is a classic Charlie Brown and the football maneuver. Pelosi gives a speech that frames the issue, falsely, as the result of bad Republican policies, then allows her own threatened representatives to do the popular thing while expecting Republicans to take one for the team by casting an unpopular vote. Which, of course, their Democratic opponents would use against them, thereby increasing the Democratic majority in the House.

If this was Pelosi's plan it failed, in part, perhaps, because her over-the-top partisan diatribe tipped off Republicans as to what was afoot. If, as it now appears, it's true that the Democrats made no serious effort to pass the bailout bill, it is just one more example of the failure of leadership we have seen since they took control of Congress.


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Monday, September 29, 2008

Why Did the Bailout Fail (So Far)?

1. Scores of Democratic and Republican Congressmen heard from huge numbers of constituents who oppose the bailout.

2. Many conservative Republicans have principled objections to a move that rescues private organizations and creates government ownership of private mortgages.

3. Some Congressmen are willing to risk collapse to advance their presidential candidate.

4. After branding Republicans on Saturday as "unpatriotic", Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched into vicious partisan attacks before explaining the bill on Sunday, and again on Monday when she rose to speak in favor of the bill:

Apparently, Speaker Pelosi not only expects us to forget that the real culprits in this mess are mostly all Democrats, from Jimmy Carter, who pushed through the Community Reinvestment Act, to Bill Clinton, who revved up the efforts to place mortgages in the hands of people who couldn't afford them - to politicians like Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, who resisted all efforts to tighten up the lending practices. Speaker Pelosi, who didn't even get the votes of her own leadership chairmen today, apparently also has forgotten such events as the implosion of the internet bubble, the Clinton recession, the economic disaster caused by 9/11, and the cost of the War on Terror. This was unbelievable behavior by a supposed leader in a time of terrible crisis.


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Bailout Teaches Us What A Community Organizer Is

It’s annoying to see Democrat Politicians like Nancy Pelosi spin the bailout circumstances by trying to make the main architects of this disaster, Senator Chris Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank into its heroes. When first addressing the nation Sunday afternoon, ostensibly to explain where Congress stood on this measure, she spent the first ten minutes blaming the famous “failed policies of the Bush Administration” for the mess. Certainly greed and recklessness on Wall Street played a big part, and certainly there is enough blame to go around, but, by far, affirmative action for homebuyers and corruption on the part of Congressional Democrats outweigh all other causes.

These are the people who got huge contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; these are the people who stymied all attempts by President Bush, Senator McCain and others to rein in the nonsensical lending practices forced on financial institutions by the Clinton-directed expansion of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and the cronies he appointed to carry out this madness. These are the people we are empowering as never before if we elect the “community organizer”, Obama, to the Presidency. We have learned this week just what a “community organizer” is and just what he does. Notice Reverend Wright’s role.

Financial Affirmative Action

9/29/2008 American Spectator (Excerpts)

"When the history of the Great Economic Meltdown of 2008 is written, in-your-face shakedown groups like the Greenlining Institute will be held to account.

Greenlining, headquartered in Berkeley, California (where else?), is a left-wing pressure group that threatens nasty public relations campaigns against lenders that refuse to kneel before its radical economic agenda. Its principal goal is to push politicians and the business community to facilitate "community reinvestment" in low-income and minority neighborhoods.

The Greenlining name is a play on the unlawful practice of "redlining." That's when financial institutions designate areas, typically those with a high concentration of racial minorities, as bad risks for home and commercial loans. The Institute wants banks to give a green light to loans in these areas instead.

Recently profiled by John Gizzi, Greenlining uses carrot-and-stick tactics to blackmail public agencies, banks, and philanthropists to achieve its objectives. The Institute brags it has threatened banks into making more than $2.4 trillion in loans in low-income communities....

Activist groups were encouraged to agitate by the Carter-era Community Reinvestment Act, which enshrined in law a kind of lending protection racket. Banking regulators were given the power to make trouble for banks that failed to lend enough money to so-called underserved communities. Banks that paid enough -- whatever that means -- got left alone, but banks that didn't, got their legs broken....

After CRA came into effect, Saul Alinsky-inspired "community organizer" groups such as Greenlining, ACORN, and National Council of La Raza got into the shakedown business. They preach the hateful class-warfare rhetoric of their fellow community organizers Jeremiah Wright, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Michael Pfleger

They rage against capitalism and demand crushing taxes and aggressive wealth-redistribution programs. They demand more government spending on social programs, a higher minimum wage, and gun control. Depending which way the economic wind is blowing, they demand more subprime lending, or curbs on subprime lending, which through the magic of dysphemism, is linguistically transformed into "predatory lending." American Spectator

Thankfully, although some conservative Republicans just didn’t seem to ‘get’ it, Republicans in Congress managed to force changes in the bailout bill that we hope will be enough to avoid making this measure into a suicide pill for the free-market capitalism that has made this country prosperous and great.
September 29, 2008, Wall Street Journal (Excerpt)

“Thanks to the House GOP's intervention, the Paulson plan is also better than it would have been. Republicans helped to eliminate the Barney Frank-Chris Dodd slush fund for liberal housing lobbies; a plank to let judges shield deadbeat homeowners from bankruptcy laws; and a ploy to stack bank boards with union members.

The details of the taxpayer "protections" in the bill also seem workable, at least based on what we had heard by deadline yesterday evening. Banks that sell more than $300 million in securities to Treasury will only be able to deduct from their taxes $500,000 in compensation for their five most senior executives.

Something like this was inevitable as political cover, and it's hard to argue that the Italian suits at Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley don't deserve everything they won't get if they dump their mistakes on the feds. But one unintended consequence will be to drive the most talented financial managers away from these banks and into hedge funds and private equity, where they won't be subject to such compensation caps. Revenge is overrated as a policy design.” Wall Street Journal

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Were They Flip-Flops or Worse?

Imagine for a moment if Senator McCain or Governor Palin had made the statements highlighted below that Senator Obama made in Friday night's debate. Imagine the outcry and the talking points we would be seeing and hearing at ABC, NBC, MSNBC, CNN and CBS. Imagine what we would be reading about in the NY Times and in the Washington Post.
Cross-posted from the Gateway Pundit:

Saturday, September 27, 2008
NOT BAD... Obama Only Has 7 Major Flip Flops At First Debate


Barack Obama managed 7 major flip flops in 90 minutes at the Ole Miss debate on Friday September 26.

1.) Barack Obama said he "immediately and forcefully" condemned Russia for invading Georgia.
Not true- Here's video proof--

The Real Revo put this video together.
Obama misrepresents his response to the Russian invasion of Georgia:
(1 minute 43 seconds)

Obama is not telling the truth. He did not immediately, forcefully, condemn Russia for invading Georgia.
Not at all.

2.) Obama said Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger supported his plan to talk with rogue regime leaders without preconditions.

Then Obama tried to parse his words suggesting that "preparations" were the same as "preconditions."

Not true- Henry Kissinger responded immediately after the debate:

The Weekly Standard Blog reported:

Henry Kissinger believes Barack Obama misstated his views on diplomacy with US adversaries and is not happy about being mischaracterized. He says: "Senator McCain is right. I would not recommend the next President of the United States engage in talks with Iran at the Presidential level. My views on this issue are entirely compatible with the views of my friend Senator John McCain. We do not agree on everything, but we do agree that any negotiations with Iran must be geared to reality."

3.) Obama said he supported offshore drilling.
Unlikely- Questions remain.

During the primary Obama was against offshore drilling.
In August he said he may change his mind.
CNN reported:

He would be willing to compromise on his position against offshore oil drilling if it were part of a more overarching strategy to lower energy costs.

4.) Obama said he supported nuclear energy.
Not true- His preconditions make it impossible to expand nuclear energy at this time.

From The Wall Street Journal:

On nuclear power, Sen. Obama says he's open to expanding nuclear energy, which now provides 20% of the nation's electricity, as part of an effort to increase power sources that emit little or no carbon dioxide. But he also has said there is no future for expanded nuclear energy until the U.S. comes up with a safe, long-term solution for disposing of nuclear waste. He opposes the Bush administration's plan for storing waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

5.) Last night Barack Obama said he was in favor of missile defense systems.
Not true- Here's video proof--

Obama was clear about his opposition to "unproven" missile defense earlier this year in his ad!

Cuffy Perfunction posted the video clips:

Great job on the video by the way!

6.) Barack Obama said "No soldier dies in vain."
That's a flop.

HotAir reported on how Obama shamelessly contradicted himself of troops dying in vain.

In Barack Obama's antiwar speech in 2002:

"Nor should we allow those who would march off and pay the ultimate sacrifice, who would prove the full measure of devotion with their blood, to make such an awful sacrifice in vain."

7.) Barack Obama says he supports the middle class.

Not True- Barack Obama has voted at least 94 Times for higher taxes during his three years in the U.S. Senate.

Barack Obama voted for increasing taxes on individuals earning as little as $31,850:

"Under both Democratic plans, tax rates would increase by 3 percentage points for each of the 25 percent, 28 percent and 33 percent brackets. At present, the 25 percent bracket begins at $31,850 for individuals and $63,700 for married couples. The 35 percent bracket on incomes over $349,700 would jump to 39.6 percent."
That's not support for the middle class!

Oh... And, most Americans don't support infanticide, either.

Meanwhile... The liberal media has to really nitpick to find a McCain exaggeration.


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Friday, September 26, 2008

Some Short Takes On Recent History

1. There would not have been any massive housing bubble leading to disaster if Democrats did not pass legislation requiring banks to give mortgages to people who had no way to pay them back or no intention of paying them back Please remember the Community Redevelopment Act, a minority lending bill first pushed and created by Jimmy Carter and revved up by President Clinton by appointing his cronies to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with orders to instruct banks to issue many more of these mortgages under threat of fines if they did not do so.

2. There would not have been a mortgage meltdown if not for the antics of James Johnson, Franklin Raines, Janet Reno and Jamie Gorelick, Democrat operatives who ran and ruined Fannie Mae, and then ran off with millions in bonuses and golden parachutes. Raines and Johnson are top policy advisors to Barack Obama, who received more contributions from Fanny and Freddie than any politician other than Chris Dodd.

3. The Jamie Gorelick mentioned above is the same Jamie Gorelick who is the only person named by the 9/11 Committee as responsible for the intelligence failure that lead to 9/11 when she erected a wall between intelligence agencies for reasons of political correctness. Her reward was a lucrative position with Fannie Mae.

4. Senator McCain co-sponsored a bill to bring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under control in 2005. The bill was killed by the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, Senator Chris Dodd, now the Chairman of that committee.

5. We would probably not have $4.00 a gallon gasoline if the Democratic Party had not passed many legislative prohibitions against domestic drilling and domestic refineries. What drilling efforts that were attempted were also effectively stopped by lawsuits filed by supporters of the Democratic Party.

6. The failure to enact a new moratorium on domestic drilling is as much a sham as was the recent attempt to pass an energy bill that was publicly touted by Speaker Pelosi as a bill allowing drilling, but was really a bill to restrict it even further. Democrats fully expect to retain the Congress and win the Presidency, which will allow them to restrict drilling even more than they have in the past. This time, they figure, there will not be a threat of a Presidential veto of such a bill.

7. The Democrats won the Congress in 2006 on a message of change. The changes we have seen are: increase in unemployment, the housing collapse, the credit market collapse, and no substantive legislative initiatives. What we have seen are almost two years of investigations, false charges, stalling tactics and hindrance and intimidation. The only thing that has gone well is the War on Terror, despite efforts by this Congress to undermine this effort and cause us to lose in Iraq.


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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Culture War’s Decisive Battle has Begun

When Senator McCain chose Governor Palin to serve as his running mate, he unleashed from the left the most incredible torrent of sewerage we have ever seen heaped upon a Vice Presidential candidate. Alan Colmes said she caused the Downes Syndrome of her baby. Obama operatives said Trig was actually her grandchild. Al Franken helped write a skit for Saturday Night Live that suggested that Sarah’s husband had sex with his daughters. The head of South Carolina’s Democratic Party said that Governor Palin’s only credential was that she had never had an abortion. And so on and so on. To conservative and traditional Americans, this onslaught of slime and smears is beyond comprehension, and I have only mentioned a small sample of what’s going on. The question is, “why is this happening?”

According to Herbert Meyer, “By choosing Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate -- and by staking his own claim to the presidency on "Country First" more than on any specific policy initiative -- John McCain has thrown the switch and put us Traditionalists onto the offense. By doing so he has unleashed the energy and the will to victory among Traditionalists that have been dormant for so long the Left-Wing Liberals mistakenly assumed we'd lost. And by taking the over-confident Left-Wing Liberals so completely by surprise, McCain has stunned them into revealing themselves for the vicious phonies that they are.

As a result, what started out as a typical campaign between Republicans and Democrats -- each party trying to hold its base while attracting enough independent voters to win -- has exploded into the Culture War's decisive battle.”

Previously, Herbert Meyer produced a DVD that explains so well the threat of Islamofascism to our freedoms and to our future that I bought several copies and gave them to my grandchildren. I have reproduced below an article he recently wrote that I think is important for every conservative and traditional American to read.

“Herbert Meyer served during the Reagan Administration as Special Assistant to the Director of Central Intelligence, and Vice Chairman of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council. In these positions, he managed production of the U.S. National Intelligence Estimates and other top-secret projections for the President and his senior National Security advisers. Mr. Meyer is widely credited with being the first senior U.S. Government official to forecast the Soviet Union’s collapse, which he did in the early 1980s -- to considerable political derision. He later was awarded the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, which is the Intelligence Community’s highest honor.”

The Culture War's Decisive Battle has Begun

By Herbert E. Meyer September 08, 2008 American Thinker

In every war there is one decisive battle. This battle doesn't end the war; a great deal of hard fighting lies ahead. But in retrospect it's the moment when one side's ultimate victory -- and the other side's ultimate defeat -- were sealed. In our Civil War this decisive battle was Gettysburg. In World War II, it was Midway.

Unexpectedly -- perhaps even astonishingly -- this year's presidential campaign is shaping up as the decisive battle in the Culture War that's been tearing apart our country for decades.

On one side are the Traditionalists. We believe that church and State should be separate, but that religion should remain at the center of life. We are a Judeo-Christian culture, which means we consider those ten things on a tablet to be commandments, not suggestions. We believe that individuals are more important than groups, that families are more important than governments, that children should be raised by their parents rather than by a village, and that marriage is a sacred relationship between a man and a woman. We believe that rights must be balanced by responsibilities, that personal freedom is a privilege we must be careful not to abuse, and that the rule of law cannot be set aside when it becomes inconvenient.

We believe in economic liberty, property rights, and in giving purposeful and industrious entrepreneurs the elbowroom they need to start and run their businesses -- and thus create jobs for all the rest of us -- with a minimum of government interference. We recognize that people in other countries see things differently, and we are tolerant of their views. But we believe that despite its imperfections the United States is history's most blessed country, and when attacked we will defend this country with our lives.

Tuning Out, then Tuning In

On the other side of this culture war are the Left-Wing Liberals. They are uncomfortable with our traditions, with the inevitable inequalities of our free-market economy, and with our military power. They dislike our values, our morality, and our unabashed displays of patriotism. At first -- back in the 1960s -- they were content merely to develop and pursue their own radical culture within ours. They tuned out, turned to drugs, and pushed the level of sexual license to a point our country had never known. They were so distressed by our imperfections that they refused to recognize or celebrate our achievements.

Then they tuned in, and developed a political agenda whose logical outcome would be the overthrow of the American Revolution itself. While we believe that power flows from God to the people, they believe the supreme power is the State, which decides what rights, if any, should be allowed to the people. And because there is no God above the State, there also is no truth; no such thing as right or wrong, good or evil. Since they are working to do good -- by their definition of the word -- whatever crimes they commit along the way don't matter. But if we are bent on doing what they define as harm, they will use any legal trick in the book to stop us. In short, the rule of law means whatever they want it to mean at any given moment.

They believe that rights are more important than responsibilities, that groups are more important than individuals, and that one's stand on public issues is more important than one's private actions or morality. And while they are careful never to condone the tactics of our country's foreign enemies, they always see some justification in our enemies' cause. They don't actually want us to be defeated by our foreign enemies; they wish merely to see us humbled and humiliated by them.

So great is this gulf between the Traditionalists and the Left-Wing Liberals -- and so irreconcilable are the differences -- that our decades-long political struggle has amounted to a kind of second Civil War. And for several years now, it's been a stalemate. This is why so many elections are so close, why so many Supreme Court decisions are split 5-4, and why we've been unable to act decisively on any of the issues that confront us - the war, the economy, energy, healthcare, border control, immigration, and all the rest.

One way or the other, the Culture War's stalemate is about to be broken.

Study history, and you will learn that there are two kinds of wars: There are short military ones, such as World Wars I and II, in which armies and navies collide until one side wins and the other loses. And there are long ideological wars, such as the Cold War, in which short bursts of fighting are separated by long periods of political maneuvering. In these long ideological wars, the outcome isn't determined by firepower but by will. That's because the aggressor's objective isn't to kill the defenders, but to wear them down until they no longer have the courage and stamina to keep resisting.

The defenders win only when they stop merely resisting -- in other words, trying just to not lose -- and start playing offense. For example, by the late 1970s the Free World's will to resist the Soviet Union's endless challenges had nearly evaporated. Détente was just a palatable word for surrender. And then -- unexpectedly and virtually at the same moment -- three individuals most people had never before heard of exploded onto the scene and into power. They were Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Pope John-Paul II - none of whom, by the way, had any foreign policy experience before taking office. Their objective wasn't to "not lose" the Cold War, but rather to end it with victory for the Free World. Together they threw the switch from playing defense to playing offense, stunning the Kremlin's over-confident leaders who believed that history was on their side. Within a decade, the Cold War was over and the Soviet Union had ceased to exist.

McCain Throws the Switch

By choosing Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate -- and by staking his own claim to the presidency on "Country First" more than on any specific policy initiative -- John McCain has thrown the switch and put us Traditionalists onto the offense. By doing so he has unleashed the energy and the will to victory among Traditionalists that have been dormant for so long the Left-Wing Liberals mistakenly assumed we'd lost. And by taking the over-confident Left-Wing Liberals so completely by surprise, McCain has stunned them into revealing themselves for the vicious phonies that they are.

As a result, what started out as a typical campaign between Republicans and Democrats -- each party trying to hold its base while attracting enough independent voters to win -- has exploded into the Culture War's decisive battle.

Commanding the Traditionalist armies is a war hero whose personal courage and patriotism have overwhelmed any disagreements within the coalition about specific policies and issues. His second-in-command is a pro-life hockey mom with genuine executive talent, star quality, and the most valuable asset of all in politics: a common touch. Commanding the Left-Wing Liberal armies is an elegant, eloquent cosmopolitan whose most striking talent is his ability to push past everyone else to the front of the line. His second-in-command is the U.S. Senate's leading plagiarist, whose only undeniable talent is his ability to use Senate confirmation hearings as a platform from which to trash honorable Republican appointees such as Bill Clark, Robert Bork, and Clarence Thomas.

In the coming weeks we're going to hear a lot from these four candidates and their surrogates about the war, the economy, energy, healthcare, border control, immigration, and all the other issues that confront us. And we'll be talking and arguing about these issues among ourselves - at the dinner table, with our colleagues at work, with our friends and neighbors at barbeques and at the kids' ball games.

But this election isn't really about these issues. This election is about who we are.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Who is Barack Obama; What Are His Plans For Us?

Just who is this Barack Obama, what experiences has he had, and what does he have in store for us – particularly if he gains the White House with large Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate ready to help him carry out his plans? You are known by the company you keep and by your past actions. Much of what you say during a political campaign must be discounted, but sometimes a little truth slips out. The picture was blurred, but has recently become much clearer.

Obama is a long-time member of a black liberation theology church, a church whose members believe in getting even with whitey and in reparations for blacks. Obama profited from associations with terrorists, William Ayers and Bernadette Dorn, and worked closely with Ayers in developing education programs that taught that America is an evil society. Obama believes in income redistribution, and has definite plans to carry out this Marxist philosophy. Obama also has close ties to ACORN, a group well-known for voting-fraud tactics to elect liberals to office.

Obama has profited mightily from his associations with the felon, Tony Rezco, accepting huge contributions and obvious financing to purchase his home, and his closest political advisors are the same James Johnson and Franklin Raines, who ran and destroyed Fannie Mae and then walked away with many millions of dollars in bonuses. Obama is also second only to Chris Dodd in contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

None of these conclusions are based on assumptions or on unsupported rumors that are floating about on the internet; they are based on known facts about his record and his statements.

Obama's "Tax Cut" is Income Redistribution

By Ken Blackwell September 23, 2008 RealClearPolitics (Excerpt)

“During his Fox News interview with Bill O'Reilly, Sen. Barack Obama responded to one question where the statistics contradicted his position by saying that "there are lies, damned lies, and statistics." He then went on to say that 95 percent of Americans would get a tax break under his economic plan. That's ironic, because his comment on "damned lies and statistics" is the perfect commentary on his own plan.

Taken with Sen. Joe Biden's novel definition of patriotism, Team Obama is making an argument that Americans have never bought.

The statistics speak for themselves. Only 62 percent of Americans pay federal income tax, meaning that 38 percent get a 100 percent refund of any taxes withheld. So Mr. Obama's 95 percent that will receive money from the government includes roughly 33 percent of Americans who pay no income tax. One-third of Americans pay no income taxes yet would receive a government check of perhaps $1,000 or more.

That is pure income redistribution. Some pundits argue that this is Keynesian demand-side economics. It is not. Having the government take money from business entities or affluent individuals and giving it to those who pay no federal income taxes is not Keynesian. It's Marxist.” RealClearPolitics

Obama and Ayers Pushed Radicalism On Schools

By STANLEY KURTZ SEPTEMBER 23, 2008 Wall Street Journal (Excerpts)

“Despite having authored two autobiographies, Barack Obama has never written about his most important executive experience. From 1995 to 1999, he led an education foundation called the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC), and remained on the board until 2001. The group poured more than $100 million into the hands of community organizers and radical education activists.

Bill Ayers.

The CAC was the brainchild of Bill Ayers, a founder of the Weather Underground in the 1960s. Among other feats, Mr. Ayers and his cohorts bombed the Pentagon, and he has never expressed regret for his actions. Barack Obama's first run for the Illinois State Senate was launched at a 1995 gathering at Mr. Ayers's home.

The Obama campaign has struggled to downplay that association. Last April, Sen. Obama dismissed Mr. Ayers as just "a guy who lives in my neighborhood," and "not somebody who I exchange ideas with on a regular basis." Yet documents in the CAC archives make clear that Mr. Ayers and Mr. Obama were partners in the CAC. Those archives are housed in the Richard J. Daley Library at the University of Illinois at Chicago and I've recently spent days looking through them.

The Chicago Annenberg Challenge was created ostensibly to improve Chicago's public schools. The funding came from a national education initiative by Ambassador Walter Annenberg. In early 1995, Mr. Obama was appointed the first chairman of the board, which handled fiscal matters. Mr. Ayers co-chaired the foundation's other key body, the "Collaborative," which shaped education policy.

The CAC's basic functioning has long been known, because its annual reports, evaluations and some board minutes were public. But the Daley archive contains additional board minutes, the Collaborative minutes, and documentation on the groups that CAC funded and rejected. The Daley archives show that Mr. Obama and Mr. Ayers worked as a team to advance the CAC agenda….

The CAC's agenda flowed from Mr. Ayers's educational philosophy, which called for infusing students and their parents with a radical political commitment, and which downplayed achievement tests in favor of activism. In the mid-1960s, Mr. Ayers taught at a radical alternative school, and served as a community organizer in Cleveland's ghetto.

In works like "City Kids, City Teachers" and "Teaching the Personal and the Political," Mr. Ayers wrote that teachers should be community organizers dedicated to provoking resistance to American racism and oppression. His preferred alternative? "I'm a radical, Leftist, small 'c' communist," Mr. Ayers said in an interview in Ron Chepesiuk's, "Sixties Radicals," at about the same time Mr. Ayers was forming CAC.

CAC translated Mr. Ayers's radicalism into practice. Instead of funding schools directly, it required schools to affiliate with "external partners," which actually got the money. Proposals from groups focused on math/science achievement were turned down. Instead CAC disbursed money through various far-left community organizers, such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (or Acorn).

Mr. Obama once conducted "leadership training" seminars with Acorn, and Acorn members also served as volunteers in Mr. Obama's early campaigns. External partners like the South Shore African Village Collaborative and the Dual Language Exchange focused more on political consciousness, Afrocentricity and bilingualism than traditional education. CAC's in-house evaluators comprehensively studied the effects of its grants on the test scores of Chicago public-school students. They found no evidence of educational improvement.” Wall Street Journal

Mr. Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Win the Election, Never Mind Iran’s Nuclear Threats

The protest against Ahmadinejad has been torpedoed. Hillary Clinton pulls out, and then Jewish groups disinvite Sarah Palin after threats by Democrats to pull their tax-exempt status. Were the two deeds connected? Of course.

Sources: Intense Pressure Led To Palin UN Snub

CBS 2 HD Has Learned Democrats Threatened To Attack Jewish Groups' Tax Exempt Status Over VP Nominee Invite

NEW YORK (CBS) 9/19/08 ― Hillary Clinton won't be speaking at Monday's anti-Iran rally at the United Nations -- and neither will Republican Sarah Palin or any other politicians for that matter.

The reason? A heated behind the scenes tug-of-war.

Sources tell CBS 2 HD that a decision to disinvite Palin from the high profile rally after Clinton pulled out in a huff came as the result of intense pressure from Democrats.

"This is insulting. This is embarrassing, especially to Gov. Palin, to me and I think it should be to every single New Yorker," Assemblyman Dov Hikind, D-Brooklyn, told CBS 2 HD.

Sources say the axes were out for Palin as soon as Sen. Clinton pulled out because she did not want to attend the same event as the Republican vice presidential candidate.

"I have never seen such raw emotion -- on both sides," said someone close to the situation.

The groups sponsoring the rally against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaking at the UN were reportedly told, "it could jeopardize their tax exempt status" if they had Palin and not Clinton or Democratic VP candidate Joe Biden on hand.

So all politicians were disinvited, most prominently, Palin.

"It's an absolute shame that this has happened," Hikind said. "To threaten organizations … to threaten the Conference of Presidents that if you don't withdraw the invitation to Gov. Palin we're going to look into your tax exempt status … that's McCarthyism."

Another Jewish group tried to step into the breach by inviting Palin to a different protest a day earlier.

"I'm absolutely appalled at the behavior of the Democrats," said Bob Kunst of "I'm a Democrat and for the first time in my life I'm going to vote Republican. I can't take it anymore

As for Sen. Clinton, she brushed right past CBS 2 HD's Lou Young when he tried to ask her about the issue on Thursday night.

Lou Young: "Were the organizers of Monday's rally right to depoliticize it?"

Clinton walked past Young, said "Thank you all very much" and started hugging people.

Clinton's people tell CBS 2 HD she intends to make some statement of support for the protestors. She is also expected to attack Ahmadinejad's pro-nuke, anti-Israel stance.


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Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Real Reasons for the Financial Turmoil

There is no one explanation of what went wrong with the financial markets. Simply put, it is a case of many people deciding that age old rules need not be followed anymore – combined with breathtaking corruption. Both political parties share some blame in some stupid things that happened, although the Democrats seem to be well in the lead as far as corruption and stupidity goes. Let’s trace some history.

1. During the Great Depression of the 1930’s, one reform that came out of the crash of 1929 was the passage of the Glass-Steagall Act, that prohibited banks from both accepting deposits and underwriting securities which led to segregation of investment banks from commercial banks. Glass-Steagall was effectively repealed for many large financial institutions by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in 1999. This repeal of a time-tested wall of separation was sponsored by Senator Gramm, passed by a Republican Congress and signed by a Democrat President (Clinton).

2. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, agencies now known as Government Sponsored Enterprises, were also creatures of the Great Depression, and were government agencies until the late 1960’s. President Johnson, wanting to get their debts off the budget, had them privatized. Then and now, they have access to funds at below market rates, and hold or guarantee most of the home mortgages in the country.

3. Under pressure and legislation from Congress to make home mortgages more accessible to people who were not qualifying for loans, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac began to accept and insure questionable loans and to pressure banks to provide them. Since executives of both agencies got bonuses tied to the quantity of loans granted, this added to the snowball effect. Banks also began more and more to sell off their mortgages rather than keep them in house, obviously deciding that this was a way to reduce their own risk. This pattern actually started way back in the Carter Administration, but President Clinton put it in high gear.

4. Reform efforts were hijacked by politicians either benefiting personally with favored loans, or by political contributions numbering in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The major recipients of these benefits were Democratic Senators Chris Dodd and Barack Obama. Senator McCain can show that he received much smaller contributions – and also that he recognized and tried to do something about the storm of problems that the multiplication of these risky loans was about to unfold. In fact, Senator McCain, in 2005, co-sponsored a reform bill that was killed by the ranking Senate Banking Committee member, Senator Dodd. Unfortunately, the Republican Congress allowed this to happen.

5. With this background of a mushrooming inventory of mortgage loans that should never have been issued, a rapidly rising level of home prices attracted millions of people to buy homes on speculation for profit and buy homes they could not afford – getting these loans at favorable interest rates. As usually happens when a speculative bubble takes off, the bubble burst, and home sales and home prices went into a steep and rapid decline. A huge number of these mortgages became unsustainable for the borrowers who stopped paying or walked away from their obligations.

The Real Culprits In This Meltdown

Big Government: Barack Obama and Democrats blame the historic financial turmoil on the market. But if it's dysfunctional, Democrats during the Clinton years are a prime reason for it.

Obama in a statement yesterday blamed the shocking new round of subprime-related bankruptcies on the free-market system, and specifically the "trickle-down" economics of the Bush administration, which he tried to gig opponent John McCain for wanting to extend.

But it was the Clinton administration, obsessed with multiculturalism, that dictated where mortgage lenders could lend, and originally helped create the market for the high-risk subprime loans now infecting like a retrovirus the balance sheets of many of Wall Street's most revered institutions.

Tough new regulations forced lenders into high-risk areas where they had no choice but to lower lending standards to make the loans that sound business practices had previously guarded against making. It was either that or face stiff government penalties.

The untold story in this whole national crisis is that President Clinton put on steroids the Community Redevelopment Act, a well-intended Carter-era law designed to encourage minority homeownership. And in so doing, he helped create the market for the risky subprime loans that he and Democrats now decry as not only greedy but "predatory."

Yes, the market was fueled by greed and overleveraging in the secondary market for subprimes, vis-a-vis mortgaged-backed securities traded on Wall Street. But the seed was planted in the '90s by Clinton and his social engineers. They were the political catalyst behind this slow-motion financial train wreck.

And it was the Clinton administration that mismanaged the quasi-governmental agencies that over the decades have come to manage the real estate market in America.

As soon as Clinton crony Franklin Delano Raines took the helm in 1999 at Fannie Mae, for example, he used it as his personal piggy bank, looting it for a total of almost $100 million in compensation by the time he left in early 2005 under an ethical cloud.

Other Clinton cronies, including Janet Reno aide Jamie Gorelick, padded their pockets to the tune of another $75 million.

Raines was accused of overstating earnings and shifting losses so he and other senior executives could earn big bonuses.

In the end, Fannie had to pay a record $400 million civil fine for SEC and other violations, while also agreeing as part of a settlement to make changes in its accounting procedures and ways of managing risk.

But it was too little, too late. Raines had reportedly steered Fannie Mae business to subprime giant Countrywide Financial, which was saved from bankruptcy by Bank of America.

At the same time, the Clinton administration was pushing Fannie and her brother Freddie Mac to buy more mortgages from low-income households.

The Clinton-era corruption, combined with unprecedented catering to affordable-housing lobbyists, resulted in today's nationalization of both Fannie and Freddie, a move that is expected to cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.

And the worst is far from over. By the time it is, we'll all be paying for Clinton's social experiment, one that Obama hopes to trump with a whole new round of meddling in the housing and jobs markets. In fact, the social experiment Obama has planned could dwarf both the Great Society and New Deal in size and scope.

There's a political root cause to this mess that we ignore at our peril. If we blame the wrong culprits, we'll learn the wrong lessons. And taxpayers will be on the hook for even larger bailouts down the road.

But the government-can-do-no-wrong crowd just doesn't get it. They won't acknowledge the law of unintended consequences from well-meaning, if misguided, acts.

Obama and Democrats on the Hill think even more regulation and more interference in the market will solve the problem their policies helped cause. For now, unarmed by the historic record, conventional wisdom is buying into their blame-business-first rhetoric and bigger-government solutions.

While government arguably has a role in helping low-income folks buy a home, Clinton went overboard by strong-arming lenders with tougher and tougher regulations, which only led to lenders taking on hundreds of billions in subprime bilge.

Market failure? Hardly. Once again, this crisis has government's fingerprints all over it.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Who’s Lying, Obama or Zebari?

American voters are used to October surprises, from claims that Carter tried to speed up release of the American hostages in Iran to charges that Reagan tried to hinder their release. Now we have to deal with claims by Iraq’s Foreign Minister that Barack Obama, on his visit to Iraq, tried to interfere with the Status of Forces Agreement being negotiated between Iraq and the United States. If true, it would not only be a case of meddling to gain political advantage, it is illegal.


September 15, 2008 New York Post (Excerpt)

“WHILE campaigning in public for a speedy withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, Sen. Barack Obama has tried in private to persuade Iraqi leaders to delay an agreement on a draw-down of the American military presence.

According to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Obama made his demand for delay a key theme of his discussions with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad in July.

"He asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington," Zebari said in an interview.

Obama insisted that Congress should be involved in negotiations on the status of US troops - and that it was in the interests of both sides not to have an agreement negotiated by the Bush administration in its "state of weakness and political confusion."

"However, as an Iraqi, I prefer to have a security agreement that regulates the activities of foreign troops, rather than keeping the matter open." Zebari says.

Though Obama claims the US presence is "illegal," he suddenly remembered that Americans troops were in Iraq within the legal framework of a UN mandate. His advice was that, rather than reach an accord with the "weakened Bush administration," Iraq should seek an extension of the UN mandate.

While in Iraq, Obama also tried to persuade the US commanders, including Gen. David Petraeus, to suggest a "realistic withdrawal date." They declined.

Obama has made many contradictory statements with regard to Iraq. His latest position is that US combat troops should be out by 2010. Yet his effort to delay an agreement would make that withdrawal deadline impossible to meet.

Supposing he wins, Obama's administration wouldn't be fully operational before February - and naming a new ambassador to Baghdad and forming a new negotiation team might take longer still.

By then, Iraq will be in the throes of its own campaign season. Judging by the past two elections, forming a new coalition government may then take three months. So the Iraqi negotiating team might not be in place until next June.

Then, judging by how long the current talks have taken, restarting the process from scratch would leave the two sides needing at least six months to come up with a draft accord. That puts us at May 2010 for when the draft might be submitted to the Iraqi parliament - which might well need another six months to pass it into law.

Thus, the 2010 deadline fixed by Obama is a meaningless concept, thrown in as a sop to his anti-war base.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the Bush administration have a more flexible timetable in mind.

According to Zebari, the envisaged time span is two or three years - departure in 2011 or 2012. That would let Iraq hold its next general election, the third since liberation, and resolve a number of domestic political issues

Even then, the dates mentioned are only "notional," making the timing and the cadence of withdrawal conditional on realities on the ground as appreciated by both sides.” New York Post


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McCain Co-Sponsored Reforms of Fannie & Freddie

In 2005, Senator McCain recognized the dangers posed by the reckless operation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and co-sponsored a bill to reform both agencies. The bill was killed in Committee due to the maneuvering of Democratic Senator Chris Dodd. "Freddie and Fannie used huge lobbying budgets and political contributions to keep regulators off their backs. A group called the Center for Responsive Politics keeps track of which politicians get Fannie and Freddie political contributions. The top three U.S. Senators getting big Fannie and Freddie political bucks were Democrats, and number two is Senator Barack Obama." Excerpt cross-posted from
Senator McCain’s speech is on record here.

McCain’s attempt to fix Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac in 2005

September 17, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

“With the financial sector in turmoil today, the media and the politicians have started throwing around blame with the same recklessness as lenders threw around credit to create the problem. Politically, the pertinent question is this: Which candidate foresaw the credit crisis and tried to do something about it? As it turns out, John McCain did — and partnered with three other Senate Republicans to reform the government’s involvement in lending three years ago, after an attempt by the Bush administration died in Congress two years earlier. McCain spoke forcefully on May 25, 2006, on behalf of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005 (via Beltway Snark):

"Mr. President, this week Fannie Mae’s regulator reported that the company’s quarterly reports of profit growth over the past few years were “illusions deliberately and systematically created” by the company’s senior management, which resulted in a $10.6 billion accounting scandal.

The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight’s report goes on to say that Fannie Mae employees deliberately and intentionally manipulated financial reports to hit earnings targets in order to trigger bonuses for senior executives. In the case of Franklin Raines, Fannie Mae’s former chief executive officer, OFHEO’s report shows that over half of Mr. Raines’ compensation for the 6 years through 2003 was directly tied to meeting earnings targets. The report of financial misconduct at Fannie Mae echoes the deeply troubling $5 billion profit restatement at Freddie Mac.

The OFHEO report also states that Fannie Mae used its political power to lobby Congress in an effort to interfere with the regulator’s examination of the company’s accounting problems. This report comes some weeks after Freddie Mac paid a record $3.8 million fine in a settlement with the Federal Election Commission and restated lobbying disclosure reports from 2004 to 2005. These are entities that have demonstrated over and over again that they are deeply in need of reform.

For years I have been concerned about the regulatory structure that governs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–known as Government-sponsored entities or GSEs–and the sheer magnitude of these companies and the role they play in the housing market. OFHEO’s report this week does nothing to ease these concerns. In fact, the report does quite the contrary. OFHEO’s report solidifies my view that the GSEs need to be reformed without delay.

I join as a cosponsor of the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, S. 190, to underscore my support for quick passage of GSE regulatory reform legislation. If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to the housing market, the overall financial system, and the economy as a whole.

I urge my colleagues to support swift action on this GSE reform legislation."

In this speech, McCain managed to predict the entire collapse that has forced the government to eat Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, along with Bear Stearns and AIG. He hammers the falsification of financial records to benefit executives, including Franklin Raines and Jim Johnson, both of whom have worked as advisers to Barack Obama this year. McCain also noted the power of their lobbying efforts to forestall oversight over their business practices. He finishes with the warning that proved all too prescient over the past few days and weeks.

What was this bill? The act would have done the following:

(1) in lieu of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), an independent Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Agency which shall have authority over the Federal Home Loan Bank Finance Corporation, the Federal Home Loan Banks, the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac); and (2) the Federal Housing Enterprise Board.

Sets forth operating, administrative, and regulatory provisions of the Agency, including provisions respecting: (1) assessment authority; (2) authority to limit nonmission-related assets; (3) minimum and critical capital levels; (4) risk-based capital test; (5) capital classifications and undercapitalized enterprises; (6) enforcement actions and penalties; (7) golden parachutes; and (8) reporting.

It never made it out of committee. Chris Dodd, then the ranking member of the Banking Committee and now its chair, was in the middle of receiving preferential loan treatment from Countrywide Mortgage, one of the companies gaming the system in the credit crisis. Meanwhile, Barack Obama took hundreds of thousands of dollars from the lobbyists McCain mentions in this speech, making him the #2 recipient of Fannie/Freddie money:

HEATHER NAUERT: Barack Obama attacking John McCain once again on the economy and the market turmoil today. Our John Gibson has new information on the Democratic presidential nominee and the mortgage mess for us now. What have you got John?

JOHN GIBSON: Alright Heather. Lehman Brothers’ collapse is traced back to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two big mortgage banks that got a federal bailout a few weeks ago. Freddie and Fannie used huge lobbying budgets and political contributions to keep regulators off their backs. A group called the Center for Responsive Politics keeps track of which politicians get Fannie and Freddie political contributions.

The top three U.S. Senators getting big Fannie and Freddie political bucks were Democrats and number two is Senator Barack Obama.

Now, remember, he has only been in the Senate four years but still managed to grab the number two spot ahead of John Kerry, decades in the senate, and Chris Dodd who is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Fannie and Freddie have been creations of the Congressional Democrats and the Clinton white house, designed to make mortgages available to more people, and as it turned out, some people who couldn’t afford them. Fannie and Freddie have also been places for big Washington Democrats to go to work in the semi-private sector and pocket millions. The Clinton administration’s white house budget director Franklin Raines ran Fannie and collected 50 million dollars. Jamie Gurilli, Clinton Justice Apartment Official, worked for Fannie and took home 26 million dollars. Big Democrat Jim Johnson, recently on Obama’s VP search committee has hauled in millions from his Fannie Mae C.E.O. job.

Now remember, Obama’s ads and stump speeches attack McCain and Republican policies for the current financial turmoil. It is demonstrably not Republican policy and worse, it appears the man attacking McCain, Senator Obama, was at the head of the line when the piggy’s lined up at the Fannie and Freddie trough for campaign bucks. Senator Barack Obama, number two on the Fannie/Freddie list of favored politicians after just four short years in the senate. Next time you see that ad, you might notice he fails to mention that part of the Fannie and Freddie problem. Heather.

NAUERT: Wow, that’s quite a report, begs the question — where is John McCain on this?

GIBSON: John McCain is a measly $20,000 after over 20 years so he really doesn’t even come close in the political contribution department.

Open Secrets has the list of Congressmen who have benefited from Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac largesse since 1989 (inclusive). Remarkably, after only serving less than four of those 20 years, Barack Obama has vaulted to the #2 position on Capitol Hill.

Only Dodd outstripped him. He took more than six times the amount that McCain received in a 20-year period.

The record shows that McCain saw the problem coming and tried to get Congress to act. In 2005, both McCain and Obama served together in the Senate. Did Obama attempt to pass this reform, sign on as a co-sponsor, or even speak out in its favor? The record is tellingly blank.”

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dems in House Rig Fake Drilling Bill

Almost all the offshore oil in the Gulf and along the U. S. continental shelves is contained in areas between 3 and 50 miles from our shores. This is why the surprise drilling bill sprung on the House of Representatives by Democrat Speaker Nancy Pelosi is a sham intended to fool the American public into thinking that the Democrats have responded to our demands for drilling, when just the opposite is true. Hopefully this tawdry legislation will die in the Senate or be rejected by President Bush. In fact, let’s hope no bill passes, and the moratorium on drilling will just pass out of existence allowing drilling to proceed wherever the oil companies think there is oil.

House Passes Bill To Expand Drilling, Fund Renewables

Republicans Say Measure Isn't Enough

September 17, 2008 Washington Post (Excerpts)
The House approved a package of energy initiatives yesterday, including measures that would allow oil drilling as close as 50 miles off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and finance the long-term development of alternative energy sources.

In the first substantive votes since gasoline prices rose above $4 a gallon this summer, the House divided largely along party lines, 236 to 189, with most Republicans rejecting the Democratic-sponsored legislation because it would prohibit exploration of much of the known oil reserves closer to the coasts and in the Gulf of Mexico.

As they reversed their long-held opposition to more offshore oil exploration, Democrats said the increased taxes on oil companies in the bill and the collection of royalty payments from the drilling would yield billions of dollars to help finance the development of cleaner, renewable energy sources.

>"We're not trying to give incentives to drill, we're giving incentives to invest in renewables and natural gas that will take us where we need to go," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) told reporters before the vote.

The legislation now moves to the Senate, where it will compete with three alternative proposals, each of which faces a difficult road to securing the 60 votes needed for passage.

If Congress does not act on the measures by Sept. 30, the current ban on offshore oil drilling will expire, and exploration will be allowed as close as three miles off all U.S. coastlines. In July, President Bush lifted an executive order that had blocked drilling on the outer continental shelf.

Yesterday's action came two months after the average price of gas peaked at more than $4.10 a gallon, prompting Republicans to make offshore drilling one of their central political planks as they headed into the party conventions and the fall elections. But as Democrats buckled under the political pressure for more drilling and began assembling the legislation, oil prices began falling. The cost of a barrel of oil has dropped about $55, or about a third, from its peak this summer….

"The American people understand that we need an 'all of the above' approach to securing our energy future -- including drilling offshore, nuclear power, conservation and renewable energy," said Brian Rogers, spokesman for Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign.

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), a McCain supporter who favors more drilling, said the summer price spike was such a shock to consumers that they will demand increased domestic production to protect against future run-ups.

"The impact was so great this time, the American people said, 'Enough's enough, let's take back control,' " Burr said.

The legislation calls for drilling 100 miles off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, or beyond 50 miles if governors and state legislatures approve. It would repeal tax breaks given to major oil companies in a 2004 bill and would force companies to pay for leases given to them in the late 1990s for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, a move that has saved them $15 billion over the past decade, according to Democratic estimates.

The bill requires 10 percent of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to be released into the marketplace and increases funding for home-heating assistance for the poor.
One piece of the legislation was added this week when Democrats agreed to allow new exploration of oil shale in the Mountain West if states agree to it.

Republicans and some industry experts contend that little new energy production would result from the legislation, because federal studies have shown that more than 85 percent of known offshore oil reserves are inside the 50-mile mark.

The bill would not allow the sharing of royalties from leases with states, something that could decrease the incentive for state governments to allow drilling closer to their coasts. Pelosi indicated some willingness yesterday to consider a compromise on that issue.

Calling the process "rigged," House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) protested the less-than-24-hour period between the legislation's unveiling and yesterday's vote, during which Republicans could not offer amendments.

"The bill that's coming to the floor is nothing more than a hoax on the American people, and they will not buy it," Boehner said.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Please Support Pickens Plan on Natural Gas

After first being critical of T. Boone Pickens well-publicized plan for wind turbines and the use of compressed natural gas (CNG) for vehicles, I reconsidered that part of his plan involving CNG and supported it. The reason I changed my mind about the use of CNG for cars and trucks was the publication of data indicating that immense amounts of natural gas deposits have now been found within the United States – and at costs that will make its use in vehicles far less than gasoline. CNG also creates much less pollution than gasoline.

I ask my readers to check out a site that explains the details of this issue located here. I also ask my readers to contact their Congressmen and demand support for this additional energy source in our drive to achieve energy independence for our country. You can use the banner on the lower right side of this page.


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McCain Ad on Obama Vote Not Untruthful

Much is being made by the Obama campaign and their friends at the New York Times and the Washington Post about an ad being run by the McCain campaign. The ad concerns a bill Obama voted for in Illinois that extended the teaching about AIDS, condoms and homosexuality to Kindergarten children. Obama says he voted for the bill because it provided guidance about unwanted touching to school children, and McCain is lying. Byron York of National Review has thoroughly investigated this situation and filed the following report:

”Obama’s explanation for his vote has been accepted by nearly all commentators. And perhaps that is indeed why he voted for Senate Bill 99, although we don’t know for sure. But we do know that the bill itself was much more than that. The fact is, the bill’s intention was to mandate sex education, especially concerning contraception and the prevention of sexually-transmitted diseases, for children before the sixth grade and as early as kindergarten. Obama’s defenders may howl, but the bill is what it is.”

On Sex-Ed Ad, McCain Is Right

What was that Illinois sex-education bill really about?

By Byron York September 16, 2008 National Review (Excerpt)

“In recent days, a consensus has developed among the Obama campaign and commentators in the press that John McCain has decided to lie his way to the White House. Exhibit A in this new consensus is McCain’s ad, released last week, claiming that Barack Obama’s “one accomplishment” in the field of education was “legislation to teach ‘comprehensive sex education’ to kindergartners.”

Within moments of the ad’s appearance, the Obama campaign called it “shameful and downright perverse.” The legislation in question, a bill in the Illinois State Senate that was supported but not sponsored by Obama, was, according to Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton, “written to protect young children from sexual predators” and had nothing to do with comprehensive sex education for kindergartners. In a stinging final shot, Burton added, “Last week, John McCain told Time magazine he couldn’t define what honor was. Now we know why.”

Newspaper, magazine, and television commentators quickly piled on. “The kindergarten ad flat-out lies,” wrote the New York Times, arguing that “at most, kindergarteners were to be taught the dangers of sexual predators.” The Washington Post wrote that “McCain’s ‘Education’ Spot is Dishonest, Deceptive.” And in a column in The Hill, the influential blogger Josh Marshall called the sex-education spot “a rancid, race-baiting ad based on [a] lie. Willie Horton looks mild by comparison.”

The condemnation has been so widespread that the Obama campaign has begun to sense success in placing the “McCain-is-a-liar” storyline in the press. But before accepting the story at face value, it might first be a good idea to examine the bill in question, look at the statements made by its supporters at the time it was introduced, talk to its sponsors today (at least the ones who will consent to speak), and find answers to a few basic questions. What were the bill’s provisions? Why was it written? Was it really just, or even mostly, about inappropriate advances? And the bottom-line question: Is McCain’s characterization of it unfair

The bill in question was Senate Bill 99, introduced in the Senate in February 2003. Its broad purpose was to change and update portions of Illinois’s existing laws concerning sex education. (The text of the bill is here, and everyone interested in the issue should take a look at it.)

When the bill was introduced, a coalition of groups including the Illinois Public Health Association, the Illinois State Medical Society, the Cook County Department of Public Health, the Chicago Department of Public Health, the Illinois Planned Parenthood Council and others issued a press release headlined “Coalition of Legislators, Physicians and Organizations Bring Illinois Into the 21st Century with Omnibus Healthcare Package.” It was a three-part campaign; Senate Bill 99, covering “medically accurate sex education,” was the first part, with two other bills addressing “funding for family planning services for women in need” and “contraceptive equity in health insurance.”

According to the press release, Senate Bill 99 required that “if a public school teaches sex education, family life education, and comprehensive health education courses, all materials and instruction must be medically and factually accurate.” The bill’s main sponsor, Sen. Carol Ronen, was quoted saying, “It teaches students about the advantages of abstinence, while also giving them the realistic information they need about the prevention of an unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.” The release contained no mention of sexual predators or inappropriate touching.

What, specifically, was the bill designed to do? It appears to have had three major purposes:

The first, as Ronen indicated, was to mandate that information presented in sex-ed classes be “factual,” “medically accurate,” and “objective.”

The second purpose was to increase the number of children receiving sex education. Illinois’ existing law required the teaching of sex education and AIDS prevention in grades six through twelve. The old law read:

Each class or course in comprehensive sex education offered in any of grades 6 through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention, transmission and spread of AIDS.

Senate Bill 99 struck out grade six, changing it to kindergarten, in addition to making a few other changes in wording. It read:

Each class or course in comprehensive sex education in any of grades K through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV

The bill’s third purpose was to remove value-laden language in the old law. For example, the old law contained passages like this:

Course material and instruction shall teach honor and respect for monogamous heterosexual marriage.

Course material and instruction shall stress that pupils should abstain from sexual intercourse until they are ready for marriage…

[Classes] shall emphasize that abstinence is the expected norm in that abstinence from sexual intercourse is the only protection that is 100 percent effective against unwanted teenage pregnancy [and] sexually transmitted diseases…

The proposed bill eliminated all those passages and replaced them with wording like this:

Course material and instruction shall include a discussion of sexual abstinence as a method to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

Course material and instruction shall present the latest medically factual information regarding both the possible side effects and health benefits of all forms of contraception, including the success and failure rates for the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV…

The bill gave parents and guardians the right to take their children out of sex-ed classes by presenting written objections. The bill also specified that “all sex education courses that discuss sexual activity or behavior…be age and developmentally appropriate.” And, after covering a number of other provisions, the bill addressed the issue of inappropriate advances:

Course material and instruction shall teach pupils to not make unwanted physical and verbal sexual advances and how to say no to unwanted sexual advances and shall include information about verbal, physical, and visual sexual harassment, including without limitation nonconsensual sexual advances, nonconsensual physical sexual contact, and rape by an acquaintance. The course material and instruction shall contain methods of preventing sexual assault by an acquaintance, including exercising good judgment and avoiding behavior that impairs one’s judgment. The course material and instruction shall emphasize personal accountability and respect for others and shall also encourage youth to resist negative peer pressure. The course material and instruction shall inform pupils of the potential legal consequences of sexual assault by an acquaintance. Specifically, pupils shall be advised that it is unlawful to touch an intimate part of another person as specified in the Criminal Code of 1961.

The wording of that provision suggests lawmakers were at least as concerned with protecting children from each other as from adults, and it doesn’t seem directed toward the youngest children, as Obama maintained. But there is no doubt that the bill did address the question of inappropriate touching. On the other hand, there is also no doubt that, looking at the overall bill, the “touching” provision did not have the prominence that Team Obama has suggested it had, and it certainly wasn’t the bill’s main purpose.” National Review


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Monday, September 15, 2008

ABC Dishonestly Edited Sarah Palin Interview

Not only did ABC, Yahoo News and the Washington Post badly misrepresent several statements made by Sarah Palin recently, but ABC actually edited out some of Palin’s comments in her much-watched interview with Charles Gibson in an attempt to portray some of her views as outside the mainstream. This is well over the top.

If you have a pulse and watch television, you must certainly be aware that Obama supporters have been smearing Sarah Palin unmercifully to the extent that they have overreached so badly that they have all made themselves look foolish, vindictive and vicious. ABC is a charter member of the smear crew. See the end of this post for more details.

ABC Misrepresents Palin Quote in ‘Holy War’ Question

September 12, 2008 (Excerpt)

“This promo of Sarah Palin's ABC News interview appeared on the Yahoo! News Web site.

Millions of TV viewers who watched ABC News’ interview with Sarah Palin Thursday night never saw her take issue with a key question in which she was asked if she believes that the U.S. military effort in Iraq is “a task that is from God.”

The exchange between Palin and ABC’s Charlie Gibson, in which she questioned the accuracy of the quote attributed to her, was edited out of the television broadcast but included in official, unedited transcripts posted on ABC’s Web site, as well as in video posted on the Internet.

But in the version shown on television, a video clip of her original statement was inserted in place of her objection, giving a different impression of how Palin views the Iraq war

In the interview, Gibson asked Palin: “You said recently in your old church, ‘Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.’ Are we fighting a Holy War?”

Palin’s response, which appears in the transcript but was edited out of the televised version, was:

“You know, I don’t know if that was my exact quote.”

“It’s exact words,” Gibson said.

But Gibson’s quote left out what Palin said before that:

“Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God. That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan.”

The edited televised version included a partial clip of that quote, but not the whole thing.

Gibson’s characterization of Palin’s words prompted a sharp rebuke from the McCain campaign on Thursday.

“Governor Palin’s full statement was VERY different” from the way Gibson characterized it,” read a statement circulated by McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds.

“Gibson cut the quote — where she was clearly asking for the church TO PRAY THAT IT IS a task from God, not asserting that it is a task from God.

“Palin’s statement is an incredibly humble statement, a statement that this campaign stands by 100 percent, and a sentiment that any religious American will share,” Bounds wrote.

In the rest of the segment that aired, Palin told Gibson that she was referencing Abraham’s Lincoln’s words on how one should never presume to know God’s will. She said she does not presume to know God’s will and that she was only asking the audience to “pray that we are on God’s side.”

A promo posted on Yahoo! News Friday continued to misrepresent the exchange. It displays Palin’s image next to the words, “Iraq war a ‘holy war?’” implying that Palin — not Gibson — had called the War on Terror a holy war.

ABC News did not respond to requests for comment from

ABC’s mischaracterization of Palin’s words was not the only one in the media. The Washington Post also did some last-minute clean-up in one of its articles on Palin — a front-page story Friday with the headline “Palin Links Iraq to Sept. 11 in Talk to Troops in Alaska.” “ Fox News

On his website here, Mark Levin, a conservative talk-show host, has posted five, single-spaced pages of the original transcript of the Gibson-Palin ABC interview in a format that shows the large number of responses by Palin that ABC edited out of the videotape that they represented as the actual interview. A sample of the edit is shown below, with the edited out passages shown in red:

GIBSON: Have you ever met a foreign head of state?

PALIN: There in the state of Alaska, our international trade activities bring in many leaders of other countries.

GIBSON: And all governors deal with trade delegations.

PALIN: Right.

GIBSON: Who act at the behest of their governments.

PALIN: Right, right.

GIBSON: I’m talking about somebody who’s a head of state, who can negotiate for that country. Ever met one

PALIN: I have not and I think if you go back in history and if you ask that question of many vice presidents, they may have the same answer that I just gave you. But, Charlie, again, we’ve got to remember what the desire is in this nation at this time. It is for no more politics as usual and somebody’s big, fat resume maybe that shows decades and decades in that Washington establishment, where, yes, they’ve had opportunities to meet heads of state … these last couple of weeks … it has been overwhelming to me that confirmation of the message that Americans are getting sick and tired of that self-dealing and kind of that closed door, good old boy network that has been the Washington elite.

GIBSON: Let me ask you about some specific national security situations.

PALIN: Sure.

GIBSON: Let’s start, because we are near Russia, let’s start with Russia and Georgia.

The administration has said we’ve got to maintain the territorial integrity of Georgia. Do you believe the United States should try to restore Georgian sovereignty over South Ossetia and Abkhazia?

PALIN: First off, we’re going to continue good relations with Saakashvili there. I was able to speak with him the other day and giving him my commitment, as John McCain’s running mate, that we will be committed to Georgia. And we’ve got to keep an eye on Russia. For Russia to have exerted such pressure in terms of invading a smaller democratic country, unprovoked, is unacceptable and we have to keep…

GIBSON: You believe unprovoked.

PALIN: I do believe unprovoked and we have got to keep our eyes on Russia, under the leadership there. I think it was unfortunate. That manifestation that we saw with that invasion of Georgia shows us some steps backwards that Russia has recently taken away from the race toward a more democratic nation with democratic ideals. That’s why we have to keep an eye on Russia.

And, Charlie, you’re in Alaska. We have that very narrow maritime border between the United States, and the 49th state, Alaska, and Russia. They are our next door neighbors.We need to have a good relationship with them. They’re very, very important to us and they are our next door neighbor

GIBSON: What insight into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of the state give you?

PALIN: They’re our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.

GIBSON: What insight does that give you into what they’re doing in Georgia?

PALIN: Well, I’m giving you that perspective of how small our world is and how important it is that we work with our allies to keep good relation with all of these countries, especially Russia. We will not repeat a Cold War. We must have good relationship with our allies, pressuring, also, helping us to remind Russia that it’s in their benefit, also, a mutually beneficial relationship for us all to be getting along.

We cannot repeat the Cold War. We are thankful that, under Reagan, we won the Cold War, without a shot fired, also. We’ve learned lessons from that in our relationship with Russia, previously the Soviet Union.

We will not repeat a Cold War. We must have good relationship with our allies, pressuring, also, helping us to remind Russia that it’s in their benefit, also, a mutually beneficial relationship for us all to be getting along

I find it incredible that a major television network would edit the comments and responses (and questions too) that a candidate for vice president of the United States made in an interview billed as a major attempt to define her views for the country. A reading of the entire interview and the edited comments leaves no doubt that the purpose of the interview, and the purpose of the editing, was to play “gotcha” with Governor Palin. They didn’t succeed, and they should be ashamed.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ten Seconds that Will Win the Election

Everyone who watched the Republican convention saw a scene of unscripted beauty unfold that told a story of family love and big (little) sister devotion that brought tears to most of us. It told us more about the qualities of Sarah Palin than any speech or examination of her record could. It told us that a woman with five children successfully holding down one of the toughest jobs in the United States managed to raise a family that loves and respects one another. It showed us a little girl lovingly holding and grooming her baby brother. It showed us the soul of the Palin family.

Below is a photograph of the McCain Family, including the daughter from Bangladesh Cindy brought home for special surgery when she went there on a humanitarian mission. The McCain’s later adopted her. The Obama people are now trying to smear Cindy as a drug addict because, for a time, she became addicted to pain killers after a painful medical situation. Obama, himself, sneeringly ridiculed McCain for not using e-mail, perhaps not realizing that McCain cannot use a computer because of the aftereffects of the torture he received in Vietnam. Obama should also realize that presidents do not send e-mails.

Arrayed against John McCain and Sarah Palin is the ticket of Barack Obama and Joseph Biden. Until late in his campaign, Obama refused to salute our flag or wear a flag pin, as shown in the first photograph. The next photos show the flags left in the trash by the Democrats after the close of their convention this summer. The flags were rescued by Republican workers and handed out to Republican activists for display and proper disposal.

The last picture is the most disturbing to patriotic Americans. It symbolizes Obama’s close, 20-year friendship with his pastor, Reverend Wright, who, among other things, preaches that the people who died in 9/11 deserved it, and that the U.S. Government invented AIDS to kill black people. This relationship has never been adequately explained, probably because the truth of the matter would be devastating. The strange relationship between Obama and the terrorist bomber, William Ayers, also has never been explained. It can’t be. It is unfathomable.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Terror Plots Foiled by President Bush

When they are not thinking up ways to smear and lie about Sarah Palin, the morons on the left are trying to ridicule and lie about President Bush and his incredibly effective program of disrupting and stopping the Islamic terrorists trying to kill Americans and others who love freedom. Many of the plots that have been foiled through the President’s policies will never be known. That is the way it is, but we do know that we have been safe and secure in our homeland since 9/11, when we all expected that many major terrorist acts lay ahead. We do know, however, of some of the successful operations that have been carried out, and Fox News has published this list:

Foiled Terror Plots Against America Since 9/11

September 11, 2008 Fox News

The following is a list of known terror plots thwarted by the U.S. government since Sept. 11, 2001.

• December 2001, Richard Reid: British citizen attempted to ignite shoe bomb on flight from Paris to Miami.

• May 2002, Jose Padilla: American citizen accused of seeking radioactive-laced "dirty bomb" to use in an attack against Amrica. Padilla was convicted of conspiracy in August, 2007.

• September 2002, Lackawanna Six: American citizens of Yemeni origin convicted of supporting Al Qaeda after attending jihadist camp in Pakistan. Five of six were from Lackawanna, N.Y.

• May 2003, Iyman Faris: American citizen charged with plotting to use blowtorches to collapse the Brooklyn Bridge.

• June 2003, Virginia Jihad Network: Eleven men from Alexandria, Va., trained for jihad against American soldiers, convicted of violating the Neutrality Act, conspiracy.

• August 2004, Dhiren Barot: Indian-born leader of terror cell plotted bombings on financial centers.

• August 2004, James Elshafay and Shahawar Matin Siraj: Sought to plant bomb at New York's Penn Station during the Republican National Convention.

• August 2004, Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain: Plotted to assassinate a Pakistani diplomat on American soil.

• June 2005, Father and son Umer Hayat and Hamid Hayat: Son convicted of attending terrorist training camp in Pakistan; father convicted of customs violation.

• August 2005, Kevin James, Levar Haley Washington, Gregory Vernon Patterson and Hammad Riaz Samana: Los Angeles homegrown terrorists who plotted to attack National Guard, LAX, two synagogues and Israeli consulate.

• December 2005, Michael Reynolds: Plotted to blow up natural gas refinery in Wyoming, the Transcontinental Pipeline, and a refinery in New Jersey. Reynolds was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

• February 2006, Mohammad Zaki Amawi, Marwan Othman El-Hindi and Zand Wassim Mazloum: Accused of providing material support to terrorists, making bombs for use in Iraq.

• April 2006, Syed Haris Ahmed and Ehsanul Islam Sadequee: Cased and videotaped the Capitol and World Bank for a terrorist organization.

• June 2006, Narseal Batiste, Patrick Abraham, Stanley Grant Phanor, Naudimar Herrera, Burson Augustin, Lyglenson Lemorin, and Rotschild Augstine: Accused of plotting to blow up the Sears Tower.

• July 2006, Assem Hammoud: Accused of plotting to bomb New York City train tunnels.

• August 2006, Liquid Explosives Plot: Thwarted plot to explode ten airliners over the United States.

March 2007, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: Mastermind of Sept. 11 and author of numerous plots confessed in court in March 2007 to planning to destroy skyscrapers in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Mohammed also plotted to assassinate Pope John Paul II and former President Bill Clinton.

• May 2007, Fort Dix Plot: Six men accused of plotting to attack Fort Dix Army base in New Jersey. The plan included attacking and killing soldiers using assault rifles and grenades.

• June 2007, JFK Plot: Four men are accused of plotting to blow up fuel arteries that run through residential neighborhoods at JFK Airport in New York.

• September 2007, German authorities disrupt a terrorist cell that was planning attacks on military installations and facilities used by Americans in Germany. The Germans arrested three suspected members of the Islamic Jihad Union, a group that has links to Al Qaeda and supports Al Qaeda's global jihadist agenda.


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