Saturday, February 27, 2010

Government Run Healthcare, Hopefully For the Last Time

I think if I hear any more about Obamacare or Global warming I will shoot myself, but the statists just won't accept facts and the will of the people on either.

You won't hear much about it in the mainstream press, but the most significant happening at the Thursday dog-and-pony show was the fact and logic-based performance by Rep. Paul Ryan:

If video does not load go here.

Rebuttals To Ryan? We're Still Waiting

02/26/2010 Investor's Business Daily

Rep. Paul Ryan's pointed questions went conspicuously unanswered at the big health care summit. AP View Enlarged Image

Politics: Many viewers were wowed by the president's performance at the health care summit, his command of facts and ability to rebut every point the Republicans made. We must have been watching another channel.

'Obama dominates the room at health care summit" was the headline on a Reuters dispatch that found the president "always in command not only of the room but also the most intricate policy details, as he personally rebutted every point he disagreed with."

In a Washington Post column titled "Professor Obama schools lawmakers on health care reform," Dana Milbank marveled at how the president "controlled the microphone and the clock, (using) both skillfully to limit the Republicans' time, to rebut their arguments and to always have the last word."

Milbank went on to tell how Sen. John McCain got his "knuckles rapped" by the learned professor, how Sen. Mitch McConnell was made to "look small in his chair" and how various other Republican low-achievers felt the sting of Obama's "big rhetorical paddle."

But neither Reuters nor Milbank — nor many others, it seems — noticed Obama's conspicuous non-rebuttal to Rep. Paul Ryan.

It was the Wisconsin congressman who made the most pointed remarks about Obama's reform proposal. For example:

• "This bill does not control costs (or) reduce deficits. Instead, (it) adds a new health care entitlement when we have no idea how to pay for the entitlements we already have."

• "The bill has 10 years of tax increases, about half a trillion dollars, with 10 years of Medicare cuts, about half a trillion dollars, to pay for six years of spending. The true 10-year cost (is) $2.3 trillion."

• "The bill takes $52 billion in higher Social Security tax revenues and counts them as offsets. But that's really reserved for Social Security. So either we're double-counting them or we don't intend on paying those Social Security benefits."

• "The bill takes $72 billion from the CLASS Act (long-term care insurance) benefit premiums and claims them as offsets."

• "The bill treats Medicare like a piggy bank, (raiding) half a trillion dollars not to shore up Medicare solvency, but to spend on this new government program."

• "The chief actuary of Medicare (says) as much as 20% of Medicare providers will either go out of business or have to stop seeing Medicare beneficiaries."

• "Millions of seniors who have chosen Medicare Advantage (Medicare through a private insurer) will lose the coverage that they now enjoy."

• "When you strip out the double-counting and ... gimmicks, the full 10-year cost of the bill has a $460 billion deficit. The second 10-year cost of this bill has a $1.4 trillion deficit."

• "The 'doc fix' (restoring cuts in Medicare reimbursements) costs $371 billion ... a price tag (that) made the score look bad. (So) that provision was taken out, and (put) in stand-alone legislation. But ignoring these costs does not remove them from the backs of taxpayers. Hiding spending does not reduce spending."

• "Are we bending the cost curve down or are we bending the cost curve up? If you look at your own chief actuary at Medicare, we're bending it up. He's claiming that we're going up $222 billion, adding more to the unsustainable fiscal situation we have."

In response to all this, Obama basically talked up the benefits of Medicare Advantage. Call us sticklers, but we expected something a little more, uh, professorial.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In fairness to Senator Scott Brown

In fairness to Senator Scott Brown, I am presenting below an audio file of his appearance on a local Boston radio show. Senator Brown has been widely criticized and even excoriated for his vote Monday. Thanks to Tony for sending me this link.

Listen to the audio here.

This is a message I just sent to Senator Brown:

I just listened to Senator Brown's appearance on Howie Carr, and I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. He should have realized, however, that we've been watching Obama, Reid and Pelosi destroy this country and our children's future with their foolish and mean-spirited ideology. We do not trust anything that they want to do. Neither should you. If "revenue neutral" means the money had already been appropriated, put it back in the treasury.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How do you spell Chutzpah? Biden on Iraq

Here are some just unbelievable comments by VP Joe Biden. Makes you want to scream after all those years of Biden and Obama bitterly opposing every move President Bush made in deposing Saddam and in freeing Iraq.

Joe Biden update: Iraq one of Obama's 'great achievements'

February 11, 2010

Top of the Ticket

Politics and commentary, coast to coast, from the Los Angeles Times

Joe Biden update: Iraq one of Obama's 'great achievements'

Who knew?

Thank goodness, Vice President Joe Biden went on CNN to chat with Larry King Wednesday night. So many think things are not going so well for the Democrat administration, as The Ticket chronicled here.

Many Americans recall the ex-Sen. Biden's Democratic primary plans to give in to Iraq's fractious factions and carve the country into three territories. And even more probably recall Biden's boss' plan to halt the Iraq war years ago. As long as it got started anyway without the permission of the then state senator.

Plus, of course, the vehement opposition of the Nobel Prize winner to the 2007 American troop surge of you-know-who from Texas that Obama knew for certain was only going to worsen sectarian strife there

If video does not load go here.

Well, of course, it didn't turn out that way, thanks in large measure to the brave service of hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops who served in that war-torn land and helped peace to break out despite the loud political acrimony back home over their role.

Now, the Obama-Biden pair that opposed the Iraq war and its tactics and predicted their failure is prepared to accept credit for its success.

It seems that Biden, who's from Delaware when he's in Delaware and Pennsylvania when in Pennsylvania, is certain now that Iraq will turn out to be one of the Obama-Biden administration's greatest achievements.

No, really.

Here's how Biden put it to Lar:

I am very optimistic about -- about Iraq. I mean, this could be one of the great achievements of this administration. You're going to see 90,000 American troops come marching home by the end of the summer. You're going to see a stable government in Iraq that is actually moving toward a representative government.

I spent -- I've been there 17 times now. I go about every two months -- three months. I know every one of the major players in all the segments of that society. It's impressed me. I've been impressed how they have been deciding to use the political process rather than guns to settle their differences.

Biden did not elaborate on what all the administration's other "great achievements" were so far.

No doubt, Iraqis too are very thankful for that 2008 U.S. election.

-- Andrew Malcolm


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, February 22, 2010

Please, Not Ron Paul

John Hinderaker, Scott Johnson, Paul Mirengoff of the respected Powerline blog and Andrew Walden, who writes for the American Thinker, join me in our dismay that someone like Ron Paul, who draws his main support from nasty extremist groups he never disavows, should draw the most votes in a straw poll for president at last week’s CPAC conference.

This man, Paul, could bring down the whole Tea Party movement and endanger projected gains for the Republican Party this year if he is taken seriously by too many people.

Andrew Walden pubished an exxtensive review of Ron Paul’s problems in 2007. Here is a reprint of that article; there are many other trusted sources who have similar concerns about Ron Paul.

The Ron Paul Campaign and its Neo-Nazi Supporters

By Andrew Walden November 14, 2007 The American Thinker

When some in a crowd of anti-war activists meeting at Democrat National Committee HQ in June, 2005 suggested Israel was behind the 9-11 attacks, DNC Chair Howard Dean was quick to get behind the microphones and denounce them saying: "such statements are nothing but vile, anti-Semitic rhetoric."

When KKK leader David Duke switched parties to run for Louisiana governor as a Republican in 1991, then-President George H W Bush responded sharply, saying, "When someone asserts the Holocaust never took place, then I don't believe that person ever deserves one iota of public trust. When someone has so recently endorsed Nazism, it is inconceivable that someone can reasonably aspire to a leadership role in a free society."

Ron Paul is different.

Rep Ron Paul (R-TX) is the only Republican candidate to demand immediate withdrawal from Iraq and blame US policy for creating Islamic terrorism. He has risen from obscurity and is beginning to raise millions of dollars in campaign contributions. Paul has no traction in the polls -- 7% of the vote in New Hampshire -- but he at one point had more cash on hand than John McCain. And now he is planning a $1.1 million New Hampshire media blitz just in time for the primary.

Ron Paul set an internet campaigning record raising more than $4 million in small on-line donations in one day, on November 5, 2007. But there are many questions about Paul's apparent unwillingness to reject extremist groups' public participation in his campaign and financial support of his November 5 "patriot money-bomb plot."

On October 26 nationally syndicated radio talk show host Michael Medved posted an "Open Letter to Rep. Ron Paul" on It reads:
Dear Congressman Paul:

Your Presidential campaign has drawn the enthusiastic support of an imposing collection of Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists, Holocaust Deniers, 9/11 "Truthers" and other paranoid and discredited conspiracists.

Do you welcome- or repudiate - the support of such factions?

More specifically, your columns have been featured for several years in the American Free Press -a publication of the nation's leading Holocaust Denier and anti-Semitic agitator, Willis Carto. His book club even recommends works that glorify the Nazi SS, and glowingly describe the "comforts and amenities" provided for inmates of Auschwitz.

Have your columns appeared in the American Free Press with your knowledge and approval?

As a Presidential candidate, will you now disassociate yourself, clearly and publicly, from the poisonous propaganda promoted in such publications?

As a guest on my syndicated radio show, you answered my questions directly and fearlessly.
Will you now answer these pressing questions, and eliminate all associations between your campaign and some of the most loathsome fringe groups in American society?

Along with my listeners (and many of your own supporters), I eagerly await your response.

Respectfully, Michael Medved

Medved has received no official response from the Paul campaign.

There is more. The Texas-based Lone Star Times October 25 publicly requested a response to questions about whether the Paul campaign would repudiate and reject a $500 donation from white supremacist founder Don Black and end the Stormfront website fundraising for Paul. The Times article lit up the conservative blogosphere for the next week. Paul supporters packed internet comment boards alternately denouncing or excusing the charges. Most politicians are quick to distance themselves from such disreputable donations when they are discovered. Not Paul.

Daniel Siederaski of the Jewish Telegraph Agency tried to get an interview with Paul, calling him repeatedly but not receiving any return calls. Wrote Siederaski November 9: "Ron Paul will take money from Nazis. But he won’t take telephone calls from Jews." [Update] Finally on November 13 the Paul campaign responded. In a short interview JTA quotes Jim Perry, head of Jews for Paul describing his work on the Paul campaign along side a self-described white supremacist which Perry says he has reformed.

Racist ties exposed in the Times article go far beyond a single donation. Just below links to information about the "BOK KKK Ohio State Meeting", and the "BOK KKK Pennsylvania State Meeting", website announced: "Ron Paul for President" and "Countdown to the 5th of November". The links take readers directly to a Ron Paul fundraising site from which they can click into the official Ron Paul 2008 donation page on the official campaign site. Like many white supremacists,Stormfront has ties to white prison gangs.

Finally on October 30 Paul's campaign came back with a non-response. In a phone interview with the Lone Star Times, Ron Paul national communications director Jesse Benton was non-committal about removing the donations link from After a week of internet controversy, the best Benton could come up with is:
"We hadn't thought of these options but I'll bring up these ideas with the campaign director. Blocking the IP address sounds like a simple and practical step that could be taken. I doubt there is anything we can do legally. Tracking donations that came from Stormfront's site sounds more complicated. I'm concerned about setting a precedent for the campaign having to screen and vet everyone who makes a donation. It is important to keep in mind is (sic) that we didn't solicit this support, and we aren't interested in spending al of our time and resources focused on this issue. We want to focus on Dr. Paul's positive agenda for freedom."
Perhaps frustrated by the weasel words, Lone Star Times asked Benton: "Bottom line- Will the Ron Paul campaign be rejecting the $500 contribution made by neo-Nazi Don Black?"

Benton's response:
"At this time, I cannot say that we will be rejecting Mr. Black's contribution, but I will bring the matter to the attention of our campaign director again, and expect some sort of decision to be made in coming days."

On October 11 Stormfront Radio endorsed Ron Paul for President saying:
"Whatever organization you belong to, remember first and foremost that you're a white nationalist, then put aside your differences with one another and work together. Work together to strive to get someone in the Oval Office who agrees with much of what we want for our future. Look at the man, look at the issues, look at our future. Vote for Ron Paul, 2008."

As of November 11--the Ron Paul donation link is still up and active on Stormfront. No IP address has been blocked. Stormfront's would-be stormtroopers are still encouraged to contribute to Paul's campaign.

The white supremacists do more than raise funds. Blogger Adam Holland reports:
"one of Rep. Paul's top internet organizers in Tennessee is a neo-Nazi leader named Will Williams (aka ‘White Will'). Williams was the southern coordinator for William Pierce's National Alliance Party, the largest neo-Nazi party in the U.S."

Pierce is author of the racist "Turner Diaries". When the Lone Star Times exposed the $500 Don Black donation, Williams responded on the national Ron Paul meetup site,
"Must Dr. Paul capitulate to our Jewish masters' demands?"

The mild responses to Williams' MeetUp post make a sharp contrast to the hatred and invective with which Paul supporters respond to Medved or any other writer questioning Paul's refusal to disassociate himself from his racist supporters. Any other campaign would presume Williams' expression of anti-Semitism was a dirty trick by an opposing campaign. Williams would have been hurriedly denounced and booted out of the campaign. Not Ron Paul.

Williams has also organized at least one other discussion, "the Israel factor revisited"on the national Ron Paul MeetUp site. Again the measured tone of the remarks by Ron Paul supporters in the comments section contrasts sharply with the invective Paul supporters rain down upon bloggers who oppose him. Paul's campaign relies heavily on MeetUp sites to organize. Over 61,000 Paul supporters are registered on MeetUp as compared to 3,400 for Barack Obama, 1,000 for Hillary Clinton, 1,800 for Dennis Kucinich and only a couple of dozen members for most other candidates.

On the white-supremacist Vanguard News Network, Williams links to Paul's "grassroots" fundraising site and organizes other racists to "game You Tube" to advance a specific Ron Paul video to the top of You Tube's rankings. Writes Williams, "Everybody here can do this, except bjb w/his niggerberry." Holland points out, "BJB" stands for "burn Jew burn". BJB's internet signature is, "Nothing says lovin' like a Jew in the oven."

Williams is not Paul's only supremacist supporter. "Former" KKK leader (and convicted fraudster) David Duke's website, calls Ron Paul "our king" and cheers while "Ron Paul Hits a Home Run on Jay Leno Show." Duke also includes a "Ron Paul campaign update" and plugs Ron Paul fundraising efforts. These articles are posted right next to articles such as "Ten reasons why the Holocaust is a fraud" and "Germans Still Remember their Historical Greatness"-featuring a map of Hitler's Third Reich at its 1942 military height, just in case anybody doesn't get the point. Apparently "Dr. Paul's positive agenda for freedom" is attractive to those who ape the world's worst tyrants and genocidaires.

There are others. In a You Tube video circulating the internet, Ron Paul is endorsed by Hutton Gibson, a leading Holocaust denier and father of controversial actor and director Mel Gibson.

Ron Paul is supported by Patrick Buchanan, whose website carries videos and articles such as: "Ron Paul epiphany" and "Ron Paul a new hope." Buchanan has a long history of remarks some call anti-Semitic (see link). Ron Unz, editor of Buchanan's American Conservative magazine, is a Paul contributor and may have helped raise money from Silicon Valley sources.

Ron Paul's American Free Press supporters run literally from one end of the country to the other:
• A Maine Ron Paul MeetUp activist who once ran for US Senate describes himself as, "a 911 truth researcher & video documentarian, & a writer for The Barnes Review." The Barnes Review is a Holocaust-denier magazine founded by Willis Carto.
• A Hawaii Ron Paul MeetUp organizer is pictured here pumping the Paul campaign and selling copies of Willis Carto's American Free Press at a farmers market.

There is more to the Paul campaign than racists. The mis-named 9-11 "truth" movement has also been a big source of Paul support. The Detroit Free Pressdescribes the scene as Republican Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani shared theferry ride back from a Mackinac Island Michigan Republican caucus September 21.

"According to one eyewitness, Giuliani was beset by dozens of Paul enthusiasts as he was leaving the island, some of whom shouted taunts about 9/11, including: ‘9/11 was an inside job' and ‘Rudy, Rudy, what did you do with the gold?' -- an apparent reference to rumors about $200 million in gold alleged to have disappeared in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers. Ed Wyszynski, a longtime party activist from Eagle, (MI) said the Paul supporters threatened to throw Giuliani overboard and harassed him as he took shelter in the ferry's pilothouse for the 15-minute journey back to Mackinaw City."

To read more of this report, go here.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Separating Fact From Fiction: Re Stimulus

If video doesn't load go here

Defending the stimulus -- the administration wastes its breath

February 17, 2010 PowerLine

It's a year now since President Obama signed the stimulus bill into law, and the anniversary has prompted the administration and its supporters to argue to a skeptical public that the stimulus has been a major success. Its main argument is that things would have been worse without the stimulus.

That may be true in some sense. For example, some state and local governments say they have been able, by virtue of stimulus money, to avoid laying off employees, including teachers.

But this is hardly the end of the debate. Even assuming that it's a good idea for the federal government to go take on more debt to relieve state and local governments from their budgetary crunches, wouldn't it have made more sense to just to hand over the money instead of paying for various pet projects dictated by Washington?

The same kinds of questions apply to the stimulus bill as a whole. The issue, as Reihan Salam points out, is not simply how the present situation compares to where we would be in the absence of any response by the federal government. It may well be that, by pumping more than $800 billion into the economy, the government produced a positive effect on the jobs situation in the short term. But even if it did, the questions would remain whether the "bang" was worth the "bucks" (and in particular the resulting increase in debt) and whether the money could have been put to better use.

For example, would a payroll tax cut -- which I advocated in late January 2009 -- have produced better employment results at a lower cost? Michael Boskin of Stanford, who was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under the first President Bush, argues that it would have. He estimates that cutting the payroll tax by six percentage points (of the 12.4% Social Security component) would, under standard assumptions, increase employment by three million to four million workers--an amount equal to all the job losses since the stimulus was passed.

The White House and its champions are avoiding these kinds of issues. Instead, they are touting a friendly piece by David Leonhardt of the New York Times. Leonhardt, in turn, cites a study by two economists (Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff) who found that around the world over the last century, the typical financial crisis caused the jobless rate to rise for almost five years. I doubt, however, that the experience of disparate economies over a period of 100 years tells us anything important about the employment picture we should have expected in this country as a result of the recent financial crisis.

Moreover, Leonhardt neglects to mention that Reinhart and Rogoff warned that debt levels we are approaching in this country represent a serious threat to robust economic growth. "If history is any guide," says Reinhart, our rising government debt "is very troubling for the U.S. and other advanced economies."

In any event, the administration isn't likely to persuade folks that the stimulus succeeded based on the fact that we didn't have five years of rising joblessness. It predicted that the stimulus would keep the unemployment rate from exceeding 8 percent. The public isn't likely to accept very much lowering of that bar.

In sum, the White House might as well have saved its breath this week. The battle over how the public perceives the stimulus legislation isn't lost, but Obama can only win it through the future performance of the economy.

JOHN adds: I agree with what Paul says, and would add this: close to half of the "stimulus" funds have still not been spent. What does that tell us? If the "stimulus" was really the only thing standing between us and the Second Great Depression, as the Democrats now risibly claim, is it credible that they would only have gotten around to spending half the money in a year? I don't think so. It seems pretty obvious, on the contrary, that the Dems spent the money they really cared about--supporting public employees and their unions--and let everything else slide.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Re-Establishment of America

Today the American Thinker published an article by Herb Meyer that I think everyone should read.

Four years ago I purchased several copies of a DVD, described below, to give to members of my family. It concerned the assault on the west by Islamic fundamentalists.

“The Siege of Western Civilization” is basically a presentation by Herb Meyer in conversational, plain English of the monumental importance to the world of Western Civilization, the very real and imminent danger to its survival, and the singular role America must play, almost without assistance, to enable its continued existence.

Mr. Meyer is described on his website as a man who “served during the Reagan Administration as Special Assistant to the Director of the CIA 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 national security team.

To learn more about Herb Meyer, go to my 2006 article here.

The Re-Establishment of America

By Herbert E. Meyer February 18, 2010 American Thinker

America is on the verge of something unprecedented in history: the peaceful, constitutional replacement of our country's entire political establishment. This is what lies behind the decisions of so many elected officials, at every level, to step aside rather than fight for reelection. And it explains how the Tea Party movement can exert so much political leverage without nominating its own candidates or even without formally choosing its own leaders.

Most of the time, we Americans don't pay much attention to politics. We focus all of our energy on our jobs, our families, and our faith. We work hard, play by the rules, and wish only to be left alone. We love our country, consider ourselves blessed to be living here, and ask little from the men and women we elect except to keep from screwing things up.

But in just the last decade, Americans were shocked by two catastrophes we hadn't imagined our political establishment would allow to happen. The first was 9-11, when nineteen terrorists successfully attacked our homeland, and by doing so revealed that for years, al-Qaeda and its allies had been waging holy war against us. The second was the 2008 financial crash, which revealed that our economy is a house of cards built on a pile of debt so high we cannot possibly repay it.

Republicans blame Democrats, and Democrats blame Republicans. To ordinary, non-political Americans -- who grasp intuitively, and correctly, that both parties share responsibility for these two catastrophes -- these politicians seem like children who've turned a party into a food fight. And what do parents do when a children's party gets out of control? They turn off the music, turn out the lights, and send everyone home, including those few who weren't behaving badly and just got caught up in the melee.

Americans don't like getting tangled in the details of politics. We prefer to stand back and see the big picture. (This, by the way, helps explain the extraordinary appeal of Ronald Reagan and Sarah Palin. That's what they do, too.) What the big picture is showing now is that our entire political establishment has failed. These were the men and women, both Republicans and Democrats, we relied upon to focus on the details, and by doing so, to keep us safe from terrorists and to keep the world's most powerful economy from imploding. And they blew it. So we'll replace them with a wholly new establishment -- some of whom will be Republicans, others Democrats, and a few Independents here and there -- and hope our next political establishment will get it right.

In the looming political battles, persona will matter more than policy. As we move toward the 2010 elections, of course we'll ask candidates to outline their plans for how to improve our health care system, what to do about illegal immigration, how to bring down the unemployment rate, how to fight the war, and all the rest. But what will determine who gets elected this year won't be a set of specific policies, but something simpler, and in a way much deeper: a recognition among grassroots voters across the political spectrum that character is more important than personality, that education isn't the same thing as judgment, and that expertise without common sense is dangerous.

Stand back from politics and you'll see the same re-establishment trend unfolding in other public arenas. Americans have decided that the mainstream media has failed, and so we are replacing The New York Times, the television network news departments, and all the rest with an entirely new media, including FOX News and websites like American Thinker and Americans have decided that our country's education establishment has failed -- our kids are barely learning to read and write, let alone taught our country's history -- so we're seeing the rise of private schools, charter schools, and home-schooling. Would anyone like to bet that within just a few years, we'll have a wholly new financial establishment on Wall Street to replace the greedy idiots who run it now?

The re-establishment of America won't be easy, and we'll make mistakes along the way. Some of the new people will prove just as worthless as they ones they replaced. And some very good people who now hold key positions in politics, the media, education, and finance will be swept away by the avalanche. That's too bad, but collateral damage is unavoidable.

No other country in history has ever attempted to replace its establishments so smoothly and so peacefully -- and so cheerfully -- as we are doing right now. And it isn't likely that any other country ever will attempt something like this. How exhilarating to realize that 234 years after our revolution, the United States is still the most dynamic, forward-looking, optimistic place on Earth. Boy, what an exciting time to be an American


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Finally the Truth about the Housing Collapse

First we all learn the truth about Man-made Global Warming; now comes the truth about the housing bubble and its collapse:

We are hearing lots of jokes about the Obamaites continuing to blame Bush for all the ills of America here in the year 2010. What has been swept under the rug, though, is the real blame for the economic meltdown of 2008 – the policies and the corruption of liberal Democrats who first imposed the Community Reinvestment Act that was the proximate cause of the housing bubble, and then the actions of Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and Barack Obama who resisted all efforts to bring Fannie Mae and Fannie Mac under control.

The true facts finally come out in the open:

Fannie, Freddie Housing Goals May Exclude Subprime

By Theo Francis February 17, 2010 Business Week (Excerpt)

Feb. 17 (Bloomberg) – “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would no longer be able to rely on subprime mortgages to meet their government-mandated goals for helping lower-income Americans obtain home loans, according to proposed regulations.

The rules offered by the Federal Housing Finance Agency would restrict the companies from using private-label bonds backed by Alt-A and subprime mortgages, or commercial mortgage- backed securities, to meet affordable-housing targets.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the largest sources of money for U.S. residential mortgages, had been relying on riskier private-label debt to satisfy goals of financing loans for low- and moderate-income homebuyers, according to FHFA. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were seized in 2008 largely because of regulators’ concern that the companies wouldn’t have enough capital to cover losses on that type of debt.

“The results of providing large-scale funding for such loans were adverse for borrowers who entered into mortgages that did not sustain homeownership and for the enterprises themselves,” the agency said in the proposal.

Private-label, or non-agency, bonds are issued by banks and don’t carry guarantees by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or government- agency Ginnie Mae. Freddie Mac held about $176 billion in non- agency debt in its $755.3 billion portfolio as of December, according to its monthly volume summary. Fannie Mae had about $90 billion in its $772.5 billion portfolio.

Second Liens

The companies have been required to devote a certain amount of their annual business to low- and moderate-income borrowers, economically depressed neighborhoods and other disadvantaged groups. Those goals were modified after the companies were seized by federal regulators in September 2008.

At least half the dwellings the companies helped finance with their more than $500 billion in total mortgage purchases in 2008 were used to satisfy affordable housing goals, according to calculations made from company filings

The new affordable-housing rules would also forbid Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from counting second-lien debt such as home- equity and “piggy-back” loans and the financing of some rental units toward the goals. It would also change how the companies account for multifamily financing.

Much of the new structure is set out in the 2008 law that created FHFA and strengthened oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The rules would establish separate targets for multifamily and owner-occupied properties as well as set efforts to include poorer borrowers than before, the FHFA said.” Business Week

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Katie Couric: Return of the Palin Slayer

Katie Couric: Return of the Palin Slayer

By Stuart Schwartz February 15, 2010 American Thinker

You know they're worried.

Big government, big media, big Barack -- they're all worried. And they've brought in the knight in designer armor, the savior of all that is Washington and New York and Rodeo Drive, privileged and Democratic -- Katie Couric.

Katie the Palin Slayer is back.

The CBS Evening News anchor is on the cover of Harper's Bazaar this month, all progressive chic and mainstream media glitter. And just a week ago, she genuflected before Barack Obama to open the Super Bowl on CBS.

Call her the anti-Palin. In the 2008 election, the Couric interview with Sarah Palin helped put Obama in the White House and gathered a tsunami of accolades culminating in the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award from the Metropolitan Opera wing of the Democratic Party, also known as mainstream media. With heavily edited snark, Couric stomped the pretender from the wrong side of the glaciers beneath her Christian Louboutin booties ($1,400 a pair at the Dollar General of establishment journalism, Bergdorf Goodman).

Neither her eighth cover for the glamor magazine nor the Super Bowl interview are meant to inform. Instead, in concert with the White House, Katie is hitting the "reset" button on a failing presidency. I'm-Katie-Couric-and-I'm-here-to-admire-you. Barack, Nancy, Harry, Rahm -- don't worry, got you covered.

They need Katie and her media platform. The Tea Party is gaining ground, The U.S. Congress and Obama job approval ratings are at historic lows, newspapers -- long an arm of the Democratic Party -- are failing at a record rate, and the networks -- bastions of liberalism -- are hemorrhaging viewers.

And -- OMG!!! -- Sarah Palin is back! Quick, hand me the wooden stakes and call Katie! Katie Couric isn't doing journalism; rather (or...Rather), she is 911 for the Obama agenda. The natives are restless, and who better to call on than Katie the Palin Slayer

And so Katie has again swung into action. Hail the "conquering Couric," the Washington Post exults, "a power broker in stiletto heels." Katie's back, and as Robert Browning might have written had he been funded by a grant from the Obama administration, "the condom's back on the banana -- all's right with the world." (The original line read "God's in his heaven"; this is Obama safe schools czar Browning, National Endowment for the Humanities poetry.)

Of course, she had no choice. You see, Katie hearts Barack. They are part of what New York Times columnist David Brooks proudly calls the "intellectual class," a political and media elite that knows what's best for the rest of us.

And when Barack got into trouble -- not, of course, because he is wrong, but because the rest of us are a "nation of dodos" (as it was put by another media grandee, Joe Klein of Time, the Ivy League, and Bill Clinton's tony New York neighborhood), the White House reached out to Katie.

After all, she had made her bones on Palin, urged on by an intellectual class only too happy to indulge its inner "gangsta." And she remained close to the Obama White House, a guest at its first state dinner and the public face of a network advocating the statist agenda of Obama while questioning the legitimacy of anti-tax citizens.

But the sheep have become surprisingly reluctant to be shorn, and Katie has been called back into service to lead a media charge designed to prevent the nation from throwing away its best chance at progressive transformation. It is hard for a journalistic establishment engaged in "a slobbering love affair," as conservative press critic Bernard Goldberg calls it, to imagine a citizenry rejecting a president so smart that the Washington Post noted in open-jawed wonder that he has pondered the legal implications of Einstein's theory of relativity (never mind that there are no legal implications).

Katie is only too happy to help a nation stuck on stupid, a nation of Palin-loving simpletons incapable of comprehending the genius that is Barack Obama. After all, as Barack once so wisely explained, "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways."

Wait -- was that Barack? Or was that that book written by a dead Jew named Isaiah? Well, no matter. God, Barack...same difference, according to Newsweek.

And who better than Katie to understand the embattled president? Harper's Bazaar notes that a photograph of her staring at her reflection in the mirror is "iconic." She adores what she sees, as does the president when he looks in the mirror.

And so Katie suited up for the Super Bowl, making sure, in her words, to take an "appropriate tone" that would showcase the president's firm grasp of all that is good and fair. With a Palin resurgence as the backdrop, Katie attempted to point out a simple truth to Americans: Obama is good and Palin is bad.

And so the CBS news executive guides the Obamamedia team into the 2010 battle. And she, like the president, has a people's touch -- or so Harper's puts it. Her Obama-like concern for the less fortunate is evident in every part of her life. Her appearance, for example, on the magazine cover touting her $14-million salary and million-dollar wardrobe coincides with layoffs in the ailing CBS news division that she leads.

"This is complete insanity!" CBS employees facing unemployment complained. But Katie merely smiled a sympathetic smile and said, "I always feel sexy when I'm in a little black dress."

Barack, Katie -- it's all about me. When a library expansion near her $6.3-million summer home threatened to attract children from surrounding middle-class towns, she was one of the homeowners springing into action, their representatives urging the zoning board to stop the project. With Obamaesque sensitivity for the chef-less masses, she wanted to protect the children who would feel out of place in a resort town peopled by the likes of Martha Stewart and Jerry Seinfeld.

Imagine the damage to youthful self-esteem, walking by Tiffany and Ralph Lauren and Sotheby Real Estate and checking out a book, only to return at the end of the day to modest homes Palin-large with family. Oh, the horror -- right out of Charles Dickens! Better that they never come. Reading is overrated, anyway.

Katie the Palin Slayer is back, accessorizing with bias and making the nation safe for Obama...and Gucci.

Stuart H. Schwartz is on the faculty at Liberty University in Virginia.

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, February 15, 2010

It Depends On What The Meaning of Is, Is

Some left-wing pundits have been pontificating that Sarah Palin does not have the intelligence to be president. They obviously hope, as Gobbels did in Nazi Germany, that this lie will catch on and become regarded as truth.

What I think they really mean, though, is that Sarah has not shown the proclivity to lie and dissemble when faced with a difficult or embarrassing question as their heroes, Clinton and Obama, do so readily and easily. It is one of the traits in her character that draws me to her, although I’m sure that, as president, she would recognize that, occasionally, a president has to lie in the national interest.

An example of this was when the Warren Commission and President Johnson accepted and spread the lie of the ‘single-bullet’ theory after John Kennedy was assassinated. Any one who examined the evidence knew that this was crazy, but we held our tongues knowing that acceptance of this story was best for America.

On the other hand:

If video does not load, go here.

And as for Clinton:

We all know of his lies about Monica Lewinsky, Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers, Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broaddrick. He is the only president to have been convicted of perjury, which resulted in the loss of his law license. I saw right away that they were both liars when he and Hillary talked about his relationship with Gennifer Flowers on 60 Minutes before the 1992 election. As former Senator Bob Kerrey (a Democrat) once said, “Clinton is the best liar we have ever seen”.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What's Going Wrong?

Democrats offering a product America doesn’t want: collectivism

by Ed Morrissey February 13, 2010 HotAir

Maybe it takes a free-market economist like Larry Kudlow to diagnose why Democrats appear to be in such poor position that they lost a Senate seat in one of the bluest states in the nation. When businesses offer products and services that consumers dislike or won’t support, those businesses fail, and sometimes rather abruptly. Kudlow calls this the “disconnect”, but really describes the free-market reaction to bad business:

The disconnect between Washington and the rest of the country has never been greater. Why can’t the political class in D.C. produce a fiscal product that voters, taxpayers, and investors are willing to consume?

According to the Washington Post, voters want smaller government and fewer government services by a large 58 to 38 percent margin. Pollster Scott Rasmussen reveals that 61 percent of voters believe tax cuts help the economy, that 59 percent think tax cuts are a better job-creation tool than increased government spending, and that another 59 percent believe higher deficits hurt the economy. Rasmussen also reports that a full 83 percent of Americans blame the deficit on the unwillingness of politicians to cut government spending. And get this: In a whopper of a poll result, the New York Times reports that 75 percent of Americans dislike Congress.

This is why there’s a political revolt out there. Washington just doesn’t get it.

Inside the Beltway, Democrats are sending a profoundly pessimistic message that only government knows best. But out there in the heartland there is an optimistic message that We the People know best. And that heartland optimism will not be stopped.

Democrats will vehemently disagree that they’re selling pessimism. Barack Obama rode to office on a wave of populist fervor, they will point out, and did so on a message of Hope and Change. They will rightly point out that the election of the first African-American President said something very optimistic about America and put us ahead of most of our Western allies in transcending centuries of racial animosity and injustice.

However, there are two problems with this argument. First, Obama ran as a moderate, but has governed as a movement liberal, championing government control of entire swaths of the economy. Second, the progressive agenda is not about optimism, but about futility. It argues that individuals cannot succeed in America without government choosing the winners and the losers. It casts the business world as monolithic villains out to exploit the masses, not as free markets that allow opportunities for success through individual initiative, innovation, and genius. The progressive memes rest on dire warnings of environmental and economic disasters that only statist bureaucracies can possibly avoid.

It’s all about devaluing the individual and hailing the collective. The marriage of the union movement to the progressives is no accident, although it’s bad for the unions in the long run. They both have the same impulse, which is to trump the individual and put a small cadre of elits in charge of all the decisions.

Reagan won the hearts of Americans — and kept them — by offering a truly optimistic “Morning in America” theme that appealed to our individual-above-the-collective impulse. Reagan understood that free markets are truly liberating, that government bureaucracies can become tyrannies over time, and that the key to massive prosperity was to allow a free people to choose how to use their own property as they saw fit. That movement touched off a generation of prosperity that only collapsed when the meddlers in both parties used government to massively intervene in the private lending markets and created a housing bubble that nearly destroyed the global economy.

That optimism that Reagan rekindled is not dead. The Tea Party is just the latest manifestation of America’s tradition of eschewing collectivism for individual liberty, and it will prevail eventually over the Chicken Little progressive agenda in the long run.

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Obama Administration, Rebutted

The Obama administration is now resorting to outright lies in its attempts to get out from under its disastrous decision to grant Miranda rights to the Christmas bomber. This follows on to its decision to try KSM in New York City and to its inability to brand the Fort Hood massacre as an Islamic terrorist act, which it clearly was. It has become clear even to their well-wishers that politics and ideology are getting in the way of their responsibility to defend the lives of American citizens, and to use every legal means to gain intelligence that will help us thwart other planned attacks.

President Bush and his team handled this problem brilliantly and saved many American lives – in particular in thwarting the attempt to blow up 10 jetliners in the air over the Atlantic. British cooperation, which is now in limbo, was a major factor in this intelligence coup.

One set of lies they are telling derives from Obama’s calculation that few will remember the actual facts of the Richard Reid (the shoe-bomber) and the Zacarias Moussaoui (the 20th 9/11 attacker) cases. They are trotting out Robert Gibbs and John Brennan to say, over and over, that they aren’t doing anything different than President Bush did in these two cases – conveniently ignoring the fact that military tribunals had not been authorized by Congress nor had they been setup prior to these cases.

The Obamaites are also twisting the facts of the Jose Padilla case, as Powerline points out this morning:

The Administration, Rebutted

February 11, 2010 PowerLine

Senator Jeff Sessions takes John Brennan to task for his op-ed claiming that giving a terrorist a lawyer and telling him he can remain silent doesn't impair our ability to gather intelligence:

(If video doesn't load, go here.
In what must seem a bitter irony to many who voted for Obama, the administration is now at great pains to justify its anti-terrorism policies by claiming that they are the same as those of the once-dreaded Bush administration. Most recently, press secretary Robert Gibbs, speaking on MSNBC this morning, invoked the fact that the Bush administration ultimately prosecuted Jose Padilla in a civilian court. Not only that, Gibbs said, "Jose Padilla was made an enemy combatant so that we could get him to talk. And guess what happened when we made him an enemy combatant, he didn't talk. He did talk when he was transferred back into a civilian court."

This was a lie, plain and simple, as Tom Joscelyn explains:

In fact, Jose Padilla only started cooperating once he was transferred into the military's custody and interrogated.

Jose Padilla was arrested at the Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on May 8, 2002. At the time, U.S. authorities had multiple reasons to be suspicious of him. Most importantly, senior al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah had been taken into custody in late March 2002 and provided information to authorities that led to the identification of both Padilla and his would-be accomplice, Binyam Mohamed. The two were identified as al Qaeda recruits who had been tasked with a mission inside the U.S.--namely, an attack on a high-rise apartment building.

Thus, when Padilla was initially detained by the FBI in May 2002 authorities knew he was up to no good. The FBI questioned Padilla for several hours but got nowhere. A copy of the FBI's 302 memo written after the initial questioning of Padilla shows that al Qaeda's man gave the bureau nothing. Padilla talked about his personal history but said nothing about his real intentions or his nefarious friends.

The FBI even offered to put Padilla up in a hotel so they could continue their conversation. But when the agents tried to turn the conversation towards Padilla's al Qaeda ties, he shut down the interview. "He stood up and told me the interview was over and it was time for him to go," Fincher recalled during testimony.

Padilla was then read a Miranda warning, arrested on a material witness warrant and transferred to the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in New York.

There he stayed for one month without giving up anything of importance to the FBI. During that time...the Bush administration weighed its options, ultimately deciding to designate Padilla an enemy combatant. After Padilla was transferred to the brig on June 9, 2002, the leading newspapers noted the chief reason for the move: Padilla wasn't cooperating with authorities.

"Officials said Padilla has refused to cooperate since his arrest," the Los Angeles Times reported. The New York Times elaborated: "Officials have justified his detention [in military custody] by saying he is considered to be an enemy combatant. He has refused to cooperate with the authorities who have questioned him." ...

Padilla would ultimately talk. But, contrary to Gibbs and Brennan, it wasn't until he was placed in the military's custody--not when he was returned to the civilian court system.

On June 1, 2004, the Defense Department released a memo summarizing what was known about Padilla both before and after he was transferred into the military's custody. The second page of the memo contains two paragraphs concerning what authorities had learned about Padilla up until June 9, 2002, the day he was transferred into the military's custody. As the aforementioned press accounts make clear, authorities had garnered no information from Padilla himself. The DoD cited "intelligence information" and "our information" but no admissions by Padilla. Nearly all of the information on Padilla up until that point came from other al Qaeda detainees and sources.

The memo then reads: "Since that time [June 9, 2002], additional and more detailed intelligence information about Jose Padilla has been developed and made available in unclassified form."

That additional information includes several pages of unclassified intelligence, including a number of admissions by Padilla, which were corroborated by other detainees.

Joscelyn goes on to chronicle the significant admissions that Padilla made after he was transferred to military custody.

Dishonesty has become the hallmark of the Obama administration. Obama and his cohorts know that most people have neither the time nor the inclination to research the truth of their public statements. Knowing, too, that the press is compliant, Obama believes that he and his subordinates can get away with just about any whopper they choose to tell. Perhaps so. Yet, in just one year the American public has lost confidence in the administration's credibility. The sort of wanton fabrication that Obama, Gibbs, Brennan and others in the administration are engaged in can only accelerate that process.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, February 11, 2010

There's Something About Sarah

I only contributed to two politicians over the last two years, Scott Brown and Sarah Palin, and I'm proud that I did. I will support Sarah for any office she may choose to run for, including the presidency. The main reason for my support is that I agree with her values and her principles, and I believe that the hard choices she has made in her life show that she can be trusted to be true to these values. She has also shown me that she is very smart, easily besting Joe Biden in their debate, and is a quick study on issues and foreign affairs that she never had to deal with before. She also knows that we have 50 states (not 57), and how to pronounce 'corpsman'. She is our best hope to actually reduce the size and influence of government (not just slow its growth), our best hope to free up the tremendous wealth and job-producing power of free-market capitalism, and our best hope to keep us safe from the islamic butchers who would kill us all.

There's Something About Sarah

By Aaron Goldstein 2.10.10 American Spectator

It has been nearly a year and a half since Sarah Palin became a household name in America and the world over. Despite the fact she was on the bottom half of a losing ticket and hasn't held public office in more than half a year three cable networks provided live coverage of her address to the Tea Party Convention last Saturday night in Nashville. Is there any other private American citizen who could command that sort of undivided attention?

The answer is nobody else could and liberals know it all to well. How else can one explain their sudden obsession with Palin's left hand? The best liberals could do was to say that she had cheated by writing a few words on her hand. So let's see if I get this straight. Sarah Palin has all of six words on her palm and liberals conclude "she needs a cheat-sheet." (1) Yet liberals don't seem to mind that President Obama needs a teleprompter to read a nearly 2,000 word speech during the National Prayer Breakfast last week and still mispronounced the word "corpsman" not once but twice. (2) Talk about hand wringing.

But Palin is well aware life is unfair and that this is par for the course. She responded as perhaps only she could. During a rally for Texas Governor Rick Perry the following day, she wrote on her palm for all to see, "Hi Mom!" Now that's telling liberals to talk to the hand.

Yet for all their disdain for the former Alaska governor, liberals still can't quite put their finger on her. Much in the same way they couldn't understand Ronald Reagan. I don't know if the Tea Party Convention organizers did this by design, but Palin's speech fell on what would have been President Reagan's 99th birthday. Indeed, she paid homage to the Gipper when she began her speech. Palin, like Reagan, has an uncanny ability to read the public pulse and tend to it with a common touch.

During Reagan's lifetime he was at various times called an "amiable dunce," derided for describing ketchup as a vegetable (even though he never actually did), and chided for reading from cue cards. Yet it is worth remembering what former CNN anchor Bernard Shaw said in conversation with Wolf Blitzer and others following Reagan's funeral:

SHAW: Can I say something that touches on a very sensitive issue?

BLITZER: Of course.

SHAW: The news media and how we failed to thoroughly cover and communicate the very essences we're talking about possessed by Ronald Reagan. What I've been reading and what I've been hearing I did not get during his two terms in office, or did I miss something?

BLITZER: I think you're on to something, Bernie.

SHAW: I think we failed our viewers, listeners, and readers to an appreciable extent. I can't quantify it, but I'll put it there. Because I certainly missed a lot.

Now there are those amongst conservatives who scoff at the notion that Palin is a Reagan in the making. Yet when reading Shaw's poignant observations one cannot help but think that the liberal media are failing their viewers, listeners, and readers to a considerable extent with Palin as they did with Reagan more than a generation ago. Should Palin run for and be elected to the White House, there is every reason to believe the liberal media will do much the same with her and miss a lot. These sentiments would be especially pronounced should she dethrone Obama. One would hate to think it would take Palin's passing for the liberal media to utter a kind word about her, but that is probably what it would take.

Yet then again I am sure Palin would just as soon not to live long enough to see the day when MSNBC sings her praises. During her address before the 2008 Republican National Convention she said, "Now here's a little news flash for those reporters and commentators: I'm not going to Washington to seek their good opinion. I'm going to Washington to serve the people of this great country." (5)

Of course, there are those who will always believe that Palin will need someone to hold her hand. But she does not stand alone. To paraphrase that great gospel song penned by the late Gene MacLellan, she has "put her hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water/put her hand in the hand of the man who calmed the sea." Just so we are clear the man with that hand is not the "charismatic guy with a teleprompter." Yet so long as Sarah Palin keeps a firm grip on that hand she will be able to reach out and be received. Meanwhile, liberals will be left to grasp at straws.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The Lassitude of John Brennan and Barack Obama

When John Brennan, President Obama's Deputy National Security Adviser for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, appeared on the Sunday news shows a few weeks ago to defend the idiotic decisions to try KSM in New York City and to Mirandize the Christmas bomber, the hairs on the back of all our necks stood up as we realized the incompetence and cluelessness of this protector of America's security.

Today the Powerline blog published a piece about Brennan, who yesterday said his critics were allies of Al Qaeda. Everyone needs to read this piece:

The lassitude of John Brennan

February 9, 2010 PowerLine

In August Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan gave a speech outlining the administration's deep thoughts on combating terrorism. The speech -- "A New Approach for Safeguarding Americans" -- "conveniently outlined the administration's present and future policy mistakes," in the words of Daniel Pipes.

If you seek a handy compilation of the shibboleths that now guide our approach to the phenomenon formerly known as Islamist terrorism, Brennan's speech is must reading. To take one example cited by Pipes, Brennan rejects any connection between "violent extremism" and Islam: "Using the legitimate term jihad, which means to purify oneself or to wage a holy struggle for a moral goal, risks giving these murderers the religious legitimacy they desperately seek but in no way deserve." Any connection between Islam and Islamist terrorism is purely coincidental. While Brennan's take on jihad may be a big hit in Obama's White House, it is not exactly authoritative.

Pipes also captured the tone of Obama worship in which the speech is pitched: "Disturbingly, Brennan ascribes virtually every thought or policy in his speech to the wisdom of the One. This cringe-inducing lecture reminds one of a North Korean functionary paying homage to the Dear Leader." You might say that Obama and Brennan worship at the same shrine.

Pipes concluded with a reasonable prediction: "Implementation of the inept policies outlined by Brennan spells danger for Americans, American interests, and American allies. The bitter consequences of these mistakes soon enough will become apparent."

Some of the consequences became apparent in the administration's handling of Christmas Day bomber Umar Abdulmutallab. After an interrogation lasting some 50 minutes, Abdulmutallab was provided with Miranda warnings and a lawyer, after which Abdulmutallab clammed up. According to Eric Holder, all was well. The administration was following hallowed procedures.

Last week the administration let it be known that all that was well was now even better. Abdulmutallab was talking again. Did he waive his "rights"? The administration has not seen fit to apprise us of all the circumstances leading to Abdulmutallab's widening his circle of love beyond his lawyer.

In January the administration sent Brennan out to defend it on FOX News Sunday. Before his appearance, the Washington Post had reported that "the normally reclusive Brennan is scheduled to appear on several Sunday TV talk shows." Following his appearance, Paul Mirengoff wrote, we now have a pretty good idea of why Brennan is "normally reclusive."

By departing from his norm, Paul observed, Brennan showed himself to be a hack who undermined any lingering confidence that the Obama administration had a clue about how to fight terrorism. Paul was particularly impressed with Breannan's statement, in response to a question about what the downside might be to treating Abdulmutallab as an enemy combatant, that "there are no downsides or upsides in particular cases."

Having established his willingness to say anything on behalf of the administration, Brennan qualified himself to make a return appearance on one of the Sunday shows. Appearing on Meet the Press, Brennan reported that he spoke with senior congressional Republicans regarding Abdulmutallab's apprehension on Christmas day:

I explained to them that [Abdulmutallab] was in FBI custody, that Mr. Abdulmutallab was, in fact, talking, that he was cooperating at that point. They knew that "in FBI custody" means that there's a process then you follow as far as Mirandizing and presenting him in front of a magistrate. None of those individuals raised any concerns with me at that point. They didn't say, "Is he going into military custody?" "Is he going to be Mirandized?" They were very appreciative of the information, we told them we'd keep them informed, and that's what we did. So there's been a--quite a bit of an outcry after the fact where, again, I'm just very concerned on the behalf of the counterterrorism professionals throughout our government that politicians continue to make this a political football and are using it for whatever political or partisan purposes, whether they be Democrats or Republicans.

Brennan implied that his Republican interlocutors should have concluded from his statement that Abdulmutallab was in custody and was cooperating that he would be given a Miranda warning and a lawyer. A reasonable person would not draw any such conclusion, however, and in fact Brennan's interlocutors did not.

Brennan angrily asserted that he was "tiring of politicians using national security issues such as terrorism as a political football. They are going out there, they're, they're unknowing of the facts, and they're making charges and allegations that are not anchored in reality." If Brennan is tired, his lassitude must derive from his own exertions in political football.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, February 08, 2010

Bringing Home the Bacon and the Tea Parties

Our founding Fathers set up a Republic form of government with checks and balances and Constitutional safeguards designed to prevent the calamity that befell most previous democracies - the looting of the public treasury by a majority class of free-loaders.

Although they may not be able to articulate the specifics of their discontent, the Tea Party movement has exploded as more and more working Americans rebel against the plunder of their labor in the form of “Bringing home the bacon” and the corruption of ‘public sector’ unions.

This has been going on for a long time, but it took the excesses and the ‘in-your-face’ outrages of the Obama Administration to focus middle America on this problem and unite the opposition.

A time-honored way that Congressmen have retained their seats has been to “Bring home the bacon”. You vote for my project and earmarks, and I’ll vote for yours. This has to stop if we are ever to get control of government spending and government intrusion into all our lives. We also have to demand that the power and remumeration of public-sector unions be brought under control. In my home state of Rhode Island, public sector unions run the state and have bankrupted it.

Government worker? Good for you!

By Rich Lowry National Review February 6, 2010

For most Americans, the Great Recession has been an occasion to hold on for dear life. For public employees, it's been an occasion to let the good times roll.

The percentage of federal civil servants making more than $100,000 a year jumped from 14 percent to 19 percent during the first year and a half of the recession, according to USA Today . At the beginning of the downturn, the Transportation Department had one person making $170,000 or more a year; now it has 1,690 making more than that.

The New York Times reports that state and local governments have added a net 110,000 jobs since the beginning of the recession, while the private sector has lost 6.9 million. The gap between total compensation of public and private workers has only widened during the downturn, according to USA Today . In 2008, benefits for public employees grew at a rate three times that of private employees.

Public employees have developed an inverse relationship to the rest of the economy -- as it shrinks, shedding jobs and cutting salaries, they draw on a never-ending taxpayer bounty. It used to be said that the Great Depression wasn't so bad, if you had a job. The Great Recession has practically been a boom, if you have a government job.

Public employees can thank the union label. In 2009, for the first time ever, a majority of union members worked in the public sector. Unionism has seen a long, secular decline in the private sector (down to 7.2 percent of all workers), but increasing in government (up to 37.4 percent of all workers).

These public-sector unions are flush with cash, politically connected and unabashedly self-interested. They are an active and growing conspiracy against the public purse. The states where they are most powerful -- California and New York -- lumber toward insolvency. The federal government follows not far behind, on the kind of diet geese enjoy prior to becoming foie gras.

Public-employee unions can effectively occupy both sides of a negotiating table.

They donate to and elect the politicians who bargain with them at contract time. Understandably, union-backed politicians forget which side they're on.

Fred Siegel, a visiting professor at St. Francis College and contributing editor at the Manhattan Institute'sCity Journal , recalls then-New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine telling a huge rally of state employees in 2006: "We will fight for a fair contract!"

How often does a union hear that from management? This is why even Franklin Roosevelt maintained, "The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service." He'd blanch at the ways of 21st century government.

In the Golden State, the California Teachers Association has all but become a branch of state government. Its exertions have given the state some of the worst schools in the country -- and the highest-paid teachers. California's prison guards have a powerful union -- and also the highest salaries in the nation. The state instituted a reckless pension plan for public employees in 1999 that means more than 5,000 of them get more than $100,000 a year during retirement. It's not a coincidence that California was reduced to issuing IOUs to cover its obligations for a time last year.

Government by and for the public-employees unions is bankrupting, both fiscally and ethically.

In his post-Massachusetts explanations of why health-care reform stalled, President Barack Obama vaguely acknowledged a few lapses in transparency. But he never mentioned the grossness inherent in inviting union bosses to the White House so they can exempt their members from a tax. That would cut too close to the bone, since it's hard to tell where the unions end and the Democratic Party begins.

"You must first enable the government to control the governed," James Madison wrote, "and in the next place oblige it to control itself." That's impossible if government employees use public funds to muster themselves into a political machine devoted to their own interests and expansion.

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Great Global Warming Collapse

The great global warming collapse

By Margaret Wente February 5, 2010 Globe and Mail

As the science scandals keep coming, the air has gone out of the climate-change movement

In 2007, the most comprehensive report to date on global warming, issued by the respected United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, made a shocking claim: The Himalayan glaciers could melt away as soon as 2035.

These glaciers provide the headwaters for Asia's nine largest rivers and lifelines for the more than one billion people who live downstream. Melting ice and snow would create mass flooding, followed by mass drought. The glacier story was reported around the world. Last December, a spokesman for the World Wildlife Fund, an environmental pressure group, warned, "The deal reached at Copenhagen will have huge ramifications for the lives of hundreds of millions of people who are already highly vulnerable due to widespread poverty." To dramatize their country's plight, Nepal's top politicians strapped on oxygen tanks and held a cabinet meeting on Mount Everest.

But the claim was rubbish, and the world's top glaciologists knew it. It was based not on rigorously peer-reviewed science but on an anecdotal report by the WWF itself. When its background came to light on the eve of Copenhagen, Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the IPCC, shrugged it off. But now, even leading scientists and environmental groups admit the IPCC is facing a crisis of credibility that makes the Climategate affair look like small change.

"The global warming movement as we have known it is dead," the brilliant analyst Walter Russell Mead says in his blog on The American Interest. It was done in by a combination of bad science and bad politics.

The impetus for the Copenhagen conference was that the science makes it imperative for us to act. But even if that were true - and even if we knew what to do - a global deal was never in the cards. As Mr. Mead writes, "The global warming movement proposed a complex set of international agreements involving vast transfers of funds, intrusive regulations in national economies, and substantial changes to the domestic political economies of most countries on the planet." Copenhagen was never going to produce a breakthrough. It was a dead end.

And now, the science scandals just keep on coming. First there was the vast cache of e-mails leaked from the University of East Anglia, home of a crucial research unit responsible for collecting temperature data. Although not fatal to the science, they revealed a snakepit of scheming to keep contradictory research from being published, make imperfect data look better, and withhold information from unfriendly third parties. If science is supposed to be open and transparent, these guys acted as if they had a lot to hide.

Despite widespread efforts to play down the Climategate e-mails, they were very damaging. An investigation by the British newspaper The Guardian - among the most aggressive advocates for action on climate change - has found that a series of measurements from Chinese weather stations were seriously flawed, and that documents relating to them could not be produced.

Meantime, the IPCC - the body widely regarded, until now, as the ultimate authority on climate science - is looking worse and worse. After it was forced to retract its claim about melting glaciers, Mr. Pachauri dismissed the error as a one-off. But other IPCC claims have turned out to be just as groundless.

For example, it warned that large tracts of the Amazon rain forest might be wiped out by global warming because they are extremely susceptible to even modest decreases in rainfall. The sole source for that claim, reports The Sunday Times of London, was a magazine article written by a pair of climate activists, one of whom worked for the WWF. One scientist contacted by the Times, a specialist in tropical forest ecology, called the article "a mess."

Worse still, the Times has discovered that Mr. Pachauri's own Energy and Resources Unit, based in New Delhi, has collected millions in grants to study the effects of glacial melting - all on the strength of that bogus glacier claim, which happens to have been endorsed by the same scientist who now runs the unit that got the money. Even so, the IPCC chief is hanging tough. He insists the attacks on him are being orchestrated by companies facing lower profits.

Until now, anyone who questioned the credibility of the IPCC was labelled as a climate skeptic, or worse. But many climate scientists now sense a sinking ship, and they're bailing out. Among them is Andrew Weaver, a climatologist at the University of Victoria who acknowledges that the climate body has crossed the line into advocacy. Even Britain's Greenpeace has called for Mr. Pachauri's resignation. India says it will establish its own body to monitor the effects of global warming because it "cannot rely" on the IPCC.

None of this is to say that global warming isn't real, or that human activity doesn't play a role, or that the IPCC is entirely wrong, or that measures to curb greenhouse-gas emissions aren't valid. But the strategy pursued by activists (including scientists who have crossed the line into advocacy) has turned out to be fatally flawed.

By exaggerating the certainties, papering over the gaps, demonizing the skeptics and peddling tales of imminent catastrophe, they've discredited the entire climate-change movement. The political damage will be severe. As Mr. Mead succinctly puts it: "Skeptics up, Obama down, cap-and-trade dead." That also goes for Canada, whose climate policies are inevitably tied to those of the United States.

"I don't think it's healthy to dismiss proper skepticism," says John Beddington, the chief scientific adviser to the British government. He is a staunch believer in man-made climate change, but he also points out the complexity of climate science. "Science grows and improves in the light of criticism. There is a fundamental uncertainty about climate change prediction that can't be changed." In his view, it's time to stop circling the wagons and throw open the doors. How much the public will keep caring is another matter.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Some Reflections on the Iraq War

I still hear lots of people saying that the Iraq War was stupid, not necessary and not related to Islamic fundamentalism. They also contend that President Bush was wrong to involve us in that war.

The problem with the people who say this is that not only do they continue to ignore the multiple reasons for the incursion that have been discussed ad infinitum (belief Saddam had WMD, violations of the terms of Desert Storm, attempt to assassinate Bush 41, multiple violations of UN edicts, the oil-for food scandal, etc., etc.), but also that these critics have much too short a time span.

For those who know history and are somewhat aware of world and national events, it is well established that we are at war with thousands and thousands of Islamic fundamentalists who wish to destroy us and to establish an Islamic caliphate which will rule the world and impose the Sharia on the rest of us. These terrorists exist and are supported by millions of Muslims who are peaceful, but live in a seventh century world of ignorance, superstition and barbarism. These Muslims and the terrorists among them exist largely in Arab countries that are all ruled by despots who desperately want to keep their people in their present state forever. Only through the development of democratic institutions and modern technology can the present situation in these Arab countries ever change for the better.

If things do not change, we will continue in this war forever – or until some of these crazies acquire and use nuclear weapons to kill us and bring us down. We all look with dismay at the barbaric exhibitions seen daily in the Gaza Strip, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and in other Arab countries. Does anyone think these madmen would hesitate a moment to use such weapons?

As it is, it will probably take us 100 years to change these dynamics; and nothing would have changed until and unless a major country in the middle of the Arab world became a democratic country with modern technology – acting as an example and as a beacon to the rest of the Arab world. To win this war we must achieve three goals: 1. find and kill the terrorists before they kill us, 2. encourage the development of modernization in the Arab world, and, 3. use any and all means to stop the further spread of nuclear weapons technology.

Citizens of the United States and the west in general owe a huge debt of gratitude to former President George Bush for his perception of the 3-part strategy needed to keep us safe and win this war, and for plopping a democratic state, Iraq, which is rapidly modernizing, right in the middle of the Arab world. He did this despite the ferocious opposition of the leftists and know-nothings of this world who cannot see the consequences of anything. At least now we have a chance to turn the tide as the rest of the Arab world follows Iraq’s lead, modernizes, and turns against the fundamentalists. We can already see this happening in countries like Egypt, Kuwait and Jordan.

If the Arab world does not modernize and rise out of their barbarism and ignorance, we are doomed no matter how many terrorists we kill.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Hilarious Parody Of Martha Coakley (Scott Brown's Opponent)

I'm back home from hip replacement surgery. Still a long way to go for a full recovery, but to celebrate, here's a hilarious parody of Martha Coakley's last campaign days. Thanks to my good friend and Stonehill colleague, Hossein, for bringing this to my attention:



AddThis Social Bookmark Button