Archive for January, 2010

State of the Union Fact Check

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Another fact check of Obama’s 2010 State of the Union address.

Cato experts put some of President Obama’s core State of the Union claims to the test. Here’s what they found.

THE STIMULUS

Obama’s claim:

The plan that has made all of this possible, from the tax cuts to the jobs, is the Recovery Act. That’s right — the Recovery Act, also known as the Stimulus Bill. Economists on the left and the right say that this bill has helped saved jobs and avert disaster.

Back in reality: At the outset of the economic downturn, Cato ran an ad in the nation’s largest newspapers in which more than 300 economists (Nobel laureates among them) signed a statement saying a massive government spending package was among the worst available options. Since then, Cato economists have published dozens of op-eds in major news outlets poking holes in big-government solutions to both the financial system crisis and the flagging economy.

CUTTING TAXES

Obama’s claim:

Let me repeat: we cut taxes. We cut taxes for 95 percent of working families. We cut taxes for small businesses. We cut taxes for first-time homebuyers. We cut taxes for parents trying to care for their children. We cut taxes for 8 million Americans paying for college. As a result, millions of Americans had more to spend on gas, and food, and other necessities, all of which helped businesses keep more workers.

Back in reality: Cato Director of Tax Policy Studies Chris Edwards: “When the president says that he has ‘cut taxes’ for 95 percent of Americans, he fails to note that more than 40 percent of Americans pay no federal incomes taxes and the administration has simply increased subsidy checks to this group. Obama’s refundable tax credits are unearned subsidies, not tax cuts.”

Visit Cato’s Tax Policy Page for much more on this.

SPENDING FREEZE

Obama’s claim
:

Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years.

Back in reality: Edwards: “The president’s proposed spending freeze covers just 13 percent of the total federal budget, and indeed doesn’t limit the fastest growing components such as Medicare.

“A better idea is to cap growth in the entire federal budget including entitlement programs, which was essentially the idea behind the 1980s bipartisan Gramm-Rudman-Hollings law. The freeze also doesn’t cover the massive spending under the stimulus bill, most of which hasn’t occurred yet. Now that the economy is returning to growth, the president should both freeze spending and rescind the remainder of the planned stimulus.”

Plus, here’s why these promised freezes have never worked in the past and a chart illustrating the fallacy of Obama’s spending claims.

JOB CREATION

Obama’s claim:

Because of the steps we took, there are about two million Americans working right now who would otherwise be unemployed. 200,000 work in construction and clean energy. 300,000 are teachers and other education workers. Tens of thousands are cops, firefighters, correctional officers, and first responders. And we are on track to add another one and a half million jobs to this total by the end of the year.

Back in reality: Cato Policy Analyst Tad Dehaven: “Actually, the U.S. economy has lost 2.7 million jobs since the stimulus passed and 3.4 million total since Obama was elected. How he attributes any jobs gains to the stimulus is the fuzziest of fuzzy math. ‘Nuff said.”

Original Link.

“Get Real, Mr. Obama!” by Floyd and Mary Beth Brown

Friday, January 29th, 2010

The most annoying part of listening to a speech by the narcissist-in-chief is the number of times he refers to himself.

“I’ve got a very short commute;” “I can’t always visit people directly;” “I break out;” “I saw;” “I knew it would be unpopular;” “I ran for this office;” “I had no illusions;” “I had a whole bunch of political advisors.”

The latest State of the Union is no exception. Maybe because his world is so centered on the bubble that surrounds himself, he is incapable of understanding the frustration Americans have about his plans to remake the country.

Clearly, he is not hearing the message to back off. Instead, he is doubling down. Calling with renewed vigor for a litany of unpopular policies, he declared in a condescending tone, “I don’t quit.”

Obama spent an inane amount of time talking about job creation. His problem is, he doesn’t understand how jobs are created. His left-wing fantasies on how to create jobs have had the opposite impact. For example; his plan to sock banks with new taxes as they struggle to recover. He’s just like a boxer trying to punch the last knock-down blow

He repeatedly called for a second stimulus bill while we are still reaping the harvest of his first misguided stimulus plan. Then he urged Congress to pass the entire litany of failed regulatory and tax bills that will finish off the feeble recovery and increase unemployment well beyond 20 percent. He renewed his call for Obamacare, which guts Medicare, will increase insurance premiums, and soak the country with higher taxes.

“Change has not come fast enough,” Obama exclaimed. “As hard as it may be, as uncomfortable and contentious as the debates may be, it’s time to get serious…” Maybe you haven’t been serious, Mr. Obama, but we are, and have been serious for a long time. The changes you seek divide Americans and hurt the prospects for our and our children’s futures.

Read the rest of the article here.

Pelosi Turns to New Tactic to Ram Health Care Reform Through House

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

The Dems still aren’t listen to the voters.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pushing a $300 billion “fix” to the Senate health care bill, saying that her chamber could approve the Senate’s package if those changes are made first.

Senior Democratic aides told Fox News that Pelosi has offered up the new package of changes to Senate Democratic leaders, with the hope that they will be able to pass it using a controversial procedural maneuver known as “reconciliation.” The maneuver would allow Democrats to pass the measure with just 51 votes, without having to first overcome the normal 60-vote threshold.

Some Democrats are keen on using that process, since the election last week of Republican Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts broke the Democrats’ 60-vote supermajority. However, some Democratic moderates — notably Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln and Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh — have balked at using the controversial tactic to ram through health care reform measures.

Pelosi announced last week that she did not have the votes in the House to pass the Senate health care reform bill as is.

But Pelosi says that if the Senate, and House, will approve the package of adjustments first, the House can then take up the original Senate bill.

President Obama pledged to press ahead with health care reform in his State of the Union address Wednesday night. He said he would not “walk away” from the issue and urged Congress to stand with him.

“Do not walk away from reform. Not now. Not when we are so close,” Obama said.

The president urged Congress to take “another look” at the plan on the table, but at the same time offered to hear out new ideas from both parties.

Any move to then drive through a “fix” to the Senate bill using reconciliation is sure to draw fierce protest from Republicans, who want the president to take a fresh approach to the health care bill.

Original Link.

“Obama’s Sorry State of the Union Speech” By Kevin McCullough

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

At roughly 9:48pm EST, in the midst of President Obama’s first State of the Union address he begged us to “let him know!”

The president was defending his push for his vision of universal health care when he threw down the challenge in a speech that seemed strangely and wholly disconnected from the experience of the average American family.

As far as expectations for the State of the Union the president’s speech was a sizable failure.

By my count President Obama made several significant policy pivots — for the first time he advocated the use of nuclear power, domestic drilling, clean coal, capital gains tax cuts, spending freezes, and called on Congress to “tighten their belts” just as American families are being forced to do.

Acting on previously published advice from Democratic strategist James Carville, President Obama took the opportunity, by my count at least eight times, to mention Bush administration. He did this not to give President Bush and his team credit for the low unemployment we enjoyed during his eight years in office, or the national security they provided. Instead, he brought up the Bush administration to place blame for the problems that have only grown since President Obama entered the White House.

He gave lip service to the need to create new jobs. Yet, in almost the same breath, he claimed he had rescued the economy in 2009. He claimed to have saved 2 million jobs with the stimulus bill (though the Congressional Budget office does not endorse his numbers or view his on the matter the way he implied it does in his speech.) But the number of jobs lost on his watch exceeds 3 million.

Most shocking of all, perhaps, was his insistence on ramming health care reform and cap-and-trade legislation down the throats of American voters even though they have roundly rejected his proposals on these issues.

He referred to himself in the speech more than 100 times. And made absolutely absurd demands that appeared to be almost dishonest. But noticeably absent in his speech was any mention of how he handled the mirandizing of a terrorist captured after a failed terror attack on Christmas Day. — The fourth such attack on our nation in just his first year in office.

He also made several statements that were painfully obvious, from noting that, “jobs must be our number one focus in 2010” to “the true engine of jobs creation is our nation’s businesses.”

He also drew laughter at himself with one liners, “For those who have yet to believe the overwhelming scientific evidence that exists on climate change” to the line “all of this before I walked in the door.”

President Obama’s State of the Union address was poorly thought out, not terribly well executed, and, in the end, tremendously ineffective.

It was also terribly inappropriate when he openly encouraged belligerent reaction against the Supreme Court with the Justices sitting in the chamber. It was a cheap shot, and multiple constitutionalists and scholars believe it may have violated the spirit embodied in our government’s commitment to the separation of powers.

Add to this stemwinder of a speech that he will work towards an unhealthy and unsafe environment for homosexuals in our nation’s military ranks.

He closed the sale by announcing yet another deadline for terrorists in Iraq to bide their time for, specifically August of 2010.

It was messy, incoherent, disorganized, and most regrettably defiant.

Which I guess when you think of it, defines the state of our union pretty well.

Original Link.

Scientists in Climate-Gate Scandal Hid Data

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

More information is coming out on “Climategate”.

The university at the center of the climate change scandal over stolen e-mails broke the law by refusing to hand over its raw data for public scrutiny.

The University of East Anglia breached Britain’s Freedom of Information Act by refusing to comply with requests for data concerning claims by its scientists that man-made emissions were causing global warming.

The Information Commissioner’s Office decided that UEA failed in its duties under the act but said that it could not prosecute those involved because the complaint was made too late, The Times of London has learned. The ICO is now seeking to change the law to allow prosecutions if a complaint is made more than six months after a breach.

The stolen e-mails, revealed on the eve of the Copenhagen summit, showed how the university’s Climatic Research Unit attempted to thwart requests for scientific data and other information, and suggest that senior figures at the university were involved in decisions to refuse the requests. It is not known who stole the e-mails.

Original Link.

State of the Union Address 2010

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

The big news today is Obama’s State of the Union Address. There are a lot of commentators commenting about it, so take some time and read what your favorites are saying about it.
Quite honestly, I didn’t hear anything different. He knows he’s in trouble for his push on health care, so he hardly mentioned it, only briefly touching on it and using that to admonish those who oppose it.
He knows that jobs are first and foremost on people’s minds, but failed to mention that his stimulus bill, rushed through the process before anyone even had a chance to read it, passed last year, was supposed to make jobs and reduce unemployment, but did the opposite with unemployment now over 10% He plays with “fuzzy” numbers to try to convince us that he has “saved” jobs, when just measuring that is virtually impossible, let alone actually doing it, which he hasn’t, as shown by the over 10% unemployment rate.
He talked about tax cuts and cuts to spending, but everything he proposes won’t be enough; won’t help at all.
He touted out his “hope and change” message trying to recapture the high he was on when he was campaigning.
But it’s a different world. He has shown his true colors and many people are wise to him now.
All I saw was the same Obama, heavy on rhetoric, light on substance.

Renewing Promise of ‘Change,’ Obama Tries to Reset Agenda
Obama Changes Message, Trips Up By Jillian Bandes
The AR Response to the 2010 State of the Union Address by Jeff Schreiber

Christian in Egypt: ‘They Try to Kill Us’

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Christians overseas, especially those living in Muslims countries, are facing growing persecution. Please continue to pray for their safety.

Egyptian Maher El-Gowhary and his 15 year old daughter Dina never pray twice at the same church, never stay longer than a month in any one apartment. They are constantly under threat, always on the run because they converted to Christianity in a largely Muslim country.

Maher and Dina nervously agreed to meet us at a Church in Cairo. The priest at the Church said he feared problems from the Egyptian authorities and while he agreed to have us watch his Sunday mass, the Priest declined to speak to us about what is happening in Egypt and to the El-Gowhary’s.

They tell their story out of fear and desperation. Born Muslims they chose to convert to the Christian Church after both claim they had religious visions.

Now Maher says “Muslims try to kill us, and will kill us if they find us.”

Several religious fatwas have been issued for “spilling his blood” after Maher asked an Egyptian Court to legally recognize his conversion, so he can one day be buried as a Christian and so his daughter won’t be forced into a marriage by her Muslim mother.

The court ruled a legal conversion to Christianity would threaten public order. His lawyer told us it’s a dangerous double standard because in Egypt a Christian can convert to the Muslim faith in a week, but a Muslim cannot convert to the Christian faith.

Ten percent of Egypt is Christian, largely the Coptic Christians who increasingly say they face daunting discrimination and even death.

We had to hide our camera as we followed the El-Gowhary’s because we were told if the authorities discovered we were preparing our story we would be arrested.

Religious tensions are running high in Egypt.

On January 6th, the Coptic Christmas eve, three Muslim men sprayed gunfire at a Church in Upper Egypt killing six Christians and wounding up to a dozen more. Christians rioted the next day and the area is still closed to outsiders including the press.

Human rights activist Hussein Bahjet say’s Egypt has the potential to become like Lebanon because of growing sectarian violence.

“Civil strife that could engulf the country” Bahjet says.

The U.S. State Department reports respect of religious freedom in Egypt is declining, Christians are denied Government jobs, Priests are threatened and harassed, Christians are increasingly attacks in what State describes as “a climate of impunity that encourages violence.”

In some cases authorities turn a blind eye to attacks on Christians, in other cases there is evidence police sparked the attacks.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been largely silent about the problem, but this week he spoke out saying Egyptians must up-root “fanaticism and sectarianism, which threatens the unit of our nation.”

Dina has written a letter to President Obama which has been published on Christian websites. She has been pulled out of school. She has only a blue jean jacket to stay warm and little food to eat. Her letter was a desperate plea. “I wrote that we are a minority Christian Community treated very badly and I want to tell President Obama to tell the Egyptian Government to treat us well.”

Her father Mayer says he can’t stay in Egypt anymore. He and his daughter are in such grave danger we can’t report where they are in Egypt now, or where they are planning on moving tomorrow.

In recent days the two met with the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in Cairo. They asked for refugee status to get out of Egypt.

A source at the Commission say’s its a complicated matter because Dina has a Muslim mother and there are legal issues, but their request is being considered.

The Commission source also says because of religious discrimination in Egypt, last year the State Department down graded Egypt to being on a watch list. This year it could potentially be downgraded further to a Country of particular concern. That means the U.S. might even consider sanctions against a Country which receives some 2 billion dollars in U.S. aid every year.

As I write this Dina and her father are packing, moving to another area of Egypt. Out of money. And running of out hope.

Original Link.

I AM the LORD; That Is My Name!

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

“I am the LORD; that is my name!
I will not give my glory to another
or my praise to idols.”

Isaiah 42:8 (New International Version)

Read more about God’s Names here.

“An Open Letter to Charles Johnson” by Dennis Prager

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

I used to read Charles Johnson’s “Little Green Footballs” blog every day. Like most of us, I was also very confused by his complete “180” in views and behavior. I have my own thoughts on the subject, but tt will be interesting see how he responds to Mr. Prager.

On Sunday, The New York Times Magazine featured an article on Charles Johnson, whose website — littlegreenfootballs — had for years been very popular among conservatives and among all those who believed that Islamic terror and Islamic religious totalitarianism were the greatest expressions of contemporary evil. The reason for the article was that Mr. Johnson has made a 180-degree turn and is now profoundly, even stridently, anti-right. This is my letter to him.

Dear Charles:

As you know, over the years, I was so impressed with your near-daily documentation of developments in the Islamist world that I twice had you on my national radio show — both times face to face in my studio. And you, in turn, periodically cited my radio show and would tell your many readers when they could hear you on my show.

So it came as somewhat of a shock to see your 180-degree turn from waging war on Islamist evil to waging war on your erstwhile allies and supporters on the right. You attempted to explain this reversal Nov. 30, 2009, when you published “Why I Parted Ways With The Right.”

You offered 10 reasons, and I would like to respond to them. First, as disappointed as I am with your metamorphosis, I still have gratitude for all the good you did and I respect your change as a sincere act of conscience. But neither this gratitude nor this respect elevates my regard for your 10 points. They are well beneath the intellectual and moral level of your prior work. They sound like something Keith Olbermann would write if he were given 10 minutes to come up with an attack on conservatives.

1. Support for fascists, both in America (see: Pat Buchanan, Robert Stacy McCain, etc.) and in Europe (see: Vlaams Belang, BNP, SIOE, etc.).

Associating the American right with fascism is done only by leftist ideologues and propagandists, not by serious critics. It is akin to calling everyone on the left a Communist. As for the specific examples, forgive me, but in 28 years as a talk show host and columnist, I had never heard of Robert Stacy McCain or of Vlaams Belang. Nor did the BNP or SIOE register on my intellectual radar screen.

I looked them up and found that McCain is a former editor at the Washington Times charged with racist views. So what?

The BNP is the British National Party, a racist group that in the last U.K. general election received 0.7 percent of the popular vote. So what?

SIOE stands for Stop Islamisation of Europe. I perused its website, and while there are ideas I disagree with (e.g., the group does not believe that there are any Muslim moderates), the desire to stop the “Islamization” of Europe is hardly fascist; it is more likely animated by anti-fascism.

Vlaams Belang is a Flemish nationalist political party that won 17 out of 150 seats in Belgium’s Chamber of Representatives. From what I could gather from a cursory glance at the party’s platform, it is an ultra-nationalist Flemish party, many of whose language protection and secessionist ideals are virtually identical to those of the Party Quebecois, a party passionately supported by the left.

In any event, what do any of these groups have to do with mainstream American right institutions such the Hoover Institution, the Heritage Foundation or the American Enterprise Institute; or with mainstream conservative publications and websites such as the National Review, the Weekly Standard, Townhall.com or Commentary; or with mainstream American conservatives such as Bill Kristol, Thomas Sowell, Hugh Hewitt, Charles Krauthammer, George Will, Bill Bennett, Michael Medved, Dennis Prager, as well as Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh?

2. Support for bigotry, hatred, and white supremacism (see: Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter, Robert Stacy McCain, Lew Rockwell, etc.).

I agree with the late William Buckley that some of Pat Buchanan’s views could be construed as anti-Jewish; I don’t know who McCain or Lew Rockwell represent among mainstream conservatives; and to label Ann Coulter a white supremacist (or bigot) is slander.

3. Support for throwing women back into the Dark Ages, and general religious fanaticism (see: Operation Rescue, anti-abortion groups, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Tony Perkins, the entire religious right, etc.).

“The entire religious right” wants to throw “women back into the dark ages?” As a religious (Jewish) conservative, perhaps I am a member of that group, and I find the charge absurd. The one example you give — anti-abortion — is invalid. To those who regard the unborn as worthy of life (except in the almost never occurring case of it being a threat to its mother’s life), opposition to abortion is no more anti-woman than opposition to rape is anti-man. The only people who wish to throw women into the dark ages are the people you, Charles, used to fight. That is why your change of heart has actually hurt the battle for women’s dignity and equality.

4. Support for anti-science bad craziness (see: creationism, climate change denialism, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, James Inhofe, etc.).

So, Charles, all those scientists who question or deny that human activity is causing a global warming that will render much of life on earth extinct are “anti-science?”

Has the possibility occurred to you that those who are skeptical of what they consider hysteria cherish science at least as much as you do? In fact, they suspect that — for political, social, financial, psychological and/or herd-following reasons — it is the “global warming” hysterics who are more likely to be anti-science.
Activist scientists, liberal media and leftist interest groups brought us the false alarm of an imminent heterosexual AIDS pandemic in America, the false alarm about silicon breast implants leading to disease and the nonsense about how dangerous nuclear power is. They were anti-science, not us skeptics who have been right every time I can think of.

Read the rest of the article here.

Obama to Seek Partial Three-Year Spending Freeze in 2011 Federal Budget After CBO Projects 2010 Budget Deficit of $1.35 Trillion

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Now Obama’s worried about the deficit? It’s turns out to be all smoke and mirrors though. The freeze he’s proposing will barely touch the deficit.

WASHINGTON — A senior congressional aide says the latest estimates put this year’s federal budget deficit at $1.35 trillion.

The Congressional Budget Office figures confirm the massive problem facing President Obama and his Democratic allies just days before his Feb. 1 budget submission. The White House says Obama will propose freezing domestic agency budgets, though the savings would barely make a dent.

The deficit would slide to $480 billion by 2015, CBO says, but only if tax cuts on income, investments and large estates are allowed to expire at the end of this year. Most budget experts see deficits as far higher once tax cuts and other policies are factored in.
The 2010 deficit figure is in line with previous estimates.

Original Link.

President Obama is expected to propose that Congress freeze “non-security” federal spending for the next three years, senior administration officials said Monday.

The term “non-security” is broad. It will exempt costs of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, all other Pentagon spending, as well as foreign aid and the budgets of the Veterans Administration and Department of Homeland Security.

The freeze will apply to the annual spending on day-to-day government programs that do not include mandatory spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Spending on these three programs alone this year is projected to equal 8.7 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product or 59 percent of all federal spending.

Officials have defended an approach that holds entitlement spending to be harmless.

In fact, the White House appears to relish a fight, as some Democrats say they don’t want a spending freeze of any kind in an election year.

“Do I think this is going to win us lots of kudos among some on Capitol Hill,” said one official. “No.”

Administration officials said Obama will use his State of the Union address to urge Congress to impose the spending freeze for the next three budget years. If Congress follows suit, taxpayers will save $250 billion over 10 years. That figure represents what would be spent without a freeze on “non-security” programs.

Next year, a “non-security” spending freeze would save between $10 billion to $15 billion — a fraction of the current $3.5 trillion budget. In comparison, the “security” spending exempted from the freeze are as follows: $663 billion for defense, $56 billion for veterans, $43 billion for homeland security and $53 billion for foreign aid.

“We’re not here to tell you we’ve solved the deficit,” one official said, conceding this move would leave a sizable deficit behind. “You have to take steps.”

The projected 2010 federal deficit is nearly $1.5 trillion.

This spending totaled $447 billion in the 2010 budget. Senior officials said Obama will ask Congress not to dole out more on “non-security” spending than $447 billion in the budget years 2011, 2012 and 2013. This spending equals roughly a third of the overall annual federal budget.

Original Link.

Authorities Seize Weapons, Map of U.S. Military Facility From N.J. Motel Room

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Another domestic terrorist has been caught, this time before he was able to carry out his deadly plans. The news media can breath a sigh of relief as this one appears not to be a Muslim.

BRANCHBURG, N.J. — Authorities in central New Jersey have seized a cache of weapons and ammunition including rifles, a grenade launcher and a night vision scope from the motel room of a Virginia man.

Somerset County Prosecutor Wayne Forrest says Lloyd R. Woodson, a 43-year-old from Reston, Va., also had maps of a U.S. military facility and a town in another state.

He was arrested in Branchburg early Monday by officers responding to a report of a suspicious person.

Forrest says Woodson was wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying a semiautomatic Bushmaster rifle under his jacket when he was arrested. The weapons and maps were found in a later search of his motel room.

Woodson was being held at the Somerset County Jail on charges including unlawful possession of weapons.

The prosecutor’s office did not know whether Woodson had a lawyer.

Original Link.

Pelosi and Reid Plot Secret Plan for Obamacare

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

I’ve said for quite some time now that the Dems will continue to try to force health care “reform”, with the “government” option down our throats. With Brown’s win in Massachusetts, they may have quicken the pace, but they are still going to try to do it.

Highly informed sources on Capitol Hill have revealed to me [Dick Morris] details of the Democratic plan to sneak Obamacare through Congress, despite collapsing public approval for healthcare “reform” and disintegrating congressional support in the wake of Republican Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts.

President Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid all have agreed to the basic framework of the plan.

Their plan is clever but can be stopped if opponents of radical healthcare reform act quickly and focus on a core group of 23 Democratic Congressman. If just a few of these 23 Democrats are “flipped” and decide to oppose the bill, the whole Obama-Pelosi-Reid stratagem falls apart.

Here’s what I learned top Democrats are planning to implement.

Senate Democrats will go to the House with a two-part deal.

First, the House will pass the Senate’s Obamacare bill that passed the Senate in December. The House leadership will vote on the Senate bill, and Pelosi will allow no amendments or modifications to the Senate bill.

How will Pelosi’s deal fly with rambunctious liberal members of her majority who don’t like the Senate bill, especially its failure to include a public option, put heavy fines on those who don’t get insurance, and offering no income tax surcharge on the “rich”?

That’s where the second part of the Pelosi-deal comes in.

Behind closed doors, Reid and Pelosi have agreed in principle that changes to the Senate bill will be made to satisfy liberal House members — but only after the Senate bill is passed and signed into law by Obama.

This deal will be secured by a pledge from Reid and the Senate’s Democratic caucus that they will make “fixes” to the Senate bill after it becomes law with Obama’s John Hancock.

But you may ask what about the fact that, without Republican Scott Brown and independent Democrats such as Joe Lieberman, Reid simply doesn’t have the 60 votes in the Senate to overcome a Republican filibuster that typically can stop major legislation?

According to my source, Reid will provide to Pelosi a letter signed by 52 Democratic senators indicating they will pass the major changes, or “fixes,” the House Democrats are demanding. Again, these fixes will be approved by the Senate only after Obama signs the Senate bill into law.

Reid also has agreed to bypass Senate cloture and filibuster rules and claim that these modifications fall under “reconciliation” and don’t require 60 Senate votes.

To pass the fixes, he won’t need one Republican; he won’t even need Joe Lieberman or wavering Democrats such as Jim Webb of Virginia.

His 52 pledged senators give him a simple majority to pass any changes they want, which will later be rubberstamped by Pelosi’s House and signed by Obama.

This plan, of course, is a total subversion of the legislative process.

Typically, the Senate and House pass their own unique legislation and then both bills go to a conference committee. In conference, the leadership of both Democrat-dominated houses wheels and deals and irons out differences.

The final compromise bill is then sent back to the full Senate and full House for a vote and has to pass both to go to the president.

In the House, a simple majority passes the legislation. But under Senate rules, major legislation requires 60 votes to end a filibuster.

As it stands, the House bill and Senate bill have major discrepancies. Reid does not have 60 votes to pass a compromise bill that would no doubt include some of the radical provisions House members have been demanding.

But if the House passes the exact Senate bill that passed by a 60-39 Senate vote last month, there is no need for a conference on the bill. It will go directly to the president’s desk.

There is a rub to all of this.

This secret plan being hatched by Pelosi and Reid requires not only a pledge by 52 Democratic senators to vote later for the House modifications. House liberals must actually believe these Senators will live up to their pledge and pass the fixes at some future date.

A Senate source cautions: “Senators more than House members and both more than ordinary people, lie.”

Still, my Senate source and others in Washington believe that the liberals in the House, grasping at straws after the stunning Massachusetts defeat, will go along with the Reid-Pelosi plan to bypass a conference bill and ultimately will vote for the Senate version without changes.

Original Link.

“President Obama’s Plan: Soak The Rich, Coddle The Middle Class” by Jillian Bandes

Monday, January 25th, 2010

The early word about Obama’s State of the Union address on Wednesday is that the President will announce extensive plans to alleviate financial burdens on America’s middle class — his most reliable bloc of voters. These moves are apparently designed to distract such voters from his failure on health care reform.

The proposals include doubling the child care tax credit for families who make less than $85,000; a $1.6 billion increase in child care funding, and “capping student loan payments to 10 percent of income above ‘a basic living allowance.'”

If you make under $85,000 (but not $86,000!) he also wants you to get a tax credit that matches the amount you save for retirement, and a tax break if you are caring for elderly relatives.

I like fewer taxes, in any way, shape, or form. But this proposal, like all other special taxbreaks for special classes of Americans, will further dis-incentivize people from trying to make more than the government allows.

Original Link.

Urgent Need for Tent Cities for Haitian Refugees

Monday, January 25th, 2010

The people of Haiti are still suffering terribly from the earthquake almost two weeks ago. Please continue to pray for them and, if possible, help them by donating to aid them trough reputable organization.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Grieving families are watching workers recover the bodies of loved ones as Haiti’s death roll rises, while aid groups focusing on the living struggle to find tents and sites to erect them for all the people streaming out of Port-au-Prince.

It could take experts weeks to search out sites suitable for enough tent cities to hold earthquake refugees, the International Organization for Migration, an intergovernmental agency, said Sunday.

“We also need tents. There is a shortage of tents,” said Vincent Houver, the Geneva-based agency’s chief of mission in Haiti.

Houver said the agency’s warehouse in Port-au-Prince holds 10,000 family-size tents, but he estimates 100,000 are needed. The organization has appealed for $30 million to pay for tents and other aid needs and has received two-thirds of that so far, he said.

Haiti’s government wants the estimated 600,000 homeless huddled in open areas of Port-au-Prince, a city of 2 million, to look for better shelter with relatives or others elsewhere. Some 200,000 are believed to have fled already, most taking advantage of free government transport, and others formed a steady stream out of the city Sunday.

An estimated 50,000 to 100,000 have returned to the region around the coastal city of Gonaives in northern Haiti, a city abandoned by many after two devastating floods in six years.

Original Link.

Obama Administration Steers Lucrative No-Bid Contract for Afghan Work to Dem Donor

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Did Obama criticize Bush for doing this and promise not to do the same thing? Hummm…..

Despite President Obama’s long history of criticizing the Bush administration for “sweetheart deals” with favored contractors, the Obama administration this month awarded a $25 million federal contract for work in Afghanistan to a company owned by a Democratic campaign contributor without entertaining competitive bids, Fox News has learned.

The contract, awarded on Jan. 4 to Checchi & Company Consulting, Inc., a Washington-based firm owned by economist and Democratic donor Vincent V. Checchi, will pay the firm $24,673,427 to provide “rule of law stabilization services” in war-torn Afghanistan.

A synopsis of the contract published on the USAID Web site says Checchi & Company will “train the next generation of legal professionals” throughout the Afghan provinces and thereby “develop the capacity of Afghanistan’s justice system to be accessible, reliable, and fair.”

The legality of the arrangement as a “sole source,” or no-bid, contract was made possible by virtue of a waiver signed by the USAID administrator. “They cancelled the open bid on this when they came to power earlier this year,” a source familiar with the federal contracting process told Fox News.

“That’s kind of weird,” said another source, who has worked on “rule of law” issues in both Afghanistan and Iraq, about the no-bid contract to Checchi & Company. “There’s lots of companies and non-governmental organizations that do this sort of work.”

Contacted by Fox News, Checchi confirmed that his company had indeed received the nearly $25 million contract but declined to say why it had been awarded on a no-bid basis, referring a reporter to USAID.

Asked if he or his firm had been aware that the contract was awarded without competitive bids, Checchi replied: “After it was awarded to us, sure. Before, we had no idea.”

He declined to answer further questions, however, and again referred Fox News to USAID, saying: “I don’t want to speak for the U.S. government.”

Asked about the contract, USAID Acting Press Director Harry Edwards at first suggested his office would be too “busy” to comment on it. “I’ll tell it to the people in Haiti,” Edwards snapped when a Fox News reporter indicated the story would soon be made public. The USAID press office did not respond further.

Rep. Darryl Issa, R-Calif., the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Fox News’ reporting on the no-bid contract in this case “disturbed” him.

Issa has written to USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah requesting that the agency “produce all documents related to the Checchi contract” on or before Feb. 5. Citing the waiver that enabled USAID to award the contract on a no-bid basis, Issa noted that the exemption was intended to speed up the provision of services in a crisis environment.

Yet “on its face,” wrote Issa to Shah, “the consulting contract awarded to Checchi to support the Afghan justice system does not appear to be so urgent or attendant to an immediate need so as to justify such a waiver.”

Corporate rivals of Checchi were reluctant to speak on the record about the no-bid contract awarded to his firm because they feared possible retribution by the Obama administration in the awarding of future contracts.

“We don’t want to be blackballed,” said the managing partner of a consulting firm that has won similar contracts. “You’ve got to be careful. We’re dealing here with people and offices that we depend on for our business.”

Still, the rival executive confirmed that open bidding on USAID’s lucrative Afghanistan “rule of law” contract was abruptly revoked by the agency earlier this year.

“It’s a mystery to us,” the managing partner said. “We were going to bid on it. The solicitation (for bids) got pulled back, and we do not know why. We may never know why. These are things that we, as companies doing business with the government, have to put up with.”

As a candidate for president in 2008, then-Sen. Obama frequently derided the Bush administration for the awarding of federal contracts without competitive bidding.

“I will finally end the abuse of no-bid contracts once and for all,” the senator told a Grand Rapids audience on Oct. 2. “The days of sweetheart deals for Halliburton will be over when I’m in the White House.”

Those remarks echoed an earlier occasion, during a candidates’ debate in Austin, Texas on Feb. 21, when Mr. Obama vowed to upgrade the government’s online databases listing federal contracts.

“If (the American people) see a bridge to nowhere being built, they know where it’s going and who sponsored it,” he said to audience laughter, “and if they see a no-bid contract going to Halliburton, they can check that out too.”

Less than two months after he was sworn into office, President Obama signed a memorandum that he claimed would “dramatically reform the way we do business on contracts across the entire government.”

Flanked by aides and lawmakers at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building on March 4, Obama vowed to “end unnecessary no-bid and cost-plus contracts,” adding: “In some cases, contracts are awarded without competition….And that’s completely unacceptable.”

The March 4 memorandum directed the Office of Management and Budget to “maximize the use of full and open competition” in the awarding of federal contracts.

Federal campaign records show Checchi has been a frequent contributor to liberal and Democratic causes and candidates in recent years, including to Obama’s presidential campaign.

The records show Checchi has given at least $6,600 to Obama dating back to March 2007. The contractor has also made donations to various arms of the Democratic National Committee, to liberal activist groups like MoveOn.org and ActBlue, and to other party politicians like Sen. John F. Kerry, former presidential candidate John Edwards and former Connecticut Senate candidate Ned Lamont.

Sources confirmed to Fox News that Checchi & Company is but one of a number of private firms capable of performing the work in Afghanistan for which USAID retained it.

Original Link.

Religious Haitians Say Earthquake Was God Asking for Change

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

OK, despite what Pat Robertson thinks, here is what causes earthquakes:

“Earthquakes occur only in the outer, brittle portions of these plates, where temperatures in the rock are relatively low. Deep in the Earth’s interior, convection of the rocks, caused by temperature variations in the Earth, induces stresses that result in movement of the overlying plates. The rates of plate movements range from about 2 to 12 centimeters per year and can now be measured by precise surveying techniques. The stresses from convection can also deform the brittle portions of overlying plates, thereby storing tremendous energy within the plates. If the accumulating stress exceeds the strength of the rocks comprising these brittle zones, the rocks can break suddenly, releasing the stored elastic energy as an earthquake.”
Original Link.

I believe that God has total control of all things in His universe. But I also believe that natural disasters are not Him being wrathful with us. Not at this time anyway. Natural disasters are merely the product of an imperfect earth.
So, the aspect that the Haitian people “sinned” so much more than any of the rest of us and “deserved” this earthquake is, well quite honestly, ludicrous.
I do not support and have hardly ever supported anything Pat Robertson says and does. Particularly when he somehow draws these absurd parallels.

Please continue to pray for the people of Haiti and please contribute to help them if you can. There are many well known organizations currently taking donations to help these people.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Deeply religious Haitians see the hand of God in the destruction of Biblical proportions visited on their benighted country. The quake, religious leaders said Sunday, is evidence that He wants change.

Exactly what change He wants depends on the faith: Some Christians say it’s a sign that Haitians must deepen their faith, while some Voodoo followers see God’s judgment on corruption among the country’s mostly light-skinned elite.

And then there’s American evangelist Pat Robertson, who said Wednesday that Haiti had been cursed by a pact he said its slave founders made with the devil two centuries ago to overthrow their French rulers and become the world’s first black republic. The White House called his remarks “stupid.”

Original Link.

Brown’s Victory – A Change People Can Believe In

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Senior policy analyst Nicole Kurokawa of the Independent Women’s Voice shares that the recent election of Republican Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate is change she can believe in. Brown was elected this past Tuesday to fill the seat of the late Senator Ted Kennedy — an election result that many observers note has thrown the Democrats for a loop and triggered much in-fighting.

Kurokawa observes that Brown’s election not only gives Republicans the chance to filibuster in the Senate, but it also throws passage of the Obama administration’s healthcare reform legislation into doubt.

“And I think the American people really are just tired of the expansive government takeover of healthcare, of the banking sector, [and] the out-of-control spending,” she comments. “I think people have just had it — so this is a very clear-cut message to Washington that you can’t keep doing this.”

Original Link.

FBI Gets CAIR Terror Ties Documents

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Awesome…

Responding to a federal subpoena served by the FBI, lawyers for a former Air Force special agent who conducted a private undercover probe of the Council on American-Islamic Relations have turned over thousands of pages of internal documents that allegedly confirm the D.C.-based Muslim group’s role as a front for terrorist groups that seek Islam’s domination over the U.S.

As WND reported, FBI agents entered the capital law offices of Cozen O’Connor in the nation’s capital Nov. 24 with a warrant to obtain 12,000 pages of documents gathered by P. David Gaubatz and his son Chris in a daring six-month undercover penetration of CAIR. The younger Gaubatz served as an unpaid intern for the group that was designated an unindicted terrorist co-conspirator in the trial of the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation, the largest terrorist-finance case in U.S. history. Chris Gaubatz says he was able to collect the documents after CAIR leaders asked interns to shred them.

The FBI’s move suggests the federal government wants to see the papers as part of its interest in CAIR, its founders and their Hamas terrorist links.

Among the documents, which are cited in “Muslim Mafia” by WND Books, is evidence CAIR works behind the scenes to mislead and deceive the FBI on behalf of terrorism suspects and has cultivated Muslim moles inside law enforcement who have tipped off FBI terror targets.

The book, co-authored by David Gaubatz and Paul Sperry, asserts CAIR is acting as a front for a conspiracy of the Muslim Brotherhood – the parent of al-Qaida and Hamas – to infiltrate the U.S. and help pave the way for Saudi-style Islamic law to rule the nation.

David Gaubatz told WND he is happy to see the material finally is in the hands of the FBI, which “has the resources to review the thousands of names, organizations and data in the documents.”

A link analysis of the information by the agency, he said, will show, among other things, CAIR’s support for Islamic terrorist groups, its funding from foreign Muslim sources; its involvement with the Saudi government, the Saudis’ influence on elected U.S. officials, the Muslim Brotherhood’s intimidation of American media and how CAIR plotted the “flying imams” case to have a chilling effect on law enforcement and security at the nation’s airports.

Gaubatz said there are documents that reveal prominent Muslims under investigation by the FBI went to CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad and others for consultation. The documents show CAIR was aware that the Muslim leaders lied to the FBI about trips to Saudi Arabia.

Among the documents is a letter to Awad from a Muslim leader who told CAIR he had the right under Islam to commit violence against federal authorities. CAIR did not disclose the threat to the FBI, Gaubatz said.

The FBI subpoena came after a federal judge in Washington issued a restraining order, Nov. 3, requiring that the documents be returned to CAIR’s lawyers along with audio and video recordings made by Chris Gaubatz. Lawyers for the Gaubatzes say they complied with both orders by returning the original documents to CAIR and sending copies to federal authorities.

The order by U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly was issued in CAIR’s lawsuit against the Gaubatzes in which the group claims Chris Gaubatz removed its papers and made recordings of employees “without any consent or authorization and in violation of his contractual fiduciary and other legal obligations.” Gaubatz lawyer Daniel Horowitz filed a motion last month in response, arguing CAIR is unable to demonstrate it suffered harm and, furthermore, has no claim because the group does not legally exist. Horowitz explains that just two weeks after CAIR was named by the Justice Department in May 2007 as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Texas case, the organization changed its name to the Council on American-Islamic Relations Action Network.

CAIR’s lawsuit does not contest the book’s claims.

Original Link.

Dems ‘Hysterical’ as Obama Retreats on Health

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

The election of Scott Brown, in Massachusetts the late Ted Kennedy’s senate seat, has thrown the Democrats into disarray. As Ann Coulter pointed out, “To be sure, the fact that 52 percent of Massachusetts voters are racist, sexist tea-baggers — i.e., voted for a Republican — means only that the Democrats just went from having the largest congressional majority in a generation to the second largest. But this was “Teddy Kennedy’s seat.” And it was in Massachusetts. Now, no Democrat is safe.”
It will be interesting to see where this goes.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama suggested he’s open to Congress passing a scaled-back health-care bill, potentially sacrificing much of his signature policy initiative as chaos engulfed Capitol Hill Wednesday.

Top Democrats said they would press ahead despite growing doubts among rank-and-file members that they can pass a bill they’ve been laboring over for nearly a year. A host of ideas offered in recent days have lost favor.

One day after losing their filibuster-proof Senate majority in a Massachusetts special election, exhausted Senate Democrats looked downtrodden as they filed into their weekly lunch in a second-floor room at the Capitol. “People are hysterical right now,” said one Senate aide.

Party members clashed openly over what to do next. Sen. Max Baucus, a top Senate Democrat, appeared to throw cold water on a bill that would focus only on stiffer insurance regulations. Rep. Charles Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, scotched another idea, a complicated parliamentary maneuver to usher a bill quickly to the president’s desk.

In an interview with ABC News, President Obama said he would be open to scaling back the legislation in order to salvage it. “I would advise that we try to move quickly to coalesce around those elements in the package that people agree on,” Obama said. White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said later the president would prefer Congress to pass the comprehensive package, and hasn’t given up on that option.

A pared-down bill could still restrict insurance companies from denying care and overcharging customers, but would likely jettison a mandate requiring everyone buy insurance. That provision opened Democrats to charges that they were unreasonably expanding the scope of government.

Original Link.

“That Old Obama Magic Is Back” by Ann Coulter

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Once again, the people have spoken, and this time they quoted what Dick Cheney said to Pat Leahy.

Less than two weeks ago, The New York Times said that so much as a “tighter-than-expected” victory for Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Martha Coakley would incite “soul-searching among Democrats nationally,” which sent Times readers scurrying to their dictionaries to look up this strange new word, “soul.”

A close win for Coakley, the Times said, would constitute “the first real barometer of whether problems facing the party” will affect the 2010 elections.

But when Coakley actually lost the election by an astounding 5 points, the Chicago boys in the White House decided it was the chick’s fault.

Democratic candidate Martha Coakley may be a moral monster, but it’s ridiculous to blame her for losing the election. She lost because of the Democrats’ obsession with forcing national health care down the nation’s throat.

Coakley campaigned exactly the way she should have.

As a Democrat running in a special election for a seat that had been held by a Democratic icon (and another moral monster) for the past 46 years in a state with only 12 percent registered Republicans, Coakley’s objective was to have voters reading the paper on Friday, saying: “Hey, honey, did you know there was a special election four days ago? Yeah, apparently Coakley won, though it was a pretty low turnout.”

Ideally, no one except members of government unions and Coakley’s immediate family would have even been aware of the election.

And until Matt Drudge began covering it like a presidential election a week ago, it might have turned out that way.

Coakley had already won two statewide elections, while her Republican opponent, Scott Brown, had only won elections in his district. She had endorsements from the Kennedy family and the current appointed Democratic senator, Paul Kirk — as well as endless glowing profiles in The Boston Globe.

And by the way, as of Jan. 1, Brown had spent $642,000 on the race, while Coakley had spent $2 million.

On Jan. 8, just 11 days before the election, The New York Times reported: “A Brown win remains improbable, given that Democrats outnumber Republicans by 3 to 1 in the state and that Ms. Coakley, the state’s attorney general, has far more name recognition, money and organizational support.”

It was in that article that the Times said a narrow Coakley win would be an augury for the entire Democratic Party. But now she’s being hung out to dry so that Democrats don’t have to face the possibility that Obama’s left-wing policies are to blame.

Alternatively, Democrats are trying to write off Brown’s colossal victory as the standard seesawing of public sentiment that hits both Republicans and Democrats from time to time. As MSNBC’s Chris Matthews explained, it was just the voters saying “no” generally, but not to anything in particular.

Read the rest of the article here.