Monday, May 31, 2010

Some tremendous Memorial Day commentary

...at Laura Ingraham.com:


http://www.lauraingraham.com/blog?categoryID=1#a=1&year=2010&month=4&action=blogArchive&destinationpage=%2Fpg%2Fjsp%2Fcommunity%2Fblog%2Fbloginclude.jsp&categoryID=1

Obama, the Thin-Skinned President

PETER WEHNER: Obama, the Thin-Skinned President. “Obama is among the most thin-skinned presidents we have had, and we see evidence of it in every possible venue imaginable, from one-on-one interviews to press conferences, from extemporaneous remarks to set speeches. . . . With Obama there is also the compulsive need to admonish others, to point fingers, to say that the problems he faces are not of his doing. . . . The ingredients are in place for some serious problems down the road. Those who care for the president need to recognize the warning signs now, sooner rather later, before it becomes too late, for him and for the nation.”

by Glenn Reynolds http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/100272/
http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/05/27/obama-the-thin-skinned-president/

Phony math from CBO over stimulus jobs

Did the stimulus save or create jobs? by Ed Morrissey/Hot Air

The news media went agog yesterday in announcing that Barack Obama had finally found some corroboration on numbers of jobs “saved or created” by the Porkulus package last year. ABC News was a good example of this:

In a counterpoint to our earlier post on the skyrocketing debt: the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has a new report out on the now-more-than $800 billion off-budget stimulus program that Congress passed last year. Republicans have criticized that law ad-nauseum, pointing to the near-10 percent unemployment rate to argue that the stimulus did not work.


But today’s CBO report confirms that things could have been much worse without the stimulus. For instance, the report guesstimates that the bill created 1.8 million to 4.1 million (a huge spread!) jobs that wouldn’t have existed otherwise and the unemployment rate would have been between .7 to 1.5 percent higher without the stimulus.


The effects of the stimulus, according to the report, will continue to increase through part of 2010, before subsiding.

But is that actually what the CBO said? No. In fact, as Reason Magazine reported afterward, the director of the CBO took pains to note that his report only confirmed that the money went out:

“Critics of the stimulus listen up: CBO estimates that it put 2.8 million ppl to work in 1st 3 months of 2010.” But it’s stimulus boosters who ought to be paying more attention: Douglas Elmendorf, the head of the Congressional Budget Office, has stated plainly that his team’s estimates do not measure real-world outputs (just inputs), that they do not serve as an independent check on its success or failure, and that if the stimulus had not created jobs, the CBO’s figures would not reflect that fact. So no, sorry, try again: The CBO’s updates do not actually confirm whether or not the stimulus is creating jobs.

Peter Suderman reported on this in March:

See, the CBO doesn’t actually count jobs created. Instead, it uses models that assume that putting taxpayer money into the system results in additional demand, additional spending, and, consequently, additional jobs. Before the stimulus passed, it used these models to predict that the stimulus would create jobs. And now, in analyzing its effects, it’s using those same models to estimate that it has created jobs. But because the CBO relies on slightly updated versions of the same, original models throughout the process, it wouldn’t necessarily detect the fact that the stimulus didn’t work if that were the case.


Stimulus-boosters have basically ignored this. But the CBO, to its credit, has been fairly forthcoming about its methods and their limitations. In response to a question at a speech earlier this month, CBO director Doug Elmendorf laid out the CBO’s methodology pretty clearly, describing the his office’s frequent, legally-required stimulus reports as “repeating the same exercises we [aleady] did rather than an independent check on it.” CBO tweaks its models on the input side, he says—adjusting, for example, how much money the government has spent. But the results the CBO reports—like the job creation figures—are simply a function of the inputs it records, not real-world counts.


Following up, the questioner asks for clarification: “If the stimulus bill did not do what it was originally forecast to do, then that would not have been detected by the subsequent analysis, right?” Elmendorf’s response? “That’s right. That’s right.”

In other words, the CBO only verifies what got spent. It then relies on the same White House formulas to determine the numbers of saved and created jobs — which also just rely on output, not real-world verification. That’s one of the reasons why the White House claimed that they had saved or created over 12,000 jobs in New Hampshire when the Recovery.gov site (which uses feedback from the opposite direction) could only find 1432. The CBO isn’t involved in that process at all.

So how do we measure the success of Porkulus? Right now, we’re still down over 8 million jobs, the economy has slowed considerably after an artificial boost, and growth estimates from the private sector put the rest of the year at an anemic 1.5% pace. Those are the measures that count, especially to the Americans who have to live with them. Fewer and fewer people are impressed with the imaginary calculations of a White House that seems to find itself lost in academics rather than working to build actual economic growth.

Update: In another real-world measure, the first quarter GDP number has been lowered to a 3.0% annual growth rate, down from the previously announced 3.2%.

See original for links: http://hotair.com/archives/2010/05/27/did-the-stimulus-save-or-create-jobs/

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Needs no explanation--watch, get angry, sad



For full screen and other links: http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/theanchoress/2010/05/28/witnessing-the-heart-as-it-cracks/

Good case for putting all of this at Obama's feet

The Corner - National Review Online

Blaming OilBama Cont'd [Jonah Goldberg]

I'm still skeptical, but if you want a good case for putting all of this at Obama's feet, see Kirsten Powers today. An excerpt:

Turns out the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration back in 1994 drafted plans for responding to a major Gulf oil spill, a response called "In-Situ Burn."

Ron Gourget, a former federal oil-spill-response coordinator and one author of the draft, told the Times of London: "The whole reason the plan was created was so that we could pull the trigger right away." The idea was to use barriers called "fire booms" to collect and contain the spill at sea — then burn it off. He believes this could have captured 95 percent of the oil from this spill.

But at the time of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, the federal government didn't have a single fire boom on hand. Nor is there any evidence that the government required BP to have any clear plan to deal with a massive spill. How is this OK?

The administration's chief response so far was to send out Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to do his best impersonation of a totalitarian thug, proclaiming that the government would "have its boot on the throat of BP."

(Fun fact: While in the Senate, Salazar backed an increase in oil and gas leases in the Gulf Coast region by promoting and voting for the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006.)

Since the "blame BP" strategy isn't working, Obama will today announce tougher safety requirements and more rigorous inspections for offshore drilling operations. Sounds nice — except the problem isn't a lack of safety requirements, it's that the experts at the US Minerals Management Service ignored the existing requirements.

And then there's this, from a reader:...

(For the rest--use link):
http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=ZjQxNWQ4M2E3NDg3OWUzMDU0ZmEyNzY5YzdlOTk4YTM=

Obama: Epic fail on oil spill per polls

Poll: Majority give Obama, feds failing grade on oil spill response USA TODAY

President Obama and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal get ready to tour oil spill damage in early May.

The response to the disaster by energy giant BP, President Obama and the federal government all get terrible grades from Americans in a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll.

Nearly three-fourths of those surveyed Monday and Tuesday say BP is doing a "poor" or "very poor" job in handling the calamity. Six of 10 say that of the federal government. And a 53% majority give Obama a poor rating.

USA TODAY's Susan Page has more from the new survey.

The catastrophe has boosted concern about the environment over development of new energy supplies -- a long-time balancing act in American politics.

Now, a majority say protection of the environment should be given priority, "even at the risk of limiting energy supplies."

The 55%-39% divide on that question was a reversal of American views in March, before the April 20 explosion sent crude oil spewing into the gulf. Then, by 50%-43% Americans said development U.S. energy supplies should be given priority, "even if the environment suffers to some extent."

On a similar question, those surveyed divided 50%-43% over whether the environment should be protected "even at the risk of curbing economy growth" or if growth should be given priority, "even if the environment suffers to some extent."

That's a big swing from March, too. Then, by 53%-38% Americans chose economic growth as their priority.

The poll of 1,049 adults, taken by landline and cell phone, has a margin of error of +/-4 percentage points.

There is still majority support for increasing offshore drilling for oil and gas in U.S. coastal areas: 52% favor, 44% oppose. Just one in five oppose all offshore drilling. Obama has declared a moratorium on new offshore drilling for now.

Nearly everyone polled says they're following the story closely; close to half say they're watching it "very closely." Three of four call it a disaster -- and 37% say it's the worst environmental disaster in the United States of the past 100 years.

Who should be in charge of cleanup efforts? More than two-thirds say BP, not the federal government.

For more on the political repercussions of the oil spill, see Thursday's USA TODAY. Yahoo, which also participated in the poll, has its own take on the findings that you can read here.

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/theoval/post/2010/05/poll-majority-give-obama-feds-failing-grade-on-oil-spill-response-/1

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Yes, the Gulf Spill Is Obama's Katrina

Yes, the Gulf Spill Is Obama's Katrina

Where was the White House plan, and why has it been so slow to make decisions? By KARL ROVE

As President Obama prepares to return to the Gulf Coast Friday, he is receiving increasing criticism for his handling of the oil spill. For good reason: Since the Deepwater Horizon rig blew up on April 20, a lethargic Team Obama has delayed or blown off key decisions requested by state and local governments and left British Petroleum in charge of developing a plan to cap the massive leak.

Now the slow-moving oil spill threatens Mr. Obama's reputation, along with 40% of America's sensitive wetlands. Critics include some of his most ardent cheerleaders, who understand that 38 days without an administration solution is unacceptable.

Obama officials have it backwards: They talk tough about BP's responsibilities but do not meet their own responsibilities under federal law. They should not have let more than a month go by without telling BP what to do. And they should avoid recriminations against their partner in solving the problem until after the leak is sealed.

BP is still running tests to see if the "top kill" procedure will be effective while the U.S. government is turning the pressure on high.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar sounds whiney when he rails against BP. It didn't build confidence when his opening statement to a congressional hearing Wednesday focused on future safety and inspections requirements, and not on what the administration will do now to end the leak.

Initially, Team Obama wanted to keep this problem away from the president (a natural instinct for any White House). It took Mr. Obama 12 days to show up in the region. Democrats criticized President George W. Bush for waiting four days after Katrina to go to New Orleans.

Now the administration is intent on making it appear he has engaged all along. But this stance is undermined by lack of action. Where has its plan been? And why has the White House been so slow with decisions?

Take the containment strategy of barrier berms. These temporary sand islands block the flow of oil into fragile wetlands and marshes. Berm construction requires approval from the Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Louisiana officials asked permission on May 11. They have yet to hear back. The feds are conducting a review as oil washes ashore.

The federal government was even slower on the question of dispersants, chemicals used to break up the oil and hasten its evaporation from the surface of the water. On May 8, Louisiana sent a letter to BP and the EPA begging BP not to use dispersants below the surface of the water. Subsurface use of dispersants keeps oil slicks from forming. But when it doesn't come to the surface to evaporate, the oil lingers below, gets into underwater currents, and puts at risk fisheries that supply a third of America's seafood.

On May 13, EPA overruled the state and permitted BP to use dispersants 4,000 feet below the surface. Then, a week after BP released 55,000 gallons of dispersants below the surface, EPA did an about-face, ordering BP to stop using the dispersant and to "find a less-toxic" one. Louisiana officials found out about this imprecise guidance in the Washington Post. BP refused, EPA backed off, and Louisiana's concerns about their marine fisheries remain.

Last weekend, as winds and currents drove oil towards particularly sensitive wetlands, the state asked Washington to mobilize all available boats to deploy booms and containment devices. Federal officials didn't act. Local officials were forced to commandeer the boats. Even then some equipment went unused.

State officials believe their federal counterparts don't have a handle on the resources being deployed and are constantly overestimating the amount of booms, containment equipment, and boats being used.

Could this be Mr. Obama's Katrina? It could be even worse. The federal response to Katrina was governed by the 1988 Stafford Act, which says that in natural disasters on-shore states are in charge, not Washington. The federal obligation is to "support . . . State and local assistance efforts" by providing whatever resources a governor requests and then writing big checks for the cleanup. Mr. Bush had to deal with a Louisiana governor and a New Orleans mayor who were, by federal law, in charge.

But BP's well was drilled in federal waters. Washington, not Louisiana, is in charge. This is Mr. Obama's responsibility. He says his administration has been prepared for the worst from the start. Mr. Obama's failure to lead in cleaning up the spill could lead voters to echo his complaint in Katrina's aftermath: "I wish that the federal government had been up to the task."

Mr. Rove, the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush, is the author of "Courage and Consequence" (Threshold Editions, 2010).

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704717004575268752362770856.html

Democrats stop bid to send 6,000 troops to border

Democrats stop bid to send 6,000 troops to border

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama's Democratic allies in the Senate have repelled a move by presidential rival John McCain to send an additional 6,000 National Guard troops to the U.S-Mexico border.

The Arizona Republican says the security situation along the order has deteriorated so badly that 3,000 guard troops are needed just to help protect his state. But McCain failed to muster the required 60 votes for his plan as the Senate continued debate on an a war funding bill.

Obama on Tuesday promised to send 1,200 Guard troops to the border to support efforts to block drug trafficking and temporarily supplement Border Patrol agents until more agents can be trained.

Former President George W. Bush sent thousands of Guard troops to the border in 2006.

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D9FV86NG4&show_article=1

Friday, May 28, 2010

One of the best rundowns of today's scoops

That would be the "Need to Know" section at Laura Ingraham's site:

http://www.lauraingraham.com/blog?categoryID=1#a=1&year=2010&month=4&action=blogArchive&destinationpage=%2Fpg%2Fjsp%2Fcommunity%2Fblog%2Fbloginclude.jsp&categoryID=1

Death of the Postmodernist Dream: Liberalism

Death of the Postmodernist Dream - Victor Davis Hanson - National Review Online

As crises mount abroad and voters’ anger grows at home, Obama’s dream of a new world order has died a quiet death.

In just a few months the brave new dream world as we knew it has died — but with a whimper, not a bang.

There will be no more lectures on soft power and a Baltic-to-Mediterranean postmodern culture. Suddenly European Union expansion is dead in its tracks. The question of Turkish membership, after a decade-long controversy, has been settled without so much as a demonstration. The Europeans don’t want another Greece in their midst; the Turks don’t want German bankers running their sagging finances. A soaring Euro was supposed to reflect the sobriety of socialism; instead, it hid its profligacy, but only for a while.

So the welfare state is discredited. In the past, we used to be warned that static population growth, vast public-sector employment, early and generous retirement benefits, and high taxes were not sustainable. In recent years, those lectures were caricatured as partisan or hypothetical. No longer. The Greek meltdown — with Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain on the brink — has shown that European socialism does not work. Bankruptcy, not politics, is the final arbiter: Individuals, firms, and nations either buy particular bonds or they don’t. And a nation like Greece, in turn, either pays what it has borrowed or it doesn’t. All the op-eds in the New York Times cannot change that fact. ...

The new world order as envisioned by Obama in January 2009 was, I think, supposed to look something like the following: A social-democratic America would come to emulate the successful welfare states in the European Union. These twin Western communitarian powers would together usher in a new world order in which no one nation was to be seen as preeminent. All the old nasty ideas of the 20th century — military alliances, sovereign borders, independent international finance, nuclear arms, religious and cultural chauvinism — would fall by the wayside, as the West was reinvented as part of the solution rather the problem it had been in its days of colonialism, imperialism, and exploitation. A new green transnationalism would assume the place of that bad old order, a transnationalism run by elite, highly educated, and socially conscious technocrats — albeit themselves Western — supported by a progressive press more interested in effecting social change than in merely reporting the tawdry news.

Obama can still push that story, but more and more Americans disagree with his 21st-century vision. Stuck in the past, they instead believe that capitalism, not socialism, brings prosperity; that to reach a green future we need to survive for now in a carbon and nuclear present; that all, not some, laws must be enforced; that our country is different from others and needs to maintain the integrity of its borders; and that there are always going to be a few bad actors abroad who must be deterred rather than appeased.

We will hear all sorts of angry charges as these dreams die, but that will not mean they are not dead — even if we are lucky and they go out with a whimper rather than a bang.

http://article.nationalreview.com/434943/death-of-the-postmodernist-dream/victor-davis-hanson?page=2

— NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, the editor of Makers of Ancient Strategy: From the Persian Wars to the Fall of Rome, and the author of The Father of Us All: War and History, Ancient and Modern.

Obamacare’s Cooked Books and the ‘Doc Fix’

Obamacare’s Cooked Books and the ‘Doc Fix’ - Critical Condition - National Review Online By James C. Capretta

The Obama administration continues to insist (see this post from White House budget director Peter Orszag) that the recently enacted health-care law will reduce the federal budget deficit by $100 billion over ten years and by ten times that amount in the second decade of implementation. They cite the Congressional Budget Office’s cost estimate for the final legislation to back their claims.

And it is undeniably true that CBO says the legislation, as written, would reduce the federal budget deficit by $124 billion over ten years from the health-related provisions of the new law.

But that’s not whole story about Obamacare’s budgetary implications — not by a long shot.

For starters, CBO is not the only game in town. In the executive branch, the chief actuary of the Medicare program is supposed to provide the official health-care cost projections for the administration — at least he always has in the past. His cost estimate for the new health law differs in important ways from the one provided by CBO and calls into question every major contention the administration has advanced about the bill. The president says the legislation will slow the pace of rising costs; the actuary says it won’t. The president says people will get to keep their job-based plans if they want to; the actuary says 14 million people will lose their employer coverage, many of whom would certainly rather keep it than switch into an untested program. The president says the new law will improve the budget outlook; in so many words, the chief actuary says, don’t bet on it.

All of this helps explain why the president of the United States would be so sensitive about the release of the actuary’s official report that he would dispatch political subordinates to undermine it with the media.

It’s not the chief actuary’s assignment to provide estimates of non-Medicare-related tax provisions, so his cost projections for Obamacare do not capture all of the needed budget data to estimate the full impact on the budget deficit. But it’s possible to back into such a figure by using the Joint Tax Committee’s estimates for the tax provisions missing from the chief actuary’s report. When that is done, $50 billion of deficit reduction found in the CBO report is wiped out.

And that’s before the other gimmicks, double counting, and hidden costs are exposed and removed from the accounting, too. ...

For the rest: http://www.nationalreview.com/critical-condition/55996/obamacare-s-cooked-books-and-doc-fix/james-c-capretta

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sestak White House scandal called 'impeachable offense'

Sestak White House scandal called 'impeachable offense'

(This is lengthy but, if these "job offers for political moves" are anything other than lies made up out of whole cloth, "high crimes and misdemeanors" have been committed by persons in administration, possibly including Obama. You need to read it)

'It's Valerie Plame, only bigger, a high crime and misdemeanor' By Drew Zahn
© 2010 WorldNetDaily
If a Democratic member of Congress is to be believed, there's someone in the Obama administration who has committed a crime – and if the president knew about it, analysts say it could be grounds for impeachment.

"This scandal could be enormous," said Dick Morris, a former White House adviser to President Bill Clinton, on the Fox News Sean Hannity show last night. "It's Valerie Plame only 10 times bigger, because it's illegal and Joe Sestak is either lying or the White House committed a crime.

"Obviously, the offer of a significant job in the White House could not be made unless it was by Rahm Emanuel or cleared with Rahm Emanuel," he said. If the job offer was high enough that it also had Obama's apppoval, "that is a high crime and misdemeanor."

"In other words, an impeachable offense?" Hannity asked.

Aaron Klein's exposé of Barack Obama's notorious connections with extremists and America-haters is scorching the best-seller lists. Order your autographed copy of "The Manchurian President" today.

"Absolutely," said Morris.

The controversy revolves around an oft-repeated statement by Rep. Sestak, D-Pa., that he had been offered a job by the Obama administration in exchange for dropping out of the senatorial primary against Obama supporter Sen. Arlen Specter.

Sestak said he refused the offer. He continued in the Senate primary and defeated Specter for the Democratic nomination.

But Karl Rove, longtime White House adviser to President George W. Bush, said the charge is explosive because of federal law.

"This is a pretty extraordinary charge: 'They tried to bribe me out of the race by offering me a job,'" he said on Greta Van Susteran's "On the Record" program on the Fox News Channel. "Look, that's a violation of the federal code: 18 USC 600 says that a federal official cannot promise employment, a job in the federal government, in return for a political act.

"Somebody violated the law. If Sestak is telling the truth, somebody violated the law," Rove said. "Section 18 USC 211 says you cannot accept anything of value in return for hiring somebody. Well, arguably, providing a clear path to the nomination for a fellow Democrat is something of value.

He continued, citing a third law passage: "18 USC 595, which prohibits a federal official from interfering with the nomination or election for office. ... 'If you'll get out, we'll appoint you to a federal office,' – that's a violation of the law."

Staffers with Sestak's congressional office did not respond to WND requests for comment. But the congressman repeatedly confirmed that he was offered the position and refused and that any further comments would have to come from someone else.

"I've said all I'm going to say on the matter. … Others need to explain whatever their role might be," Sestak said on CNN this week. "I have a personal accountability; I should have for my role in the matter, which I talked about. Beyond that, I'll let others talk about their role."

That's not fulfilling his responsibilities, Rove said. He said Sestak needs to be forthcoming with the full story so "the American people can figure out whether or not he's participating in a criminal cover-up along with federal officials."

The Obama White House has tried to minimize the issue.

"Lawyers in the White House and others have looked into conversations that were had with Congressman Sestak, and nothing inappropriate happened," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has stated.

Gibbs told the White House press corps, "Whatever conversations have been had are not problematic."

And on CBS' "Face the Nation" he said, "I'm not going to get further into what the conversations were. People who looked into them assure me they weren't inappropriate in any way."

But the administration also is taking no chances on what might be discovered.

According to Politico, the Justice Department has rejected a request from Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., for a special counsel to investigate and reveal the truth of the controversy.

The report said Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich confirmed no special counsel would be needed. But the report said Weich also gave no indication that the Justice Department actually was looking into the claims by Sestak.

"We assure you that the Department of Justice takes very seriously allegations of criminal conduct by public officials. All such matters are reviewed carefully by career prosecutors and law enforcement agents, and appropriate action, if warranted, is taken," Weich wrote in the letter.

Issa had suggested that the alleged job offer may run afoul of federal bribery statutes.

He said in a statement to Politico, "The attorney general's refusal to take action in the face of such felonious allegations undermines any claim to transparency and integrity that this administration asserts."

He's also made a decision to raise the profile of his concerns.

"The bottom line is all fingers are being pointed back to the White House," he said in a statement released as ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

"This Chicago-style politicking is an assault on our democracy and is downright criminal. President Obama faces a critical choice – he can either live up to his rhetoric of transparency and accountability by disclosing who inside his White House tried to manipulate an election by bribing a U.S. Congressman or he can allow his administration to continue this stonewalling and relinquish the mantle of change and transparency he is so fond of speaking on."

Issa suggested, "Could the reason why Congressman Joe Sestak refuses to name names is because the very people who tried to bribe him are now his benefactors? For months, Sestak has repeatedly said without equivocation that the White House illegally offered him a federal job in exchange for dropping out of the race. Was Joe Sestak embellishing what really happened, or does he have first-hand knowledge of the White House breaking the law? If what he said is the truth, Joe Sestak has a moral imperative to come forward and expose who within the Obama Administration tried to bribe him."

Michael Steele, the Republican National Committee chairman, as well as Sen. Dick Durban of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, have joined the chorus suggesting the White House needs to answer some questions.

Former judge Andrew Napolitano, an analyst for Fox News, said the level of the offer simply isn't an issue.

"It wouldn't matter if it was a job as a janitor. Offering him anything of value to get him to leave a political race is a felony, punishable by five years in jail," he said.

The Section 600 statute states:

Whoever, directly or indirectly, promises any employment, position, compensation, contract, appointment, or other benefit, provided for or made possible in whole or in part by any Act of Congress, or any special consideration in obtaining any such benefit, to any person as consideration, favor, or reward for any political activity or for the support of or opposition to any candidate or any political party in connection with any general or special election to any political office, or in connection with any primary election or political convention or caucus held to select candidates for any political office, shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

Douglas Sosnik, the White House political director for Bill Clinton, said offering jobs to political friends is "business as usual," but said Obama's promise was that "business as usual" wouldn't continue in his White House.

"It cuts against the Obama brand," he told the New York Times.

Ron Kaufman, who served under the first President Bush, also told the newspaper such offers are not unusual.

"But here's the difference – the times have changed and the ethics have changed and the scrutiny has changed. This is the kind of thing people across America are mad about," Kaufman said.

WND previously reported on the Sestak controvesy and a similar one concerning Democrat Senate candidate in Colorado, Andrew Romanoff, reporterd in the Denver Post.

The Post said Jim Messina, Obama's deputy chief of staff and "a storied fixer in the White House political shop, suggested a place for Romanoff might be found in the administration and offered specific suggestions."

Romanoff at the time was challenging another major Obama supporter, Sen. Michael Bennet, for the Democratic primary for the Senate seat from Colorado. He has since won top-line position over Bennet in a coming primary.

The report said Romanoff turned down the overture, but it is "the kind of hardball tactics that have come to mark the White House's willingness to shape key races across the country, in this case trying to remove a threat to a vulnerable senator by presenting his opponent a choice of silver or lead."

The newspaper affirmed "several top Colorado Democrats" described the situation, even though White House spokesman Adam Abrams said, "Mr. Romanoff was never offered a position within the administration."

Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation, who has been monitoring the Obama administration, told WND the offer of reward for some government official's actions raises questions of legal liability.

"There's a federal statute and federal law seems to make clear if you offer a government official some sort of remuneration, directly or indirectly, it's a crime," he said.

For all links, etc:
http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=158617

Immigration + Oil Spill = Bad News for Obama

Immigration + Oil Spill = Bad News for Obama  by John Hinderacker/Powerline

President Obama got a boost from his supporters after Congress enacted Obamacare, but it appears to have been short-lived. Rasmussen Reports finds that the number of voters who strongly approve of Obama's performance is declining again, while the number who strongly disapprove is rising. The gap now stands at -17.

More broadly, likely voters who disapprove of Obama's performance now outnumber those who approve by a rather hefty 11-point margin, 55%-44%.

I think the main factor in Obama's slide is his pro-illegal immigration stance, but the Gulf oil spill may be starting to hurt the administration too. As the effects of the spill continue to be felt over the weeks to come, that issue likely will erode Obama's support and contribute to a general sense of lack of competence, especially if states are forced to step in and take protective measures in the absence of any effective federal response.

It is interesting that, at a time when attention is focused on almost anything other than health care, the number of voters who favor repeal of Obamacare has risen to its highest level, 63%. I suspect some of that spike may be random variation, but it must also reflect a general loss of confidence in the Obama administration that is spilling over to the health care issue.

May 25 UPDATE: Obama's decline continues, with his Approval Index now at an icy -20 and his overall approval/disapproval at 42-56. That's the lowest approval rating among likely voters that Obama has registered thus far in his administration.

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2010/05/026378.php
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/obama_administration/daily_presidential_tracking_poll

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

He Didn’t Just Lie About Arizona: Calderon Fibbed About Assault Weapons, Too

Pajamas Media » He Didn’t Just Lie About Arizona: Calderon Fibbed About Assault Weapons, Too
- by Bob Owens

In a very rare event, the president of Mexico addressed a joint session of the United States Congress last Thursday. Unfortunately, Felipe Calderon abused the opportunity by lying to the assembled representatives, senators, and government officials for the express benefit of his faltering country.

Twice.

It has already been widely reported that Calderon misrepresented Arizona’s new immigration enforcement law. His own nation’s laws punishing even poorer immigrants surging up from Central America are far more draconian, but the obvious hypocrisy apparently left no foul taste in his mouth.

What was more pathetic about his speech in front of our government is that he attacked laws Americans have passed to protect our citizens from the kidnappers, drug dealers, and murderers that are Calderon’s most worrisome export … and he received a standing ovation from Democrats for his effort.

Homeland Security Secretary (and former Arizona governor) Janet Napolitano and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder actually leapt to their feet in agreement with Calderon — objecting to a simple ten-page law they admit to not having read and which mirrors U.S. laws they will not enforce.

This was all widely seen and covered. Calderon’s second blatant lie, however, although greeted with another standing ovation from Democrats, curiously has received very little coverage and no critical opposition whatsoever.

That deception came as Calderon attempted to further meddle in U.S. affairs, declaring that Congress should reinstate the failed Clinton-era assault weapons ban to help in his battle against Mexican drug cartels...

President Calderon’s assertion that Mexico has seized around 75,000 guns and assault weapons in the last three years — and that more than 80 percent of them came from the United States — is a bald-faced lie. It simply is not remotely connected to the truth.

It is perhaps not surprising at all that the talking point used by Calderon was first trotted out by the Obama administration almost a year ago. Calderon’s 80 percent lie is simply a variation of Obama’s 90 percent lie, a falsehood that was gutted by the very government agency that traces the guns captured in Mexico.

Bill McMahon, deputy assistant director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, revealed last July that of the 100,000 weapons recovered by Mexican authorities during their drug war with the cartels, only 18,000 were determined to have been manufactured, sold, or imported from the United States.

Of those 18,000 weapons recovered and tracked to origins in the United States, just 7,900 came from sales by licensed gun dealers.

Just 8 percent of the weapons recovered by Mexican authorities came from U.S. gun shops, and the majority of those are suspected to be illegal strawman purchases, where people who passed federal background checks bought firearms and illegally transferred them to criminals.

Meanwhile, we know that 100 percent of cartel guns traced to the United States got into Mexico because of criminal behavior. Will passing another law — one that did not deter crime in the ten years it existed previously — actually stem the flow of illegal guns, when criminals are already engaged in far more serious crimes? In simple terms, Calderon’s call to resume a flawed “assault weapons” ban is laughable, because cartels simply are not obtaining real assault weapons from the United States....

The rest at: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/he-didnt-just-lie-about-arizona-calderon-fibbed-about-assault-weapons-too/?singlepage=true

Veiled admiration for totalitarianism by left

THE ANCHORESS ON TOM FRIEDMAN: “Every murderous totalitarian government of the 20th century began with some insulated group of faux-intellectuals congratulating each other on how smart they are, and fantasizing about how, if they could just install a dictatorship-for-a-day, they could right all the wrongs in the world. It is the ultimate fantasy of the narcissist. And we’ve got whole generations of them, in control of our media and our government, all intent on ‘remaking America.’”

by Glenn Reynolds http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/99987/
Read the rest: http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/theanchoress/2010/05/24/the-privileged-call-for-limited-dictatorships/

(Here's the rest of The Anchoress' post):

The Privileged Call for Limited Dictatorships

Elizabeth Scalia

When I read last week that Woody Allen likes the idea of letting President Obama be a dictator for a “few years” I was repelled; but then I’ve found Allen to be a repellent individual for decades–since Manhattan, at least–so I just shrugged it off as the foghorn bleat of an over-privileged mediocrity looking for some attention.

But then the equally mediocre Tom born-wealthy-high-carbon-footprint-lover-of-Chinese-Communist-Capitalism-I’ve-got-mine-you-should-not-have-yours Friedman let fly with this on Meet the Press:

I have fantasized–don’t get me wrong–but that what if we could just be China for a day? I mean, just, just, just one day. You know, I mean, where we could actually, you know, authorize the right solutions, and I do think there is a sense of that, on, on everything from the economy to environment. I don’t want to be China for a second, OK, I want my democracy to work with the same authority, focus and stick-to-itiveness. But right now we have a system that can only produce suboptimal solutions.

To which Andrea even-more-privileged-than-you-Tom Mitchell chimed in:

“And, in fact, Tom, you’re absolutely right . . .”

The leftist party that these people support is currently in control of both houses of congress and the White House (and they are well-represented within the federal judiciary) and yet, it is not enough. The power is not pure enough, it is not invincible enough; their power is diluted because, dammit, those little people crowing about the constitution all over the internets are mucking things up!

Although, to be fair to Friedman, his China Fantasy is not new; he talked about “being China for a day” with Tom Brokaw in 2008. He’s been hoping for a dictatorship ala China, for a while, now as Jonah Goldberg notes.

Friedman and Mitchell, and even that self-absorbed twerp Woody Allen are all wringing their hands over something they cannot (yet) control; alternative media and how it has contributed to the difficulties of getting things done in Washington.

When the press had a monopoly on information, it was much easier for them to influence opinion; that in turn made the legislator’s jobs easier, too. Now, yes, things are more difficult for the politicians, but that’s mostly because they insist upon working as they always have (the incestuous commingling of pols and media freaks on the left, and pols and business freaks on the right, with back-room-deals-aplenty, back-scratching galore and pork, pork, pork for everyone) while the electorate has decided it wants something different.

So, Allen and Friedman–and others who have kept their faces before us for 40 years by coasting on the work of their youth, because they’ve done nothing memorable, lately–are feeling the shifting sand beneath their feet, and they’re wondering why America can’t simply submit to a fantasy of Limited Dictatorship. It’s so inconvenient for these elites to have to deal with the noise of the bourgeoisie – commoners who presume to opine on anything and who dare to object to the incessant lecturing from their betters.

So, let’s be China “for a little while…” (just long enough to get everything we want accomplished).

Because what they want must, of course, darling, be the very thing that needs doing.

Let’s allow Obama to be dictator “for a couple of years,” because that preening narcissist will certainly give up his dictatorship once the nowhere-utopia of which the left dreams is achieved. Right? Of course.

Ann Althouse writes:

A love of autocracy often lurks beneath the liberal veneer. There’s this idea that the right answers are known and the people are just too deluded and distorted to see what they are and to vote for them.

They propose dictatorship because they are no longer able to get away with their former arguments, which boiled down to: “shut up. You’re stupid. We’re cool.”

They propose dictatorship because they know their lives would be completely unaffected by such a thing. They will still have access to their Park Avenue doctors; they will be exempt from the rationing of medical treatment that the Obama administration now admits will take place. They will continue to be the privileged useful-idiot voices of the politburo. They will still have their limos and their lunches, where they will sit together and bloviate about what must be done for the commoners who cannot be trusted with their own lives.

“And in fact, you are absolutely right…” they will say to each other, and in their insulated little Pauline-Kaelesque worlds, they will not be able to imagine that anyone with any sense would possibly disagree.

Every murderous totalitarian government of the 20th century began with some insulated group of faux-intellectuals congratulating each other on how smart they are, and fantasizing about how, if they could just install a dictatorship-for-a-day, they could right all the wrongs in the world.

It is the ultimate fantasy of the narcissist. And we’ve got whole generations of them, in control of our media and our government, all intent on “remaking America.”

Speaking of the wonderfulness that is China…

Is it wrong of me to laugh at them? Why are they still in our faces, week after week? Why must we even entertain their lunacies?

http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/theanchoress/2010/05/24/the-privileged-call-for-limited-dictatorships/

The perverse biz incentives in ObamaCare

Report: Healthcare law tax credits encourage small businesses to stay small, not hire - The Hill's On The Money By Jay Heflin of The Hill

A study by the National Center for Policy Analysis shows that tax credits in the new healthcare law could negatively impact small-business hiring decisions.

The new law provides a 50 percent tax credit to companies offering health coverage that have fewer than 10 workers who, on average, earn $25,000 a year. The tax credit is reduced as more employees are added to the payroll.

The NCPA study finds the reduction in tax relief to be a cost concern for companies looking to hire additional workers, but operate on slim profit margin yet still provide employee health coverage.

“You wouldn’t think this would have an impact, but at the margins, when they [business owners] decide to hire an extra worker, they’re not only going to be paying that worker’s salary, they’re going to have to absorb the cost of losing the tax credit,” Pamela Villarreal, NCPA Senior Policy Analyst and co-author of the report, told The Hill.

A Treasury spokesperson acknowledged the tax credit is on a sliding scale, but stressed its primary aim is to help struggling companies provide health coverage to workers.

“The small business tax credit was designed to provide the greatest benefit to employers that currently have the hardest time providing health insurance for their workers - small, low-wage firms,” the spokesperson told The Hill in an e-mail. “Small employers face higher premiums and higher administrative costs than large firms, and in many cases cannot afford to provide coverage.”

Villarreal said the credit creates a perverse incentive for business owners that fit the Treasury’s profile. While the tax break is temporary and only returns a fraction of what employees cost a company, businesses owners might forego hiring an extra worker if it means losing a piece of the tax credit.

“If a business can make a decision to substitute capital for labor – say, contract the procedure out or automate it – I believe [losing the tax credit] will play an important part in the reluctance to hire,” Villarreal said, adding, “It’s puzzling that we have this perverse incentive not to have businesses grow by not encouraging them to hire additional workers.”

Using insurance premium cost projections supplied by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the study states that the credit reaches its optimal point at 13 workers, with relief peaking at $36,400 for qualifying business.

After the 13th worker the economics surrounding the credit change, the study says.

For employers with 15 workers, taking on an additional hire will reduce the credit by $1,400. For a company looking to expand from 20 to 21 workers, the credit will shrink by $3,733. And businesses will take a $5,600 reduction on the credit when hiring the 25th worker.

The credit phases out for companies with at least 26 employees.

Bill Rys, tax counsel at the National Federation of Independent Businesses, told The Hill that while demand is the primary driver for hiring decisions, costs related to new hires is a key factor.

“To the extent that a tax credit is related to the benefits that you’re paying your employees, it is going to be a factor in determining what is the cost of the employee,” he said. “The fact that you’re losing a portion of the credit because you brought in a new employee is going to have to factor into the cost of who you’re hiring.”

The tax credits are available to businesses until 2016, two years after the healthcare exchanges are up and running. In 2016, of the 159 million Americans that participate in employer-sponsored health plans, only 3 million will be eligible for the tax credits provided to their employer, the CBO predicts.

http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/domestic-taxes/99387-study-healthcare-law-encourages-small-businesses-to-stay-small

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Woody Allen/Friedman/libs don't mind tyranny

"[W]hat if we could just be China for a day?... You know, I mean, where we could actually, you know, authorize the right solutions...." (via Ann Althouse)

"... and I do think there is a sense of that, on, on everything from the economy to environment. I don't want to be China for a second, OK, I want my democracy to work with the same authority, focus and stick-to-itiveness. But right now we have a system that can only produce suboptimal solutions."

So said Thomas Friedman on "Meet the Press" today. And the funniest part of him saying that wasn't the horrible vision of America as a dictatorship.... though it must be hilarious to think of America as a dictatorship, because famous funnyman Woody Allen said it too: "It would be good… if [President Obama] could be dictator for a few years because he could do a lot of good things quickly." Nor was it the fact that he said it and at the same time tried to deny that he was saying it with all that "I don't want to be China for a second, OK" business.

No, the funniest part was that he said it right after he deplored the way the political center has been "decimated" in part by the "an Internet where I can create a digital lynch mob against you from the left or right if I don't like where you're going." He's reminding us Internet folk of our lynch-mob powers and then throws us the rope to hang him with that wish that "we could just be China for a day." Come on, everybody, let's destroy Thomas Friedman for saying he knows all the "right solutions" and wishes — or would wish if he could get away with it — that we could have a dictatorship to get it done.

A love of autocracy often lurks beneath the liberal veneer. There's this idea that the right answers are known and the people are just too deluded and distorted to see what they are and to vote for them. And Friedman openly deplores the internet, which decimates moderation because there are people like me who who persecute elite truthbearers like him. Ooh! It's a lynch mob. Ha. Sorry. I don't want the rope. I just want to laugh at you.

It's late now. Let me sign off with a crazy old song that supposed to be beautiful but that's really dreadful, the way Friedman's lament is dreadful:

If I ruled the world, every man would be as free as a bird,


Every voice would be a voice to be heard


Take my word we would treasure each day that occurred


My world would be a beautiful place


Where we would weave such wonderful dreams


My world would wear a smile on its face


Like the man in the moon has when the moon beams


If I ruled the world every man would say the world was his friend


There'd be happiness that no man could end


No my friend, not if I ruled the world


Every head would be held up high


There'd be sunshine in everyone's sky


If the day ever dawned when I ruled the world

Nighty-night.
 
http://althouse.blogspot.com/2010/05/what-if-we-could-just-be-china-for-day.html

More on the brownshirts on left--Obama goons

The feral vanguard by Doctor Zero

In “The Necessary Enemy,” one of the first posts I wrote for Hot Air over a year ago, I made this point about the violent and desperate nature of socialism:

Increasing levels of coercion are necessary to expand the socialist system, and keep wealth producers trapped within it. To maintain popular support, the socialist needs voters to stay angry at designated class enemies. The Obama style of total government control over private businesses tends to turn feral with frightening speed, because it attempts to preserve the illusion of private enterprise, even as the “entrepreneurs” are enslaved to the total state.

The SEIU thugs laying siege to the home of a Bank of America executive are a demonstration of this principle. So are the rioters in Greece, who have degenerated to murdering bank employees, instead of merely terrorizing them.

You might object that the SEIU goons weren’t representatives of the State, while the Greek rioters are supposedly an “anti-government” mob. The truth is that American labor unions, and angry Greek pensioners, have become de facto arms of the State. They are the feral vanguard of a collapsing system, using violence and intimidation to make it clear those not favorably connected to the political power structure will be sacrificed to preserve it, for as long as possible. As Mark Steyn says about those “anti-government” rioters in Athens:

They were not an “anti-government” mob, but a government mob, a mob comprised largely of civil servants. That they are highly uncivil and disinclined to serve should come as no surprise: they’re paid more and they retire earlier, and that’s how they want to keep it. So they’re objecting to austerity measures that would end, for example, the tradition of 14 monthly paycheques per annum. You read that right: the Greek public sector cannot be bound by anything so humdrum as temporal reality. So, when it was mooted that the “workers” might henceforth receive a mere 12 monthly paycheques per annum, they rioted. Their hapless victims—a man and two women—were a trio of clerks trapped in a bank when the mob set it alight and then obstructed emergency crews attempting to rescue them.

Remember Barack Obama’s infamous conversation with Joe the Plumber, in which he said, “It’s not that I want to punish your success; I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you that they’ve got a chance to success, too. I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody?” This was not merely a watery expression of Marxist principles. It was a damnable lie. Obama has no intention of spreading wealth around for the good of everybody. His objective is to transfer your wealth to the SEIU and other powerful collective organizations, to fund their lavish benefits. He even bought a car company as a gift to the United Auto Workers. The American taxpayer has pumped over $17 billion into GMAC, so it can continue to provide the UAW with wages and benefits far beyond anything those taxpayers enjoy… a wealth transfer hidden behind shell games and media manipulation.

This system has nothing to do with the people “behind you.” It’s all about satisfying people who already have gold-plated retirement plans and Cadillac health care, in exchange for their political support. Some of the most ridiculous benefit plans belong to government employee unions, which means the government is taxing the hell out of the private sector to pay itself to vote for itself. Vast sums are also plowed into subsidies for well-connected businesses, and welfare programs which have dangerously eroded the human capital we prize as our most precious resource.

Virtually every subsidy is an expensive attempt to reverse market forces, and undo the will of the American consumer. A nation which pours its gross domestic product into entitlements and subsidies is essentially trying to short-circuit itself. It will eventually succeed.

It’s imperative for the American people to understand this is the inevitableresult of collectivist economics. Political control of the marketplace always degenerates into the political class robbing independent citizens and unpopular industries, to maintain the support of indentured constituents. Packaged votes and bundled political donations, from loyal and motivated groups, are a far easier route to power than somehow keeping the majority of the country happy – a goal that always eludes socialism, because compulsion and ideology make poor substitutes for ambition and innovation.

That explains why socialism is miserable. It turns feral because it always makes promises it cannot keep, and the primary skill of a successful politician is the ability to avoid responsibility. As of this writing, it remains the official position of the Democrat Party that not a single one of its members bears any responsibility for the subprime mortgage crisis. Dodd, Frank, and Obama swam in millions of dollars of campaign donations and graft. They blocked audits of Fannie Mae, and gave speeches assuring the country that it was completely solvent. They greeted any suggestion of reform or oversight with furious accusations of greed and racism. None of them have been punished. In fact, they all enjoy more power than ever today, although Dodd’s time is running out.

When these politicians insist they bear no responsibility for the disasters they have engineered, or the failure of their policies, their loyal supporters believe them. The hunt for the “true” villains predictably follows. The authors of the deficit time bomb will never admit they made impossible promises, or knowingly sold out future generations to acquire immediate power. They knew ObamaCare was a ridiculous fraud – their house organ, theNew York Times, recently told Greece it should privatize health care to bring down costs. The socialists will never accept responsibility for the system beginning to crash down around them… not while they can designate fall guys for their supporters to hate.

Desperation ignites hatred into violence. The American middle class holds the power to write a different ending than the fiery death spiral twisting through the streets of Athens. That fate is only inevitable if we listen to the people who tell us we don’t have any other choices. We are a nation blessed with millions of clever minds, willing hands, and radiant hearts. There’s no problem we cannot solve, once we dismantle the failed State telling us it’s illegal to try. We can work together as free men and women, or depend on the State to loot individuals for the benefit of the collective, until they have nothing worth stealing. There are no other choices. There never were.

Cross-posted at http://www.doczero.org/. This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com. To see the comments on the original post, look here.

http://hotair.com/archives/2010/05/22/the-feral-vanguard/

Can we get back to talking about lying politicians?

Can we get back to talking about lying politicians? Can we get back to Richard Blumenthal.

Remember him? The DEMOCRATIC candidate for Senate whose multiple lies about serving in Vietnam over the course of multiple years dominated an entire 24 hour news cycle.

The guy whose dissembling of his own words was Clintonesque in the extreme, as in “it depends upon what the meaning of ‘in’ is.”

The guy around whom DEMOCRATS are rallying so strongly you’d think he had abused an intern.

The guy for whom it was not enough to be an academic and political superstar, he had to be a war hero as well.

The guy who was rescued when Rand Paul discussed, quite honestly, the dilemma of balancing individual freedom of association and speech with the need for racial equality and non-discrimination.

Can we please get back to talking about politicians who look you straight in the eye and lie?

http://hotair.com/archives/2010/05/23/can-we-get-back-to-talking-about-lying-politicians/

Monday, May 24, 2010

They couldn't gloat w/out Obama's help

Obama's map of misreading  by Scott at Powerline

In his weekly Washington Post column Charles Krauthammer provides a useful summary of the Obama administration's comprehensive foreign policy failure. This week gave us the vivid depiction of American decline. Hail Lula (a Marxist), Erdogan (an Islamist) and Ahmadinejad (a Muslim terrorist fanatic):

The real news is that already notorious photo: the president of Brazil, our largest ally in Latin America, and the prime minister of Turkey, for more than half a century the Muslim anchor of NATO, raising hands together with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the most virulently anti-American leader in the world.

That picture -- a defiant, triumphant take-that-Uncle-Sam -- is a crushing verdict on the Obama foreign policy. It demonstrates how rising powers, traditional American allies, having watched this administration in action, have decided that there's no cost in lining up with America's enemies and no profit in lining up with a U.S. president given to apologies and appeasement.


They've watched President Obama's humiliating attempts to appease Iran, as every rejected overture is met with abjectly renewed U.S. negotiating offers. American acquiescence reached such a point that the president was late, hesitant and flaccid in expressing even rhetorical support for democracy demonstrators who were being brutally suppressed and whose call for regime change offered the potential for the most significant U.S. strategic advance in the region in 30 years.

One wonders if failure -- failure traditionally conceived -- is not the objective:

This is not just an America in decline. This is an America in retreat -- accepting, ratifying and declaring its decline, and inviting rising powers to fill the vacuum.


Nor is this retreat by inadvertence. This is retreat by design and, indeed, on principle. It's the perfect fulfillment of Obama's adopted Third World narrative of American misdeeds, disrespect and domination from which he has come to redeem us and the world. Hence his foundational declaration at the U.N. General Assembly last September that "No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation" (guess who's been the dominant nation for the last two decades?) and his dismissal of any "world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another." (NATO? The West?)


Given Obama's policies and principles, Turkey and Brazil are acting rationally. Why not give cover to Ahmadinejad and his nuclear ambitions? As the U.S. retreats in the face of Iran, China, Russia and Venezuela, why not hedge your bets? There's nothing to fear from Obama, and everything to gain by ingratiating yourself with America's rising adversaries. After all, they actually believe in helping one's friends and punishing one's enemies.

Thus the new world order brought to us by President Obama and his "smart diplomacy."

To quote Saul Bellow's aunt (courtesy of Norman Podhoretz in My Love Affair With America), after listening to Bellow and his fellow undergraduate radicals argue politics in her apartment near the University of Chicago: "Smart, smart, smart...stupid!"

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2010/05/026346.php

Leaked Spanish Report: Obama’s Model ‘Green Economy’ a Disaster

Pajamas Media » Leaked Spanish Report: Obama’s Model ‘Green Economy’ a Disaster (PJM Exclusive)

Leaked Spanish Report: Obama’s Model ‘Green Economy’ a Disaster (PJM Exclusive)

Posted By Christopher Horner
As predicted [1] was inevitable, today the Spanish newspaper La Gaceta runs with a full-page article fessing up to the truth about Spain’s “green jobs” boondoggle, which happens to be the one naively cited by President Obama no less than eight times as his model for the United States. It is now out there as a bust, a costly disaster that has come undone in Spain to the point that even the Socialists admit it, with the media now in full pursuit.

Breaking the Spanish government’s admission here at Pajamas Media [2] probably didn’t hurt their interest in finally reporting on the leaked admission. Obama’s obvious hope of rushing into place his “fundamental transformation” of America into something more like Europe’s social democracies — where even the most basic freedoms have been moved from individuals and families to the state — before the house of cards collapsed has suffered what we can only hope proves to be its fatal blow. At least on this front.

La Gaceta boldly exposes the failure of the Spanish renewable policy and how Obama has been following it. The headline screams: “Spain admits that the green economy as sold to Obama is a disaster.”

[3] Click image for the full story (PDF)

This is now an explosive scandal in Spain, coming on the heels of shabby treatment over there in payback to an academic team for having pointed the disaster out (joined by equally shabby treatment [4] by the Obama administration).

I’d say “I hate to say I told you so,” but I revel in it. My only regret is that they couldn’t have admitted it about three weeks ago to coincide even more perfectly with the release of Power Grab: How Obama’s Green Policies Will Steal Your Freedom and Bankrupt America [1]. In the book, I detail the folly of Obama’s claims about European “green economy” miracles and what cramming them down here means for you, unless you stand up and fight back now.

The man who exposed the disaster, Dr. Gabriel Calzada, kindly praises the dissection of “free ice cream” “green jobs” economics on the jacket. That fight begins anew next week with the likely Senate vote on S.J. Res. 26, the Murkowski resolution to disapprove of the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to impose much of this agenda through the regulatory back door without Congress ever having authorized such an enormous economic intervention. Read Power Grab [1] to get your head around the numerous fallacies and fabrications, and give Washington hell.

(An English translation of the La Gaceta article is provided on page two.)

(The article below was published in La Gaceta on May 21, 2010.)

Spain admits that the green energy as sold to Obama is a disaster


The Spanish government leaks a report that admits the ominous economic consequences of betting in favor of renewable energies.


by Cristina Blas

(For rest of English tranlation of Spanish article, go to link):

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/leaked-spanish-report-obamas-model-green-economy-a-disaster-pjm-exclusive/?singlepage=true

An emphatic statement/anthem by an Obama voter...who has now seen the Tea Party light

Just use the link, let the You Tube finish buffering, and if you are not into the music...mute it! You will only miss a short bit of JFK ("Ask not what your country can do for you") and FDR ("We have nothing to fear but fear itself"):

http://www.politicalbyline.com/2010/05/20/the-tea-party-movements-new-anthem/

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Here are the "brownshirts, fascists" on left, not right

DP: Think this would be ignored if hundreds of Tea Party folk showed up to intimidate, say, the Obama guy who apologized to China for AZ illegal alien law? No, then the outrage and hysteria would ring at the top of every MSM broadcast. ACORN, unions, other hard lefties?

D.C. Metro Police Escorted SEIU Protesters to Bank Of America Executive's Home by Archy Cary of Big Journalism

The family of Greg Baer, Bank of America executive, is located in a jurisdiction protected by the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD), which responded promptly to a disturbance call from his neighborhood last weekend.

According to Corporal Dan Friz, an MCPD spokesperson in Rockville, Maryland, the department received a disturbance call from one of Baer’s neighbors at 4:10 pm last Sunday. Four MCPD units arrived at Baer’s Greenville Rd. address at 4:15 pm. At least two Metropolitan Police Department units from the nearby District of Columbia were already at the scene when they arrived.

Why? Because police cars attached to the Washington MPD’s Civil Disturbance Unit had escorted the SEIU protesters’ buses to Baer’s home. Such cross-jurisdictional escort activity is not uncommon for both departments according to Friz and Metro Police Department spokesperson Officer Eric Frost. Still, the District police did not inform their colleagues of what was about to happen in one of their Maryland neighborhoods.

The Maryland officers reported there were approximately 500 protesters on and near the front lawn of Baer’s house. Montgomery County was not given a “heads-up” concerning the planned protest. Although a protest permit is technically required in Montgomery County, in practice no citation is issued if the protestors disperse when requested to do so by the owner of the private property they occupy.

The primary role of the Washington cops in this event was to protect the protesters. The D.C. officers had no authority to act to disperse the protesters even had the homeowner been present and asked them to vacate the private property. The event ended as a “dash one”– no arrests, no citations – according to Friz. The Montgomery County units left the scene at 5:29 pm.

According to Friz, “members of protest groups know how far to push the envelope” and wait for “the key words” – for example, the property owner’s request that they leave – in order to avoid arrests or citations. For example, protesters are required to keep on the move, since a standing protest violates a Montgomery County code. And, while photographs clearly suggest that many of the SEIU protesters were stationary, the District police don’t have any authority to enforce Montgomery County laws.

So, let’s sum this up: A caravan of SEIU buses receive a Metropolitan (D.C.) Police Department escort to a private home in Maryland where the protesters, from all appearances, violate Montgomery County law by engaging in a stationary protest. The Montgomery County police were not informed by their cross-jurisdictional colleagues of the impending, unusually large protest pending in their jurisdiction.

What’s up with that? Had the mob decided to torch the house, the D.C. police would not have been authorized to intervene. Not their jurisdiction. They’re just escorts. Meanwhile, a teenage boy is home alone, frightened by what’s happening outside his front door.

There’s something very wrong with this picture.

http://bigjournalism.com/acary/2010/05/21/d-c-metro-police-escorted-seiu-protesters-to-greg-baers-home/

Top Official Says Feds May Not Process AZ Illegals

(DP: We appear to have a lawless regime if this is the attitude and position up and down the organization)
FOXNews.com - Top Official Says Feds May Not Process Illegals Referred From Arizona
A top Department of Homeland Security official reportedly said his agency will not necessarily process illegal immigrants referred to them by Arizona authorities.

A top Department of Homeland Security official reportedly said his agency will not necessarily process illegal immigrants referred to them by Arizona authorities.

John Morton, assistant secretary of homeland security for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, made the comment during a meeting on Wednesday with the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune, the newspaper reports.

"I don't think the Arizona law, or laws like it, are the solution," Morton told the newspaper.

The best way to reduce illegal immigration is through a comprehensive federal approach, he said, and not a patchwork of state laws.

Immigrant rights' supporters around the country took to the streets on May 1 to protest Arizona's new immigration law which seeks to identify, prosecute and deport illegal immigrants. Take a look at the massive protests.

The law, which criminalizes being in the state illegally and requires authorities to check suspects for immigration status, is not "good government," Morton said.

In response to Morton's comments, DHS officials said President Obama has ordered the Department of Justice to examine the civil rights and other implications of the law.

"That review will inform the government's actions going forward," DHS spokesman Matt Chandler told Fox News on Friday.

Fox News legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said ICE is not obligated to process illegal immigrants referred to them by Arizona authorities.

"ICE has the legal discretion to accept or not to accept persons delivered to it by non-federal personnel," Napolitano said. "It also has the discretion to deport or not to deport persons delivered to it by any government agents, even its own."

Morton, according to a biography posted on ICE's website, began his federal service in 1994 and has held numerous positions at the Department of Justice, including as a trial attorney and special assistant to the general counsel in the former Immigration and Naturalization Service and as counsel to the deputy attorney general.

Border apprehensions in Arizona, where roughly 500,000 illegal immigrants are estimated to be living, are up 6 percent since October, according to federal statistics. Roughly 6.5 million residents live in Arizona.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-AL, said it appeared the Obama administration is "nullifying existing law" and suggested Morton may not be the right person for his post if he fails to enforce federal immigration law.

"If he feels he cannot enforce the law, he shouldn't have the job," Sessions told Fox News. "That makes him, in my view, not fulfilling the responsibilities of his office."

Sessions said the U.S. government has "systematically failed" to enforce federal immigration law and claimed Morton's statement is an indication that federal officials do not plan on working with Arizona authorities regarding its controversial law.

"They're telegraphing to every ICE agency in America that they really don't intend on cooperating with Arizona," Sessions said. "The federal government should step up and do it. It's their responsibility."

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-AL, said it appeared the Obama administration is "nullifying existing law" and suggested Morton may not be the right person for his post if he fails to enforce federal immigration law.

"If he feels he cannot enforce the law, he shouldn't have the job," Sessions told Fox News. "That makes him, in my view, not fulfilling the responsibilities of his office."

Sessions said the U.S. government has "systematically failed" to enforce federal immigration law and claimed Morton's statement is an indication that federal officials do not plan on working with Arizona authorities regarding its controversial law.

"They're telegraphing to every ICE agency in America that they really don't intend on cooperating with Arizona," Sessions said. "The federal government should step up and do it. It's their responsibility."

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/05/21/official-says-feds-process-illegals-referred-arizona/

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Palin Slams Apology to China for Arizona Law

Palin Slams Apology to China for Arizona Law [Daniel Foster]

From Sarah Palin's Facebook: (Use link for original facebook entry and additional links)

American Apology Tour Continues

On Fox News this morning, State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley became the third Obama administration official in short succession to admit that he hadn’t actually bothered to read Arizona’s 10-page long “secure the border” bill before condemning it and criticizing Americans who support Arizona’s necessary efforts to do the job the Obama Administration should be doing. Crowley’s statement follows similar admissions from Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.

At first blush this revelation seemed unbelievable, but maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. This now seems “the Washington way” of doing things. If the party in power tells us they have to pass bills in order to find out what’s actually in them, they can also criticize bills (and divide the country with ensuing rhetoric) without actually reading them.

Still I can’t help but feel outraged on behalf of Arizona’s citizens for the incompetence shown by these Administration officials. Arizonans have the courage to do what the Obama administration has failed to do in its first year and a half in office – namely secure our border and enforce our federal laws. And as a result, Arizonans have been subjected to a campaign of baseless accusations by the same people who freely admit they haven’t a clue about what they’re actually campaigning against.

The absolute low point of this campaign came last Friday, when a U.S. State Department delegation met with Chinese negotiators to discuss human rights. Apparently, our State Department felt it necessary to make their Chinese guests feel less bad about their own record of human rights abuses by repeatedly atoning for American “sins” – including, it seems, the Arizona immigration/pro-border security law. Asked if Arizona came up at all during the meeting, Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner answered:

“We brought it up early and often. It was mentioned in the first session, and as a troubling trend in our society and an indication that we have to deal with issues of discrimination or potential discrimination, and that these are issues very much being debated in our own society.”

Note that he said “We brought it up” – not the Chinese, but the U.S. State Department’s own delegation. Instead of grilling the Chinese about their appalling record on human rights, the State Department continued the unbelievable apology tour by raising “early and often” Arizona’s decision to secure our border.

Arizona’s law, which just mirrors the federal law, simply allows the police to ask those whom they have already stopped for some form of identification like a driver’s license. By what absurd stretch of the imagination is that the moral equivalent of China’s lack of freedoms, population controls (including forced abortions), censorship, and arbitrary detentions?

Surely our U.S. Ambassador to China, John Huntsman, must disagree with the Obama Administration’s continued apology tour? We have nothing to apologize for. If Administration officials want to apologize to anyone, apologize to the American people for the fact that after a year and a half in office, they still haven’t done anything to secure our borders, and they join our President in making false suggestions about Arizona’s effort.

- Sarah Palin
 
http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=ZWI1MGQ1M2Q3MGYxMjA0ODJkZjE5YWRlMDcxNTI0YTg=

Apparently Holder Hasn't Read DOJ Policy Either

The Corner - National Review Online

Apparently Holder Hasn't Read DOJ Policy Either [Daniel Foster via NRO]

Eric Holder's Justice Department has kept in place a Bush-era legal memo that acknowledges the authority of states to enforce federal immigration law, a la Arizona:

In the legal battle over Arizona's new immigration law, an ironic subtext has emerged: whether a Bush-era legal opinion complicates a potential Obama administration lawsuit against Arizona.


The document, written in 2002 by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, concluded that state police officers have "inherent power" to arrest undocumented immigrants for violating federal law. It was issued by Jay S. Bybee, who also helped write controversial memos from the same era that sanctioned harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects.


The author of the Arizona law — which has drawn strong opposition from top Obama administration officials — has cited the authority granted in the 2002 memo as a basis for the legislation. The Obama administration has not withdrawn the memo, and some backers of the Arizona law said Monday that because it remains in place, a Justice Department lawsuit against Arizona would be awkward at best.


"The Justice Department's official position as of now is that local law enforcement has the inherent authority to enforce federal immigration law," said Robert Driscoll, a former Justice Department Civil Rights Division official in the George W. Bush administration who represents an Arizona sheriff known for aggressive immigration enforcement. "How can you blame someone for exercising authority that the department says they have?"

Meanwhile, another Obama administration critic of the Arizona law admits he hasn't read it:



http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=NTc2ODA1MGQ0YzM0Nzk4MTZiNWZhYWIwMzZiN2U4NmI=

Libs fine with their version of superstitious nonsense

Divining Wrath [Jay Nordlinger]

Back in the early April 20s, I got a letter from a reader. Tucked it away in my files. He said, “Just to review the mainstream-media talking points: 1) It’s crazy for Pat Robertson to suggest that natural disasters are examples of God’s wrath. 2) It’s not crazy — is in fact worthy of front-page coverage — to suggest that natural disasters are examples of Mother Earth’s wrath for our environmental sins.”

He then pointed me to something that led CNN’s homepage: “Is the Earth striking back? A warming climate shrinks ice sheets, redistributing pressures on the Earth’s crust. As it reacts, a volcano erupts in Iceland, quakes shake China and Chile. Author Alan Weisman wonders if the planet is telling us something.”

And today, I read about Ted Turner: who says, “I’m not a real religious person, but I’m somewhat religious. And I’m just wondering if God is telling us He doesn’t want us to drill offshore. And right before that we had that coal-mine disaster in West Virginia where we lost 29 miners . . . Maybe the Lord’s tired of having the mountains of West Virginia, the tops knocked off of them so they can get more coal. I think maybe we ought to just leave the coal in the ground and go with solar and wind power and geo-thermals where it’s applicable.”

Uh-huh. The “keepers of the culture” — a phrase I’ve learned, and will repeat, from Zev Chafets — laugh scornfully at the Pat Robertsons. They are very respectful of people such as that CNN writer and Ted Turner. I have some advice for Robertson (not that he asked for it): If you’re ever hankering for a little mainstream love, go green and then talk about God, √† la Ted.

http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=YjUwMDJhZDQyOGE3Y2FiMzkwZTk5NmIwYTJkNDdmNmI=

Friday, May 21, 2010

Obama's pandering to dictators via surrogates

A word from Senator Kyl  by Scott at Powerline

Andrew Wilder writes from the office of Senator Jon Kyl to draw our attention to a letter that Senators Kyl and McCain sent today to Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner regarding his inexcusable comments to the Chinese government about Arizona's new immigration law. Mr. Wilder writes: "Because of your attention to the matter, I wanted you to be one of the first to see the letter....I thought that your readers may appreciate knowing." (I've taken the liberty of adding the links to John Hinderaker's posts on this matter.)

Here is the letter from Senators Kyl and McCain:

The Honorable Michael H. Posner


Assistant Secretary of State


Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor


U.S. Department of State


2201 C Street, NW


Washington, D.C. 20520


Dear Assistant Secretary Posner:


During the recent U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue, you reportedly cited the Arizona immigration statute (SB 1070, as amended) as an example of a "troubling trend in our society" that you seemed to imply is morally equivalent to China's persistent pattern of abuse and repression of its people. As the Assistant Secretary of State in charge of the bureau of democracy and human rights, your remarks are particularly offensive. We demand that you retract your statement and issue an apology.


According to the 2009 Human Rights Report produced by your bureau, China remains one of the worst human rights offenders, and its record is only worsening. Your bureau's report details how democracy activists, religious groups, journalists, and human rights advocates in China continue to be "targeted for arbitrary arrest, detention, and harassment." The report also describes the brutal tactics the Chinese regime uses to suppress these peaceful groups: "security forces reportedly committed arbitrary or unlawful killings," "officials used electric shocks, beatings, shackles, and other forms of abuse," and "arbitrary arrest and detention remained serious problems." To compare in any way the lawful and democratic act of the government of the state of Arizona with the arbitrary abuses of the unelected Chinese Communist Party is inappropriate and offensive.


There is no place for moral equivalency in democracy and human rights policy. The United States is the world's leader in defending the rights of all people. Someone in your position should be proud to proclaim that.


Sincerely,


JON KYL & JOHN MCCAIN

This is an excellent letter that deserves a serious response. Let's say it one more time: "To compare in any way the lawful and democratic act of the government of the state of Arizona with the arbitrary abuses of the unelected Chinese Communist Party is inappropriate and offensive."

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2010/05/026323.php

Obama, Sunstein, and "libertarian paternalism"

Obama, Sunstein, and "libertarian paternalism"

From a very scary hagiography in the New York Times Magazine:

Libertarian paternalists would have school cafeterias put the fruit before the fried chicken, because students are more likely to grab the first food they see. They support a change in Illinois law that asks drivers renewing their licenses to choose whether they want to be organ donors. The simple act of having to choose meant that more people signed up. Ideas like these, taking human idiosyncrasies into account, might revive an old technocratic hope: that society could be understood so perfectly that it might be improved. The elaboration of behavioral economics, which seeks to uncover the ways in which people are predictably irrational, “is the most exciting intellectual development of my lifetime,” Sunstein told me.

The title of the article is "Cass Sunstein Wants to Nudge Us." The word "nudge" in the title is an allusion to the title of a recent book that Sustein co-wrote. But you have to understand: by "nudge," Sunstein means "turning your life into something run the way he and his ilk think it should be run" — nothing less than that.

It is the nanny state. It is the statist impossible utopia that Barack Obama and folks like Sunstein have in their pointy heads as the America they want to build, as they systematically dismantle everything in the America that exists.

"Libertarian paternalism" is an oxymoron. What Sunstein and Obama are doing is just arrogant paternalism, period. Instead of anything remotely resembling real libertarianism, Sunstein is promoting the notion of government regulation so subtle, so perceptive, so ... well, just so damned clever that it won't really seem like much of a bother to do what Sunstein and Obama and the government want you to do. You'll think it's your own idea!

'Cause they're smarter than you and me, see? Get it? If you don't, then just keep clinging to your guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like you or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment. Something. You moron, why do you think you're even remotely qualified to run your own life? Sheesh.

[/sarcasm off] Seriously, folks, this article will tell you everything you need to know about why Cass Sunstein is my worst dread as a potential Obama SCOTUS nominee. I am so, so very glad that he's a pasty white guy!

http://beldar.blogs.com/beldarblog/2010/05/obama-sunstein-and-libertarian-paternalism.html