Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Freedom Never Cries


Eye-for-an-eye filibuster stops Democratic nominee

Eye-for-an-eye filibuster stops Democratic nominee Byron York Politics Washington Examiner

Eye-for-an-eye filibuster stops Democratic nominee

If there's one place where what goes around comes around, it's the United States Senate. Goodwin Liu, the Berkeley law professor nominated by President Obama to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, is the latest to learn that lesson.

Liu's nomination was blocked by a Republican filibuster Thursday -- the first successful filibuster against a judicial nominee since Democrats stopped all 10 of George W. Bush's appeals court nominees from 2003 to 2005. Although no one back then could have predicted that today's fight would be about Liu, everyone knew it was going to happen sometime. Once Democrats crossed the line to filibuster those Bush nominees, you could bet Republicans would strike back. And now they have.

Liu was as good a target as any for the GOP. A legal scholar who has never been a judge and has little experience practicing law, Liu occupies a place on the far left side of the legal spectrum. To take just one example, Republicans are fond of repeating Liu's assertion that the Constitution guarantees the right to "expanded health insurance, child care, transportation subsidies, job training, and a robust earned income tax credit."

"I must have missed that," Republican Sen. John Cornyn, a former Texas state supreme court justice, said dryly in floor remarks Thursday afternoon.

It wasn't just Liu's legal positions that did him in. Republicans were particularly rankled by the professor's testimony during the 2006 confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. Appearing to model his remarks on Ted Kennedy's infamous 1987 "Robert Bork's America" speech, Liu said Samuel Alito's America would be one in which cops kill young suspects over minor crimes, all-white juries send black men to their deaths, and federal agents terrorize innocent civilians. After his own nomination, when he had gotten a taste of criticism himself, Liu apologized, saying his language had been "unduly harsh." But the damage was done.

In debate before Thursday's vote, some Republicans went out of their way to say it wasn't personal. "Goodwin Liu is a stellar individual, no question about it," said GOP Sen. Tom Coburn, who also called Liu a "stellar scholar," a "genuine great American," and a "great human being." But Coburn still concluded, "That does not qualify him to be on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals."

Of course, a few years ago, Coburn and other Republicans were decrying the Democrats' unprecedented use of the filibuster against judicial nominees. In the Bush years, minority Democrats stopped well-qualified nominees like Miguel Estrada and Priscilla Owen for purely political reasons -- to keep conservative judges off the courts and deny Bush possible future Supreme Court candidates. Democrats accused Estrada, Owen and others of being "divisive" and "controversial."

There was a revealing moment in 2005, as the filibuster fight was nearing its climax, when mild-mannered Republican Sen. Robert Bennett asked Sen. Harry Reid, who was then the minority leader, "if any number of hours of debate would be sufficient" to move the Owen nomination forward. Reid's answer was quick and sharp. "There is not a number in the universe that would be sufficient," he said.

The message was clear. Democrats would kill all the nominees they wanted. Period.

Finally, Republicans threatened to use their majority to put an end to judicial filibusters altogether -- the so-call "nuclear option." A bipartisan group of senators, known as the Gang of 14, convened to seek a compromise.

In the agreement that followed, the "nuclear option" was shelved and Democrats caved on most -- but not all -- of the filibusters. In addition, senators pledged not to filibuster future judicial nominees unless there were "extraordinary circumstances." It was left up to each senator to define "extraordinary circumstances."

So now Republicans, who have allowed many liberal Obama nominees to proceed to Senate confirmation, say Liu is an "extraordinary circumstance." Democrats protested -- they appear to be suffering from total amnesia about what they did just a few years ago -- but in the end fell far short of the 60 votes needed to stop the GOP filibuster.

By the way, Obama has little standing to criticize the Liu filibuster, As a senator, Obama tried unsuccessfully to filibuster the Alito nomination.

So now Republicans have taken up the judicial filibuster, although they've done just one to the Democrats' 10. But there might be more in the future. When it comes to judicial confirmation fights, the rule in the Senate is always an eye for an eye.

Byron York, The Examiner's chief political correspondent, can be contacted at byork@washingtonexaminer.com. His column appears on Tuesday and Friday, and his stories and blogposts appear on ExaminerPolitics.com.


Monday, May 30, 2011

College Course: US Flag Is Racist, How-To Defeat America In Iraq And Afghanistan

College Course: US Flag Is Racist, How-To Defeat America In Iraq And Afghanistan Dan Riehl
(Go to article for videos and links to sources)

While claiming the American flag represents racism and discussing today’s Progressive Movement’s efforts to defeat America both at home and abroad, including on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan to help their international “comrades,” Communist Tony Pecinovsky pulls the mask off today’s Progressive Movement in two new exclusive Big Government videos of a University of Missouri course offering, already much in the news.

Pecinovsky first came to light yesterday in a Washington Times item by Kerry Picket.

Communism 101 at the University

Tony Pecinovsky, a Communist Party USA representative who is serving as the Communications Workers of America Secretary and Treasurer in St. Louis, spoke to students at the University of Missouri in St. Louis. In the video, he speaks about how the Communist Party looks to support candidates saying (5:30 mark in the video):

(Go to linked article for YouTube)

While discussing “the idea that the American flag is racist,” in the video below, Pecinovsky mentions a 2005 international youth festival in Venezuela sponsored by the World Federation of Democratic Youth(WFDY).

Pecinovsky brags that the WFDY is officially recognized by the United Nations. He also defines Cuba, Venezuela, and others as genuinely ”progressive,” the very same code word today’s entire American Left uses for itself. That would include the Obama administration and today’s Democrat Party, which it has finally managed to take over. In deed, in the second video, Pecinovsky touts their linkage to such so-called mainstream efforts, including trade unions.

The Young Communist League(YCL) sent 700 young Americans to Venezuela for the event. There, claims Pecinovsky, they had to actually engage in internal debate as to whether, or not to display the American flag next to the flags of countries like Cuba and Venezuela. If they did, it would be only so as to reclaim it from representing racism and what he calls the Right Wing. That includes the Bush administration, as Pecinovsky later reveals.

Going on to call America “the belly of the beast,” Pecinovsky notes the surprising growth of the Communist Party in America today, claiming an additional 1,500 – 2,000 new members this year, just through the Internet. That number does not include results from ground-level activism and recruiting, according to Pecinovsky.

(Go to linked article for YouTube)

In the above video, Pecinovsky defines Progressive Internationalismin terms of how to isolate and defeat what he calls the “ultra Right” in the US. Bear in mind, to him, that term means free market Capitalism and traditional forms of liberty America has traditionally embraced, as well as the previous Bush administration. When speaking of the Left’s “Iraqi comrades,” and again in speaking about Afghanistan, Pecinovsky’s and the greater Left’s view is, they are organizing domestically to beat America abroad, as well as at home, including while we are at war.

Lest some critics want to dismiss Pecinovsky as some far Leftist fanatic, one only need look to the Peace Movement - which he also addresses, to understand how his progressivism is the very same as that of today’s mainstream Democratic Party. In many ways, it was said Peace Movement and its propaganda, circulated by a complicit media, that so tipped the scales against former President Bush, opening the way for Obama to win the WHite House in 2008.

It was former Democrat Vice President Al Gore who accused then President Bush of betraying the countryover Iraq, not some minor Communist activist lecturing a class in Missouri. Those unwilling, or unable to make the very real connection between a Pecinovsky and the Democrat administration we currently have in Washington are simply putting their heads in the sand.

As if to highlight that point, Pecinovsky mentions how his and the Democrat’s anti-American agenda is closely tied to who holds sway in the White House and Congress. He is not talking revolution, but a taking over of America from within, with what he identifies as a “larger movement.” That’s today’s Left - in practice not theory. And that is precisely what was happening in Washington, until the political reversals of 2010. Was not ObamaCare dictated to us, despite an election in Massachusettes clearly identifying any American majority opinion as opposed to it?

Moving on from the Peace Movement, to Labor, Pecinovsky runs through the well-known alliances making up today’s far Left as part of a unified “larger movement. “Almost every member of our (communist) organization is a member of a union, is a member of a coalition, is a member of neighborhood association. Is a member of a peace organization.” WHile he didn’t say it, how do they differ, especially “neighborhood association,” from community organizer? They don’t. And we know who the community-organizer-in-chief is in America today, do we not?

In terms of unity, he talks of the existing alliances between many nationally recognized groups and movements through which he and others organize to bring about … change, I suppose. What the Communist Pecinovsky is part of is not simply some ten member group meeting monthly in a basement somewhere. He makes it quite clear how broad and networked is today’s Progressive movement through much larger organizations of, ultimately, like-minded groups with large memberships.

Capitalism is “the ultimate enemy,” says Pecinovsky at 4:20 into the second video. The goal, he says, is not “duel unionism,” in which some even further Left splits off on his own. What they do and have done already is infiltrate groups already in existence. The mobs that recently swarmed Wisconsin, issuing violent threats to Governor Walker and lawmakers did not simply appear out of nowhere. And now it’s busy trying to recall some of the latter.

Finally, to think that a university selling this anti-American, anti-Capitalist ideology would get $400 million in taxpayer dollars, only to squander some portion of it on classes and an institute of some kind to poison young minds against the very country that built and now largely funds said institution, is only adding insult to injury.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Barack Obama: Shop steward in chief

Barack Obama: Shop steward in chief Examiner Editorial Opinion Washington Examiner

President Obama nominated 40-year-old Berkeley Law School professor and radical leftist Goodwin Liu to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Charles Dharapak/APOne thing must be said of President Obama -- he gives good value in return for the hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign contributions he got from the nation's labor movement. Unions spent an estimated $200 million electing Obama and re-electing Democratic majorities in Congress in 2008. Union officials ought to be ecstatic with Obama's performance since then because he has delivered everything he promised the unions, and more. Obama's largesse is all the more amazing when it is remembered that unions represent fewer than 7 percent of all private-sector workers.

Fortunately for the country, Democrats in Congress don't always share Obama's blind fealty to the union label. Consider yesterday's cloture vote in the Senate on Obama's nomination of 40-year-old Berkeley Law School professor Goodwin Liu to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Liu is among the most radical leftists ever nominated for a federal court, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hoped to cut off Republican opposition to the nomination by calling the cloture vote. But Reid failed when the motion for cloture received only 52 votes of the 60 needed. Had the motion for cloture carried, Liu's nomination would have been cleared for a final floor vote, although it was far from certain that Liu would have been confirmed.

What is certain is that Obama nominated a man whose views bring to mind the fiery socialist diatribes delivered by United Auto Workers hero Walter Reuther in 1937 when he returned from a couple of years working in a proletarian communal factory in Gorky, an industrial city in Stalin's Soviet Union. Speaking in 2006 against President George W. Bush's nomination of John Roberts for chief justice, Liu dismissed "free enterprise," "private ownership of property" and "limited government" as nothing more than "code words for an ideological agenda hostile to environmental, workplace and consumer protections." And speaking of ideological agendas, Liu has made clear that he sees in Obama's election "the opportunity to actually get our ideas and the progressive vision of the Constitution and of law and policy into practice."

Nominating Liu is of a piece with Obama's recess appointments of Craig Becker and Lafe Solomon to the National Labor Relations Board. Becker is a former labor lawyer for the Service Employees International Union who has refused to recuse himself from multiple cases before the board in which he formerly represented the labor parties to the disputes. Solomon has led the NLRB's unprecedented attack on the Boeing Aircraft Co. for building a factory in South Carolina, a right-to-work state, instead of Washington state, a forced-union state. The assault on Boeing is the first step in what is clearly a campaign to intimidate corporate executives from doing business in any of the nation's 22 right-to-work states.

Not a bad ROI for $200 million.

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/2011/05/barack-obama-shop-steward-chief#ixzz1NJkUo5MC

For Democrats, It's All About Tax Hikes

Tax And Scare - Investors.com

Editorial: For Democrats, It's All About Tax Hikes

If nothing else, last week made it abundantly clear where Democrats stand on today's most pressing issues, and the picture isn't pretty.

In case you missed it, the Democrats floated a plan for a millionaire surtax in an attempt to, as the Hill put it, "force Republicans to accept other tax increases." They tried to hike taxes on oil companies by more than $2 billion a year, because the industry is currently making big profits; and mounted a nationwide campaign to scare seniors away from Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare reform — including a new ad that depicts Ryan tossing a senior citizen off a cliff.

Detect a theme there? On issue after issue, Republicans are putting forward serious, sober and often politically risky solutions to the nation's most pressing problems, while Democrats play class-warfare games and stoke the public's fear.

To cope with the nation's gargantuan debt, for example, the GOP issued a budget plan that focuses — correctly — on reining in the government's runaway spending.

The only thing Democrats want to talk about is how all our problems can be solved if we just raise taxes on the "the rich."

President Obama wants to boost them by at least $1 trillion, and Senate Democrats promise their long-delayed budget will include $2 trillion in new taxes.

That's ill-advised even if the economy were humming along, but reckless given the current state of things.

When it comes to sky-high gas prices, Republicans at least understand that the root of the problem is too little oil supply, and in the Senate this week they tried to pass a bill to boost domestic oil production, only to be blocked by Democrats.

What do Democrats do instead? Demonize oil companies for making a profit and try to squeeze them for extra tax dollars. As President Obama said, "They are making tens of billions of dollars each — huge profits — while you're struggling to fill up your gas tank."

Never mind that less oil production and more oil industry taxes are the exact opposite of what's needed to bring gasoline prices down.

And while House Republicans advocate a serious Medicare reform plan that harnesses market forces to rein in the program's costs and protect it for the future, Democrats offer only fear.

Health and Human Services head Kathleen Sebelius said Ryan's Medicare plan would cause some seniors to "die sooner," and the Democratic National Committee proclaimed in an ad that Republicans are "now for killing" Medicare.

The topper came in the Ryan-pushing-grandma-over-the-cliff ad, produced by a group headed by the DNC's former deputy national finance director.

What's their Medicare solution? Nothing.

Democrats might think stoking envy and fear is politically sufficient, but we give the public more credit than that.

The country faces serious problems and voters deserve political leaders willing to step up and propose serious, credible solutions.

As the last week made clear, they aren't getting anything like that from the party of FDR.


Friday, May 27, 2011

LA Rally - Don't Believe What Teachers Tell You

Reason TV: LA Rally - Don't Believe What Teachers Tell You

Tim Cavanaugh

Teachers unions say California must not roll back annual increases in public school spending. And they're not too careful about facts when they make that case.

Teachers frequently claim, for example, that California is in either 49th or 50th place among the 50 states in per-pupil spending. In fact, the Golden State is 31st in per-pupil spending.

Teachers also say the Golden State could solve its chronic budget shortfalls by raising tax rates on the rich. But California is already unusually dependent on taxes collected from high earners. This is why revenue collections can drop sharply during recession, while spending -- which has increased 37 percent since 2001 -- continues to grow at rates exceeding inflation and population growth.

Last Friday, May 13, teachers all over Los Angeles left school early to attend a Downtown rally. Reason TV tagged along to find out what other whoppers teachers are telling (outside the classroom, that is)


Obamacare waiver corruption must stop

WOLF: Obamacare waiver corruption must stop - Washington Times

WOLF: Obamacare waiver corruption must stop

If some Americans deserve exemption from a bad law, then all Americans do

Selective enforcement of the law is the first sign of tyranny. A government empowered to determine arbitrarily who may operate outside the rule of law invariably embraces favoritism as friends, allies and those with the best-funded lobbyists are rewarded. Favoritism inevitably leads to corruption, and corruption invites extortion. Ultimately, the rule of law ceases to exist in any recognizable form, and what is left is tyranny.

America's founders rejected that road to tyranny when they boldly declared that all men are created equal. They wrote a Constitution meant to secure the promise of equal protection under the law.

President Obama, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Democrats all, in their rush to take over America's health care system, made all sorts of outlandish, unkeepable promises. Among the most egregious: Obamacare would allow you to keep your current health insurance and your doctor. Mr. Obama's own Medicare chief actuary now acknowledges that Obamacare may cause up to 20 million Americans to lose their current health insurance policies, and doctors are increasingly leaving Medicare, Medicaid and the practice of medicine altogether. Good luck keeping them. Another unkeepable promise: Obamacare "will create 4 million jobs, 400,000 jobs almost immediately." The Congressional Budget Office's budget director estimates the law actually will destroy 800,000 jobs.

Obamacare's chickens, to borrow a phrase our president may have heard somewhere before, are coming home to roost. The law, as currently adjudicated, has been ruled unconstitutional. The president's own secretary of health and human services, Kathleen Sebelius, has admitted a major section of the Obamacare law is "totally unsustainable." Before casting his vote in favor of Obamacare, Sen. Kent Conrad, North Dakota Democrat, described it as "a Ponzi scheme of the first order, the kind of thing that Bernie Madoff would have been proud of." Well, Mr. Conrad, Mr. Madoff certainly would be proud of you and your colleagues.

The now-familiar monthly trickling down of new waivers is, at best, a tacit admission that Obamacare is a failure. So far, seven entire states and 1,372 businesses, unions and other institutions have received waivers from the law. The list includes the administration's friends and allies and, of course, those who have the bestlobbyists.

More than 50 percent of the Obamacare waiver beneficiaries are union members, which is striking because union members account for less than 12 percent of the American work force. The same unions that provided more than $120 million to Democrats in the last two elections and, in many cases, openly campaigned in favor of the government takeover of your health care, now celebrate that Obamacare is not their problem.

But the political payoffs don't stop there. The Obama administration didn't forget its closest friends in the latest round of waivers. Although there are 435 congressional districts across America, nearly 20 percent of the new waivers, amazingly, found their way to a single district - Mrs. Pelosi's. As for Mr. Reid, well, the entire state of Nevada found an early waiver in its Christmas stocking. After all, what kind of a friend would the president be if he couldn't pull a few strings?

The priorities of the Obama administration and its Democratic allies are on display with every waiver granted. The list of beneficiaries in Mrs. Pelosi's district, for example, belongs in an episode of "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous." Mrs. Pelosi, champion of the unions and no stranger to hypocrisy, has amassed a fortune as part owner of Napa Valley Auberge du Soleil resort - a luxurious nonunion shop. Now her luxury boutique colleagues also can benefit from her "do as I say" politics. The "four-diamond luxury" hotel Campton Place; Tru Spa, Allure magazine's "best day spa in San Fransisco"; Boboquivari's and its $59 porterhouse steaks; and Cafe des Amis, "a timeless Parisian style brasserie," are among her beneficiaries.

As American families are being squeezed by increasing health insurance premiums as well as rising gasoline and grocery prices, I'm sure they'll be relieved to know that San Francisco's down-and-out millionaires will be protected from paying Obamacare's bills. Mercifully, Mrs. Pelosi's limousine liberals will no longer be forced to beg for Grey Poupon from every Rolls-Royce passing by.

Why did these particular businesses receive waivers? The administration that calls itself the most transparent in history won't say. Nor will it explain why it has denied at least 79 requests from others. Worse still, Health and Human Services has decreed that it will not even accept waiver requests from individuals, so if you choose to purchase your insurance directly, you have no recourse.

Americans deserve and, in fact, are guaranteed by our Constitution a level playing field. We were never promised equality in results, but we do deserve to play by the same rules and to be judged by the same standards. When a new law like Obamacare is so deeply flawed that its supporters openly violate these American bedrock principles to sustain it, it's time to repeal that law.

I will repeat the same question I've been asking since the first health care waiver was granted: If Obamacare is such a great law, why does the White House keep exempting its best friends from it?

Dr. Milton R. Wolf, a Washington Times columnist, is a board-certified diagnostic radiologist and President Obama's cousin. He blogs at miltonwolf.com


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Madison on the Pacific--a town takes on union largesse

Madison on the Pacific by Brian Calle - City Journal

Costa Mesa takes a stand on the costs of a public workforce.

The results of California’s 2010 midterm elections were tremendously discouraging for voters eager to rein in the influence of the state’s public-employee unions. While other states, like Wisconsin, elected political leaders willing to confront union power aggressively, Californians could only look on in frustration as pro-union politicians prevailed across the Golden State. But there is at least one beacon of hope in California: the Orange County city of Costa Mesa, which has charged ahead to address budget deficits by making massive cuts to its municipal workforce.

In March, Costa Mesa’s city council voted 4–1 to issue layoff notices to nearly half of the city’s workforce—more than 200 workers—and to outsource many city services, including street sweeping, payroll, printing, information technology, animal control, park maintenance, and some fire protection. These are eminently reasonable steps, given the city’s fiscal challenges. Costa Mesa faces a $3.3 million budget deficit in the 2011–12 fiscal year, pared down from a projected $5.1 million, and some of its leaders, including city councilman Jim Righeimer, worry that the budget situation could grow far worse in the future without immediate reforms. Righeimer, who campaigned on pension reform in 2010, says that while it’s unclear exactly how much money outsourcing will save the city, “it will be substantial.”

As Jennifer Medina wrote in the New York Times, Costa Mesa’s efforts, if successful, “will, in one great swoop, reinvent municipal government here, and perhaps lead the way for other cities.” Some have even begun calling Costa Mesa “mini-Madison.” Indeed, Costa Mesa is addressing not only the imminent fiscal threat but also its underlying cause: the size of city government and the scope of its services. City-employee compensation is way out of line with what city residents earn. The median compensation for a city worker is $140,000, including benefits. The median income for a Costa Mesa resident, meanwhile, is around $60,000; if you tack on the usual 25 to 30 percent to include benefits, you’re still left with a compensation level that’s about half what city workers make.

The reforms will also do the essential service of taking some pension benefits off the city’s books. Each year, Costa Mesa has to send a check to the state’s pension fund to cover part of the city’s unfunded pension liability and current commitments—that is, the difference between what it has promised to spend on city employees’ pensions (and related borrowing costs) and what it has actually paid. This year, the check amounted to $18 million, a big fraction of Costa Mesa’s municipal budget of $93 million. But the city’s unfunded pension liability has been rising rapidly and now totals $221.7 million, meaning that without the layoffs and restructuring, the city would soon have to spend not $18 million a year but $25 million. That would crowd out more and more city services.

The pushback against Costa Mesa’s actions started immediately. “The right-wing Republican extremists who are leading the assaults on working people in Wisconsin have hit home locally, attacking working families in Costa Mesa,” the Los Angeles Democratic Party said in a statement. Local unions, led by the Orange County Employees Association, called Costa Mesa’s reforms hasty and heartless. Art Pulaski, executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation, said that organized labor needed to put out the brushfire in Costa Mesa to prevent it from spreading through Orange County and the rest of the state. Union-funded Internet and TV ads attacking the current city council have begun to appear. And lawyers for the Orange County Employees Association have filed a lawsuit to block the layoff plans; a superior court judge has set a hearing for July. Meanwhile, there is some talk of a recall election for the city council.

Since the announcement of the city council’s reforms, emotions have run high, with the lamentable suicide of a laid-off city employee and the vandalism of a bar owned by Costa Mesa’s mayor. Pain and adversity for the city will undoubtedly continue in the coming weeks and months. But if successful, Costa Mesa’s reforms offer a model for other cities throughout California and perhaps the nation.

Brian Calle is an editorial writer for the Orange County Register.


Republicans Take Aim At Obama's Immigration Speech, Border 'Facts'

Republicans Take Aim At Obama's Immigration Speech, Border 'Facts' - News Story - KVIA El Paso

Republican response to President Obama's speech in El Paso.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R) South Carolina

"President Obama's immigration speech in El Paso today is a poor substitute for the real border security the country still desperately needs. And it was a transparent attempt to keep using illegal immigration as a campaign issue, as President Obama made no attempt to solve this problem during the two years his party held huge majorities in both houses of Congress. His own administration has not done its job to finish the border fence that is a critical part of keeping Americans safe and stopping illegal immigration.

"Rather than holding immigration summits at the White House with special interests and making speeches, President Obama should direct the members of his administration tasked with homeland security and patrolling the border to enact measures that have already been made law by Congress.

"Five years ago, legislation was passed to build a 700-mile double-layer border fence along the southwest border. This is a promise that has not been kept.

"Today, according to staff at the Department of Homeland Security, just 5 percent of the double-layer fencing is complete, only 36.3 miles.

"The Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congress's investigative arm, reported in early 2009 that only 32 miles of double-layer fencing had been built. That means under President Obama, only 4.3 miles of double layer fencing has been built. This is woefully inadequate.

"While the border-fence construction lags, Mexican cartels continue to smuggle drugs, weapons, and illegal aliens into our country, attracting violent crime.

"The United States Attorney's Annual Statistical Report for Fiscal Year 2009 stated that "violence along the border of the United States and Mexico has increased dramatically in recent years." Citing a National Drug Intelligence Center report, it continued, "Mexican drug trafficking organizations represent the greatest organized crime threat to the United States and the influence of Mexican drug trafficking organizations over domestic drug trafficking is unrivaled."

"Last month, officials in Brownsville, Texas, found a homemade, improvised explosive device on Highway 77 that resembled the bombs used against U.S. troops in the Middle East and by Mexican drug cartels.

"The government has even warned Americans not to travel in certain areas of the southwest because of crime. In June 2010, the U.S. Department of Interior posted signs near the Sonoran Desert National Monument that read, "travel not recommended," warning the public that it was considered an "active drug and human smuggling area."

"This is an embarrassment. Americans should be free to move about the country without fear of being confronted by human smugglers and drug dealers.

"Yet, alarming statistics demonstrating how dangerous our borders have become continue to pour in.

"Kumar C. Kibble, the deputy director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the Department of Homeland Security, recently testified that more than half of the illegal aliens removed from the country last year, upwards of 195,000, were convicted criminals - the most ever removed from the country in a single year. But, even if ICE removes record numbers of illegal aliens from the country, it does little good if they are able to easily re-enter.

"Despite the clear evidence of the serious dangers that remain at our unsecured borders, the president glossed over these problems today. In his campaign-style speech, the president wrongfully proclaimed he's "answered those concerns" about border security and pushed for passage of amnesty proposals in Congress.

"Our nation's borders are fundamental to our national security and sovereignty. Americans shouldn't be forced to live under the threat of kidnappings, drug violence, and gang activity because of political posturing in Washington. Security must be at the crux of any credible immigration policy.

"A few weeks ago, celebrities like Eva Longoria of ABC's Desperate Housewives were invited to the White House to offer their advice on immigration. At another White House event, Obama chatted with AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka about immigration. Trumka is a longtime amnesty advocate, and a close political ally that the president is counting on for help in his reelection. Labor unions are losing popularity nationwide and are hoping for an influx of millions of new dues-paying members if illegal immigrants are given amnesty.

"Notably absent from those meetings was anyone advocating that the federal government keep its promise and follow the letter of the law by securing the borders and finishing the fence.

"A border fence alone will not solve the problem of illegal immigration. We must also have interior enforcement of immigration law. But, Americans view the fence as a critical first step. That's why every comprehensive immigration plan has failed so far and why Obama's speech today will likely be ignored by Congress.

"Only when the border is secure will Americans trust Washington to pass broader reforms to create an immigration system that works. They know speeches and summits won't begin to secure the border: The fence will."

Source: Sen Jim DeMint's office.

Sen. John Cornyn (R) Texas

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today (May 9) issued the following statement in advance of President Obama's immigration speech in El Paso tomorrow, May 10, 2011:

"We aren't sure what the President plans to say tomorrow, but it's highly unlikely he'll mention a recent GAO report that found only 44 percent of our southern border is secure. He probably won't echo his Director of National Intelligence who said the border poses a direct threat to our national security. And I don't expect him to bring up Secretary Clinton's comparison of the situation in Mexico to the insurgency in Colombia in the 90s.

"It's disappointing that the only time border security and immigration reform get President Obama's attention is when he is campaigning. The bottom line is that nothing President Obama says, or where he says it, can change the fact that he failed to deliver on his promise to make immigration reform a priority during his first year in office."


Sen. Cornyn has introduced legislation that would put more boots on the ground, upgrade our outdated ports of entry, crack down on smuggling, and provide our border law enforcement with the resources they desperately need.

* $2 Billion Border Security Amendment

In 2010, Sen. Cornyn introduced a deficit-neutral border security amendment to the supplemental appropriations bill that would have provided much-needed resources for federal, state, and local law enforcement officers who work along the U.S.-Mexico border. Sen. Cornyn's amendment would have dedicated $2 billion to priorities in six key areas: border security and technology, state and local law enforcement, southwest border taskforces, border enforcement personnel, detention and removal activities, and ports of entry.

* Ports of Entry Legislation

Senator Cornyn introduced the Emergency Port of Entry Personnel and Infrastructure Funding Act of 2009 (S. 2767) in November 2009. Texas Border Coalition endorsed the bill, which would have made significant infrastructure updates to our ports of entry to boost security and efficiency in trade and traffic.

Source: Sen. John Cornyn's office.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Golden State blues--not undertaxed, just over governed

Golden State blues

By George F. Will

In 1967, five years after California became the most populous state, novelist Wallace Stegner said that California — energetic, innovative, hedonistic — was America, “only more so.” Today, this state’s budget crisis is like the nation’s, only more so. Bob Dutton is an island of calm in the eye of the storm — which should agitate Gov. Jerry Brown.

Dutton came to California from Nebraska at age 19 in 1969 and now is the leader of Republicans in the state Senate. He contentedly says that his caucus is “almost like a Chamber of Commerce board of directors.” Its members are mostly from small businesses, as he is. Because they are term-limited, they cannot make a career here, so they might as well follow their small — well, smaller — government inclinations.

They have it in their power to compel the governor to confront the public employees unions that have gained so much power over the state’s budget. All they need to do, Dutton notes, “is just say no to more taxes.” This is so because Brown needs two Republicans in each house of the Legislature to raise taxes (actually, to reinstate for five years some taxes and fees that will have lapsed by July 1), or to authorize a November referendum that could reinstate them.

Brown’s plan for balancing the budget is to close about half of the deficit with reductions and fund shifts already approved and the rest by tax increases. Republican resistance to the taxes is explained by facts provided by Troy Senik, writing in the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal:

“Californians already labor under sales-tax rates usually reserved for states without income taxes (at 8.25 percent, the nation’s highest) and sharply progressive income-tax rates usually reserved for states without sales taxes (the state’s top rate is 10.55 percent, and it doesn’t allow you to deduct your federal taxes, as some states with income taxes do).”

Those tax levels are surely related to these demographic facts: Between 2000 and 2010, Los Angeles gained fewer people than in any decade since the 1890s, and Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area have the slowest growth rates since the end of Spanish rule. For the first time since 1920, the Census did not award California even one additional congressional seat.

California’s Constitution requires a balanced budget. Sort of. For more than a decade it has been “balanced” only by creative accounting — a fact that should give pause to conservatives, in Washington and elsewhere, who are eager to constitutionalize fiscal policy by putting a balanced-budget requirement in the U.S. Constitution. California’s is one of the world’s longest Constitutions — if a document that has been amended more than 500 times by direct democracy can be said to truly constitute a political system. It controls much of state spending. For example, about 40 percent of the budget is dedicated to education. The Legislature has limited or no control over as much as 85 percent of revenue.

Brown knew all this last year when he campaigned for governor on a principle he articulated when running for president in 1976: “A little vagueness goes a long way in this business.” Brown is, however, a veteran practitioner of the rhetoric of reform. A transcript from “Meet the Press,” Oct. 5, 1975:

“Mr. Will: Governor, you expressed an interesting concept of representation when you said that you wanted to be governor of the 54 percent of the people who didn’t vote last year. How do you fashion a program for people who express no mandate?

“Gov. Brown: To stand up to the special pleaders who are encamped, I should say, encircling the state capitol, and to see through their particular factional claims to the broad public interest.”

The most muscular pleaders are the public employees unions. In 1978, Brown conferred on government employees the right to unionize and bargain collectively. In 2010, their unions fueled the campaign that restored him to the governor’s office. Thus does the liberal merry-go-round spin.

Bill Whalen of the Hoover Institution notes that California’s four most influential Democrats are Brown, U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who are 73, 77, 70 and 71, respectively: “No other state’s political ruling class is as gray, a terrific irony for youth-worshipping California.” Dutton and other relatively anonymous Republican legislators can, by being constructively obdurate (“no”), shake the foundations of reactionary liberalism — the regulatory state that seemed so right in the septuagenarians’ formative years, a half-century ago.



Vindication: Three Controversial Bush Policies Help Take Down bin Laden

Vindication: Three Controversial Bush Policies Help Take Down bin Laden

By Guy Benson

President Barack Obama will visit Ground Zero on Thursday to pay his respects, meet with families of the fallen, and mark a historic American accomplishment: Tracking down and killing the leader of a group responsible for the unhealed gash in lower Manhattan. The president’s predecessor, George W. Bush, will not join him at the ceremony, having politely declined Obama’s magnanimous invitation. Bush is maintaining his stated post-presidency preference to remain out of the political spotlight. Although he won’t be physically present to help mark the demise of Osama bin Laden – the man he’d famously vowed to bring to justice “dead or alive” – Americans owe President Bush a debt of gratitude for instituting a slate of controversial policies that ultimately helped execute that very goal.

Many in the chattering class are crowing about last weekend’s spectacular raid in Pakistan as if it’s an exclusive political victory for President Obama. The current administration does deserve a great deal of praise for planning and directing the successful operation. The plan took political courage: it involved an unannounced incursion into the sovereign territory of a nominal US ally, and it put dozens of elite American warriors’ lives in peril. A bombing or a drone strike would have been far less risky – but it also may have left unsettled the question of whether our top target had been dispatched. The job needed to be done the hard way, and Obama saw it through. Bravo.

Seeking to score cheap political points, some on the left have bragged that Obama did the job Bush was unable to do. This is an unfair, unseemly, and inaccurate attack. In the narrowest sense, yes, the mission was undeniably carried out on Obama’s watch, but evidence continues to mount that it could not have occurred without crucial intelligence gleaned through policies enacted by the Bush administration after September 11, 2001. Specifically, Osama bin Laden was found because the United States military exploited actionable intelligence extracted by subjecting terrorists to enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) in secret CIA prisons, by questioning enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay, and by capturing a top al Qaeda source in Iraq.

As long as some liberals remain intent on keeping political score, it must be pointed out that all three sources of these indispensible data points were direct or indirect results of Bush policies – EITs, Gitmo, and the Iraq war – that much of the American Left, including Barack Obama, fought tooth and nail.

We now know the critical key to unlocking the frustrating secret of bin Laden’s whereabouts was identifying and tracking one of his must trusted couriers and confidants. US intelligence and military officials learned of his existence and pseudonym in the years after 9/11 from a terrorist detained at Guantanamo Bay, Muhammad Mani al-Qahtani. Equipped with this information, interrogators were able to wring supplemental information from two high-value prisoners being held at the time in black site CIA prisons: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), the mastermind of the 9/11 plot, and his radical colleague, Abu Faraj al-Libi. This single piece of information, after years of scrutiny and investigation, would be bin Laden’s undoing.

When the American media revealed that the CIA was operating secret prisons during the Bush administration, the Left professed shock and indignation. They spent years demonizing and persecuting American intelligence operatives for engaging in “torture,” insisting that harsh interrogation techniques were an affront to “our values,” and – besides – they didn’t even work. Multiple public opinion polls taken over the last decade have shown, despite the Left’s protestations, the American people aren’t scandalized. US voters overwhelmingly support the limited use of harsh questioning tactics to prevent terrorist attacks on US soil – even when the loaded term “torture” is included in the question.

One such technique is waterboarding, a process employed against exactly three terrorists, and halted altogether in 2003. Waterboarding is widely acknowledged to have broken KSM, who had shown himself to be a hardened and skilled resistor of traditional interrogation methods. Information extracted from KSM disrupted active terror plots, saved innocent lives, and led to the capture or killing of other al Qaeda leaders. But was any of the intelligence related to bin Laden’s courier a direct result of waterboarding? NBC anchor Brian Williams put that question to President Obama’s CIA director, Leon Panetta, in an interview on Tuesday:

WILLIAMS: Can you confirm that it was as a result of waterboarding that we learned what we needed to learn to go after Bin Laden?

PANETTA: Brian, in the intelligence business you work from a lot of sources of information and that was true here… It's a little difficult to say it was due just to one source of information that we got… I think some of the detainees clearly were, you know, they used these enhanced interrogation techniques against some of these detainees. But I'm also saying that, you know, the debate about whether we would have gotten the same information through other approaches I think is always going to be an open question.

WILLIAMS: So finer point, one final time, enhanced interrogation techniques -- which has always been kind of a handy euphemism in these post-9/11 years -- that includes waterboarding?

PANETTA: That's correct.

In other words, waterboarding KSM and others may or may not have produced direct information about the identity bin Laden’s courier, but the use of coercive interrogation methods were instrumental in gathering additional strands of intelligence from certain detainees. That waterboarding cracked KSM’s resistance cannot be ignored in this context.

But the mere knowledge that an unidentified bin Laden lackey was roaming the planet under an assumed name was not nearly enough to nail him down or monitor his communication. That imperative piece of the puzzle fell into place after 2004, when the US captured a terrorist operative named Hassan Ghul. Ghul was a key member of Al Qaeda in Iraq, an entity whose very existence many liberals were reluctant to even acknowledge, based on a zealous adherence to the faulty premise that the Iraq war was untethered to our fight against al Qaeda. Ghul was detained in Iraq and shipped off to Pakistan for intense CIA questioning; he eventually provided the true name of bin Laden’s elusive courier: Sheik Abu Ahmed, a.k.a. Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti. Officials have described this morsel of intelligence as the “linchpin” of the bin Laden mission. US spies monitored al-Kuwaiti for several years. A lone phone call in 2010 eventually led them to bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad.

This web of intelligence – as sketchy, painstaking, and complex as it may be – is extraordinary: Al-Kuwaiti’s existence was flagged by at least one Guantanamo Bay detainee, his role and pseudonym were confirmed by KSM and al-Libi, and his true identity was spilled by an Al Qaeda terrorist operating in Iraq.

Barack Obama ran for president, in large measure, as the anti-Bush. He was a prominent opponent of the war in Iraq. He promised to shutter the Guantanamo Bay prison. He pledged to ban certain EITs. Today, as president, he is rightfully receiving praise from virtually all quarters for his decisive order to take out the most wanted man in the world. Obama, his supporters, and indeed all Americans have every reason to celebrate that accomplishment. But they must also recognize and appreciate that actions and policies implemented by President Bush, often in the face of searing partisan criticism, played an inextricable role in identifying the dots that were finally connected and acted upon last weekend.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Burning down the house: What caused our economic crisis?

Union Thugs Provide Card-Check Preview

Union Thugs Provide Card-Check Preview

Union members who blew the whistle on bosses who were stealing from the union got forcible reminders of how unions operate:

Unionized phone company employees say they were beaten or threatened after they accused their labor bosses of looting their coffers through various scams.

One member of Communications Workers of America Local 1101 said that after he reported a time-sheet padding scheme, a thug beat him so badly his spine was injured.

Another says he found a dead rat in his locker, while a third said a union officer warned that suspected informants should be brought off company property and "taken care of." ...

DiStefano told the Daily News he was "attacked by a union thug" as he started the morning shift at a Verizon garage in the Bronx in April 2009. "He pounded me with his fists, he spit on me, he choked me and threw me down to the floor," he said.

DiStefano said he suffered two herniated discs and had knee problems that required surgery. ...

Taravella said a dead rat was put in his locker with "a note tied to his tail" that said "Rest in Peace, Sebbie."

Card-check legislation is the unions' top priority and is strongly favored by Barack Obama and most Democrats. Why? Because under card check, there is no secret ballot. The unions know who is supporting them and who isn't. How will they treat the ones who don't sign the union card? The same way they treated the communications union workers who didn't appreciate having their money stolen by the bosses. If you think union violence is an old-fashioned concept, just let the Democrats adopt card check.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Dems' thuggery knows no bounds

Democratic thuggery--Michael A. Walsh - NYPOST.com

Dems' thuggery knows no bounds
Michael A. Walsh

Orrin Hatch, the senior senator from Utah, didn't mince words the other day on Hugh Hewitt's national radio show. The Democrats, he said, "play politics very, very tough, they play it well, and they don't give a damn about what's right and what's wrong."

He was speaking about battles in Washington, but an even more vivid example can be found in Wisconsin, where the Democrats are still trying to overturn the 2010 elections.

Blindsided last fall by the election of Gov. Scott Walker, the loss of both houses of the legislature and the US Senate seat held by ultraliberal Russ Feingold, the Democrats have simply refused to accept defeat and instead are continuing the fight by any means necessary.

Lawmakers' weeks-long flight from the state to prevent a vote on Walker's reformist budget made national news; less well-covered tactics have included recounts and recall petitions as well as threats and intimidation.

Never mind that Walker's limits on the public-employees unions' collective-bargaining privileges were rather modest. Federal unions have never had rights like Wisconsin's; other states, including Indiana, have adopted similar limits without a hint of the sky then falling.

Even Massachusetts is considering restricting municipal unions' collective-bargaining rights on health benefits to save cash-strapped cities and towns an estimated $100 million in the coming fiscal year.

The bill has passed one house of the Legislature and is pending in the other. Union officials in the Bay State are fuming, as but so far there have been no mass sit-ins, no occupation of the State House, no death threats against the legislators.

Massachusetts, you see, is a wholly owned Democratic Party subsidiary -- so there's no war if they seek something that's so outrageous when sought by Republicans.

Back in Wisconsin, the state attorney general's office last week released documents and audio recordings of some 70 threats against state officials.

Among the most outrageous was an e-mail allegedly from schoolteacher Katherine Windels, which read: "Please put your things in order because you will be killed and your families will also be killed due to your actions in the last 8 weeks. Please explain to them that this is because if we get rid of you and your families then it will save the rights of 300,000 people and also be able to close the deficit that you have created. I hope you have a good time in hell." She's been charged with two felony counts, including a bomb threat.

The controversial collective-bargaining law itself is in limbo, thanks to a restraining order issued in March by a judge in Dane County, where Madison is located. The ludicrous grounds: a claim that Republicans didn't give the public "proper notice" for a March 9 meeting that cleared the way for the bill's passage.

The state Supreme Court has set oral arguments on Walker's appeal of that ruling for June 6.

In a plain bid to wire that court, liberal JoAnne Kloppenburg challenged incumbent Justice David Prosser earlier this year. When she lost, she requested a recount, which thus far has cost state taxpayers nearly a quarter of a million dollars. The recount, which with all but one county reporting hasn't come close to overturning the result, is to finish May 26.

But even that won't be an end: Kloppenburg has said she'd likely to go court to challenge the election's legality.

As the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel opined: "This is no way to run an election."

Yet the Battle of Wisconsin's likely to look like a game of beanbag compared with what's coming nationally, as our nation's parlous fiscal condition forces as a desperate debate over the country's fundamental nature. Expect the Democrats to grab any tool in their kit and use it early and often against even common-sense Republican reform or pushback. And they call the Tea Party the radicals.

As Hatch noted, Democrats in Washington are already using their power ruthlessly, from last week's show-trial hearings with the oil executives to the National Labor Relations Board's diktat that Boeing can't create new jobs in Dreamliner production in right-to-work South Carolina, but only in unionized Washington state.

Hatch is right. And with the nation's future at stake, the GOP had better start acting accordingly.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/dems_thuggery_knows_no_bounds_DYzDa7UwmfkwzmNK5EkDxK#ixzz1NBNjh8qK

Saturday, May 21, 2011

GM sponsors and celebrates soon to be released Chi-Com propaganda film

PICKET: GM sponsors and celebrates soon to be released Chi-Com propaganda film

PICKET: GM sponsors and celebrates soon to be released Chi-Com propaganda film

Kerry Picket
In late 2010, General Motors agreed to sponsor a propaganda film celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The CCP made film titled (translated to English) “The Birth of a Party” or “The Great Achievement of Founding the Party" is set to premiere all over the Communist nation on June 15 reported China AutoWeb last September. The auto website adds:

"According to an announcement posted on Shanghai GM’s official web site yesterday, whose title reads "joining hands with China Film Group, Cadillac whole-heartedly supports the making of the Birth of a Party..."

The report goes further:

"As the CCP marries totalitarianism with capitalism and fools the people with entertainment, only the "politically correct" or stupid–or those who pretend to be so–can get rich. And GM seems to know this very well. While Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Volvo have all rushed to please China’s rich and powerful through physical enlargement (offering models of extended wheelbases), Cadillac gratifies the party orally, singing praises through a film."

According to the above report, the film will discuss events that led up to the formation of the CCP following the 1917 Russian Revolution. When the movie first went into production GM signed up Cadillac as the “chief business partner” with the Communist Party, stating: “Cadillac whole-heartedly supports the making of the Birth of a Party.”

In fact, an AP article in early May points out, "Chinese TV regulators have reportedly ordered local broadcasters to stay away from spy and crime thrillers as part of a propaganda buildup for the ruling Communist Party's 90th anniversary July 1." Stars of the film are reportedly chauffeured around China in the Cadillac SLS in an effort to promote the movie all over the Communist led country.

The United States government currently own 33% of the GM company following the auto-bailouts of 2009, and GM CEO Daniel Akerson describes China, as the "key to [GM's] success." (h/t The Detroit Bureau)

Presently, GM's business in China is selling more autos in the Asian country than in the United States. The Washington Post noted last week that China was GM's solution to help the car-maker recover from bankruptcy, so the company "is only expected to widen as an increasing number of Chinese grow rich enough to purchase their first car.”

Along with concern over China's ownership of trillions of dollars of U.S. debt, it is truly troubling that an American company financially supported now by the U.S. taxpayer is happily promoting Communist propaganda that glosses over the atrocities of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. What's next for GM? Selling military vehicles for the Chinese to threaten their own people with?


Friday, May 20, 2011

Union Thugs Provide Card-Check Preview

Union Thugs Provide Card-Check Preview by John Hinderaker/Powerline

Union members who blew the whistle on bosses who were stealing from the union got forcible reminders of how unions operate:

Unionized phone company employees say they were beaten or threatened after they accused their labor bosses of looting their coffers through various scams.

One member of Communications Workers of America Local 1101 said that after he reported a time-sheet padding scheme, a thug beat him so badly his spine was injured.

Another says he found a dead rat in his locker, while a third said a union officer warned that suspected informants should be brought off company property and "taken care of." ...

DiStefano told the Daily News he was "attacked by a union thug" as he started the morning shift at a Verizon garage in the Bronx in April 2009. "He pounded me with his fists, he spit on me, he choked me and threw me down to the floor," he said.

DiStefano said he suffered two herniated discs and had knee problems that required surgery. ...

Taravella said a dead rat was put in his locker with "a note tied to his tail" that said "Rest in Peace, Sebbie."

Card-check legislation is the unions' top priority and is strongly favored by Barack Obama and most Democrats. Why? Because under card check, there is no secret ballot. The unions know who is supporting them and who isn't. How will they treat the ones who don't sign the union card? The same way they treated the communications union workers who didn't appreciate having their money stolen by the bosses. If you think union violence is an old-fashioned concept, just let the Democrats adopt card check


Demagoguery 101--the inestimable crassness of O

Demagoguery 101 By Charles Krauthammer

“I’m going to do my part to lead a constructive and civil debate on these issues.”

— Barack Obama, speech on immigration, El Paso, May 10

Constructive and civil debate — like the one Obama initiated just four weeks ago on deficit reduction? The speech in which he accused the Republicans of abandoning families of autistic and Down syndrome kids? The debate in which Obama’s secretary of health and human services said that the Republican Medicare plan would make old folks “die sooner”?

In this same spirit of comity and mutual respect, Obama’s most recent invitation to civil discourse — on immigration — came just 11 minutes after he accused opponents of moving the goal posts on border enforcement. “Maybe they’ll need a moat,” he said sarcastically. “Maybe they want alligators in the moat.”

Nice touch. Looks like the Tucson truce — no demonization, no cross-hairs metaphors — is officially over. After all, the Republicans want to kill off the elderly, throw the disabled in the snow and watch alligators lunch on illegal immigrants.

The El Paso speech is notable not for breaking any new ground on immigration but for perfectly illustrating Obama’s political style: the professorial, almost therapeutic, invitation to civil discourse, wrapped around the basest of rhetorical devices — charges of malice compounded with accusations of bad faith. “They’ll never be satisfied,” said Obama about border control. “And I understand that. That’s politics.”

How understanding. The other side plays “politics,” Obama acts in the public interest. Their eyes are on poll numbers, political power, the next election; Obama’s rest fixedly on the little children.

This impugning of motives is an Obama constant. “They” play politics with deficit reduction, with government shutdowns, with health care. And now immigration. It is ironic that such a charge should be made in a speech that is nothing but politics. There is zero chance of any immigration legislation passing Congress in the next two years. El Paso was simply an attempt to gin up the Hispanic vote as part of an openly political two-city, three-event campaign swing in preparation for 2012.

Accordingly, the El Paso speech featured two other staples: the breathtaking invention and the statistical sleight of hand.

“The [border] fence is now basically complete,” asserted the president. Complete? There are now 350 miles of pedestrian fencing along the Mexican border. The border is 1,954 miles long. That’s 18 percent. And only one-tenth of that 18 percent is the double and triple fencing that has proved so remarkably effective in, for example, the Yuma sector. Another 299 miles — 15 percent — are vehicle barriers that pedestrians can walk right through.

Obama then boasted that on his watch 31 percent more drugs have been seized, 64 percent more weapons — proof of how he has secured the border. And for more proof: Apprehension of illegal immigrants is down 40 percent. Down? Indeed, says Obama, this means that fewer people are trying to cross the border.

Interesting logic. Seizures of drugs and guns go up — proof of effective border control. Seizures of people go down — yet more proof of effective border control. Up or down, it matters not. Whatever the numbers, Obama vindicates himself.

You can believe this flimflam or you can believe the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. The GAO reported in February that less than half the border is under “operational control” of the government. Which undermines the entire premise of Obama’s charge that, because the border is effectively secure, “Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement” didn’t really mean it.

I count myself among those who really do mean it. I have little doubt that most Americans would be quite willing to regularize and legalize the current millions of illegal immigrants if they were convinced that this was the last such cohort, as evidenced by, say, a GAO finding that the border is under full operational control and certification to the same effect by the governors of the four southern border states.

Americans are a generous people. Upon receipt of objective and reliable evidence that the border is secure — not Obama’s infinitely manipulable interdiction statistics — the question would be settled and the immigrants legalized.

Why doesn’t Obama put such a provision in comprehensive immigration legislation? Because for Obama, immigration reform is not about legislation, it’s about reelection. If I may quote the president: I understand that. That’s politics.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Obama's Post-Bin Laden Bounce Disappears In Gallup Poll

Obama's Post-Bin Laden Bounce Disappears In Gallup Poll - Hotline On Call

The bump President Obama received after the killing of Osama bin Laden more than two weeks ago in Pakistan has vanished completely, according to the latest Gallup Tracking poll released Monday.

Obama's approval rating is now at 46 percent, equal to his approval rating in the last tracking poll conducted before Obama addressed Americans late on May 1 and informed them of bin Laden's death. Forty-four percent of Americans now disapprove of the job Obama is doing as president.

According to the Gallup poll, Obama's approval rating crested at 52 percent after the bin Laden killing. His disapproval rating never fell lower than 40 percent.

Obama's bounce is smaller in magnitude and shorter in duration than the bumps enjoyed by other presidents over the past 70 years, according to a study by Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies. For example, George W. Bush received a 15-point bump after the capture of Saddam Hussein in 2003 -- a bounce that lasted seven weeks.

The poll also comes the same day as Gallup announced that three in four Americans "name some type of economic issue as the 'most important problem' facing the country today -- the highest net mentions of the economy in two years. Those numbers, combined with Obama's fleeting boost, suggest the economy remains -- by far -- the dominant issue of the 2012 presidential campaign.

The Gallup poll was conducted Friday, Saturday and Sunday, surveying 1,547 adults. The margin of error is +/- 2.5 percent


Stop stepping on employers and they will step up, Mr. President | Brett McMahon | Op Eds | Washington Examiner

Stop stepping on employers and they will step up, Mr. President Brett McMahon Op Eds Washington Examiner

By Brett McMahon

Stop stepping on employers and they will step up, Mr. President

Even for a lifetime politician, President Obama showed remarkable cynicism with his statement today that it’s time for companies to “step up” to increase hiring.

Specifically, he said “the issue here is not uncertainty. The issue is they've got to start placing their bets on America” and that "it's time for companies to step up."

Since the president’s entire workforce experience outside of politics consists only of “community organizing” and law school professorship, here are some thoughts from the real world on why we as employers could increase hiring if his administration would simply get out of the way:

* Rewarding Friends: My company has been a leader in the construction industry for decades because we hire, fire, promote and respect employees and managers based on their merit. Yet one of Obama's first official acts was to sign a “project labor agreement” executive order giving preference to unionized companies for public construction projects, even though 85 percent of private-sector construction employees choose not to join a union.

* Punishing “Enemies:” Now Obama's National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has signaled a fight with aircraft maker Boeing, which began construction on a new production facility in South Carolina where the company envisions fewer strikes by a militant union and a generally favorable environment. The government is seeking to block the company’s move, a dangerous precedent that would allow the government to tell businesses what states they can and cannot operate in.

Again, this is a direct threat to the employment not only of those thousands of South Carolina workers, but to the entire American workforce that will be less desirable for international investors choosing where to place their money.

Worse yet, this fight is clearly not about letting employers “step up” to hire good employees, but about a radical agenda within the president’s NLRB to control the flow of capital and jobs.

* Taxing Political Targets: Frankly, no one is shedding tears for the biggest of the big oil companies, but Democrats on Capitol Hill hope to use public sentiment to single out the industry for repeal of economy-wide tax treatments. A top economist has said repeal of just one of the tax credits in question this week would directly threaten an estimated 150,000 jobs—just in 2011.

And those jobs won’t come from Big Oil, which is a political target for Democrats. Those jobs will come from smaller and mid-size companies. As William H. Whitefield, owner of a five-decade family-owned small business in Houston, wrote last year of tax hikes and punitive treatment, “smaller, supporting companies like mine and countless others nationwide would be the first to fall from this economic tourniquet.”

* Structural Threats: Those are just some of the specific attacks on employment by the administration and its friends in Congress. Don’t forget that there are massive structural powderkegs which, despite the president’s learned assurances to the contrary, create uncertainty that no businessperson worth their salt would dare gamble on.

This includes public employee pay, their pensions, healthcare costs (all of which point to higher taxes in the future), the MediCare and Medicaid entitlements crisis, the looming implications of ObamaCare, and outrageous deficits and debt.

All of which is to remind the president that the government does not create jobs, but it most assuredly has the power to kill them, which is precisely what we are seeing.

Here’s a deal for the president: Employers will “step up” to use the Invisible Hand of the market to create more jobs when we no longer feel strangled by the All-Too-Visible Hand of Uncle Sam.

Brett McMahon is vice president of Miller & Long Concrete Construction and a spokesman for the Halt The Assault campaign.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Obama's Bounce, Cont.--back to pre-OBL lows

Obama's Bounce, Cont.   by John Hinderaker

Enough time has gone by that we can begin to assess the impact of the successful bin Laden mission on President Obama's standing with American voters. As I've said before, I think Obama's credibility on national security has been permanently enhanced, but how much that improves his overall standing with voters, given the priority that almost everyone is giving to economic and fiscal issues, is another question.

The most consistent likely voter polling that I am aware of is Scott Rasmussen's. Rasmussen currently shows Obama at -9 in his Approval Index, the difference between those who strongly approve and strongly disapprove of Obama's performance:

This represents some improvement, although Obama had actually moved out of the bottom of his range even before bin Laden was killed. It is interesting that the improvement comes mostly from voters saying they "disapprove" of Obama rather than "strongly disapproving." Which doesn't mean, obviously, that they will vote for him.

In terms of overall approval, Obama is currently at 50/49, up a couple of points since before the bin Laden mission. That represents a modest bounce, at best, but again, it was in the context of numbers that were already moving up a bit.

In other polling, Rasmussen finds Republicans leading Democrats in the generic Congressional ballot 41/38, voters favoring repeal of Obamacare by 57/36, and Obama leading a generic Republican for re-election by 45/43. That 45 percent re-elect number can't give Democrats much comfort.

All in all, it is fair to conclude that the bin Laden mission, admirable as it was, did not significantly reshape the political landscape. Nor, of course, should it have.


The Politics of Personal Intimidation

The Politics of Personal Intimidation  by John Hinderaker

A disturbing new element has crept into our political life: organized efforts to intimidate private citizens who choose to support certain political causes or otherwise participate in civic affairs. This, as far as I know, is unprecedented in our modern history. Our democracy depends on citizen involvement, and until now, Americans have felt free to participate in public life and to support whatever causes, political and otherwise, they choose. But if the Left has its way, that may be about to change.

We wrote here about a disgraceful episode in which approximately 500 union members were bused to the home of a lawyer who works for Bank of America, where they "demonstrated" on his lawn, thereby terrifying his teenage son, who was home alone. The event was supposed to have something to do with foreclosures. Nina Easton, who lives nearby and witnessed the attack first-hand, wrote at the time:

Now this event would accurately be called a "protest" if it were taking place at, say, a bank or the U.S. Capitol. But when hundreds of loud and angry strangers are descending on your family, your children, and your home, a more apt description of this assemblage would be "mob." Intimidation was the whole point of this exercise, and it worked-even on the police. A trio of officers who belatedly answered our calls confessed a fear that arrests might "incite" these trespassers.

We wrote last week about another attempt at such personal intimidation. Left-wing filmmaker Robert Greenwald (who, like most far-left activists, is funded by wealthy benefactors) set out to violate the privacy of the Koch brothers, Charles and David, by filming their houses, sending minions to ring their doorbells and demand to see them, and so on.

Greenwald made a very silly seven-minute video which talks mainly about the Koch brothers' seven homes and features three senior citizens--who, as the law averages would dictate, are nowhere near as well off as the Kochs--picnicking outside one of their homes and speculating about how many families could better be housed in it. (Their conversation was eerily reminiscent of a scene in Dr. Zhivago; Greenwald apparently yearns for an American Lenin to make things "just.") Greenwald's efforts supplement those of ThinkProgress, the Obama administration-affiliated web site whose employees stalk the Koch brothers with video cameras. And Greenwald also operates a web site called "Koch Brothers Exposed," where vicious, anonymous leftists can indulge their murderous fantasies.

This is, as I said, a brand-new phenomenon. We are not talking about public officials; put aside for a moment whether it would ever be appropriate for a mob to congregate on an office-holder's front yard. These are private citizens who are being targeted by the Left simply because they work for an unpopular company (the BOA lawyer) or support conservative rather than liberal causes (the Koch brothers). The purpose of these efforts is obvious: the Left wants to intimidate anyone who might consider opposing its legislative and cultural agenda.

Of course, this could be a two-way street. The Left has plenty of wealthy backers who could be intimidated by the same tactics. Indeed, most rich people who are active in politics are liberals, not conservatives. If owning multiple homes is somehow an offense, then let's be bipartisan. Robert Greenwald, how many houses do you own?

A simple Westlaw search indicates that one Robert Greenwald owns at least six residences, worth millions of dollars, in Los Angeles County alone, in addition to commercial properties. Is this our Robert Greenwald, the same hypocritical film director who excoriates the Kochs for owning too many houses? Someone should ask him. How many families whose houses have been foreclosed upon could be living in the properties owned by the left-wing filmmaker? Has Greenwald done anything to ease the plight of the homeless? Someone should ask him.

Greenwald lives on the largesse of wealthy donors, as we noted in the post linked above. How would those donors like to have their doorbells rung, and to be followed around by political enemies with cameras? According to its 2010 Annual Report, the Board of Directors of Greenwald's front group, Brave New Foundation, includes Wendy Abrams, whose family business does $2 billion in annual sales. How many houses does she own? Should we send someone around to ask her? Another board member is Katrina vanden Heuvel, whose far-left activities long been financed by her inherited wealth. Should she be stalked by conservatives with video cameras?

These are, of course, only rhetorical questions. Conservatives are decent people and don't engage in such repugnant tactics. The Left threatens to disrupt a basic equilibrium that has long prevailed in America's civic culture. Private citizens have traditionally been free to participate in public affairs and to support whatever causes they choose, without fear of harassment or intimidation. The Left now wants to destroy that consensus by harassing private citizens who happen to work for unpopular companies (unpopular on the left, anyway) or support conservative causes. This is a dangerous trend that all Americans of good will, conservatives and liberals alike, should oppose.


Defending defending America: Obama's NLRB v. Boeing

Defending defending America: Obama's NLRB v. Boeing Hugh Hewitt Columnists Washington Examiner By: Hugh Hewitt

It would be very useful if the Department of Defense were to provide the American public with a list of the manufacturers of the hundreds of different systems that played into the killing of Osama bin Laden last week.

Boeing Co. is almost certainly on that list since it is the third-largest defense contractor in America.

It makes a variety of rotorcraft, surveillance vehicles and a host of other lethal products that help make the American military the most feared and capable military in history. We don't know which company makes the secret helicopters used in the assault on bin Laden's compound, but we do know, as my fellow radio host Mark Levin noted last week, those choppers didn't get procured and deployed since January 2009.

The long arm of the American military and its CIA partners depends on technology and training that took years and years to produce. President Obama is directing missions using expertise and assets left behind by his predecessor.

Will Obama's successor in 2013? (Oh, if you doubt that, read Jay Cost on the "Food Stamp Recovery" in The Weekly Standard or the Sith Lord Rove on the map of the Electoral College from Thursday's Wall Street Journal.)

As Americans toast SEAL Team 6 and its Army pilots and vast support network, the GOP's would-be nominees should be pointing to the Pentagon that ordered and produced the tools used in the mission, and defending its budget as the president tries to find deep cuts there that will spare his favored constituencies painful reductions in government largess.

Part of that argument ought to be a vigorous defense of Boeing, now in the cross hairs of the president's Alinskyite appointees at the National Labor Relations Board.

During the first Republican presidential debate, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty brought up the NLRB's attack on Boeing's plans to build airplanes in South Carolina and the home state crowd loved it.

So will independents and defense-minded Democratic voters across the country stunned by another rise in unemployment and by Obama's relentless war on the private sector.

Boeing's new South Carolina plant is for assembly of the 787 Dreamliner, not a military aircraft, but an attack on one part of that vast company is an attack on all of it, and Obama's hard-left appointees to the NLRB are indeed attacking.

Boeing is fighting back, noting that "Boeing's decision to place the second 787 assembly line in North Charleston was based upon a number of factors, including a favorable business environment in South Carolina for manufacturing companies like Boeing; significant financial incentives from the state of South Carolina; achieving geographic diversity of its commercial-airline operations; as well as to protect the stability of the 787's global production system."

South Carolina's congressional delegation is also fully in the fray.

Pawlenty's deft decision to make the pro-Boeing argument -- on stage at a forum for GOP presidential candidates Thursday night -- demonstrated a keen ear for the news that will drive the election cycle, and set an example for the other top-tier GOP candidates.

Obama's attack on Boeing's decision to create great jobs in a red state, even when the manufacturer is one of America's great defense contractors, is a huge issue that needs to be used by GOP candidates up and down the ticket to define the president and his agenda.

Obama may have ordered the attack on bin Laden, but he has also ordered an attack on American manufacturing and defense, and especially on the freedom of businesses to build and expand where they want to.

Examiner Columnist Hugh Hewitt is a law professor at Chapman University Law School and a nationally syndicated radio talk show host who blogs daily at HughHewitt.com.

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columnists/2011/05/defending-defending-america-obamas-nlrb-v-boeing#ixzz1MWj0LNKD

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Gangster Government, Cont.

Gangster Government, Cont.   by John at 11:00 AM

We have written many times about the Obama administration's thug tactics. Often those tactics are exerted on behalf of unions, one of the Democratic Party's most stalwart (if fading) sources of money and support. One of the administration's recent outrages is the National Labor Relations Board's attempt to force Boeing to abandon its $1 billion-plus investment in a new production line in South Carolina, and build all of its new 787s in Washington, instead--using more expensive and less reliable union labor, of course.

It is simply unbelievable that the federal government would try to tell a private business where it can build a factory. When the order comes after an enormous investment has already been made, and would result in the American company's products being less competitive in the marketplace, the outrage is compounded. Boeing's investment, described as the "largest industrial investment in South Carolina history," would go largely or entirely to waste. That will show South Carolina for not voting for the Anointed One!

Worst of all, the government's case against Boeing is a tissue of lies. (That, too, is sadly typical of the Obama administration.) Michael Luttig, Boeing's General Counsel, is a brilliant lawyer who formerly served on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. He was often mentioned as a potential Supreme Court nominee, but eventually decided to move to the private sector. To see how dishonest Obama's appointees on the NLRB are, see Luttig's irate letter to the NLRB's Acting General Counsel, Lafe Solomon.

I am not sure whether Obama is in the pocket of the unions or vice versa, but Michael Ramirez's comment of some months ago is apt:

I'm pretty sure the country can survive four years of Barack Obama. It is not at all clear that we could survive eight years of his thuggery and dishonesty.

(for embedded links) http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2011/05/028995.php

Gas $s, jobless recovery, Obamacare--hey, OBL's gone!

Time to Celebrate?  by John Hinderaker

No doubt, very few of those who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 anticipated that the high point of his administration would be the extra-judicial killing of a terrorist leader by a team of Navy SEALs. This, as our involvement in Iraq winds down on the Bush administration's timetable, the war in Afghanistan has been stepped up, and a third conflict in Libya has been commenced. But for the Democrats, any port in a storm: they are happy to celebrate victories wherever they can find them.

Michael Ramirez questions whether such celebration is appropriate, given the other crises that beset us, most of them worsened if not created by the Obama administration's policies:

Actually, I think it was appropriate to celebrate bin Laden's death, and I did celebrate it. It was a beautifully executed mission by our armed forces that grew out of fine intelligence work in which our professionals persisted, with the support of our government and the American people, for nearly a decade. If that isn't worth celebrating, what is?

Still, one wonders whether it is appropriate for President Obama to politicize the event as much as he has. He is like a drowning man grabbing hold of a life raft. That is understandable; when a politician is down in the polls and a good break comes along, who can blame him for trying to make the most of it?

One is, nevertheless, struck by the rapturous manner in which the liberal press has applauded Obama's role in the mission. To take just a few examples: Barbara Walters, on The View--I know, but lots of women watch it, for some reason--gushed over the "courage, and the guts, and the coolness" that President Obama showed in approving the assassination of bin Laden. "It was enormously, enormously courageous," Walters assured her viewers.

MSNBC called the bin Laden mission a "game changer," and said it "makes all the other issues -- Trump, the birth certificate, even the substantive debate over the debt ceiling -- seem small by comparison..." Really? What a revelation! All this time, the Left thought that that the REAL issue that confronts us, and makes everything else insignificant by comparison, is the threat of Islamic terrorism! Who knew?

And then we have Doris Kearns Goodwin: "This professor had guts."

All of this praise is due to the fact that Obama approved, rather than nixing, the killing of bin Laden. A good decision, to be sure. But is there a single person, anywhere, who doubts that George W. Bush would have made the same call? Or John McCain, if he had won in 2008? Of course not. The Democrats' jubilation results from the fact that their guy didn't wilt under pressure, but rather lived up to the standard that George W. Bush and John McCain easily met. For this, he is called "courageous" and "gutsy."

One wonders: if killing bin Laden was a courageous, gutsy decision by Barack Obama, where were the liberals when President Bush approved the killing of Zarqawi? Do you remember any of them praising that decision as courageous and "game changing?" No, neither do I. Or how about the apprehension of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? How many congratulations did that skillfully-executed operation draw from the Left? And how about Bush's decision to topple, and then capture, Saddam Hussein, one of America's bitterest enemies, whose forces tried to shoot down American airplanes and who attempted to assassinate a former American President? Was that a courageous and gutsy decision? We all know the answer to that question.

What we are currently witnessing is the strange spectacle of liberals trying to grab, for their guy, a mantle neither he nor they ever sought: cold-blooded assassin of anti-American terrorists. This has nothing to do with their true values and priorities, and everything to do with the fact that Obama's economic policies have put him in a deep hole as he seeks re-election next year.