Sunday, October 31, 2010

Forgetting the Constitution: No "church/state separation"

Forgetting the Constitution - Thomas Sowell - National Review Online

Forgetting the Constitution

The assurance that “separation of church and state” is in the Constitution shows our elites’ ignorance.

Politics is not the only place where some pretty brassy statements have been made and repeated so often that some people have accepted these brassy statements as being as good as gold.

One of the brassiest of the brass oldies is the notion that the Constitution creates a “wall of separation” between church and state. This false notion has been so widely accepted that people who tell the truth get laughed at and mocked.

A recent New York Times piece said that it was “a flub of the first order” when Christine O’Donnell, Republican candidate for senator in Delaware, asked a law school audience, “Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?” According to the New York Times, “The question draw gasps and laughter” from this audience of professors and law students who are elites-in-waiting.

The New York Times writer joined in the mocking response to Ms. O’Donnell’s question, though admitting in passing that “in the strictest sense” the “actual words ‘separation of church and state’ do not appear in the text of the Constitution.” Either the separation of church and state is there or it is not there. It is not a question of some “strictest” technicality.

The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States begins, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” There is absolutely nothing in the Constitution about a “wall of separation” between church and state, either directly or indirectly.

That phrase was used in a letter by Thomas Jefferson, who was not even in the country when the Constitution was written. It was a phrase seized upon many years later, by people who wanted to restrict religious symbols, and it has been cited by judges who share that wish.

There was no mystery about what “an establishment of religion” meant when that phrase was put into the Constitution. It was not an open-ended invitation to judges to decide what role religion should play in American society or in American government.

The Church of England was an “established church.” That is, it was not only financed by the government, its members had privileges denied to members of other religions.

The people who wrote the Constitution of the United States had been British subjects most of their lives, and knew exactly what an “established church” meant. They wanted no such thing in the United States of America. End of story — or so it should have been.

For more than a century, no one thought that the First Amendment meant that religious symbols were forbidden on government property. Prayers were offered in Congress and in the Supreme Court. Chaplains served in the military and presidents took their oath of office on the Bible.

But, in our own times, judges have latched onto Jefferson’s phrase and run with it. It has been repeated so often in their decisions that it has become one of the brassiest of the brass oldies that get confused with golden oldies.

As fundamentally important as the First Amendment is, what is even more important is the question whether judges are to take it upon themselves to “interpret” the law to mean whatever they want it to mean, rather than what it plainly says.

This is part of a larger question, as to whether this country is to be a self-governing nation, controlled by “we the people,” as the Constitution put it, or whether arrogant elites shall take it upon themselves to find ways to impose what they want on the rest of us, by circumventing the Constitution.

Congress is already doing that by passing laws before anyone has time to read them and the White House is likewise circumventing the Constitution by appointing “czars” who have as much power as cabinet members, without having to go through the confirmation process prescribed for cabinet members by the Constitution.

Judges circumvent the Constitution by reading their own meaning into its words, regardless of how plain and unequivocal its words are.

The Constitution cannot protect us and our freedoms as a self-governing people unless we protect the Constitution. That means zero tolerance at election time for people who circumvent the letter and the spirit of the Constitution. Freedom is too precious to give it up in exchange for brassy words from arrogant elites.

— Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. © 2010 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Obamacare Report Card: It’s Worse than We Thought

Obamacare Report Card: It’s Worse than We Thought - By Douglas Holtz-Eakin - The Corner - National Review Online

Time flies when you’re having fun. So how is it that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is now 200 days old? As a new report issued by Sens. Tom Coburn and John Barrasso (“Grim Diagnosis: A Check-Up on the Federal Health Care Law”) illustrates, this is a birthday that does not surprise, but surely depresses.

Advocates sold this “reform” scheme as a way to bend the health-care cost curve and benefit the economy. The senators’ report documents vividly how Obamacare was wildly oversold and needs to be marked-to-market.

Some of the lowlights from the report card:

● Approximately 800,000 jobs could be lost at a time when growth continues to stagnate and the national unemployment rate remains above 9.5 percent.

● $500 billion: That’s the price of new taxes and fees that the law imposes and the real amount (contrary to the rigged CBO analysis) that the legislation will raise the federal deficit during the first ten years.

● “If you like your current health insurance, nothing changes…” Nope. The report card estimates that up to 8 out of 10 small businesses could lose their current health-care plans.

● Thanks to massive increases to Medicaid spending, emergency room visits, costs, and wait times will skyrocket. Under current legislation, Medicaid patients could generate 68 million visits to the ER and add $36 billion to U.S. health-care costs, further increasing health-care inflation.

On this unfortunate birthday for Americans, everyone should remember what they were promised by the president and what they received in return. They were promised tamer health care costs and a boon to economic growth. The reality is new taxes, higher regulatory burdens for small businesses, and health-care inflation.

Health-care reform dominated the headlines in 2010, but as this report reveals, the next Congress should place reform atop its legislative agenda in 2011 and finally deliver real reform to consumers and taxpayers.

— Douglas Holtz-Eakin is president of the American Action Forum

Obama wants his people to act "Against Enemies"--us.

Against ‘Enemies’ - By John J. Pitney - The Corner - National Review Online

It is sad to see that President Obama is urging Hispanic voters to “punish our enemies.” On June 3, 2008, then-Senator Obama said:

But what you don’t deserve is another election that’s governed by fear, and innuendo, and division. What you won’t hear from this campaign or this party is the kind of politics that uses religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon – that sees our opponents not as competitors to challenge, but enemies to demonize.

— John J. Pitney Jr. is the Roy P. Crocker professor of American politics at Claremont McKenna College.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Referendum Day--deciding our future

Referendum Day - Dennis Prager - National Review Online

Next Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010, is no ordinary Election Day.

It may be commonplace for commentators to announce that every election is “the most important election in our lifetime” or something analogous. But having never said that of a presidential election — let alone an off-year election — this commentator cannot be accused of crying wolf when I say that this off-year election is not simply the most important of my lifetime. It is the most important since the Civil War.

The reason is that unlike all previous elections, this one is actually a referendum on the direction of the United States of America.

If the Democrats win:

The American people have announced, consciously or not, that they support the Democratic party’s “fundamental transformation” — those were President Obama’s words when he campaigned, and he has lived up to them — of America from a liberty-based state of limited government into an equality-based welfare state with an ever-expanding government.

America will change from a country that emphasizes producing wealth to a country that emphasizes redistribution of wealth.

The Left has never been primarily interested in creating wealth. Its primary goal always and everywhere has been to redistribute it. That so many businessmen and much of Wall Street are only now awakening to this fact is only a testament to the staggering lack of wisdom in big business.

America will produce increasingly narcissistic citizens.

For proof, just look at the virtual shutdown of much of France and the ubiquitous rioting of vast numbers of its citizens over a tiny change in its welfare state — raising the age of retirement from 60 to 62. The idea that one will work two more years before receiving benefits until death so offends vast numbers of French — including young people who have every reason to believe they will live until the age of 100 — that they are fighting it as if their very lives were in jeopardy. That is the self-centeredness that all welfare states engender in their citizens.

America will further reinforce the conviction that minorities are victims who must be protected from their fellow Americans by the state.

Latinos, Blacks, Muslims, gays, and vast numbers of women have been told by the Left and its political party that they are all persecuted by a country that is SIXHIRB — Sexist, Intolerant, Xenophobic, Homophobic, Islamophobic, Racist, and Bigoted. That America is the least SIXHIRB country in the world is a fact that has been all but drowned out by the left-wing domination of television- and print-news media, all the entertainment media, and the high schools and universities.

America will continue to undermine its unique ability to Americanize people of all ethnic, national, racial, and religious backgrounds.

With a Democratic victory, the country’s very motto — E Pluribus Unum, “Out of Many, One” — will continue to erode, as ethnic and racial identities rather than one American identity are increasingly celebrated. Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, has just announced that Germany’s experiment with multiculturalism has “utterly failed,” but the Left and its political party, the Democrats, have redoubled their efforts to supplant E Pluribus Unum with multiculturalism.

America will continue its economic slide.

With a Democratic victory, unsustainable debts will mount, wealth-producing companies will continue to flee from higher taxes and more regulations, energy use will be taxed in the name of environmentalist utopianism, and the government will continue to print dollars.

America will become increasingly secular.

With a Democratic victory, the Left’s goal of rendering America’s other motto — “In God We Trust” — an anachronism will come closer to fruition. Leftism is a jealous god. As in Western Europe, the Judeo-Christian roots of this country are ceasing to play the indispensable moral role they have played since before America’s Founding.

And what would constitute a Democratic victory next Tuesday? Anything other than a Republican landslide. Any other result will be trumpeted by the media and by Democrats as solely a result of an economic recession and the normal losses the dominant party experiences in off-year elections.

In other words, the only way to ensure that the electoral results are interpreted as a repudiation of the growth of the state and other Democratic and leftist goals is through an enormous Republican victory. Only then will America understand that this election was not first about jobs. It was, above all, about America.

— Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. He may be contacted through his website,

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Polling shows support/popularity/strength of Tea Party

Tea party takes seat at political table By: Scott Rasmussen and Douglas E. Schoen

The tea party movement may well be the most powerful and potent force in America.

More than half, or 54percent, of Americans believe the tea party movement has been a good thing for the U.S. political system, our new survey revealed. Only 22 percent say that it is a bad thing, while 19 percent say it has made no difference.

This agrees with other recent polls. Fifty-five percent of Americans said that the tea party movement can be effective in making major changes in Washington in the near future, according to the most recent ABC News/Yahoo! News poll.

Supporting this notion, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll suggests that tea party backers – more than one-third (35 percent) of likely midterm voters –plan to vote for Republicans by a margin of 84 percent to 10 percent.

Thus the tea party movement is playing a substantial role in driving voters toward the GOP in the midterms– contributing to the Republicans’ 9-point generic vote lead in our survey — which increases to 12 points among the most likely voters. This could potentially mean a GOP takeover of one, and maybe even both, houses of Congress.

While many label the tea party movement as divisive, 69 percent of Americans now say that they are either positive about or neutral to the tea party, and only 24 percent of Americans say that they are against it.

Even with these numbers, the political class’s assault on the tea parties has been continuing and systematic. Indeed, Rasmussen Reports has shown that 87 percent of the political class views “tea party member” as a negative description, while almost half – or 48 percent — of ordinary mainstream voters see it as a positive.

The reason for this broad-based support is simple: Voters in our survey said that they believe that the current leadership in both parties has failed to achieve policies that address their most pressing concerns — creating jobs and fixing the economy. Furthermore, respondents were clear that they want a pro-growth agenda, fiscal discipline, limited government, deficit reduction, a free market and a change from politics as usual. They view the tea party movement as having a unique contribution in achieving these goals.

Given today’s anti-Washington, anti-incumbent sentiment, it is hardly surprising that voters have largely rejected the efforts of political, academic and media elites – on both right and left – to ignore or marginalize the tea party. Many among these elites have now branded the tea party movement as Astroturf, an inauthentic political movement funded by wealthy and influential businessmen.

Yet more than half the electorate (51 percent) still says that the tea party is a grass-roots movement. In terms of organization, 55 percent of the electorate says that the tea party movement is a decentralized collection of groups, organized by ordinary citizens. In terms of funding, voters say that the tea parties are funded organically (48 percent) – not by outside financial elites (30 percent).

These strong numbers indicate that there is little evidence that attacks against the tea party movement from political analysts or the administration are having a major effect.

The tea party movement’s influence goes beyond merely having a powerful brand. Its endorsement is perhaps the most coveted support a candidate can now receive -- more than mainstream party endorsements.

For example, 50 percent of likely voters said they are likely to choose a tea party-backed candidate in the midterm, according to a recent CNN/ORC poll, while only 37 percent of likely voters say they are more likely to vote for a candidate backed by President Barack Obama.

Right now, the tea party has higher favorability than either the Democratic or Republican Party. Forty-four percent of likely voters now say they are favorable to the tea party movement, compared with 38 percent for the Democrats and 30 percent for the GOP, according to a recent Zogby national poll.

More than one-third (36 percent) of Americans say that they have taken active steps to support or learn about the tea party movement, our polling revealed, one-quarter (25 percent) say they are supporters, 23 percent have attended a rally and 24 percent have given money or have friends who have given money.

These are extraordinary numbers that speak to a movement with staying power. In fact. three-quarters (75 percent) of the electorate expect the tea party movement to continue to have an active role indefinitely, and two-thirds (67 percent) say it has already had real impact on the political process.

Independent estimates have shown that the movement has the potential to elect up to 100 House members and at least potentially six new senators, from Florida, Utah, Kentucky, Colorado, Alaska and maybe and Nevada.

It is clear from our polling over the past 18 months – and certainly during this campaign – that rather than being a flash-in-the-pan, the tea party movement has the potential not only to play a big role in November, but to be decisive in the Republican nominating process in 2012. As well as in electing the next president.

Scott Rasmussen is president of Rasmussen Reports. Douglas Schoen is a political strategist. Together, they are the authors of the new book Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System (Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins).

Power and money produces self-interested corruption

Buried Treasuries - By Daniel Foster - The Corner - National Review Online By Daniel Foster

Check out this remarkable paragraph from J.P. Friere (emphasis in original):

Officials at the Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Stability contracted with a small consulting firm that has given nearly $25,000 to Democratic candidates since 2005 (and no money to Republicans) to hire “Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Analysts to support the Disclosure Services, Privacy and Treasury Records.” The firm is currently advertising a job opening for a FOIA analyst with experience in the “Use of FOIA/PA exemptions to withhold information from release to the public” (emphasis mine, and if that link goes down, The Examiner has kept a copy for its records).Read more at the Washington Examiner:

More here. This on the heels of a 388-page report from TARP inspector general Neil Barofsky that called Tim Geithner and Treasury “hopelessly out of touch” and “cynical” in their administration of TARP lending and President Obama’s mortgage modification program, eschewing “the value of transparency,” while offering “cruel. . . false hope” to homeowners and “increas[ing] moral hazard and concentration in the financial industry.”

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Five Signs the Dems are Doomed

Five Signs the Dems are Doomed by Benjamin Sarlin

Dems touting early voting numbers as a positive sign are ignoring the realities of the political climate. Benjamin Sarlin offers five clear signs that the party is in deep trouble, from mythical last-minute surges to impotent attacks on the next Speaker. Plus, check out The Daily Beast's Election Oracle for the latest predictions on all of the major races.

Every day, a new poll highlights your opponent’s titanic lead. Journalists, meanwhile, have begun publishing your political obit. And, adding insult to injury, the party’s top consultants are trading anonymous invective in the press over who’s to blame.

It is clear: Electoral apocalypse is near.

But as a true partisan, you can’t just throw your hands up and up and surrender. Your professional duty is to find that silver lining in every cloud, spreading false hope en route to electoral disaster.

“You're never going to hear party leaders saying ‘Oh man, we're really screwed, we're totally doomed,’” says Alan Abramowitz, a professor of political science at Emory. “You always want to buck up the troops and try to sound as positive as possible without being totally off the wall. There’s always a glimmer of hope.”

Spotting these signs isn’t too difficult as partisans and pundits of all sides work from the same playbook. A little disclaimer before we begin: we’re not saying the stories and arguments below are inherently inaccurate or slanted, only that they reliably pop up whenever one party’s chips are way down. With that said, here’ are some of the lines to look for when there’s a political disaster in the making.

1. This Time We’re Ready

Party officials love brushing off comparisons with blowouts past, telling reporters that they’ve since learned a thing or two about gritty campaigning—not like those screwups who used to run things (cough, 1994, cough). ”It’s no shock that this is going to be a hard cycle,” Jon Vogel, executive director of the DCCC, told The New York Times last spring. “People didn’t know that until late 1994; they ended their campaigns with money in the bank.” The latest wave of outside spending has shaken confidence, but as late as August Democrats were proudly showing off their cash advantage in battleground districts, as well as a 2 to 1 advantage over the Republicans’ House campaign committee. “Democrats insist that having so many well-funded incumbents proves false any comparisons to the 1994 election,” reported Chris Cillizza in The Washington Post.

Nice try, but Republicans offered the same spin in 2006. “No Republican is being taken by surprise, unlike many Democrats in 1994,” Mike Allen reported days before the election in Time, recounting his conversations with GOP officials. Conservatives were particularly heartened by their party’s 2 to 1 cash advantage in swing districts. And if that line sounded familiar then, it might be because you heard the same spin from Democrats… in 1994, when party officials bragged about their fundraising numbers two weeks ahead of the Republican Revolution. "It shows [they] recognized the challenge and started early,” DSCC spokesman Ken J. Klein told the Post. “They were well-prepared."

2. Demonizing the Speaker-in-Waiting

Abandon all hope, ye who attack your opponent’s likely Speaker: It’s a surefire sign of a desperate campaign. Republicans tried it in 2006, aggressively targeting Nancy Pelosi in spooky last-minute ads that warned “she’ll reward illegal aliens with Welfare, Food Stamps, and free education." Now Democrats are trying the same trick with Republican Minority Leader John Boehner, whose name President Obama drops frequently on the campaign trail. It’s just as likely to fail now as it was four years ago, however, mainly because speakers-in-waiting are such obscure figures. In one recent poll, nearly 70 percent of respondents didn’t know enough about Boehner to have an opinion—and that’s just in his home state of Ohio. “I’d be shocked if more than 20 percent of the voters have a meaningful opinion of John Boehner,” Abramowitz said. “And even if they do, they tend to fall on party lines, because if you don't know much about someone generally you'll react based on party affiliation.”

3. Polls, Schmolls

When your party is down in the polls—hundreds and hundreds of polls—the natural reaction is to go after the messenger. Karl Rove famously blasted public polling ahead of the 2006 election, when he told NPR, “you are entitled to your math and I'm entitled to THE math.” The hottest current example is one that Democrats used for a confidence boost in 2004 as well: cellphones. Many pollsters don’t call mobile phones, even as a large number of Democratic-leaning voters—that would be young people—use them exclusively. Progressive bloggers have leapt on a study by Pew Research showing a slight GOP bias in polls that only call home phones and there is evidence suggesting they’re on to something. But the fact that this is getting outsize attention is as much a reflection of Democrats’ desperate search for bright spots _WalmartAd_as anything else. When it comes to polling wars, this year is nothing compared to 2008 and the constant media discussion of the so-called Bradley Effect. The theory went that surveys couldn’t be trusted when black candidates faced off with white opponents, because white voters lied to pollsters in order to appear more tolerant and supporters of both Hillary Clinton and John McCain clung to it as their last hope when all else failed. Clinton’s campaign offered several other variations as well, citing her strength with “white working-class voters” as a sign Obama was weaker than his general election polling suggested. This inspired a brutal Saturday Night Live parody, in which Amy Poehler’s Clinton cheerfully asked for the nomination because “my supporters are racist.”

“You’re never going to hear party leaders saying ‘Oh man, we’re really screwed, we’re totally doomed,’”

4. It’s a Last-Minute Surge!

In an election consisting of hundreds of individual races, it’s easy to pick a few stray data points—like Joe Sestak’s surprising comeback in Pennsylvania’s Senate race—and build a case for late breaking momentum nationwide. This is how you end up with Democratic consultants confidently talking up a comeback even as political analysts downgrade the party’s overall picture to historically disastrous levels. Be especially wary of anyone trumpeting, “the base is coming home.” For example, Democratic consultant Bob Shrum (a potential item on this list all his own): who wrote recently that “it’s the Democratic base that’s stirring” as African-American and Hispanic voters return to the fold. Who knows, maybe Democrats will shock the world next month, but you know that similar polling gains have bamboozled partisans plenty of times before. Take Newt Gingrich, who declared in October 2006: “The Republican base seems to be coming back home” then cycled through about every argument described in this piece to support the claim. This was a popular line in 1994 as well, thanks largely to a sudden climb in President Clinton’s approval ratings. The late Boston Globe columnist David Nyhan’s final piece before the election began, “They’re coming home,” and repeated the mantra repeatedly alongside some truly awful predictions.

5. We Totally Wanted to Lose Anyway

The final phase of the party meltdown after denial, anger, and depression: acceptance. Once it becomes clear that a major loss is inevitable, expect a spate of op-eds making the case that it’s actually in the party’s best interest to give up its majorities. They may even have a good argument, but their very existence is about as ill an omen as it gets. One typical silver lining cited by pundits is that a midterm loss will boost the party’s chances in the next presidential election. Salon’s Mark Greenbaum runs with this idea, for example, arguing that the minority party’s new governing responsibilities will expose them to tougher criticism and give Obama a handy foil to rally his troops against.

“Sure, a GOP House could mean endless investigations and subpoenas, but it would also give the president a better chance at winning a second term in 2012,” Greenbaum writes.

As Republicans faced their own wipeout in 2006, conservative commentators penned plenty of pieces along the same lines. Ramesh Ponnuru took to The New York Times in September to explain that “if Republicans play their cards right, and the Democrats prove unequal to the task of running the House, the voters could put the Republicans back in power on Capitol Hill in 2008.”

Benjamin Sarlin is the Washington correspondent for The Daily Beast and edits the site's politics blog, Beltway Beast. He previously covered New York City politics for The New York Sun and has worked for
For inquiries, please contact The Daily Beast at


Monday, October 25, 2010

Thanks To Obama And Health Care Reform, I'm No Longer Paying For My Employees' Insurance

Thanks To Obama And Health Care Reform, I'm No Longer Paying For My Employees' Insurance

Larry M. Elkin, Palisades Hudson

For 15 years, I have taken pride in paying the full cost of health insurance for every full-time Palisades Hudson employee who wanted it. This month marks the last time I will do that.

Beginning in October, our 20 employees will make their own decisions, and their own arrangements, regarding health coverage. They can stay on our company’s plan, but they will have to pay the entire cost – ranging from $574 to $683 per month – themselves, through payroll deductions. Though I am raising everybody’s salary by $3,000 per year, or $250 per month, as a partial offset to the loss of company-paid health coverage, those who remain on the company plan will have a significant new out-of-pocket expense.

Some will undoubtedly make other arrangements instead. A few can elect to be covered under a spouse’s or domestic partner’s plan. In New York, where a state law already requires insurers to cover family members through age 29, some may be able to join a parent’s plan. These staffers may end up benefiting from the pay raise.

My employees could opt to go uninsured. The new federal requirement for all adults to have insurance or pay a penalty does not take effect until 2014. I hope nobody makes this choice, but they are adults, and the decision now is in their hands.

Our employees in Florida and Georgia have checked out the market for individual insurance. In those states, they may be able to purchase acceptable, if not ideal, coverage with the $250 per month raise I am giving them. There are adverse tax consequences, which we may address later with some type of flexible benefits program, but our workers in those states need not take a big economic hit to stay insured.

New York is another story. It has a broad range of mandates for individual insurance policies that make such coverage in the Empire State very expensive. Our Scarsdale staff is likely to find that the company plan, expensive as it is, is cheaper than individual insurance even for a healthy young adult.

My actions are not coming as a surprise to anyone. I wrote in this space in March that the Affordable Care Act, which was enacted later that month, is likely to make health coverage anything but affordable for those who actually pay the bills. I have no desire to stand next to the tracks in order to watch this train wreck unfold at close range. Though the most significant impacts are delayed until 2014 and beyond, I have no guarantee that the law at that time will make it economically practical to change my company health plans. So I am making the changes now.

When they wrote this year’s legislation, policymakers had a choice: They could emphasize near-universal coverage, or they could emphasize controlling costs. They opted for near-universal coverage. As a result, business owners and higher income Americans (many of whom, like me, are one and the same) will soon pay an array of higher taxes to finance the broader coverage that President Obama and congressional Democrats mandated.

So I now find myself responsible for paying for health insurance for more than 30 million strangers. Yet the cash needs of my business, which is growing despite the difficult economy of the past few years, are not going to decline. Nor are my personal financial commitments going to decrease. The only way to make financial room for those 30 million strangers is to stop paying for insurance for the 20 people I work with every day.

Politics mandated that Obama and his fellow Democrats at least pretend that their legislation will constrain runaway spending. The new law’s very name is part of that pretense. But there is little in the actual legislation that has any real prospect of controlling spending; instead, the law attempts to control premiums by fiat through new regulations and oversight. Government may be able to prevent insurers from pricing policies in ways that make sense, but it can’t force them to operate at a loss. The other shoe, in the form of higher premium prices or a rollback of the new law’s mandates, is certain to drop. Higher prices are the more likely outcome.

I am not the only employer reaching this conclusion. AT&T, Verizon, Caterpillar and Deere have all contemplated dropping their health benefits as a result of the health reform legislation. About 63 percent of businesses intend to shift a higher percentage of premium costs to employees in 2011, according to a survey recently released by the Washington-based National Business Group on Health. The survey included 72 companies that employ more than 3.7 million people. In most cases, the change will likely be a gradual one rather than an immediate move from fully employer-paid health care to fully employee-paid health care. But, over time, companies around the country will probably reach the same endpoint that I did. It is far easier for a small business owner like me to make a drastic change than it is for a global corporation.

The law’s supporters will portray employers like me as bad guys who are using the new law as a smokescreen to make changes we wanted to make anyway. Though the accusation is false, it has a germ of truth: Runaway health insurance costs have been a burden for every business that pays them. Every sensible manager has at least considered steps to stem this financial hemorrhage. Many of us were just holding on so as not to disrupt employees’ lives while we waited for policymakers to do something.

Now they have done something, and it only made the problem worse. There is no longer any reason to wait.

Want to blame me for cutting my employees’ health insurance? Go ahead. Just keep in mind that the only power I have is to sign checks. I did not create our broken system, and I am not the one who wasted an excellent chance to fix it.

Read more:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Here's how the Muslims impose their will against our freedom

Stifling Steyn - By Kathryn Jean Lopez - The Corner - National Review Online

From the National Post:

Organizers of an upcoming talk by conservative writer Mark Steyn planned for London, Ont., say they were muzzled by a local city-owned convention centre.

A trio of bloggers who run the site inquired on Monday about booking a Nov. 1 speech for Mr. Steyn at the London Convention Centre. The group announced on Thursday that it had received a phone call from the centre saying it would not be allowed to make the booking. The Convention Centre said it was a business decision, but organizers of the speech said they were told otherwise.

“The reason offered by the LCC [in a Tuesday morning phone call] was that they had received pressure from local Islamic groups, and they didn’t want to alienate their Muslim clients. It’s interesting to note that the LCC is owned by the City of London, and is therefore a government operation,” wrote Strictly Right’s Andrew Lawton at the website.

Ironically, Mr. Lawton said, Mr. Steyn’s talk will explore his familiar themes of Muslims and free speech. London Convention Centre general manager Lori Da Silva said denying next month’s Mark Steyn speech was a “business decision” in part due to concerns for security, and fairness for the centre’s other clients who might not enjoy a “rowdy” crowd at the same time. Asked if the content of Mr. Steyn’s work had anything to do with the Convention Centre’s decision, general manager replied, “No, we’re looking at the security risk.”

Speaking with The London Free Press, Ms. Da Silva implied the Convention Centre did factor Mr. Steyn’s potential to create controversy into its denial of a booking. “We read the article in The London Free Press about who the speaker was … and we thought that perhaps this event was more high-risk than we originally thought,” she was quoted as saying.

Hilarious--let it load and buffer--get ready to laugh

Call Me Senator from RightChange on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Public-Sector Unions Choke Taxpayers

Public-Sector Unions Choke Taxpayers By John Stossel

"I thought unions were great -- until at Chrysler, the union steward started screaming at me. Working at an unhurried pace, I'd exceeded 'production' for that job."

That comment, left on my blog by a viewer who watched my Fox Business Network show about unions, matches my experience. No one ordered me to slow down, but union rules and union culture at ABC and CBS slowed the work. Sometimes a camera crew took five minutes just to get out of the car.
Now unions conspire with politicians to rip off taxpayers.

Steve Melanga of the Manhattan Institute complains that politicians get union political support by granting government workers generous pensions and health benefits. After those politicians leave office, taxpayers are liable for trillions in unfunded promises.

"It's squeezing out all other spending," Melanga says. "Where are we going to get this $3 trillion dollars? ... When they're (government workers) allowed to retire at 58 and the rest of us are retiring at 60 and 67 -- and by the way we're living to 80 -- it's crazy. The public sector is the version of the European welfare state which, by the way, in Europe, they're actually rolling back."

John Gage, president of the biggest federal workers union, the American Federation of Government Employees, disagrees: "This thing about unions and the public sector and bankrupting America, that's very far from the truth. Yes, we have a problem with pensions. Basically because these pension plans haven't been properly funded."

Melanga's response: "Fund public-sector pensions at a level that we can afford, (and turn) the pension system into a defined-contribution system. Public-sector employee unions and states have refused to do that."

A defined-contribution plan is like your 401(k). Your pension benefits depend on how well your investments do. State and local unions, by contrast, have "defined-benefit" plans, which simply force taxpayers to send retirees a monthly check.

Gage doesn't like Malanga's suggestion: "Can you imagine working 30, 35 years ... and (with) what just happened with the (stock) market, suddenly you're left holding nothing?"

I don't think they'd be holding "nothing." Yes, the market crashed, but the Dow is still above 11,000. Twenty-eight years ago, it was below 800. That's up more than 1,000 percent. Over time, 401(k)s provide a decent retirement.

When I said that we in the private sector have such plans, Gage responded, "Only because of the laws in this country which make it almost impossible for private-sector workers to organize and to have a union. ... (W)ithout unions, we'd have a 'race to the bottom.'"

But this makes no sense. Do all employers move to Mexico because wages are lower there?

But many viewers side with Gage:

Grover said: "Stossel's take on Unions is nothing but appalling. According to him, workers have no rights. Workers are the ones who make a company profitable, not CEOs. In Stossel's slanted view, worker's are dirt and don't deserve anything."

Jakob wrote: "Are you really this stupid? Do you really want to lower American workers' standards to that of Honduras and China, where democratic unions do not exist? Would you like for us to go back to a time in America before we had unions? When children worked in factories for 14-hour days and health and safety standards simply did not exist?"

These are popular views. But they are wrong. Factories are safer because of free markets. Companies want better workers and must compete to get them. Free markets create wealth that permits parents to send their kids to schools instead of factories. Unions once helped to advance working conditions, but now union work rules mostly retard growth and progress.

Many workers understand that, and that's why only 8 percent of private-sector workers still belong to unions. In the private sector, wage and pension demands are tempered by competition. If one company pays too much, a competitor takes his business.

But governments are monopolies. They face no competition and get their money by force. So they can conspire with public-sector unions to milk taxpayers. That explains the fix we're in today.

Something's got to give.

Copyright 2010, Creators Syndicate Inc.

Page Printed from: at October 23, 2010 - 07:05:51 PM CDT

Friday, October 22, 2010

Stop Bashing Business, Mr. President

Stop Bashing Business, Mr. President

If we tried to start The Home Depot today, it's a stone cold certainty that it would never have gotten off the ground  By KEN LANGONE

Although I was glad that you answered a question of mine at the Sept. 20 town-hall meeting you hosted in Washington, D.C., Mr. President, I must say that the event seemed more like a lecture than a dialogue. For more than two years the country has listened to your sharp rhetoric about how American businesses are short-changing workers, fleecing customers, cheating borrowers, and generally "driving the economy into a ditch," to borrow your oft-repeated phrase.

My question to you was why, during a time when investment and dynamism are so critical to our country, was it necessary to vilify the very people who deliver that growth? Instead of offering a straight answer, you informed me that I was part of a "reckless" group that had made "bad decisions" and now required your guidance, if only I'd stop "resisting" it.

I'm sure that kind of argument draws cheers from the partisan faithful. But to my ears it sounded patronizing. Of course, one of the chief conceits of centralized economic planning is that the planners know better than everybody else.

But there's a much deeper problem than whether I am personally irked or not. Your insistence that your policies are necessary and beneficial to business is utterly at odds with what you and your administration are saying elsewhere. You pick a fight with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, accusing it of using foreign money to influence congressional elections, something the chamber adamantly denies. Your U.S. attorney in New York, Preet Bahrara, compares investment firms to Mexican drug cartels and says he wants the power to wiretap Wall Street when he sees fit. And you drew guffaws of approving laughter with your car-wreck metaphor, recently telling a crowd that those who differ with your approach are "standing up on the road, sipping a Slurpee" while you are "shoving" and "sweating" to fix the broken-down jalopy of state.

That short-sighted wavering—between condescending encouragement one day and hostile disparagement the next—creates uncertainty that, as any investor could tell you, causes economic paralysis. That's because no one can tell what to expect next.

A little more than 30 years ago, Bernie Marcus, Arthur Blank, Pat Farrah and I got together and founded The Home Depot. Our dream was to create (memo to DNC activists: that's build, not take or coerce) a new kind of home-improvement center catering to do-it-yourselfers. The concept was to have a wide assortment, a high level of service, and the lowest pricing possible.

We opened the front door in 1979, also a time of severe economic slowdown. Yet today, Home Depot is staffed by more than 325,000 dedicated, well-trained, and highly motivated people offering outstanding service and knowledge to millions of consumers.

If we tried to start Home Depot today, under the kind of onerous regulatory controls that you have advocated, it's a stone cold certainty that our business would never get off the ground, much less thrive. Rules against providing stock options would have prevented us from incentivizing worthy employees in the start-up phase—never mind the incredibly high cost of regulatory compliance overall and mandatory health insurance. Still worse are the ever-rapacious trial lawyers.

Meantime, you seem obsessed with repealing tax cuts for "millionaires and billionaires." Contrary to what you might assume, I didn't start with any advantages and neither did most of the successful people I know. I am the grandson of immigrants who came to this country seeking basic economic and personal liberty. My parents worked tirelessly to build on that opportunity. My first job was as a day laborer on the construction of the Long Island Expressway more than 50 years ago. The wealth that was created by my investments wasn't put into a giant swimming pool as so many elected demagogues seem to imagine. Instead it benefitted our employees, their families and our community at large.

I stand behind no one in my enthusiasm and dedication to improving our society and especially our health care. It's worth adding that it makes little sense to send Treasury checks to high net-worth people in the form of Social Security. That includes you, me and scores of members of Congress. Why not cut through that red tape, Mr. President, and apply a basic means test to that program? Just make sure that money actually reduces federal spending and isn't simply shifted elsewhere. I guarantee you that many millionaires and billionaires will gladly forego it—as my wife and I already do when we forward those checks each month to charity.

It's not too late to include the voices of experienced business people in your efforts, small business owners in particular. Americans would be right to wonder why you haven't already.

Mr. Langone, a former director of the New York Stock Exchange and co-founder of Home Depot, is chairman of Invemed Associates.

Copyright 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 21, 2010

How to Turn a Recession into a Depression

How to Turn a Recession into a Depression - Victor Davis Hanson - National Review Online

Destroy business confidence, cozy up to socialists abroad, send deficits through the ceiling ― that should do it.

It is hard for a president to turn a recession into a long-term downturn in the United States, given the inherent resiliency of private enterprise and America’s open and free markets. But if you were to try, you might do something like the following.

First, propose all sorts of new taxes. Float trial balloons about even more on the horizon. Subordinates should whisper about a VAT/national sales tax. Other aides should revisit campaign talk about lifting the caps on income subject to payroll taxes. A centerpiece of the effort would be to insist on bringing back the Clinton income-tax rates — but this time targeting only high earners and not putting commensurate caps on federal spending. For insurance in making things worse, raise capital-gains taxes. And why not add a new health-care tax surcharge? Let inheritance taxes kick back in. Hope that the states do their synergistic part by raising their own taxes at the same time. The trick is to dissuade businesses from taking risks, by making clear that any new profits are illegitimate and therefore will go to the government.

Second, business expansion is predicated on confidence in the future. Destroy that, and depression can become far easier to achieve. Often the decision to hire or to buy new equipment is psychological in nature — predicated on hope in the larger business climate. So to ruin that landscape, you might unleash a barrage of anti-business, anti-wealth rhetoric to remind job creators that they are already too rich from exploitative practices. The president himself might lead the attack against Wall Street, CEOs, doctors, and insurers. Now and then it would be wise to spice it up with a nice socialist quip such as “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money” — or digs about the wealthy needlessly jetting to the Super Bowl or Las Vegas. Try out lines like “keep the boot on their necks” and “know whose ass to kick.” Turn Koch Industries in the public imagination into something akin to IG Farben. Make the Chamber of Commerce the equivalent of Enron. Create a pantheon of good capitalists like George Soros, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett, who never speculate, hedge, or seek monopolies, and set them against bad ones like Charles and David Koch. Remember, the aim is to let businesses know on a very visceral level that you simply do not like them.

Third, create an artificial economic divide of them/us. Pick an arbitrary figure, say $250,000 in annual income. Families above that figure are suspect and need to pay far more of their ill-gotten gains in income taxes — their “fair share” — to “spread the wealth” and achieve “redistributive change.” Once the capital of small businesses is demonized, they will either stop making any more or hide what they have. Either way, the economy fortunately slows.

Fourth, if one is really serious about undermining business confidence, then attack the very structure of law, statute, and custom. Reverse the legal order of creditors in the Chrysler bailout case to favor labor unions. Call the investors and creditors “speculators.” Pick a big number — why not $20 billion? — for BP to fork over for the Gulf oil spill. Have your labor secretary go on record as saying that illegal immigration is not really illegal; e.g., “Every worker has a right to be paid fairly, whether documented or not.” Sue the state of Arizona for trying to enforce immigration laws. Excuse sanctuary cities that openly flout such laws. Apologize to foreign governments, like the authoritarian Chinese, for Arizona, and then encourage other nations to join in on law suits against Americans. Again, the point is to fire a volley across the bow of businesses, letting them know that social awareness and progressive ideology trump strict enforcement of legal statute — and so they had better make the necessary adjustments.

Fifth, bring as many academics into the administration, and as few people from private enterprise, as possible. The point is to assure the private sector that those who are tenured and for most of their lives have been given guaranteed annual pay raises, who pontificate and theorize rather than create and build, will oversee their antitheses in the business community. Then just when their entire Keynesian blueprint is operative — have them all quit their jobs and return to places like Berkeley, Harvard, and the Council on Foreign Relations. If the image of hostility does not work in slowing down private enterprise, this impression of incompetence — and even cynicism — surely will.

Sixth, overregulation is a powerful tool for prompting a depression and should not be ignored. Promise to go well beyond passing cap-and-trade energy taxes (“an extraordinary first step”); convince businesses (“who can afford it”) with “price signals” that if higher taxes cannot take all their profits, their new energy bills most certainly will. Again, the point is to assure the business community that all that pop socialist talk on the campaign trail was serious stuff. If the president once joshed that energy bills were going to rise dramatically, now in a recession is the time to remind employers that, in fact, they will. Dovetail new energy regulations with vast new health-care and financial regulations. Once again, the message is that the wasteful, cruel private sector must be corralled by the far better public sector.

Seventh, gorge the beast. Try to get annual federal deficits up to the $1.3–$1.5 trillion range. Reagan tried to “starve the beast” — that is, to lower federal spending by lowering taxes. Why not do the inverse and borrow so much money, pile up so much debt, that even fiscal hawks will concede that higher taxes are necessary? It is a win/win/win/win/win proposition: Bigger deficits mean more federal spending, which means more federal employees, who will find more regulations to impose, which will cost employers more money and require higher taxes.

Eighth, take over as many private businesses as possible, the bigger the better — auto manufacturers, banks, insurers. Heck, absorb the entire student-loan program while you’re at it. Remind private businesses that their once-comfortable world of free-market capitalism isn’t so free any more. Dream up a cash-for-clunkers program that destroys the used-car market and lets government borrow billions to buy up old automobiles. “You’re next” is a valuable tool in warning businesses to keep a low profile and slow things down.

Ninth, do not forget to reset foreign policy. Let it be known that socialist systems abroad are no longer suspect. Reach out to Iran, Syria, Cuba, and Venezuela; snub free-market Israel and Colombia. Pick a fight with Germany over borrowing. Run down the value of the dollar. Talk about Keynesian deficits as a proper global model. Mimic the social policies of the European Union. Talk of protectionism and trade wars with China to come. Oppose free-trade agreements.

Tenth, assure businesses that they need more unions. Elevate the profile of the SEIU and ACORN. Get Andy Stern into the White House as much as possible. Make sure Hilda Solis over at Labor keeps up with those videos about exploited illegal aliens coming to her for help. Remind everyone how the UAW’s pensions, wages, and benefits are now protected by Government Motors. Ensure that in campaign appeals you list special-interest groups — “black folks,” young people, unions — to the deliberate exclusion of employers and businesses.

If this ten-step program were to be followed, we might just get unemployment up to near 10 percent, consumer confidence down to historical lows, food-stamp use to record highs, the dollar to a new low, and annual budget deficits at levels previously unimaginable. That way we will never waste a crisis, since all sorts of new possibilities open up once we turn a normal recession into a genuine old-fashioned depression.

— 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.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Is California Insane?

Is California Insane? By Roger L Simon
One of the famous definitions of insanity is repeating the same mistake over and over again while expecting a different result. Whether that’s a perfect definition is open to debate, but one thing is certain: it’s as accurate a description of the California electorate at this moment in 2010 as you could get.

How else to explain that Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer are still leading Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina by 5.4% [1] and 3.3% [2] (RCP averages) in a state where unemployment is 12.4% [3] (not including the underemployed and the astronomical number that have already given up), and from which businesses are fleeing [4] like rats from the proverbial sinking ship? Even the storefronts on swanky Rodeo Drive are standing empty.

Nevertheless, a plurality of the voters still want the same old, same old. I thought it was supposed to be the economy, stupid. It’s not as if Whitman and Fiorina are implausible candidates in a time of economic crisis. They’re ex-CEOs.

Crazy, no? How do you explain it? Sure Whitman and Fiorina have made mistakes in their campaigns, but so have their opponents. And with the state nearing bankruptcy, you would think minor campaign flubs would pale into insignificance.

So is it the mainstream media fuddy-duddy liberal obfuscation thing? That’s part of it, I guess, but given the extent of the layoffs at the state’s largest newspaper, the Los Angeles Times, which have been going on for some time now [5], you’d think even the media class would be waking up.

Alas, no. The truth is California — the land built on the future — has become stunningly averse to change.

It is a depressed place made up of terrified people, clinging to the solutions of another era. The idea that the electorate could even consider electing Jerry Brown in 2010 attests to that. At least you can understand the union workers — who are desperate to maintain their unsustainable pensions — supporting him, but the rest of the populace? You are dealing with a form of habituation so deep reality has no place in the equation.

California now is the state of the childishly threatened. No one seems to have an imagination anymore, particularly Hollywood, the industry that depends on imagination. They are backing Jerry with a tenacity that makes no sense. [6] Hollywood was built on entrepreneurship, yet they abjure Whitman, one of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time.

What do these entertainment kingpins think will happen if Jerry Brown is elected? Do they think things will change? Do they want things to change or do they like things the way they are? Don’t look for the answers to these questions. Habit and tradition prevail into oblivion.

Indeed, to return to my premise, the situation is clear: as of now, California’s electorate is “repeating the same mistake over and over again while expecting a different result.” They used to say California was crazy because everyone was whacked out on acid or buzzed on coke. That’s nothing compared to now.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Perhaps Democrats regret using strong-arm tactics

Perhaps Democrats regret using strong-arm tactics Washington Examiner By: Noemie Emery

Perhaps the Democrats are starting to realize that pushing health care through on a procedural loophole against the vigorously expressed will of the people wasn't such a great idea after all.

Long before health care was passed, or began to unravel, it became apparent that this bill would be a disaster for the party that passed it, a bomb that blew up in the hands of its maker, destroying not only the party in question, but the political climate, the trust of the voters, and the political discourse for cycles to come.

"A majority of voters in key battleground districts favor repeal of the ... overhaul," the Hill said last week, citing a poll of swing House districts by Democratic pollster Mark Penn. As Penn concluded, "Republicans strongly oppose it, independents are wary of it, and a surprising number of Democrats want it overturned."

In these districts, 56 percent of all voters favored repeal, as did 54 percent of independents, as did undecideds by a 49-27 percent margin, as did 23 percent (or almost one-fourth) of all Democrats. In other words, "In each district, a majority of those surveyed said they want the controversial law gone."

What these figures mean is that in the next Congress and in the next cycle these voters will have large numbers of people in office ready and willing to give them their wish. At the same time, 21 states are filing law suits against it; in state elections voters are voting against it; and bad news surprises -- soaring premiums and coverage being dropped by employers and companies -- are coming out every day.

As a result, we are seeing something unique in our history: an uprising of voters trying in every way possible to roll back an act that was always unpopular, and was passed by means most people think of as borderline legal, and without legitimacy in any sense of the word.

Whether people object to the act or the way it was passed is a moot question, as the answer is "both of them." And its chances of surviving in the form it was passed in grow less and less every day.

Perhaps Democrats should have spent less time trying to buy and bully their members into stiffing their voters, and more time trying to build up the public's support.

Perhaps when the Tea Parties began, they should have tried to pre-empt or defuse them, and not dismiss them as racists and "Astroturf." Perhaps they shouldn't have listened to liberal bloggers and listened instead to the voters.

Perhaps they should have paid heed to Virginia, which voted for Obama by 8 points, and for Gov. Bob McDonnell by 17, and to New Jersey, which went for Obama by 17 points, and went for Chris Christie by 5. Perhaps they should have listened to Massachusetts, where, in a state that went 26 years without a Republican voice in the Senate, Scott Brown won by 5 points on a pledge to kill the health care bill.

Perhaps they shouldn't have talked about deem and pass, or about passing the bill before reading it.

Perhaps Nancy Pelosi shouldn't have marched through the crowd with an oversized gavel and an ear-to-ear grin. Perhaps she shouldn't have taken the black caucus with her, hoping to provoke what could have passed for an incident, and, when nothing happened, called the crowd racist anyhow.

Perhaps they should have known that an act people loathe is an endangered species; and that passing a bill without public support is not merely wrong, but is playing with fire.

Perhaps they are learning it now.

Examiner Columnist Noemie Emery is contributing editor to the Weekly Standard and author of "Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Never forget the brutality behind the Che myth

Che Guevara; Guerrilla Doofus and Murdering Coward

Che Guevara; Guerrilla Doofus and Murdering Coward

By Humberto Fontova

10/9/2010 Forty three years ago this week, Ernesto "Che" Guevara got a major dose of his own medicine. Without trial he was declared a murderer, stood against a wall and shot. Historically speaking, justice has rarely been better served. If the saying "What goes around comes around" ever fit, it's here.

"When you saw the beaming look on Che's face as the victims were tied to the stake and blasted apart by the firing squad," said a former Cuban political prisoner Roberto Martin-Perez, to your humble servant here, "you saw there was something seriously, seriously wrong with Che Guevara." As commander of the La Cabana execution yard, Che often shattered the skull of the condemned man (or boy) by firing the coup de grace himself. When other duties tore him away from his beloved execution yard, he consoled himself by viewing the slaughter. Che's second-story office in Havana’s La Cabana prison had a section of wall torn out so he could watch his darling firing-squads at work.

Even as a youth, Ernesto Guevara's writings revealed a serious mental illness. "My nostrils dilate while savoring the acrid odor of gunpowder and blood. Crazy with fury I will stain my rifle red while slaughtering any vencido that falls in my hands!” This passage is from Ernesto Guevara's famous Motorcycle Diaries, though Robert Redford somehow overlooked it while directing his heart-warming movie.

The Spanish word vencido, by the way, translates into "defeated" or "surrendered."And indeed, "the "acrid odor of gunpowder and blood" very, very rarely reached Guevara's nostrils from anything properly describable as combat. It mostly came from the close-range murders of defenseless men (and boys.) Carlos Machado was 15 years old in 1963 when the bullets from the firing squad shattered his body. His twin brother and father collapsed beside Carlos from the same volley. All had resisted Castro and Che's theft of their humble family farm, all refused blindfolds and all died sneering at their Communist murderers, as did thousands of their valiant countrymen. "Viva Cuba Libre! Viva Cristo Rey! Abajo Comunismo!" "The defiant yells would make the walls of La Cabana prison tremble," wrote eyewitness to the slaughter, Armando Valladares.

The one genuine accomplishment in Che Guevara's life was the mass-murder of defenseless men and boys. Under his own gun dozens died. Under his orders thousands crumpled. At everything else Che Guevara failed abysmally, even comically.

During his Bolivian "guerrilla" campaign, Che split his forces whereupon they got hopelessly lost and bumbled around, half-starved, half-clothed and half-shod, without any contact with each other for 6 months before being wiped out. They didn't even have WWII vintage walkie-talkies to communicate and seemed incapable of applying a compass reading to a map. They spent much of the time walking in circles and were usually within a mile of each other. During this blundering they often engaged in ferocious firefights against each other.

"You hate to laugh at anything associated with Che, who murdered so many defenseless men and boys," says Felix Rodriguez, the Cuban-American CIA officer who played a key role in tracking him down in Bolivia. "But when it comes to Che as "guerrilla" you simply can't help but guffaw."

Che's genocidal fantasies included a continental reign of Stalinism. And to achieve this ideal he craved, "millions of atomic victims" - most of them Americans. "The U.S. is the great enemy of mankind!" raved Ernesto Che Guevara in 1961. "Against those hyenas there is no option but extermination. We will bring the war to the imperialist enemies' very home, to his places of work and recreation. The imperialist enemy must feel like a hunted animal wherever he moves. Thus we'll destroy him! We must keep our hatred against them [the U.S.] alive and fan it to paroxysms!"

This was Che's prescription for America almost half a century before Osama bin Laden, and Al-Zarqawi and Faisal Shahzad appeared on our radar screens. Compared to Che Guevara, Ahmadinejad sounds like the Dalai Lama.

So for many, the questions remains: how did such an incurable doofus, sadist and epic idiot attain such iconic status?

The answer is that this psychotic and thoroughly unimposing vagrant named Ernesto Guevara de la Serna y Lynch had the magnificent fortune of linking up with modern history's top press agent, Fidel Castro, who -- from the New York Times' Herbert Matthews in 1957, through CBS' Ed Murrow in 1959 to CBS' Dan Rather, to ABC's Barbara Walters, to most recently, the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg -- always had American reporters anxiously scurrying to his every beck and call and eating out of his hand like trained pigeons.

Had Ernesto Guevara not linked up with Raul and Fidel Castro in Mexico city that fateful summer of 1955 -- had he not linked up with a Cuban exile named Nico Lopez in Guatemala the year before who later introduced him to Raul and Fidel Castro in Mexico City -- everything points to Ernesto continuing his life of a traveling hobo, panhandling, mooching off women, staying in flophouses and scribbling unreadable poetry.

Che's image is particularly ubiquitous on college campuses. But in the wrong places. He belongs in the marketing, PR and advertising departments. His lessons and history are fascinating and valuable, but only in light of P.T. Barnum. One born every minute, Mr. Barnum? If only you'd lived to see the Che phenomenon. Actually, ten are born every second.

His pathetic whimpering while dropping his fully-loaded weapons as two Bolivian soldiers approached him on Oct. 8 1967 ("Don't shoot!" I'm Che!" I'm worth more to you alive than dead!") proves that this cowardly, murdering swine was unfit to carry his victims' slop buckets.

Humberto Fontova

Humberto Fontova is the author of four books including Exposing the Real Che Guevara and the Useful Idiots Who idolize Him and Fidel; Hollywood's Favorite Tyrant. Visit;_guerrilla_doofus_and_murdering_coward

Saturday, October 16, 2010

NEW YORK TIMES: Obama’s “foreign money” claims are bogus

October 9, 2010 (See linked article for all other links):

NEW YORK TIMES: Obama’s “foreign money” claims are bogus. They’re also pretty rich, considering how his 2008 campaign handled foreign credit cards. From that National Journal story: “The lack of a computerized address-verification system would allow the Obama campaign’s computers to accept online donations from U.S. citizens above legal limits, and to accept donations from foreigners who are barred by law from contributing at all.” Perhaps its time to remind people of that issue again. Oh, wait, I just did!

Here’s more on that from 2008: “A breakdown of controls has enabled foreign and other unaccountable funds to pour into the Obama campaign — and it’s not an accident.”

Plus, from the Washington Post: Obama Accepting Untraceable Donations. “Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign is allowing donors to use largely untraceable prepaid credit cards that could potentially be used to evade limits on how much an individual is legally allowed to give or to mask a contributor’s identity, campaign officials confirmed. Faced with a huge influx of donations over the Internet, the campaign has also chosen not to use basic security measures to prevent potentially illegal or anonymous contributions from flowing into its accounts, aides acknowledged.”

More here. “Then there’s the question of whether foreign nationals are contributing to the Obama campaign. There is more than enough evidence to warrant a full-scale investigation by the Federal Election Commission, including the $32,332.19 that appears to have come from two brothers living in a Hamas-controlled Palestinian refugee camp in Rafah, GA (that’s Gaza, not Georgia). The brothers’ cash is part of a flood of illegal foreign contributions accepted by the Obama campaign.”

You know, I’d kind of forgotten this scandal until Obama brought this stuff up. It didn’t get much attention then, but it may get more this time around.

UPDATE: A reader emails: “Shouldn’t Obama be pushing for Comprehensive Undocumented Donation Reform instead of this xenophobic demagogy? Asking every contributor to produce ‘their papers’ just reeks of Nazi Germany.” Good point!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Another reader suggests that this explains how Obama managed to vastly outspend McCain: “Does anyone really think that that much money came from the little people sending their contributions via the Internet, and a few big—REALLY big—donors like labor unions? Surely a good bit of that money was illegally donated. Perhaps the new congress will have enough gumption to investigate the source of those rivers of dollars. Certainly the DOJ can’t be trusted to look into it.” It does bear looking into.

MORE: Reader Harrison Colter writes: “If they take the House, there are a lot of things the Rs might want to investigate, and things their whacko supporters will scream to have investigated, but the one thing that they absolutely should investigate is the Obama campaign finance practices from 2008. Not only would it be targeted to an area of legitimate concern, but they might actually learn something that could be used to fix existing statutes.

Plus, because it will involve one of the Left’s holiest canons, campaign finance reform, what with all the other fights likely to be going on next year, won’t it be nice to have at least one investigation that is fully supported by the Ds? They will support it, won’t they? I mean, won’t they fall all over themselves saying ‘It is about time the Rs got on board here’? Of course they will.” Indubitably.

Posted by Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit

Friday, October 15, 2010

Tea Party dominance was inevitable -- and I told you so

Glenn Harlan Reynolds: Tea Party dominance was inevitable -- and I told you so Washington Examiner

By: Glenn Harlan Reynolds
I told you so.

On April 15, 2009, as the first nationwide wave of Tea Party protests broke out, I wrote: “What’s most striking about the tea-party movement is that most of the organizers haven’t ever organized, or even participated, in a protest rally before. General disgust has drawn a lot of people off the sidelines and into the political arena, and they are already planning for political action after today....

“This influx of new energy and new talent is likely to inject new life into small-government politics around the nation. The mainstream Republican Party still seems limp and disorganized. This grassroots effort may revitalize it. Or the tea-party movement may lead to a new third party that may replace the GOP, just as the GOP replaced the fractured and hapless Whigs."

Fast-forward to the present, and the Tea Party movement -- which didn’t really exist until about the time I wrote those words -- is now the single most powerful political force in the nation.

Democratic and Republican politicians alike fear it, and increasing numbers of Americans (including, in recent months, increasing numbers of African-Americans according to a PJTV Tea Party tracking poll) identify with the Tea Party movement and say they are more likely to vote for candidates it supports, and less likely to vote for candidates it opposes.

Even old-line lefties like Stanley Fish are warning Democrats (and Establishment Republicans) that their open contempt for the Tea Party movement is not only blinding them to what’s really going on, but also empowering the movement itself. Fish writes that “The Tea Party’s strength comes from the down-to-earth rhetoric it responds to and proclaims, and whenever high-brow critics heap the dirt of scorn and derision upon the party, its powers increase.”

He’s right, though he’s wrong to think that the Tea Party movement would necessarily do worse if our cultural leaders opened the doors to rational debate: Many Tea Party thinkers are quite knowledgeable and well-informed, while the intellectual leadership of today’s political establishment, in either party, is not exactly first-rate.

If that leadership had been first rate, it would have spotted this phenomenon, or headed it off, a long time ago. Or, you know, not driven us into near-bankruptcy.

Despite my pleasure in saying “I told you so,” I don’t deserve all that much credit. It was easy to see this coming if you paid attention.

Both political parties are out of touch, and ordinary Americans are very unhappy about it, as they watch the Treasury being looted, the economy sink, and the political, journalistic, and financial ruling-class figures escaping the consequences of their ham-handed and self-serving actions.

But while ordinary Americans are mad as hell, this time they really don’t have to take it any more. Institutions have failed them, but Internet tools like blogs, Twitter, and Facebook, and personal tools -- like the cheap handheld video cameras that beat back bogus charges of Tea Party racism again and again -- mean that they don’t have to rely on failing institutions.

As I predicted in my book, “An Army of Davids,” ordinary people have been able to self-organize, to take on big institutions who would rather not listen to them, and win.

For now, Republicans are (sort of) the beneficiaries. Though Tea Partiers aren’t happy with the GOP, they’re much less happy with the Democrats. In this election cycle, Republicans will benefit. But Tea Partiers are also taking over the GOP from the bottom up, running for precinct chairs and state committee seats.

This makes sense: There are barriers to entry for third parties, and it makes more sense to take over an existing party than to start from scratch, if that’s possible.

But those establishment GOP figures who think that they’ll cruise to victory and a return to the pocket-stuffing business-as-usual that marked the prior GOP majority need to think again. This election cycle is, in a very real sense, a last chance for the Republicans. If they blow it, we’re likely to see third-party challenges in 2012, not only at the Presidential level but in numerous Congressional races as well.

For the national GOP, it’s do-or-die time. So guys, you’d better perform -- unless you want me to be writing another “I told you so” column in 2013. And trust me, you don’t.

Glenn Harlan Reynolds teaches law at the University of Tennessee, and blogs at He hosts InstaVision on

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Earth to Beltway: It's the uncertainty, stupid

Earth to Beltway: It's the uncertainty, stupid by Robert Robb - Oct. 1, 2010 12:00 AM

The Arizona Republic

.What will it take for economic policymakers to understand that the chief problem today is uncertainty? And that until they quit moving significant pieces of fiscal, monetary and regulatory policy around, the uncertainty won't abate?

In many ways, there are decent underpinnings to this economy. American businesses proved themselves remarkably nimble despite the severity of the recession. Corporate balance sheets are surprisingly strong. Businesses and banks are sitting on trillions in cash. For publicly traded companies, price-earnings ratios are on the historical low side. So, irrational exuberance isn't distorting values.

Consumers are also putting themselves on sounder footing. Debt is down, savings are up, while spending is generally stable.

Yet the economy is stagnant.

Economic policymakers think that's because people don't have confidence in the future. So, they keep coming up with new things they think might bolster confidence.

The real problem, however, is that people don't know what the rules will be in the future. So, they don't know whether to have confidence or not.

The federal government is in the early stages of completely rewriting the rules for finance and health care. Until the rules are written, businesses don't really know what kind of capital markets they will be operating in or what their employee benefit costs will be.

High-income individuals and small businesses don't know what their tax rates will be after Dec. 31. This has some not readily obvious downstream effects.

The U.S. tax system provides disincentives for the distribution of profits to shareholders in the form of dividends. The Bush tax cuts partially ameliorated the disincentives. As a result, more companies paid dividends, dividends were higher, and the stock value of dividend-paying companies improved.

This was good for the economy, since it directed capital to companies that were really making money rather than those with just a good story. But as of now, no one knows what the tax treatment of dividend income will be after Dec. 31.

Rather than marching double-time to get this stuff settled, economic policymakers are instead trying to invent new stuff supposedly to bolster confidence.

On the fiscal side, both Democrats and Republicans are floating ideas for temporary and targeted tax cuts. For example, temporarily exempting small-business investments from capital-gains taxes, temporarily allowing same-year write-offs for capital expenses and a payroll tax holiday.

These temporary tax cuts either subsidize economic activity that would take place anyway, resulting in a deadweight loss to a treasury already alarmingly in the red. Or they induce economic activity that otherwise wouldn't make economic sense. The last thing this economy needs is more economically shaky activity.

On the monetary side, the Fed has had the printing presses smoking to keep interest rates down. Yet the economy is still stagnant. Rather than reach the obvious conclusion - low interest rates aren't the key to getting this economy moving - the Fed is looking to do even more.

Only this time, rather than announce a full program of what the Fed calls quantitative easing, it is contemplating smaller incremental steps. For example, if the economy doesn't perk up, the Fed might buy some treasuries. And see what happens.

In other words, embark on a monetary policy no one knows where it is headed.

Meanwhile, the price of gold is soaring, up nearly 30 percent over the last year.

I'm not a gold bug. Although gold historically has been a storehouse of value, there's no logical reason for it to be. Gold isn't a particularly useful metal. And it is subject to supply variables.

Nevertheless, its rise represents a belief that it makes even less sense to hold assets denominated in the major fiat currencies that are being systematically debased.

There's a degree of uncertainty already baked into this economy. The new rules regarding financial markets and health care will take time to settle. Future tax rates are a political battle that must be waged.

At a minimum, however, economic policymakers could quit adding new uncertainties with each passing day.

Reach Robb at or 602-444-8472. Read his blog at

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Crowd photos don't lie: Beck vs union/commie/left rally

See the blinking comparison photos:

Stand alone photo of union rally:

Compared to stand alone of Beck rally (remember that it doesn't include the crowd beyond the bottom of photo:

Then don't miss the photos of the crowd w/out American flags, commie/socialist signs and groups, litter, kids with socialist signs, etc:

And the original source for the juxtaposed crowd photos with source:

Never gonna stand for this!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Polls Show Conservatism is a Sleeping Giant

Polls Show Conservatism is a Sleeping Giant By Bruce Walker Monday, October 4, 2010

One of the most effective ways that the leftist establishment has found to keep conservatives helpless bystanders is to minimize the breadth and depth of conservatism. If conservatism is on the fringes of society, if the vast majority of Americans reject conservative values, if conservatives only reflect a narrow slice of our society, then ignoring the conservative message makes some political sense.

Because the left controls virtually every mass institution in America—media, entertainment, education, bureaucracies, foundations, etc.—the left never really needs to rely upon genuine grassroots support. It can invent the perception of support and rest its ideological attacks on that false image of support. But it must dismiss any evidence of a vast conservative majority—and that is just what the left does.

Battleground Poll

As I have noted in many articles, most recently on September 17, the Battleground Poll is a bipartisan poll which always asks the same demographic questions and always reveals all the questions in the poll. In the last sixteen Battleground Polls, which have been fairly evenly spread since June 2002, the overwhelming majority of Americans who are asked Question D3, which asks the respondent’s personal ideology, respond by calling themselves “conservatives.” This data is remarkably consistent—much more consistent than almost any other political question polled over the last decade.

Gallup, whose reputation is polling, seems to miss big stories subconsciously

Gallup, as I have noted, chooses to pass up really big stories which bolster conservatives. When the Gallup generic congressional lead showed a greater Republican lead in our lifetime, that story was missed (albeit revised after my article came out.) When Gallup produced a poll showing that conservatives outnumbered liberals in every single state, the Gallup story had the innocuous title “Conservative label prevails in South.” Gallup, whose reputation is polling, seems to miss big stories subconsciously.

Conservatives outnumber Liberals

Can we same the same about the New York Times / CBS News poll—go to page 29 for the data - which has asked Americans their ideology in 145 separate polls stretching back to January 1992? These polls were sometimes conducted three times a month, a vast sample of poll results. In every single one of these 145 polls, conservatives outnumbered liberals, sometimes by more than a two to one margin. Isn’t this a news story—especially when the cognoscenti of leftist elitism are desperate to find out why the Tea Party is sweeping America?

Most interesting, however, are the statewide Survey USA polls. These polls almost always ask the respondent about his ideology. The polling organizations are local media and there seems to be no vested ideological interest in the response. Accuracy alone pays the bills. A perusal of the polls will show powerful reinforcement for the belief that America is a conservative nation. Consider, just, Survey USA polls in states we usually consider leftist. In California, Survey USA has taken ten polls over the last two years. In each of these ten polls, more Californians identified themselves as “conservative” rather than “liberal.” In Oregon, the four polls taken over the last two years all show more “conservatives” than “liberals” in the state. The same is true in Washington State: each of the seven polls over a two year period produces more conservatives than liberals.

The responses in the “liberal” states of Flyover Country are more telling. The two polls in New Mexico show more than twice as many conservatives than liberals. The last two polls in Minnesota show many more conservatives than liberals. The same is true in Wisconsin—two polls taken two years apart have almost exactly the same conservative plurality. There are twice as many conservatives as liberals in Iowa. Moving to the industrial northeast, the pattern of conservative strength continues. In Pennsylvania and Ohio conservatives strongly outnumber liberals. In Delaware, two separate polls show conservatives outnumber liberals: in one poll by 27% to 17% and in the other poll by 26% to 15%. In New Jersey, four out of five polls over the last two years show more conservatives than liberals, and a single poll in September 2008 shows 20% conservative to 21% liberal response.

Even in New York State, two out of three polls show more conservatives than liberals, and in the other poll, in October 2008, 24% of New Yorkers called themselves conservative and 25% called themselves liberals. In Massachusetts alone, all the Survey USA polls show more liberals than conservatives, although by narrow margins (23% conservative to 24% liberal in one poll; 19% conservative to 24% liberal in the other poll.) In Maine, home of the two lady-RINOs, there are more conservatives than liberals.

The ignored, despised conservative may be on the verge of reclaiming America for us all. He is a giant only waiting to awaken

The evidence from polling data is overwhelming. The Battleground Poll, the Gallup Poll, the New York Times / CBS News polls, and the Survey USA polls ask different Americans questions about their ideology. Each of their polls was taken at a different time. The population sample and the form of questions in different polls differed slightly. Yet all point to the same crucial fact: Americans, overwhelmingly, choose conservatism over liberalism. The Tea Party, of course, represents those conservative values untainted by partisan affiliation. Could we be seeing, right now, not flukes or temporary rejections of Obamacare, but instead the groundswell of a true revolution? The ignored, despised conservative may be on the verge of reclaiming America for us all. He is a giant only waiting to awaken.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pete Hoekstra: Dems’ Intel Bill Protects Terrorists . . . and Pelosi

Pete Hoekstra: Dems’ Intel Bill Protects Terrorists . . . and Pelosi - By Andy McCarthy - The Corner - National Review Online

Rep. Pete Hoekstra, ranking Republican on the House intelligence committee, has issued a release blasting the Democrats’ annual intelligence bill. Congressman Hoekstra explains that he intends to

vote against the Democrats’ flawed Fiscal Year 2010 Intelligence Bill—a bill that covers a period of time less than a day, but opens a door to terrorists from Gitmo being brought into the United States and gives foreign terrorists the rights of U.S. citizens.

“There have been three major attempted terrorist attacks on our homeland since the intel bill was voted on in June of last year, but it has in no way been changed to address known security gaps,” Hoekstra said. “Instead of working on an intelligence bill to strengthen our national security, Democrats wasted more than a year to force a vote on a bill to cover Speaker Pelosi—who accused the CIA of lying without proof—but which leaves our nation vulnerable.

Americans have made clear that they don’t want Gitmo detainees in the U.S., they don’t want CIA officers prosecuted and they don’t want foreign terrorists to have the rights of American citizens. That is why congressional Republicans oppose this flawed bill.”

Hoekstra noted that in addition to Mirandizing foreign terrorists and allowing for terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay to be brought into the United States, the bill authorizes earmarks, despite previous House votes to strip it of secret pork. It also attempts to protect Speaker Pelosi, but not the CIA officers she accused of lying from potential Justice Department prosecution for doing the job the speaker, the president and others asked them to do and approved.

“The intelligence bill should be about protecting the people of the United States and giving America’s intelligence professionals the tools they need to do the job,” Hoekstra said. “The Democrats’ bill does nothing more than provide political cover. It’s a one-day bill that does lasting damage to our national security.

“Luck is not a national security strategy nor is cramming through a year-old intelligence bill that hasn’t been updated to reflect the fact that terrorists have attacked our homeland. This bill shows Democrats aren’t serious about national security.”

Hoekstra pointed out that the recently announced congressional Republican Pledge to America would block Miranda rights for terrorists, require a comprehensive detention policy for terrorists and would prohibit Gitmo detainees from being brought into American neighborhoods.