"Liberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood." --John Adams
ObamaNation -- The USSA
By Mark Alexander
Prior to the election of Barack Hussein Obama, some Republicans complained that identifying him as a socialist, which I have done since he announced his presidential aspirations, was "too extreme." Shortly after his election, the same lot insisted, "He's our president now. We should show him respect."
It is notable, however, that I have not heard a single such complaint since BHO's inauguration.
In fact, Newsweek magazine ran a cover story about Obama's so-called "Recovery Act" legislation proclaiming, "We are all Socialists now." Of course, because Newsweek is suffering from an acute case of revenue shortfall, a tabloid shock cover like the aforementioned is to be expected.
But there is no shortfall of truth in my claim that the "stimulus bill" has much less to do with economic recovery than it does with, in Obama's words, "the fundamental transformation of the United States of America."
Obama is accomplishing this socialist transformation at lightning pace under cover of "responding to the economic crisis" in order to "save or create 3.5 million jobs." (Note the clever construction "save or create," which is to say that even if there is no net increase in jobs, he'll still take credit for having saved 3.5 million jobs.)
Despite Obama's claims, this ruse wasn't a "crisis spending bill." Nor does it provide "economic growth," and it certainly has no legitimate "bipartisan support," with only three RINO senators from among 219 Republican legislators having been swayed by BHO's incessant fearmongering.
In fact, some Republican and Democrat governors have since calculated the costs associated with accepting the redistribution of "your money" by Obama, and they're saying, "no thanks," because the terms of acceptance would mean significant state tax increases on their citizens.
In my home state of Tennessee, Republican Sen. Bob Corker concurs with the Congressional Budget Office's summary that "the [Obama] legislation would result in a slight decrease in gross domestic product compared with CBO's baseline economic forecast." Sen. Corker has determined that it will not create any new jobs in Tennessee and is assisting Democrat Gov. Phil Bredesen with a determination of how to minimize the impact of the federal mandates.
Indeed, when all the mandates and interest expenses of BHO's programs are calculated, his legislation amounts to more than $3 trillion of "your money" being redistributed to his constituencies.
In an effort to restore the consumer and market confidence so essential to economic recovery, Obama addressed Congress, and by extension the nation, Tuesday night, saying, "While our economy may be weakened and our confidence shaken, though we are living through difficult and uncertain times, tonight I want every American to know this: We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before."
But even Obama's messianic standing among his adoring adolescents has begun to wane, as it becomes increasingly apparent that he's far more fragrance than substance.
Of course, he spent less time cheerleading than he did promoting his next stab at the free market. To wit, a $3.6 trillion budget for the coming year that includes significant military cuts and significant tax increases on the innovators and entrepreneurs who dared turn a profit during the "era of profound irresponsibility," but which also expands government funding for his constituencies so much that it stands to increase the federal deficit to $1.75 trillion for 2009, or 12.3 percent of GDP.
The U.S. has not been saddled with a deficit representing that much of our GDP since we were fighting a World War on two fronts in 1942.
Regarding the "transformation of America," Obama proclaimed that "the day of reckoning has arrived, and the time to take charge of our future is here. Now is the time to act boldly and wisely -- to not only revive this economy, but to build a new foundation for lasting prosperity.."
The New York Times gleefully summed it up: "The budget that President Obama proposed is nothing less than an attempt to end a three-decade era of economic policy dominated by the ideas of Ronald Reagan and his supporters."
"The ideas of Ronald Reagan?" Well, only in that President Reagan's ideas were dominated by the foundational principles of our nation -- individual liberty, constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, free enterprise, strong national defense and traditional American values.
BHO also continued his Herculean effort to redefine the reality that the current economic debacle is not the result of Democrat housing policies, insisting, "I know how unpopular it is to be seen as helping banks right now, especially when everyone is suffering in part from their bad decisions."
Obama added, "CEOs won't be able to use taxpayer money to ... buy fancy drapes or disappear on a private jet. Those days are over." (For the record, Michelle has been renovating the White House, and Barack has been crisscrossing the country in his private 747 with his "dog and pony" show, all with taxpayer money.)
Regarding Obama's "war on success," The Wall Street Journal notes, "A tax policy that confiscated 100 percent of the taxable income of everyone in America earning over $500,000 in 2006 (before the recession started) would only have given Congress an extra $1.3 trillion in revenue.. That's less than half the 2006 federal budget of $2.7 trillion and looks tiny compared to the more than $4 trillion Congress will spend in fiscal 2010. Even taking every taxable 'dime' of everyone earning more than $75,000 in 2006 would have barely yielded enough to cover that $4 trillion."
Needless to say, there will be far fewer folks with earnings over $500,000 this year.
In addition to tax increases on "the wealthy" (which all get passed along in the form of increases in the cost of products and services), Obama proposes to limit tax deductions. In other words, he doesn't want billions of dollars in tax-deductible donations to go toward charitable ministries and services, because his administration knows better how to allocate "your money" for social services.
For all his lofty grandstanding about private-sector greed (a.k.a. "free enterprise"), Obama hasn't proposed any salary rollbacks in the executive or legislative branches, much less big layoffs. Conversely, Obama's proposals will swell the ranks of the central government to unprecedented levels, all paid for with your tax dollars.
So much for the federal government tightening its belt amid massive salary cutbacks and layoffs in the private sector, or, should I say, out here in the real world.
Despite all this, the biggest expansion of government programs and spending in history, Obama had the audacity to say, "There is, of course, another responsibility we have to our children. And that is the responsibility to ensure that we do not pass on to them a debt they cannot pay. ... We cannot simply spend as we please and defer the consequences."
One might fairly conclude that Obama is attempting to spend our constitutional republic -- and its assurance of individual liberty predicated on individual responsibility -- right out of existence. Indeed, it's no coincidence that Obama's recovery plan is similar in principle to Red China's emergency $586 billion "stimulus package," emphasizing massive government growth and infrastructure projects.
In doing some research this week, I came across the bios of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Ronald Wilson Reagan on Obama's White House Web site.
Under Roosevelt, one finds accolades for all the government spending he enacted in an effort to end the Great Depression (the Obama model) but not one word about the lack of effectiveness of any of those programs. Of course, not even the most zealous Leftists among Obama's historical revisionists in the White House would dare make such a claim, because they're unable to find a reputable economist who stands behind FDR's New Deal policies.
On the other hand, when I visited the Reagan bio, much to my amazement and amusement, I found this information: "Dealing skillfully with Congress, Reagan obtained legislation to stimulate economic growth, curb inflation, increase employment, and strengthen national defense. He embarked upon a course of cutting taxes and Government expenditures, refusing to deviate from it when the strengthening of defense forces led to a large deficit." (Translation: Congressional Democrats refused to cut spending for "social programs.") "A renewal of national self-confidence by 1984 helped Reagan and Bush win a second term with an unprecedented number of electoral votes. In 1986 Reagan obtained an overhaul of the income tax code, which eliminated many deductions and exempted millions of people with low incomes.."
The Reagan bio concludes, "At the end of his administration, the Nation was enjoying its longest recorded period of peacetime prosperity without recession or depression. Overall, the Reagan years saw a restoration of prosperity, and the goal of peace through strength seemed to be within grasp."
So, what is one to conclude about the policies of Obama versus Reagan? Well, Obama's own White House Web site says it all.
(Oh, and I took a peek at Obama's bio and almost suffered a myocardial infarction after reading this opening line: "His story is the American story -- values from the heartland, a middle-class upbringing in a strong family...." What? Barack who?)
Despite Newsweek's cover proclamation, we are NOT all socialists now. In fact, there are more than 60 million gun-owning Patriots across this nation, many of whom have taken sacred oaths "to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic." Of those, more than a few stand ready to honor that oath.
After all, in the words of John Adams, "A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever."
Radical and thus uncomfortable as this fact may be, there is, nonetheless, a groundswell of discontent across the nation -- millions of Patriots who reject Obama's agenda for transforming the USA into the USSA. In the first Revolutionary War, George Washington mustered fewer than one percent of his countrymen against the mighty army of King George at the onset of hostilities. A far larger percentage of Americans stand ready to defend liberty today.
A year ago, I could not have forecast that the tenor of discontent would have reached such fervor that one now ponders, "Is insurrection the only answer?" I hope not, but it is the 800-pound gorilla at the table, and a growing number of Americans are taking note -- and I am not referring to only those who have lost jobs or incomes. At this writing, every Patriot I know, employed or not, subscribes to the sentiments of Thomas Paine, who penned these inimitable words in 1776: "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace."
P.S. For those who have been most grievously affected by the liberal agendas that seeded the housing and financial market crisis, those of you who have lost your job, had your income cut and your savings and retirement funds gutted, help is just a click away. Visit the Federal Election Commission's campaign finance disclosure page, and under the map, select the search criterion menu "Donor's Name" and change that criterion to "Zip Code." Enter your zip code and click "Go." (This search may take up to a minute, so be patient.) Once the search is complete, select the column to search by "Candidate Name," and scroll down to see all the donors in your neighborhood who supported Obama. Since they enabled Obama to redistribute your wealth, surely they would be willing to share some of their own to cover your expenses until Obama's recovery plan has restored your job, your income, your savings and your retirement fund. (Heck, you might even find, as I did, that one of your neighbors far exceeded the legal giving limits to Obama's campaign.)
Quote of the week
"Democratic leaders in Washington, they place their hope in the federal government. We place our hope in you, the American people. In the end, it comes down to an honest and fundamental disagreement about the proper role of government. We oppose the national Democratic view that says the way to strengthen our country is to increase dependence on government. We believe the way to strengthen our country is to restrain spending in Washington, to empower individuals and small businesses to grow our economy and create jobs." --Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal
"[T]he American people are already doing something to create wealth and hasten the recovery, even if we are the ones forgotten in the battle over what Washington should do. Americans are going to work every day and providing for their families ... increasing their savings rates, making much needed capital available to the private sector ... imagining new and more efficient ways to use valuable resources." --economist Steven Horwitz
"The 'Stimulus Czar' Joe Biden was asked to explain how the trillion-dollar stimulus bill will help a small business owner. Here's the best Czar Biden could come up with: 'For example, it may very well be that she's in a circumstance where she is not able, her customers aren't able to get to her, there's no transit capability, the bridge going across the creek to get to her business needs repair, may very well be that she's in a position where she is unable to access the -- her energy costs are so high by providing smart meters, by being able to bring down the cost of her workforce.' Clearly, Joe Biden has never run a business in his life. If this entrepreneur is worried about energy costs now, smart meters won't do any good unless they can block Obama's $300 billion carbon tax on utilities. And, what entrepreneur would put his or her business in a location that 'customers aren't able to get to'?" --Gary Bauer
The BIG lie
"[W]e have lived through an era where too often, short-term gains were prized over long-term prosperity; where we failed to look beyond the next payment, the next quarter, or the next election. A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy instead of an opportunity to invest in our future. Regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market. People bought homes they knew they couldn't afford from banks and lenders who pushed those bad loans anyway. And all the while, critical debates and difficult decisions were put off for some other time on some other day." --BHO
From the 'Non Compos Mentis' File
"This was the most ambitious president we've heard in this chamber in decades. The first half of the speech was FDR, fighting for the New Deal. The second half was Lyndon Johnson fighting for the Great Society, and we've never seen those two presidents rolled together in quite this way before. ... I think most people would have felt just trying to recover from this recession and stop the flow of blood, and get a recovery going would be enough for one president. He's saying no, no, no -- we're going to do health care reform this year. Do energy -- we'll do education. Thankfully -- do national service, and we're going to cut the deficit." --CNN's David Gergen
This week's 'Braying Jackass' award
"[E]ven if the stimulus is a magnificent success, the money still has to be paid back. The plan of record apparently is that we keep borrowing, spending and stimulating, faster and faster, until suddenly, on some signal from heaven or Timothy Geithner, we all stop spending and start saving in recordbreaking amounts. ... There is another way. If it's not the actual, secret plan, it will be an overwhelming temptation: Don't pay the money back. Just three or four years of currency erosion at, say, 10 percent a year would slice the real value of our debt -- public and private, U.S. bonds and jumbo mortgages -- in half. Anyone who regards the prospect of double-digit inflation with insouciance is either too young to have lived through it the last time (the late 1970s) or too old to remember." --Uber-Leftist columnist Michael Kinsley on the Obama plan, who omits the reality that such inflation will also cut all our savings in half
GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
News from the Swamp: The BIG budget
President Barack Obama descended from on high to present his budget to Congress on Thursday. Where to start with this $3.6 trillion mammoth?
The budget calls for pulling all but 35,000 to 50,000 troops out of Iraq by August 2010, while ramping up the war in Afghanistan. It calls for restructuring current health care spending and soaking the "rich" with tax increases to help provide $630 billion for national health care, which will actually cost more than $1 trillion over 10 years. To the $700 billion bailout of last year, Obama adds $250 billion, a reserve that's merely a placeholder and "does not represent a specific request," according to the White House. But the door is open for as much as $750 billion in new aid for the financial industry. The Democrat constituency group that is the National Education Association will receive a big boost in the budget as well, while Democrats in Congress work to quash such programs as the Opportunity Scholarship Program, which offers vouchers to 1,700 poor kids in DC, with a provision in the omnibus spending bill moving through the House (more on that later).
Obama calls the increased spending and sky-high deficit of $1.75 trillion in 2009 a "break from a troubled past." Indeed.
The biggest break from the past comes in the form of tax increases. Naturally, Obama couches taxes in terms of class warfare, saying, "Prudent investments in education, clean energy, health care, and infrastructure were sacrificed for huge tax cuts for the wealthy and well connected." Beginning in 2011, individuals earning more than $200,000 and couples earning more than $250,000 will see their taxes rise, which Obama says will yield an additional $656 billion to redistribute through 2019. The budget attacks taxpayers from both ends -- raising the 35 percent rate to 39.6 percent and raising capital gains rates, while limiting exemptions and itemized deductions for those in the higher brackets. The top seven percent of all tax returns, or those with adjusted gross incomes above $200,000, paid 62 percent of all income taxes in 2006. The top one percent, those with an adjusted gross income above $388,806, paid almost 40 percent of all income taxes. Just what does this president think is fair? What, exactly, is he seeking to rectify?
Both small and large businesses face retribution as well, which means consumers will be hit with higher prices and fewer jobs. For example, we expect the price of gas to increase substantially when oil and gas companies are hit with higher taxes. But we guess that's just Obama taking care of the middle class.
Another hoped-for revenue source on the way to cutting the deficit in half comes from taxing greenhouse gases via a cap on emissions -- the onerous cap-and-trade concept. Obama claims the tax will bring in some $646 billion over the next 10 years. Left uncalculated, however, is the damage to the economy that his scheme will cause. Again, when the cost of doing business goes up, the affected companies naturally pass those costs along to the consumer. So while the president is touting his "tax cut for 95 percent of working families," he's taking it right back with his cap-and-trade scheme.
In unveiling the plan, the president said, "There are times where you can afford to redecorate your house, and there are times where you need to focus on rebuilding its foundation." The foundation of our "house" -- the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution -- is just fine; it's the structure being built by Leftists that needs knocking down.
Demos need a few billion to tide them over
The House on Wednesday passed a $410 omnibus spending bill to finish nine of the 12 major appropriations bills in the 2009 budget. The Wall Street Journal reports, "Democrats in Congress held off passing these bills last year because they calculated they'd do better under a Democratic President. So they agreed with President Bush to pass only an increase of 3% across the board for these agencies as part of a temporary continuing resolution. Now they're bumping that up to 8%." Oddly enough, these are the same agencies already in line for large chunks of the $787 billion stimulus.
Meanwhile, the bill outrageously adds $50 million for the UN Population Fund, which funds abortions overseas. There are also more than 8,500 earmarks in the omnibus, which we think is Latin for "bus full of pork." Among the $7.7 billion in earmarks are $4.5 million for new park development in Manhattan, $1.7 million for "Swine Odor and Manure Management Research," $1.2 million for mosquito trapping in Florida, and, our favorite, $200,000 for a "tattoo-removal violence-outreach program" in Los Angeles.. One of our West Coast editors really has been meaning to get that "Mom" tattoo removed.
New & notable legislation
The Senate passed a bill Thursday that would grant full House representation to the District of Columbia by adding two seats to the House -- one for DC and one for Utah, next in line for reapportionment. The House is expected to approve the measure next week. (Two bright spots include an amendment to scrap most of DC's gun control laws, and the Broadcaster Freedom Amendment, which would prevent reinstatement of the so-called "Fairness Doctrine.") The Constitution provides that House members shall be chosen "by the People of the several States" and calls for a "Seat of the Government of the United States" that is not a state. But who would worry about something so antiquated as our nation's Constitution?
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), who seems to have picked up where race pimps like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson left off, has introduced H.R. 40, known as the "Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act." The purpose is "to acknowledge the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of slavery in the United States and the 13 American colonies between 1619 and 1865 and to establish a commission to examine the institution of slavery, subsequently de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African-Americans, and the impact of these forces on living African-Americans, to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies, and for other purposes." And here we thought that's what Affirmative Action has been doing for the past 45 years.
Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY) introduced H.J. Res. 5, which reads, "Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as President." The prospect of King Obama brings to mind Benjamin Franklin's words: "There is scarce a king in a hundred who would not, if he could, follow the example of Pharaoh, get first all the peoples money, then all their lands, and then make them and their children servants for ever..."
The House passed the Captive Primate Safety Act this week, which would stop interstate commerce in primates as pets in the wake of the recent chimpanzee attack in Connecticut. So much for our next office intern.
Hope 'n' Change: Third time's a charm
Didn't we do this already? Twice? President Obama has now tapped former Washington Governor Gary Locke as commerce secretary. Obama's first pick, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, bowed out due to his ties to an ethics scandal in his state, and the second pick, New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg, withdrew because of fundamental ideological differences with the administration. Locke, the nation's first American governor of Chinese descent, handily won election and re-election in 2000 and 2004 in Washington, and he's been a high-profile member of the Democrat Party throughout that time. Despite his popularity in the Evergreen State, Locke has had his share of controversy: for starters, his association with convicted Demo fundraiser John Huang, and accusations of kickbacks to family members and campaign contributors. However, Locke supports free trade, and he appears to be independent from the control of Big Labor, a rarity in the new administration.
From the Left: Possible appointment ambushed by MoveOn.org
Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen's name has been circulating as a candidate for Health and Human Services secretary, and he seems like a wise choice for the Obama camp. Bredesen is a twice-elected Democrat in a red state and a former CEO of HealthAmerica Corp. He has worked to rein in a runaway Medicaid program (TennCare) that, by the time he took office in 2003, claimed a third of the state's budget. He introduced cost controls such as co-pays and monthly premiums. All well and good until MoveOn.org showed up to engage in one of its classic attempts at character assassination, accusing Bredesen of ruining the program and getting rich off the endeavor. They conveniently ignored the status of Medicaid before Bredesen took office, but since when has MoveOn been about fact over fiction? Bredesen defends his actions and remains confident that he did the right thing, but that will probably not be enough to win him the HHS cabinet post. (On top of that, he is considering rejecting some of the Obama stimulus money -- and would be the first Democrat to do so.) Now, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has seemingly moved ahead of Bredesen for consideration for the HHS post. It is evident that effective reform by way of private-sector solutions to public-sector problems has a narrow audience these days.
Obama victory party owes Chicago $1.74 million
Team Obama has yet to pay its $1.74 million tab to Chicago for the election victory celebration in Grant Park. The Democratic National Committee is "still looking at various costs and bills" but would not elaborate. On its own, the cash-strapped city never would have been able to pay for the party, which included $1 million for police protection and another $140,000 on communications and logistics. The Obama campaign, which closed out the election season with the highest fundraising take of any presidential campaign in American history, could pay for the party out of petty cash. In fact, it could also single-handedly close Chicago's $50 million budget gap. So what's the holdup? After all, with 78 years of continuous and virtuous Democrat rule, why should any organization want to take a close look at the city's books?
Department of Military Readiness: Raptor Math
Of all the functions vested in the federal government by the Constitution, one that is undisputed is protecting its people. For our part, while we believe government has no business bailing out banks, insurance companies, auto manufacturers, congressional reputations and heaven only knows what else, it undoubtedly has an obligation to keep its people safe. So it seems reasonable to think that at least some of the $3.2 trillion spent thus far on bailouts should go to something worthwhile along these lines -- say, national defense, perhaps.
Yet notwithstanding the 95,000-plus jobs and $12 billion-plus economic contribution tied up in 44 states, Barack Obama is poised to kill production of the world's most advanced fighter, the F-22 Raptor. The 2009 Defense Authorization Act mandates that the president certify by 1 March that continued production of F-22s is in the national interest, or F-22 production will halt and the workers will be kicked to the economic curb.
This is not a Roosevelt-styled "jobs program" either -- the need for the F-22 is real. Not only is the current, three-decade-old frontline air superiority fighter -- the F-15 -- well over a decade beyond its designed lifespan, but multinational air exercises within the last several years have amply demonstrated that the "Era of the Eagle" is drawing to a rapid close. The latest Flanker/Fulcrum variants, the Eurofighter Typhoon, the French Rafale, and other "4.5th"-generation fighters easily match or beat the older F-15s. Meanwhile, worldwide surface-to-air missile capabilities have increased dramatically, leaving only stealthy aircraft such as the F-22 to survive these new threats.
Thus far, Congress has authorized production of only 183 Raptors, despite the bare-bones minimum 277 the Air Force maintains it must have to assure air superiority in future conflicts. President Obama will decide within the next week whether any more F-22s will be built. For over a half-century America has owned the skies over which it has fought, and as a result, not since the Korean Conflict has an American soldier been killed on the ground by an enemy air attack. At a time that in many ways looks eerily similar to the pre-WWII years, now is certainly not the time for the president to go wobbly on defense.
Sending reward cash to the terrorists
What's that definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Such is the case with Middle Eastern diplomacy. In another example of Obama rewarding bad behavior -- in this case terrorism -- the Obama regime said it intends to send some $900 million to the homicidal, Israel-hating lunatics of the Gaza strip known as Hamas. Of course, Obama promises that the money will go to Gaza via non-governmental organizations rather than to Hamas itself.
Following in the clueless footsteps of every recent U.S.. administration, Barack Obama believes that he is now The One that can bring peace to a people that do not want peace with Israel, but rather want Jewish Israelis in pieces. The money is supposed to be used to help reconstruct Gaza after Israel's recent Hamas hunting party in Gaza, but since Hamas controls Gaza, there is very little doubt where the money will end up. Obama's monetary aid would first have to be approved by Congress, and fortunately many there are leery about helping Hamas in any form until it renounces violence and finally recognizes Israel's right to exist. But since violence and the destruction of Israel are Hamas' raison d'etre, any sane person knows that will not happen. Obama's seemingly naive view of Hamas, combined with his chilly reception of the new right-wing coalition government in Israel led by Benjamin Netanyahu, means the outlook for the Middle East is just more of the same.
Warfront with Jihadistan: The blame game
Abdallah Saleh al-Ajmi was released from Guantanamo Bay in November 2005 and turned over to Kuwaiti authorities for trial. Four months later, he was released on bail and later acquitted of all charges. Last year, he blew himself up, killing more than a dozen Iraqi soldiers. This is not a tragedy or even a mistake. It's an outrage.
The Washington Post takes an interesting tack in its recent report on this incident. Did they blame the radical Muslim terrorist? No. Did they blame the Kuwaiti government for turning this thug loose? Nope.. According to the Post, the blame lies at the feet of the U.S.
"[T]here is also a view in some quarters of the U.S. government that cases such as Ajmi's are the inevitable result of locking up 779 foreigners in an austere military prison, without access to courts or consular representation, and subjecting them to interrogation techniques that detainees say amount to torture," says the Post. "Some of them are bound to seek revenge, these officials believe. The challenge is figuring out which ones." (Note: When the Leftmedia says "some quarters of the U.S. government," it really means "Democrats," most of whom are too politically astute to actually be quoted espousing such nonsense.)
To its credit, the Post did investigate the source of the million-dollar campaign to free this murderer and found that it was our purported ally, the Kuwaiti government. The unanswered question is who funded Ajmi's Porsche-driving defense lawyer Khaled al-Mahan?
Still, according to Post editor Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Aimi's terrorist act was bound to happen, not because he was reportedly a radical Muslim caught up in jihad, but because of his horrific "torture" at Gitmo. By his own account, this "torture" included an unbearable interview by a scantily clad woman wearing only her underwear. Would someone at Amnesty International please call the office?
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
Regulatory Commissars: Talking nationalization
Fascism is an economic model in which the state dictates the utilization of privately held assets to achieve public policy goals. Taking a page from Benito Mussolini's playbook, congressional Democrats have intimated that they think nationalizing some banks -- temporarily, of course -- is the way to fix the current "crisis." While the Obama administration is downplaying such talk, their acquisition this week of as much as 36 percent of Citigroup says otherwise. Their stated goal is to stabilize the banking system via an influx of capital. They say Citigroup and other banks are "too big to fail" -- a phrase that entered the regulatory lexicon in the 1980s following the failure of Penn Square Bank in Oklahoma City.
But are banks really in such bad shape? After a Monday meeting of the U.S. Treasury, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Comptroller of the Currency, the Office of Thrift Supervision and the Federal Reserve, these five regulatory agencies said, "Currently, the major banking institutions have capital in excess of the amounts required to be considered well-capitalized." So why all the government intervention?
We are already seeing the consequences of Fascism Lite in our economy. Reporters, pundits and politicians are aggressively questioning and criticizing corporate expenditures for aircraft, bonuses and even marketing decisions. These issues are normally for shareholders to decide, but with the influx of capital that is flowing from the public purse, the taxpayers have in a way become shareholders. However, given the grave financial condition of the newspaper industry, and the historic inefficiency of the federal government, seeking business advice from either politicians or the media is a bit like asking a pacifist to draw up a battle plan.
Finally, the administration pronounced this week that the financial industry needs additional regulation to bar future crises. Our current financial morass traces its origins to the regulatory process enmeshed with a flawed social policy that elevated outcomes over opportunity. What followed is a natural consequence of the doctrine "too big to fail."
Expanded government control of private assets, production dictated to achieve political objectives, operations dictated by non-shareholders, conditions designed to produce failure and increased reliance upon public funding... welcome to Fascism. This is going to leave a mark.
Mixed Mandarin messages
We have all heard the saying, "Don't bite the hand that feeds you." But how about cutting off the hand that pays you? Congressional Democrats seem determined to do just that with the "Buy American" provision in the economic stimulus package, which mandates that only U.S.-made factory goods be purchased for government public works projects. While this sounds patriotic on the surface, in reality it's a sop to unions that would effectively de-fund the biggest investor in the American economy: China.
China holds more than $1 trillion in United States Treasury bonds and agency debt, a volume affordable only because of the massive quantities of Chinese-made goods purchased by American users. Blocking the purchase of many of these goods would prevent the flow of money not only from the U.S. to China but also from China back to the U.S. In fact, "Buy American" calls to mind the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930. A shortsighted effort to boost American industry, it is often cited as probably the single biggest catalyst of the Great Depression. But what's a little history to the Messiah, when he's busy creating a new world?
Ironically, even as Washington snubs Chinese investment, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton traveled to Beijing urging China to keep buying U.S. Treasury bonds. If China is baffled by this schizophrenic message, it's no wonder. Undoubtedly, U.S.-Chinese relations entail many issues of concern, but slamming the door of trade on China is the wrong solution.
More than a teacup ride
According to online mapping, the 265-mile trip between Anaheim, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada, takes just a shade under four hours, mostly along Interstate 15. Yet Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Searchlight) placed an item in the "porkulus" bill to build a magnetic levitation rail line between the two points as part of an $8 billion "compromise" between the House and Senate versions of the bill. (Noteworthy is the fact that the Senate version earmarked $2 billion for building the high-speed rail while the House version had no money for said project -- so $8 billion was obviously a natural compromise.) Proponents of the idea claim the trip could be made in less than two hours at a top speed of 311 miles per hour.
That's not the only money Congress rode out of town on a rail. With Amtrak, our national foray into passenger rail, already a recipient of billions in subsidies over its miserable 38-year existence, Congress still decided to throw another $1.3 billion at the failed experiment. This despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that 60 percent of Amtrak's traffic runs on just seven percent of its track, mainly in the blue states of the Northeast.
Given that the maglev train would cost billions while saving only two hours on the Vegas-to-Disneyland trip, it's worth pondering what truly is shovel-ready in the stimulus package. We in our humble shop think Washington is already hip-deep in it.
CULTURE & POLICY
2nd Amendment: Holder calls for another gun ban
Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), a former Black Panther, introduced Blair Holt's Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009 (H.R. 45).. The bill has no cosponsors to date, but it aims to implement a "system of licensing for purchasers of certain firearms and for a record of sale system for those firearms, and for other purposes." The system includes requiring all handgun owners to submit a federal application including a photo, address, thumbprint, mental health records, a written firearm safety test and a fee. The attorney general would then use that information to establish a database of all handgun sales, transfers and owners' addresses. It would then become illegal to own a "qualifying firearm" -- "any handgun; or any semiautomatic firearm that can accept any detachable ammunition feeding device" -- without a license.
The real news this week, however, was that Attorney General Eric Holder announced Wednesday the Obama administration's intention to seek reinstatement of the so-called "assault weapons" ban signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1994, but which expired in 2004. "As President Obama indicated during the campaign, there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons," Holder said. For justification, he pointed out that Mexican drug cartels have purchased weapons in the U.S. Fortunately, Senate Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) say they want no part of such a ban.
The Left, of course, continues to try to scare Americans with the term "assault weapon." True assault weapons are hand-held selective-fire weapons that can fire in either automatic or semiautomatic mode. These weapons are already heavily regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934 (not to mention illegal in Mexico, where, oddly enough, criminals don't obey the law). The 1994 ban actually banned nothing of the sort -- it covered 19 types of semiautomatic rifles with various cosmetic features, as well as magazines with capacities higher than 10 rounds.
In 2007, the FBI reports that rifles of all types accounted for three percent of all murders, while "hands, fists, feet, etc." accounted for five percent. "Assault weapons" are used in about one-fifth of one percent of all violent crime. Meanwhile, Mothers Against Drunk Driving reports, "In 2007, an estimated 12,998 people died in alcohol-impaired traffic crashes involving a driver with an illegal BAC (.08 or greater).. These deaths constitute 31.7 percent of the 41,059 total traffic fatalities in 2007." Perhaps a ban on "assault alcohol" is in order.
Yet other than discrediting lying gun grabbers and their phony statistics, that is all beside the point. As Justice Joseph Story noted in 1833, "The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of the republic." For Leftists, gun control isn't about guns, it's about control. And for Patriots everywhere, keeping them is a liberty too precious to surrender.
Village Academic Curriculum: Free speech?
A student at Los Angeles City College recently filed suit against the college district and a professor after he was verbally attacked when giving a speech against same-sex marriage. According to the suit, Jonathan Lopez says that in response to his speech, given as part of a class assignment, his professor called him a "fascist bastard." When Lopez asked about his grade, he was told to "ask God what your grade is." When Lopez went to school officials about the incident, the professor allegedly threatened him with expulsion.
"[Lopez] was expressing his faith during an open-ended assignment, but when the professor disagreed with some minor things he mentioned, the professor shut him down," said David Hacker with the Alliance Defense Fund, who is representing Lopez. "Basically, colleges and universities should give Christian students the same rights to free expression as other students."
While the Community College District says it is investigating the matter and considers the situation "extremely serious in nature," Dean Allison Jones leapt to the defense of two students who were "deeply offended" by the views expressed in Lopez's speech. In other words, Lopez was the problem. We can only hope the California jurors in the Lopez case will remember that expression of personal belief and opinion is not a crime.
Climate change this week
Despite the fact that much of the information feeding the global warming hysteria is being systematically debunked, some scientists -- especially those receiving federal grants -- and the liberal media are still insisting that climate disaster is right around the corner. (Sure is a big corner. We've been waiting since Algore's 1992 book, "Earth in the Balance.")
Recently the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center revealed that its satellite monitors erroneously measured the Arctic sea ice, underestimating it by an area the size of, oh, California. They referred to this miscalculation as a "sensor drift" -- others might just call it a major screw-up.
This is not the only time that data has been proven wrong: Al Gore has removed a slide in his global warming presentation because it draws false conclusions. Using data from the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, Gore asserted that anthropogenic climate change is "creating weather-related disasters that are completely unprecedented." The Center informed Gore that his conclusions were "misleading."
Sometimes the data doesn't even get collected. This week a NASA satellite designed to monitor carbon dioxide emissions crashed into the Indian Ocean due to a mechanical failure. NASA spokesman Steve Cole said, in speaking of the $278 million debacle, "We'll pick ourselves up and keep moving. We're not stopping the global warming and carbon dioxide research because of this." Whew, what a relief!
So why is the Leftmedia still peddling stories about imminent ecological demise, and why are so many Americans willing to believe it? Perhaps Rush Limbaugh explained it best: "People want to be important. They want to matter. So some demagogue comes along and says, 'You can save the planet by whatever,' that's when you get people doing insane things like suggesting only one square of toilet paper per session -- and that came from noted and brilliant climatologist, Sheryl Crow."
Vice President "Nobody Messes With Joe" Biden warned again this week about his role as attack dog. This time with regard to the accountability on taxpayer dollars being flushed down the toilet, er, spent to stimulate the economy. "As we go along," Biden told assorted government officials, "I'm going to be a bit of a pain in the neck." He warned that if governors and mayors don't spend money the way he wants, he would "use the, you know, the uh, the television and the radio and the media to embarrass them for them not doing what they're supposed to do."
Later in the week, it became obvious that one form of media Biden would not be using is the Internet. During an interview on CBS's "Early Show," co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked a question from a viewer: "What I'm looking for are real clear details about how the stimulus is really going to help small business." Biden suggested the viewer call him so he could tell her about the bridge near her business in need of repair and the "smart meter" that could reduce her energy bill. How stimulating. But when Rodriguez asked him for the Web site that gives information on stimulus spending, Biden choked. "You know, I'm embarrassed... [looks off camera] You know the Web site number? I, sh-uh, I should have it in front of me and I don't. [back to Rodriguez] I'm, I'm actually embarrassed. Ah, ah 'scuse me, it -- it is recovery.gov -- recovery.gov, .gov." Now if we could just lay our hands on one of those newfangled "personal computers," we'll be able to see how Obama is spending our money at that Web site number of theirs.
Veritas vos Liberabit -- Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus, et Fidelis! Mark Alexander, Publisher, for The Patriot's editors and staff.
(Please pray for our Patriot Armed Forces standing in harm's way around the world, and for their families -- especially families of those fallen Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, who granted their lives in defense of American liberty.)
You have received this email because you are subscribed to The Patriot Post. To manage your subscription or to unsubscribe, link to http://link.patriotpost.us/?136-396-396-103125-2738 and log in with your email address.
Post is protected speech pursuant to the "inalienable rights" of
all men, and the First (and Second) Amendment to the Constitution of the
United States of America. In God we trust.