Thursday, December 31, 2009

13 Republican Attorneys General Threaten Lawsuit Over Health Care

Republican attorneys general in 13 states say congressional leaders must remove Nebraska's political deal from the federal health care reform bill or face legal action, according to a letter provided to The Associated Press Wednesday. "We believe this provision is constitutionally flawed," South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster and the 12 other attorneys general wrote in the letter to be sent Wednesday night to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. "As chief legal officers of our states we are contemplating a legal challenge to this provision and we ask you to take action to render this challenge unnecessary by striking that provision," they wrote. The letter was signed by top prosecutors in Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington state. All are Republicans, and McMaster and the attorneys general of Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania are running for governor in their respective states...read more

Tea Parties: one of the greatest things in 2010

One of my favorite writers, Warner Todd Huston, wrote his Dec 28, 2009 article, "Tea Parties: the biggest mistake we'll make in 2010". I offer the following response to my friend Mr. Huston: I say the biggest mistake we conservatives can make in 2010 is to continue worrying about how we appear to the left, John McCain style, as we have been doing for so many years past. We must to stop appeasing the leftists, we must stop caring what they think, we must have the courage of our convictions and the pride to voice it without shame. No more bipartisanship. We need partisanship and plenty of it. The election of Barack Hussein Obama caused the awakening of the sleeping conservatives, the Tea Party movement arose, but not through spontaneity and not by "all sorts of different groups," but rather, through the work of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Fox News and several others, but more directly, Glenn Beck. The Tea Party movement doesn't need to be organized, we are already organized. We are an "organism" like a colony of ants or even better, like the "Borg" on "Star Trek: the Next Generation." We communicate with each other and act as one, toward a common goal, and just like the Borg, "Resistance is futile — you will be assimilated." We don't need a leader. We lead each other. We just so happen to have a few louder voices with further reach among us. We don't care that it raises the blood pressure of the leftists to hear the term "Tea Parties," we don't care that it "fills them with disgust." Conservatives get disgusted when we hear "Al Gore," "global warming," "cap and trade," "health care reform"... do the LEFTISTS care what WE think? Why should I care what THEY think? I want them to get their blood pressure up...read more

Conservative Activists Furious at GOP Consultants Hijacking Tea Party Name

Would a true Tea Party patriot drop nearly $1,600 in donor money for a small meal at a fancy steakhouse? Robin Stublen says no, and he's mad as hell about the profligate expenditures of a GOP political organization that has glommed on to his grassroots movement. Stublen is the organizer of the Punta Gorda, Florida, Tea Party and a member of Tea Party Patriots, a national grassroots organization that has no offices, no president, raises virtually no money, operates largely on volunteer efforts, and, most importantly, doesn't endorse candidates. But unbeknownst to many, there's another outfit claiming ownership of this conservative movement. It's called the Tea Party Express, and it has dominated Fox News coverage over the past year with its multi-state bus tours and political rallies. Behind it is a well-established Republican political action committee that has raked in tons of money fundraising under the "Tea Party" banner -- and it has also spent a lot of that money in a fashion unbecoming a supposedly grassroots insurrection...read more

Official: Liberals Use 'Totally Bogus Story' Against Tea Party Express

What's disgusting about the TPM Muckracker hit on us is that it's a totally bogus story - and the author knows it. The $800,000 they cite was NOT paid to Russo Marsh + Associates. The vast majority of that money was to reimburse Russo Marsh + Associates for the efforts where we fronted the money in our capacity as the organizers of the Tea Party Express. To explain...The monies that were paid to Russo Marsh + Associates was mostly to pay for subvendors such as Newsmax, Human Events, Southwest Airlines, the companies that did the "wrap" of the Tea Party Express buses, the Nevada TV and radio stations where we've aired our "Defeat Harry Reid" ad campaign, Fox News & CNN where we've run our national Tea Party Express ads. And, Zachary Roth, the author of the TPM piece knew this information - and he acknowledged it with his line: "The services for which Russo, Marsh was paid appear to be legitimate campaign needs." But instead they decided to run with the headline and spin that the money was PAID to a GOP Firm. To most every person reading that story the perception would be that Russo Marsh + Associates pocketed $857,000 of the Tea Party Express money. That simply is not true. Not even close. And then Rachel Maddow of MSNBC last night (and the CBS blog, and dozens of other liberal blogs) have run with the story...read more

Republicans deserve blame for Democratic excesses

Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken won his seat by 312 votes out of nearly 3 million cast, which means that if just 157 Franken voters had chosen Republican Norm Coleman instead, Franken would not be in the Senate. What if that had happened? Or what if the Bush Justice Department had not wrongly prosecuted Republican Sen. Ted Stevens on corruption charges, leading to his conviction just days before voters went to the polls? Or what if a conservative third-party candidate had not funneled thousands of votes away from Oregon Republican Sen. Gordon Smith? If any one of those races had turned out differently, there would be one more Republican in the Senate, and we might not be facing a far-reaching, coercive and cripplingly expensive makeover of the nation's health care system. But the close ones went the Democrats' way, which -- along with the defection of former Republican Sen. Arlen Specter -- gave Democrats the 60 votes needed to stop GOP filibusters all by themselves. Every time Democrats have their way on a controversial bill -- stimulus, budget, health care -- Republicans mutter, "Elections have consequences." And then some of them quietly blame themselves. They know the GOP created the conditions that set in motion the electoral swings of 2006 and 2008, leading to the overwhelming majorities that allow Democrats to pass legislation the public doesn't want. They know the combination of disaster in Iraq in 2006, plus what might be called the Republican governance deficit -- a combination of the response to Hurricane Katrina, the abandonment of fiscal discipline and ethical lapses -- destroyed the public's faith in Republicans' ability to govern. So when the next crisis came around -- the economic meltdown, smack in the middle of the 2008 campaign -- voters had no confidence that Republicans could handle it...read more

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tea party movement grows - Efforts could shake up 2010 elections

It could be the birth of a party. Fueled by anger at politicians and distrust of the government, the rapidly growing tea party movement could upend the political establishment in the 2010 elections -- ultimately becoming a permanent, game-changing force in American politics. Or, it could fizzle. Even supporters aren't sure. Joyce Kaufman, a talk-show host on WFTL, AM 850, thinks the answer will come in the November elections. "If nothing happens in 2010, it falls apart," she said. But she doesn't see that happening. "It's going to be a huge dynamic. I don't think it's going to be easily defused. I think what you're going to see is an energized voice. What they will do is come out and vote. The tea party movement is going to make a difference," Kaufman said. From its start in February with an on-air rant by CNBC analyst Rick Santelli, who said he was organizing a "Tea Party" for those opposed to the president's proposed homeowner bailout plan, the tea party brand has become formidable. Protesters turned out for tea party demonstrations in cities across the country on April 15, then again to voice their opposition to health care legislation at town hall meetings throughout the summer. Now, tea party supporters and related groups have picked up where the demonstrations left off. They are active throughout the United States and in South Florida, where they're holding regular protests, preparing to register voters and recruiting more and more followers...read more

"Tea Party Movie" Gives Comprehensive End-of-Year Review of the Largest Political Movement of 2009

The tea party movement has taken on new gravity with recent polls revealing its nationwide appeal as a near front runner in a hypothetical race between the major political parties and a fictitious “tea party”. The principles-based movement of fiscal conservatism, Constitutionally limited government and free markets continues to resonate with Mainstream America amid ever increasing Federal budgets, the specter of unpopular government controlled healthcare, recent climate change scandals and a anti-climactic Copenhagen Summit. Senator John Kerry and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee recently admitted the legitimacy of the movement warning of its potential impact in a fundraising letter to activists. TEA PARTY: The Documentary Film entered the tea party movement as a momentum building force early in November with over 200 grassroots-led screening parties around the country showing a portion of the film and an online sneak peek event held during Thanksgiving...read more

Tea Party movement could hold 2010 key

Is the Tea Party movement with the Republicans or against them? That could be the most important question of the 2010 House, Senate and gubernatorial elections. The anti-tax, smaller-government movement, which built momentum in town-hall meetings all across the country in 2009, is already backing candidates in top-shelf Senate races from Florida to Nevada, and is actively seeking others. “You will see it all across the country,” predicted Joe Wierzbicki, a spokesman for the Tea Party movement. “It won’t be in every race. But there is a lot of difference between the Republican Party and the Tea Party.” But if their candidates do not win Republican primaries, will Tea Party activists support their own third-party candidates in the fall elections, prompting what Republican strategist Bill McInturff conceded would be a “disaster” for the GOP? Will their supporters simply not vote? Or could their movement, born of concern over government spending even when Republicans were in control, end up taking down incumbents of all political stripes? “Right now the Tea Party movement has higher favorables (in polls) than either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party,” said Democratic pollster Fred Yang. “Eleven months from now, the enemy could be all of us.”...read more

Nanny of the Year 2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Obama gives foreign cops new police powers in U.S.

Last Thursday, December 17, 2009, The White House released an Executive Order "Amending Executive Order 12425." It grants INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organization) a new level of full diplomatic immunity afforded to foreign embassies and select other "International Organizations" as set forth in the United States International Organizations Immunities Act of 1945. By removing language from President Reagan's 1983 Executive Order 12425, this international law enforcement body now operates - now operates - on American soil beyond the reach of our own top law enforcement arm, the FBI, and is immune from Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests. In light of what we know and can observe, it is our logical conclusion that President Obama's Executive Order amending President Ronald Reagans' 1983 EO 12425 and placing INTERPOL above the United States Constitution and beyond the legal reach of our own top law enforcement is a precursor to more damaging moves. The pre-requisite conditions regarding the Iraq withdrawal and the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention facility closure will continue their course. meanwhile, the next move from President Obama is likely an attempt to dissolve the agreements made between President Bush and other states preventing them from turning over American military forces to the ICC (via INTERPOL) for war crimes or any other prosecutions. When the paths on the road map converge - Iraq withdrawal, Guantánamo closure, perceived American image improved internationally, and an empowered INTERPOL in the United States - it is probable that President Barack Obama will once again make America a signatory to the International Criminal Court. It will be a move that surrenders American sovereignty to an international body whose INTERPOL enforcement arm has already been elevated above the Constitution and American domestic law enforcement. For an added and disturbing wrinkle, INTERPOL's central operations office in the United States is within our own Justice Department offices. They are American law enforcement officers working under the aegis of INTERPOL within our own Justice Department. That they now operate with full diplomatic immunity and with "inviolable archives" from within our own buildings should send red flags soaring into the clouds...read more

Also see coverage at World Net Daily.

Taxpayer-Funded Wind Farms Prompt Concern; Jobs for China?

Wind-power projects funded in part by the $787-billion Recovery Act (stimulus law) are coming under scrutiny at a time when President Obama and other Democrats have promoted alternative forms of energy production. Two New York Democrats – Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Eric Massa – are among the lawmakers criticizing specific wind-power projects that are getting hundreds of millions in taxpayer subsidies. A “definitive agreement” was reached on one of those projects two weeks ago, according to a Dec. 20 news release from the Austin, Texas-based Cielo Wind Power. The deal is between Cielo, U.S. Renewable Energy Group and China-based Shenyang Power Group. The $1.5 billion project – which is getting $450 million in stimulus funds – is supposed to create 2,000 to 3,000 jobs. The problem is, most of those jobs will be in China, Sen. Schumer said, because that’s where the wind turbines will be constructed. Another 300 temporary jobs will be created in Texas...read more

CRS report: ACORN didn't break law, filmmakers may have

A Congressional Research Service report commissioned by the House Judiciary Committee says ACORN hasn’t violated any federal regulations the past five years. The report, released by Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers’s (D-Mich.) staff Tuesday evening, also reports that the undercover filmmakers that allegedly caught employees of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now breaking the law may have violated state law in their filming operation. Separately on Tuesday, a New York federal judge rejected a motion from the Justice Department to reconsider a decision that ruled a bill that stopped funding for ACORN as an unconstitutional bill of attainder. The CRS report is part of a slew of government inquests into the group, which was swept up in a number of embarrassing situations in the past several months. The Government Accountability Office recently opened its own report, and Republican Reps. Darrell Issa of California and Steve King of Iowa have led the charge in demanding more investigations and hearings into the group...read more

Government Expands Fannie and Freddie Bailout and Lavishes Money on their CEOs

On Christmas Eve, when it hoped no one would notice, the Obama administration lifted the $400-billion limit on bailouts for government-sponsored mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and showered their executives with $42 million at taxpayer expense. (Earlier, Freddie Mac’s CFO received $5.5 million). Under the Bush administration, federal regulators took over Fannie and Freddie in the name of stopping their risky practices. But the Obama administration has increased their purchases of risky mortgages in a vain attempt to inflate the economy. Worse, it forced them to run up to tens of billions in losses to bail out deadbeat and at-risk mortgage borrowers, and then tried to conceal those losses, in conduct reminiscent of Enron. Banks will now be pressured to make even more risky, low-income loans. Obama has sent to Congress his proposal to create a politically correct entity called the Consumer Financial Protection Agency, tasked with enforcing the Community Reinvestment Act. Government pressure on banks to make low-income loans was a key reason for the mortgage meltdown and the financial crisis. Yet Obama’s proposals would empower the new agency to enforce the Community Reinvestment Act, which was a key contributor to the financial crisis, without regard for banks’ financial safety and soundness...read more

Monday, December 28, 2009

Ten Things That Will Make You Sick about Harry Reid’s Health Care Bill

(Rep. John Shadegg) – Everywhere I go people tell me that Democrats say Republicans are misrepresenting the health care bills and claiming they are worse than they really are. They don’t believe this legislation could be as bad as some are saying. One person recently argued my criticism was “over the top.” Others ask to know, specifically, the worst things the bill will do. Well, here’s a starting list and you can decide if Republicans are crying wolf. 1. Premiums Skyrocket: Under the Senate health bill, 90% of Americans will continue to see their premiums skyrocket or get even worse. 2. Bailout for Insurance Companies: Americans will be forced to fork over up to 8% of their salary to insurance companies with the IRS enforcing a $1500 penalty on your family if you don’t buy their product. 3. Free Care for Illegals, Penalties for Americans: Allows illegal aliens to receive free care in emergency rooms, but punishes Americans with a fine from the IRS for failing to buy government-approved coverage...read more

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mexico weighs options as lawlessness continues to grip Ciudad Juarez

Senior Mexican officials have begun a sweeping review of the military's two-year occupation of this dangerous border city, concluding that the U.S.-backed deployment of thousands of soldiers against drug traffickers has failed to control the violence and crime, according to officials in both countries. The multi-agency review, which has not been made public, represents a "serious reassessment" of President Felipe Calderón's anti-narcotics strategy and reflects growing alarm that Juarez, across from El Paso, has descended into lawlessness, U.S. officials familiar with the process said. The war on Mexico's powerful drug cartels has been the defining policy of Calderón's administration, involving unprecedented cooperation with American political and law enforcement authorities. Failure in a high-profile battleground such as Ciudad Juarez would represent a major defeat for Calderón and for U.S. officials determined to curb the multibillion dollar flow of drugs across the border. But criminal outfits fighting over Juarez have overwhelmed even military authorities in this crucial port of entry into the world's largest market for illegal narcotics. With more than 2,500 homicides, Juarez accounts for more than one-third of the 6,000 drug-related murders in Mexico this year; since April, when a surge of federal troops brought a brief lull in the death toll, the city has resumed a pace of eight to 10 murders a day. The violence has also spilled over into the suburban neighborhoods of El Paso. In a macabre daily ritual, assassins now appear to time their killings so that they get play on the afternoon and evening television news shows, according to Jaime Torres, a spokesman on public security for the Juarez government and former news director. The city estimates that the violence has created 7,000 orphans and displaced 100,000 people, many of whom have fled across the Rio Grande to Texas. Most of the members of the business and political elite of Juarez, including the mayor, now either sleep or maintain a second home in El Paso. The chief human rights advocate also retreated across the river. ..read more

Friday, December 25, 2009

Beltway Christmas: Cash for Corruptocrats

The Democrats are right. Sleazy bribes and pork payoffs didn’t start with their government health care takeover bill. They’ve been doling out taxpayer-funded goodies for votes all year. Harry Reid’s latest Cash for Cloture deals are the culmination of Washington’s 2009 shopping spree at our expense. Go back to January and February. The multi-trillion-dollar stimulus bill was the mother of all legislative Christmas trees. The ruling party used the economic downturn to redistribute wealth from struggling Americans to favored congressional districts, phantom districts and special interests from golf-cart makers to fly-by-night beauty salons. According to a new study by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, Democratic districts have raked in nearly twice as much porkulus money as GOP districts—without regard to the actual economic suffering and job loss in those districts. In fact, the researchers found that far more stimulus money went to higher-income areas than to lower-income areas. That includes Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s backyard—where a $54 million no-bid contract was awarded to a firm with little experience to relocate a luxury Bay Area wine train due to flood concerns...read more

Dependence Day

Remember the $246 billion that Democrats were going to take out of Medicare to keep the program solvent as well as help fund their health care reform schemes? Turns out it was just a fantasy. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Democrats double-counted funds in their health care plans, drawing the savings for Medicare and financing for the new medical programs outlined in the Senate bill from the same source. The legislation, says the nonpartisan CBO, will increase the deficit, not reduce it as its supporters claimed. The $246 billion was to come from a cut in Medicare benefits. This would supposedly delay that program's inevitable insolvency — now projected to be 2017— by as much as nine years. But CBO Director Doug Elmendorf said Wednesday that "the improvement in Medicare's finances would not be matched by a corresponding improvement in the federal government's overall finances." The key point, according to Elmendorf, is that the Medicare savings "would be received by the government only once, so they cannot be set aside to pay for future Medicare spending and, at the same time, pay for current spending on other parts of the legislation or on other programs." Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions from Alabama, who asked for the CBO analysis that revealed the chicanery, called the letter from Elmendorf a "game changer."...read more

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

In Tea Parties We Trust

For Democrats like Harry Reid, who called them “evil-mongers,” and Nancy Pelosi, who called them “un-American,” the NBC News poll must have hit like a sucker punch at a Georgetown wine-and-cheese. The Tea Party movement, those folks rallying against spending last spring and Obamacare in the summer town halls, are viewed more favorably than the Democratic Party. Forty-one percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party movement, to 35 percent for Obama’s party. Only 24 percent view Tea Party activists unfavorably, while 45 percent hold a negative view of the Democrats. While Tea Party types played a role in the GOP’s comeback — helping take down Gov. Jon Corzine in New Jersey and turning a John McCain deficit of 6 points in the Old Dominion into a 17-point victory for Bob McDonnell — the movement is no subsidiary of the GOP. For it played a major role in routing liberal Republican “Dede” Scozzafava in New York’s 23rd and came within a point of electing a third-party conservative. As Congressional elections are 10 months off, though primaries begin in the spring, where do Tea Party types find the battles to keep them in fighting trim? Copenhagen may have provided an answer. While Obama came home with a nothing-burger, Hillary stole the show. Without authorization of Congress, she committed the United States to lead a campaign to transfer, beginning in 2020, $100 billion a year “to address climate change needs in developing countries.” The fund would start at $10 billion and grow by 1,000 percent in a decade...read more

7 State AG's Probing Health Care Deal; GOP Forces Vote On Constitutionality In Senate

The top prosecutors in seven states are probing the constitutionality of a political deal that cut a funding break for Nebraska in order to pass a federal health care reform bill, South Carolina's attorney general said Tuesday. Attorney General Henry McMaster said he and his counterparts in Alabama, Colorado, Michigan, North Dakota, Texas and Washington state — all Republicans — are jointly taking a look at the deal they've dubbed the "Nebraska compromise." "The Nebraska compromise, which permanently exempts Nebraska from paying Medicaid costs that Texas and all other 49 states must pay, may violate the United States Constitution — as well as other provisions of federal law," Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said. McMaster's move comes at the request of Republican U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint of South Carolina...read more

The Senate on Wednesday will have to take an unplanned vote on whether the Democratic health care proposal is constitutional. Sens. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and John Ensign, R-Nev., on Tuesday raised a point of order against the legislation on behalf of a caucus of conservative senators. Ensign said the bill violates individual freedom of choice by requiring people to purchase health insurance or be subjected to fines and penalties. "Forcing every American to purchase a product is absolutely inconsistent with our Constitution and the freedoms our Founding Fathers hoped to protect,” Senator DeMint said. "This is not at all like car insurance, you can choose not to drive but Americans will have no choice whether to buy government-approved insurance."...read more

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

More Health Care Links

Concessions lawmakers won in the health bill

Get Ready for the Other Shoe to Drop: Volcker Commission Tax Hikes for Healthcare


Senate Health Bill Now Contains Seven Tax Hikes on Families Making Less than $250,000


Senate Health Care Bill 'Ugly, Partisan and Dangerous,' Conservatives Say

Socialism Creeps In As America Sleeps

Democrats on the take and in the dead of night pass an execrable piece of legislation that they haven't read, the public doesn't want and only socialists could love. What has happened to this country? If we hadn't stayed up past midnight Sunday, we wouldn't have known what was going on. Here we thought a vote on the proposed health care overhaul wasn't going to take place until Thursday night — Christmas Eve. But there they were, the United States Senate, at 1 a.m. Monday, rushing to vote in the middle of a snowstorm to close debate on the most important piece of legislation of our time — the nationalization of the U.S. health care system. And we've been scrambling ever since to make sense of it. Let's see if we have this right: • This was a vote on a Democrat-concocted scheme that Americans have rejected every time it's been proposed for 100 years and that is opposed again, by 54% to 41% by the public at large, by 2-to-1 by practicing physicians and by every last member on the Republican side of the aisle. • The vote was taken without any members having read the main 2,074-page bill, let alone the 383 pages of amendments that were tacked on at the last minute to buy off senators, including Nebraska's Ben Nelson, Louisiana's Mary Landrieu and Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders. • Despite growing public opposition, Democratic members had the nerve to call those who questioned their monstrosity "obstructionists" and worse. Rhode Island's Sheldon Whitehouse called health care bill foes "birthers," "fanatics" and "people running around in right-wing militia and Aryan support groups." Is this what Democrats meant when they said they seek bipartisan solutions to the nation's problems? • The bill contains at last count 18 new taxes totaling an estimated $406 billion — including significant new levies on those earning less than $250,000, a major breach of Obama's pledge not to raise taxes by "one penny" on those in that income group...read more

Louisiana Purchase And Omaha Stakes

Sen. Mary Landrieu was the new "Louisiana Purchase." Sen. Ben Nelson got the federal government to pick up his state's future Medicaid tab. Maybe we should just put Senate votes up on eBay. Nelson, the 60th vote in the middle-of-the-night Senate party line vote on health care reform, will go down in American political history as the inventor of the permanent earmark. His seemingly principled stand against including federal funding for abortion evaporated like the morning dew as he decided to take what was behind door No. 1. The deal for Nelson includes special Medicaid funding for Nebraska, along with Vermont and Massachusetts, which has a special election to fill the seat of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy coming up in January. Under the Senate bill every state is equal, but some are more equal than others. The other states and their taxpayers — that means you — will pick up this tab...read more

Sunday, December 20, 2009

How to Manufacture a Climate Consensus

Few people understand the real significance of Climategate, the now-famous hacking of emails from the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit (CRU). Most see the contents as demonstrating some arbitrary manipulating of various climate data sources in order to fit preconceived hypotheses (true), or as stonewalling and requesting colleagues to destroy emails to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in the face of potential or actual Freedom of Information requests (also true). But there's something much, much worse going on—a silencing of climate scientists, akin to filtering what goes in the bible, that will have consequences for public policy, including the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) recent categorization of carbon dioxide as a "pollutant." The bible I'm referring to, of course, is the refereed scientific literature. It's our canon, and it's all we have really had to go on in climate science (until the Internet has so rudely interrupted). When scientists make putative compendia of that literature, such as is done by the U.N. climate change panel every six years, the writers assume that the peer-reviewed literature is a true and unbiased sample of the state of climate science. That can no longer be the case. The alliance of scientists at East Anglia, Penn State and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (in Boulder, Colo.) has done its best to bias it...read more

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Obama hails 60th Senate vote for health care

Jubilant Democrats locked in Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson as the 60th and decisive vote for historic health care legislation Saturday, putting President Barack Obama's signature issue firmly on a path for Christmas Eve passage. At the White House, Obama swiftly welcomed the breakthrough, saying, "After a nearly century-long struggle, we are on the cusp of making health care reform a reality in the United States of America." In the Capitol, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid smiled broadly when asked if Nelson's decision gave him the 60-vote majority necessary to overcome solid Republican opposition. "Seems that way," he said. The Nevada Democrat agreed to a series of concessions on abortion and other issues demanded by Nelson in daylong talks on Friday, then informed Obama of the agreement in a late night phone call as the president flew home from climate talks in Copenhagen...read more

Does the Second Amendment Apply in Chicago?

Last year’s landmark Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller definitively settled the fact that the Second Amendment secures an individual right—not a collective one—to keep and bear arms. Yet that ruling applied only to the federal government (which oversees Washington, D.C.). Does the Second Amendment apply against state and local governments as well? Through a series of legal decisions handed down over the past century, the Supreme Court has gradually held that most of the protections in the Bill of Rights apply to the states via the 14th Amendment, which declares, “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” The Second Amendment, however, has been glaringly absent from this process, leaving state and local governments free to systematically violate gun rights. Until now. Later this term, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in McDonald v. Chicago, a case that centers on whether the Windy City’s notorious handgun ban violates the 14th Amendment. As we’ll see, it most certainly does. The text of the 14th Amendment, the historical events leading to its adoption, the goals of its framers, and the statements of purpose made both by its supporters and by those who ratified it, all point in the exact same direction: The amendment was designed to secure individual rights—including the right of armed self-defense—against abusive state and local governments...read more

Friday, December 18, 2009

Setting the bar for political wannabes

Newt Gingrich created a stir in April when he warned of a third party in 2012. "If the Republicans can't break out of being the right-wing party of big government, then I think you would see a third-party movement in 2012," he said. Eight months later, that dreadful prospect seems real. We got here because governing became all about power and not about Republican principles, leading to out-of-control government spending, deficits, earmarks and finally bailouts during the George W. Bush administration. It also became all about "winning elections," not about advancing the conservative agenda. But this is not because conservatism is unpopular. On the contrary, conservatism is "the dominant ideological group" in 2009, at 40 percent according to Gallup, outnumbering moderates for the first time since 2004 and twice the number who claim to be liberal. Much of the growth in self-identified conservatives is among independents, 35 percent now compared with 29 percent in 2008. This opened the door for the "tea party" movement. We are seeing one of the rare truly spontaneous grass-roots movements in our nation's history. It is overwhelmingly conservative and has a much higher favorable rating than the Republican Party...read more

Russian Institute claims UK Scientists manipulated data they submitted, plus video

Climategate has already affected Russia. On Tuesday, the Moscow-based Institute of Economic Analysis (IEA) issued a report claiming that the Hadley Center for Climate Change based at the headquarters of the British Meteorological Office in Exeter (Devon, England) had probably tampered with Russian-climate data. The IEA believes that Russian meteorological-station data did not substantiate the anthropogenic global-warming theory. Analysts say Russian meteorological stations cover most of the country’s territory, and that the Hadley Center had used data submitted by only 25% of such stations in its reports. Over 40% of Russian territory was not included in global-temperature calculations for some other reasons, rather than the lack of meteorological stations and observations. The data of stations located in areas not listed in the Hadley Climate Research Unit Temperature UK (HadCRUT) survey often does not show any substantial warming in the late 20th century and the early 21st century. The HadCRUT database includes specific stations providing incomplete data and highlighting the global-warming process, rather than stations facilitating uninterrupted observations. On the whole, climatologists use the incomplete findings of meteorological stations far more often than those providing complete observations. IEA analysts say climatologists use the data of stations located in large populated centers that are influenced by the urban-warming effect more frequently than the correct data of remote stations. The scale of global warming was exaggerated due to temperature distortions for Russia accounting for 12.5% of the world’s land mass. The IEA said it was necessary to recalculate all global-temperature data in order to assess the scale of such exaggeration...read more


How to Stop Mass. v. EPA from Wrecking the Economy

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, announced today that he plans to introduce a “resolution of disapproval” to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) recently finalized endangerment finding on greenhouse gases. This is huge. It means that Republicans are going to insist that climate and energy policy be made by the people’s elected representatives rather than by non-elected judges, litigators, and bureaucrats. It means that EPA regulation of carbon dioxide (CO2) under the Clean Air Act (CAA or Act) will be an issue in the 2010 elections. It means that citizens will be able to hold accountable — and punish at the ballot box — any Member of Congress who votes against Barton’s resolution of disapproval and in favor of the compliance burdens, rising energy costs, and litigation risks to the economy that EPA regulation of CO2 unavoidably entails...read more

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Immigration overhaul bill unveiled in House

Raising the curtain on a new round of debate over immigration reform, a group of Democratic congressional lawmakers introduced a comprehensive bill Tuesday that, among other provisions, would offer a path to legalization for the country's estimated 12 million illegal immigrants. The bill, championed by Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Ill.), was decidedly more pro-immigrant than the bipartisan legislation House lawmakers debated two years ago. And the latest version drew immediate fire from the left as well as the right. Groups opposed to legalization derided it as a form of amnesty, and more-liberal factions complained that it relied too heavily on enforcement. The bill also calls for beefing up border security and overhauling the federal detention system for jailed immigrants to provide for better medical treatment and other services. A spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said that although Pelosi supported the bill, she wanted the Senate to act first on the issue. President Obama has said that he anticipated taking up the immigration issue after the healthcare debate is over and Congress finishes work on energy reforms and regulating financial markets -- potentially pushing the debate close to the midterm election in November...read more

Hollywood Conservatives Say Gore Should Lose Oscar Over Climate-Gate

Just days ahead of an international climate change conference, global warming guru and former Vice President Al Gore has been hit by an inconvenient scandal -- one that's reverberated all the way back to Hollywood. Two conservative screenwriters say Gore should be stripped of his Oscar in light of the global warming questions raised by leaked e-mails out of a British research center. The former vice president earned the Oscar in 2007 for his climate change manifesto "An Inconvenient Truth." He later went on to earn a Nobel Peace Prize and become one of the world's leading authorities on global warming. But Roger Simon and Lionel Chetwynd, both members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, put out a statement Thursday calling for the Academy to take it all back in light of the controversy skeptics have dubbed Climate-Gate. "I personally call for the Academy to rescind this Oscar," Simon said. "In the history of the Academy ... not to my knowledge has an Oscar ever been rescinded. ... I think they should rescind this one."...read more

Monday, December 14, 2009

Climategate: Gore falsifies the record

In a recent interview Al Gore says about the leaked emails, "the most recent one is more than 10 years old" and pooh poohs their significance.

Not so says Andrew Bolt:

...one Climategate email was from just two months ago. The most recent was sent on November 12 - just a month ago. The emails which have Tom Wigley seeming (to me) to choke on the deceit are all from this year. Phil Jones’ infamous email urging other Climategate scientists to delete emails is from last year. How closely did Gore read these emails? Did he actually read any at all? Was he lying or just terribly mistaken? What else has he got wrong?

Tea Party Leader Bill Hennessy Unveils New Book 'Zen Conservatism'

Borrowing the Zen practices of minimalism and focus, Hennessy helps conservatives channel their anger and concern into positive steps toward reclaiming liberty. "After the 2008 elections, I realized that shouting alone was useless. I also realized that we on the right were fighting too many battles at once. So I started to write myself a letter, and that letter turned into this book." Zen Conservative, the new book by St. Louis Tea Party leader Bill Hennessy, targets the millions of Americans who are fed up with government growth, regulatory intrusion, and unfathomable borrowing and spending in Washington, DC. But rather than just ratcheting up the volume, Hennessy's "Zen Conservatism" aims toward effectiveness. The book advances the 5-2-1 method Hennessy has used to help the St. Louis Tea Party stay focused, engaged, and effective in issues like the proposed takeover of healthcare, the cap and trade tax scheme, and the undue influence of Andy Stern's SEIU union...read more

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Surprise, Surprise, Many Scientists Disagree On Global Warming

As the Climate-gate controversy continues to grow, amid charges of hiding and manipulating data, and suppressing research by academics who challenge global warming, there is one oft-repeated defense: other independent data-sets all reach the same conclusions. "I think everybody is clear on the science. I think scientists are clear on the science ... I think that this notion that there's some debate . . . on the science is kind of silly," said President Obama's Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, when asked about the president's response to the controversy on Monday. Despite the scandal, Britain's Met, the UK’s National Weather Service, claims: "we remain completely confident in the data. The three independent data sets show a strong correlation is highlighting an increase in global temperatures." But things are not so clear. It is not just the University of East Anglia data that is at question. There are about 450 academic peer-reviewed journal articles questioning the importance of man-made global warming. The sheer number of scientists rallying against a major intervention to stop carbon dioxide is remarkable. In a petition, more than 30,000 American scientists are urging the U.S. government to reject the Kyoto treaty. Thus, there is hardly the unanimity among scientists about global warming or mankind's role in producing it. But even for the sake of argument, assuming that there is significant man-made global warming, many academics argue that higher temperatures are actually good. Higher temperatures increase the amount of land to grow food, increase biological diversity, and improve people's health. Increased carbon dioxide also promotes plant growth. Let's take the issue of data. The three most relied-on data series used by the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment report came from the University of East Anglia, NASA, and the British Met Office. As noted in my previous piece for the Fox Forum, the problem of secretiveness is hardly limited to the University of East Anglia. NASA also refuses to give out its data. NASA further refuses to explain mysterious changes in whether the warmest years were in the 1930s or this past decade. The British Met office, too, has been unable to release its data and just announced its plans to begin a three-year investigation of its data since all of its land temperatures data were obtained from the University of East Anglia (ocean temperatures were collected separately), though there are signs that things might be speeded up. Neither the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia nor the British Met are able to provide their raw data to other research scientists because of the confidentiality agreements that Professor Phil Jones at CRU entered into. Unfortunately, Jones did not keep records of those agreements and, according to the British Met, can neither identify the countries with the confidentiality agreements nor provide the agreements...read more

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Why the Personal Mandate to Buy Health Insurance Is Unprecedented and Unconstitutional

A mandate requiring all individuals to purchase health insurance would be an unprecedented form of federal action. The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States. An individual mandate would have two features that, in combination, would make it unique. First, it would impose a duty on individuals as members of society. Second, it would require people to purchase a specific service that would be heavily regulated by the federal government.[1] This statement from a 1994 Congressional Budget Office Memorandum remains true today. Yet, all of the leading House and Senate health-care reform bills being debated in Congress require Americans to either secure or purchase health insurance with a particular threshold of coverage, estimated by CBO to cost up to $15,000 per year for a typical family.[2] This personal mandate to enter into a contract with a private health insurance company is enforced through civil and criminal tax penalties in section 501 of the House bill[3] and with a freestanding mandate and equally questionable civil tax penalties in sections 501 and 513 of the pending Senate bill.[4]...read more

Tea Party: The Documentary Film

Jenny Beth Martin didn't set out to become a movie star. Yet Wednesday night at the Ronald Reagan Center amphitheatre, the mom from Georgia was a celebrity at the big-screen premiere of a new film that features a cast of thousands. Wait -- better make that "hundreds of thousands." Martin is one of several activists featured in Tea Party: The Documentary Film, which tells the story of how a movement that began in February with a few hundred people showing up at scattered protests culminated in September's massive taxpayer march on Washington. Although the documentary (directed by Pritchett Cotton) uses Martin as one of a half-dozen featured "characters" to carry the narrative arc of the story, the true stars of the film are the hundreds of thousands of people who turned out to wave homemade signs and cheer speakers at Tea Party rallies all over the country during 2009. The amazing growth of the movement is highlighted by one of Martin's earliest on-screen appearances, showing her speaking at a Feb. 27 event in Atlanta, where a small crowd turned out on a cold rainy Friday. Martin subsequently explains that she was one of about 20 organizers on a Feb. 20 conference call that led to that first round of Tea Party gatherings, which followed commodities analyst Rick Santelli's now-famous Feb. 19 rant on the CNBC network. As the film makes clear, however, Santelli's call for a Tea Party protest tapped into a deep vein of discontent that started growing among grassroots conservatives during the Bush administration...read more



And look how our friends in the liberal media are reacting:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Just Say No

Republicans and anti-statist Democrats only spread confusion when they offer amendments to the plan to wreck America's health system. What's needed, plain and simple, is opposition. When a president elected only a year ago takes his political capital to Capitol Hill to pitch the top item on his domestic agenda and members of his own party are still preventing passage, it means the whole thing is set to fall apart. So members of Congress who oppose socialized medicine should move in for the kill, not "improve" more than 2,000 pages of fundamentally flawed legislation...read more

Monday, December 7, 2009

New poll shows 'Tea Party' more popular than Republican Party

A new Rasmussen poll finds that the tea party movement's popularity is growing, so much so that it garners more support than the Republican party on a generic Congressional ballot. The poll hints that the burgeoning discontent among conservatives within the GOP threatens to splinter the party at a time when the popularity of President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress are waning as we head into an election year. The tea party movement was conceived out of antipathy for President Obama's economic stimulus plan and cultivated by groups like Freedom Works and conservative commentators such as Glenn Beck. Its guiding principals are centered around opposition to tax increases and the expansion of federal government spending. The movement rose to prominence when it organized highly-publicized protest gatherings across the country on April 15th of this year. As reported by Talking Points Memo, the respondents to the Rasmussen poll were asked the following question: "Okay, suppose the Tea Party Movement organized itself as a political party. When thinking about the next election for Congress, would you vote for the Republican candidate from your district, the Democratic candidate from your district, or the Tea Party candidate from your district?" The response of all those who were polled was Democratic 36%, Tea Party 23% and Republican 18%. Further, the poll found that independents are more inclined to vote for a tea party candidate over Democratic or Republican candidates...read more

Friday, December 4, 2009

Boxer, Holdren Defend Motley CRU

Despite the incriminating e-mails, administration science adviser John Holdren still thinks man causes global warming. And Sen. Barbara Boxer thinks it's the whistle-blowers who should be arrested. Time was when Barbara Boxer thought it was just fine for the New York Times and Washington Post to spill national military secrets and war plans on their front pages. The people had a right to know where and how they were being led. But we are not dealing here with the Pentagon Papers, the location of terrorist prisons or the surveillance of al-Qaida and its operatives. Boxer, top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, thinks those who unearthed the e-mails from Britain's Climate Research Unit should be prosecuted as common hackers, not rewarded as whistle-blowers. "This is a crime. You call it 'Climate-gate.' I call it 'e-mail-theft-gate,'" Boxer said at a committee hearing Wednesday, noting that if she were to hold a hearing on the matter as the ranking Republican has requested, it would include a criminal probe of those who revealed that global warming emperors have no clothes and the world is actually cooling as the sun grows quiet. "Part of our looking at this will be looking at criminal activity, which could have been well coordinated," Boxer said. The only coordinated criminal activity here was by CRU researchers at the University of East Anglia. Their manipulation, destruction and fudging of data were a phony justification for the Kerry-Boxer economy-killing cap-and-tax legislation Boxer is pushing...read more

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cap-And-Trade Loss A Stunner In Aussie Vote

Cap-and-trade in Australia — which just a week ago was declared a certainty — is officially dead. This is the first major climate change turnaround anywhere in the Western world, with significant implications for our domestic debate. Combined with the Climate-gate e-mails revealing the data suppression and deceit underpinning "scientific consensus," the whole climate change alarmism house of cards is coming crashing down. Early last week, the leader of Australia's conservative opposition, Malcolm Turnbull, announced that he had reached agreement with the government to implement cap-and-trade, thus binding his party to support it in parliament en bloc. The agreement was signed, sealed and delivered — cap-and-trade would become law with bipartisan support. Its passage was a certainty. The elite rejoiced. But then a funny thing happened on the way to the Senate: The Australian public woke up. The days that followed were simply stunning. An unprecedented, uncoordinated and spontaneous grass-roots campaign erupted to force the opposition to reverse course. Political offices went into meltdown, unable to cope with the torrent of phone calls, faxes and e-mails opposing what was effectively a massive tax hike. By the end of the week, 14 members of the opposition leadership had resigned in protest. As the public outcry intensified, Turnbull refused to back down, staking his entire reputation and future on his passionate support for cap-and-trade. He violently attacked true conservatives, and repeatedly cried out that to win government you must be "moderate." So on early Tuesday morning, opposition parliamentarians met and voted to replace him. For the first time since 1916, the leader of a major Australian political party was deposed on the grounds of just one policy decision: the decision to support cap-and-trade...read more

A New Leviathan?

When is government too big? Americans will find out if the Senate health care bill passes. It will expand the already-huge Health and Human Services Department and give it vast new powers. Are Americans ready for this? As written, the Senate's 2,079-page health bill would make HHS, already by far the largest federal department in terms of spending, even more large and powerful. Even now, the HHS budget of more than $800 billion makes it one of the 15 largest economies in the world. It's that big. And the Senate, heedless of the old advice that bigger isn't better, is about to make it even bigger. According to Washington's scrappy Examiner.com, the Senate bill would grant HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sweeping new powers, "including the authority to decide what medical care should be covered by insurers as well as the terms and conditions of coverage and who should receive it." Health care analyst Devon Herrick of the National Center for Policy Analysis says this is no exaggeration: "The legislation lists 1,697 times where the secretary of health and human services is given the authority to create, determine or define things in the bill."...read more

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

U.K. Climate Scientist Steps Down; Penn State Inquiry on Mann

The British scientist at the heart of a scandal over climate-change research temporarily stepped down Tuesday as director of a prominent research group amid an internal probe that follows the release of hacked emails involving him and other scientists. The University of East Anglia in the U.K. said Phil Jones, head of the university's Climatic Research Unit, had decided to step aside from the director's post, less than a week before world leaders are set to meet for a climate summit in Copenhagen. The two-week conference, sponsored by the United Nations, is supposed to come up with tougher policies to curb greenhouse-gas emissions and slow global warming. The need for such action has been buttressed in large part by research by Dr. Jones and his colleagues in East Anglia and around the world. But hackers recently stole emails and documents from the East Anglia center that suggested Dr. Jones and other like-minded scientists tried to squelch the views of dissenting researchers and possibly manipulated or destroyed data. The fallout from the hacked emails is spreading beyond the U.K. Also Tuesday, Penn State University confirmed that Michael Mann -- a climate scientist on its faculty who figures prominently in the emails -- is under "inquiry" by the university. Dr. Mann's work reconstructing historic global temperatures has, over the past decade, become a focal point of debate. Penn State said in a statement that its inquiry, which stems from disclosed emails written by Dr. Mann, is a preliminary step to determine whether a full investigation is needed...read more

And this from NRO:

The thing to understand about the scandal surrounding the e-mails leaked from Britain’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) is that it is actually three scandals. There is a scientific scandal, in which the leading lights of the climate-research cabal conspired to fudge data and silence skeptics. There is a media scandal, in which reporters and editors on the “climate beat” at the world’s most prominent news organizations acted as stenographers for the cabal and ignored the scandal when it broke. And there is a political scandal, in which officeholders here and abroad used the bunk science as a pretext for expanding their control of (and take from) the world’s energy markets...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Student expelled for having unloaded shotguns in truck parked off campus

The Willows Unified School District board of trustees has expelled a 16-year-old for having unloaded shotguns in his pickup parked just off the Willows High School campus. The board voted 4-0 Thursday to expel junior Gary Tudesko after the weapons were discovered via scent-sniffing dogs on Oct. 26. Board Vice President Alex Parisio abstained from the discussion and vote because he is related to Tudesko's family. Expulsion hearings are normally held in closed sessions, but affected students and their parents can request a public hearing. Susan Parisio defended her son during the 105-minute public hearing at Willows Civic Center. She acknowledged that Tudesko was lazy for not storing the shotguns at home after a morning of bird hunting, but she questioned the district's ability to enforce its policies off Willows High School property. "My son was not even parked on school property," Parisio said...read more

Yes, N.M.’s budget woes are bad. But pain is relative.

With impending service cuts, taxes sure to increase and a cash-short state road fund, life in New Mexico might seem, well, not so enchanting. But it turns out pain is relative. You’re lucky you don’t live in Arizona, Nevada or California. Each state recently made the top 10 list of states in peril, according to a report from the Pew Center on the States. Colorado just missed by a whisker. Yes, New Mexico might face a $1 billion shortfall next year, meaning pain will spread far and wide in the form of service cuts to program and tax increases. But New Mexico looks downright healthy compared to the walking dead among its neighbors. California was given a score of 30, and those states whose scores came nearest to that point based on several factors were judged as the worst off. Arizona scored 28, and Nevada 26, earning them a place in the Top Ten states in peril. Colorado, by comparison, scored a 21, narrowly missing the worst-off list thanks to New Jersey (23), Wisconsin (22) and Illinois (22). Like many other national rankings, New Mexico brought up the rear, scoring a 12, although this time a low ranking was a positive. New Mexico earned a spot among the states least like California, joining Iowa, Montana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and Wyoming...read more

Feds target misuse of stimulus cash

Federal prosecutors are investigating a dozen cases of possible fraud involving the $787 billion stimulus package, a USA TODAY review of government records shows. There are an additional 88 active investigations of potential misuse of that money, according to reports filed by internal watchdogs at 29 federal agencies managing stimulus funds and the congressional Government Accountability Office. Separately, GAO criminal investigators are reviewing nine cases, acting GAO head Gene Dodaro has said. The agency reports, which are required under the stimulus law to be filed monthly by the inspectors general, do not provide details on the investigations. However, Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board Chairman Earl Devaney said the allegations involve contract and grant fraud and include filing false statements and attempts by ineligible firms to get funding. "This is a pretty tempting pot of money for people to go after," Devaney said of stimulus funds...read more

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Obama to Go to Copenhagen With Emissions Target

President Obama is pledging a provisional target for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, the first time in more than a decade that an American administration has offered even a tentative promise to reduce production of climate-altering gases, the White House announced Wednesday. At the international climate meetings in Copenhagen next month, Mr. Obama will tell the delegates that the United States intends to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions “in the range of” 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050, officials said. The figures reflect targets specified by legislation that passed the House in June but is stalled in the Senate. Congress has never enacted legislation that includes firm emissions limits or ratified an international global warming agreement with binding targets. Mr. Obama will travel to the United Nations talks to deliver the promise in hopes of spurring significant progress there. He will appear Dec. 9, near the beginning of the 12-day session, on his way to accept the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on Dec. 10, officials said. By making the pledge in an international forum, Mr. Obama is laying a bet that Congress will complete action on a climate bill next year and will be prepared to ratify an international agreement based on the commitment...read more

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Criminalizing Health-Care Freedom

The “reformers” in the White House and the House of Representatives have made all too plain their vision of the federal government’s power to coerce individual Americans to make the “right” health-care choices. The highly partisan bill the House just passed includes severe penalties for individuals who do not purchase insurance approved by the federal government. By neatly tucking these penalties into the IRS code, the so-called reformers have brought them under the tax-enforcement power of the federal government. The Congressional Budget Office stated on October 29 that the House bill would generate $167 billion in revenue from “penalty payments.” Individual Americans are expected to pay $33 billion of these penalties, with employers paying the rest. Former member of Congress and Heritage Foundation fellow Ernest Istook has concluded that for this revenue goal to be met, 8 to 14 million individual Americans will have to be fined over the next ten years, quite an incentive for federal bureaucrats. The fact that the penalties for noncompliance are enforceable by criminal prosecution is a chilling abuse of the prosecutorial power, which Columbia law professor Herbert Wechsler pointed out 50 years ago is the greatest power that any government uses against its citizens. Using it to enforce one particular notion of appropriate insurance coverage is nothing less than a tyrannical assertion of raw government power over the private lives and economic rights of individual Americans...read more

Global WarmingGate: What Does It Mean?

Late on the night of of November 19, news broke on PJM and elsewhere that a large amount of data had been stolen from one of the major climate research institutions by an unknown hacker and made available on the Internet. The institution is the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit, home institution for Dr Phil Jones and one of the world’s centers of research into anthropogenic global warming (AGW), or “climate change.” If we do accept them as authentic, though, they truly are incendiary. They appear to reveal not one, not two, but three real scandals, of increasing importance. * The emails suggest the authors co-operated covertly to ensure that only papers favorable to CO2-forced AGW were published, and that editors and journals publishing contrary papers were punished. They also attempted to “discipline” scientists and journalists who published skeptical information. * The emails suggest that the authors manipulated and “massaged” the data to strengthen the case in favor of unprecedented CO2-forced AGW, and to suppress their own data if it called AGW into question. The emails suggest that the authors co-operated (perhaps the word is “conspired”) to prevent data from being made available to other researchers through either data archiving requests or through the Freedom of Information Acts of both the U.S. and the UK...read more

Competitive Enterprise Institute Sues NASA in Wake of Climategate Scandal

Today, the Competitive Enterprise Institute filed three Notices of Intent to File Suit against NASA and its Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), for those bodies’ refusal — for nearly three years — to provide documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act. The information sought is directly relevant to the exploding “Climategate” scandal revealing document destruction, coordinated efforts in the U.S. and UK to avoid complying with both countries’ freedom of information laws, and apparent and widespread intent to defraud at the highest levels of international climate science bodies. Numerous informed commenters had alleged such behavior for years, all of which appears to be affirmed by leaked emails, computer code, and other data from the Climatic Research Unit of the UK’s East Anglia University. All of that material, and that sought for years by CEI, goes to the heart of the scientific claims and campaign underpinning the Kyoto Protocol, its planned successor treaty, “cap-and-trade” legislation, and the EPA’s threatened regulatory campaign to impose similar measures through the back door...read more

Three Things You Absolutely Must Know About Climategate

This may seem obscure, but the science involved is being used to justify the diversion of literally trillions of dollars of the world’s wealth in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by phasing out fossil fuels. The CRU is the Pentagon of global warming science, and these documents are its Pentagon Papers. Here are three things everyone should know about the Climategate Papers. Links are provided so that the full context of every quote can be seen by anyone interested. First, the scientists discuss manipulating data to get their preferred results. The most prominently featured scientists are paleoclimatologists, who reconstruct historical temperatures and who were responsible for a series of reconstructions that seemed to show a sharp rise in temperatures well above historical variation in recent decades. In 1999, Phil Jones, the head of CRU, wrote to activist scientist Michael “Mike” Mann that he has just “completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps … to hide the decline”(0942777075). This refers to a decline in temperatures in recent years revealed by the data he had been reconstructing that conflicted with the observed temperature record. The inconvenient data was therefore hidden under a completely different set of data. Some “trick.” Mann later (2003) announced that “it would be nice to try to ‘contain’ the putative ‘MWP,’ even if we don’t yet have a hemispheric mean reconstruction available that far back” (1054736277). The MWP is the Medieval Warm Period, when temperatures may have been higher than today. Mann’s desire to “contain” this phenomenon even in the absence of any data suggesting that this is possible is a clear indication of a desire to manipulate the science. There are other examples of putting political/presentational considerations before the science throughout the collection...read more

Climategate: When Scientists Become Politicians

Over thousands of years, at each step, the response of the scientists was to continually adjust and refine their theories to conform to the data, not the other way around. This is how science is done and how we developed the knowledge that has given us such tremendous and accelerating scientific and technological breakthroughs in the past century. It is occasionally reasonable to throw out a bad data point if it is in defiance of an otherwise satisfactory model fit, as long as everyone knows that you’ve done so and the rationale, but a deliberate and unrevealed fudging of results in an attempt to make the real world fit one’s preconceptions is beyond the scientific pale. Journal articles have been thrown out for it; PhD candidates have lost their degrees for it. But such behavior, along with attempts to cover it up and dishonestly discredit critics, is exactly what was revealed in a leak of emails last Friday from a research facility in eastern England. And it was not the behavior of previously unknown researchers on some arcane topic of little interest to anyone outside their own field. It was the behavior of leading luminaries in perhaps the greatest scientific issue and controversy of our age: Whether or not the planet is warming to a potentially dangerous degree as a result of humanity’s influence...read more

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Is the Senate health plan anti-gun?

"There is a broader issue here," said Dave Kopel, research director of the Independence Institute of Colorado, a libertarian think tank. "The more you socialize costs, the more you empower the argument that the government has the authority to control private behavior." Kopel pointed to the Japanese health care system, where employee waistlines are measured and those who are overweight are put into special weight loss programs, as an example of where the U.S. health care system could be headed. And gun control could become part of it, Kopel said. "If [the Department of Health and Human Services] can write regulations for lower premiums for healthy habits in general," Kopel said. "Then I don't see anything in the bill that stops HHS from saying people get higher premiums for unhealthy habits such as owning a gun or a handgun." Gun Owners of America spokesman Erich Pratt said the government has already blocked gun ownership through its access to the mental health records of military veterans. If a vet is diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, his or her name is sent to a special database used to prohibit gun purchases. So far, 150,000 veterans have been denied firearms using the list, Pratt said. The Senate bill could widen government oversight of who can own a gun, he warned. "With these mandates, it is really going to be impossible to keep our medical information out of this database," Pratt said...read more

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Second Amendment Protects All Americans, Supreme Court Told

Gun rights advocates have sketched out arguments they hope will convince the U.S. Supreme Court that no state can be a Second Amendment-free zone. In a 73-page legal brief filed on Monday, the groups representing four Chicago residents asked the Supreme Court to overturn the city's extremely restrictive firearms laws, some of the most severe in the nation. "It is unfathomable that the states are constitutionally limited in their regulation of medical decisions or intimate relations, because these matters touch upon personal autonomy, but are unrestrained in their ability to trample upon the enumerated right to arms designed to enable self-preservation," says the brief, written by attorneys Alan Gura of Alexandria, Va. and David Sigale of Lisle, Ill. on behalf of the Second Amendment Foundation. Translation: Even though abortion is not mentioned anywhere in the U.S. Constitution, courts have nevertheless declared it to be a fundamental right. Shouldn't the Second Amendment, which originally was requested by more states than the First Amendment was, receive at least equal treatment? Much of the brief -- the vast majority, in fact -- reads more like a history textbook than appellate writing. Gura and his co-counsel use that space to recount, in exhaustive detail, how the post-Civil War measure called the Fourteenth Amendment was designed to protect anyone's fundamental rights from being infringed by state governments. Their argument, which I wrote about last month, traces the Fourteenth Amendment's "privileges or immunities" concept through American history and offers contemporaneous evidence that it protects gun rights against infringements by states and municipalities...read more

You can view the petitioners brief here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

More cash for fewer clunkers

According to the consumer pricing index report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the price of used cars rose 3.4% in October thanks to the government’s cash-for-clunkers that spirited away a large portion of the used-car inventory. So, for those of us who chose not to buy a new “greener” car last month, and who want to purchase a dirty old used car, we have a smaller pool from which to select. Fewer goods results in increased demand and increased prices. Thanks a lot Big Government. You helped rich folks knock off a few grand on their brand new cars that cost tens of thousands of dollars and left those working on a much smaller budget potentially priced out of the used-car market, with no car to get to work or shuttle around kids, and left without a bailout to stand on. OpenMarket

Full List of Tax Hikes In Senate Democrat Health Bill

Go here to see the list prepared by Americans For Tax Reform.

Also see their How Does the Reid-Obama Health Bill Raise Taxes on Your Current Health Plan?

Other items of interest:

CBO: By 2019, Taxpayers Will Pay $194 Billion Per Year for Obamacare, But 24 Million People Will Remain Uninsured

Most Support Medical Malpractice Reform, Poll Says

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Obamacare Puts One-Fifth of U.S. On Welfare

Medicaid is a means-tested welfare program created in 1965 to provide health care for low income families. Despite the fact that it is one of the most poorly performing of all the federal welfare programs it has become the cornerstone of how health insurance is expanded under Obamacare. The Health care “reform” bills advancing in the House and Senate would expand Medicaid by making this government-run health plan available to all adults with incomes at or below 150% of the poverty line. The change would dramatically multiply eligible recipients, with 46 states seeing increases of at least 20%, including 16 posting jumps of 50% or more. Almost 21% of the entire U.S. population would be eligible for Medicaid and seven states and the District of Columbia would have eligibility rates of at least 25%. Heritage

Monday, November 16, 2009

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Report On Obamacare

From ATR:

Last Friday, the the non-partisan and independent Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency in charge of running Medicare and Medicaid, issued a report analyzing the effect of Obamacare if passed.

The Heritage Foundation has presented a handy list of its conclusions. These include:

* Obamacare will bend the cost curve up, causeing an additional $289 billion in expenditure
* Millions will lose their existing private coverage
* 18 million Americans will either face jail time or be forced to pay a new tax they will receive no benefit from.
* 8.5 million seniours who currently get such services as coor­dinated care for chronic conditions, routine eye and hearing examinations, and preventive-care services would lose their existing private coverage.
* More than half the people who gain health insurance will receive it through the welfare program Medicaid.
* Hospitals currently serving Medicare patients might be forced to stop doing so, thus making it much more difficult for seniors to get health care.
* Supply constraints will mean that the 21 million people who are gaining health insurance through Medicaid are going to have a very tough time finding a doctor who will treat them.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Federal judge orders college to allow "empty holster" protest

A federal judge granted a temporary restraining order Friday allowing two Tarrant County College students to stage their "empty holster" protest at the community college campuses. U.S. District Judge Terry R. Means said in his ruling that Clayton Smith and John Schwertz Jr., who attend TCC Northeast Campus in Hurst, can wear empty gun holsters and hand out fliers in "public-forum areas including, but not limited to, public streets, sidewalks, and common or park areas." TCC wanted to restrict the protest to a small designated area. But the students cannot wear their holsters in classrooms or hallways. They are protesting for the right of licensed gun owners to carry concealed handguns on college campuses...read more

U.S. reverses stance on treaty to regulate arms trade

The United States reversed policy on Wednesday and said it would back launching talks on a treaty to regulate arms sales as long as the talks operated by consensus, a stance critics said gave every nation a veto. The decision, announced in a statement released by the U.S. State Department, overturns the position of former President George W. Bush's administration, which had opposed such a treaty on the grounds that national controls were better. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States would support the talks as long as the negotiating forum, the so-called Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty, "operates under the rules of consensus decision-making." The proposed treaty is opposed by conservative U.S. think tanks like the Heritage Foundation, which said last month that it would not restrict the access of "dictators and terrorists" to arms but would be used to reduce the ability of democracies such as Israel to defend their people. The U.S. lobbying group the National Rifle Association has also opposed the treaty...read more

Time to Put An End to Army Bases as Gun-Free Zones

It is hard to believe that we don't trust soldiers with guns on an army base when we trust these very same men in Iraq and Afghanistan. Shouldn't an army base be the last place where a terrorist should be able to shoot at people uninterrupted for 10 minutes? After all, an army base is filled with soldiers who carry guns, right? Unfortunately, that is not the case. Beginning in March 1993, under the Clinton administration, the army forbids military personnel from carrying their own personal firearms and mandates that "a credible and specific threat against [Department of the Army] personnel [exist] in that region" before military personnel "may be authorized to carry firearms for personal protection." Indeed, most military bases have relatively few military police as they are in heavy demand to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan. The unarmed soldiers could do little more than cower as Major Nidal Malik Hasan stood on a desk and shot down into the cubicles in which his victims were trapped...read more

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

EPA Warns 2 Staff Lawyers Over Video Criticizing Obama Climate Policy

The Environmental Protection Agency has directed two of its lawyers to makes changes to a YouTube video they posted that is critical of the Obama administration’s climate change policy. The agency, citing federal policies, told the two lawyers, Laurie Williams and Allan Zabel, who are married and based in San Francisco, that they could mention their E.P.A. affiliation only once; must remove language specifying Mr. Zabel’s expertise and their years of employment with the agency; and must remove an image of the agency’s office in San Francisco. They have been told that if they do not edit the video to comply with the policy, they could face disciplinary action. The video, titled “The Huge Mistake,” was produced and posted in September. But the agency did not issue its warning until The Washington Post published a widely cited opinion article by the couple on Oct. 31 that raised concerns, echoing those in the video, about cap-and-trade legislation that the Obama administration supports. Ms. Williams and Mr. Zabel say cap and trade, in which the government sets a limit on gases that contribute to global warming and then lets companies trade permits to meet it, can be easily gamed by industry and fail to reduce the emissions linked to global warming...read more

A Red-Ink Train Wreck: The Real Fiscal Cost of Government-Run Healthcare

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pelosi: Buy A $15,000 Policy Or Go To Jail

Today, Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee Dave Camp (R-MI) released a letter from the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) confirming that the failure to comply with the individual mandate to buy health insurance contained in the Pelosi health care bill (H.R. 3962, as amended) could land people in jail. The JCT letter makes clear that Americans who do not maintain “acceptable health insurance coverage” and who choose not to pay the bill’s new individual mandate tax (generally 2.5% of income), are subject to numerous civil and criminal penalties, including criminal fines of up to $250,000 and imprisonment of up to five years. When confronted with this same issue during its consideration of a similar individual mandate tax, the Senate Finance Committee worked on a bipartisan basis to include language in its bill that shielded Americans from civil and criminal penalties. The Pelosi bill, however, contains no similar language protecting American citizens from civil and criminal tax penalties that could include a $250,000 fine and five years in jail. According to the Congressional Budget Office the lowest cost family non-group plan under the Speaker’s bill would cost $15,000 in 2016...read more

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Teague to vote against House health care bill

Congressman Harry Teague, D-N.M., issued a release late Friday afternoon saying that while he believes “we need to reform our health care system,” he will not vote for the House version of a health care reform bill. The statement says Teague is voting against the health care bill because it fails to do “enough to rein in insurance companies” and that he is “concerned that American taxpayers will end up footing a nearly $900 billion tab for a bill that doesn’t do enough to ‘bend the cost curve’ in a way that permanently reduces both costs and the national debt.” “I had hoped to have an opportunity to vote for a health insurance reform bill that would guarantee every American access to affordable, quality health care, and rein in the skyrocketing health care costs that are keeping people and businesses out of the system and driving up our national debt,” Teague wrote. “Unfortunately, the current bill before Congress falls short of that and I am left with no choice but to vote against it.” Teague is facing a tough election in 2010 against his predecessor, former Congressman Steve Pearce, R-N.M. Pearce left the 2nd Congressional District seat in an unsuccessful run for Senate last year...read more

Friday, November 6, 2009

Tea Party Conservatism and the GOP

...Let’s start with some clarity: “Tea Party conservatism” stands for several things, but it is not the caricature one often finds in the mainstream media, to say nothing of the left wing blogs. It is a movement with deep historical roots, drawing its name and inspiration from the Boston Tea Party of 1773. As with that event, taxes brought it to the fore — on Tax Day, April 15. But taxes are simply the most obvious manifestation of modern government run amok, insinuating itself into every corner of life. Trillions of dollars of debt for our children, out-of-control government budgets, massive interventions in private affairs — the list of wrongs is endless, and under Obama has exploded. He stands for nothing if not for making us all dependent on the government he has promised us. That’s not America. That’s a foreign vision, which over the centuries countless millions have fled, searching for freedom...The basic question, however, is what does the movement stand for? What are its principles? And on that, the contrast with the Obama vision is stark: However much confusion there might be on specific issues, which is to be expected, the broad principles are clear. The Tea Party movement stands for limited constitutional government. At its rallies, on hand-written sign after sign, that was the message repeatedly seen. These are ordinary Americans – Republicans, Independents, and even Democrats — who want simply to be left alone to plan and live their own lives. They don’t want “community organizers” to help empower them to get more from government...The question, therefore, is not whether Tea Party conservatism is a help or a hazard for Republicans seeking a return to power? To the contrary, it is whether the Republican Party is a help or a hindrance to the Tea Party movement?...read more

Tea partiers hone skills in N.Y. House race

Their candidate lost in the end, but for many in the rapidly expanding "tea party" movement, this fall's special House race in upstate New York was a "training ground" that taught its cadre of loosely organized grass-roots activists how to challenge both major parties and has only whetted the movement's appetite for the 2010 midterm elections. Tea party foot soldiers fueled Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman's meteoric rise that drove liberal Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava out of the race, giving the anti-tax, anti-spending activists their first real victory. But the ballot-box clout of the movement remains a question mark after Mr. Hoffman fell in a tight race to Democrat Bill Owens Tuesday, handing Democrats their biggest victory on a night of reverses and giving the party control of the New York House seat for the first time in more than a century. But despite the close loss, tea party activists insist they have proved this year that they will be a new force to be reckoned with on the American political scene...read more

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Socialized Medicine: 10 Months With A Broken Arm

Torron Eeles, 50, fractured the humerus bone in his upper left arm after falling down the stairs at home in December 2008 and has been incapacitated ever since. His arm, twisted out of shape, hangs limply by his side, meaning he cannot work for a living and now faces the prospect of losing his home. "This whole situation is absolutely disgusting. I have never heard of anyone else having a broken arm for 10 months," the father-of-three said. Mr Eeles fractured his arm on December 3 and rushed straight to casualty where doctors put his arm in plaster. But within a few weeks a specialist said the bones were too far apart and there was too much movement in the arm – meaning surgeons would have to insert a metal plate. He claims his first two operations at the Queen Elizabeth II hospital in Welwyn Garden City, Herts., were cancelled due to a lack of beds and operating time respectively. His third operation in February was postponed after he was found to have high blood pressure, while the fourth, scheduled for May, was abandoned because of concerns about his smoking. He removed the plaster after around three months and was given a wrist sling, which he branded ''totally useless''...read more

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Denish Used Federal Funds for Personal Driver, Polling and Christmas Cards

Lt. Governor Diane Denish used $225,000 in federal funds to pay for a driver to shuttle her to meetings and press events, a contractor to take Christmas pictures and write Christmas cards, a lawyer to make hotel reservations, opinion polling and public relations services. The money was given to her for “various projects” by Governor Bill Richardson. The money came from unallocated federal fiscal stimulus funds transferred to the New Mexico treasury under the 2003 Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act. New Mexico Watchdog requested that the Lt. Governor’s office produce under the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act all documents containing information on how this money was spent. The documents were made available for review at the Roundhouse in one of the Governor’s conference rooms...read more

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Inside The Capitol - Where Should They Cut?

Where are we most likely to see further cuts in state government? They are going to have to be made. Tax increases will not fly unless the public sees them balanced with a leaner government. By most measures, government has grown close to 50 percent during the Richardson years. It was a grand experiment in spending money to make money. For the most part, it hasn't worked -- yet, at least. The slow moving spaceport could be a candidate for cuts. Most of the money hasn't been spent yet. The aerospace industry hasn't grown at the rate many had predicted. It is much less costly than the railroad and could be an economic boon. But if we build it, are they really going to come? The money designated for highways likely will remain intact. So many of us use those highways that that cutting road improvements would be very unpopular. Capital outlay projects are the most popular state expenditures of all. Local communities depend on them. They bring jobs. And legislators think it gets them reelected. But the process for allocating that money is terribly flawed. When the effectiveness of the New Mexico Legislature and state government in general is rated nationally, we usually show up as a dismal low average despite some features that make us proud. The major problem is our method of allocating that money. Instead of having it prioritized by a state agency on an objective basis, lawmakers compete for it. Everyone gets a piece of the action but often too small a piece to do any good. And too often it isn't even wanted by the local governments for which it is designated. The result is a huge pile of unused money, currently estimated to be around $1.3 billion...read more

Health insurance mandate alarms some

Among some libertarians and conservatives, the most troubling aspect of the pending healthcare reform bills is the prospect of a federal requirement that Americans buy insurance. "What next? Can Congress order you to buy spinach?" asked Roger Pilon, director of constitutional studies at the Cato Institute. He and other defenders of limited federal power foresee a constitutional challenge to the mandate to buy insurance based on the claim that Congress' power to regulate commerce does not extend to forcing citizens to buy a commercial product. "I think the individual mandate will be challenged. And it will be a close call," Pilon said. In recent weeks, the debate over how to bring about affordable health coverage for all has overshadowed the novelty of a federal requirement to purchase insurance. When the Clinton administration considered such a plan in 1994, the Congressional Budget Office said it "would be an unprecedented form of federal action. . . . The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States." The newly unveiled House bill would set a tax penalty of as much as 2.5% of adjusted income for people who do not have health insurance as of 2013. The Senate Finance Committee scaled down its penalty, but settled on a maximum of $750 per adult, or $1,500 for a household...read more