Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Rasmussen: ‘Most Say Tea Party Has Better Understanding of Issues than Congress’

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 52% of U.S. voters believe the average member of the Tea Party movement has a better understanding of the issues facing America today than the average member of Congress. Only 30% believe that those in Congress have a better understanding of the key issues facing the nation. When it comes to those issues, 47% think that their own political views are closer to those of the average Tea Party member than to the views of the average member of Congress. On this point, 26% feel closer to Congress.

Mark Hemingway says: So are Democrats now going to assert that a majority of the country is racist?

It's Official – America Now Enforces Capital Controls

It couldn't have happened to a nicer country. On March 18, with very little pomp and circumstance, president Obama passed the most recent stimulus act, the $17.5 billion Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (H.R. 2487), brilliantly goalseeked by the administration's millionaire cronies to abbreviate as HIRE. As it was merely the latest in an endless stream of acts destined to expand the government payroll to infinity, nobody cared about it, or actually read it. Because if anyone had read it, the act would have been known as the Capital Controls Act, as one of the lesser, but infinitely more important provisions on page 27, known as Offset Provisions – Subtitle A – Foreign Account Tax Compliance, institutes just that. In brief, the Provision requires that foreign banks not only withhold 30% of all outgoing capital flows (likely remitting the collection promptly back to the US Treasury) but also disclose the full details of non-exempt account-holders to the US and the IRS. And should this provision be deemed illegal by a given foreign nation's domestic laws (think Switzerland), well the foreign financial institution is required to close the account. It's the law. If you thought you could move your capital to the non-sequestration safety of non-US financial institutions, sorry you lose – the law now says so. Capital Controls are now here and are now fully enforced by the law. Let's parse through the just passed law, which has been mentioned by exactly zero mainstream media outlets...more

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Americans 49-37% in Support of State Lawsuits Against Obamacare

Forty-nine percent (49%) of U.S. voters favor their state suing the federal government to fight the requirement in the new national health care plan that every American must obtain health insurance. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of likely voters finds that 37% disagree and oppose their state suing to challenge that requirement. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided. Seventy-two percent (72%) of Republicans and 58% of voters not affiliated with either major party favor such lawsuits. Sixty-five percent (65%) of Democrats are opposed...read more

Friday, March 26, 2010

Castro applauds US health-care reform bill

It perhaps was not the endorsement President Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress were looking for. Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro on Thursday declared passage of American health care reform "a miracle" and a major victory for Obama's presidency, but couldn't help chide the United States for taking so long to enact what communist Cuba achieved decades ago. "We consider health reform to have been an important battle and a success of his (Obama's) government," Castro wrote in an essay published in state media, adding that it would strengthen the president's hand against lobbyists and "mercenaries."...more

Thursday, March 25, 2010

GOP challenges send health bill back to House

Senate Republicans have successfully identified two minor violations of reconciliation rules in the final piece of the health-care package. The violations will force the Senate to change the reconciliation bill and ship it to the House of Representatives for final passage. But Democratic leaders said the provisions that will be struck -- from the part of the bill dealing with Pell Grants for college students -- do not significantly affect the student loan program or the health care bill overall. The corrected legislation most likely will not be subjected to additional challenges when it is sent back to the House, Democratic staffers said, and is expected to receive final approval before the weekend. For much of Wednesday and into Thursday morning, Senate Republicans offered dozens of amendments to the bill President Obama signed into law Tuesday . Their goal was to force the legislation that will launch an overhaul of the nation's health-care system. back to the House for another vote. But when the Senate began voting shortly after 5 p.m., all 29 amendments were easily rejected...read more

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dingell: It will take some time for ObamaCare to "control the people"

From WJR's Paul W. Smith show, a Freudian slip from Rep. John Dingell. Smith asked why we're waiting for 2014 to cover people, and Dingell said this in his defense:

"Let me remind you this [Americans allegedly dying because of lack of universal health care] has been going on for years. We are bringing it to a halt. The harsh fact of the matter is when you're going to pass legislation that will cover 300 [million] American people in different ways it takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people."

As CQblogger says, it is all about control.


Liberal Activist Says 'Cognitive' Brain Patterns Prevent Conservatives From Accepting Threat of Global Warming

Proponents of human-caused global warming claim that "cognitive" brain function prevents conservatives from accepting the science that says "climate change" is an imminent threat to planet Earth and its inhabitants. George Lakoff, a professor of cognitive science and linguistics at the University of California-Berkeley and author of the book "The Political Mind: A Cognitive Scientist's Guide to Your Brain and Its Politics," says his scientific research shows that how one perceives the world depends on one’s bodily experience and how one functions in the everyday world. Reason is shaped by the body, he says. Lakoff told CNSNews.com that “metaphors” shape a person's understanding of the world, along with one’s values and political beliefs -- including what they think about global warming. "It relates directly (to global warming) because conservatives tend to feel that the free market should be unregulated and (that) environmental regulations are immoral and wrong," Lakoff said. "And what they try to do is show that the science is wrong and that the argument is wrong, based on the science. So when it comes back to science, they try to debunk the science," Lakoff said. On the other hand, he added, liberals' cognitive process allows them to be "open-minded."...read more

Fed's regulatory powers likely to be expanded

One thing now seems certain to come out of Congress' plodding financial reform effort: The Federal Reserve, after being castigated for much of the past year for overlooking major problems that led to the global financial crisis, will receive more power to try to prevent such crises in the future. Both the House-passed reform bill and a measure being pushed by Senate banking committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd would put the Fed in the driver's seat — with varying degrees of advice and consultation with other regulators — for supervising the largest banks and financial firms such as American International Group Inc., whose risky practices led to the near collapse of the financial system. The Fed also would be charged with breaking up big firms as necessary to prevent crises, or moving to close them if they become insolvent. The Fed's upgraded status comes as a surprise to many observers, after legislators from both parties berated the central bank and threatened its chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, with congressional investigations and even an ouster...read more

How Obamacare hits industry and threatens jobs

The people at Zoll Medical Corporation saw a ray of hope in January when Scott Brown was elected senator from Massachusetts. Located in Chelmsford, 30 miles outside Boston, Zoll is the nation's leading manufacturer of heart defibrillators, which save thousands of heart attack victims each year. Back in January, as the Senate race was raging, both House and Senate Democrats wanted to impose a crippling new tax on the makers of medical devices, Zoll included, to help pay for Obamacare. The total tax on the industry would be about $2 billion a year, or $20 billion over the next decade. Companies watched nervously as lawmakers pushed ahead, first the House and then the Senate. But then Brown was elected on the promise to be the crucial Republican vote to stop health care reform. For Zoll, things were looking up. Not anymore. The bill passed by the House Sunday night contains a particularly damaging version of the $20 billion hit for the medical device industry, meaning Zoll and other medical device makers could well be headed for hard times. "We believe that the tax will cost us somewhere between $5 million and $10 million a year," says Richard Packer, Zoll's chairman and chief executive officer. "Our profit in 2009 was $9.5 million."...read more

Ten inconvenient truths about Obamacare

President Obama is promising a massive campaign to sell the health care plan just approved by Congress -- starting with his signature on the Senate version of the legislation on Tuesday. The sales pitch begins even as the Senate considers a raft of modifications to the plan already approved by the House. But as the president makes his pitch, critics will be looking to knock down many of the central claims he and other Democratic leaders have made. Here are 10 inconvenient truths that could dog the president...read more

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Through Tears, Tea Party Activists Vow to Keep Fighting Health Care Reform

The Tea Party activists huddled on the south lawn of the Capitol got the news of health care reform’s passage in the cruelest way. As their enthusiasm had flagged, a small group of pro-health care reform activists had nestled into space right next to the Capitol wall. Outnumbered ten to one, none of them looking a day under thirty, they learned via Twitter when the House crossed the 216 vote mark to pass the Senate version’s of health care reform. Bouncing up and down, waving faded and crumpled signs, they mugged for TV cameras. That prompted a few Tea Party activists to lower a massive American flag between the pro-”Obamacare” forces and the lights and lenses. The liberals cried foul. Park police broke the tension. “The most important thing to remember,” said Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots, throwing her hoarse voice into a megaphone, “is that the fight for freedom, it never ends! In the next days, you’re going to find out what you can do to stop it in the Senate. If it becomes law, we’re going to fight to repeal it in the next Congress!” The roughly 250 activists, some of them wiping away tears, cheered for Martin, then belted out “The Star-Spangled Banner,” then recited the pledge of allegiance...READ MORE

A Turning Point In Dismantling Of America

With the passage of the legislation letting the federal government take control of the country's medical care system, a major turning point has been reached in the dismantling of America's values and institutions. Even the massive transfer of crucial decisions from millions of doctors and patients to Washington bureaucrats and advisory panels — as momentous as that is — does not measure the full impact of this largely unread and certainly unscrutinized legislation. If the current legislation does not entail the transmission of all our individual medical records to Washington, it will take only an administrative regulation or, at most, an executive order of the president to do that. With politicians now having access to our most confidential records and having the power of granting or withholding medical care needed to sustain ourselves or our loved ones, how many people will be bold enough to criticize our public servants, who will in fact have become our public masters?...read more

Enacting A Lie

Sunday's vote exposed the ugly truth that ObamaCare is not really about health care at all. It's all about who pays for it and who controls it — in effect a massive wealth-redistribution scheme. Those who believe this will lead to some medical nirvana will likely be disappointed. Fact is, this poorly designed monstrosity will lead to lower-quality care, higher costs, fewer practicing physicians, higher taxes and fewer jobs. We've done more than 150 editorials in the past year or so documenting these problems. Democrats surely understand them. Yet, despite a recent CNN poll showing that 59% of Americans oppose ObamaCare, Congress approved it anyway. Why? Because it's not really about health care. It's the largest wealth grab in American history, masquerading as health care "reform," another step in the socialization of Americans' income in the name of "fairness" and "spread(ing) the wealth around," as Obama himself has put it. That's why we call the program a lie. The idea behind all this, simply put, is control. This is a vast expansion of government that will require as much as $3 trillion in added spending over a decade. All claims of deficit neutrality are a joke. This is socialization through the tax code...read more

Kill It In Court

Republicans vow to repeal health care reform. But no social entitlement, once signed into law, has ever been overturned. The way to stop this federal overreach is through the courts. Fox pundit Bill Kristol predicts that Republicans will repeal the law in 2013. Rep. Jim DeMint and other GOP leaders have already pledged to do so. But that assumes a lot. Republicans must first regain control of both houses of Congress, which will require sustaining the current level of public outrage for six months after the fact. That won't be easy. While additional negative details about the 2,074-page bill will come out over the coming months, the worst parts won't go into effect for years. And the White House is already reselling the few positives, such as covering pre-existing conditions, which go into effect right away. The nation's best chance to kill this monstrosity before it can ruin the best health care system in the world is to get the courts to declare it unconstitutional. The "individual mandate" is a violation of the 9th and 14th amendments. The Commerce Clause gives Congress the power to regulate the health care industry on issues of interstate trade. It does not give it the authority to force individuals to buy a service from private industry. This is unheard of. Even in World War II, the feds did not make citizens buy war bonds, for instance...read more

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mad About Obamacare? Blame Bush

The question conservatives should be asking though, is how did we get in this position in the first place? How come, over the course of two elections, Democrats were able to take back the White House and amass substantial majorities in both chambers of Congress, allowing them to enact this sweeping legislation with no Republican votes – and huge defections in their own party? How could a generally right-of-center nation be taken over by liberals from Chicago and San Francisco? The answer, of course, is that none of this would have been possible without George W. Bush -- or more broadly speaking, Bush era Republicanism. While they were in power, Republicans squandered an opportunity to push free market health care solutions. When they did use their power to pass major legislation, it was for policies like the big government Medicare prescription drug plan, which was (until today) the largest expansion of entitlements since the Great Society. They took earmarks and doled out farm and energy subsidies. They earned a reputation for fiscal recklessness and corruption and incompetent governance. President Obama ultimately forced through the health care bill in spite of the political consequences to his party because he’s ultimately a true believing liberal. But it was only because of the failures of Bush-era Republicanism that an ideological liberal with little experience was able to capture the presidency on the abstract notion of change...read more

Sunday, March 21, 2010

National Debt Service

How much is our National Debt Service? Stated another way, how much is the interest on the United States’ National Debt? In the fiscal year ended September 30, 2009, the interest on the national debt was $383 billion, making Interest Expense one of the largest components of the federal budget. In fact, interest on the national debt accounted for over 27% of our 2009 federal budget deficit. That’s a lot of “National Debt Service”, but it could have been much worse. Current low interest rates are keeping our national debt service numbers from being astronomical...read more

Senate Fight Starts: GOP Says Senate Parliamentarian Will Kill Fix-Its Bill

The House bill has not yet passed and already we are seeing the reconciliation fight start in the Senate. Senate Republicans say they can get the whole package of reconciliation fixes – the fix-its that make the Senate plan palatable to House Democrats - thrown out with a trump card procedural motion. And they say Democrats are slow-walking a decision from the parliamentarian until the House passes the Senate bill. That means the Senate bill, which everyone in the House seems to universally hate, will be the law of the land. This afternoon Senate Republicans say Democrats won’t meet with them and the parliamentarian – a charge Democratic staffers call “absurd”. (The timing of the allegation also works as a last-minute, probably too-late message to wavering House Democrats). Bottom line: Don’t expect the health reform debate to end tonight even though the health reform bill will become law as soon as Obama signs the Senate bill. Should the House pass the Senate bill and the package of reconciliation fix-its tonight, Senators will take over the reconciliation fix-its as soon as Tuesday. That will set in motion a week or longer parliamentary floor battle with points of order, references to the budget act, the Byrd Rule and more...read more

'Tea party' protesters accused of spitting on lawmaker, using slurs

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus said that racial epithets were hurled at them Saturday by angry protesters who had gathered at the Capitol to protest health-care legislation, and one congressman said he was spit upon. The most high-profile openly gay congressman, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), was heckled with anti-gay chants. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) issued a statement late Saturday saying that he was spit upon while walking to the Capitol to cast a vote, leading the Capitol Police to usher him into the building out of concern for his safety. Police detained the individual, who was then released because Cleaver declined to press charges. The incidents followed a noontime protest on the west side of the Capitol that drew several thousand people from around the country for a "Code Red" rally against the health-care bill. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) addressed the crowd. As that rally ended, some protesters moved around to the south side of the Capitol, near the entrance to the House chamber, and across the east front of the complex. On the first day of spring, most lawmakers walked across the street from their office buildings to the Capitol, rather than using the underground tunnels. That brought them into contact with protesters forming a gauntlet on each side of the walkway leading into the House...read more

Rahm Emanuel on Tea Party: 'Fringe group' controlling GOP

White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel sat down on 60 Minutes to discuss the Obama administration's efforts to pass health care reform, Congressional elections later this year, and the influence of the Tea Party on Republicans. The Tea Party loves to talk about voting out Democrats who voted for health care reform come November, but Emanuel said that allowing a "fringe group" to exert such influence over the GOP will ultimately backfire. "I think the Republicans have a level of energy but inside that energy they have their own problem and fissures," Emanuel said. "They're basically at the behest of a fringe group that's taken control of their own party and their own leaders are scared of it."...read more

Virginia, Idaho will sue over health care

Virginia will sue over health care A spokesman for Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) said this afternoon that Virginia will file suit against the federal government if the Democratic health care reform bill is approved by the U.S. Congress. Cuccinelli has long said he was examining the legal issues and suggested he would likely file suit. Brian Gottstein, a spokesman for the office, said this afternoon that a lawsuit is now a definite. Gottstein would provide no details of the legal rationale for such a suit, indicating the process is "still being worked out." Virginia last week became the first state in the country to pass a state bill declaring it illegal for the government to require individuals to purchase health insurance, a key part of bills under consideration on Capitol Hill...

Idaho to Sue Feds Over Health Care Mandate Idaho took the lead in a growing, nationwide fight against health care overhaul Wednesday when its governor became the first to sign a measure requiring the state attorney general to sue the federal government if residents are forced to buy health insurance. Similar legislation is pending in 37 other states. Constitutional law experts say the movement is mostly symbolic because federal laws supersede those of the states. Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, a Republican, said he believes any future lawsuit from Idaho has a legitimate shot of winning, despite what the naysayers say. "The ivory tower folks will tell you, 'No, they're not going anywhere,' " he told reporters. "But I'll tell you what, you get 36 states, that's a critical mass. That's a constitutional mass."...

States to feds: Take a hike!

On issues ranging from light bulbs and medical marijuana to health care mandates and gun regulations, states in a rising tsunami are challenging the federal government's authority to micromanage their affairs. "Since 2007, more than two dozen states have passed resolutions or laws denouncing and refusing to implement the federal REAL ID Act, which imposes rigorous issuance standards for driver's licenses and state ID cards," wrote Suzanne Weiss in an analysis titled, "Sovereignty measures and other steps may indicate an upsurge in anti-federal sentiment in legislatures" at the National Conference of State Legislatures. She also cited 14 states that have asserted their right to "permit and control" the medicinal use of marijuana, the rising surge of states – five so far – that have declared that firearms made, sold and used within their borders are exempt from federal rules, and efforts on the part of states to provide for their citizens an "opt-out" provision from federal health reform mandates. "Formal protests against federal encroachment on states' authority and prerogatives under the 10th Amendment – in the form of sovereignty resolutions or memorials – were considered by legislators in 37 states (in 2009)," her report continued. "Although many of them never made it out of committee or failed on initial floor votes, roughly half were approved in at least one legislative chamber. And in seven states – Alaska, Idaho, Louisiana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Tennessee – the measures passed in both the House and Senate."...read more

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I Will Not Comply

I’ve been arguing the case against ObamaCare for more than a year. I’ve argued that it will raise costs, reduce freedom, and federalize the funding and regulation of a sixth of the nation’s economy. I’ve also pointed out that it is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of why medical costs are rising, and would destroy the only trend working against health care inflation – the rise of consumer-driven health care. But now, I’ve lost my passion for continuing the debate. I’ve lost my motivation to identify the bill’s flaws and failures. I’ve even lost my anger at the arrogance of Washington politicians who think they know best how to manage my medical care and rearrange my personal finances. Why? Because it’s becoming clear to me that I and other critics of ObamaCare have already won the intellectual battle. We’ve already succeeded in informing the public about the particulars of the bill, and the public now strongly opposes ObamaCare. The more President Obama shouts into his microphone, the more the public comes to oppose his plan. There is no conceivable way that the president or the leaders of Congress can legally enact their legislative monstrosity. Instead, they are going to cheat...read more

Dems ditch 'deem and pass'

Top Democrats confirmed Saturday that the House would hold separate votes on the Senate healthcare bill and the reconciliation bill, making fixes to it. The move effectively kills the "deem and pass" strategy Democrats had been eyeing to make changes to the Senate bill through a rule on the bill, which at the same time would have deemed the original Senate healthcare bill to have passed the House. The House appears set now to move toward an up-or-down vote on the Senate healthcare bill, as well as a separate, up-or-down vote on the series of changes to that bill. There will still be a vote on the rule, as there always is for a piece of legislation, though it will not package the two bills together. Democrats moved toward separating the votes after several members, including Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), had said they could not support the procedural maneuver...read more

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tea parties take two tracks to stop Obamacare

Two tea party groups took radically different approaches to stop health care Tuesday. At an event near the Senate reminiscent of last year's major rallies, activists listened to Republican firebrands such as Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) and held signs that said things like "Obama bin lyin' again." A handful wore colorful costumes. Across the Hill, a much smaller group of well-dressed activists drilled on talking points while they navigated the labrynthine halls of the House in attempts to meet with their representatives. Both groups shared a common goal: Stop the Democratic health care overhaul that will likely come up for a vote before the end of the week. But their radically different strategies reflected a growing split among organizers of the grassroots conservative movement on how to move forward. The Tea Party Express, a small group of radio personalities and entertainers, set up the more colorful rally as a way to draw the faithful to Washington this week...read more

Brewing tensions between the Tea Party and GOP

Some Tea Partiers say they can pinpoint the precise moment when they made it clear to the Republican Party they had no intention of being its lapdog. On a bright, brisk afternoon in mid-February, with snow still thick on the ground from storms that had battered Washington the week before, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele met with more than 50 members of the Tea Party, the Twitter Age conservative movement that is reshaping the U.S. political landscape. Steele, RNC chairman since January 2009, had invited them to the plush Capitol Hill Club, built as a clubhouse for the party's top brass next door to RNC headquarters. According to several accounts, not long into the meeting JoAnn Abbott, an activist from Virginia who calls herself the 'Tea Party Grandma,' raised her hand to ask a question...read more

The Coffee Party Con

None of the supposed non-ideological spontaneity of the Coffee Party adds up. No thanks to the liberal media, we know that its founder, Annabel Park, is an Obama-supporter, filmmaker (she made one for the Obama campaign), and former New York Times strategy analyst. In other words, she's a progressive activist...there are some awkward footprints leading up to the purportedly spontaneous birth and the emergence of the "accidental leader," who turns out to have lots of help. About the time of launching the Coffee Party, Ms. Park attended what was billed as RootsCampDC at the Washington office of a liberal teachers' union called the National Education Association...read more

Thursday, March 18, 2010

$2.5 Million Doesn’t Go Very Far on the Rail Runner: A Video Report



For more see NM WatchDog

Reading Tea Party Leaves

If you read the Op-Ed pages these days, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the GOP and the conservative movement have been taken over by know-nothing mobs, anti-intellectual demagogues and pitchfork-wielding bigots. The case against the tea party movement is constantly evolving. Initially, they were written off as "astroturfers," faux populists paid by K Street lobbyists to provide damaging footage for Fox News' Obama coverage. Then, they were deemed racists who couldn't handle having a black president. But now that the movement or, more broadly, the Obama backlash is so widespread, it's chalked up to populist anti-elitism. New York Times columnist David Brooks and others argue that the tea party movement is kith and kin of the 1960s New Left, because they share a "radically anti-conservative" hatred of "the system" and a desire to start over. It's all so much nonsense. The tea partyers certainly aren't "dropping out" of the system; if they were, we wouldn't be talking about them. And they aren't reading Marxist tracts in a desire to "tear down the system" either. They're reading Thomas Paine, the founders and Friedrich Hayek in the perhaps naive hope that they'll be able to restore the principles that are supposed to be guiding the system (to the extent they're reading radicals such as Saul Alinsky, it's because they've been told that's the best way to understand his disciple in the White House). Restoration and destruction are hardly synonymous terms or desires. And maybe that's a better label: a political restoration movement, one that reflects our Constitution and the precepts of limited government...read more

WSJ/NBC News Poll: Throw ‘Em All Out

Congress has managed to get its approval ratings back down to the pre-election level, with just 17% of voters saying they approve of the job Congress is doing, according to the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll out later today. In fact, when it comes to Congress, many voters would like to start anew. Asked if they would “replace every single member of Congress, including your own representative” if they could, 50% said “yes” while 47% said “no.” The voters who supported the clean-slate approach largely didn’t care much about whether the Democrats or Republicans ended up in the majority. Those that said yes were asked if they would still be game if the Democrats kept the majority in Congress, and 72% said they would, while 22% said they wouldn’t. Asked if they would go along if replacing all lawmakers would put the Republicans in control, 73% said yes and 24% said no...read more

Health care reform reveals Dems' true colors

First, we know that President Obama and the Democratic congressional leadership could not persuade a majority of Americans of the wisdom of their plan - and have largely ceased to try. As of this writing, a president who seems willing to interrupt prime-time programming on the slightest pretext has not scheduled a speech from the Oval Office to make his final health reform appeal. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is working her parliamentarians overtime to achieve the congressional equivalent of the Immaculate Conception - a law without a vote. The most visible Democratic domestic priority of the last 40 years must be smuggled into law, lest too many Americans notice. Politicians claiming the idealism of saints have adopted the tactics of burglars. Liberals tend to blame this state of affairs on the brilliance of Republican fear-mongering. The more likely explanation: Americans are engaged in a serious national debate about the role and size of government, in which the advocates of government-dominated health care are significantly outnumbered and vastly outmatched in enthusiasm. A second thing we have learned during the health care debate is that the Democratic Party's commitment to abortion rights is even more central to its identity than health reform...read more

The Health-Care Wars Are Only Beginning

America will be in a constant health-care war if ObamaCare is enacted. Passage wouldn't end the health-care debate. Rather, it would perpetuate ObamaCare as the dominant issue for decades to come, reshape politics, create an annual funding crisis in Congress, and generate a spate of angry lawsuits. Yet few in Washington seem aware of what lies ahead. We only have to look at Great Britain to get a glimpse of the future. The National Health Service—socialized medicine—was created in 1946 and touted as the envy of the world. It's been a contentious issue ever since. Its cost and coverage are perennial subjects of debate. The press, especially England's most popular newspaper, The Daily Mail, feasts on reports of long waiting periods, dirty hospitals, botched care and denied access to treatments. A Conservative member of the European Parliament, Daniel Hannan, last year in an interview on Fox News denounced the NHS as a "60-year mistake," declaring he "wouldn't wish it on anybody." As prime minister, Margaret Thatcher bravely cut NHS spending in the 1980s, but current Tory leaders regard criticism of the NHS as too risky. "The Conservative Party stands four square behind the NHS," its leader, David Cameron, said in response to Mr. Hannan. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi believes ObamaCare would have a more congenial fate—that it will become as popular as Social Security and Medicare with voters. She's kidding herself...read more

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Justice's wife launches 'tea party' group

As Virginia Thomas tells it in her soft-spoken, Midwestern cadence, the story of her involvement in the "tea party" movement is the tale of an average citizen in action. "I am an ordinary citizen from Omaha, Neb., who just may have the chance to preserve liberty along with you and other people like you," she said at a recent panel discussion with tea party leaders in Washington. Thomas went on to count herself among those energized into action by President Obama's "hard-left agenda." But Thomas is no ordinary activist. She is the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and she has launched a tea-party-linked group that could test the traditional notions of political impartiality for the court. In January, Virginia Thomas created Liberty Central Inc., a nonprofit lobbying group whose website will organize activism around a set of conservative "core principles," she said...read more

House may try to pass Senate health-care bill without voting on it

After laying the groundwork for a decisive vote this week on the Senate's health-care bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested Monday that she might attempt to pass the measure without having members vote on it. Instead, Pelosi (D-Calif.) would rely on a procedural sleight of hand: The House would vote on a more popular package of fixes to the Senate bill; under the House rule for that vote, passage would signify that lawmakers "deem" the health-care bill to be passed. The tactic -- known as a "self-executing rule" or a "deem and pass" -- has been commonly used, although never to pass legislation as momentous as the $875 billion health-care bill. It is one of three options that Pelosi said she is considering for a late-week House vote, but she added that she prefers it because it would politically protect lawmakers who are reluctant to publicly support the measure...read more

Frankenstein Rx

How do you make a legislative monstrosity better? By making it worse. Congressional Democratic leaders are now sewing new limbs onto their Frankenstein monster. The details of what lawmakers are doing as they begin to mark up health reform legislation this week would make you think of a mad scientist and his hunchback assistant trying to bring artificial life to the various components of rotting corpses they collected in the dark of night. On top of the big increases in health care premiums that the Congressional Budget Office warns will come if this government power-grab passes into law, and on top of stepping on the gas toward fiscal disaster by in effect establishing a new government entitlement, Democratic leaders have now added, of all things, a student aid bill to win moderate Democratic votes. Bet you didn't think health reform had anything to do with the establishment of a new "Advisory Council on Green, High-Performing Public School Facilities," as Section 343 on Pages 2,227 to 2,230 of the bill provides for. It's all part of a federal takeover of the student loan industry that has already passed the House of Representatives and will now be paired with health reform to allow budget reconciliation to prevent any Senate filibuster. As Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell remarked, Democrats seem to want government to "expand its tentacles into absolutely everything."...read more

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tea parties stir evangelicals' fears

The rise of a new conservative grass roots fueled by a secular revulsion at government spending is stirring fears among leaders of the old conservative grass roots, the evangelical Christian right. A reeling economy and the massive bank bailout and stimulus plan were the triggers for a resurgence in support for the Republican Party and the rise of the tea party movement. But they’ve also banished the social issues that are the focus of many evangelical Christians to the background. And while health care legislation has brought social and economic conservatives together to fight government funding of abortion, some social conservative leaders have begun to express concern that tea party leaders don’t care about their issues, while others object to the personal vitriol against President Barack Obama, whose personal conduct many conservative Christians applaud. “There’s a libertarian streak in the tea party movement that concerns me as a cultural conservative,” said Bryan Fischer, director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy at the American Family Association. “The tea party movement needs to insist that candidates believe in the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage.”...read more

They are doing whatever they can to create dissension and disagreement in the tea party movement. Surely the social conservatives realize that if the Congress had a majority of tea party types they would have a much better chance of their issues being addressed.

ObamaCare’s Enormous Cost Hidden by Dishonest Gimmicks, Says N Y Times Columnist Who Supported Obama in 2008

New York Times columnist David Brooks, like other columnists at that staunchly liberal newspaper, supported Obama in the 2008 election. But even he can now see that Obama’s health care plan is full of dishonest gimmicks that hide its enormous cost and the fact that it will drive up the deficit and health-care costs:
They’ve stuffed the legislation with gimmicks and dodges designed to get a good score from the Congressional Budget Office but don’t genuinely control runaway spending.

There is the doc fix dodge. The legislation pretends that Congress is about to cut Medicare reimbursements by 21 percent. Everyone knows that will never happen, so over the next decade actual spending will be $300 billion higher than paper projections.

There is the long-term care dodge. The bill creates a $72 billion trust fund to pay for a new long-term care program. The sponsors count that money as cost-saving, even though it will eventually be paid back out when the program comes on line.

There is the subsidy dodge. Workers making $60,000 and in the health exchanges would receive $4,500 more in subsidies in 2016 than workers making $60,000 and not in the exchanges. There is no way future Congresses will allow that disparity to persist. Soon, everybody will get the subsidy.

There is the excise tax dodge. The primary cost-control mechanism and long-term revenue source for the program is the tax on high-cost plans. But Democrats aren’t willing to levy this tax for eight years. The fiscal sustainability of the whole bill rests on the naïve hope that a future Congress will have the guts to accept a trillion-dollar tax when the current Congress wouldn’t accept an increase of a few billion.

There is the 10-6 dodge. One of the reasons the bill appears deficit-neutral in the first decade is that it begins collecting revenue right away but doesn’t have to pay for most benefits until 2014. That’s 10 years of revenues to pay for 6 years of benefits, something unlikely to happen again unless the country agrees to go without health care for four years every decade.

There is the Social Security dodge. The bill uses $52 billion in higher Social Security taxes to pay for health care expansion. But if Social Security taxes pay for health care, what pays for Social Security?

From OpenMarket

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Coffee Party brews up rival for Tea Party

Looking for a little bit of civil political discussion with your decaf latte? Well the newly formed Coffee Party movement may be for you. Evolving in the United States over the last couple of months through social media in response to the conservative Tea Party movement, coffee partiers share the Tea Party's disillusionment with mainstream politicians. Saturday saw over 350 Coffee Party events held in cafes across the United States and abroad, bringing activists together in person for the first time for a national day of conversation and, of course, espressos and cappuccinos. Like the Tea Party, the Coffee Party is a movement, not a registered political entity. But that is where the similarities end...read more

Judge: Govt must stop blocking money to ACORN

A federal judge who found it unconstitutional that Congress tried to cut funding to the activist group ACORN has rejected a government request to change her mind and has ordered government agencies to make it clear the funding isn't blocked. In a written ruling Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon made permanent her conclusion last year that the cutoff of funding was unconstitutional. She ordered all federal agencies to put the word out about it. The Brooklyn judge said ACORN was punished by Congress without the enactment of administrative processes to decide if money had been handled inappropriately. She said the harm to ACORN's reputation continues because the government never rescinded its advice to withhold funding after it was distributed to "hundreds, if not thousands, of recipients."...The judge, however, wrote that it was "unmistakable that Congress determined ACORN's guilt before defunding it." She said Congress is entitled to investigate ACORN but cannot "rely on the negative results of a congressional or executive report as a rationale to impose a broad, punitive funding ban on a specific, named organization." She said the Code of Federal Regulations establishes a formal process for deciding when federal contractors can be suspended or debarred. She added that "the existence of these regulations militates against the need for draconian, emergency action by Congress."...read more

So Congress, which the people elected, passes a law which cannot be enforced because a federal agency, not elected by the people, has issued a set of regulations. There is something drastically wrong with this picture.

Politicians Fail the Simple Economics of Prosperity

Economics is actually very simple. Human beings, by their nature, must be free to take action to achieve their goals. We don't have fur, claws and instincts like lower animals. We must apply our minds to goal-directed action to satisfy our needs. Freedom works because it is consistent with our nature -- our requirement to be free to take action to survive and flourish. Political liberty, in turn, is designed to protect that requirement. Un-perverted by false incentives, people will always work and save based on their actual needs and priorities. It's in our nature to do so in the quest for economic security, because we don't want to starve today or tomorrow. The quest for economic security starts with production, not consumption. Consumption is a given. It's automatic. People have limitless desires and will consume if they can consume. Yet one hears constantly that consumption comes first, that we must "stimulate" the economy by inducing people to borrow and spend. Putting consumption first in the equation turns good economics on its head, however. Consumption is the end of the process, not the beginning...read more

IRS visits Sacramento carwash in pursuit of 4 cents

Arriving at Harv's Metro Car Wash in midtown Wednesday afternoon were two dark-suited IRS agents demanding payment of delinquent taxes. "They were deadly serious, very aggressive, very condescending," says Harv's owner, Aaron Zeff. The really odd part of this: The letter that was hand-delivered to Zeff's on-site manager showed the amount of money owed to the feds was ... 4 cents. Inexplicably, penalties and taxes accruing on the debt – stemming from the 2006 tax year – were listed as $202.31, leaving Harv's with an obligation of $202.35. Zeff, who also owns local parking lots and is the president of the Midtown Business Association, finds the situation a bit comical. "It's hilarious," he says, "that two people hopped in a car and came down here for just 4 cents. I think (the IRS) may have a problem with priorities." Now he's trying to figure out how penalties and interest could climb so high on such a small debt...read more

American healthcare: It is not a free market

The American healthcare system does not represent a free market any more than the British one does, or the Cuban one for that matter. Firstly, out of every dollar spent on healthcare in the USA, 50 cents is spent by the government – The US government spends more on Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP than is spent on defence by The Pentagon. Secondly, despite the government using the ‘commerce clause’ of the U.S Constitution to legitimise just about every reprehensible thing it does, it still hasn’t managed to use it for its proper purpose of breaking down barriers to trade - like those that forbid the selling of health insurance across state lines. Thirdly, enterprising people who have tried to set up small, cheap clinics aimed particularly at the uninsured have found themselves the targets of massive bureaucratic red tape, and been forced to close...read more

Va. 1st in US to pass bill banning mandatory health insurance coverage

Virginia's General Assembly became the first in the nation Wednesday to approve legislation that bucks any attempt by President Barack Obama and Congress to implement a national health care overhaul in individual states. The Republican-ruled House of Delegates, with wide Democratic support, voted 80-17 without debate for the largely symbolic step aimed at the Democratic-backed reforms pushed by Obama and stalled in Congress. The vote sends the measure to Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell who intends to sign it. Thirty-four other state legislatures have either filed or proposed similar measures — statutes or constitutional amendments — rejecting health insurance mandates, according to the American Legislative Exchange Council. More distressing for Virginia Democrats was that 21 of their 39 delegates in the 100-member House sided with the GOP in defying the initiative that is their party's national priority...read more

Thursday, March 11, 2010

ObamaCare: House Democrats' 'no' votes are piling up - Teague could vote 'yes'

More than two dozen Democrats are expected to vote against the healthcare reform bill that will hit the House floor in the coming weeks. At least 25 House Democrats will reject the healthcare reform legislation, according to a survey by The Hill, a review of other media reports and interviews with lawmakers, aides and lobbyists. Dozens of House Democrats are undecided or won't comment on their position on the measure. The 25 opposed include firm "no" votes and members who are likely "no" votes. Most Democrats on The Hill's whip list are definitely going to vote no, but others, such as Reps. Lincoln Davis (Tenn.) and Harry Teague (N.M.), could vote yes...read more

A Tea Party Fake?

It's a grassroots protest movement composed of the newly politicized and people distrustful of hierarchy. So how is it possible to be an illegitimate Tea Party member? Ask Republicans in Nevada. Some are accusing Jon Scott Ashjian, a new Tea Party candidate running for U.S. Senate, of being a fake. The allegation? He was put in the race by agents of Senate Majority leader Harry Reid to siphon votes from the GOP. "No doubt about it", says Danny Tarkanian, one of the many Republican senate candidates hoping to challenge Reid in November. "Nobody in the Tea Party knows who he is. He didn't know any of the principles of the Tea Party," Tarkanian tells CNN. He even accuses "Harry Reid's staff, campaign, whatever" of picking Ashjian because he's Armenian, as is Tarkanian. He explains, "They know the Armenians are very close they'll vote for each other." A recent poll conducted for the Las Vegas Review-Journal indicates Lowden and Tarkanian each beating Reid in one-on-one hypothetical general election matchups. But add a Tea Party candidate on the ballot and that siphons off enough conservative votes to give Reid a narrow victory. According to the survey Reid would grab 36 percent of the vote, the Republican candidate 32 percent and the Tea Party candidate 18 percent in a possible three way showdown...read more

36 legislatures fight for citizens' rights to opt out of health-coverage demand

At least 36 state legislatures are considering legislation that would allow citizens to opt out of a key component of President Obama's health-care "reform" – an "individual mandate" requiring that all Americans have health insurance. Both the House and Senate health-care bills require Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty. The House bill establishes a fine based on percentage of a person's income, while the Senate version creates a penalty as a flat fee or percentage of income, whichever is higher. Those refusing to get insurance could be found guilty of a misdemeanor crime, punishable by another fine or even jail time...read more

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

One Page Is All It Takes

In the early 90’s several patriots gathered to attempt a one page statement of beliefs. Duncan Scott, Greg Zanetti, Jack Stahl, and Mickey Barnett finally agreed on the following statement adopted by the Republican Party of Bernalillo County and ultimately the Republican Party of New Mexico. Could it still be apopted in 2010? WE BELIEVE…PHILOSOPHY: We support the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights and believe that the responsibility of government is the preservation of the individual’s freedom and ability to control his or her own destiny...read more

They go on to cover taxes, crime, education, term limits, firearms, open government, workfare, abortion, special rights, environment and right to work...all in one page.

Sapping Our Self-Reliance

Something similar happened recently when Sen. Jim Bunning, a Republican from Kentucky who isn’t seeking re-election, temporarily held up a $10 billion spending bill that was to extend temporary unemployment benefits, make Medicare payments to doctors and provide satellite TV for rural Americans. Many on the Left painted Bunning as a cranky man who wanted to leave workers unemployed, without access to a doctor and with nothing but snow on their big-screen TVs. Yet his point was important. Congress, after all passed a “PayGo” law this year, saying that any new federal spending had to be offset by eliminating an equal amount elsewhere in the budget. But when it came time to pass the latest $10 billion extension, lawmakers simply labeled it “emergency spending” and added it to the deficit, ignoring their legal duty to offset the new spending. This is absurd. If they can’t find $10 billion to trim to comply with its own law, can we really expect them to make difficult budget decisions in the years and decades ahead?...read more

UK - Medical records go online without consent

Patients’ confidential medical records are being placed on a controversial NHS database without their knowledge, doctors’ leaders have warned. Those who do not wish to have their details on the £11 billion computer system are supposed to be able to opt out by informing health authorities. But doctors have accused the Government of rushing the project through, meaning that patients have had their details uploaded to the database before they have had a chance to object. The scheme, one of the largest of its kind in the world, will eventually hold the private records of more than 50 million patients. But it has been dogged by accusations that the private information held on it will not be safe from hackers. The British Medical Association claims that records have been placed on the system without patients’ knowledge or consent. It follows allegations that the Government wanted to complete the project before the Conservatives had a chance to cancel it...read more

Two Former ACORN Workers Face Voter Fraud Charges From '08 Campaign

Two former ACORN workers are accused of repeatedly trying to register the same voters during a Milwaukee drive to meet quotas set by the organization. Maria Miles and Kevin Clancy were charged Monday with falsely procuring voter registration as a party to the crime during the 2008 campaign. The criminal complaint says the 36-year-old Miles and 26-year-old Clancy acknowledged signing or trying to sign up the same people multiple times...read more

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sign the "No Healthcare Reconciliation" petition

In a desperate bid to ram a government takeover of America's health care system through Congress, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid have turned to a parliamentary trick known as "reconciliation" that will allow them to ignore all dissenting voices and pass, against bi-partisan opposition, their bill with only 50 Democrat votes instead of the traditional 60. The reconciliation process was created in 1974 so that Congress could move quickly on budget matters, but the Left wants to use it to pass their big government agenda -- starting with ObamaCare. Sign the "No Healthcare Reconciliation" petition. Ask your friends to do the same, and help create the grassroots outcry against ObamaCare and this last desperate effort that the Left is using to pass it at any cost!...read more

Teague Mimics Kokesh, Comes Up Short

US Rep. Harry Teague (D-NM) announced last week he is cosponsoring a bill which would cut Congressional salaries by 5%. Months earlier, NM-3 Republican candidate Adam Kokesh challenged his fellow Republicans to take a much larger cut in pay, closer to 70%. "It's unthinkable that representatives get paid three times as much as the average American," says Kokesh. "In times like these, we need to show the American people some humility. Once I am elected, I will introduce legislation to cap Congressional salaries at the national average income." Kokesh is pleased to see lawmakers following his lead on this issue. Over 4,000 people have joined the Facebook group he started called "I Want to Give Congress a Pay Cut." US Rep. Ben Luján (D-NM) has not yet cosponsored the pay cut legislation...Press Release

From tea to coffee: The latest flavor in political discourse

Jason Baker wants to talk politics. And he wants to do it over a cup of joe. "It's about just getting the conversation started, getting people to wake up," he said. Baker is part of a new political movement that's sweeping across the country, now part of a fast-growing group known as the Coffee Party. The group was created by filmmaker Annabel Parks just six weeks ago. Since, it has gone viral on facebook and YouTube, reaching 100,000 people. "There was a flurry of feedback from people who agreed with me, who similarly felt pent up and frustrated," Parks said in YouTube.com video. With many Americans steaming over our nation's politics, the Coffee Party is an obvious play off of the Tea Party demonstrations. But there's a difference. "We don't need to protest to find a solution," Baker said. Coffee Partiers said the flavor of the Tea Party was too strong with too much finger-pointing. In a way, it's sort of a decaf version that's focused more on discussion than on demostration (sic)...read more

Do they really think a half-assed decaf approach will get the attention of politicians? This may be good for the purveyors of coffee but it will do nothing to turn this country around.

RNC angers Tea Party, and now the Tea Party has competition

The leaked RNC fundraising presentation has now upset the conservative Tea Party wing of the party. Judson Phillips, who organized last month’s National Tea Party convention, stated "They [Republicans] freaking don't get it.” Phillips alluded to the feeling that the RNC sees small donors as reactionaries motivated only by fear, not intelligence. It is too early to know if this document will have any ramifications to the GOP/Tea Party relationship. With 2010 elections eight months away, the relationship will most likely be scar free. But the outburst by the Tea Party is a warning to both parties. The American voter is smarter than fear tactics, and has a mind of its own; Scott Brown’s victory proves such. In this trying time, each party should focus on ideas not fear. Anyway, the Tea Party now has competition; the Coffee Party. Founder Annabel Park hopes to create a toned down atmosphere for political conversation...read more

Monday, March 8, 2010

Obamacare worth the price to Democrats

I've been saying in this space for two years that the governmentalization of health care is the fastest way to a permanent left-of-center political culture. It redefines the relationship between the citizen and the state in fundamental ways that make limited government all but impossible. In most of the rest of the Western world, there are still nominally "conservative" parties, and they even win elections occasionally, but not to any great effect (Let's not forget that Jacques Chirac was, in French terms, a "conservative"). The result is a kind of two-party one-party state: Right-of-center parties will once in a while be in office, but never in power, merely presiding over vast left-wing bureaucracies that cruise on regardless. Republicans seem to have difficulty grasping this basic dynamic. Obamacare represents the government annexation of "one-sixth of the U.S. economy" – i.e., the equivalent of the entire British or French economy, or the entire Indian economy twice over. Nobody has ever attempted this level of centralized planning for an advanced society of 300 million people. Even the control-freaks of the European Union have never tried to impose a unitary "comprehensive" health care system from Galway to Greece. The Soviet Union did, of course, and we know how that worked out...read more

Tea Party Principles Shaping Up for April Release

It's not exactly a manifesto...it's not a constitution...people aren't completely sure what it is. The Contract from America, envisioned by young conservative Ryan Hecker and organized and promoted heavily by FreedomWorks, the Tea Party Patriots, and various other conservative groups, will provide a statement of principles to be loosely adhered to by the Tea Party movement that will be unveiled April 15, when the tea partiers come back out for another round of nationwide Tax Day protests. It's a crowd-sourced document--people can go online and vote for their favorite principles. The list of principles is being whittled down from the 21 listed below. Don't expect this document to necessarily be adopted by the tea party movement as a whole: the groups promoting this document represent a broad and influential faction within the tea party movement--but it is a faction. FreedomWorks, Tea Party Patriots, and their allied groups don't typically get along with other groups like Tea Party Nation and Tea Party express. Other groups like SmartGirl Politics straddle the lines of affiliation...read more

Pitching For America

Consider. Congress this year will spend $1.6 trillion more than it collects in revenue, with the largest outlays in that FY 2010 budget for defense at $719 billion and Social Security at $721 billion. Thus, if the U.S. Government on Oct. 1, 2008, had shut down the Pentagon and furloughed every soldier and civilian here and around the world, and announced that it would not send out a Social Security check for a full year to any of the 50 million retired and elderly, we would still be $160 billion short of balancing the budget. If you zeroed out federal benefits to veterans for a full year, that, added in, would bring us close. Such is the magnitude of the fiscal crisis facing the country. To balance the budget this year would require a 43 percent across-the-board cut in every category of federal spending -- defense, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Homeland Security, highways, etc. -- or, if one used taxes alone, a 72-percent increase in federal tax revenues...read more

The column is Buchanan on Bunning, but I found the numbers above to be astounding.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Most Important Movie of the Year

If I told you that “Generation Zero” is the best movie about deficit spending and national debt that you will ever see, would you think I was making a joke? As in, how much competition can there be in such a category? OK, there’s not much competition in the “fiscal film” category. But “Generation Zero” would win, because it’s a brilliant movie; in reality, it’s a work of art that happens to be about red-ink spending. “Generation Zero” is going to do for the tea party movement--and the larger cause of controlling government spending--what Al Gore’s 2006 movie, “An Inconvenient Truth,” did for the global warming debate. There are some differences, however. As we now know, “Truth” was based on a deep fallacy, the idea that “global warming” is happening, even as the earth indeed is cooling. By contrast, “Zero” deals with one of the great struggles of our time; the trillions being spent and overspent are real. Down this wastrel road lies the chaotic fate of a banana republic--or maybe today’s Greece or Zimbabwe. And of course, whereas “Truth” won an Oscar and helped propel Gore to a Nobel Peace Prize, “Zero” is unlikely to win a single prize from left-leaning Hollywood or from even lefter-leaning international organizations such as the Nobel Institute. But, unlike “Truth,” which caused no real change in American politics, “Zero” is certain to have a huge political impact here at home...read more

Tea Party Crashers

The year-old movement is credited with reviving right-wing populism, annihilating President Obama’s healthcare reform, and electing Brown to Ted Kennedy’s seat. Rasmussen and ABC opinion polls reveal that the American people have a more favorable view of the Tea Party than they do of the Republican Party. The Wall Street Journal compares it to the Whiskey Rebellion, heralding it as the fruition of Perot-style populism, a great third force in American politics. But in reality, the Tea Party is not Pepenella’s mysterious vehicle of democratic will, nor does it signal the emergence of an alternative to Republicans and Democrats. It’s a leaderless coalition of conservative activists who for all their revolutionary vim look less likely to take over the GOP than to be taken over by it. Despite the real idealism of some of its activists both inside and outside the Beltway, the Tea Party is nothing more than a Republican-managed tantrum. Send the conservative activists into the streets to vent their anger. Let Obama feel the brunt of it. And if the GOP shows a modicum of contrition, the runaways will come home...

A real downer of an essay in The American Conservative.

The Same Rotten Rx

If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try, try again. With Plans A, B and C having failed miserably, President Obama yesterday unveiled his latest "new and improved" version of health-care reform. He says that this incarnation "incorporates the best ideas from Democrats and Republicans — including some of the ideas that Republicans offered during the health-care summit." Unfortunately, its fundamental premise remains exactly the same — a government takeover of the health-care system...read more

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Former Elections Chief Alleges Corruption in Secretary of State's Office

New Mexico’s top elections official and her deputy have engaged in rampant impropriety at the Secretary of State’s Office during the past year, according to AJ Salazar, who resigned Feb. 26 as the Office’s bureau of elections director. In Salazar’s resignation letter, obtained by the SUN un-edited and un-redacted, he alleges Secretary of State Mary Herrera: • ordered exempt employees at a meeting held during work hours to obtain 1,000 petition signatures each for her re-election bid “in violation of election laws,” • protected a politically connected IT employee from termination who allegedly hacked into the office’s network, • failed to properly store voting machines to be used in the upcoming election, and • pulled back legislation that would have brought transparency to the office’s Confidential Address Program. Salazar also implicated Deputy Secretary Don Francisco Trujillo in some of these activities and accused him of undercutting Salazar’s authority by creating a contradictory chain of command within the Office...read more

The Tea Party Movement Has Momentum

If the Tea Party movement is irrelevant, ineffective and out-of-touch – why does the left even bother with it? If the Tea Party movement is a small group of angry Republicans - why it is being treated as a huge threat to the liberal agenda and ideology? If the Tea Party movement is as insignificant as many liberals would like to believe – why spend the time to participate in smear campaigns against it? The reality is the Tea Party movement has dramatically changed the political landscape of the 2010 election cycle. It was not too long ago that the only voices being heard across the nation were those of the politicians, but today we are hearing the voices of the American people. In many instances, people who once sat in their living rooms watching the evening news have now become the evening news themselves. What were once one-sided political speeches are now open dialogues between the politicians and the people...read more

Big Brother Wants to Know All About You: The American Community Survey

Over the past several years, I have been barraged with emails from Americans expressing their dismay over the American Community Survey, the latest census form to hit randomly selected households on a continuous basis. Unlike the traditional census, which collects data every ten years and is now underway, the American Community Survey is taken every year at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. And at 28 pages (with an additional 16-page instruction packet), it contains some of the most detailed and intrusive questions ever put forth in a census questionnaire. These concern matters that the government simply has no business knowing, including a person’s job, income, physical and emotional health, family status, place of residence and intimate personal and private habits. As Beth found out, the survey is not voluntary. Answering the questions is not a polite request from the Census Bureau. You are legally obligated to answer. If you refuse, the fines are staggering. For every question not answered, there is a $100 fine. And for every intentionally false response to a question, the fine is $500. Therefore, if a person representing a two-person household refused to fill out any questions or simply answered nonsensically, the total fines could range from upwards of $10,000 and $50,000 for noncompliance. While the penalties for not answering are outrageous, the questions, as Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has said, are “both ludicrous and insulting.” For example, the survey asks how many persons live in your home, along with their names and detailed information about them such as their relationship to you, marital status, race and their physical, mental and emotional problems, etc. The survey also asks how many bedrooms and bathrooms you have in your house, along with the kind of fuel used to heat your home, the cost of electricity, what type of mortgage you have, the amount of your monthly mortgage payments, property taxes and so on. This questionnaire also requires you to detail how many days you were sick last year, how many automobiles you own, whether you have trouble getting up the stairs and, amazingly, what time you leave for work every morning and how long it takes you to get there...read more

The Tea Party & The New Left

About 40 years ago, a social movement arose to destroy the establishment. The people we loosely call the New Left wanted to take on The Man, return power to the people, upend the elites and lead a revolution. Today, another social movement has arisen. The people we loosely call the Tea Partiers also want to destroy the establishment. They also want to take on The Man, return power to the people, upend the elites and lead a revolution. [B]oth movements have a problem with authority. Both have a mostly negative agenda: destroy the corrupt structures; defeat the establishment. Like the New Left, the Tea Party movement has no clear set of plans for what to do beyond the golden moment of personal liberation, when the federal leviathan is brought low...read more

Rio Grande Foundation Demands Majority of Environmental Improvement Board Recuse Itself

Paul Gessing, President of the Rio Grande Foundation, has demanded that the majority of the Environmental Improvement Board recuse itself because of conflicts of interest and substantial questions about their fairness and impartiality. The demand was made at the March1, 2010, hearing to receive public comment on the petition by New Energy Economy asking the EIB to issue a rule capping CO2 emissions at 25% of 1990 levels. Gessing told the EIB he that the very integrity of the process, aside from the merits of the issue, was undermined because “there was more than a reasonable basis to question the impartiality and fairness” of these members of the EIB in considering this petition. Those questions arise from financial and employment ties between Green and the petitioner New Energy Economy and his representation as a lobbyist on energy and environmental issues for four parties to the NEE peitition who have hired him through the Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy. Gollin and Dillingham are, respectively, an officer and director of organizations that are allied with NEE in promoting the very same emissions cap they are being asked to impose upon New Mexico as members of the EIB...read more

Friday, March 5, 2010

Ticking Off the Tea Party Crowd

Pretty much anyone who is politically engaged could find something to be offended about in the 72-page Republican National Committee presentation that leaked to Politico this week. And as for its small donors, the presentation describes them as “reactionary,” motivated by “fear” and “extreme negative feelings toward existing administration”—thus deflating the high-flying patriotic rhetoric of the grassroots. “They don’t get it,” Judson Phillips, a Nashville lawyer who organized the National Tea Party Convention last month, told the Beast. “They freaking don’t get it.” Phillips said he disagreed with the characterization of small donors as “reactionary” and motivated by “fear.” “Our motives are patriotic,” he said. “Can they be any more insulting? I guess they could have called us teabaggers, but Holy Cow, I’m so blown away by the whole thing I’m just sitting here stunned.” A spokesman for FreedomWorks, the activist group led by Dick Armey that helped organize the first Tea Party protests, called the presentation “inept and silly.” The irritation in Tea Party ranks is no small matter. Their grassroots support has been crucial for the Republican Party over the last year...read more

Take the Town Halls to Washington

Despite the opposition of the vast majority of the American people to the Big Government health care takeover proposed by the Obama Administration, the President, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi are determined to ram down their socialist health care packages through the Congress. So be it. We are not without resources, ideas, or tactics to stop this monstrous abuse of our country's political process. It's time to take the town halls to Washington, D.C. Speaker Pelosi fears the unfriendly reception members of Congress who support Obamacare will receive when they return home in April at the Easter recess. In order to avoid forcing members of Congress to listen to their constituents at home, which might stop the bill, Speaker Pelosi is accelerating the process. She wants to force the House to vote up or down on Obamacare before the Easter recess. If members of Congress won't come to their constituents, their constituents will come to them...read more

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tea Party Amendment

Tea Partyers have made it clear they don't trust politicians — Democrat or Republican. Their historic uprising may now have a surefire way to stop politicians from spending us into the abyss. In what promises to be a consequential election year, Republican leaders are eager to get the masses who make up the Tea Party movement on their side. But Tea Partyers remember that the GOP Congress and GOP president themselves spent way too much — even expanding the fiscally doomed Medicare entitlement program. Some Tea Party leaders even accuse Republican spendthrifts of practicing socialism. GOP Reps. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, Mike Pence of Indiana and John Campbell of California may have just hit on a way of focusing the energy of a movement that's been accused by Democrats such as former Senate aide and Forbes columnist Dan Gerstein of being "incoherent, indiscriminate" and "all over the place" in its complaints. The three have proposed a Spending Limit Amendment to the Constitution that would restrain the federal government to the average expenditures of the post-World War II era — 20% of the U.S. economy. It would take a declaration of war or a two-thirds vote by Congress to waive the spending constraints. Tea Partyers will no doubt be impressed by the fact that the idea comes from no less than Thomas Jefferson. In 1798, the Declaration's author wrote: "I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government." There really is no credible argument against the idea...read more

Restoring consent preserves the republic

Does California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger know what he's talking about when he says of the "tea party" movement, "It will twinkle and disappear"? When Thomas Jefferson said, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants," he might have had in mind what we now call "tea party activists" who are out to restore a government that "derives its just powers from the consent of the governed." Not all revolutions are bloody. The Revolutionary War was an armed revolt, but the 1994 Republican Revolution was not. For the tea party to become a revolution, it must have ideas fresh enough to transform itself from a protest into a constitution preserver. The Founding Fathers did just that. They transformed the Boston Tea Party protest into the opening act of a revolution that drafted the Declaration of Independence, liberated them from Britain's strangling yoke, and eventually crafted a Constitution for posterity. They understood that, because it is the nature of government to put its interest above principles, its powers must always be restrained. By creating this republic, they institutionalized those founding principles to ensure their longevity. The tea party is transformational on three fronts...read more

VA staffers face discipline over travel, porn

Department of Veterans Affairs investigators are calling for disciplinary action against several officials following an internal probe into the VA's special-events office in Washington. The officials include a director who took taxpayer-funded trips to Las Vegas and San Diego that included a sailing trip and a golf outing, records show. The same official - Diane Hartmann, director of national programs and special events - also authorized herself to receive hundreds of hours of leave to which she wasn't entitled, according to a new report by the VA Office of Inspector General. Another employee, whose name and job title VA officials so far have withheld, was caught with thousands of pornographic images on his work computer. The findings were made public following Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by The Washington Times and others seeking copies of the 45-page inspector general's report...read more

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

25 percent of gas-tax funds are diverted to sidewalks, bike paths, scenic trails

America's highway system is not delivering the high-quality transportation a competitive economy needs. Congestion gridlocks our urban expressways, costing Americans $76 billion per year in wasted time and fuel. The interstate highways, begun 50 years ago, are wearing out and will need repairs and reconstruction costing many hundreds of billions of dollars. Two national commissions have estimated that the shortfall in productive highway investment (federal, state and local) is in the vicinity of $60 billion to $90 billion per year. We invented the federal Highway Trust Fund in 1956, promising motorists and truckers that all proceeds from a new federal gas tax would be spent on building the interstate system. They aren't. Congress has expanded federal highway spending beyond interstates to all types of roadways. And ever since 1982, a portion of those "highway user taxes" have been diverted to urban transit. Today, the federal role in transportation includes mandating sidewalks, funding bike paths and creating scenic trails. As a result, spending exceeds gas-tax revenues and the Highway Trust Fund is broke. Some claim this is because the 18.3-cents-per-gallon federal gas tax needs to be raised. But drivers can fairly put the blame on the fact that 25 percent of gas-tax funds are diverted to non-highway uses...read more

What have you heard about the Tea Parties?

Most of us have had some experience with the Tea Party movement over the past year. Maybe you attended or organized a rally, watched one on t.v., or saw the media coverage given to these protests. You may have formed an opinion of this group of people through experience, or through the lens of others' opinions, good or bad. Recent attention to this movement has again revived, with the election of Scott Brown and growing media attention. In January, SAM had the opportunity to conduct extensive market research with leaders of the Tea Parties, both through questionnaires and through in-depth one-on-one interviews. What we found challenges much of the information currently on the market. Now see what the activists themselves had to say about the Tea Parties: their motivations, their fears, and who they support for president in 2012...Sam Adams Alliance

The report is here.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

For GOP, Embrace of Tea Party Carries Some Risk

In particular, Republicans' courtship of the Tea Party movement threatens to pull the party away from its moorings on two crucial and emotional issues: the war on terror and immigration. On the terror front, many Tea Partiers question the very notion of a war on terror, and see some law-enforcement policies adopted in its pursuit as unacceptable intrusions on American liberties. On immigration, the close-the-borders rhetoric common within the Tea Party movement runs counter to what many in the GOP hope will be a renewed outreach to Hispanics...read more

Mr. Seib makes no mention of the Constitution when discussing law-enforcement policies. Wonder why?

As a long time observer of federal law-enforcement agencies, I can tell you they are adept at having legislative language to increase their power inserted in bills at the last minute, with no hearings and no debate. They also keep legislation "on the shelf", ready for when the timing is right.

For instance, after the OKC bombing, Clinton took legislative proposals "off the shelf" and for the most part got them enacted. Not satisfied, they went back later with Clinton II, which was rejected by the Republican Congress as being either unconstitutional or anti-liberty. Back on the shelf it went and there it rested until 911. Off the shelf it went becoming significant provisions in the PATRIOT Act.

Watch closely, and you will see it makes no difference who is President or who controls Congress, a crisis of some sort hits and legislation comes flying "off the shelf."

And then along comes the TEA Party demanding strict adherence to the Constitution.

Make no mistake, that is what they are worried about. Those shelves could become bare.

Conservative shift boosts College Republicans

A national shift toward conservative political values has ASU College Republicans riding the trend as the club’s membership increases. With Congressional elections coming later this year, many signs point to a more conservative shift in the nation’s thinking: the election of Gov. Bob McDonnell, R-Va., the victory of Republican Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown and the rise of the Tea Party movement. History senior Andrew Clark, chairman of the Arizona Federation of College Republicans, the organization that oversees the state’s College Republican chapters, said membership has seen a boost this school year. “It has gone up tremendously,” he said. The same grassroots tactics that helped elect Obama in 2008 are being utilized by the College Republicans today, Clark said...read more

Are there College Tea Parties?

John Ashcroft's Coefficient of Unity

John Ashcroft believes that all wings of the party -- social as well as economic and national security -- have to rally around the spending issue, first and foremost. He believes this for both policy and political reasons. Clearly, the debt cannot continue to grow, indefinitely, without wrecking the country. But, politically, for the Republican Party as a center-right party, John believes that "the coefficient of unity is the highest on spending." In other words, the spending situation, now in extremis, draws in all elements of the Republican base as well as the restless independent voters who see the current trend as an existential threat to all that makes this country unique and exceptional...read more

Monday, March 1, 2010

Media’s Phony Tea Party Leader Is a Phony Soldier Too

Gateway Pundit gives you all the background you need to know on Dale Robertson and how the MSM uses him to smear the Tea Party as racists.