Monday, August 31, 2009
CNN asked him if the rumors were true. He says nobody asked him if it was true before CNN did.
"As of this time."
CNN via Memeorandum is quoting an anonymous administration official who says Dick Cheney is all wrong; that Barack Obama is NOT the chief law enforcement officer of the land but Eric Holder is. He also says that Holder is acting on his own "based on the facts and the law."
Well I'm not buying it. The United States Attorney General is the chief law enforcement officer for the United States government, yes. He is a member of the president's Cabinet, though, and is appointed by the president. He serves at the pleasure of the president and can be removed whenever the president so chooses. We're supposed to believe Obama doesn't have control over his Cabinet - they're just rogues doing whatever they want to do and he's taking no responsibility for that? Well that's scary, indeed.
Does anyone really believe Holder would undertake such a serious action such as reopening an already investigated and closed investigation if Obama didn't give the okay? He wouldn't necessarily have to DIRECT Holder to undertake such action, but by not forbidding him to do so because it might be divisive or unnecessary is a sort of tacit approval.
And are we really to believe Obama when he SAYS he doesn't want such an investigation? He's lied about so many other things ("You can keep your doctor and your insurance plan!" "No family making under $250,000 a year will see one dime of their taxes go up! Not payroll tax, not income tax, not capital gains tax, not any kind of tax !" "I have not blamed the Republicans for anything!") that it's difficult to have much trust in him.
Mr. Anonymous White House official also points to Cheney's remark that enhanced interrogation saved lives; Mr. Anonymous points to a 2004 CIA report that says the effectiveness of enhanced interrogation is hard to measure. Of course, it's easier to overlook the fact that enhanced interrogation worked on Khalid Sheik Mohammed and saved lives.
So I'm not buying the current White House spin. Nope. Nice try but no go.
Polls, analysts and experts are predicting double digit losses in the House for the Dems in the 2010 elections. From Politico:
Top political analyst Charlie Cook, in a special August 20 update to subscribers, wrote that “the situation this summer has slipped completely out of control for President Obama and congressional Democrats.”
"Many veteran congressional election watchers, including Democratic ones, report an eerie sense of déjà vu, with a consensus forming that the chances of Democratic losses going higher than 20 seats is just as good as the chances of Democratic losses going lower than 20 seats,” he wrote.
There are a number of factors contributing to this hypothesis, among them an anticipated lower voter turnout than the one that put Obama in office. After a huge turnout for a presidential election, historically the mid-terms register lower. But, even as Obama's numbers continue to sink like a rock, Republicans don't seem to be capitalizing on this freefall.
I'm sure the Republicans can figure out a way to screw it up. I'm cynical now. And, well, face it - a lot of "Republicans" are really "Conservatives" and aren't so happy with the Republican label anymore. I mean, when you're calling John McCain and Charlie Crist Republicans........
Sunday, August 30, 2009
I thought Dick Cheney's interview was interesting. Chris Wallace probed the former Vice President on the release of the IG report on the CIA this week and about the appointment of a special prosecutor.
I have to agree with Cheney on a couple of points. The most obvious thing to me seems to be the fact that it is odd that we are expected to believe that Eric Holder is running with this investigation all on his own. Cheney points out that "The president is the chief law enforcement officer in the administration" and he is ultimately responsible. That led, a moment later, to this exchange:
[Wallace]: A top Obama official says, “Hey, maybe in the Bush White House they told the attorney general what to do, but Eric Holder makes independent decisions.”
CHENEY: Well, I think if you look at the Constitution, the president of the United States is the chief law enforcement officer in the land. The attorney general’s a statutory officer. He’s a member of the cabinet.
The president’s the one who bears this responsibility, and for him to say, “Gee, I didn’t have anything to do with it,” especially after he sat in the Oval Office and said this wouldn’t happen, then Holder decides he’s going to do it, so now he’s backed off and is claiming he’s not responsible, I just -- I think he’s trying to duck the responsibility for what’s going on here, and I think it’s -- I think it’s wrong.I have to agree with that. The Buck Stops Here. Eric Holder was not elected to office by the American people; his boss was. He bears the responsibility.
That said, one must look back at the next point which is that if the buck DOES stop with Obama, and he IS ultimately responsible for what happens and for what Holder does, the fact remains that Obama is back-tracking on what he said back in April. In April he said "there wouldn’t be any investigation like this, that there would not be any look-back at CIA personnel who were carrying out the policies of the prior administration."
On February 9, Obama said, "If there are clear instances of wrongdoing, that people should be prosecuted just like any ordinary citizen, but generally speaking, I'm more interested in looking forward than I am in looking backward."
The Washington Post has a report this morning that morale at the CIA is low: "Morale has sagged at the CIA following the release of additional portions of an inspector general's review of the agency's interrogation program and the announcement that the Justice Department would investigate possible abuses by interrogators, according to former intelligence officials, especially those associated with the program. "
Well why wouldn't it?
The IG report was reviewed five years ago and put to rest. As Cheney points out, what this really means is that there will never be any end to the review process. Despite what Nancy Pelosi says, Congress was briefed. Everything, now matter how distasteful the intelligence business may be, and it is, was carried out properly. American lives were saved. Holder's move to reopen this all again is simply a political move rather than a letter-of-the-law move and a thinly veiled one at that.
But here we are. An investigation.
On This Week with George Stephanopoulous, the roundtable included Liz Cheney and George Will, among others. Will pointed out that Team Obama wants it to appear as if Obama is a disinterested bystander in this investigation and that simply is not the case.
Liz Cheney pointed out, of course, that this investigation has already been done by career prosecutors and they decided not to prosecute except for one case which has been handled; the offender is in jail.
Jennifer Rubin, writing for The Weekly Standard, makes clear the prosecutors findings five years ago: "Those reasons were summed up in a letter from Principal Assistant Deputy Attorney General Brian Benczkowski to Senator Richard Durbin dated February 7, 2008. In each case, Benczkowski wrote, the decision rested on "one or more of the following reasons: insufficient evidence of criminal conduct, insufficient evidence of the subject's involvement, insufficient evidence of criminal intent, and low probability of conviction. The federal prosecutors involved in reviewing alleged CIA misconduct were seasoned professionals who would not have hesitated to go public if political appointees had influenced their decision-making, according to multiple former Justice attorneys."
Holder has no new evidence to support reopening the investigation. He simply has a newly declassified report. There is no new information in there to be gleaned by a new prosecution. Only new public perception. He's making a political decision to reopen the investigation, to drag individuals through such an investigation with a very low chance at conviction, for what end?
Sam Donaldson, also speaking at the roundtable, seems to believe that since the IG report was reviewed under the Bush administration it is invalid; that the career prosecutors who did the investigaton were less than objective in their review simply because they were under the Bush administration. This would support Dick Cheney's fear that investigations and reviews would never end. They could be rehashed under each administration ad nauseum.
No wonder CIA morale is low. A.B. Krongard, a CIA official at the time of the interrogations, said "agency personnel now may back away from controversial programs that could place them in personal legal jeopardy should their work be exposed."
Do we feel safer now?
(More at Memeorandum)
He is a registered voter from his Zachary home, but has been traveling the country on his preparedness lecture tour.
Earlier this week, the Bayou Buzz reported that Honore is considering a primary run against Senator David Vitter in 2010. This would be a serious challenge for Vitter; Honore is the tough, no-nonsense leader who restored some semblance of order when local government collapsed after Hurricane Katrina four years ago.
According to the Bayou Buzz post, "While polls show Vitter as the clear favorite in both the primary and the general election, one very senior Louisiana Republican predicted that if Honore runs, "He wins." As that GOP party elder further explained to the www.louisianaweekly.com and Bayoubuzz on the promise of confidentiality, "All he has to say is 'Stuck on Stupid', and Vitter is toast."
Honore dipped his toes back into the Louisiana policial mash last week when he called on the federal goverment to cough up some cash to replace the destroyed Charity Hospital; this quote from NOLA:
Meanwhile, Retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honore added his voice to those calling for the federal government to help pay for a new hospital to replace Charity, a shift in position for the man who commanded Joint Task Force-Katrina in the wake of the 2005 storm. In May, Honore told The Times-Picayune that Charity should have been reopened after the storm and that "the state of Louisiana needs to pay for its own damn medical center."
"Contrary to what I may have said in the past, the federal government needs to step up and provide a decent grant (to replace Charity) because the storm did destroy the hospital," Honore said last week.
Honore was quoted as saying that Katrina had been used as an excuse to close Charity, thus hurting the city's poor residents. For more on Honore and the Charity story, go here.
Honore was raised in Lakeland in Pointe Coupee Parish and served in the Army for nearly 38 years before he retired. On 9/11 he will be speaking in Shreveport at a NAACP event at the Clarion hotel. Details are here if you want to attend.
Here is Honore's famous scene, "Don't Get Stuck on Stupid" which you may remember:
Obama has released two Syrian nationals to Portugal where they will be free "to live in the community."
"They are 'not subject to any charge, they are free people and are living in homes provided by state,' officials said."
Their names are not being released for security reasons. Apparently they are "innocent" and have been "cleared for release" but had not been for fear of persecution; we'll just have to take his word for it that they are just misunderstood and innocent of all wrongdoing.
The biggest problem for Obama will likely be the 98 Yemini's who are there. Most bets have them going to Saudi Arabia. It would likely be political suicide to try to bring them to the United States.
Obama's closing deadline is fast approaching, however, and he'll have to make a move soon.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
As soon as Katrina hit, I, along with lots of others, thought of this one:
Please God if I come back in another life, please let me be able to play the piano.
The New Orleans area will have many remembrances and events this weekend. Take the time to remember the lives lost and the lessons learned. You can read about some of the events here and find one near you if you live in the area. NOLA has a round-up of national coverage on the Katrina anniversary here. St. Bernard Parish remembers here. And here is a great rebuilding story - a farmer who lost all his citrus trees because of the storm surge refused to give up.
So on to the linkage.
It's been all about Ted Kennedy this week and frankly, some pretty vile things have been said. Pundette takes a look at one of them in her takedown of Melissa Lafskey suggesting that Mary Jo Kopechne might feel "it was worth it." Disgusting.
Stacy McCain takes on Kennedy's sick sense of humor and penchant for Chappaquiddick jokes. Ann Althouse also covers this plus she has a beautiful photo today which sort of reminds me of Iowa but doesn't (too many trees). In fact, it really doesn't look like Iowa except for the hay bales. But I like it anyway.
Bride of Rove anticipates Obama's eulogy. Oh dear.
No Sheeples Here! adds to the Kennedy mix.
Reaganite Republican Resistance rounds things up for us with regard to Kennedy's death.
Political Byline reminds us that Everything Is Made in China! Go look.
Did you see Rep. Diane Watson this week singing the praises of Castro? Carolyn did. She's got the video. What a nutcase; she says Castro is "one of the brightest leaders I've ever met." Lordy.
Little Miss Attila doesn't think giving Obama control of the internet is such a good thing...
Doug Ross takes a look at Obamanet as well.
American Power takes a look at Glenn Beck's ratings coup this week.
Troglopundit is covering his Rule 5's with Liv Tyler; she's just adorable. Loved her in That Thing You Do! Plus, check out his "Current Favorite Picture" in the sidebar (hurry, before he changes it!). It's great!
Sister Toldjah points out the absurdity of White House spokesman Bill Burton's comment that nobody in the media "bemoaned" Bush's vacations, as Obama prepares to take a second vacation on Wednesday. Legal Insurrection weighs in as well.
Not One Red Cent! makes note of Charlie Crist's Senate pick...uh...placeholder.
Caught Him With a Corndog has no faith in Mary Landrieu (good call, Red!)
Left Coast Rebel takes a look at the provision in HR3200 which divulges your private tax information.
Jimmie at The Sundries Shack has concerns about Eric Holder. Amen to that, baby.
Wyblog did HIS blog round-up on Thursday thus upsetting the blogospheric pattern of Full Metal Jacket SATURDAY but it's all good because he does a great blog. And no, I will not save you any Octoberfest! I'm selfish! Mine!
Suzanna....where ARE you?.......
God help me, Sippican Cottage has the most bizarre video I've ever seen. As the ultimate Eric Clapton fan, I thought I'd seen it all. I had not. Until now.
Oh, and one of my Creative Writing students this semester has started a blog. It's new. Check him out.
Okay, that's it for now. I'm doing some household things today; rearranging some furniture and such. Never-ending carpet cleaning. Laundry. Blech. Reward with Octoberfest at the end.
Friday, August 28, 2009
I feel so out-of-the-news-loop by the end of the week.
Now I'm sitting here with my Octoberfest, I've picked up a BBQ spread for dinner, and my thirtysomething DVD arrived today. I know, I know, but I loved that show. I had all the episodes on VHS until I eventually tossed them. I loved Miles Drentell.
I also am halfway through my Margaret Mitchell/John Marsh biography, which is really a great read. I'm looking forward to some good reading this weekend.
When I got home today at 4, the puppy was still in dog-jail, so he was VERY happy to see me.
So.......I'm going to fire up the laptop, park on the couch, and catch up on things. Exciting Friday night, no?!
I'll check back in later.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Landrieu's meeting went only slightly better than the Sebelius meeting. According to NOLA it was standing room only; there were 400 chairs put out and folks were standing around the periphery of the meeting room at the Louisiana National Guard Readiness Center.
Bill Barrow, writing for NOLA, says that "most of the questions were overwhelmingly in opposition to the general concept of 'Obamacare,' a pejorative label put on House Democratic plans for a health insurance overhaul." Pejorative? Really? Biased, much?
Suggesting that many of the opposing voices were imported, Barrow says, "There appeared to be political operatives or activists from varying interests carrying video cameras, meaning some of the most heated exchanges could be circulating shortly online, as have key moments from health care town halls around the country."
When he gets around to reporting on the content of the meeting, Barrow has a sort of live-blogging thing going on which is interesting to follow.
From his 2:15 installment: Landrieu tells the crowd - "When you say, 'This is my health care system,' you might be familiar with the one you have, but you may not be familiar with what others have."
At 2:25: The first question is from a man wondering why "illegal aliens" would be covered under the Congressional plan. "They don't belong here and I'm paying for them." Landrieu said, "I'm not sure what bill you're referring to." That prompted chants of "Read the Bill"
From the 3:40 installment: A back-and-forth ensued between Landrieu and one man. He punctuated lengthy remarks with, "People should take care of themselves. ... Government is not responsible." Landrieu answered: "He is entitled to his opinion. It's not a majority opinion." The man added, "We've set up a system where everybody thinks they are entitled to everything." He also said he does not believe that "all people are equal."
Barrow concludes his coverage by repeating the meme that illegals won't be covered: "As for lingering misconceptions about the various proposals -- such as the incorrect assertion that any of the bills would offer public insurance to people who are in the United States illegally -- Landrieu said the solution is 'more sessions like this.'"
Once again, while the bills don't specifically mandate coverage for illegals, there is nothing whatsoever in any of them to preclude their obtaining coverage through a public option. In fact, use of the already existing technology to verify immigration status was voted down. See here and here.
As of this posting there are two You Tube videos of the meeting - one is just folks chanting "Kill theBill" and the other has such poor sound quality I didn't link it. Should anything else show up, I'll add it here. But lacking that, Barrow's article gives you a play by play, (along with his commentary and perspective) of the meeting. Click the link to read the whole thing.
When asked if she would vote for the plan, Landrieu said, "No, I don't generally support a public-option plan, but we've got to get the costs down." Generally. There's her loophole. If Landrieu doesn't vote for this bill, mark me down as shocked. She could surprise me, but I won't be holding my breath.
On Cap and Trade, yeah, maybe I can see her not voting FOR that one because of the high cost it will incur for Louisiana, an oil state. But ObamaCare - nah. She'll go.
According to The Town Talk, Landrieu said, "'As you know, the Senate is working on its own bill. Insurance reform is a big part and some tort reform is being considered'...She pointed out Louisiana has a cap on the amount of money that can be awarded in a medical malpractice lawsuit if the plaintiff wins against a physician, suggesting that could be an approach."
I agree with her on that point; Tort reform is a MUST when talking about lowering the cost of medical care.
Landrieu voted with Obama over 80% of the time while he was still in the Senate. She was a huge supporter of No Child Left Behind, and was given a 77% rating by the AFL-CIO on her voting record on labor issues. One profile of Landrieu refers to her as a "centrist" Democrat, though many in Louisiana might think her more liberal than that.
At any rate, in Louisiana, Cao is still undecided, as reported yesterday, with the abortion funding being a deal-breaker for him. Landrieu is currently leaning no, as long as there is a public option. From here, part of the Louisiana contingent still looks non-committal on ObamaCare. Of course, Senator Vitter and Rep. Fleming are still definitely opposed.
Melt the phones, folks!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Steve Beatty at The Pelican Institute, (via The Dead Pelican) reports that "ACORN and several closely related groups now owe more than $1 million in state and federal taxes" as determined by Orleans Parish court filings.
The Pelican Institute report states that "groups affiliated with the Associations of Community Organizations for Reform Now have 10 federal tax bills of $1 million and four state tax bills of at least $28,000. One bill to ACORN itself is responsible for more than half that amount, at more than $545,000 for tax obligations dating back to 2004. Citizens Consulting, the accounting arm of ACORN, had a state bill of more than $300,000 as recently as January of this year, though records indicate it has been paid. The organization had not paid withholding Louisiana taxes for many quarters since the fall of 2002. From 2002 to 2006, ACORN agencies have received more than $5.4 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development alone..."
You can read the entire report here, but one has to wonder why ACORN doesn't feel the need to pay taxes. You may remember that a state investigation into ACORN was recently announced. No word if this tax issue is part of that or if the state investigation will just center on the embezzlement issues supposedly focused on the brother of the group's founder.
Matthew Vadum, writing for American Spectator, also points to ACORN's troubles:
Liz Wolf of Citizens Consulting Inc. (CCI), the shadowy financial nerve center of the ACORN network, has been negotiating with tax collectors on behalf of ACORN to have interest on its tax debts waived and to have some of the debts partially forgiven, Inman said.
CCI alone owes at least $400,000 in back taxes to the IRS, various states, and the District of Columbia. Collectively, the many affiliates within the ACORN network owe millions of dollars to tax authorities. The tax debts remain even after ACORN took a controversial payment from a developer in exchange for the group's support for a sports stadium and mixed-use complex in Brooklyn.
All this in addition to their various election fraud charges make ACORN one rotten nut.
Representative Joseph Cao is drawing fire around the state for his stand on Obamacare. NOLA has this article this morning (via The Dead Pelican) which describes one of Cao's town hall meetings in New Orleans:
"Days earlier in New Orleans, supporters called for reform. Sally Stevens complained she had $8,000 in medical bills. "I'll let you and your insurance lobbyist buddies handle them," she said, leaving behind a handful of hospital bills before she stormed out."
And that's one of the oddities of this whole debate for me; why do people like Ms. Stevens assume that the government is responsible for their health care bills?
I'm reminded of John Marsh. He was married to Margaret Mitchell, the famous Gone With the Wind author. Mr. Marsh was quite ill right before he and Miss Mitchell married, and he spent months in the hospital as doctors attempted to determine what was wrong with him. This left him with a huge stack of medical bills by the time he was finally released. Margaret Mitchell was also frequently in a doctor's office with assorted ailments of her own. Between the two of them, their medical bills were astounding.
This all occurred during the depression. Did it ever occur to Mr. Marsh or Miss Mitchell to have the government or anyone else bail them out? To cover their bills? Of course not. Mr. Marsh picked up a second job and worked for years to pay the bills off. Miss Mitchell's father, a man of means, offered to help pay them off for the couple, but they refused.
My point is, of course, this entire entitlement society in which we live now. The government is not obligated to pay your health care bills (unless you are a veteran, of course. That's a different issue altogether.)
As for Cao, he represents a primarily Democratic district and as a Republican is having a hard time representing the interest of his constituents. On Obamacare, according to the NOLA piece, he says "he is leaning toward voting for the Democrat-backed legislation and expects to discuss it with President Barack Obama, but he is concerned about its possible effect on the deficit, Medicare and small businesses. One deal-killer, the lawyer and former Jesuit seminarian said, would be a lack of explicit language forbidding federal funding for abortion. That position drew shouted criticism from abortion rights supporters at one recent town hall."
Cao has made clear that the abortion clause is a deal breaker for him. Either way, he's a rarity in Congress: a man standing on his principles and still trying to represent his constituents.
I, instead, will remember Mary Jo Kopechne who died of asphyxiation in Ted Kennedy's car while he struggled to figure out how to beat the charge of vehicular manslaughter. Carol, at No Sheeples Here! has a proper obituary for Mr. Kennedy, as does Robert Stacy McCain. There are plenty of links at Memeorandum . You won't find any celebrations of his life on this blog.
End of an era, indeed.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Former Vice-President Dick Cheney
The Weekly Standard
Monday, August 24, 2009
I've long been opposed to Obama's growing (still growing) czar empire at The White House and fully believe it is because most of these people would not stand up to the confirmation process. Michelle Malkin's book, Culture of Corruption, makes this even more clear. There are currently over 30 czars and as I've written before, many of them are redundant, echoing jobs that are also cabinet positions.
This video targets Van Jones, founder of Color of Change which is leading the Glenn Beck boycott. Jones has been a target of Beck's even before Jones thought about a boycott. Now Beck has complied this biographical video of Jones:
There is no way the GOP would have voted, for their part, to confirm this guy had he been appointed to a cabinet position. So not only is Obama circumventing the entire vetting process, he's appointing people he knows would not make the cut. There's no way on earth he could not know about this guy's past. Oh wait, he'll say, "That's not the Jones I knew!"
We have word today from The Washington Post that Holder is reopening already investigated cases regarding CIA interrogations. The Washington Post reports that Holder is prepared to appoint John Durham from Justice to investigate nearly a dozen cases of supposed violation of anti-torture laws. These cases were already reviewed during the Bush administration and only one was recommended to the grand jury. What else could this be now but political shenanigans?
In addition to this news we also learn that the Obama administration is releasing a 2004 report by the then-CIA-Inspector-General John Helgerson which looked at such things as waterboarding and other interrogation techniques. The story is that that a federal judge required the release of the report based on a lawsuit by the ACLU. Of course, we know that the administration could get around this in the name of national security should they so choose. They don't.
NRO's The Corner has highlighted some key passages from the 2004 report, among them
There's much more here, some of which, of course, puts the interrogators in a negative light and would serve as much as ammunition for those bound to attack us as release of the torture photographs would. Why choose to further arm our enemies?
The Agency’s detention and interrogation of terrorists has provided intelligence that has enabled the identification and apprehension of other terrorists and warned of terrorist plots planned for the United States and around the world. The CTC Program has resulted in the issuance of thousands of individual intelligence reports and analytic products supporting the counterterrorism efforts of U.S. policymakers and military commanders.
Kathryn Jean Lopez has a statement from Rep. Pete Hoesktra, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee:
"At the same time the situation in Afghanistan is getting decidedly worse and the Taliban is advancing, the Obama Justice Department is launching an investigation that risks disrupting CIA counterterrorism initiatives. This is the last thing that should happen when the president is sending more troops into harm’s way, and the nation’s top military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, said over the weekend that al-Qaeda still remains a threat to America and our interests abroad.
"Attorney General Holder should know that as he increases the focus on America’s past counterterrorism efforts, he is distracting from the CIA’s current counterterrorism efforts. Having recently been forced to drop cases due to prosecutorial misconduct at DOJ, the attorney general argued that these were rare instances and not part of a broader problem. The same can be said of the CIA, where the agency initiated the investigation, reported cases of misconduct and disciplined the officers involved.
"It is important to note that incidences of inappropriate, unauthorized conduct cited in the 2004 IG report were dealt with. The unauthorized conduct has been exhaustively reviewed in the past, including by the committee. That the Obama administration apparently is planning to reopen these cases after thorough review by nonpartisan prosecutors raises serious questions.
"President Obama has said repeatedly that he wants to move forward, but his Justice Department seems intractably stuck in reverse. The message from the administration is completely confused, and the men and women at the CIA who we ask to protect our nation have been left in the lurch.
"The attorney general needs to stop his zealous attempt to make this out to be a systemic problem, when unlike cases such as the 2001 Peru shoot down, the CIA IG did not find evidence that there was a systemic problem. Disgruntled lawyers at DOJ, having lost the debate that America’s counterterrorism efforts should be focused on prevention not prosecution, need to put an end to this bureaucratic turf battle.
"The American people have made it clear, they want the CIA to focus on exactly what its mission should be—disrupting and defeating our nation’s enemies and preventing the next attack."
So you have to wonder what this is all about? Is it a distraction meant to keep us from thinking about ObamaCare? If it is, it could prove very costly to our national security. Why does Team Obama seem so intent on waging war against the CIA?
Some on the left, not all, but some, get all wrapped up in this terrorists-have-rights-too attitude that they are willing to sacrifice our own national security and American lives so that terrorists are treated better than Americans. I just don't get it. It goes back to my position that terrorists have no rights under our Constitution even though the left seems bent on providing them.
Call me cold-hearted but I don't think Khalid Sheikh Mohammed deserves the same Constitutional protections as American citizens.
All Holder is doing here is putting Americans at risk and crippling the CIA. Or is that what they intend to do?
Update: The Weekly Standard has reaction from Lieberman and McConnell.
Be sure to check out "Yes, He Can!" by KathrynJean Lopez at NRO; it's a look at Marco Rubio.
Eric Holder's Justice Department is really beginning to alarm me.
and via Memeorandum, this story about Obama's staffing situation.
I'll check back soon!
Sunday, August 23, 2009
The Times breaks the uninsured out into groups, admitting that some of the groups overlap a bit:
The Working Poor, The Better Off, Young Adults, Already Eligible, The Underinsured, and Non-Citizens.
The number of uninsured is of great debate. Team Obama sticks with 47 or 48 million. Others put it much lower. And do you include illegals in the number? Why include people that choose to be uninsured? There are those who are eligible for Medicaid but never enroll for whatever reasons. The arguments on the numbers have all been made and remain inconclusive.
The Times frets that lack of insurance, for whatever reason, is harmful to the health of those uninsured.
In many cases, those that choose not to buy insurance even though they could pay for it, this is simply their choice - the gamble they've opted to take. Consider the young, entry level corporate worker making a nice salary whose employer offers kick-ass coverage through payroll deductible premiums. It's reasonably priced. But our young corporate hot shot has just purchased his first home in the suburbs and a new luxury automobile. He'd rather save that $300 a month, take his chances, and get that car paid off first.
We're really going to FORCE him to buy insurance? "Yes, we can!"
The Times looks at "The Working Poor." They cite Kaiser Foundation numbers of 30 million people who earn less than twice the poverty level, "or about $44,000 for a family of four." These people can't afford to buy private health insurance. NYT says "they surely deserve a helping hand." So why not insurance savings accounts? Or tax breaks?
The next group is "The Better Off" - those 9 million uninsured people who "come from households with incomes of $75,000 or more." The problem with them, according to NYT, is that many of them have "low-wage roommates or extended families living together." Hunh? Still, insurance savings plans and tax breaks could help them, too.
Within this group, NYT contends that in families that earn $88,000 for a family of four, they could probably buy insurance but choose not to, well they "ought to be compelled to join the system to lessen the possibility that a serious accident or illness might turn them into charity cases and to help subsidize the coverage of poorer and sicker Americans."
"Ought to be compelled"? Again, we're going to FORCE an American to buy insurance? To buy a commodity he doesn't necessarily want?
Their next group is the "Young Adults" which might also include our young corporate worker I mentioned above. NYT suggests that these folks "wold be helped by reform bills that would provide subsidized coverage for the poor and an exchange" where they could shop for cheaper plans.
Yes, cheaper plans like that old public option. That's the same one that's going to put their corporate plan out of business because they can't compete with the government plan. That's the one that is going to have to ration care to make ends meet. That one.
Their next group is the "Already Eligible" - mostly children who are eligible under SCHIP or Medicaid but don't enroll "because they do not know they are eligible or are intimidated by the application process."
Stop. We're going to overhaul the entire American health care system as it now exists because these people don't know they can get Medicaid or are scared to fill out the forms? Is this like throwing the baby out with the bathwater? Wouldn't it be ever so much easier to just help them get signed up and move on?
Finally we have "The Underinsured" who had policies with inadequate coverage or high deductibles, and we have "Non-Citizens." The Times says "none of the pending bills would cover" illegals, or non-citizens. Well, maybe and maybe not. Remember, Representative Dean Heller tried to introduce a measure that would ensure immigration status, but it was voted down. We'll have no way of knowing if illegals are covered or not.
All in all, the NYT assessment remains weak to me. The better answer, the more cost-effective answer, and the one that would help the most Americans would be to set up insurance savings plans, set up some tax incentives for purchasing plans, and work on tort reform. Fear of a malpractice suit drives more unnecessary tests and jacks up the cost of medical care far more than anything else in the medical field. There's no real way to work on health care reform without tort reform. That's like failing to turn on the light when you walk into a dark room.
It's ignoring the obvious.
(More at Memeorandum)
Jeff Poor, writing at Newsbusters, reports on Garafalo's appearance Friday at an event in which she blasts Tea Party protesters as "functionally retarded adults..." and "racists." She goes on to explain that whenver a protester says "I want my country back" what "they're really saying is, ‘I want my white guy back.' They apparently had no problem at all for the last eight years of habeas corpus being suspended, the Constitution being [expletive] on, illegal surveillance, lied to on a war or two, two stolen elections - yes, the John Kerry one was stolen too."
It's not even worth it to go through that and dissemble her jibberish.
The media isn't safe from her attacks either. She blames the media for not reporting on the stolen election of Bush and of Kerry.
The media lifted up her guy pretty well in 2008 though; no word on that from her.
I'll say this to Miss Garafalo: I don't care what color the president is, or what race he is; if he's attempting to bring socialism to my country or to enact policies with which I disagree, it's my Constitutional right to speak out just as it is yours to denegrate me for it. Free speech. That does not make me racist.
In fact, now I'm even sorry I've perpetuated her gibberish any further except that I think people like this ought to be exposed for the venom they spew. It makes me long for the old days of Hollywood when working actors and actresses were under contract to studios and had to mind their P's and Q's before they spoke out in public. I know, that's counter to free speech. But in Garafalo's case...
Well. Let's just say I don't think I'll be supporting any of her artistic endeavors.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
The Rasmussen Daily Tracking poll has had Obama floating between -6 and -9 all week but today he's back in double digits. According to the poll "Sixty percent (60%) of liberal voters Strongly Approve while 68% of conservatives Strongly Disapprove. This creates a challenge for the President since there are roughly twice as many conservative voters as liberals. Among those who consider themselves politically moderate, 37% Strongly Approve while 18% Strongly Disapprove."
It's a very interesting thought, and one that I've been pondering since Smitty brought it up in the comments on a previous post of mine on ObamaCare.
Rivkin and Casey run through several court precedents and find that none would pass muster to allow such a mandate: "The federal government does not have the power to regulate Americans simply because they are there." Many of the uninsured, as we know, are young, feel invincible, and choose not to purchase health care which is entirely their right.
As Rivkin and Casey put it, "The genius of our system is that, no matter how convinced our elected officials may be that certain measures are in the public interest, their goals can be accomplished only in accord with the powers and processes the Constitution mandates, processes that inevitably make them accountable to the American people." Our Founding Fathers were no dummies.
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air takes a look at this also, pointing out that HR3200 could attempt to enforce a mandate through the tax code with penalties for those who don't comply, but ultimately, that too is unconstitutional: "... individual mandates are unconstitutional, regardless of whether they’re explicit or buried in tax policy....The only way to get mandatory universal coverage is conversion to a single-payer system, which Congress also doesn’t have the power to do without amending the Constitution. Otherwise, free will in a free system dictates that people will make choices with which many disagree, and that includes the choice not to buy health insurance."
As a Constitutional scholar, why is Obama ignoring all this? Shouldn't he know this already? Or is it just inconvenient?
There's more at Memeorandum.
And so, even though the grass needs to be mowed, and the carpets could do with a bit of touch up steam cleaning (still working on that house training thing with puppy, but we're making progress), I will choose to do nothing today. And I will choose not to feel guilty about it. A treat.
On to the linkage:
I'm starting this week with Doug Ross who takes note of the increased deficit figures from the Friday News Drop yesterday afternoon. Doug channels Mark Levin's Liberty and Tyranny (and good common sense) as he warns: "Tax cuts, however, are anathema to Democrat Statists who seek control of your private property. They who seek to control the size of your cars, how much energy you can consume, how much water your toilets can flush, what kind of light bulbs you can buy... anything and everything related to your privacy. Interestingly, it never ends with Democrats. They always want more control of you and your private property. Now it's your physical well-being -- socialized medicine and control of your body. And, after that, they'll want more." Read the whole thing.
Fishersville Mike has an editorial cartoon on ObamaCare. The perfect storm, you know.
In the mood for a little fairy tale? Carol at No Sheeples Here! has a fractured fairy tale for you. I click over to her place several times a day, anyway, just to see what those sheep are up to.
Pundette is loving the "wee-weed up" story (and linked mine, too!) with her posts here, here, and here. It is something you'd have to write in your diary, no? The day the President of the United States, the Leader of the Free World, used the expression "wee-weed up"? Hehe, and don't miss Althouse!
And I love Bride of Rove: she's worried about wee-wee, too.
Reaganite Republican Resistance has a nifty post on the doomed Democrats and the state of Obama now.
Political Byline has some analysis of Air America's calling Obama a facist. It is truly stunning.
Robert Stacy McCain points to the Jon Voight interview and makes some observations about Republicans that are noteworthy. Among them: "Every Republican who voted for the Orwellian-named USA Patriot Act, every Republican who voted for No Child Left Behind and Medicare prescription drugs -- every Republican, in other words, who abandoned the limited-government principles of Reagan -- is at fault for having given the Left this opportunity." Read the whole thing.
Donald Douglas at American Power looks at town halls and some of the blogosphere reaction to them; he offers this assessment: "... it's the totally condescending approach Democratic-lefitsts take to those of differing opinions." I don't want to be contrary but I think sometimes that goes both ways. I adore Rush Limbaugh but I bet many a leftist would call him condescending. But, I get Donald's point. Read the whole thing.
Little Miss Attila takes a look at the Death Panel conundrum and Charles Krauthammer's analysis of it. And Sarah Palin. And Medicare. Also on the subject of Krauthammer, Ruby Slippers thinks he's "missing the iceberg."
The Daley Gator concludes that the ACLU is pretty much worthless.
TrogloPundit hits The Big Time!
Gateway Pundit has a roundup of Recess Rally Day.
WTF? Some dude took a Corvette to a Cash for Clunkers trade? OMG. Jimme has the video. Fausta also has commentary on this.
Carolyn Tackett has the story of that 17 year old girl who fears honor killing for converting to Christianity. Heartbreaking story.
Legal Insurrection has a scary health care video. It's John Stossel and it's very good.
Heh, and now from Left Coast Rebel, a laugh:
Chris at Wyblog has some comments about the release Lockerbie bomber.
Yukio has a black cloud over him right now. Fingers crossed for you and your hard drive, Yukio!
Sippican Cottage. Sigh. What a beautiful, beautiful piece. Why oh why can't I write like this?
I'm just content at this point that he can because then I can read it. Lovely.
Generation Patriot examines the co-op alternative to public option and comes away unimpressed.
Okay. I'm off to do nothing now. Enjoy your Saturday!
Friday, August 21, 2009
Her topic this week is ... ObamaCare. She thinks he should pull the plug. What a novel idea.
I'm mocking her sudden-come-to-clarity, but she does make a couple of nice points in this week's piece. She suggests that Obama knew it would be a messy boondoggle from the beginning, what with all the bills in committee and markup...that it would be picked apart by the public and debate would be hot. Then ObamaMan would swoop in, clean up the mess (as he has been known to say) and pull it all together thus saving the day for ObamaCare.
But it got ugly..."It all got hotter, quicker than the White House expected. The many plans of Congress congealed in the public mind into one plan, and the one plan became a poison pool. The president is now immersed in it," she says. Yes, I'd say he is drowning in it.
She makes a good point when she says it is all already lost: "Here's another thing that didn't work. (I write as if health-care reform or insurance reform or whatever it's called this week is already a loss, a historic botch, because it is. Even if the White House wins, they lose, because the cost in terms of public trust and faith was too high.)"
This is absolutely true. He's lost public faith and trust. Oh, the die-hards are still there. But he's leaked independent voters like a sieve.
Noonan suggests he could regain part of his popularity by pulling the plug and admitting he screwed up. Show some humility. This will NEVER happen. Humility is one trait this president does NOT have. He's never shown one iota of it. On top of that, this is all personal to him; it's not about the American people or what's best for America. He sees the ire and anger of town-hall-Americans as being against HIM rather than ObamaCare. He won't let them win.
Noonan concludes with this though, with which I couldn't agree more: "It's not especially pleasurable to see history held hostage to ideological vanity, but it's not the first time. And if they keep it up, they'll help solve the president's problem. He'll have a Republican congress soon enough."
Read the whole article here.
President Barack Obama's popularity has plummeted to a record low, with just 45 percent of voters now approving of his performance, according to the latest Zogby International poll.
Asked whether they approve or disapprove of the president's job performance, just 45.3 percent of likely voters say they approve. That compares with 50.5 percent who disapprove of the job Obama is doing.
The results are a strong indication that contentious national debate over healthcare reform has taken a major toll on the president's popularity.
Those numbers also indicate that Obama clearly is in serious political trouble, Fox News analyst and best-selling author Dick Morris tells Newsmax.
"As soon as Obama dropped below 52 percent . . . he was leaking real voters who had backed him in November," Morris tells Newsmax. "Now that he is down to 45 percent among likely voters . . . he is in deep political trouble."That's from Newsmax, via Hot Air. I've never placed a lot of faith in polls, as I've said on this blog in the past, but I do believe they are fair indicators. This particular poll reflects an all time low for Obama.
What Hot Air points out, and is certainly true, is this quote:
Continued evidence of declining popularity there will ratchet up the pressure on congressional blue dogs and other conservative Democrats to go their own way on controversial proposals such as public-option healthcare and energy cap-and-trade, knowing they can't rely on presidential coattails to prop them up with voters.
The daily Rasmussen poll isn't out yet, as of this posting, but yesterday's results had Obama at 50/50 with a daily approval index of -6.
(More at Memeorandum!)
Thursday, August 20, 2009
That was narcissist-in-chief trying to explain his tanking poll numbers.
What does that mean, exactly, anyway? "Wee-weed up"?
I'm guessing when he says that "Washington gets all wee-weed up" maybe he's talking about the lame-o Democrat plan to split the ObamaCare bill. Or maybe he's talking about Nancy Pelosi's command that she - SHE - will not pass an ObamaCare bill without the public option: “'There’s no way I can pass a bill in the House of Representatives without a public option,' Pelosi, a California Democrat, said at a press conference in San Francisco today."'
Maybe what's "all wee-weed up" is the collection of personal information via email@example.com. That was indeed pretty fishy. And pretty wee-weed up.
I'd suggest that Obama suggesting he's God's partner in life and death decisions is pretty wee-weed up.
I also think that calling abortion "reproductive care" just so ObamaCare can pay for them and dodge controversy is pretty wee-weed up. Some euphemism.
But, I guess "wee-weed up" is actually a euphemism for the state of Obama's term of office. Because I can't say what it really is.
(More at Memeorandum)
The Wall Street Journal is reporting the possibility that the Dems may take the most noxious parts of ObamaCare, split them from the rest of the bill, pass them through reconciliation, and leave the rest of the bill to a Senate vote. That would be the parts they believe Republicans would pass, such as insurance regulation.
Why in the world do they think this would be a smart move? It's simply broadcasting that they don't care what the American people want.
And if the public option is forced in through reconciliation, as well as those other offensive parts of ObamaCare, why would ANY Republican vote for any of the rest of it after that, regardless how sensible?
This move to split the bill would, in my opinion, cement the fate of those Democrats who are already in trouble of looking for a new job in 2010. In many cases they will then be voted out. On an issue as important to the American people, such a personal issue, reconciliation is a particularly nasty way to go. We say that ObamaCare is a "takeover" of the American health care system, but reconciliation puts "takeover" in a new context. It signals that those you sent to Washington don't give a damn about your interests, they care only for politics and protecting "their president" and his agenda.
ObamaCare is sinking like a rock in the polls. The more Americans learn about it, the more they hate it. There still is no single plan for anyone to look at; each plan in the works right now has different features and problems. The outcry at the town halls has shown American resistance to this takeover. Washington would do well to listen, rather than to bully this down our throats.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I keep thinking that Obama's audacity will eventually cease to surprise me, but not so far:
In a morning conference call with about 1000 rabbis from across the nation, Obama asked for aid: “I am going to need your help in accomplishing necessary reform,” the President told the group, according to Rabbi Jack Moline, who tweeted his way through the phoner.
“We are God’s partners in matters of life and death,” Obama went on to say, according to Moline’s real-time stream.
Partners? Really? Does God need Obama's help?
Allahpundit sums it up: "I don’t think I’ve ever heard a believer be so presumptuous as to say we’re “partners” with God on the ultimate question, let alone one who’s pushing a government program that’s got people worried about “death panels,” but oh well. Water off an atheist’s back, baby."
There were some local politicians in attendance at the Highway2HealthCare bus stop at County Market in Shreveport yesterday; Representative Barbara Norton was there (she's also the godmother of Hurricane Chris and introduced him in the Louisiana legislature earlier this summer) and City Councilman Joe Shyne. Shyne was convicted in federal court of extortion in the early 1990s and later pardoned by Governor Mike Foster.
The Highway for Healthcare Now website says, "AFSCME is part of Health Care for America Now (HCAN), a national grassroots campaign of more than 950 organizations in 46 states representing 30 million people dedicated to winning quality, affordable health care we all can count on in 2009. Our organization and principles are supported by President Obama, Vice President Biden, and more than 190 members of Congress."
This video is La. State Representative Barbara Norton refusing to speak about ObamaCare. It was sent to me by Matt Sciba, who shot the footage.
The Times quotes Rahmbo who says "The Republican leadership has made a strategic decision that defeating President Obama's health care proposal is more important for their political goals than solving the health insurance problems American's face every day."
This quote is interesting on two points, to me. First is that he assumes, or at least pretends to assume, that Republicans are opposed to ObamaCare simply on political grounds; it's all about Obama. Never mind the move toward socialism, forcing people into government run plans, and shutting down the private insurance industry over time. Never mind fears of health care rationing and poor care. It's all about defeating Obama. To assume that is delusional.
The second point is that he says the Dems goal is to solve "health insurance problems." People with insurance don't perceive any problems. Polls indicate that people with insurance are pleased with it. No reform needed.
What about the eight million (which is more accurate than the Dems touted number of 47 million) without insurance? There are more reasonable plans that have been floated to solve that problem than the current ObamaCare plan of total government takeover. Tax incentives and insurance savings plans to name two.
The Dems will be creating their own "Waterloo" should they shut Republicans out of this process as they did on Porkulus. People are fed up. People are sick of big government and sick of the current way of business in Washington. The town halls across the country are evidence of that.
I would say to the Dems, tread carefully on this one, but don't tread on me.
(More at Memeorandum)
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Steve is retired Army and is going to the recruiter with him tomorrow, so we shall see how much the smoke and mirrors change.
Anyway. Been occupied. Sorry!
I'll catch up.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Obama has been loudly in favor of the public option from the beginning and has made no secret about his perception of its importance.
Michelle Malkin today suggests that Kathleen Sebelius did NOT misspeak, that she was intentionally floating a trial balloon of compromise to guage the backlash from the left. I'm siding with Malkin on this one; I don't think Obama will EVER back down from the public option because that's why he's pushing this so hard. He's devoting an inordinate amount of time on ObamaCare right now. Certainly there are other things he could be spending his time on.
No, no. He wants the public option.
American Thinker has a scorecard of tactics today, if you're losing count of all the different ploys Team Obama is using to get this pushed through. The Sebelius "misstatement" would likely come under number 8:
8. Pretend to give up on controversial issues that were never acknowledged in the first place. We've heard that the alleged Senate bill has omitted the controversial "death committee" provision that was never acknowledged to have existed in the first place. This offers the illusion of compromise.
Sit back and see what today's spin will be.