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Saturday, March 5, 2011

The End of the Beginning

Congressman West Defends the Continuing Resolution

The Film "Too Hot" for Public TV

As Congress debates federal funding for public TV and radio, Mary Grabar has written a column for Pajamas Media about how telling the truth about the Castro regime in Cuba is not an assignment that the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) has wanted to take on.

She focuses on how Agustin Blazquez, a Cuban exile, ran into a series of roadblocks from PBS and its parent, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), when he requested funding for films on life under the Castro dictatorship and Castro’s murderous accomplice Che Guevara. Not only did public TV refuse to fund the anti-communist films, public broadcasting would not consider airing them.

His new documentary, Che: The Other Side of an Icon,” also got the label “too hot” for public TV. It is a response to what Blazquez calls “the pro-Che propaganda in the popular press.” He explains, “It profiles the life of the man killed in Bolivia, as well as ‘Che,’ the icon, who lives on today. It presents the real man behind the myth, his legacy and why he has become so popular among the youth, revolutionaries and terrorists of the world. It explores the dangers of believing in Che’s carefully constructed fake public image.”

The film includes interviews with people who worked directly with Che, knew his family in Argentina and Havana, and who were knowledgeable about his personal background and philosophy. It documents how Che was not a hero but a sadistic killer.

Donald Rumsfeld: Man of War

Ohio GOP State Senator faces nasty threats from unions on Facebook, in restaurant

With the whole world watching the labor unions’ behavior in Wisconsin while they’re protesting Gov. Scott Walker’s budget plans, the media hasn’t paid much attention to their antics in Ohio – until now. Newly-elected Ohio Republican State Sen. Frank LaRose has received several distasteful threats from his state’s union members, including a high-ranking official in the police officers’ union.

LaRose, a 31-year-old Iraq war veteran, was the tiebreaking vote in Ohio’s Senate, which just sent a bill similar to Wisconsin’s budget bill to the State’s House of Representatives. That caused Michael Piotrowski, the general counsel for the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), to siege LaRose’s Facebook page.

“Funny thing about cops,” Piotrowski posted on LaRose’s Facebook wall, “they hold a grudge.” In another comment responding to someone’s criticism of his comment, Piotrowski wrote: “Nick, with all due respect, I don’t care about your views. You don’t know what you are talking about.”

Perhaps most surprisingly, though, the cop union’s top lawyer compared Republicans calling union violence “union thugs” to using the “n-word.” “When Republicans talk about ‘Union Thugs,’ they may as well be calling people the n-word.”

The folks who discovered Piotrowski’s comments and identity were College Republicans from the University of Akron. Joe Manno, the chair of the student group, told The Daily Caller that Ohio’s bill had some provisions that are “even more anti-union than Wisconsin, so the unions around here have been going kind of crazy, similar to what’s going on in Wisconsin. But, it’s starting to get a little more violent and a little more hostile environment here in Ohio.”

After the vote LaRose cast for the union-crippling budget bill, Manno said, “the kind of hostility and the un-civility started coming out on his Facebook wall. It really started to escalate.”

After Piotrowski wrote the nasty comment on LaRose’s Facebook wall, Manno and other College Republicans took to defending LaRose under the impression that Piotrowski was “just some upset cop.” But, after Googling around for him, Manno said he and his friends found out he was a high-ranking leader in the state’s cop union.

To Save America, We Must Dethrone King Obama

Incredibly, Obama continues to boldly go where no other president has gone before. Apparently, none of the rules apply to him. Without consequence, at will, Obama ignores laws and the Constitution to implement his progressive/socialist agenda.

America's first black president has morphed into America's first king. All hail King Obama, our supreme ruler. Think about this folks, King Obama has put together his royal court of an unprecedented 32 czars who only answer to him. His czars consist of people who have socialist and communist leanings, many simply do not like America. King Obama's czars, without congressional over sight, set new rules and regulations for our lives; boldly ignoring laws and the U.S. Constitution.

Given Obama's unprecedented government overreaches, when we vote him out in 2012, will His Royal Obamaness surrender the Oval Office? Just kidding. Such a concern is a bit over the top. Right? Right?

Meanwhile, displaying an amazing total disregard for the sanctity of freedom, guess who cheers on Obama's every unprecedented lawless "power grab" and dis of the Constitution; the despicable liberal media.

How the Obama Administration is Going to Bring Disaster to the Middle East and U.S. Interests

By Barry Rubin

In a moment, I'll present you with what might be the most frightening paragraph in the modern history of U.S. Middle East policy. But first, here's one that's among the most deplorable. It's from a Washington Post article:

"The Obama administration is preparing for the prospect that Islamist governments will take hold in North Africa and the Middle East, acknowledging that the popular revolutions there will bring a more religious cast to the region's politics."

What? While people like me have been warning about the emergence of Islamist regimes, in contrast the Obama administration, European governments, mass media, and most academics have repeatedly assured us there's no such danger! Those people doing the warning have been almost totally shut out of the mass media.

But now is the Obama administration realizing that those changes they've been cheering and even promoting could end by producing Islamist regimes? Is that the kind of regime that's anti-American, promotes terrorism, subverts neighbors, and wants to wipe Israel off the map?

Now we come to the paragraph I warned about, the explanation for how the administration may be about to plunge into the biggest disaster in U.S. foreign policy of...well, of a very long time.

Here it is:

"The administration is already taking steps to distinguish between various movements in the region that promote Islamic law in government. An internal assessment, ordered by the White House last month, identified large ideological differences between such movements as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and al-Qaeda that will guide the U.S. approach to the region."

Get it? Al-Qaeda is bad because it wants to attack U.S. embassies, the World Trade Center, and the Pentagon.

BUT the Muslim Brotherhood is good! Because it merely wants to seize state power, transform Egypt into an Islamist state, rule almost 90 million people with an iron hand, back Hamas in trying to destroy Israel, overthrow the Palestinian Authority, help Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood overthrow the monarchy, and sponsor terrorism against Americans in the Middle East.

I'm sure you can see the difference. This is the nonsense that the administration has been working toward for two years. It is the doctrine pushed by the president's advisor on terrorism, elements in the CIA, and White House ideologues. The State and Defense departments are probably horrified.

Financial terrorism suspected in 2008 economic crash

Evidence outlined in a Pentagon contractor report suggests that financial subversion carried out by unknown parties, such as terrorists or hostile nations, contributed to the 2008 economic crash by covertly using vulnerabilities in the U.S. financial system.

The unclassified 2009 report “Economic Warfare: Risks and Responses” by financial analyst Kevin D. Freeman, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times, states that “a three-phased attack was planned and is in the process against the United States economy.”

While economic analysts and a final report from the federal government's Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission blame the crash on such economic factors as high-risk mortgage lending practices and poor federal regulation and supervision, the Pentagon contractor adds a new element: “outside forces,” a factor the commission did not examine.

“There is sufficient justification to question whether outside forces triggered, capitalized upon or magnified the economic difficulties of 2008,” the report says, explaining that those domestic economic factors would have caused a “normal downturn” but not the “near collapse” of the global economic system that took place.

Suspects include financial enemies in Middle Eastern states, Islamic terrorists, hostile members of the Chinese military, or government and organized crime groups in Russia, Venezuela or Iran. Chinese military officials publicly have suggested using economic warfare against the U.S.

In an interview with The Times, Mr. Freeman said his report provided enough theoretical evidence for an economic warfare attack that further forensic study was warranted.

“The new battle space is the economy,” he said. “We spend hundreds of billions of dollars on weapons systems each year. But a relatively small amount of money focused against our financial markets through leveraged derivatives or cyber efforts can result in trillions of dollars in losses. And, the perpetrators can remain undiscovered.

“This is the equivalent of box cutters on an airplane,” Mr. Freeman said.

Paul Bracken, a Yale University professor who has studied economic warfare, said he saw “no convincing evidence that ‘outside forces’ colluded to bring about the 2008 crisis.”

“There were outside players in the market” for unregulated credit default swaps, Mr. Bracken said in an e-mail. “Foreign banks and hedge funds play the shorts all the time too. But suggestions of an organized targeted attack for strategic reasons don’t seem to me to be plausible.”

Agent: ATF partly to blame for Mexico violence

Boehner Launches Effort to Defend Gay Marriage Ban

Thank God the Speaker of the House is willing to uphold our laws! - Reggie

If President Obama will no longer defend the federal law against gay marriage, Republicans controlling the U.S. House say they will.

House Speaker John Boehner said Friday he is convening a bipartisan legal advisory group to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Boehner's announcement comes a week after the Obama Justice Department said it would no longer defend the law signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, a reversal for the Obama administration, which had defended it despite the president's misgivings with the policy. The nation's lawyers as recently as last month had filed a court motion in support of the law.

Attorney General Eric Holder has said that the Justice Department would continue to enforce the law but no longer would defend its constitutionality in court challenges.

"It is regrettable that the Obama administration has opened this divisive issue at a time when Americans want their leaders to focus on jobs and the challenges facing our economy," Boehner said in a statement. "The constitutionality of this law should be determined by the courts – not by the president unilaterally – and this action by the House will ensure the matter is addressed in a manner consistent with our Constitution."

Read the full article here.

Sebelius: Yes, we’re double-counting Medicare savings

Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) pins down HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on one of the most controversial budget tricks in ObamaCare — the $500 billion cut in Medicare that supposedly goes for both cost control and to fund other parts of the program.  Medicare’s own actuary blew the whistle on this sleight of hand in August of last year, which makes this admission by Sebelius a no-brainer:

Read the full post here.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Government Union Collective Bargaining 101

How Sarah Palin Would Slash the Budget

Palin of Alaska takes a shot at Christie of New Jersey. From Fox Business Network:

House Speaker Boehner 'On the Record'

The Daily News: March 4, 2011

Story of Citizens United v. FEC, The Critique

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Union ‘rights’ that aren’t

IF WISCONSIN Governor Scott Walker were getting a dollar for every protester, politician, and pundit accusing him of union-busting, attacking public-sector employees, or waging a war on working people — to say nothing of those likening him to Hosni Mubarak and Adolf Hitler — it wouldn’t be long before he could personally close his state’s $137 million budget shortfall.

To angry protesters occupying the Capitol building in Madison, it may seem clear that Walker’s bill restricting the scope of collective bargaining for government employees is “an assault on unions,’’ as President Obama called it, and no doubt many of them would agree with the AFL-CIO that “nothing less than democracy, fundamental rights, and freedom are at stake’’ in the fight over public-sector bargaining.

But they aren’t at stake. There is no “fundamental right’’ to collective bargaining in government jobs. Indeed, labor leaders themselves used to say so.

Read the full article here.

'An Inconvenient Truth' For Senate Democrats on Global Cooling

Leftists Call for Justice Thomas to Recuse Himself

The leftists appear to fear the Supreme Court in the case of ObamaCare so they have begun their attack.

First, in the video below, Megyn Kelly lets the arrogant New York Congressman Weiner make his argument trying to justify his attempt to badger Justice Thomas into recusing himself from the case.

Second is this story: GOP Lawmakers Call for Probe Into Possible 'Threats' Against Thomas, Scalia

We need to pray for the safety and health of these Supreme Court Justices. One month ago, today, I wrote a theory as to why Obama did not wish to fast track the unconstitutional health care takeover to SCOTUS, hoping he could replace a Justice on the court, thus appointing the deciding vote in his favor. However, I never dreamed some nutcase would attempt to harm one of the Justices in order to keep ObamaCare from being struck down.

In the past few weeks, the curtains have being pulled back to reveal how evil these leftists truly are. They are lawless, hateful, unethical people who wish nothing more than to continue to exert unchecked power and control over We the People.


Pro-Shariah Rally Postponed

Radical UK Muslim Cleric Anjem Choudary has postponed his Thursday “Sharia4America” rally in front of the White House. According to a video posted on his website, Choudary blamed a variety of factors for the postponement, including the media “distorting” his message.

“In light of the fact that many people have given us advice from the Muslim community, both in Britain and in America, and from our scholars like Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed and others, that it is better to postpone the call for the Sharia in Washington, outside of the White Hosue today, we will be postponing the protest outside the White House.” Choudary said in the almost 15-minute video.

Still, Choudary didn’t back down from his message, saying that “the call for the Shariah is a universal one and it must be implemented immediately wherever we are in the world”:

Read the full story at The Blaze.

Jihad Has Come to India

Jihad has come to India. The Obama administration and the State Department will tell you that it is nothing more than isolated acts by individuals. The government in New Delhi will say you are stirring up anti-Muslim sentiment. The mainstream media will ask how you can say that when we are hearing nothing about it from them. But it is real, and it is happening now. I have seen it first-hand. The Obama administration's studied denial will find us caught as flat-footed in India as we were in Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, and elsewhere. The difference is that India is an economic and military giant, with nuclear weapons, and could be a cornerstone of any effective fight against radical Islam.

For several years, I have been talking about the progressive radicalization of Bangladesh. Although it is the only country that ranks among the ten most populous and the ten most densely populated, as well as being the second largest Muslim-majority nation, events there do not capture people's imagination. When you talk about India in the same context, however, people take notice. The thought of an Islamist dominated India scares the heck out of them and should. While our own strategic thinkers concentrate on internecine struggles in the Middle East, their obliviousness to the significance of an Islamist India has enabled our enemies to further their agenda.

Read the full article here.

Fat Cat Union Salaries Exposed!

These are the 10 largest unions, noting the number of employees who earn more than $200,000, leadership salaries and campaign contributions to federal candidates in 2009-2010.

Union: National Education Association
Membership: 3.2 million
Assets: $216 million
The NEA, representing most of the nation’s teachers, has 31 headquarters officers and employees who earn over $200,000. The president, Dennis Van Roekel, received $397,721 in salary and benefits. Of the $3.7 million NEA spent on political activities in the last election cycle, 98 percent went to Democratic candidates. The NEA has 98,000 members in Wisconsin. Before taking the helm in 2008, Van Roekel received pay increases averaging more than 4 percent a year as NEA vice president. In 2009, public school teachers were paid a national average of $54,319 and received raises ranging from 2 percent to 4 percent over the previous five years.

Union: Service Employees International Union
Membership: 1.8 million
Assets: $187 million
The SEIU, whose membership has increased in recent years, has been organizing hospital, home care and nursing home workers, along with local and state government employees, janitors and security officers. The union has nine headquarters officers and employees who earn over $200,000. The former president, Andy Stern, was paid $306,388 in salary and benefits from the union in 2009. In his final year, Stern got a 5 percent pay boost, which came on the heels of the union growing by more than 88,000 members. Stern resigned in 2010 and was replaced by Mary Kay Henry, formerly the executive vice president. Over the past two years, SEIU gave almost $2 million to Democratic candidates and $8,500 to Republicans. It has 18,000 members in Wisconsin.

See the rest of the "top 10" here.

Wisconsin Senate orders arrest of missing Democrats

Senate Republicans Thursday ordered the forcible detention of their 14 Democratic colleagues, who fled the state two weeks ago to avoid a vote on Gov. Scott Walker's controversial budget repair bill.

"They have pushed us to the edge of a constitutional crisis," Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said of the boycotting senators.

But it remained unclear Thursday whether the resolution and warrants seeking to force the senators back to the Capitol are legal. The state constitution prohibits the arrest of legislators while in session unless they're suspected of committing felonies, treason or breach of the peace.

Democrats say the Republicans are overreaching, and they have consulted an attorney for an opinion on whether the GOP actions are legal.

"The Republicans have gone around the bend," said Sen. Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee. "They've just increased their bullying tactics and are producing an even greater divide in our state."

But James Troupis, an attorney for Fitzgerald, said rounding up the senators is legal under a constitutional provision that allows the Senate to enforce its own rules, including mandatory attendance. That section allows each house to "compel the attendance of absent members."

Read the full story here.

Utah Considers Return to Gold, Silver Coins

It's been nearly 80 years since the U.S. stopped using gold coins as legal currency, and nearly 40 since the world abandoned the gold standard, but the precious metal could be making a comeback in the United States -- beginning in Utah.

The Utah House was to vote as early as Thursday on legislation that would recognize gold and silver coins issued by the federal government as legal currency in the state. The coins would not replace the current paper currency but would be used and accepted voluntarily as an alternative.

Read the full article here.

Public Broadcasting Should Go Private

If these outfits can afford to pay lavish salaries to their heads, they don't need taxpayer help.

When presidents of government-funded broadcasting are making more than the president of the United States, it's time to get the government out of public broadcasting.

While executives at the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR) are raking in massive salaries, the organizations are participating in an aggressive lobbying effort to prevent Congress from saving hundreds of millions of dollars each year by cutting their subsidies. The so-called commercial free public airwaves have been filled with pleas for taxpayer cash. The Association of Public Television Stations has hired lobbyists to fight the cuts. Hundreds of taxpayer-supported TV, radio and Web outlets have partnered with an advocacy campaign to facilitate emails and phone calls to Capitol Hill for the purpose of telling members of Congress, "Public broadcasting funding is too important to eliminate!"

PBS President Paula Kerger even recorded a personal television appeal that told viewers exactly how to contact members of Congress in order to "let your representative know how you feel about the elimination of funding for public broadcasting." But if PBS can pay Ms. Kerger $632,233 in annual compensation—as reported on the 990 tax forms all nonprofits are required to file—surely it can operate without tax dollars.

The executives at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), which distributes the taxpayer money allocated for public broadcasting to other stations, are also generously compensated. According to CPB's 2009 tax forms, President and CEO Patricia de Stacy Harrison received $298,884 in reportable compensation and another $70,630 in other compensation from the organization and related organizations that year. That's practically a pittance compared to Kevin Klose, president emeritus of NPR, who received more than $1.2 million in compensation, according to the tax forms the nonprofit filed in 2009.

Read the full op-ed here.

Judge Vinson Takes Obama to the Woodshed

Judge Vinson released a second ruling against ObamaCare today. It is a very significant ruling and most of the mainstream media do not understand it. To hear Mark Levin fully explain today's ruling, click here. - Reggie

Here's a taste of Judge Vinson's decision taken from pages 13-15:

For the defendants to suggest that they were entitled (or that in the weeks after my order was issued they thought they might be entitled) to basically ignore my declaratory judgment until “after appellate review is exhausted” is unsupported in the law.

So to “clarify” my order and judgment: The individual mandate was declared
unconstitutional. Because that “essential” provision was unseverable from the rest
of the Act, the entire legislation was void. This declaratory judgment was expected
to be treated as the “practical” and “functional equivalent of an injunction” with
respect to the parties to the litigation. This expectation was based on the “longstanding presumption” that the defendants themselves identified and agreed to be bound by, which provides that a declaratory judgment against federal officials is a de facto injunction. To the extent that the defendants were unable (or believed that they were unable) to comply, it was expected that they would immediately seek a stay of the ruling, and at that point in time present their arguments for why such a stay is necessary, which is the usual and standard procedure. It was not expected that they would effectively ignore the order and declaratory judgment for two and one-half weeks, continue to implement the Act, and only then file a belated motion to “clarify.”

The plaintiffs have contended that the defendants did not actually need any
of the above clarification as they were not really confused by, or unsure of, the
effect of my order and judgment. They have suggested that if the defendants had truly believed there was any uncertainty or ambiguity, they would have immediately
sought clarification rather than continuing to move forward with implementing the
Act as if nothing had happened.

The partial article below is from Hot Air:

A mild surprise here, as Judge Roger Vinson’s earlier ruling seemed fairly categorical.  If a law is unconstitutional, then implementation should be abandoned, and Vinson’s ruling suggested that no further clarification would be necessary.  In his stay, Vinson now appears to press for an expedited Supreme Court review:
In his ruling, Vinson repeated what he has said previously — that “the citizens of this country have an interest in having this case resolved as soon as practically possible.”
“That was nearly eleven months ago,” he wrote. “In the time since, the battle lines have been drawn, the relevant case law marshaled, and the legal arguments refined. Almost everyone agrees that the constitutionality of the Act is an issue that will ultimately have to be decided by the Supreme Court of the United States. It is very important to everyone in this country that this case move forward.”
And in fact, the stay in this case is only good for seven days, and is predicated on the Obama administration filing an application for expedited appeal, either with the appeals court or the Supreme Court:
After careful consideration of the factors noted above, and all the arguments set forth in the defendants’ motion to clarify, I find that the motion, construed as a motion for stay, should be GRANTED. However, the stay will be conditioned upon the defendants filing their anticipated appeal within seven (7) calendar days of this order and seeking an expedited appellate review, either in the Court of Appeals or with the Supreme Court under Rule 11 of that Court.

Read the full article at Hot Air.

The Daily News: March 3, 2011

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mixed messages from Obama White House?

Special Report Online: 3/2

British High Court Judgment suggests Christian beliefs harmful to children

This is another example of how sick our world has become. - Reggie

In a landmark judgment, which will have a serious impact on the future of fostering and adoption in the UK, the High Court has suggested that Christians with traditional views on sexual ethics are unsuitable as foster carers, and that homosexual ‘rights’ trump freedom of conscience in the UK. The Judges stated that Christian beliefs on sexual ethics may be ‘inimical’ to children, and they implicitly upheld an Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) submission that children risk being ‘infected’ by Christian moral beliefs.

Today’s ruling relates to the dispute between married couple Eunice and Owen Johns and Derby City Council. The Johns applied to the Council in 2007 to foster a child but the Council blocked their application because they objected that the Johns were not willing to promote the practise of homosexuality to a young child. In November 2010 both parties jointly asked the Court to rule on whether the Johns were able to foster children, or whether they could be excluded from doing so under equality law because of their Christian beliefs.

Today (28th February) that judgment has been released. The judges declined to make the statement that the Johns, wanting to re-establish their fostering application, had sought. Instead, the judgment strongly affirms homosexual rights over freedom of conscience and leaves the Johns currently unable to foster a child as desired, despite their proven track record as foster parents. There now appears to be nothing to stop the increasing bar on Christians who wish to adopt or foster children but who are not willing to compromise their beliefs by promoting the practise of homosexuality to small children.

The nature of the judgment means that Christians who hold orthodox Christian views on the family, marriage and sexuality will continue to face difficulties in the fostering and adoption process and the Courts will not intervene to stop this from happening. In fact, the summary contained in the judgment sends out the clear message that orthodox Christian ethical beliefs are potentially harmful to children and that Christian parents with mainstream Christian views are not suitable to be considered as potential foster parents.

In their judgment, the judges stated:

• That if children are placed with parents who have traditional Christian views like the Johns “there may well be a conflict with the local authority’s duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of looked-after children”, [1]

• That there is a tension between the equality provisions concerning religious discrimination and those concerning sexual orientation. Yet, as regards fostering, “the equality provisions concerning sexual orientation should take precedence”, [2]

• That a local authority can require positive attitudes to be demonstrated towards homosexuality, [3]

• That there is no religious discrimination against the Johns because they were being excluded from fostering due to their moral views on sexual ethics and not their Christian beliefs (This is incredible and very disingenuous as the Johns moral views cannot be separated from their religious beliefs), [4] and

• That “Article 9 [of the European Human Rights Act] only provides a ‘qualified’ right to manifest religious belief and ... this will be particularly so where a person in whose care a child is placed wishes to manifest a belief that is inimical to the interests of children”. [5]

Equality and Human Rights Commission

The tax payer funded EHRC played an important role in this judgment. They intervened in the Johns case, and they suggested to the Court that a child should not, in their own words, be ‘infected’ with Christian moral beliefs. Suggesting that Christian moral beliefs on sexual ethics could ‘infect’ children is an extraordinary position for a statutory body to take. It is also deeply insulting both to the Johns, who have a proven track record of successfully raising children, and to Christians in general.


Read the full article here.

h/t Dr. Michael L. Brown

The Daily News: March 2, 2011

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cornstalked: As the 14 Wisconsin Democrats run, meet the numerous Illinois Tea Party activists giving chase

To say that 14 Wisconsin Democrats are “on the lam” in Illinois is an understatement. Relentlessly hounded by Illinois Tea Party members, they are, truly, on the run.

No matter which podunk border town the senators try to hide in, they are running all the time thanks to highly effective efforts of conservative activists who have streamlined their “search party” by utilizing Facebook, email blasts and quick video posts. Who knew the Tea Party would be so good at bounty hunting 2.0?

On Thursday, The Missing 14 unsubtly crashed the Clock Tower Resort’s Chocoholic Frolic in Rockford, Ill. David Hale and his camera began stalking the resort, pestering the senators. By Saturday, some of the Missing 14 had skipped over to the city’s Holiday Inn — and were reportedly seen at Hooters having a last supper of sorts — when Hale waltzed into the hotel’s lobby and confronted them with his camera, asking questions like, “Senators! Why won’t you go home and do your job?”

Probably aware that a posse of 14 pasty bureaucrats will stick out in a crowd, the senators did what any fugitive chain gang would do: They cut the links and went in separate directions. One did the smart thing and disappeared into the polished back alleys of the Windy City, where only the New York Times could find him.

By the following Monday, eight of the 14 had gone 30 miles northeast to the two-hotel town of Harvard (pop. 9,000ish) thinking it might be a good place to “hide.” It took just one tip from a “concerned citizen,” however, before a few amateur Illinois activists descended upon the hotel, causing enough commotion for the senators to quickly pack it up.

Mary Alger, the coordinator of the Crystal Lake Tea Party was grocery shopping when she got the tip. Dropping off her produce, making a quick sign and skirting 15 minutes northwest to Harvard, she met up with “Doc,” a member of the Northern Illinois Tea Party who holds down a full-time job when he’s not hunting Democrats. Lori White, a Spring Grove resident, showed up after responding to a Facebook post on the Rockford Tea Party page asking if anyone near Harvard was willing to drop by the hotel, preferably with a video camera.

The hotel called the cops on Doc and Mary because they were trespassing, so Doc skedaddled and at a nearby McDonald’s, Mary waited for White to arrive. Unfortunately, White got there just in time to see four senators piled into a tiny Mazda behind her — the make, model and license plate matching a response to a Facebook post. As she fumbled for her video camera, the senators sped off, up Highway 23. Though she tried to follow, White lost them. Though that won’t stop her helping out the other bounty hunters.

Meanwhile, a local paper published a picture of one of the Democrats. Northern Illinois Tea Party board member Joe Terrell had not only set up a “Flee Party Tracker” Facebook page but was able to do some magic thanks to information sharing and basic internet research.

“Based on that picture, a list of Democratic donors and Google Earth we were able to identify where it was taken,” said Terrell. And with that, he posted the citizen’s equivalent to what the police like to refer to as an APB — an All Points Bulletin.

For the past week and a half, this has been the regular rhyme and flow of both the Wisconsin state senators and the amateur bounty hunters tracking them. Each time the senators find a place to hide, some local resident sends a quick Facebook note or records a few minutes of footage so that Tea Party members around northern Illinois can coordinate confrontations no more dangerous than a slightly pushy reporter asking, “Why are you running?”

Read the rest of the article

Why Koch Industries Is Speaking Out

Crony capitalism and bloated government prevent entrepreneurs from producing the products and services that make people's lives better. 

Years of tremendous overspending by federal, state and local governments have brought us face-to-face with an economic crisis. Federal spending will total at least $3.8 trillion this year—double what it was 10 years ago. And unlike in 2001, when there was a small federal surplus, this year's projected budget deficit is more than $1.6 trillion.

Several trillions more in debt have been accumulated by state and local governments. States are looking at a combined total of more than $130 billion in budget shortfalls this year. Next year, they will be in even worse shape as most so-called stimulus payments end.

For many years, I, my family and our company have contributed to a variety of intellectual and political causes working to solve these problems. Because of our activism, we've been vilified by various groups. Despite this criticism, we're determined to keep contributing and standing up for those politicians, like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who are taking these challenges seriously.

Both Democrats and Republicans have done a poor job of managing our finances. They've raised debt ceilings, floated bond issues, and delayed tough decisions.

In spite of looming bankruptcy, President Obama and many in Congress have tiptoed around the issue of overspending by suggesting relatively minor cuts in mostly discretionary items. There have been few serious proposals for necessary cuts in military and entitlement programs, even though these account for about three-fourths of all federal spending.

Read the full article here.

Deliberately making Americans poorer

Obama’s energy policies hit hardest below the poverty belt

The Obama administration’s policies are causing Americans to pay far more for gasoline and other fuels than necessary. America is awash in fossil-fuel energy sources with almost 30 percent of the world’s coal and 80 percent of the world’s oil shale - which contains an estimated three times the recoverable oil reserves of Saudi Arabia. Canada, with its oil sands, has the world’s third-highest oil reserves, after the United States and Saudi Arabia. New technologies that enable low-cost natural gas production from shale mean that many countries, including the United States, will have gas for centuries at current production rates.

Fossil fuels at some prices are interchangeable. Coal, gas and oil can all fuel electric power plants. Liquid motor fuels can be made easily from natural gas, and, in fact, many auto, truck and bus fleets already use natural gas. For more than 70 years, the technology has been available to turn coal into liquid motor fuel.

Natural gas now sells in the United States for a British thermal unit (BTU) equivalent of $30 a barrel of oil, and coal sells at roughly half that price. Much of the Canadian oil sands, U.S. domestic oil shale and offshore oil in the Gulf of Mexico can be produced at prices well below $75 per barrel. The United States should be an energy exporter; Canada already is and is the single biggest source of oil for the U.S.

Most countries try to produce oil, gas and coal and sell it on the global market as a way of increasing the real incomes of their citizens, but not the United States. The Obama administration has a hatred of fossil fuels and is determined to reduce their use despite the economic damage. So-called green energy often is not very green and cannot possibly serve as a substitute for most fossil fuels. Windmills and solar panels are far more expensive than coal and gas; their production is intermittent, unreliable and largely unstorable. Because of the physics of the electrical grid, wind and solar can never produce more than about 18 percent of electrical production - at least not until low-cost storage devices are developed. Many biofuels, and in particular corn-based ethanol, are not only more expensive than the natural fuels but have a bigger total carbon footprint.

The Obamaites believe carbon dioxide (CO2) is evil because they think more of it will cause global warming. They ignore the facts:

c Earth has been at times in the past both cooler and warmer with higher concentrations of CO2.

c Other factors, such as sunspot activity, are more important than CO2 in determining Earth’s temperature.

c Scientists are in the process of finding new commercial uses for CO2 and are experimenting with the use of biological agents to turn CO2 back into a useful fuel. CO2 always has been part of our atmosphere and is necessary for plants to grow.

Just think for a moment of all the scientific advances that have been made during the past century. There is every reason to think that long before fossil fuels become truly scarce - meaning that their extraction cost begins to rise rapidly - mankind will have come up with cheaper and better energy sources and will have figured out what to do with excess CO2 if it really does prove to be a problem. For at least 100 years, “experts” have been saying we will soon run out of oil, but we are still finding more oil and gas than we have been producing in recent years. It makes no sense for the United States to hobble itself with less and more costly energy while much of the rest of the world is greatly increasing its use of fossil fuels. Both India and China have found huge new deposits of natural gas in recent weeks. Are they going to say to their still-poor populations, “We will not use this gas to better your lives”? Of course not. The Brazilians are about to enter the ranks of major oil producers. Are their leaders going to say to the people, “You may not have the benefits of these new oil discoveries”? Of course not.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has stopped the new oil-production process in the Gulf of Mexico, even in the face of a court order requiring it to issue permits. The administration, through executive orders, has denied oil and gas producers access to millions of acres where large deposits of oil and gas are known to exist. The administration also is holding up permits for many new power plants, pipelines and industrial plants, all of which are costing Americans jobs and driving businesses to other countries.

Read the rest of the article

Wisconsin Governor Presents State Budget

Madison — Gov. Scott Walker vowed Tuesday to close a gaping state budget gap by reshaping Wisconsin government at every level: holding spending of state tax dollars nearly flat, slashing aid to public schools and local governments while expanding state aid to private schools, eliminating 1,200 state jobs with some possible layoffs and placing the tightest limits on property taxes that the state has seen.

The Republican governor's two-year, $59.2 billion budget proposal was unveiled as a dramatic legal fight played out over the administration's restriction of public access to the Capitol, where protesters have demonstrated for days and where Walker is addressing lawmakers on his budget plans. It also came amid a continued standoff over a separate Walker proposal to eliminate nearly all collective bargaining for public unions that Senate Democrats have blocked by fleeing from the state.

The governor, who after his November election demanded GOP leaders either "put up or shut up," said Tuesday he delivered a budget that would boost the state's economy by balancing a $3.6 billion budget hole without raising of taxes or fees. But doing that would take changes — some modest and some vast — affecting students, public workers, participants in the SeniorCare prescription drug plan, and poor families receiving health care or welfare from the state.

"This is a reform budget," Walker said in prepared remarks. "It is about getting Wisconsin working again — and to make that happen, we need a balanced budget that works — and an environment where the private sector can create 250,000 jobs over the next four years."

The 2011-'13 budget bill, which runs from July 1 to June 30, 2013, would force local governments and schools to cut their spending since their state aid would fall by $930 million over the next two years and they would be prevented from making up that money by raising property taxes. Walker has said that local governments should absorb those cuts by trimming their employees' health and pension benefits — a proposal whose future is still in doubt.

State union leaders said they will agree to those cuts but only if Walker drops a separate proposal to eliminate nearly all union bargaining rights for state employees.

Robert Kraig, executive director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin, said Walker was cutting taxes for the corporations rather than asking them to help the state protect its neediest citizens.

"The facts are clear, Scott Walker's decision to place the entire burden of Wisconsin's budget shortfall on our children, our most vulnerable citizens in need of health care and long term care, and our dedicated public employees is his own value choice, not an economic necessity forced on him by others," Kraig said in a statement.

Spending in the state's main account will rise by $384 million, or 1.4%, over the two years, with spending on health care increasing while most other major programs see significant cuts. And with federal stimulus aid to the state budget having run out, total spending of state and federal dollars will drop by $4.2 billion, or 6.7%, over the two years.

The Walker administration said his plan would cut taxes for investors and large companies by at least $82 million over two years and cut the state's rolling budget shortfalls in future budgets by 90%. But the plan would also push out $439 million in principal payments on state debt into later budgets and allow debt payments in future years to rise to unprecedented levels.

Here's a breakdown of Walker's proposal in key areas:

Read the full article here.

Watch Governor Walker's entire address here.

Courting Disaster

There is a malodorous wind wafting its way from the White House.  It bodes ill for the fate of the US judiciary and the Republic of these United States.

The whiff of gunfire was obvious when President Obama publically dressed down the Justices of the Supreme Court during his State of the Union address, saying to his captive audience, "With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the supreme court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests -- including foreign corporations-to spend without limit in our elections...I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.  They should be decided by the American people.  And I'd urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to correct some of these problems."

The fight between Obama and the courts was on. Much more was to follow.

This would not be the first time an American president found himself at odds with the judiciary, including the Supreme Court.  In fact, the august Supreme Court may be in jeopardy in a way it has not been since Franklin Roosevelt, whom Obama deeply admires and seeks to imitate, tried to pack the court in 1937. 

At that time, angered over its decisions vitiating his favorite programs, FDR threatened to completely remake the Court's image and its constitutional mandate in order it become more amenable to his legislative agenda. The President's fireside chat on the subject left no doubt in his listeners mind he was impatient with the judiciary. 

He said, "Last Thursday I described the American form of government as a three-horse team provided by the Constitution to the American people so that their field might be plowed. The three horses are, of course, the three branches of government - the Congress, the executive, and the courts. Two of the horses, the Congress and the executive, are pulling in unison today; the third is not."

The howls of rage that met his attempt to get the "third horse" in tandem with the other two branches of government eventually forced FDR to back down. 

A similar assault on the judiciary would wait until another day. 

That day has come.  

Read the full article here.

The Daily News: March 1, 2011

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Year of the Governors

By S.E. Cupp

Back in 2010, during the midterm elections, people in my field were of course panting in breathless anticipation as we watched important congressional races to see how many seats Republicans would pick up two years after Barack Obama came into office. Would it be a turnover of the Senate? How sweeping would the House pickups be? Who’d take Pelosi’s place? What would it mean for the tea party? We all know how it turned out. I’m fond of the way one notable described it…as a “shellacking.”

But overlooked were the equally important governors races. I had my eye on them here and there, just to keep up with redistricting possibilities. But no one could have predicted just how important the state houses would be so soon into 2011. In short, whether you’re Chris Christie or Scott Walker, governors are having the best month ever, and it’s clear the Republican gains in the state houses last year are having a huge impact on domestic policy. (And, let’s face it, they’re a major thorn in President Obama’s side.)

In 2010 Democrats took five governorships from the Republicans…California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota and Vermont. But Republicans took a whopping 11 governorships from the Democrats, including key states like Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Who knew how big THAT one would turn out. Republicans also won Florida, which had previously been held by an Independent. Before he was a Republican. So Republicans held a majority of governorships for the first time since 2006.

No one would have predicted just a few months ago that it would be these governors, and not celebrity senators like the thus far invisible Marco Rubio or the tea party favorite Rand Paul, who would be making the most noise.

Read the full article here.

The Daily News: February 28, 2011

End the Privileged Class

With the Wisconsin showdown at a fever pitch, Mark McKinnon says America doesn’t need public unions anymore—they silence voters’ choice, redistribute wealth, and clog the political system.

The manufactured Madison, Wis., mob is not the movement the White House was hoping for. Both may find themselves at the wrong end of the populist pitchfork. While I generally defend collective bargaining and private-sector unions (lots of airline pilots in my family), it is the abuse by public unions and their bosses that pushes centrists like me to the GOP. It is the right and duty of citizens to petition their government. The Tea Party and Republicans seek to limit government growth to protect their pocketbooks. Public-union bosses want to increase the cost of government to protect their racket.

1. Public unions are big money.

Public unions are big money. Paul Krugman is correct: we do need “some counterweight to the political power of big money.” But in the Alice in Wonderland world where what’s up is down and what’s down is up, Krugman believes public unions do not represent big money. Of the top 20 biggest givers in federal-level politics over the past 20 years, 10 are unions; just four are corporations. The three biggest public unions gave $171.5 million for the 2010 elections alone, according to The Wall Street Journal. That’s big money.

2. Public unions redistribute wealth.

Public employees contribute real value for the benefit of all citizens. Public-union bosses collect real money from all taxpayers for the benefit of a few. Unlike private-sector jobs, which are more than fully funded through revenues created in a voluntary exchange of money for goods or serv-ices, public-sector jobs are funded by taxpayer dollars, forcibly collected by the government (union dues are often deducted from public employees’ paychecks). In 28 states, state and local employees must pay full union dues or be fired. A sizable portion of those dues is then donated by the public unions almost exclusively to Democratic candidates. Michael Barone sums it up: “public-employee unions are a mechanism by which every taxpayer is forced to fund the Democratic Party.”

3. Public unions silence the voters’ voice.

Read the full article here.

The British Take the Lead on Libya

Did you ever think you would see the day that the Brits would stand up and do the right thing because the USA would not? I confess, I never did. - Reggie

Libya: Cameron proposes no-fly zone to protect Libyan people from attacks by Gaddafi loyalists

The Prime Minister repeated his earlier call for Col Gaddafi to step down and said that all measures would be considered to increase pressure on him to go.

"We do not in any way rule out the use of military assets," Mr Cameron said.

"We must not tolerate this regime using military force against its own people. In that context I have asked the Ministry of Defence and the Chief of the Defence Staff to work with our allies on plans for a military no-fly zone."

The European Union has agreed to impose an assets freeze and travel ban on Col Gaddafi and 25 members of his family and inner circle.

Baroness Ashton, the EU's high representative for foreign affairs, told a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that the union would impose further restrictions on Libya very soon, noting that violent repression in the north African country "shocks our conscience."

Read the full article here.

Walker gives 24-hour deadline to fleebaggers

If the Wisconsin state Senators who fled the state intended on highlighting their opposition to Scott Walker’s budget-repair bill, then the governor offered his congratulations on their success.  In his statement this morning, though, Walker also told the fleebaggers that any further delay would cost the state $165 million in a lost opportunity to restructure the state’s debt — and that continued delay will force Walker to cut jobs to save money:
“According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, if Senate Democrats refuse to return to Wisconsin and cast their vote the next day the option to refinance a portion of the state’s debt will be off the table,” the statement says.
In addition, Cullen Werwie, the governor’s spokesman, said in a statement: “Senate Democrats claimed they fled the state to slow down the process so the public had enough time to learn about the budget repair bill. If that was their true intention, they have been successful.
“Now they have one day to return to work before the state loses out on the chance to refinance debt, saving taxpayers $165 million this fiscal year. Failure to return to work and cast their votes will lead to more painful and aggressive spending cuts in the very near future.”
Werwie said he was giving the Democrats 24-hour notice. He added that the governor will delay sending out layoff notices “as long as possible.”
With Walker raising the stakes, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel provided its readers with the context of spending on public employees:
But by any measure, as Walker has noted and most state employees acknowledge, the state will continue to provide rich health-insurance benefits compared with the private sector, where nearly 40% of employers don’t offer health benefits at all.
Under Walker’s bill, state employees – including elected state legislators, who receive the same benefits – would pay about $600 more for single coverage, raising their share of that cost to about $1,000 a year. For family coverage, they would pay $1,476 more, raising their share of the cost to about $2,500 a year.
The proposal would increase their share of the premium to 12.4%. But that would still be well below the share paid by employees in the private sector, who by one estimate pay an average of 19% of the cost for single coverage and 29% for family coverage.
It also is less than the 28% of the premium paid on average by federal employees.
The union has accepted these changes in principle, now that Walker has pushed his budget-repair bill with collective-bargaining reform built into it, as Walker promised during the election.  The PEUs would rather accept cuts in the near term than the ability to browbeat the state and localities in later negotiations.  However, these are the very same financial changes that unions characterized as … well
“We certainly aren’t the haves, in spite of what he says. I just see this as all political posturing,” said Marty Beil.
Beil is executive director of the Wisconsin State Employees Union , which represents 22,000 state workers in various departments including corrections, universities, mental health, and social work.
It’s like the plantation owner talking to the slaves. We’ve moved in Walker’s mentality from public service to public servitude,” Beil explained to FOX 11. When asked “Do you really think comparison to plantation owner and slave is accurate?” Beil replied: “I do. I really do because here he sits as the incoming governor, basically issuing mandates about what he wants to happen. Governors and employers don’t do that especially in the modern era of labor relations. We sit down at a table to talk about things.”

Read the full post at Hot Air