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September 30, 2009

Sarah’s message to the GOP: Conservatives will no longer be kept on a leash

Sarah Palin’s forthcoming wonderfully-named book, Going Rogue: An American Life, is already energizing her conservative admirers – to the point that her publisher is willing to bet a lot of money on the book’s success. WSJ’s John Fund notes yesterday:

Sarah Palin may no longer be governor of Alaska, but she's certainly destined to become a best-selling author. HarperCollins, her publisher, has announced the print-run of her memoir will be a staggering 1.5 million copies -- equal to the print-run of Senator Ted Kennedy's posthumous autobiography published this month. Publishing sources tell me that such a giant run is only ordered up when there is clear evidence from booksellers and surveys of massive interest in a book.

HarperCollins’ confidence appears to be justified. Although the release date is still more than six weeks away, pre-orders have pushed the book to #2 at Amazon and #1 at Barnes & Noble.

As we learn more about how Sarah was “handled” by the McCain campaign last fall, it becomes increasingly clear that the party leadership has nothing more than a milquetoast commitment to the conservative principles they claim to champion.

Conservatives are often accused of hoping for Obama’s failure.  This is true only inasmuch as Obama embodies the radical agenda he’s carrying out. 

More significantly, many if not most conservatives hope for the GOP establishment’s failure, seeing that its agenda appears to be a reversion to the bad old days prior to Reagan: try not to lose any more congressional seats, and play the “we’re only half as bad as the Democrats” game (where Republicans in Congress react to Dem proposals simply by proposing alternatives, rather than by opposing the proposals on principle).

Hurricane Sarah will make landfall soon.  Will the ideological clapboard shacks of the GOP establishment be able to withstand her? 

Yes, some.

Making the rounds…

He was wrongheaded (albeit well-intentioned) on many things, but at least he wasn’t into the total radical transformation of the global economic and political systems.

September 28, 2009

Bill Clinton… world savior?

This is what passes as objective journalism for intrepid AFP reporter Sebastian Smith.  If this had been a true straight-news story, the words world savior would have been in quotes.

Then again, that was Smith’s choice of words, so if this had been a true straight-news story, the words would have been quite different.

(Click to view full-sized screenshot)

Aw, c’mon, Bill. Why don’t you show everyone our secret handshake while you’re at it?

Yawn.  Bill Clinton…. vast right wing conspiracy… yada yada yada.
Bill Clinton was asked on NBC's "Meet the Press" whether the conspiracy is still there.

He replied: "You bet. Sure it is. It's not as strong as it was because America has changed demographically. But it's as virulent as it was."

Clinton said that this time around, the focus is on Obama and "their agenda seems to be wanting him to fail."
For the record, since you seem intent on exposing our nefarious plot: Our agenda is focusing on the failure of Obama’s agenda.  Since the Big O is indistinguishable from his agenda, I guess that means he has to fail as well.

(Credit: Toon found here)

September 25, 2009

More recruits for the Obama Youth Corps

It’s hard to make this stuff up. In which other countries do we have schoolchildren singing the praises of the nation’s leader? Cuba and North Korea come immediately to mind.

I would find this just as creepy if kids had done something similar for Bush or Reagan.

In case you’re wondering what the Burlington, NJ school’s principal thought about this performance, Fox News tells us:
The principal of a New Jersey elementary school where young students were videotaped singing the praises of President Obama is making no apologies for the videotape and says she would allow the performance again if she could, according to parents who spoke with her Thursday night.

Three parents told FOXNews.com that Dr. Denise King, principal of B. Bernice Young Elementary School in Burlington, N.J., defended the controversial performance, which was videotaped and posted on YouTube, when they approached her during a "Back to School" event.

Parent Jim Angelillo said King told him the lesson was merely part of Black History month, and not an attempt to indoctrinate students, as critics have charged. He said he believes teachers have the freedom to express their political views, but not in the classroom.

"Freedom of speech, not freedom to teach," Angelillo told FOXNews.com.

King has long been a fan of Obama, hanging pictures of the president in her school's hallways and touting her trip to his inauguration in the school yearbook.

Included in the full-page yearbook spread were Obama campaign slogans ("Yes we can! Yes we did!") and photos King took in Washington on Jan. 20, when she attended the inauguration.

There also were photos taken at the school depicting students doing Obama-themed activities about their "hopes for the future," featuring posters of Obama. According to the yearbook, students watched the inauguration in class.
9/27 UPDATE: Would these folks on the -- um, earnest -- Left show the same indifference to (or admiration for) a Bush/Reagan anthem? Rhetorical question.

September 24, 2009

Manuel Zelaya is quite possibly insane

In an interview granted to the Miami Herald, deposed Honduran president Zelaya gives more reasons why he should never be permitted to return to power*:

It's been 89 days since Manuel Zelaya was booted from power. He's sleeping on chairs, and he claims his throat is sore from toxic gases and "Israeli mercenaries'' are torturing him with high-frequency radiation.

"We are being threatened with death,'' he said in an interview with The Miami Herald, adding that mercenaries were likely to storm the embassy where he has been holed up since Monday and assassinate him.

"I prefer to march on my feet than to live on my knees before a military dictatorship,'' Zelaya said in a series of back-to-back interviews.

Zelaya was deposed at gunpoint on June 28 and slipped back into his country on Monday, just two days before he was scheduled to speak before the United Nations. He sought refuge at the Brazilian Embassy, where Zelaya said he is being subjected to toxic gases and radiation that alter his physical and mental state.

If not insane, he’s at the very least paranoid and delusional.

* The constitutional reasons to bar him from power are overwhelmingly sufficient; this is just icing on the cake.

(Credit: Image found here)

September 23, 2009

Honduran Foreign Minister: We will not discard our constitution just to please the international community

On August 24 the Foreign Minister of the government* of Honduras issued an “open letter” to the world to defend its actions regarding former president Zelaya.
Naturally, this clear statement of the facts did not get much play among the enemies of constitutional democracy (including our own government and most major press organizations).
I post this for the benefit of those who value truth over ideology.  Please keep these facts in mind as you follow the current situation in Honduras.
An Open Letter to the Citizens of the World
Carlos Lopez Contreras, Foreign Minister of Honduras
As citizens of an increasingly smaller and interconnected global community, we are all responsible for respecting one another and for creating a better world together. Our diverse cultures, religions, and forms of government must continually search for ways to understand one another and work together.
In Honduras, we have always worked diligently to uphold this responsibility as inhabitants of a global village. We have always remained steadfast in our commitment, and this past month is no exception. In fact, it is an example of what we must all vow to do from time to time: hold true to the principals of democracy and the rule of law while protecting the human and civil rights of our fellow citizens in the face of criticism and misunderstanding by certain sectors of the international community.
Let me be clear about what we as Hondurans believe. We believe in the rights of every person to freely express themselves and their beliefs so long as it is done in accordance with the rule of law. We encourage full and equal participation in political discourse and believe that a free and unfettered press is a valuable part of that discourse. We believe that the Honduran government must act in accordance with the Constitution that establishes and limits its power to govern.
As the Minister of Foreign Affairs, I am charged with representing the Honduran government and its people before the world. Now more than ever, my job is to bring an understanding to our shared global community of our dedication to uphold these beliefs, and ask each of you to consider our views as we consider yours.
Yes, Manuel Zelaya was democratically elected as the Honduran President. We cherish democracy.
Yes. as President, he did abuse his power and violate the Constitution. We respect our Constitution.
Yes. his powers as President were automatically forfeited after our Attorney General investigated the violation and our Supreme Court ruled that the violation had occurred. We respect the rule of law.
Yes, the military was ordered to arrest him as part of their Constitutional duty. We know this appearance might seem troubling to some, but it is clearly written in our Constitution -and has always been a part of our Constitution.
Yes, it was a mistake to remove Manuel Zelaya, a Honduran national, from the country. We admit the error and are aware that there are consequences.
Those consequences are that the Constitution and rule of law must be upheld. And so, the Attorney General opened an investigation into the expatriation of Manuel Zelaya on July 4th, and we await the findings of this investigation.
We, the Honduran people, firmly believe that those consequences are not any of the following:
  • The restitution of the Presidential powers of Manuel Zelaya. This is not an option the Honduran Constitution grants to the government. In fact, it is clear that the exact opposite must take place. No powers under any circumstances.
  • The granting of amnesty to Manuel Zelaya by the executive branch.  This is a proscribed duty of the Congress. and the Congress alone. This is their power. and theirs alone.
  • The unilateral decision to negotiate breaking articles of the Constitution in order to satisfy some members of the international community.  Popular opinion by powerful nations does not rule our nation, and should not rule any country.
Please consider what is being asked of our country: Break the Constitution. Ignore the rule of law.
We simply can not do this because of a mistake in expatriating a Honduran national who had been Constitutionally stripped of the powers that democracy provided to him only to have him abuse them.
We would never ask another nation to ignore its Constitution and trample on the rule of law much less purposely violate its Constitution to please our opinion.
Each day, our citizens wake up and hope that through our insistence and dedication that we can bring understanding to others. We are thankful to friends who have courageously spoken up on our behalf. We are grateful for their support, and are humbled that they have chosen to work selflessly alongside us to bring other nations to understanding our commitment to democracy, the Constitution and the rule of law.
We are a little country among the community of nations but our nation’s larger mission is to protect human rights, democracy, the Constitution and the rule of law. We are confident that these are values worth standing firmly in order to uphold. We invite the world to examine our true intentions and decide for themselves. As we prepare to hold free and fair elections this coming November, our faith in these principles could not be more clear.
* Not the de facto government, as the world’s media like to call it, but rather the de jure government.
(Letter text found here.  Official publication copy here.)

September 22, 2009

World’s media continue to lie about the reality of what happened in Honduras

A constitutional crisis is underway in Honduras, but not for the reasons that the media – and the Obama administration, for that matter – would have you believe.

As I have written previously, former president Manuel Zelaya was removed from power in June after a series of moves on his part that violated the Honduran constitution. Completely in accordance with said constitution, the Honduran military, on the orders of the Honduran Supreme Court and with the endorsement of the Honduran Attorney General, arrested Zelaya.

The military exceeded its authority by exiling Zelaya rather than simply taking him into custody, but as far as I can tell, that is the only misstep in the entire drama.

Despite these facts, the Obama administration and the majority of the world’s media have had the audacity to refer to this as a coup.

Now the deposed Zelaya has been smuggled back into the country and is holed up in the Brazilian embassy. The Obama administration, which to date has struggled to find a left-wing regime it couldn’t find common cause with, has pledged its support to Brazil.

An AFP report from today follows the tired old script [emphasis added]:

The United States pledged Tuesday to do whatever it can to help Brazil's embassy in Honduras, which was surrounded by soldiers and had its lights, water and phone lines cut off after deposed President Manuel Zelaya took refuge there.

"Our embassy in Tegucigalpa is in contact with their counterparts in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa and we're discussing what kind of assistance that we can provide to help them during this crisis," said State Department spokesman Ian Kelly.

[…] Honduran soldiers earlier dispersed thousands of protesters who had camped out overnight outside the embassy to protect the man they see as the country's rightful leader, but who was deposed in a military-backed coup in June.

The Honduran government is understandably angry that Brazil would give aid and comfort to a man who through his actions is an avowed enemy of the country’s constitution.

It is to America’s shame that our government continues to pretend otherwise.

9/24 UPDATE: Unsurprisingly, Spain's leftist president Jose Zapatero has joined in the charade (with Reuters' hearty concurrence):

Democracy must be restored in Honduras and a political crisis caused by the overthrow of President Manuel Zelaya must end, Spain's prime minister said at the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday.

"We won't accept the coup," Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero told world leaders.

Zelaya was ousted in a June coup in the worst political crisis in Central America in decades.

September 19, 2009

“Cash for Clunkers” was never about economic stimulus

The Boston Globe reports today that – surprise! – President Obama’s “Cash for Clunkers” program did little good for (and perhaps will end up doing harm to) those it purported to benefit:
It has been nearly a month since the car-buying frenzy of the Cash for Clunkers program ended, and many area auto dealers are longing for the good old days of July and August.
Like consumers nationwide, Massachusetts residents rushed to take advantage of the federal voucher program, which offered them up to $4,500 on old gas-guzzlers to be put toward the purchase of new, more fuel-efficient vehicles. About $65 million worth of vouchers were handed out statewide during the monthlong program that ended Aug. 24.
But once the federal money dried up, so did the sales rally. Now, customers at dealerships like Silko Honda in Raynham are few and far between, and inventory is once again accumulating.
Manager Adam Silverleib said business was “pretty intense’’ as a result of the federal stimulus program, with the dealership hustling to accommodate customers and handle the piles of paperwork required for them to receive reimbursement on vouchers. “Now we’re kind of back to where we were in the spring,’’ he said.
In an attempt to draw customers back to showrooms, some dealers are offering new incentives, albeit none as enticing as a $4,500 for a rusting junker. Silko, for example, is promoting 2.9 percent financing on new Accords, along with other deals on its website.
Nationwide, customers snatched up 700,000 new cars, most of them foreign-made, and the government ended up paying out nearly $3 billion toward the purchases. But from the start, analysts predicted that Cash for Clunkers would not boost sales for the year. September’s sales swoon seems to be making their case. Car sales are usually slow after Labor Day, but because of the recession consumers this year are especially reluctant to say yes to major purchases. To make matters worse for dealers, most are still waiting for voucher reimbursements.
“It was probably, in the end, a complete waste of taxpayer money,’’ said John Wolkonowicz, a senior auto analyst at IHS Global Insight, Lexington forecasting firm. “The dealers, who were supposed to be the primary beneficiaries, many were forced into cash flow problems because the government didn’t pay them in a timely fashion.’’
The Globe, in describing the typical C4C trade-in as a “rusting junker”, is misrepresenting reality. A significant number of the trade-ins were in good working order.
Without the C4C program, many (if not most) of the 700,000 purchasers would not have bought a new car this year. Instead, money that would have remained unspent (because consumers were reluctant to make a major purchase in this economy) or that would have been spent on other sectors of the economy ended up being reallocated to these purchases.  How many of these purchasers went even further into debt to take advantage of an irresistible offer? 
So, economically speaking, the C4C program didn’t really do any favors for anyone but those who were already planning to buy a car this year.
What about the dealers? C4C made its appearance in the midst of an economy where the public simply wasn’t interested in buying new cars. There’s no denying that the dealers were hurting.
Setting aside the C4C administrative problems (denied or delayed reimbursements), times were briefly good for the dealers. As the Globe excerpt above shows, a lot of stale inventory was moved off the lots.
But the demand was completely artificial, and once the incentives ended, the dealerships became ghost towns again. This was little more than the burst of energy that comes with a sugar rush, and now the post-sugar crash has come.
In the long term, C4C did not do the dealers (or the manufacturers they represent) any favors.
What about the economically disadvantaged? Even with the incentives, they were still pretty much priced out of the market.  If they want to have their own wheels, they still have to go the used-car route.
But wait! Nearly three-quarters of a million cars that would have been destined for used car lots were deliberately destroyed, regardless of condition! Used car inventories are down, driving up the prices of the used cars that remain.
Far from doing the disadvantaged buyers any favors, C4C may have ended up putting a car even further out of reach for them.
So. Cui bono? Who benefits?
No doubt, the president expected to reap a political benefit from appearing to help those who are suffering in the current economy, but…
He could have done this without requiring that every trade-in be destroyed.
Cash For Clunkers was never about economic stimulus, but rather about the Obama administration’s “green” agenda, which is predicated on the unproven assumption that mankind’s activities are deleteriously affecting our planet’s climate.
There are many on the environmental left who believe that eliminating private ownership of automobiles is a good first step toward restoring the balance between man and nature.  This idea appears to have found fertile soil among some members of the Obama administration.
It may seem far-fetched to suspect the administration of working toward this goal, but think about it: If someone wanted to eliminate private ownership of cars, and he wanted to do it in a way that wouldn’t be politically disastrous, how would he do it differently?
The problems created or exacerbated by the C4C program won’t be obvious until later, and by then Obama will be able to shift the blame elsewhere.
(Credits: Photos found here and here)
9/21 UPDATE: A commenter reminded me of another prominent victim of the C4C program: charities that rely on used-car donations.  See, for example, this August 9 USA Today article.

September 18, 2009

Study: Women are better than men at being nannies (and nanny-staters)

Politico’s Erika Lovley reports September 15:

Are women more effective lawmakers than men?

That’s the preliminary conclusion of a study conducted by researchers at Stanford University and the University of Chicago, who say that on average, women in Congress introduce more bills, attract more co-sponsors and bring home more money for their districts than their male counterparts do.

The study, which examined the performance of House members between 1984 and 2004, found that women delivered roughly 9 percent more discretionary spending for their districts than men.

[…] The researchers also found that women introduced more legislation than men who served in their same districts, often hitting the ground running in their first terms.

“We find that, on average, women sponsor about three bills more per Congress per term than their male counterparts,” said [Stanford Researcher Sarah] Anzia. “They co-sponsor more bills than other members, and they also obtain more co-sponsors for their own bills.”

Of course, it’s important to understand what one means by the word “effective”.

If the purpose of Congress is to serve as an arena where the people’s representatives brawl over who gets how much of the taxpayers’ hard-earned money, then yes: more discretionary spending delivered to one’s district is a sure sign of one’s effectiveness.

If the purpose of Congress is to enact countless laws that reach indecently into every nook and cranny of our lives, then yes: introducing more bills than the next fellow is a sure sign of one’s effectiveness.

But if the acts of Congress are supposed to be constrained within the boundaries set by the Constitution, then these women, far from being “effective”, are a pox on the republic.

Surprise! Employers have no intention of simply absorbing higher costs from health care “reform”

Reuters, September 17:

If U.S. health reform efforts lead to higher costs for employers, employees may end up bearing the brunt, according to a new survey.

Employers will not absorb higher costs, choosing instead either to reduce benefits, lower salaries or cut jobs, the survey from professional services firm Towers Perrin said on Thursday.

Eighty-seven percent of employers said they were very likely or likely to cut benefits if reform leads to higher costs. Only 11 percent said they would accept lower profits.

"They simply don't have money and margins today to absorb additional healthcare costs," said Dave Osterndorf, chief health actuary at Towers Perrin.

When is ceasing an unconstitutional act unconstitutional?

When the unconstitutional act happens to be a sacred cow of the Left, of course.

Politico’s Glenn Thrush reports that New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, in the aftermath of Congress’ overwhelming vote to defund ACORN, has suddenly discovered the Constitution:

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), chairman of subcommittee on the Constitution, makes the case that the bill, if it's ever signed into law, may not stand up to court challenges.

The ACORN bill, he claims, is essentially a "bill of attainder," a measure targeted to benefit or penalize an individual or group which is prohibited in the Constitution, Article 1, Sections 9 and 10.

I get the feeling that Nadler would be nowhere to be found if Congress decided to defund some organization that was favored by conservatives.

But never mind that.  Let’s assume that Nadler is sincere in his belief that the defunding of ACORN is an unconstitutional Bill of Attainder.  We can fix that easily by defunding all private organizations, given that federal funding of such entities is not authorized by the Constitution.

That would resolve the Bill of Attainder controversy quite neatly.  What do you think, congressman?

September 16, 2009

If Obama’s opponents REALLY were motivated by racism…

Neal Boortz today has a slam-dunk retort to those intellectual featherweights who insist that opponents of Obama’s policies are driven by racism:
So .. here is what Jimmy Carter, Bill Moyers, Hank Johnson, much of the Washington and New York press corps, Newsweek Magazine and the brilliant thinkers on the American left would have you believe of Americans right now:
  • We would be more than willing to welcome cap-and-trade with open arms, even if we paid a thousand dollars or more extra every year for our energy use, if Barack Obama were only white.
  • We would be dancing in the streets celebrating the dawning of government control of our health care if only Barack Obama were white.
  • It would be just dandy if government bureaucrats rationed health care for our parents, as long as the president is white.
  • We would jump at the chance of the government owning ALL of the auto manufacturing companies .. not just General Motors ... if the president just didn't have dark skin.
  • We would applaud those ACORN workers giving tax avoidance advice to a pimp and his prostitute if the workers hadn't been black.
  • Most Americans - even ones that don't pay income taxes now - would be more than willing to give 70% of everything they earn to the federal government when asked ... so long as they are asked by a white president.
  • We would have been thrilled, I tell you ... THRILLED to have all of those Islamic goons being held at Guantanamo be not only released, but sent to be school resource officers at our local government schools, if only a white president put that plan in motion.
  • It would be OK if a white president stood back and allowed Iran to build its coveted nukes ... we're only unhappy about that because a black president is doing it.
  • Deficits? We don't care about deficits! Make our children and grand children and great grand children pay through the nose for our president's spending habits ... just so long as the president isn't black.
  • Government pork? Like we actually care? Look ... you folks in Washington can spend all the money you want - how about more studies of the mating habits of Polish Zlotnika pigs? - just make sure it's not a black president who signs the spending bill into law.
  • We wouldn't care if all illegal aliens were counted twice in the next Census ... just so long as the president isn't black.
  • Those Black Panther thugs who threatened voters in Philly? The ONLY reason we're upset that they were given a pass is because Barack Obama is black.
  • Every single member of the president's cabinet could be a tax cheat as far as we're concerned ... just so long as the president is white.
  • Forced unionization? Bring it on! We love card check! We love the idea of union goons threatening and intimidating workers to sign a card saying they want to belong to a union! What we don't like is that a black president is pushing this idea.
  • Single-party talks with that Gargoyle that runs North Korea? It's about time we legitimized that little pipsqueak. We're only mildly upset here because the person who is doing that happens to be black.
  • More regulation of the finance sector? We could care less! For all we care you can nationalize the banks and decree that only the government can make home loans .. .and you can even apportion those home loans on the basis of race if you want to ... just so long as the president is white!
  • Minimum wage? Like we care about that? Raise it to $15 an hour if you want! Just give us our white president back.
Remember, though: These folks are not interested in the truth.  They are interested in accumulating and retaining power. In this quest, the end justifies the means.

Joe Wilson was right at the wrong time

I think Rep. Wilson should have exercised better self control during the president's speech.

Even though Wilson was correct -- Obama was lying about what was in the health care legislation -- his outburst was outrageous enough that the news cycle could be devoted completely to the outburst itself rather than to the substance of his charge. For the media, this was an easy choice.

Accept your rebuke, congressman, and get back into the fight (but more tactfully from now on, please).