Archive for October 9th, 2009

DeMint-What I Heard in Honduras

Posted on October 9, 2009. Filed under: Honduras | Tags: , , , , |

Our ambassador is the only person I met there who thinks there was a ‘coup.’ Let’s release the State Department legal analysis. Mr. DeMint, a Republican senator from South Carolina, is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Tegucigalpa

In the last three months, much has been made of a supposed military “coup” that whisked former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya from power and the supposed chaos it has created.

After visiting Tegucigalpa last week and meeting with a cross section of leaders from Honduras’s government, business community, and civil society, I can report there is no chaos there. There is, however, chaos to spare in the Obama administration’s policy toward our poor and loyal allies in Honduras.

That policy was set in a snap decision the day Mr. Zelaya was removed from office, without a full assessment of either the facts or reliable legal analysis of the constitutional provisions at issue. Three months later, it remains in force, despite mounting evidence of its moral and legal incoherence.

While in Honduras, I spoke to dozens of Hondurans, from nonpartisan members of civil society to former Zelaya political allies, from Supreme Court judges to presidential candidates and even personal friends of Mr. Zelaya. Each relayed stories of a man changed and corrupted by power. The evidence of Mr. Zelaya’s abuses of presidential power—and his illegal attempts to rewrite the Honduran Constitution, a la Hugo Chávez—is not only overwhelming but uncontroverted.

As all strong democracies do after cleansing themselves of usurpers, Honduras has moved on.

The presidential election is on schedule for Nov. 29. Under Honduras’s one-term-limit, Mr. Zelaya could not have sought re-election anyway. Current President Roberto Micheletti—who was installed after Mr. Zelaya’s removal, per the Honduran Constitution—is not on the ballot either. The presidential candidates were nominated in primary elections almost a year ago, and all of them—including Mr. Zelaya’s former vice president—expect the elections to be free, fair and transparent, as has every Honduran election for a generation.

Read the rest online WSJ

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The Greatest Show on Earth

Posted on October 9, 2009. Filed under: health care | Tags: , , , , |

Step right up: A new entitlement that cuts the deficit!

Washington spent the week waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to roll in with its new cost estimates of the Senate health-care bill, and what a carnival. Behold: a new $829 billion entitlement that will subsidize insurance for tens of millions of people—and reduce deficits by $81 billion at the same time. In the next tent, see the mermaid and a two-headed cow.

The political and media classes are proving they’ll believe anything, as they are now pronouncing that this never-before-seen miracle is a “green light” for ObamaCare. (What isn’t these days?) The irony is that the CBO’s guesstimate exposes the fraudulence and fiscal sleight-of-hand underlying this whole exercise. Anyone who reads beyond the top-line numbers will find that the bill creates massive new spending commitments that will inevitably explode over time, and that this is “paid for” with huge tax increases plus phantom spending cuts that will never happen in practice.

The better part of the 10-year $829 billion overall cost will finance insurance “exchanges” where individuals and families could purchase coverage at heavily subsidized rates. Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus kept a lid on the cost by making this program non-universal: Enrollment is limited to those who aren’t offered employer-sponsored insurance and earn under 400% of the poverty level, or about $88,000 for a family of four. CBO expects some 23 million people to sign up by 2019.

But this “firewall” is unlikely to last even that long. Liberals are demanding heftier subsidies, and once people see the deal their neighbors are getting on “free” health care, they too will want in. Even CBO seems to find this unrealistic, noting “These projections assume that the proposals are enacted and remain unchanged throughout the next two decades, which is often not the case for major legislation.” Scratch “often.”

Then there are the many budget gimmicks. Take the “failsafe budgeting mechanism” that would require automatic cuts in exchange spending if it increases the deficit. CBO expects 15% reductions in exchange subsidies each year from 2015 to 2018, even though the exchanges don’t open until 2014. That kind of re-gifting should have been laughed out of the committee room, but the ruse helps to move future spending off the current budget “score.”

Read the rest at Wall Street Journal

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Feds to 60 Million American Anglers: We don’t need you

Posted on October 9, 2009. Filed under: Obama White House | Tags: , , , |

IRVINE, Calif. USA – October 5, 2009 – A recently published administration document outlines a structure that could result in closures of sport fishing in salt and freshwater areas across America. The White House created an Interagency Oceans Policy Task Force in June and gave them only 90 days to develop a comprehensive federal policy for all U.S. coastal, ocean and Great Lakes waters. Under the guise of ‘protecting’ these areas, the current second phase of the Task Force direction is to develop zoning which may permanently close vast areas of fishing waters nationwide. This is to be completed by December 9, 2009.
Dave Pfeiffer, President of Shimano American Corporation explained, “In spite of extensive submissions from the recreational fishing community to the Task Force in person and in writing, they failed to include any mention of the over one million jobs or the 6o million anglers which may be affected by the new policies coast to coast. Input from the environmental groups who want to put us off the water was adopted into the report verbatim – the key points we submitted as an industry were ignored.”

Recreational fishing generates a $125 billion annual economy in the United States and supports jobs in every state according to government figures. Through the Sport Fish Restoration program, anglers have provided more than $5 billion through excise taxes on fishing tackle to fishery conservation and education for decades.

In addition to the economic aspects, anglers lead the nation in volunteer conservation efforts on behalf of improving fish habitat, water quality and related environmental areas. “There was no mention of the fishery conservation efforts which anglers have led for over 50 years in every state – an environmental success story that has no equal in the world”, said Phil Morlock, Director, Environmental Affairs for Shimano. “The Task Force did not make any distinction between the dramatic differences between harmful commercial fishing harvest methods and recreational fishing, even though we spelled it out for them in detail,” added Morlock.

Claiming to be the result of a public consultation process the report states, “Having considered a broad range of public comments, this report reflects the requests and concerns of all interested parties.”

The original White House memo and not surprisingly the Task Force report contains multiple references to developing a national policy where Great Lakes and coastal regions are managed, “consistent with international law, including customary international law as reflected in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea” – a 300-page treaty the U.S. has never ratified.

“We question what implications there will be for state authority and jurisdiction in the Great Lakes and coastal regions if the U.S. adopts the U.N. Treaty,” said Pfeiffer.

The report makes it clear that future authority for implementing the policy for coastal and inland waters will fall under White House jurisdiction with a new National Ocean Council comprised of over 20 federal agencies at Cabinet Secretary or Deputy Secretary level. No reference to Congressional jurisdiction is indicated.

“This significant change in U.S. policy direction is the result of a 90-day fire drill process as ordered by the President that, not surprisingly, lacks balance, clarity and quality in the end product,” said Morlock. “People who simply want to take their kids fishing on public waters deserve better from their government,” he added.

Shimano is joining with other members of the recreational fishing industry to urge anglers to contact their members of Congress and the administration to request this process be required to adopt the economic, conservation and social contributions of recreational fishing as key elements of the policy. It is critical that we ensure Congressional oversight and state jurisdiction and management continues.

E-letters can be sent to the administration and members of Congress by visiting KeepAmericaFishing.org. The future of fishing is in your hands.

found on fish.shimano.com

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Story of Obama’s life: “Rather than recognizing concrete achievement…”

Posted on October 9, 2009. Filed under: Obama Peace Prize | Tags: , , , |

By Michelle Malkin

Isn’t it so fitting?

From community organizer to Illinois state senator (present!) to U.S. Senator for 143 days before moving into the White House…and now, the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize — not for anything he’s actually done, but for the symbolism of what he might possibly accomplish sometime way off in the future:

“President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said, citing his outreach to the Muslim world and attempts to curb nuclear proliferation.

The stunning choice made Obama the third sitting U.S. president to win the Nobel Peace Prize and shocked Nobel observers because Obama took office less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline. Obama’s name had been mentioned in speculation before the award but many Nobel watchers believed it was too early to award the president.”

It’s the final nail in the Nobel Peace Prize Committee’s coffin.

A Chinese dissident and an Afghan women’s rights activist lost out to this:

“The Nobel committee praised Obama’s creation of “a new climate in international politics” and said he had returned multilateral diplomacy and institutions like the U.N. to the center of the world stage. The plaudit appeared to be a slap at President George W. Bush from a committee that harshly criticized Obama’s predecessor for resorting to largely unilateral military action in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Rather than recognizing concrete achievement, the 2009 prize appeared intended to support initiatives that have yet to bear fruit: reducing the world stock of nuclear arms, easing American conflicts with Muslim nations and strengthening the U.S. role in combating climate change.”

Read the rest at Michelle Malkin

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Time magazine’s grade for Obama’s presidency thus far: A-; Update: Old?

Posted on October 9, 2009. Filed under: Obama White House | Tags: , , , |

by Allahpundit

 Reading this is like watching an unassisted triple play in baseball. You see it, you pause to make sure you’ve seen what you think you’ve seen, and then you marvel at the sheer odds of it having happened. Would a big name at a big magazine like Mark Halperin really sign off on something so absurd, and so fawning in its absurdity, as to be instantly destined for infamy in the blogosphere? Of course not. The odds against it are a million to one. And yet.

This is a magic moment, my friends.

“Instantly comfortable and highly skilled at the hardest job in the world — proving his supporters’ contention that all the traits that made him a great candidate would serve him well in the White House: even temper, cool demeanor, boldness under pressure, shrewd facility for managing personnel, unfailing instincts about when to delegate and when to engage.”

There are only two more sentences after that but I can’t go on. And a good thing too: Tom Maguire and Ace got to this first and used up all the best one-liners. Follow the links for a few of the many, many reasons why a guy might not deserve an A- if his major accomplishment to date is passing a gigantic stimulus bill that was designed to cap unemployment at, um, eight percent. Exit quotation from Maguire: “I shudder to think what a B+ would have looked like.”

Update: In a sweet stroke of irony, Time was also the magazine that reported earlier today on how unhappy the White House is with its press coverage. Anyone want to make a prediction about how Halperin will backtrack from this tomorrow? I’d say it’s 50/50 between a humiliating climbdown on tomorrow’s “Morning Joe” and a sheepish “upon further review” featurette published on Time.com. Internet-only for that, of course.

Update: Perspective from the Freepers.

Update: I don’t how or why Halperin’s piece started circulating on blogs yesterday but it looks like the grade was actually part of Time’s “First 100 Days” package. I was fooled by the date on the upper right, which I thought was the date of publication but actually turns out to be today’s date. No idea why he would have earned an A- by May either, but it was more defensible at the time than it was before the long slide towards 10 percent unemployment and the ObamaCare meltdown. Sorry for the error.

More great Articles on Hot Air

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‘U.S. furious over Israeli incitement against Obama’

Posted on October 9, 2009. Filed under: Israel | Tags: , , , , |

By Akiva Eldar, Haaretz Correspondent

The U.S. administration is furious over Israeli incitement against President Barack Obama, Democratic congressmen close to Obama told an Israeli source who returned from a visit to Washington this week.

The congressmen even hinted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been personally involved.

The source, who met in Washington with administration officials and members of Congress, told Haaretz he was stunned by the level of anger there over attempts to portray Obama to the American public as an enemy of Israel because of his efforts to restart peace talks and freeze settlement construction.
“There are people here who are playing with fire by damaging our relationship with the U.S.,” the source said.

Last month’s summit in New York between Obama, Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also reduced Washington’s expectations of a speedy resumption of final-status talks between Israel and the PA. While U.S. envoy George Mitchell will meet Netanyahu again Friday, the meeting is not expected to resolve the crisis in Israeli-Palestinian relations.

Meanwhile, King Abdullah of Jordan warned Washington recently that Israel’s settlement policy in East Jerusalem is undermining the stability of Israeli-Jordanian relations.

He also ordered the Jordanian embassy in Israel to submit an official protest to the Foreign Ministry over a plan to build a new Jewish neighborhood on lands belonging to the East Jerusalem village of Walaja.

Finally, he warned against opening the Mughrabi Gate leading to the Temple Mount after the Jewish holidays end next week, and against using planned renovations to change the status quo on the site.
A senior official in Amman told Haaretz this week that the clashes between Israel and the Palestinians in Jerusalem are causing unrest throughout Jordan and encouraging extremists. During Israel’s operation in Gaza this January, he said, there were no fewer than 600 anti-Israel demonstrations in Jordan – several times the number registered in the West Bank during those same weeks.

Abdullah himself sought to use his his exclusive interview with Haaretz to rouse Israeli public opinion from its apathy about the freeze in the peace process and the government’s support for rightist groups that seek to deepen Jewish control over Jerusalem’s Old City and its environs. Amman is concerned that Abbas’ growing weakness, along with the lack of progress despite Mitchell’s many visits to the region, will increase pressure on the Arab League to suspend the peace initiative it adopted in March 2002.

More great articles on Haaretz.com

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Rush Limbaugh: Nobel Gang ‘Suicide Bombed’ Self

Posted on October 9, 2009. Filed under: Rush | Tags: , , , , |

The Nobel Peace Prize Committee “suicide bombed” itself with its continuing leftward tilt in awarding the prize to President Barack Obama, says radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh.

 

Limbaugh made the comment in an e-mail to Newsweek’s Gaggle blog and Politico that also said, “The Nobel gang just suicide bombed themselves. Gore, Carter, Obama, soon Bill Clinton. See a pattern here? They are all leftist sell-outs. George Bush liberates 50 million Muslims in Iraq, Reagan liberates hundreds of millions of Europeans and saves parts of Latin America. Any awards?” Limbaugh says “Obama gives speeches trashing his own country and for that gets a prize, which is now worth as much as whatever prizes they are putting in Cracker Jacks these days.”

The award exposes an illusion surrounding Obama, Limbaugh said, adding, “It is a greater embarrassment than losing the Olympics bid. And with this ‘award’ the elites of the world are urging Obama, THE MAN OF PEACE, to not do the surge in Afghanistan, not take action against Iran and its nuclear program and to basically continue his intentions to emasculate the United States. They love a weakened, neutered U.S, and this is their way of promoting that concept. I think God has a great sense of humor, too.”

Read the rest at NewsMax.com

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Bush tells ministries audience he misses ‘being commander … the most’

Posted on October 9, 2009. Filed under: George Bush |

SEVIERVILLE — Former President George W. Bush addressed a capacity crowd Wednesday night at the Wilderness Resort and Convention Center in Sevierville.

Bush wowed a crowd of more than 9,000 that attended a three-day conference of the Phil Waldrep Ministries based in Decatur, Ala.

Bush gave the enthusiastic crowd a patriotic message of joy, hope and faith in our families.

Each branch of the military was recognized during the 90-minute program.

“Every day in the White House was a joyous day for me,” the 43rd president said. “I miss being commander and chief of our military the most. You know you live in an amazing country when we have servicemen that continually volunteer to serve their country in the face of danger. I believe we have an obligation to give our troops all the support they need to accomplish their missions.”

The former president said he still has faith that conflicts in the Middle East can eventually be resolved.

“There are individuals out there that kill to achieve their ideology,” he said. “In the United States, our ideology is our assurance to freedom. That’s what makes us great and unique.”

Bush said Japan was once a sworn enemy of the United States but is now an ally because of its desire to become a free nation.

“Something happened over the past 60 years that transformed our enemy (Japan) to an ally,” he said.

Read more at KnoxNews.com

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Democrats Hold Off GOP Attack On Rangel

Posted on October 9, 2009. Filed under: Charlie Rangel | Tags: , , , , , |

 Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) sat stone-faced as the House chamber buzzed around him, preparing to vote on a measure that could partly undo his almost four decades of work in Congress.

As Republicans pressed their attempt to remove him from his perch as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Democrats stood by Rangel — who is under investigation for a series of alleged violations that include improperly occupying several rent-controlled New York City apartments and not disclosing a laundry list of income and assets — and deflected the measure to committee.

They have stuck with Rangel repeatedly as the list of charges against him has grown, resisting any temptation to push aside a popular fixture in the party who helped found the Congressional Black Caucus in 1971. They have done so despite vows from Republicans to continue to force them to go on the record in defense of their colleague. But the issue carries complications for both parties.

Instead of full-throated defenses of Rangel, House Democrats measured their comments. Asked whether the controversy would have any negative impact on his party,  Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, sidestepped the question, saying that “the issue is making sure there is a fair process.”

Some Republicans, meanwhile, chafed at the sharp rhetoric aimed at Rangel, a jovial lawmaker who has many friends in both parties and is in a position to dole out favors on both sides of the aisle.

“There are some serious issues,” said Rep.  Peter T. King (R-N.Y.), who voted with the Democrats on Wednesday and said he was not ready to call for Rangel to give up his chairmanship. “But from what I know, there was no malice or malfeasance. He’s a war hero, he’s been here for 40 years, he’s a decent guy.”

Read the Rest at The WashingtonPost

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Watching the Constitution Disappear

Posted on October 9, 2009. Filed under: constitution | Tags: , , , |

by Joseph Smith
The President says the Constitution is defective, and now Senator Harry Reid is preparing the coup de grace.

Once Reid and Obama emerge from their transparent closed-door consultations on how to blend the two competing Senate Health Care bills, Senator Reid has a nifty parlor trick up his sleeve.  The normal course of legislative events would be to debate and vote on the bill on the Senate floor, and then send the result to a House-Senate conference committee.  The committee would then blend the final House and Senate bills into a product acceptable to both houses.  Unfortunately for the citizens of the United States, that normal course of events in this case would allow too much time for discovery and discussion, and it might therefore result in the public learning too much about the future of their health care.  Extended public inspection might even result in the bill not passing in the form desired by the President and his allies, or perhaps not passing at all.  
The American people have consistently rejected the left’s attempts over the past fifty years or more to impose their idea of health care reform, and might do so yet again if given enough time and information.  For Obama and his fellow travelers, therefore, time and obfuscation are of the essence, so why let an annoying and “defective” piece of paper like the Constitution get in the way of spiking government health care home forever.
The plan to railroad Obamacare through was initially reported last week by Human Events and The Heritage Foundation, and has now been confirmed by Senator Reid’s office.  Here is Senator Reid’s plan in a nutshell, from CNS News:

 Read the rest at American Thinker

 

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A peek at a federal employee’s spam e-mail from Team Obama

Posted on October 9, 2009. Filed under: Obama White House | Tags: , , , , , , |

By Michelle Malkin

Here’s the e-mail of the day, from a beleaguered federal employee at the Commerce Department.

Thanks to the e-mailer for giving us a revealing glimpse into the bowels of the spam-happy, appointee-overrun Obama bureaucracy.

Michelle,

I work for the Department of Commerce as a federal employee…and am getting rather fed up with what I have seen since last January…

Over the past couple of weeks, we have received several emails (a couple below, two received within a minute of each other) from the Commerce Secretary, Gary Locke, announcing ANOTHER new White House web site. This web site is where employees can make suggestions for how government can save money……ooooh, and win a trip to see Obama!!

What a joke after all we have seen since Obama was elected! Too bad the general public cannot submit suggestions.

I wonder how many needed items will be cut in favor of more leftist programs?

Somehow I highly doubt the following suggestions would be acceptable to them:

1. Get rid of the numerous and redundant czars.
2. Stop bailing out institutions that should probably fail like banks, car companies, unions, etc., particularly the politically connected.
3. Make Charlie Rangel pay his taxes.

4. Stop funding corrupt organizations immediately like ACORN.
5. Stop flying Air Force One (and the massive entourage) all over the world for personal reasons.
6. Stop flying in sycophantic supporters to promote your socialized health plan.

I could go on and on.

Today, another email was sent out announcing the creation of two new political appointee positions within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Just what we need. More layers of flunkies at the top taking up space.

How about saving money by not creating these positions for political cronies?

The emails follow:

Email 1…  Read the rest on Michelle Malkin

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Could Obamacare Be Repealed?

Posted on October 9, 2009. Filed under: health care | Tags: , , |

By Stephen Spruiell

In the early 1990s, eight state governments imposed “guaranteed issue” and “community rating” regulations on health-insurance companies operating in their states. Guaranteed issue means that insurance companies cannot deny coverage except in rare cases, such as those involving fraud. Community rating means that insurance companies are restricted in their ability to charge higher rates based on things like gender, age, or medical history. All the versions of Obamacare being debated in Congress would impose guaranteed issue and community rating on the nation.

The effect of these reforms at the state level is no longer a matter for debate: In each case, insurance premiums skyrocketed; healthy people stopped buying insurance; and insurance companies exited the market in droves. Each state government was forced to take corrective action. Yet, while three state governments possessed the good sense to repeal or weaken their guaranteed-issue and community-rating requirements, the other five papered over their failures with inadequate, short-term fixes.

What accounts for the difference? In Kentucky, New Hampshire, and Washington state, conservative Republicans were able to find footholds at key moments and repeal or weaken the requirements. In New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts, the political culture proved inhospitable to calls for market-based solutions.
Keep reading on National Review

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Scientist: Carbon Dioxide Doesn’t Cause Global Warming

Posted on October 9, 2009. Filed under: America | Tags: , , , |

By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

A noted geologist who coauthored the New York Times bestseller Sugar Busters has turned his attention to convincing Congress that carbon dioxide emissions are good for the Earth and don’t cause global warming. Leighton Steward is on Capitol Hill this week armed with studies and his book Fire, Ice and Paradise in a bid to show senators working on the energy bill that the carbon dioxide cap-and-trade scheme could actually hurt the environment by reducing CO2 levels.

I’m trying to kill the whole thing,” he says. “We are tilting at windmills.” He is meeting with several GOP lawmakers and has plans to meet with some Democrats later this week.

Much of the global warming debate has focused on reducing CO2 emissions because it is thought that the greenhouse gas produced mostly from fossil fuels is warming the planet. But Steward, who once believed CO2 caused global warming, is trying to fight that with a mountain of studies and scientific evidence that suggest CO2 is not the cause for warming. What’s more, he says CO2 levels are so low that more, not less, is needed to sustain and expand plant growth.

Trying to debunk theories that higher CO2 levels cause warming, he cites studies that show CO2 levels following temperature spikes, prompting him to back other scientists who say that global warming is caused by solar activity.

In taking on lawmakers pushing for a cap-and-trade plan to deal with emissions, Steward tells Whispers that he’s worried

that the legislation will result in huge and unneeded taxes. Worse, if CO2 levels are cut, he warns, food production will slow because plants grown at higher CO2 levels make larger fruit and vegetables and also use less water. He also said that higher CO2 levels are not harmful to humans. As an example, he said that Earth’s atmosphere currently has about 338 parts per million of CO2 and that in Navy subs, the danger level for carbon dioxide isn’t reached until the air has 8,000 parts per million of CO2.

Steward is part of a nonprofit group called Plants Need CO2 that is funding pro-CO2 ads in two states represented by two key lawmakers involved in the energy debate: Montana’s Sen. Max Baucus and New Mexico’s Sen. Jeff Bingaman.

Check out our gallery of political cartoons on Washi

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