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Archive for September, 2009
September 30th, 2009 at 4:24 pm
9-12 Rally Marches to Congress
Posted by Sam Batkins Print

After our experience at the 9-12 March on Washington, there is a renewed push to turn that event into another way to persuade Congress that more government is not the answer to what troubles our nation.

If you have a message for your Representative or Senator, please send them here, by responding directly to the You Tube video.  This is a project of the National Taxpayers Union but the effort is shared by all taxpayers and all Americans concerned with runaway spending.

These messages will be burned onto a DVD and delivered to Congress during the current health care debate.  If Congress didn’t get the message during the rally, give it to them one more time.

September 30th, 2009 at 3:23 pm
Supreme Court to Decide Whether 2nd Amendment Applies to States
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

In the landmark 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, the United States Supreme Court at long last affirmed that the Second Amendment protects an individual right of citizens to keep and bear arms.  Unfortunately, the decision technically only applied to federal jurisdictions such as Washington, D.C., and set aside the question of whether the 50 states were similarly prohibited from infringing on that critical right. 

Through an unjustified quirk of constitutional jurisprudence, courts over the past 150 years have picked and chosen which provisions of the Bill of Rights they consider “fundamental,” and therefore applied against state infringement.  Most provisions have received such recognition, and it obviously defies logic to contend that the Second Amendment, which was among the most important in the minds of the Founding Fathers, is somehow “not fundamental.”  Despite this, the left has creatively and dishonestly made that very assertion.

Today, however, the Court announced that it will hear the case of McDonald v. City of Chicago.   At issue in that case is a Chicago law broadly prohibiting handguns, taxing firearms generally, and various other infringements on the right to keep and bear arms.  Accordingly, the Supreme Court now has the opportunity to do the right thing and protect Americans’ Second Amendment rights against the ever-growing menace of government infringement.

September 30th, 2009 at 1:17 pm
Congress to Increase Spending … On Itself

In these tough economic times, most American families have been forced to tighten belts and pinch pennies to make ends meet.  And with rising deficits and an exploding national debt, we would expect our lawmakers in Washington to do the same when it comes to spending our tax dollars.  That is, if Americans didn’t know any better. 

Nu Raju of Politico.com reports:

Under a House-Senate conference measure, approved by the House last week and poised for passage in the Senate on Wednesday, spending for the legislative branch will increase 5.8 percent this year, boosting Capitol Hill’s annual budget to $4.7 billion.

“The measure includes a hodgepodge of new funding for lawmakers: a $500,000 pilot program for senators to send out postcards about their town hall meetings, $30,000 for receptions for foreign dignitaries and $4 million for consultants…”

The measure also includes a 128% increase in funding for House office buildings and a 155% spending increase for the Government Printing Office’s revolving fund, among other goodies.

September 30th, 2009 at 12:38 pm
Rep. Ron Paul on the Daily Show
Posted by Sam Batkins Print

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September 30th, 2009 at 12:19 pm
The Obama Administration and Iran

In a column published today, CFIF Contributing Editor Troy Senik argues that the Administration’s response to a nuclear Iran must be more definitive.

Below are some highlights of the piece:

The die has yet to be cast, but when the history of the momentous changes that beset Iran (and with it the world) in the early 21st century is written, this may go down as the first time in our history when Americans – who often wait too long to respond to a crisis – failed to react whatsoever.
 
“Last week, as President Obama gathered with world leaders at a United Nations session in New York, Iran announced the existence of a second nuclear site on its soil, this one’s location obscured deep beneath one of the country’s mountain ranges.  For the second time in less than a year, a rogue nation was showing off its weapons capacities as the President held court about the need for a nuclear-free world.  The net effect was something like holding a gun control rally in the middle of a gang fight.”

Red the full column here.

September 30th, 2009 at 11:57 am
What’s Reconciliation?
Posted by Sam Batkins Print

The common refrain in the Senate is that a bill needs 60 votes (3/5 of the Senate) to pass.   Otherwise, a dedicated cadre of 41 Senators can continue debate on a bill forever, thus killing its legislative prospects.

However, during a process known as budget reconciliation, the Senate is allowed to pass legislation directly related to taxing and spending with only a majority (51 votes) needed.  Thus, as Harry Reid has already pledged, a government-takeover of health care could pass, even with unanimous GOP objection and with several Democratic defectors.

Opponents of a government takeover do have several arrows in their quiver.  Under the “Byrd Rule,” a Senator can make a budget point of order and rule that a certain piece of legislation is not germane to the budget reconciliation process.  It takes 60 votes to overcome a budget point of order.  Thus, any health care bill passed during the reconciliation process would likely emerge from the Senate as a smelly piece of Swiss Cheese, not pie-in-the-sky universal health care.

In case you wanted to know more, MSNBC’s First Read has a great primer on reconciliation.

September 30th, 2009 at 11:44 am
Florida Congressman the Latest to Eat Live Worms in Public
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

It’s happened again.  Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) electrified the House floor last night with one of those stunning arguments for which Members of Congress are becoming unchallenged public intellectuals.  It can be summed up by his visual aid:  “The Republican Health Care Plan:  Die Quickly.”

Wouldn’t the country be better off if Jeff Probst (host of “Survivor” for those of you who only watch C-Span) were to become House Speaker?  He’d introduce better production values, reality-show suspense and, most important in a culture that resists the significant public value – not to mention entertainment – of throwing people to lions, weekly banishment from the island.

Properly medicated readers might wish to read “Grayson’s greatest hits” compiled by Josh Kraushaar at Politico.com.

September 30th, 2009 at 9:45 am
Morning Links
Posted by Sam Batkins Print
September 29th, 2009 at 4:02 pm
Update: Senate Finance Committee Votes Against Public Option
Posted by Sam Batkins Print

This time, the committee voted against the “moderate” Schumer version of the public option.  The vote was 10-13, with Senators Baucus (MT), Lincoln (AR), and Conrad (ND) voting against government-run health care.

This looks like the death knell of the public option in the Senate, as Senator Schumer and Chairman Baucus both admit that a bill with a public option has no chance of passing the Senate with 60 votes.  However, there are some reports that Senate Democrats might use the budget reconciliation process to push through a public option, requiring only 50 votes.

Call your Senators and tell them to vote “No” on a government-run public option that would result in anywhere from 80-120 million Americans losing their insurance.  Here is the number: 202-224-3121.

September 29th, 2009 at 3:05 pm
Senate Finance Committee Votes Against Public Option
Posted by Sam Batkins Print

Minutes ago the Senate Finance Committee voted against Senator Jay Rockefeller’s (WV) version of a government-run public option.  The vote was a surprising victory for free-market advocates.  The Rockefeller amendment failed 8-15, with Senators Baucus (MT), Conrad (ND), Lincoln (AR), Nelson (FL), and Carper (DE) voting against the public option.

Call your Senators and tell them to vote “No” on a government-run public option that would result in anywhere from 80-120 million Americans losing their insurance. Here is the number: 202-224-3121.

September 29th, 2009 at 11:57 am
Must Read
Posted by Sam Batkins Print

Strangely, this piece comes from the Huffington Post but it’s authored by Dylan Ratigan of MSNBC, who seems to be more open-minded.

His point?  Democrats so often claim that the “market” is broken because health care is expensive and too many people lack health coverage.  Well, one reason that health care is too expensive is because the government helps to create health care monopolies in the states and even prevents consumers from shopping across state lines for cheaper/better insurance.

There is no true “market” for health care if you live in North Dakota where Blue Cross controls 90% of the market.  There is little choice in Maine where Wellpoint controls 71% of the market.  Capitalism works best when consumers have choices between companies.  Health care companies should beg and compete for our business, not the other way around.

September 29th, 2009 at 10:33 am
Paul Krugman: “The End Is Near,” For Real This Time.
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Remember 2005, when global warming alarmists claimed that Hurricane Katrina proved the effects of climate change, and that Katrina-level hurricanes would occur with increasing frequency until draconian government climate legislation was imposed?  The years 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 apparently didn’t get the memo, judging by the dearth of major hurricanes.  Heck, remember the 1970s, when the fashionable climate-change hysteria was global cooling, not global warming?

Well, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman apparently has a short memory.

In his latest column, Krugman confidently instructs us that the sky is falling…  yet again.  For real this time.  He assures us that “I’m not engaging in hyperbole,”  but lacking any sense of irony or familiarity with recent history, he then asserts that “climate scientists have, en masse, become Cassandras — gifted with the ability to prophesy future disasters, but cursed with the inability to get anyone to believe them.”  You mean, sort of like the “gifted” alarmists who predicted global cooling in the 1970s and an coming onslaught of Katrinas in 2005?

Instead of writing a New York Times column, perhaps Krugman should instead join the city’s street vagrants and carry his own “The End Is Near!” sandwich board sign.

September 29th, 2009 at 8:41 am
Morning Links
Posted by Sam Batkins Print
September 28th, 2009 at 11:30 pm
Obama Sends the Amish to Prison
Posted by Troy Senik Print

That’s the headline President Obama will have to live with if he doesn’t wise up to the unintended consequences of health care reform.

A Pennsylvania physician called into Mark Levin’s radio show this afternoon to share with the nation that the Amish — who oppose any form of insurance as a matter of theology — will not comply with any individual mandate that is part of healthcare reform.

Oh, what a tangled web we weave when we stop caring about individual rights.

September 28th, 2009 at 11:26 pm
Cohen’s Clarity
Posted by Troy Senik Print

The Wall Street Journal carried a superb op-ed this morning by Johns Hopkins professor Eliot Cohen on the growing dangers of Iran.

Cohen, who runs the university’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, is the author of “Supreme Command,” one of the seminal books on political leadership during wartime. He also served as a special advisor to Condoleeza Rice at the State Department during President Bush’s second term (though, from an outsider’s perspective, it seems as if Secretary Rice didn’t take nearly enough of his advice).

The whole piece is wonderful for its clarity, but the money quote is:

Pressure, be it gentle or severe, will not erase [the Iranian] nuclear program. The choices are now what they ever were: an American or an Israeli strike, which would probably cause a substantial war, or living in a world with Iranian nuclear weapons, which may also result in war, perhaps nuclear, over a longer period of time.”

Read it in its entirety here.

September 28th, 2009 at 5:56 pm
Video: Mike Huckabee on the United Nations

Following last week’s General Assembly meetings at the United Nations, former Arkansas Governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee gave his impressions of the world body during a speech at the How To Take Back America Conference in St. Louis.

“It’s time to say enough of the American taxpayer’s dollar being spent on something that may have been a noble idea, but has become a disgrace,” said Huckabee to the cheering audience. “[The U.N.] has become the international equivalent of ACORN.”

 

September 28th, 2009 at 2:52 pm
Support for ObamaCare Continues to Sink

The more Americans learn about what Congress is doing to reform the nation’s health care system, the less the American people support it.

According to the latest Rasmussen Reports survey, support among nationwide voters for the reform plan(s) being pushed by President Obama and Congressional Democrats has shrunk to 41%, with 56% of voters opposing it.  “That’s down two points from a week ago and the lowest level of support yet measured,” writes Rasmussen.

Other notable numbers revealed by the survey:

  • Only 33% of senior citizens support the plan compared to the 59% who are opposed.
  • A mere 16% of voters over the age of 65 ”Strongly Favor” the legislation, while 46% are “Strongly Opposed.”
  • 75% of Democrats support the reform being considered by Congress.
  • 79% of Republicans are opposed.
  • 72% of independent voters — those who don’t affiliate with either major political party — are opposed.
  • Among all voters surveyed, 23% “Strongly Favor” the plan vs. 43% who are “Strongly Opposed.”
September 28th, 2009 at 1:33 pm
BofA Moves to End Partnership with ACORN

FoxNews.com reports:

Already facing the loss of federal government funding, the community-organizing group ACORN also has run afoul of one of its big corporate partners, Bank of America Corp. 

“In response to questions from The Wall Street Journal, a spokesman for the banking company said it has ’suspended current commitments’ to ACORN Housing, an affiliated group, and ‘will not enter into any further agreements with ACORN or any of its affiliates,’ pending assessments by the bank of the organization’s operations. …”

Read the full story here.

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September 28th, 2009 at 11:29 am
Barack Obama, Strategic Military Genius
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Mere days ago, Barack Obama stabbed our Polish and Czech allies in the back by scrapping plans to locate missile defenses on their soil (on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Poland, no less).  Jan Vidim, a Czech legislator, reacted by saying that “if the (Obama) Administration approaches us in the future with any request, I would be strongly against it.”  Obama’s transparent rationalization was that his intelligence showed Iran’s long-range missile capabilities were not as advanced as previously thought.

Now, however, we receive word that Iran has test-fired its most advanced missiles yet, which are capable of reaching Europe.  Among other concerns, the missiles stand as a technological breakthrough because they are propelled by solid fuel, which allows for greater accuracy and potency than Iran’s liquid-fuel older models.   This comes on the heels of disclosure last week that Iran has been operating a covert nuclear enrichment site, despite a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate report stating that Iran halted its pursuit of nuclear development in the fall of 2003.

In other words, Obama the geostrategic genius has again threatened American security in his pursuit of personal popularity amongst global thugocracies.

September 28th, 2009 at 11:12 am
WaPo Editorial: Net Neutrality Is a Bad Idea!

The Washington Post, in an editorial published this morning titled “The FCC’s Heavy Hand,” takes a surprising but welcome position on the issue of Net Neutrality.  Surprising because of the predictable and consistent pro-regulation stance to which readers of WaPo’s editorial page are accustomed.  Welcome because it rightly points out that “federal regulators should not be telling Internet service providers how to run their businesses.”

The editorial begins:

In a speech at the Brookings Institution last week, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski promised that his agency’s plan for regulating Internet service providers (ISPs) will be ‘fair, transparent, fact-based and data-driven.’

“That’s nice. But Mr. Genachowski failed to convincingly answer the most important question of all: Is this intervention necessary?”

The answer is “No!”  As the Post noted, Net Neutrality regulations ”will jeopardize ['an unfettered platform for competition, creativity and entrepreneurial activity'] — and stifle further investments by ISPs — with attempts to micromanage what has been a vibrant and well-functioning marketplace.”