Archive for February, 2010
February 23rd, 2010 at 2:34 pm
Ramirez Cartoon: ObamaCare Fatal Attraction

Below is one of the latest cartoons from Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

February 23rd, 2010 at 10:51 am
ACORN By Any Other Name
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Ben Smith of reported yesterday that “the embattled liberal group ACORN is in the process of dissolving its national structure, with state and local chapters splitting off from the underfunded, controversial national group, an official close to the group confirmed….

“‘Consistent with what the internal recommendations have been, each of the states are developing plans for reconstitution independence and self-sufficiency,’ said the official, citing ACORN’s ‘diminished resources, damage to the brand, unprecedented attacks.’”

To this unsurprising development, we can only add that, to corrupt an old adage, manure by any other name smells the same.  Weren’t those local offices that James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles exposed in their undercover videos?

February 23rd, 2010 at 10:20 am
Slow-Motion Government
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In the President’s shiny new once-over-lightly-with-a-higher-price-tag health care proposal (too vaguely written, it seems, for the CBO to score the economic impact), parts of it are implemented all the way to 2018, when the excise tax on expensive health care plans kicks in (and kicks anyone who has one in the groin). 

Many people who believe they don’t have one of those “Cadillac” plans now are likely to find that they do have one by 2018.

Also in the proposal, the fines for those incorrigible scoff-laws who stubbornly refuse to yield to the so-called “individual mandate” start small and progressively increase by year.

Call that slo-mo government, which has the distinct and not-to-be-overlooked advantage that all who impose it will likely have gone on to greater or lesser rewards by the time the populace actually catches on.

As David Brooks points out in his column this morning, “The odds are high that the excise tax will never actually happen.”  But that excise tax (along with other tricks in the bill) is what allows the whole house of cards to be nominally (and nominally only if you are deceiver or deceived) “deficit neutral.”  We thus face punitive taxation or fiscal disaster.

In a different slo-mo government development, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has informed some unruly coal-state Senators (all Democrats) that they shouldn’t get all worried about that EPA plan to regulate greenhouse gases.  It will now be “phased in” beginning in 2011, so as not to upset the fragile economy. 

Hit the buzz saw with your overreaching, did you, lady?  By 2011, the science on which the EPA determinations are being made will be so discredited that the EPA will have to cop an insanity defense.

There are good and rational reasons for phased-in government projects (such as you don’t build the bridge until you’ve got the road to it, even if it’s going nowhere), but the two aforementioned are not among those.  They are examples of government folly, the former predicted, the latter now being acknowledged.

In the meantime, where are the fast forward projects to get us out of our economic mess?  You know, some stuff the people actually want the government to do.

February 22nd, 2010 at 11:14 pm
Huckabee to Conservative Movement: “Drop Dead”
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Following up on Brother Ellis’s earlier CPAC post, the most notable fallout from the weekend confab may have been Mike Huckabee’s criticism of the conference for being “too libertarian.” Let’s call this what it is: a fig leaf.

After a dissapointing seventh place finish in CPAC’s presidential straw poll, Huckabee is looking for a way to write off the legitimacy of the whole endeavor (let’s not deny, however, that Ron Paul’s victory in the poll does look a bit … well, eccentric). But CPAC organizers are quick to point out that when Huckabee declined their offer to speak this year, he attributed it to a scheduling conflict, not any ideological differences. Thus, claiming that he stayed away from the festivities because they were a little too fervent for liberty rings hollow.

Huckabee has two positive traits to offer conservatives: a winning, optimistic personality and a consistent social conservatism (part of what puts him at odds with some libertarians).  What he doesn’t have, however, is damning enough to remove him from serious consideration as a future presidential nominee. Huckabee is a practitioner of the baser kind of economic “populism” — no one who calls the Club for Growth “the Club for Greed” has the dictional authority to be taken seriously as either a conservative or a theologian. He has also proved himself to be functionally illiterate on matters of foreign policy.

Huckabee, like every Republican candidate for the past three decades, claims to have been baptized in the River Reagan. But Ronaldus Magnus famously said “I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.” Indeed, I don’t know how one indicts the GOP heresies of the past decade without faulting the party for losing touch with its libertarian roots. Huckabee is a terrific guy; but I think it’s time for the movement to acknowledge that he might be a Democrat if only that party was a little less secular.

February 22nd, 2010 at 2:24 pm
McCain “Misled” on TARP
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In an interview with the editorial board of the Arizona Republic, embattled Senator John McCain said that he was “misled by then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.  McCain said the pair assured him that the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program would focus on what was seen as the cause of the financial crisis, the housing meltdown.”

That’s what we thought, too, Senator.  But we weren’t in the room.

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February 22nd, 2010 at 2:14 pm
The President Who Just Won’t Listen
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Time and again – in polls, in protests, in an avalanche of personal, direct pleas, in the Massachusetts Senate election of Scott Brown – the American people have told President Obama to focus administration and congressional activities on jobs and the economy and to start over on “health care reform.”

Time and again, he has refused.  Today, he defiantly raised the stakes, not only presenting a new version of the old versions (with a few pretzel twists) but raising the costs by billions.

In doing so, the President who came into office preaching that dialog could resolve the animosities of the world looks like nothing so much as the current government of Iran.

February 22nd, 2010 at 1:10 pm
The Rise of Independent PACs

For those of you looking for more information about groups that connect and fund fiscally responsible congressional candidates, be sure to check out the Independence Caucus and The Freshman 50 PAC.  I-Caucus was the driving force behind defeating an incumbent Republican congressman with a fiscally conservative primary opponent, while The Freshman 50 is aiming to elect fifty new members of Congress to stop deficit spending.  Both groups are unaffiliated with any political party.  This election cycle, independents are not only the most important voters – they’re also becoming the most important grassroots organizers.

H/T: Jed Babbin at Human Events

February 22nd, 2010 at 12:37 pm
Arnold Schwarzenegger Makes Arlen Specter Look Politically Omniscient by Comparison
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In April 2009, Senator Arlen Specter (D – Pennsylvania) announced that he was leaving the Republican Party and hitching his political fortunes to Barack Obama, just as Obama began his decline toward political radioactivity.

Obama’s approval has since plummeted worse than any elected President in the history of scientific polling, and Specter became the equivalent of someone abandoning a lifeboat to climb aboard the Titanic just before it hit the iceberg. Yesterday, however, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger did Specter one better, moving him down to second place on the list of most foolish Republicans to join Team Obama.

In an appearance on ABC’s This Week, the Governor who has presided over California’s decline to basket-case status heaped endless praise upon Obama, applauded Obama’s failed “stimulus” bill and missed no opportunity to attack his own Republican Party.  In fact, Schwarzenegger failed to substantively defend his own party (whose political fortunes are skyrocketing) even a single time even while Democrat Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell sat beside him and launched his own litany of predictable anti-Republican attacks.

Among other things, Schwarzenegger – we’re not making this up – offered the following advice for an Obama Administration whose policies and tactics have turned American voters decisively against it in just one year:  “I think the key thing for the Obama Administration is just to keep staying on track.”  The same track that brought it to this point, Governor?

Schwarzenegger also advised fellow Republicans that their primary concern should be to ask themselves, “how do we support the President, how do we support him,” and attacked them for criticizing the Obama-Pelosi-Reid “stimulus.”  He continued by labeling his own GOP “the party of ‘no,'” and added “the Tea Party is not going to go anywhere.”

Earth to Schwarzenegger:  the Tea Party already has “gone somewhere.”

So the man who is quite possibly the most failed governor in America advises Obama to stay the course that has brought him political ruin, labels his own Republican Party “the party of no,” proclaims that the Tea Party that has transformed American politics at the grassroots level “is not going to go anywhere” and claims that the smart course is for Republicans to ask not what they can do for their country, but what they can do to “support the President.”

Great timing, Governor Schwarzenegger.   Got any hot tips on Enron stock while you’re at it?

February 22nd, 2010 at 12:33 pm
Analyzing Ron Paul’s CPAC Straw Poll Win

According to CNN, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) winning the CPAC presidential straw poll was a surprise. Since CNN had no presence at CPAC, it probably did catch producers at the Clinton News Network off guard. But for anyone who actually attended the three day event it was anything but. By several estimates, one in five attendees were twentysomething libertarian-leaning enthusiasts. Almost all of these supported Paul, and many could be seen passing out push-cards for his group, Campaign for Liberty. To a person, they were by far the most excited, most hopeful CPAC participants, and accounted for most of the energetic turnaround from last year’s funeral-like atmosphere.

Undoubtedly, most of these would also represent the low-tax, off-my-back Tea Party movement. However, it is striking to consider that the most dynamic speakers at CPAC – J.C. Watts, Newt Gingrich, and Glenn Beck – all took turns focusing on the cultural roots of the current political crisis. Watts claimed that it is impossible to understand America without first understanding the importance of God. Gingrich reminded listeners that most of the policy problems in Washington would not be fully solved until everyday Americans took more responsibility for their choices. And Beck passionately emphasized the growing lack of hard work as the primary impediment to expanding wealth and success. While each message isn’t necessarily at odds with the individualist outlook espoused by Paul’s libertarian supporters, focusing on cultural decline implies both a hierarchy of values and the need for a communal response.

Going forward, it will be interesting to see whether the libertarian argument for less government can be positively fused with the conservative push for a stronger, more united civil society. If so, the Right could be on its way to establishing not just a political majority this year; it could also create a cultural one too.

February 22nd, 2010 at 10:38 am
White House Unveils Yet Another ObamaCare Proposal

The more things change, the more they stay the same…

The White House this morning released a summary of President Obama’s latest proposal to reform the U.S. health care system.  Billed by the administration as an “opening bid” for discussion at the president’s so-called “Bipartisan Health Care Summit” later this week, the new plan closely mirrors the Senate-passed legislation. 

In other words, ObamaCare 2.0 3.012.0 (sorry, we lost count) is filled with the same tired proposals that the American people have already overwhelmingly rejected:  an individual mandate, drastic cuts to Medicare Advantage, taxes on so-called “Cadillac” insurance plans, etc., etc., etc. 

The release of the administration’s latest proposal comes on the heels of reports that Congressional Democrats are leaning heavily towards passing ObamaCare via reconciliation, a procedural trick enabling them to circumvent a filibuster of the legislation in the Senate.  Indeed, according to White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer, Obama’s latest health care plan was carefully crafted with that in mind.

The proposal is designed to provide “maximum flexibility to ensure that we can get an up or down vote if the opposition decides to take the extraordinary step of filibustering health reform,” Pfeiffer said on a conference call with reporters this morning. 

Will someone please remind us again what opponents of ObamaCare stand to gain by participating in the sham that is Obama’s “Bipartisan” Summit on Thursday?

February 22nd, 2010 at 9:58 am
Video: Real Health Care Reform Means More Doctors, Less Trial Lawyers

Over 90 percent of doctors admit to practicing defensive medicine – focusing just as much on preventing lawsuits as on preventing disease.  In last week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino discussed the dire need for meaningful medical liability reform to reduce U.S. health care costs.


February 19th, 2010 at 6:52 pm
Game On!
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With a growing lead in the polls and a rousing speech at CPAC now under his belt, former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate is looking better by the day. And the surging would-be senator proved yesterday that he won’t shy away from taking the fight to his more liberal primary opponent, Florida Governor Charlie Crist. Consider this jab that did everything but cite Crist by name:

2010 will not be just a choice between Republicans or Democrats. It will not just be a simple choice between liberals and conservatives. It will be a referendum on our nation’s very identity.

People want leaders that will come here to Washington D.C. and stand up to this big government agenda, not be co-opted by it. The Senate already has one Arlen Specter too many. And America already has a Democrat party. It doesn’t need another Democrat party.

In the wake of that speech, Crist has now agreed to a nationally-televised debate with Rubio  on Fox News Sunday. That a primary contest is generating this kind of attention shows how important this race is going to be nationally … and how bright Marco Rubio’s future may turn out to be.

February 19th, 2010 at 11:54 am
This Week’s Liberty Update

This week’s edition of the Liberty Update, CFIF’s weekly e-newsletter, is out.  For those readers who don’t receive it in their e-mail inboxes or if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, below is a summary of its contents:

Alert:  Join the Fight to Stop the Government Takeover of the Internet
Lee:  “From Keynesian to Ponzian” – Obama’s Stimulus One Year Later
Senik:  The Age of Obama 2009-2010
CFIF Staff:  Al Gore Pivots to the Bottom Line
Ellis:  Executive Orders Reveal Executive Weakness

Freedom Minute Video:  Real Health Care Reform Means More Doctors, Less Trial Lawyers
Podcast:  First Amendment Lawyer Discusses Citizens United v. FEC
Jester’s Courtroom:  Not the Smartest Escape Plan

Editorial Cartoons:  Latest Cartoons of Michael Ramirez
Quiz:  Question of the Week
Notable Quotes:  Quotes of the Week

If you are not already signed up to receive CFIF’s Liberty Update, sign up here.

February 19th, 2010 at 11:35 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Administration’s Plan to “Fix” the Economy
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

February 19th, 2010 at 10:35 am
Stop the Government Takeover of the Internet

The Center for Individual Freedom (“CFIF”) this week unveiled a national grassroots campaign to rally conservatives in opposition to the Obama Administration’s efforts to impose onerous “Net Neutrality” rules on the Internet. The ‘Stop Net Regulation’ campaign, launched during the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., encourages Americans to get active online through a national petition and by contacting their elected officials in opposition to a government takeover of the Internet.

Join the fight by signing the online petition here.

Read CFIF’s media release here.

February 19th, 2010 at 9:34 am
International Atomic Energy Agency Discovers Iran Possibly Isn’t As Nice As Previously Believed
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Following reports in Cosmopolitan, Field & Stream, Marvel Comics and My Weekly Reader, the U.N.’s IAEA yesterday issued a draft report allowing as to maybe, perhaps, possibly Iran is engaged in “past or current undisclosed activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.”

The existence of such “undisclosed activities” was first reported by Vogue nuclear fashion reporter Christine “Boogie” Boogle in the 2007 proliferation issue.

In response to the IAEA report, President Obama said that he hoped  a new U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) would be ready by 2012 and waiting for that document would be a really good reason to give him a second term.  In the meantime, Obama said that he would continue to press the “community of peace-loving nations” to impose sanctions on Iran, most likely consisting of bans on shipments of goats, Victoria’s Secret underwear, jello and sugared soft drinks.

Seriously, folks, there is just no meaningfully serious way to deal with some of this stuff.

February 18th, 2010 at 3:44 pm
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Darrell Issa (R-CA), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, today issued an explosive new report on ACORN and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), charging, among other things, a “criminal conspiracy.”

The entire report may be read here.

February 18th, 2010 at 2:07 pm
Can You Say “Stacked” and “Useless” in the Same Sentence?
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Earlier today, by Executive Order, President Obama instituted a commission to make recommendations for deficit reduction.  Whatever the recommendations are, whenever they come, they will have no binding authority. 

This comes after Congress, which along with the administration is busily increasing the deficit, refused to set up a commission for deficit reduction.

The commission will have eighteen members.  Including co-chairmen Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, Obama will appoint 6 members, Democrat leaders will appoint 6 and Republican leaders will appoint 6.  Take out Simpson, a Republican, and we make that eleven to seven, meaning that President Obama, if nothing else, can really do that political math.  But, we are assured, all recommendations will require 14 votes for adoption, so they will be, wonder of political math wonders, “bipartisan.”  Those would, of course, be the recommendations of no binding authority.

Remember all those jobs Americans wouldn’t do?  Well now we know the jobs the President and Congress won’t do – precisely the ones they were sent to Washington to do.  And they wonder why so many Americans are disgusted with government…and their stewardship of it.

February 18th, 2010 at 1:13 pm
Ramirez Cartoon: Mount Spendmore

Below is one of the latest cartoons from Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

February 18th, 2010 at 11:36 am
Stop Talking; Start Doing
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First, President Obama “invited” Republicans to view the Democrats unveil yet another version of ObamaCare (live on television, to make up for all those previously broken promises of an open process).  That little trap is scheduled for next week.

Now, House Republicans want Democrats to debate unemployment on live television.  That is scheduled for…never, we think.

There is, of course, considerable evidence that nothing is real that doesn’t appear on television.  But if all this talking is only about political oneupsmanship, as it surely seems, we would modestly suggest that pistols at dawn make better television (commercial proceeds going to reduce the deficit), with much greater personal and public consequence.