Archive for April, 2010
April 23rd, 2010 at 1:34 pm
Liberals Turning Against Obama’s Disregard for Israel
Posted by Print

As I mentioned in a recent column, President Obama’s seeming contempt for the Israeli government — especially in light of his propensity for coddling hostile regimes — is an embarassment that undermines America’s traditional foreign policy values. Now, that judgment seems to be echoing through the corridors of power in the Democratic Party.

Chuck Schumer, the liberal New York Senator who may well succeed Harry Reid as Democratic leader in the upper chamber next year, had this to say about Obama’s Israel policy during an interview on a Jewish radio program:

I told the President, I told Rahm Emanuel and others in the administration that I thought the policy they took to try to bring about negotiations is counter-productive, because when you give the Palestinians hope that the United States will do its negotiating for them, they are not going to sit down and talk,” Schumer told Segal. “Palestinians don’t really believe in a state of Israel. They, unlike a majority of Israelis, who have come to the conclusion that they can live with a two-state solution to be determined by the parties, the majority of Palestinians are still very reluctant, and they need to be pushed to get there.

“If the U.S. says certain things and takes certain stands the Palestinians say, ‘Why should we negotiate?'” Schumer said.

Given the strong ties that America’s Jewish community has to the Democratic Party, this could be the beginning of a widening fissure on the left. Politico has the full story.

April 23rd, 2010 at 12:03 pm
This Week’s Liberty Update
Posted by Print

This week’s edition of the Liberty Update, CFIF’s weekly e-newsletter, is out.  Below is a summary of its contents:

Lee:  Community Organizer-in-Chief Obama Confronts Plummeting Public Trust of Government
Senik:  Today’s Robber Barons are on Capitol Hill
Ellis:  Fueling the Decline: How Obama’s Energy Policies Are Propelling Us to the Next $4 per Gallon Gas Crisis

Freedom Minute Video:  Tea Party Myths vs. Reality
Podcast:  American Amnesia – Interview with foreign policy expert Bruce Herschensohn
Jester’s Courtroom:  Caution: Messy Lawsuit Ahead

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 by e-mail, sign up here.

April 23rd, 2010 at 10:42 am
Video: Tea Party Myths vs. Reality

In this week’s Freedom Minute video, CFIF’s Renee Giachino dispels the myths perpetrated by the left and the mainstream media about the Tea Party movement. 

Watch the video below:


April 23rd, 2010 at 9:45 am
SEC Porn Surfers: This Is Whom Obama Wants Running More of Our Economy
Posted by Print

An addendum to our Liberty Update commentary piece this week, which highlights the absurdity of Obama advocating greater power for government and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over the American economy.

We noted in our commentary that the latest Pew Research poll shows an American electorate increasingly distrustful of government since Obama entered the White House.  We also noted that the SEC’s recent record of utter incompetence in stopping Ponzi schemes like that of Bernie Madoff, as well as its inability to foresee or prevent the latest economic bubble, suggest that the last thing the struggling American economy needs is even more centralized government control.

We couldn’t have timed our commentary more perfectly, as America wakes up this morning to the news that SEC personnel were wasting thousands upon thousands of hours surfing for pornography rather than actually doing the job that our tax dollars pay them to do.  As one example, an SEC accountant attempted to access a blocked porn site 16,000 times, and many of the SEC staffs’ actions occurred even after the financial bubble burst.

Yet Obama, the man with such paltry private-sector experience or knowledge, sanctimoniously lectures us that he and the SEC should be granted even more authority?

April 23rd, 2010 at 2:26 am
Perpetually Campaigning Yourself Out of a Career

It’s hard to believe that Florida Governor Charlie Crist is on the precipice of being a one term chief executive with only a new wife to show for it.  Haled as the difference maker for John McCain’s struggling presidential campaign, he single-handedly decided which Republican candidate would win the 2008 GOP Florida primary.  Yes, he was that popular in a state where he now trails his Republican challenger for the open Senate seat, Marco Rubio, by 20 points.

Aside from doing little more in office than unwind many of Jeb Bush’s conservative accomplishments, Crist is likely to leave office in November without having ever fully concentrated on being the most powerful politician in a crucial swing state.  In stark contrast to New Jersey’s recently elected governor, Chris Christie, whose budget balancing is a model for skillful public policy in action, Crist will be remembered as a politician who couldn’t be satisfied with his current job.  Very soon, Florida voters will relieve him of the burden.

April 23rd, 2010 at 1:57 am
Obama to Testify in Blago Corruption Trial?

This is rich.  On Thursday, attorneys for ex-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich filed a motion to subpoena President Barack Obama as a witness in Blago’s upcoming corruption trial.  You may remember ole’ Rod was arrested and impeached for trying to parlay Obama’s vacant Senate seat into cash or a job.  Apparently, one of the government’s key witnesses against Blago will offer testimony that is directly contradicted by the president’s public statements.  Blago’s attorneys want to rebut the prosecution’s witness with testimony from someone who knows how Illinois politics are played.

This could get interesting.

April 22nd, 2010 at 6:11 pm
Judging Philosophies

Reason Magazine’s Damon Root pens a spirited argument for ridding judicial nomination hearings of their pretended denials of litmus tests.

It’s time for both sides to come clean about the importance of judicial philosophy. That means no more grandstanding about “open minds” and double standards. If Constitutional interpretation matters—and it most certainly does—then senators have an obligation to query each and every nominee about it and vote accordingly. That’s the only way we’ll ever have a real debate about the Constitution and the courts.

Indeed.  Now, if we could only get a few Senate Judiciary Committee members able to articulate a substantive, coherent judicial philosophy themselves we’ll be on to something.

April 22nd, 2010 at 4:46 pm
Could Private-Sector and Public-Sector Unions Begin Squaring Off Soon?
Posted by Print

Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has earned high praise from conservatives by making good so far on his promise to clean up the state’s fiscal debacle using established conservative principles.  Christie inherited a $2.2 billion deficit this year and a projected $10.7 billion deficit for next year (over 1/3 of the total budget size), but has managed to cut $13 billion in spending in just eight weeks.  In so doing, he has naturally enraged the usual leftist entitlement class and unionized public employees.

Notably, however, Governor Christie has attracted some support from state Senate President Stephen Sweeney, who is a Democrat and leader of a local private-sector union.  The reason?  Perhaps Mr. Sweeney has recognized that the same public-sector unions whose exorbitant wages and benefits busted New Jersey’s budget also eat into the wages and livelihoods of private-sector union members who pay taxes to subsidize those public sector employees.

Now that the number of public-sector union members exceeds the number of private -sector union members, could we be witnessing the first signs of an intra-labor deathmatch?  This could be interesting…

April 22nd, 2010 at 4:17 pm
Killing Haiti with Kindness
Posted by Print

The general rule of political economy is that issues that tug on the public’s heartstrings are the ones most likely to produce a government response mired in muddy thinking and unintended consequences (think about the rebuilding of New Orleans).

CBS News provides testimony to this maxim courtesy of a shocking report from the Caribbean: Haiti wants the food aid sent in the aftermath of its devestating earthquake to stop! Per CBS:

The public outpouring is so generous it’s interfering with the Haitian economy.

If food is free local farmers can’t sell what they grow.

Desperately poor residents who aren’t earthquake victims are moving into refugee camps for the free food and health care. But the government wants residents to be less dependent on foreign aid, not more.

The whole thing (plus video) here.

April 22nd, 2010 at 1:00 pm
Earth Day Becoming a Green Holy Day of Obligation

Today marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, now being celebrated in 190 countries by an estimated 1 billion people.  To put that in perspective, that number is roughly the amount of adherents claimed by the Roman Catholic Church.  And as Robert Nelson points out in the Detroit News, the environmentalism movement that birthed Earth Day has turned into its own religion.

America’s leading environmental historian, William Cronon of the University of Wisconsin, calls environmentalism a new religion because it offers “a complex series of moral imperatives for ethical action, and judges human conduct accordingly.”

In other words, issues such as climate change are now much more than about “science.”

And this places a greater burden on environmental theology than it is often able to handle. Success in stirring powerful religious feelings about the environment does not automatically lead to wise and effective policies.

But that’s not stopping Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, from pleading for a comprehensive climate change bill, a measure that will take the price distorting regulations on gas prices and impose them on every other energy sector.

Americans don’t need to pay more for less energy, Chairman Waxman.  Pass this bill and we’ll see if your eco-gods can deliver you from the voters’ wrath this November.

April 22nd, 2010 at 12:38 pm
Labor Department Says Cost of Living Fine, Excluding Food and Energy

According to the Department of Labor, the cost of living in America is humming along at an affordable rate, so long as increases in the price of food and energy are ignored.  You read that right: food and energy.  If there is a third category that every American uses more on a daily basis, let me know.  Ignoring the continuing increases in the costs of food and energy to claim the economy isn’t worsening for everyday Americans is like calculating unemployment to exclude people who don’t have a job and stopped looking.  Oh, wait…

April 22nd, 2010 at 12:23 pm
White House Confused Over Whether Obama Likes VAT?

Maybe White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel isn’t the only senior administration official who’s on uncertain terms with President Obama.  In the span of a few minutes, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs reminded reporters that imposing a national value added tax (VAT) “wasn’t something that the president had under consideration,” and a deputy of his reiterated that point after Obama appeared on CNBC.

The problem is the president himself told CNBC that the VAT is still on the table.  What to make of the press office’s bookend statements denying the substance of the chief’s own words?  Exactly what it is: denying the truth that one of the most destructive taxes available is being considered to pay for the explosion in government spending.  We were warned – sort of.

April 22nd, 2010 at 12:15 pm
Ramirez Cartoon: Obama’s Iran Strategy

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.

April 22nd, 2010 at 11:01 am
Pelosi’s Big News: Taxpayers Just Spent $140,000 on New Light Fixtures and Window Shades for the House Cafeteria

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had some big news to announce yesterday.  So in typical Washington fashion, she did what any politician would do.  Pelosi called a press conference.  Her big news?  With the Capitol Hill press corps huddled before her, the Speaker announced that she had spent $140,000 in taxpayer money on new “energy efficient” light fixtures and window shades for the House cafeteria.

But that’s not all.  The fancy new light fixtures and window shades, which automatically raise and lower based on the amount of sunlight that shines through, were a bargain, according to Pelosi and Stephen Ayers, the Architect of the Capitol.  Indeed, Ayers bragged:

I think this fixture was $800 a year ago, and it’s now just over $300, so in one year that’s a pretty significant savings – which allows us to begin using this kind of equipment and technology, because we’re able to get a good return on investment.  At $800 a fixture we can’t get a good return on investment, but when it gets down to $300 – and I’m sure it will go even lower – we’re able to get a good return on investment.”

And just how “good” will that “return on investment” be?  So “good” that Ayers and Pelosi believe that, based on estimates of what will be saved in energy costs, it will only take, well, a mere decade for the light fixtures and window shades to pay for themselves. 

Okay, okay.   What’s $140,000 in the grand scheme of things?  Especially when you consider the federal deficit will exceed $1.5 trillion this year alone.  But that’s not the point.

At a time when millions of Americans are out of work, and millions more are taking to the streets to protest excessive government spending, including the Speaker’s push to cripple the U.S. economy with a “climate change” bill complete with a job-killing Cap-and-Trade scheme, it’s the symbolism of it all.

We’re sure there are many Americans who would love to replace the light fixtures and window treatments in their homes.  But times are tough.  Just as the average American family has been forced to do without new luxuries for their house, with record deficits strangling the federal budget, the time has long passed for Pelosi to do without in hers too!

April 21st, 2010 at 4:45 pm
Memo to Rep. Grijalva: 70% of Arizona Voters Favor State’s Immigration Crackdown

Perhaps U.S. Representative Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) should have checked with his constituents before publicly announcing his intention to inflict economic hardship on his own state in response to the immigration enforcement bill recently passed by the Arizona legislature.

According to Rasmussen Reports, “70% of likely voters in Arizona approve of the legislation, while just 23% oppose it.” 

On the issue of amnesty for illegal aliens, for which Grijalva is a strong proponent, “73% of voters in Arizona now say gaining control of the border is more important than legalizing the status of these undocumented workers.” And, “[e]ighty-three percent (83%) of Arizona voters say a candidate’s position on immigration is an important factor in how they will vote, including 51% who say it’s very important.”

April 21st, 2010 at 4:03 pm
Congressmen Call for Tough Economic Sanctions Against … Arizona?

The Arizona legislature recently made national news by passing a tough immigration enforcement bill aimed at addressing the increasing violence along its border with Mexico and the state’s growing illegal immigration problem.  Unhappy with the legislation, two Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, including one from Arizona, are now calling for tough “economic sanctions” against the state.

According to The Hill newspaper, Representatives Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) have asked President Obama to lean on Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, a Republican who reportedly has not taken a formal position on the bill, to veto the immigration enforcement measure, “either by warning of federal pre-emption of the law itself or by threatening Arizona’s federal funding.”

In addition to wanting the president to withhold federal funds, Grijalva is threatening to take matters into his own hands should the bill become state law.  (Did we mention that he represents a district in Arizona?) 

The Hill reports:

Grijalva warned Brewer that the law, if enacted, could lead to other negative consequences for the state — in the form of what he called ‘economic sanctions.’

‘We are going to be urging national organizations — religious, civic, labor, Latino, of color — to refrain from spending their dollars on conventions and in national activities in the state of Arizona,’ Grijalva said. ‘There have to be hard economic sanctions for this.’

Both Representatives Gutierrez and Grijalva are strong proponents of “comprehensive immigration reform” (aka Amnesty for Illegal Aliens) and appear to be using the immigration enforcement measure passed by the Arizona legislature as a means to that end. 

Regardless, in our two-and-a-half-minute Google search, we couldn’t find one other example of a Member of Congress working to inflict economic hardship on his own state, for any reason.  Is this guy serious?

April 21st, 2010 at 3:05 pm
So Stupid a Caveman Might Do It: Geico Spokesman Fired After Insulting Tea Party
Posted by Print

“So stupid that a caveman might do it.” 

That’s not the slogan of Geico Insurance, but it could be the tagline for its former voiceover spokesman Lance Baxter, a.k.a. “D. C. Douglas.” 

According to reports, Baxter called Tea Party-supporting Freedom Works last month to sarcastically inquire about the number of staffers who were “mentally retarded” and how the organization would react when a Tea Partier “killed someone.”  Geico has dropped Baxter as a spokesman, and in true whining leftist form, he is apparently threatening to sue it.  According to Baxter, he left the voicemail with Freedom Works because of the alleged (but still unsupported) “recent gay and racial slurs slung by Tea Party members at Congressman Barney Frank and Representative John  Lewis during the healthcare reform weekend.” 

Memo to Mr. Baxter:  millions of Americans have joined the Tea Party movement and participated in its gatherings, but no person has produced evidence in support of your allegation.  Further, we don’t recall you expressing the same concerns about violent left-wing protests such as anti-globalization rallies or movies about assassinating George W. Bush

That was very stupid of you, Mr. Baxter.  So stupid that a caveman would do it.

April 21st, 2010 at 10:13 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Cloud of Ash – European Socialism
Posted by Print

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.

April 20th, 2010 at 3:17 pm
About that Revolving Door …
Posted by Print

Remember all the pieties in the early days of the Obama Administration about how there would be a higher wall between special interests and the White House than ever before? Those of us who know the realities of Washington never expected much from those promises. After all, there is a limited pool of talented people in our nation’s capital.  When they’re not working in the public sector, they have to make up for it with the higher pay that comes from private sector jobs. Keeping those folks from jumping back and forth would dramatically reduce the federal government’s talent pool.

But while the potential for this promise to be broken could be seen a mile away, who would’ve guessed that it would have happened in a fashion so embarassing to the White House? Just a few days after the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it was going after Goldman Sachs for dodgy shorting practices — an event that (coincidentally, we’re told) came in the midst of the Administration’s push for new banking regulations — Politico reports that Obama’s former White House Counsel, Greg Craig, has been retained by Goldman to help them navigate the rocky shoals of the Beltway.

One wishes some enterprising member of the White House Press Corps would put the question to the President: “Is your former White House counsel part of the corrupt Washington infrastructure you deplore or does the private sector have legitimate grievances with how it’s being treated by your administration?” It has to be one or the other.

April 20th, 2010 at 1:15 pm
Bloated Bureaucracies & a Constipated Congress

One of the measures of successful politicians is how much legislation they author, sponsor, and pass.  Since the activities can be counted, the more a legislator does, the more he can claim to be “doing something” to justify his reelection.

So it must be frustrating for all the Senators who desperately want to “do something” when colleagues in their own party insist on larding unpopular policies into bills that would otherwise sail through the process.  Though the main energy bill claims enough support to pass, Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) are blocking it because its centrist supporters refuse to include the Environmental Left’s demands for cap-and-trade.  When asked to present the cap-and-tax language as a stand-alone amendment, Kerry and Boxer balked because they don’t have the 60 votes to attach it.

Who can blame them?  After the large scale corruption of the legislative process to pass ObamaCare, why wouldn’t a Democratic lawmaker think that rules only apply to Republicans?

Happily, adding text to the United States Code isn’t everyone’s definition of a good legislator.  Senators like Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Tom Coburn (R-OK) pride themselves on reducing the word count of the nation’s legal regime.  Less law means less room for bureaucrats to expand their reach.  Let’s hope the Democrats’ insatiable demand for more government continues to be an obstacle to passing any new laws.