Archive for April, 2010
April 20th, 2010 at 12:04 pm
Praising the Salt Institute

Thank heaven for the Salt Institute!  Surely the Framers of the First Amendment and America’s first sociologist, Alexis de Tocqueville, would appreciate collections of individuals banding together to inform the public – and the government – of the benefits of salt.  With today’s headlines proclaiming an FDA crackdown on sodium in food, now is the time to read about salt, its uses and benefits and the current issues in focus.

True, the assault on individual freedom and responsibility by the Obama Administration is startling, as evidenced by this quote from one of its friends in academe:

Most salt eaten by Americans — 77 percent — comes from processed foods, making it difficult for consumers to limit salt to healthy levels, experts say.

“We can’t just rely on the individual to do something,” said Cheryl Anderson, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health who served on the Institute of Medicine committee. “Food manufacturers have to reduce the amount of sodium in foods.”

Of course what she really means is making food manufacturers reduce the amount of sodium in foods by federal fiat.  This kind of bureaucratic paternalism will only be made easier with implementation of ObamaCare.  But as long as there are industries willing to energetically (and stylishly) present consumers and policy makers with resources from organizations like the Salt Institute, the Republic – and sanity – stands a chance.

April 20th, 2010 at 10:19 am
WaPo’s Ezra Klein: Financial Bill Bailout “Isn’t a Bailout”
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In his best Alice in Wonderland attempt to facilitate the Obama Agenda, Ezra Klein of The Washington Post explains the bailout provision of the Senate’s proposed financial regulation bill and determines that “it isn’t a bailout.”

Klein begins with the rationalization that the bill’s $50 bailout provision “isn’t a lot of money” compared to the $700 billion TARP bill and the House’s $150 resolution fund.  Gee, now that you put it that way, we suppose it’s OK?  Rather than characterize Klein’s logic, we’ll simply accept his own description of the bailout process:

The FDIC takes over the banks.  The $50 billion fund is used to keep the lights on while all this happens.”

In other words, Mr. Kelein, the $50 billion fund subsidizes operations and pays the bills during bureaucratic takeover of an enterprise that should have instead faced the stark prospect of certain failure for its own decisions.  In other words, it continues operations while federal regulators take their time in determining their preferred political outcome.  Protecting reckless enterprises against the consequences of immediate and certain failure will only encourage the very moral hazard that incentivized such recklessness in the first place.  That’s precisely the problem with Washington’s bailout culture.

April 20th, 2010 at 9:56 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Obama’s Dependency State
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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.

April 19th, 2010 at 12:08 pm
Correction: Obama Is MORE Naive Than Chamberlain
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Columnist Mark Steyn points out that Obama may actually be more naive than British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in 1938.  As Steyn notes, at least Chamberlain included the world’s greatest threat to peace at the time, Adolf Hitler, among the list of signatories to his ineffectual Munich treaty.  In contrast, Obama hosted a pointless nuclear summit last week that excluded the world’s most dangerous nuclear aspirant, Iran.

Congratulations, Mr. Obama.

April 19th, 2010 at 10:33 am
Obama Asks Israel to Play Czechoslovakia, 1938
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In 1938, naive Western leaders fell for Adolf Hitler’s pretextual “land for peace” ruse.  Is the same delusion afflicting Barack Obama today?

Hitler had used the Sudetenland, an ethnically German region ceded to Czechoslovakia following World War I, as a synthetic grievance to justify his program of expansionism and rearmament.  Credulous leaders like Britain’s Neville Chamberlain believed that satisfying Hitler’s ethnic territorial grievance could resolve simmering European disaccord, so they agreed to allow annexation by Hitler.  In a lasting monument to weakness in the face of tyranny, Chamberlain waved the treaty proclaiming “peace in our time.”

Some things don’t change, despite cautionary pleas of “never again.”

Today, Israel stands in a position similar to Czechoslovakia in 1938, and Western leaders suffer a similar “land for peace” delusion.  Israel’s enemies want nothing less than Israel’s annihilation, but people like Obama somehow believe that the key to Middle East peace is forcing Israel to cede territory to its Palestinian antagonists.  Obama expresses more anger toward Israeli construction of apartments within its own territory than he does toward terrorist rocket attacks against Israeli schoolyards, sadly.  Just last week, Obama claimed that, “when conflict breaks out … that ends up costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure.”

The reality?  America has never once sent troops to shed blood for Israel, which has done quite well defending itself, thank you very much.  Moreover, Israeli surrender of strategic land will only embolden those bent on its destruction.

A tip for President Obama:  spend a little less time preparing your NCAA basketball tournament brackets for ESPN, and a little more time understanding rudimentary history of tyranny’s tactics.

April 19th, 2010 at 9:13 am
Podcast: Obama’s Controversial Recess Appointment of Craig Becker
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In an interview with the Center for Individual Freedom, U.S. Chamber Sr. VP Randel K. Johnson discusses President Obama’s controversial recess appointment of Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board and the negative implications for the business community and America’s job creators.

Listen to the interview here.

April 16th, 2010 at 12:47 pm
Ramirez Cartoon: The Exploding National Debt
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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.

April 16th, 2010 at 10:46 am
Obama’s “Animal House” – “Thank You, Sir! May I Have Another?”
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Remember the iconic 1978 movie Animal House?  In it, Kevin Bacon plays a tormented fraternity pledge stripped to his tightie-whitie underwear and forced to respond to each swat of the paddle by screaming, “Thank you, sir!  May I have another?”

In Obama’s new America, life apparently imitates Animal House.  Speaking at a partisan fundraiser, Obama once again descended into his petty trash-talking persona, saying that instead of protesting oversized government and tax burdens on April 15, Tea Party protesters should have been saying “thank you” to him.  That’s not a misprint – we should be thanking Obama for our current federal tax system. Here is the video:


No, Mr. President.  American taxpayers have already been stripped to their proverbial underwear, just like Kevin Bacon’s pledge.  We’re not going to respond with “thank you, sir, may I have another?”  No, we’re going to swat back come November.

April 16th, 2010 at 9:31 am
This Week’s Liberty Update

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

Senik:  Nukes Have Kept America Safe; Obama Hasn’t
Ellis:  The Corruption Stops Here: Darrell Issa’s War on Democratic Overreach
Lee:  New Obama Administration Rule Greases Union Wheels, But Runs Over Taxpayers
CFIF Staff:  Charles Krauthammer Is a Great American, and That’s a True Fact

Freedom Minute Video:  The Return of Amnesty
Podcast:  U.S. Chamber’s Randel K. Johnson duscusses Obama’s Controversial Recess Appointment to the NLRB
Jester’s Courtroom:  Fighting Frivolous Lawsuits with Facebook

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 16th, 2010 at 8:38 am
Video: The Return of Amnesty
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In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino discusses the shooting of Arizona cattle rancher Rob Krentz by an illegal alien and how politicians in Washington seem more obsessed with granting amnesty than providing security on our nation’s borders.


April 15th, 2010 at 7:21 pm
The Contract From America

In honor of Tax Day, several friends in the Tea Party movement offer this ten point plan for the next U.S. Congress to enact.  A sampling:

(1)    Protect the Constitution

(2)    Reject Cap & Trade

(3)    Demand a Balanced Budget

(4)    Enact Fundamental Tax Reform

(5)    Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington

(6)    End Runaway Government Spending

(7)    Defund, Repeal, & Replace Government-Run Health Care

(8)    Pass an “All-of-the-Above” Energy Policy

(9)    Stop the Pork

(10)  Stop the Tax Hikes

Each point comes with a nice one-sentence elaboration.  It is definitely worth the read.  Candidates, are you listening?

April 15th, 2010 at 7:11 pm
Where Is That in the Constitution?

Reading Joe Conason’s column today makes one wonder if the author takes seriously the words of the Constitution, or just its “spirit” – whatever that means.  In a piece that identifies the growing constitutionalist movement as fringe, Conason equates adherence to the words in the text as preferring a primitive, pre-enlightened society.

What exactly do they mean by “constitutional”? On the increasingly powerful fringes of the Republican right, a category that includes some Tea Party activists, the Constitution is interpreted as prohibiting every social and political advance since before the Civil War. They would outlaw the Federal Reserve System, the progressive income tax, Social Security, Medicare, environmental protection, consumer regulation and every other important federal initiative of the past century.

What Conason misses is that arguing for a textually-based, limited federal government of enumerated powers says next to nothing about the ability of state governments to weigh in on the institutions he wants so much to preserve.  Experience shows that states like California and New York will bankrupt their treasuries to provide the kind of all-providing government Conason likes.  Seemingly, the fact that other states wouldn’t if the feds weren’t allowed is what really bothers him.

Too bad.  The genius of federalism is that it affords the greatest amount of people the greatest amount of choices in the scope and scale of their government.  Once again, liberals like Conason show that when it comes to public policy choices, there’s really only one they care to defend.

April 15th, 2010 at 3:23 pm
Obama’s “No New Taxes” Lie: By the Numbers…

Remember when both Candidate Obama and President Obama promised (on more than one occasion) that no family making less than $250,000 per year would see any of their taxes increase – not “one single dime?”

Well, that promise held true for a little while… yeah… for about the political equivalent of five minutes.

Indeed, according to House Way & Means Committee Ranking Member Dave Camp (R-MI):

Since January of 2009, President Obama and Congressional Democrats have enacted into law gross tax increases totaling more than $670 billion, or more than $2,100 for every man, woman and child in the United States.  The list of tax increases includes at least 14 violations of the President’s pledge not to raise taxes on Americans earning less than $200,000 for singles and $250,000 for married couples.” [emphasis added]

Rep. Camp has compiled all the tax increases in a nice and easy to read chart.  Check it out here.  It will come in handy the next time your liberal neighbor suggests that President Obama is actually working to reduce taxes on middle class families.

April 15th, 2010 at 2:11 pm
Want Real Change? Make Election Day April 16th!
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A Tax Day message from Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Michael Ramirez.

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

April 15th, 2010 at 12:48 pm
The Case for Simplifying the Tax Code
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It’s April 15th – the date that millions of Americans who waited till the last possible day to file their tax forms with the IRS can wait no longer to feed the insatiable appetite of federal (and state) tax coffers.  If you are like most of us, you try to struggle through the filing yourself — coffee and documentation at the ready — ultimately giving up and hiring an accountant, a tax-filing firm or downloading an online program.  In any event, it is an annual chore.  A monumental pain.  And an expensive one, at that — especially if you get it wrong and end up owing penalties.  Well, guess what, fellow tax-payers?  You are not alone!

The Hill newspaper reports that “few members of Congress prepare their annual tax returns, instead relying on professional preparers…”  The article details how even Ways and Means Committee members — the very ones responsible for writing the tax code — need professional help to file their annual taxes. Of the 28 respondents, only one — Got that? One — Member of Congress said he did his returns by himself (and he was an accountant for 12 years).

During an interview on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” program back in January, IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman announced that he doesn’t prepare his own tax returns either.  Why?  Because, at least in part, he finds the tax code to be “too complex” to prepare them himself.

If that is not a case for tax reform, we defy you to find a better one.

April 15th, 2010 at 10:19 am
Global Warmists’ “Hockey Stick” Debunked As “Exaggerated”
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In order to substantiate their alarmism and political agenda, global warming activists must explain why current warming or cooling is any different than other warming or cooling periods throughout Earth’s history. The Ice Age, after all, receded long before moms began carting their kids to soccer practice in SUVs.  Similarly, today’s frozen areas were once swampy jungles.  The only constant throughout the world’s climate history has been change, illustrating the absurdity of the very term “climate change.”  After all, that’s what the climate does continually – it changes.

So what do global warming alarmists do?  They exaggerate historical temperature data to suggest that current trends are somehow more pronounced than previous periods of climate change.  Specifically, they concocted the “hockey stick” graph, which graphs climate data to show a sudden temperature jolt in the shape of a hockey stick.  Without it, they cannot distinguish one period of climate change from any other.

Unfortunately for them, Britain’s leading statistician has concluded that the “hockey stick” was “exaggerated” and was compiled using “inappropriate methods.”  Professor David Hand of the Royal Statistical Society issued his conclusion as part of a larger report on the “Climategate” scandal, which stated that, “it is very surprising that research in an area that depends so heavily on statistical methods has not been carried out in close collaboration with professional statisticians.”  Predictably, Professor Hand apologetically attempted to avoid hysterical blowback from the global warming crowd by adding that the data “show a clear warming signal.”  But climate realists don’t deny that the globe doesn’t periodically warm and cool.  Without the debunked “hockey stick,” though, environmental extremists’ claims are no different than their discredited “global cooling” claims of the 1970s.

More “inconvenient truths” for Al Gore and the synthetic global warming industry.

April 14th, 2010 at 5:21 pm
Marc Thiessen Wordboards Jane Mayer
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Usually, reading an author complain about a review of his book is a largely unappealing exercise.  But Marc Thiessen, former speechwriter for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and President George W. Bush and current columnist for The Washington Post, has penned a classic against lefty Jane Mayer’s review in The New Yorker of his book “Courting Disaster:  How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack.”

You don’t have to read the book, you don’t have to read the review to joy at a master technician take apart an ideologue, word by biased word.

Read it here.

April 14th, 2010 at 1:57 pm
Glenn Beck’s American Revival

For attendees at last weekend’s “American Revival” hosted by Glenn Beck, a heavy dose of American history, culture, and constitutionalism was on tap.  The Phoenix area event is well summarized in Terry Easton’s Human Events column, and further solidifies Beck’s role as today’s Paul Revere.  (Full disclosure: Terry Easton is a friend of mine with whom I’ve collaborated as a co-author.)

Fixing the country will take the kind of creativity and organizational persistence evidenced by Beck and his fellow freedom-loving event participants.  Hopefully, they will continue to lay the groundwork for an American Revival.

April 14th, 2010 at 10:36 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit 2010
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Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Michael Ramirez on President Obama’s 2010 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC.

April 14th, 2010 at 9:38 am
Everybody Look What’s Going Down

With apologies to the band Buffalo Springfield, there’s something happening at the Obama White House, and it is exactly clear: the freedom of the professional press is being severely curtailed in its coverage of the president.  No less a liberal mandarin than the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank compares this week’s Obama-hosted Nuclear Summit to a May Day parade in Washington, D.C.

World leaders arriving in Washington for President Obama’s Nuclear Security Summit must have felt for a moment that they had instead been transported to Soviet-era Moscow.

They entered a capital that had become a military encampment, with camo-wearing military police in Humvees and enough Army vehicles to make it look like a May Day parade on New York Avenue, where a bicyclist was killed Monday by a National Guard truck.

In the middle of it all was Obama — occupant of an office once informally known as “leader of the free world” — putting on a clinic for some of the world’s greatest dictators in how to circumvent a free press.

Milbank goes on to detail reactions by members of the foreign press to the restricted access.  The most disturbing come from reporters based in Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia and Jordan who chide American notions of a free press as overblown.

Though by itself, the restricted access might not cause concern, as Milbank points out, it’s just the most recent example in a well developed pattern of open secrecy cultivated by the Obama White House.  How long will it take before other members of the mainstream media take Milbank’s position?