Archive for June, 2010
June 22nd, 2010 at 8:35 pm
One More Opponent of “Net Neutrality”
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While no one in the vast right-wing conspiracy is going to outdo CFIF’s own Timothy Lee for principled and prolonged resistance to the FCC’s attempt at a backdoor takeover of the Internet, we appreciate the assist from the folks at Reason. Here, Nick Gillespie lays out three reasons to oppose Washington’s proposed conquest of cyberspace:

June 22nd, 2010 at 10:02 am
So the Obama White House is Now Calling Sen. Kyl a Liar?
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As we noted yesterday, Senator Jon Kyl (R – Arizona) stunned a weekend townhall audience with his disclosure that President Obama told him during a private Oval Office meeting, “the problem is if we secure the border, then you all won’t have a reason to support comprehensive immigration reform.”

In other words, Obama considers our nation’s very territorial integrity little more than a partisan bargaining chip. Or, as stated by Sen. Kyl, “they’re holding it hostage.”

In response, the Obama White House essentially labeled Sen. Kyl, a man respected across party lines for his intellectual heft and moral integrity, a liar.  Speaking yesterday to White House correspondents, Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said, “the President didn’t say that, Senator Kyl knows the President didn’t say that…  It’s not true.”   Senator Kyl, however, maintains his version of events.

So whom to believe?  Well, this is the same White House that is accused by two separate Democratic candidates for Senate of offering appointments in exchange for dropping out of their campaigns.  This is also the same White House that falsely justified its offshore drilling moratorium (which threatens innumerable jobs in the Gulf region) by citing the opinions of drilling engineers.  Those engineers subsequently objected to the White House’s false attribution in the strongest of terms.

Those are just two recent examples of White House dishonesty.  It’s difficult to imagine a scenario under which both the White House and Sen. Kyl are correct, so who possesses the better record of honesty and integrity?

June 21st, 2010 at 7:57 pm
Interior Dept. Using Environmentalism to Hinder Border Patrol

Some articles must be read in their entirety in order to believe them, and that certainly qualifies for this gem at Fox News.  Mindboggling is the only word that seems appropriate to describe the pay-to-play scheme involving annual negotiations between the Department of Interior and the Border Patrol where the latter winds up paying $50 million just to get access to the border!

What in the name of the Sierra Club is going on?  It’s an unholy alliance between the Environmental Left and the open-borders crowd that drains the Border Patrol of access and money.  The effect is an unauthorized transfer of Congressional appropriations that has the Border Patrol paying for studies on its officers’ impact on the environment.

Republicans are calling it extortion.

Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, said the kicker in the multimillion-dollar tradeoff is that the money doesn’t even guarantee the Border Patrol open access to the land. Agents still have to follow particular rules to drive into wilderness areas to pursue suspects or set up routine patrols.

“That conflict has got to be resolved,” he said. “If the Border Patrol was allowed to have free access to patrol the borders at will … it would have the same effect that they’re doing in other areas.”

Bishop in March called on Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to stop “extorting” the money from Homeland Security. “Money appropriated for border security should only be spent on making our borders more secure, and not diverted to unrelated DOI spending projects,” he said in a statement at the time. According to Bishop’s office, Salazar has not responded.

Looks like British Petroleum isn’t the only “BP” with Secretary Salazar’s boot planted firmly on its neck.

June 21st, 2010 at 6:24 pm
This Was Obama Being Pragmatic?
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The press is abuzz today with rumors that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel will be leaving his West Wing post in the near future, likely after the midterm elections. While the White House denies the allegations, the UK Telegraph lays out the following rationale:

It is well known in Washington that arguments have developed between pragmatic Mr Emanuel, a veteran in Congress where he was known for driving through compromises, and the idealistic inner circle who followed Mr Obama to the White House.

And it’s equally well known that Rahmbo has consistently lost. As Jonathan Alter relates in his new book “The Promise” (which, in its lust for Obama, would be better titled “The Gospel According to Jon”), Emanuel vigorously fought the Administration’s plan for a comprehensive transformation of health care in favor of smaller, more incremental victories. For all of his bravado, Emanuel — who, along with Chuck Schumer, engineered his party’s takeover of Congress by embracing moderate and conservative Democrats — is indeed a pragmatist, not a liberal True Believer unable to brook compromise.

This staff shakeup, should it happen, will put the White House on a dangerous trajectory. Emanuel’s incrementalist views have been steamrolled during most of his tenure in the administration. If, even in that position of weakened power, he can’t be accomodated in the halls of the West Wing, then we can expect the “idealists” to be running the show in the second half of Obama’s term. That means that in the aftermath of what will likely be at least a partial Republican takeover of Congress, Obama will be moving further and further towards liberal purity.

If you think the administration is out of touch now, wait until they banish even internal dissent.

June 21st, 2010 at 6:05 pm
UK’s Conservative Party Gets Cheeky with Budget Woes

No one beats the Brits for being able to find the funny in any circumstance; especially when it comes to politics.  For a bit of gallows humor, David Cameron’s Conservative Party released this three-page document framing the recently deceased Labour government’s legacy as a last will and testament.  Here’s the cover:

The Last Will and Testament of Labour 1997 – 2010

To my successors, I leave no money, only waste,

debt and the deepest cuts of modern times.

To the young people of Britain, I leave one in five of you

without work.

To pensioners, I bequeath you lower pensions. I reduced the value of

pension funds by billions. I leave you working longer for less.

In 13 years, I have wasted the inheritance left to me.

Of the gold bullion my predecessors bequeathed me,

I sold over 350 tonnes at the worst possible price.

I have spent and spent and spent again – and every man, woman and

child will have £22,400 to pay for my profligacy.

I have taken your hard-earned money and wasted it. I lost £3 billion

in benefit overpayments and paid the dead £10 million in tax credits.

I leave Britain a bigger deficit than France, Germany and Japan,

greater than Greece, Italy and Portugal.

I leave 2.47 million of you without a job.

With more time I could have done more.

I leave no apology, no regret, no comfort, and not an ounce of


I leave you years of painful and difficult decisions.

This is my legacy to you.

June 21st, 2010 at 5:41 pm
Kris Kobach Responds to DOJ Challenge of AZ Immigration Law

Rising conservative Kris Kobach lays out a succinct analysis that puts to rest any notion that the Obama Administration has any legal justification for suing Arizona over its tough new illegal immigration law, and concluding with the only plausible explanation:

But even if one were to imagine that the Obama administration had a strong legal argument, there would be yet another reason not to file the lawsuit: It is completely unnecessary. Five suits have already been filed by the ACLU and their fellow travelers. The issue is already teed up for the federal courts to decide. The administration achieves nothing by launching its own litigation. Except, of course, for rallying the Democrats’ open-borders base before the 2010 elections.

In a previous part of his National Review Online entry Kobach shows that every federal appeals court who’s considered the issue “support the authority of Arizona to enact its law.”  Since the lawsuits arrayed against SB 1070 are almost guaranteed to fail, it will be interesting to see how many open-borders supporters will convince themselves that the Administration’s ploy is worth the bother.

June 21st, 2010 at 2:37 pm
Obama Administration’s Gross Lack of Discretion in Gulf Oil Spill

Typically, discretion isn’t a virtue associated with government; yet under the Obama Administration it’s being treated like a mortal sin.

The latest example comes in the aftermath of the president’s decision to impose a six-month moratorium on all deepwater (i.e. 500 feet or more below sea level) drilling.  The stated reason is to ensure that no other oil rigs accidentally blow up and gush more black crude into American waters.

But mandating stasis will do more than head-off a highly improbable second Gulf Oil Spill, says Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell.  In papers supporting a lawsuit against the moratorium, Caldwell is calling for a “balanced approach” response instead of the current policy that is “costing between $165 million and $330 million each month in lost wages for Louisiana jobs tied to the drilling,” according to the effected companies.

Caldwell argued that drilling can be safely resumed within 30 days if federal inspectors are permanently stationed on each rig. The inspectors would re-certify all blowout prevention equipment, enforce compliance with all drilling procedures, and ensure training of all rig personnel to industry standards, including any new safety recommendations made by the presidential commission.

“After confirming the correctness and preparedness of each rig and well design, these deepwater rigs should be permitted to resume work, and the Department of Interior should resume issuing permits,” Caldwell said in yesterday’s brief. Such a “balanced approach” would allow safe resumption of a vital portion of the state’s economy “without the necessity of shutting down an entire industry segment,” he said.

It is tragic that the Louisiana Attorney General has to point out this basic fact in federal court papers.  Like Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s recent decision to defy the Coast Guard after repeated attempts to go through the proper channels, we can assume that Caldwell is only doing this because previous informal requests went unanswered.

Only in a managerial labyrinth like the federal government could a common sense plan to address the real problems of deepwater drilling be ignored in favor of an across-the-board job killer like a half-year moratorium.

H/T: Bloomberg News

June 21st, 2010 at 10:37 am
Sen. Kyl: Obama Said Border Security = Bargaining Chip for “Comprehensive Immigration Reform”
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In taking the Constitution’s oath of office, President Barack Obama solemnly swore to “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Does faithfully executing the office to the best of his ability include holding our nation’s border security hostage to “comprehensive immigration reform” legislation?

In a truly stunning revelation recorded on video during an Arizona weekend townhall meeting, Senator Jon Kyl (R -AZ) recounted a one-on-one discussion in which Obama explicitly said that border security is a bargaining chip for comprehensive immigration reform, a.k.a. amnesty.

I met with the President, in the Oval Office, just the two of us – I kicked the rest of the people out…  Here’s what the President said:  ‘The problem is,’ he said, ‘if we secure the border, then you all won’t have a reason to support comprehensive immigration reform.’  In other words, they’re holding it hostage.”

So there you have it.  To Barack Obama, our nation’s border security, and its very territorial integrity, is nothing more than an expedient bargaining chip for his partisan political agenda and expansion of his potential voting bloc.  That admission occurs just as his Department of Justice plans to sue the state of Arizona for passing an illegal alien statute that merely parallels the existing federal statute.

Less than two years into his tenure, it is becoming increasingly clear that Barack Obama isn’t merely incompetent, but dangerous.

June 21st, 2010 at 9:16 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Spending Gusher
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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.

June 19th, 2010 at 3:37 pm
Profiles in Shallowness

With Day 60 of the Gulf Oil Spill now upon us, Mark Steyn provides a trenchant diagnosis of the mental state directing President Barack Obama’s approach to governing:

The UN, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, Bono: these are the colors a progressive worldly westerner nails to his mast. You don’t need to go anywhere, or do anything: You just need to pick up the general groove, which you can do very easily at almost any college campus.

This Barack Obama did brilliantly. A man who speaks fewer languages than the famously moronic George W Bush, he has nevertheless grasped the essential lingo of the European transnationalist: Continental leaders strike attitudes rather than effect action – which is frankly beneath them.

BP’s demoted CEO Tony Hayward may be in hot water for attending a glitzy yacht race while oil continues to saturate the Gulf, but are his actions really that much different than Obama giving a national speech on the subject before turning his attention towards challenging Arizona’s immigration law?

June 19th, 2010 at 3:08 pm
Why Did Fannie Mae Apply for a Cap-and-Trade Patent?

Because the mortgage giant’s former CEO Franklin Raines was trying to make yet another corrupt buck from his government perch.  After concluding his five year run as chief executive, Raines agreed to pay a nearly $25 million fine for Enron-style accounting gimmicks that netted he and other officers millions more in compensation.

Now, World Net Daily is reporting that Raines and others applied twice for the same residential cap-and-trade patent; the first time on behalf of Fannie Mae, the second time for themselves as private “inventors.”  Since the same people applied both times the second application supersedes the first, meaning any profits from the patent go not to Fannie Mae, but Raines & Co.

These distinctions matter because Raines – acting in his capacity as head of Fannie Mae – initially claimed to apply for the patent in order to give the mortgage backer a strong position in encouraging more “green” housing.  That claim proved phony when his second application guaranteed him a windfall if “comprehensive reform” ever came in the form of cap-and-trade legislation.

Sound familiar?  CFIF readers will recall a recent column discussing the same kind of self-enrichment in Obama’s Energy Department, and another analyzing the government’s inability to run any enterprise – and specifically Fannie Mae – like a business.

Who knew we’d get an example that combined them so soon?

June 18th, 2010 at 1:17 pm
The U.S. “Is In Need of a Tectonic Shift in Fiscal Policy”

That’s the conclusion of former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who, in an op-ed published today in The Wall Street Journal, warned that “perceptions of a large U.S. borrowing capacity are misleading,” and “an urgency to rein in budget deficits” can’t come soon enough.

Greenspan notes that public debt has soared out-of-control in the last 18 months, from $5.5 trillion to $8.6 trillion.  Yet, “the typical symptoms of fiscal excess,” notably inflation and a drastic rise in long-term interest rates, remain “remarkably subdued.” The former Fed Chairman writes that such a phenomenon is “regrettable, because it is fostering a sense of complacency that can have dire consequences. … Beneath the calm, there are market signals that do not bode well for the future.”

Greenspan isn’t the first person, nor will he be last, to warn that the nation’s “current federal debt explosion is being driven by an inability to stem new spending initiatives” and that merely “incremental change” in fiscal policy “will not be adequate.” Indeed, everyday Americans concerned about the U.S. debt crisis and who have never before engaged in the political process are literally taking to the streets demanding a policy of fiscal restraint.

If only the Obama Administration and Congress would listen.   As Greenspan put it, the United States “is in need of a tectonic shift in fiscal policy. … Our economy cannot afford a major mistake in underestimating the corrosive momentum of this fiscal crisis.”

June 18th, 2010 at 12:19 pm
America’s Top Three Bizarro Candidates

Look!  Up in the sky!  It’s a female wrestler!  It’s a “meltdown mogul!”  No, it’s…Alvin Greene?

Thank goodness for the East Coast and its bipartisan craziness when it comes to U.S. Senate candidates.  In Connecticut former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon is using her millions to batter her Republican primary opponents with the financial equivalent of a conveniently located folding chair.

Florida’s Democratic primary just got more intriguing with the unexpected candidacy of Jeff Greene, a “meltdown mogul” who made a killing betting on the housing market collapse who had Mike Tyson serve as his best man.  The possibility of his beating establishment favorite Rep. Kendrick Meek has some party officials thinking about backing newly Independent Charlie Crist in the general election.

And let’s not forget South Carolina where the still mysterious Alvin Greene (no relation to Florida’s Jeff), was recently allowed to continue as the Democratic Party’s popularly chosen nomineeCFIF readers may recall that Alvin raised no money, did no campaigning, and cruised to a 60% victory apparently because of being listed first on the primary ballot.

CFIF will keep an eye on these and other races for you as the election heats up.

June 18th, 2010 at 11:32 am
Pressure on Hillary to Challenge Obama?

With most of the 2012 presidential speculation focusing on the Republican side, it’s interesting to read Peggy Noonan publicly musing about the possibility of Democratic insiders pressuring the Secretary of State to challenge President Obama for the party’s nomination.

And yet, it makes sense.  Reality or not, Hillary Clinton creates the impression that she would be obsessively involved with a crisis like the Gulf Oil Spill.  Unlike Obama, it’s hard to imagine her projecting anything other than complete control of the situation.  She is, after all, the grade school student who wrote a sixty-page term paper, and who infamously crafted her version of “comprehensive health care” reform without troubling members of Congress for their input.

For all his pretensions at remaking America in his own Progressive image, President Obama shows startling apathy for the nitty gritty of governance.  Americans need nitty gritty right now.  We need someone to show us that despite all its inefficiencies, government can still be made to work when it is absolutely necessary.

For Democrats, the person most able to do it may be just off stage left.

June 18th, 2010 at 11:24 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:  Obama’s Oval Office Infomercial
Lee:  “Net Neutrality” – Regulating Like It’s 1934
Ellis:  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: A Case Study on the Limits of Government

Freedom Minute Video:  The Green Bailout
Podcast:  Santa Rosa County (FL) Commissioner Gordon Goodin Discusses Oil Disaster in Gulf
Jester’s Courtroom:  Bingo Lawsuit Doesn’t Pay

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.

June 18th, 2010 at 10:30 am
Video: The Green Bailout
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In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino lambasts the Obama Administration and Congressional leadership for their shameless exploitation of the oil spill disaster in the Gulf to advance Cap-and-Trade:  their devastating plan to send energy prices skyrocketing.


June 18th, 2010 at 9:42 am
Has Elton John Been Hannitized?
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The Beatlemaniacs among us never would have predicted this, but what a refreshing antidote Elton John provides to Paul McCartney.

This month, McCartney put his foot in his mouth and provided even more evidence that John Lennon was the intellectual force behind the Beatles when he slurred President George W. Bush and mindlessly fawned over President Obama.  In public comments following his White House performance, and wearing a cheesy Members-Only style 1980s coat, McCartney said, “after the last eight years, it’s great to have a president who knows what a library is” before scurrying offstage.  This ignored Bush’s well-known prolific reading habit, and came one day after McCartney admonished reporters to “lay off” Obama.

Brilliant, Paul – the press’s primary job, after all, is to “lay off” the leader of the free world.

But now compare the case of Elton John.  This month, Sir Elton famously performed at Rush Limbaugh’s wedding, naturally upsetting the hyper-sensitive liberal chattering class.  Then, last night, John performed in Israel in defiance of other performers’ mindless boycott of that isolated nation.  He proudly stated that the other musicians’ boycotts “ain’t gonna stop me from playing here, baby,” and added, “we do not cherry-pick our consciences.”

No word yet on whether John will perform alongside Toby Keith at the next Grammy ceremony, but it’s nice to see some sanity among the pop music class.

June 18th, 2010 at 9:03 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Capping the Economy Instead of the Oil Spill
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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.

June 18th, 2010 at 8:32 am
Podcast: Local County Commissioner Discusses Oil Disaster in Gulf

In an interview with CFIF, Santa Rosa County (FL) Commissioner Gordon Goodin discussed the government’s response to the Deepwater Horizon incident and the severe economic impact on the Gulf Coast.

Listen to the interview here.

June 17th, 2010 at 3:37 pm
CFIF Criticizes FCC Ploy to Commandeer Internet Sector
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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 along purely partisan lines today to commence federal government micro-regulation of Internet service.  In response, Timothy Lee, CFIF’s Vice President of Legal and Public Affairs, issued the following statement

This spring, a unanimous D.C. Court of Appeals ruled that the FCC doesn’t possess authority to impose so-called ‘Net Neutrality’ over the Internet.  In a brazen ploy to circumvent the Court’s ruling, Chairman Genachowski and the FCC today began the process of classifying the Internet as a public utility under laws drafted for Depression-era landline telephones.  Their ultimate goal is to overregulate one of the few bright spots of the American economy. 

“The Internet sector has prospered over the past two decades precisely because the federal government has refrained from micromanaging it.  That ‘hands off’ policy spans both the Clinton and Bush administrations, during which time the Internet has become the most dynamic, innovative and promising sector of our economy and lives.

“That is why almost 250 members of Congress from both parties wrote the FCC admonishing it to refrain from unnecessary overregulation.  That’s why a unanimous D.C. Court of Appeals ruled that the FCC doesn’t possess authority to impose so-called ‘Net Neutrality’ over the Internet.  And, that’s why the American public opposes ‘Net Neutrality’ by a two-to-one margin. 

“Unfortunately, all that means nothing to Chairman Genachowski and those scheming to impose counterproductive and unnecessary regulations on the Internet by any means necessary. 

“The FCC’s destructive action will only create regulatory uncertainty, which will discourage private investment, Internet innovation, continued broadband expansion and job growth. 

“The Center for Individual Freedom now calls on all Americans to support H.R. 3924, sponsored Representative Marsha Blackburn (R–TN), which will ensure that Congress and the American people determine this matter, not unelected bureaucrats at the FCC.”