Archive for July, 2010
July 26th, 2010 at 8:56 am
Obama’s Security: “Those Are Journalists”
Posted by Print

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

July 24th, 2010 at 9:39 pm
Britain’s Coalition Government Plans to Decentralize Country’s National Health Service

I wonder if new British Prime Minister David Cameron offered any words of fiscal wisdom to President Barack Obama during the two leaders’ first meet-and-greet since assuming power.  If he did, Cameron should have pointed out that adopting an “austerity” budget program need not be code for lack of creativity.

Under a recently announced plan to decentralize much of the National Health Service (NHS), Cameron’s Coalition Government of Conservative and Liberal Democrats plans to “shift control of England’s $160 billion annual health care budget from a centralized bureaucracy to doctors at the local level,” reports the New York Times.  “Under the plan, $100 billion to $125 billion a year would be meted out to general practitioners, who would use the money to buy services from hospitals and other health care providers.”

Already one of the chief criticisms is that eliminating several layers of bureaucracy will cause several layers of bureaucrats to lose their jobs.

To which the Coalition responds, “And…?”   Britons realize that it’s time to make government spending fit within government budgets.  If the NHS is about health care for all – and not bureaucratic full employment – then it’s time to give patients and taxpayers the most value (and discretion) for their money.

If President Obama really wants to impose a stateside version of the NHS on Americans the least he could do is give the soon-to-be nationalized doctors the ultimate say in how they treat their patients.  Doing that would not only give doctors an incentive to stay in the profession, it would also drive up demand for entrepreneurs to fill in their business knowledge gaps with services to manage their new workload.

That sounds like a job-creating business opportunity to me; even if it is born more from government regulations rather than a purely free market need.  In the current political climate, though, it would be an improvement.

July 24th, 2010 at 9:10 pm
News Flash to Liberal Media Types: You’re Always on the Record

With the JournoList fiasco mercifully wheezing through its final lap, TIME contributor Joe Klein laments the death of his favorite online clubhouse.  Though Klein makes a manful effort to equate sharing emails off the record with sharing information and banter over drinks or dinner, he’s ultimately unconvincing.  The biggest difference between informal emails and informal person-to-person chats is that the former is written down, the latter is not.  A 40 year veteran of journalism like Klein ought to know that; especially when the substance of the correspondence is so nakedly partisan.

Besides, if it’s ever revealed that a group of U.S. Senators maintain a semi-secret email list for sharing off-color riffs and strategy sessions for undermining rivals, I suspect Joe Klein, author of Primary Colors, won’t hesitate to make a few bucks off being the first to break the story.

July 24th, 2010 at 7:41 pm
Could Jim Webb Be the Next Daniel Patrick Moynihan?

Former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) entered the pathway of clear thinking statesmanship when he authored The Negro Family: The Case for National Action, a landmark study on the forces ripping apart the black family and with it, black society.  The study became known colloquially as The Moynihan Report, catapulting a little known LBJ aide into the serious conversations about national policy.

A similar moon shot might happen to Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) after publishing an article calling for the abolition of affirmative action programs.  Though the entire column should be read, here are words that should ring true to all Americans:

Where should we go from here? Beyond our continuing obligation to assist those African-Americans still in need, government-directed diversity programs should end.

Nondiscrimination laws should be applied equally among all citizens, including those who happen to be white. The need for inclusiveness in our society is undeniable and irreversible, both in our markets and in our communities. Our government should be in the business of enabling opportunity for all, not in picking winners. It can do so by ensuring that artificial distinctions such as race do not determine outcomes.

Memo to my fellow politicians: Drop the Procrustean policies and allow harmony to invade the public mindset. Fairness will happen, and bitterness will fade away.

Much like Moynihan’s salvo over the bow of LBJ’s ‘War on Poverty,’ Webb’s contribution to America’s race talks is unexpected.  Webb’s words also echo the color blind sentiments in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and Chief Justice John Roberts’ commonsense observation that “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”
If nothing else, may Eric “(America is) a nation of cowards (on race)” Holder is congratulating Senator Webb for manning up and offering his thoughts…

July 24th, 2010 at 6:43 pm
ObamaCare’s Individual Mandate a “Commandeering of the People”?

In today’s Wall Street Journal constitutional law professor Randy Barnett makes an intriguing connection between the anti-government anger of millions of Americans and a currently accepted legal theory that may overturn ObamaCare’s individual mandate.

He notes that twice in the 1990s, the high court struck down federal mandates against state governments—one requiring legislatures to pass laws dealing with the transport of nuclear waste, and one mandating that police conduct background checks on gun buyers—saying they amounted to unconstitutional “commandeering” under the 10th Amendment. That amendment is usually thought of as protecting states’ rights, but note the final four words: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

“What is the individual mandate?” Mr. Barnett says. “I’ll tell you what the individual mandate, in reality, is. It is a commandeering of the people. . . . Now, is there a rule of law preventing that? No. Why isn’t there a rule of law preventing that? Because it’s never been done before. What’s bothering people about the mandate? This fact. It’s intuitive to them. People don’t even know how to explain it, but there’s something different about this, because it’s a commandeering of the people as a whole. . . . We commandeer people to serve in the military, to serve on juries, and to file a return and pay their taxes. That’s all we commandeer the people to do. This is a new kind of commandeering, and it’s offensive to a lot of people.”

Kudos to Barnett for providing a legal rationale for the frustration felt by millions of Tea Party activists.  Hopefully, swing voter Justice Anthony Kennedy is listening.

July 23rd, 2010 at 1:58 pm
CFIF’s Timothy Lee To Discuss Free Speech/Campaign Finance At Right Online
Posted by Print

CFIF Vice President for Legal and Public Affairs Timothy Lee will speak at Right Online, hosted this weekend in Las Vegas by Americans for Prosperity.  Mr. Lee will discuss First Amendment freedoms and so-called campaign finance “reform,” with particular reference to the Supreme Court’s welcome decision in Citizens United v. FEC and labor union abuse.

All are welcome and encouraged to attend, or follow the events on Twitter or Facebook, or the Highlights link.

July 23rd, 2010 at 1:46 pm
How Do You Solve a Problem Like Underemployment…for Lawyers?

The Obama Administration’s answer is to impose a blizzard of new regulations on industries like higher education, health care and now private business that make the federal government a national repository of TMI – too much information.

With news today that the White House is “backing legislation that includes regulations requiring U.S. businesses to provide to the government data about employee pay as it relates to sex, race and national origin of employees” another Democrat strategy is becoming clear.


  • Enforce liberal social engineering through complex litigation and class action lawsuits against for-profit and non-profit institutions that fail to promote the “uniform diversity” mandated by liberal elites.


  • Pass laws that require the targeted institutions to self-report every possible way they interact with favored liberal interest groups.
  • Data mine those reports for evidence of unsatisfactory compliance with political correctness standards.  Then label it “discrimination”.
  • Pass more laws prohibiting the newly discovered discrimination.
  • Allow liberal law firms like the ACLU – or the Holder Justice Department – to sue on behalf of the groups discriminated against.

This is not a joke.  Each time the Democrats in Congress pass a new “comprehensive reform” one of the components requires detailed self-reporting.  Right now, we’re told it’s just for information purposes.  In a year or two…

July 23rd, 2010 at 1:02 pm
CFIF Article Prompts Mass Resignations of Overpaid California Officials

Once CFIF reported on the outrageous compensation packages of top city officials in Bell, CA, the city council announced the following resignations just after midnight today: Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo ($787,637 annual salary); Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia ($376,288); and Police Chief Randy Adams ($457,000).

Although none of the three will get severance packages when they leave, all will get substantial taxpayer-funded pensions not to work.

Rizzo would be entitled to a state pension of more than $650,000 a year for life, according to calculations made by the Times. That would make Rizzo, 56, the highest-paid retiree in the state pension system.

Adams could get more than $411,000 a year.

Spaccia, 51, could be eligible for as much as $250,000 a year when she reaches 55, though the figure is less precise than for the other two officials, the Times said.

The reason these pensions are so high is simple.  In California, many state workers get pension awards based on their highest income earning year.  All the years of lower pay – decades’ worth! – are ignored.  Since the pension amount is a percentage of the worker’s best paid year, abuse is rampant.

Anyone familiar with the system knows a police officer, firefighter, state nurse or other public employee who arranges to get tons of overtime during their last 1 to 3 years of service.  Since overtime boosts a person’s highest annual income amount, it inflates the resulting pension percentage.  This allows thousands of California public employees to retire in their 50s making hundreds of thousands of dollars per year – for life – not to work.

In fact, that’s exactly the kind of retirement Bell Police Chief Randy Adams was enjoying when Bell officials approached him for the job.  Adams had retired as the police chief of Glendale, CA, and said he would only work for Bell if the city paid both his $165,000 annual salary and the amount he was making in retirement.  If we subtract $165,000 from his annual compensation of $457,000, we can see that Adams was making $262,000 a year in retirement.

This is insane.  The public employee unions who negotiate these kinds of ridiculous contracts – and the politicians who sign off on them – have corrupted both the budget process and the integrity of their offices.  A reckoning is coming at all levels of government for precisely this kind of behavior.  The “Bell Three” are just the first of many to be rung out of office.


July 23rd, 2010 at 11:03 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:

Lee:  John Lott: More Guns, Still Less Crime
Senik:  Getting to Yes: Republicans Don’t Need Ideas to Win, But They Need Them to Govern
Ellis:  A Tale of Two California Cities Provides Bellwether for Golden State’s Future
Action Alert:  Stop the BP Bailout

Freedom Minute Video:  Berwick’s Recess Appointment – A Faulty Prescription for Health Care
Podcast:  Interview with Sara Carter, National Security Correspondent at The Washington Examiner
Jester’s Courtroom:  Lawsuit a Shot in the Dark

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.

July 23rd, 2010 at 8:48 am
Video: A Faulty Prescription for Health Care
Posted by Print

In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino discusses President Obama’s recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick, a man who openly supports health care rationing, to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.


July 23rd, 2010 at 7:29 am
Podcast: Arizona’s Immigration Law and Other National Security Issues
Posted by Print

In an interview with CFIF, Washington Examiner National Security Correspondent Sara Carter discusses the impact of Arizona’s new immigration law on the Mexican drug wars, US/Israeli relations in the wake of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent meeting with President Obama, and other national security issues.

Listen to the interview here.

July 22nd, 2010 at 11:39 pm
More Public Pension Insanity
Posted by Print

Following on from my column last week, Steven Greenhut, editor-in-chief of, sits down with Reason to explore the excesses of public pensions and public-sector workers in general, especially in California. Enjoy, if you can stomach it:

July 21st, 2010 at 10:17 am
Obama: No Business Owner In Their Right Mind Will Hire Anyone Until I’m Gone
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.

July 20th, 2010 at 3:11 pm
Senator Lindsey Graham Votes for Elena Kagan

Who else but quixotic Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) would use the following justification?

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., broke with his party to cast the sole GOP “yes” vote on President Obama’s nominee to succeed retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. The vote was 13-6.

“What’s in Elena Kagan’s heart is that of a good person who adopts a philosophy I disagree with,” Graham said. “She will serve this nation honorably, and it would not have been someone I would have chosen, but the person who did choose, President Obama, I think chose wisely.”

Is it wise to support someone you fundamentally disagree with, and who you think will misinterpret the Constitution?  Is it honorable to vote one way in committee, and then flip-flop when the vote is before the full Senate?

And make no mistake; Graham did this because he’s trying to curry favor with the Obama Administration on another deal.  Already President Barack is using the fig leaf of Graham’s lone Republican “Aye” vote to claim Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan has “bipartisan” support.

Though Graham won’t be up for reelection until 2014, Chris Cilizza is already speculating on possible primary opponents.

July 20th, 2010 at 10:19 am
Five Reasons Why Sen. Harry Reid’s Joblessness Ploy Is a Bad Idea
Posted by Print

Senate Majority Leader (for the time being, at least)  Harry Reid (D – Nevada) mistakenly believes that he’s got a winning card with his scheduled vote today on yet another unemployment benefit extension.  Reid, along with co-conspirators Nancy Pelosi and President Obama, predictably mischaracterize Republican opposition to the vote that will immediately follow the introduction of replacement West Virginia Senator Carte Goodwin.

But here are some facts.  First, Senate Republicans only request that unemployment benefit extensions be offset with cuts in other forms of runaway federal spending.  Second, Harry Reid’s proposed extension will add $30 billion to this year’s projected $1.4 trillion deficit.  Third, unemployment benefits already stretch for 99 weeks – almost two full years.  Fourth, there have already been seven extensions in unemployment benefits during the period in which Obama’s $1 trillion “stimulus” spending has instead managed to stifle what should be a robust cyclical rebound by this point.  Fifth, even Obama’s own economic advisers have proclaimed that jobless benefits actually perpetuate and exacerbate unemployment itself.

Here’s the better policy prescription:  prevent upcoming tax increases, slow the federal government’s breakneck spending expansion and reduce the threat of anti-growth regulatory uncertainty.  When we implemented those prescriptions during the Reagan Administration, we witnessed astounding two-year gross domestic product growth of approximately 7% over eight consecutive quarters in 1983-1984.  How much longer will it take Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama to finally learn that simple lesson?

July 19th, 2010 at 9:00 pm
The Republican Version of ‘Deflation’

According to some economists, deflation is the biggest financial risk to the American economy.  In a nutshell, deflation means prices are decreasing, which is usually caused by merchants trying to stimulate declining demand by selling goods cheaper.  If the lower prices don’t sell, people get laid off, factories shut down and there is no joy in Mudville.

It turns out that many Republican Senate candidates are threatening their own version of deflation; part economic, part emotional.  Former presidential speechwriter Marc Thiessen shows that many of the favored GOP Senate challengers are, in fact, big spenders.   Mark Kirk (IL), Mike Castle (DE), Roy Blunt (MO) and John Hoeven (ND) – even one-time Tea Party darling Scott Brown (MA) – are all “vetted” politicians whose records predict senators who will be voting “Yes” when it comes to spending in the national interest.

In an election cycle where Tea Party-backed a candidate like Sharron Angle (R-NV) is being called “wacky” for daring to suggest Social Security should be privatized, it’s easy to overlook the fact that Republican control of the Senate may not have much effect on the chamber’s legislative output.

Nothing would deflate Tea Party aspirations more than a Republican Senate that could get more members to caucus with the likes of pro-stimulus, pro-financial reform Olympia Snowe (R-ME) rather than fiscal conservative stalwart Jim DeMint (R-SC).  If that happens, get ready for a third party bid that severely cripples the Republican brand.

July 19th, 2010 at 2:21 pm
More Wisdom from Across the Pond
Posted by Print

As CFIF’s own Ashton Ellis chronicled last week, we’re living in an era where developments in British politics hold many salient lessons for those of us slogging it out in the new world.

But whereas Brother Ellis found inspiration for the Tea Party Movement in the Cameron-Clegg coalition, the UK Telegraph’s Janet Daley sees a more insidious trend heading stateside: the unity of liberalism with class snobbery. In a few brilliant passages:

What is [startling] is the growth in America of precisely the sort of political alignment which we have known for many years in Britain: an electoral alliance of the educated, self-consciously (or self-deceivingly, depending on your point of view) “enlightened” class with the poor and deprived.

America, in other words, has discovered bourgeois guilt. A country without a hereditary nobility has embraced noblesse oblige. Now, there is nothing inherently strange or perverse about people who lead successful, secure lives feeling a sense of responsibility toward those who are disadvantaged. What is peculiar in American terms is that this sentiment is taking on precisely the pseudo-aristocratic tone of disdain for the aspiring, struggling middle class that is such a familiar part of the British scene.

Liberal politics is now – over there as much as here – a form of social snobbery. To express concern about mass immigration, or reservations about the Obama healthcare plan, is unacceptable in bien-pensant circles because this is simply not the way educated people are supposed to think. It follows that those who do think (and talk) this way are small-minded bigots, rednecks, oiks, or whatever your local code word is for “not the right sort”.

Ms. Daley’s analysis is as accurate as it is insightful. Among the many lessons Barack Obama has failed to take from Bill Clinton, this may be among the most politically relevant: alienate the middle class, scoff at its sensibilities, and kiss your mandate goodbye. And that’s what will happen if the Democrats don’t manage to break free of the grip of the Berkeley-Cambridge wing of their party.

July 19th, 2010 at 12:08 pm
ObamaCare Tax: So Did Obama Lie… Twice?
Posted by Print

Even proponents of ObamaCare are now admitting that Obama “has not been honest with the American people about the nature of this bill.”  Those are the words of Yale University professor Jack Balkin, who actually supports the bill.

Throughout his candidacy and now into his presidency, Barack Obama solemnly promised American voters that he wouldn’t raise taxes on anyone earning under $250,000 per year.  Not just income taxes – he said “any form” of taxes.  When he, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid subsequently dumped their ObamaCare monstrosity upon the resistant nation, however, the bill contained an individual mandate under which Americans who failed to purchase insurance for whatever reason would be assessed a punitive tax.  When career liberal George Stephanopoulos pointed out  to Obama during an ABC News interview that this mandate constitutes a tax, even reading a straightforward definition of “tax” from a dictionary, Obama petulantly objected.

That pesky interview from September now safely behind him, however, get a load of the Obama Administration’s new position on the matter.  In its legal brief defending ObamaCare against the lawsuit to overturn it brought by fifteen different states, Obama contends that the Constitution empowers the federal government “power to lay and collect taxes.”

Thus, it appears that Obama intentionally offered two falsehoods to the American people:  (1) that he would not increase “any form” of taxes upon anyone earning less than $250,000, and (2) that he didn’t consider ObamaCare’s individual mandate a “tax.”  How much deeper can this man bury his campaign false promise of “hope” and “change?”

July 19th, 2010 at 10:22 am
Ramirez Cartoon: The Obama Pack Mule
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.

July 17th, 2010 at 8:21 pm
Economic Primer: Austrians v. Keynesians

For an easy-to-understand introduction (or refresher) on the two economic theories competing for the hearts and minds of Western government policymakers, check out the first two-thirds of this article from investment advisor Przemyslaw Radomski.

Though it might be tempting to think of Keynesians as big spending Democrats and Austrians as limited government (or none at all) Republicans, it’s better to think of Keynesians as economists who work in government and academia, while Austrians are economists who make their money betting against Keynesian policies.  After meeting several Austrian investment advisors at last week’s Freedom Fest convention, I can tell you that Austrians are making very good money in this recession.

I link, you decide.