Archive for November, 2012
November 19th, 2012 at 2:06 pm
Will 2013 Be Like 1937?

If you’re a conservative looking for reasons to be thankful this November, don’t read Amity Shlaes’ column at Bloomberg today.  In it, the author of books on Calvin Coolidge and the Great Depression identifies four factors that make 2013 seem like 1937 – a pre-election government spending spree; talks of deficit reduction thereafter; presidential attacks on high-income earners; and the economic fallout from first-term “comprehensive reforms” like Social Security and Obamacare.

According to Shlaes, the combination caused “the depression within the Depression.”  Not something one wants to think about this time of year.

November 17th, 2012 at 10:35 am
Obamacare Medical Device Tax Already Killing Jobs

Recently, Quin argued that Obamacare’s medical device tax would be a huge job-killer if implemented.  A story from Fox News about massive layoffs at medical supply giant Stryker confirms his grim prediction:

The company will cut 1,170 jobs, or five percent of its worldwide workforce…

A “medical device excise tax” included in the mandate imposes a 2.3 percent levy on medical device manufacturers and suppliers, which critics say will raise prices on everything from pacemakers to prosthetics to stents. Companies will be required to pay the tax regardless if they have a profit or loss for the year. The tax is estimated to cost the medical device industry $20 billion.

“Here we are, one of the greatest industries in the country, and we’re staring down on Jan. 1, 2013 and the addition of a 2.3 percent excise tax, while meanwhile on the other side all the discussion in Washington is about creating jobs,” Stryker President and CEO Stephen McMillian said during a national conference of medical device manufacturers in Washington, D.C. last September.

November 16th, 2012 at 7:04 pm
Republican ACHIEVE Act Won’t Fix Immigration Problem

Matt Lewis of The Daily Caller summarizes the main proposals in the ACHIEVE Act, a Republican version of the Obama-approved DREAM Act:

Essentially, the proposal involves several tiers: W-1 visa status would allow an immigrant to attend college or serve in the military (they have six years to get a degree). After doing so, they would be eligible to apply for a four-year nonimmigrant work visa (also can be used for graduate degrees.)

Next, applicants would be eligible to apply for a permanent visa (no welfare benefits.) Finally, after a set number of years, citizenship “could follow…”

Then follows a laundry list of criteria for securing citizenship that – surprise! – is much less generous to children of illegal immigrants than the DREAM Act.

I applaud the GOP Senators and staff who are trying to deliver a coherent response to the Democrats’ backdoor amnesty proposal.  But the conservative contribution to comprehensive immigration reform won’t be made by low-balling benefits to an ethnic voting bloc.

Instead, conservatives need to put together a package of border security and visa reforms that seizes control of United States immigration policy.  If those reforms are agreed to only then should they seriously consider swallowing hard on the DREAM Act.

Conservatives aren’t any good at concocting government giveaways.  That’s a liberal’s skill set.  Rather, it would be much better, as a matter of integrity and competency, for conservatives to hold out for real border security and real money to fund it.  At least then we could point to a real achievement instead of being outbid yet again.

November 16th, 2012 at 6:24 pm
ATF Finds New Source for Fast & Furious Guns?

Commentary from the National Rifle Association says new gun control legislation could be just around the corner:

…not long after Obama floated the idea of banning semi-automatic firearms, we learned that California Senator Dianne Feinstein was working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to draft new legislation that would ban semi-automatic rifles, shotguns and handguns, so-called “high capacity” magazines, and rifles and shotguns with pistol grips. Reportedly, Feinstein wants to make it illegal not just to sell your guns and magazines, but to leave them behind in your will.

Taking a step back, I can see the ATF’s point.  After walking more than 2,000 guns into the arms of Mexican drug lords, they need a new source for weapons.  What better way to get them than from the cold dead hands of law-abiding Americans?

November 16th, 2012 at 11:30 am
This Week’s Liberty Update
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Center For Individual Freedom - Liberty Update

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

Ellis:  Five GOP Bills Obama Should Support
Lee:  Inconvenient Truth: Antarctic Sea Ice Grows to Record Size
Hillyer:  Silence of the Media Lambs
Senik:  Obama’s Foreign Policy: Flawed Policy, Failed People

Podcast:  The Growing Scandal Surrounding General Petraeus
Jester’s Courtroom:  Guest Falls Head Over Heels and Sues Hollywood Star

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.

November 15th, 2012 at 8:51 am
Ramirez Cartoon: General Petraeus
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

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

November 14th, 2012 at 5:04 pm
Obama’s False Machismo
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Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham preempted President Obama’s East Room press conference this morning by announcing that they would attempt to block — through use of the filibuster, if necessary — the potential nomination of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.

Their rationale: Rice was directly responsible for propogating the Administration’s now completely-disproved contention that the Benghazi terrorist attacks were the product of an angry mob that spontaneously turned to violence. Whether Rice is guilty of incompetence or deception (there’s really no other plausible alternative), McCain and Graham argued, no one who was party to the Benghazi debacle should be expecting a promotion.

That stance led to the president attempting to go all alpha male in his remarks at the White House:

“When they go after the U.N. ambassador, apparently because they think she’s an easy target, then they’ve got a problem with me,” Obama said. “And should I choose, if I think that she would be the best person to serve America in the capacity at the State Department, then I will nominate her.”

“Then they’ve got a problem with me?” Obama might as well have gone with “Nobody puts baby in a corner.”

No one is actually afraid of this president. Which is why Graham’s response was so perfect:

Mr. President, don’t think for one minute I don’t hold you ultimately responsible for Benghazi.  I think you failed as Commander in Chief before, during, and after the attack.

Just so. The White House is going to need more than bluster to dodge accountability for what happened in Libya.

November 14th, 2012 at 2:58 pm
Pathetic Press Corps

The Enemies of the American People — a.k.a., the White House press corps — were, by normal standards, only halfway pathetic at today’s Obama genuflection exercise. But, considering that he hasn’t taken their questions for eight months, and considering the seriousness of the questions that needed to be asked, and considering that they had an opportunity to lay down a marker showing they would kowtow less to His Oneness than before, their performance today compared to what it should have been was fully pathetic. More on The Enemies later this week…..

November 13th, 2012 at 8:21 pm
35,000 People Want Texas to Secede

A story in the Houston Chronicle on being careful what you wish for:

When the White House promised that any online petition getting more than 25,000 signatures would get a thorough review and an official response, officials probably weren’t thinking about requests for secession.

But on Monday – less than a week after President Barack Obama‘s re-election – a petition on the White House website calling for Texas to secede from the union has received more than 35,000 signatures, far more than similar requests from other states.

November 13th, 2012 at 7:34 pm
Obama Shuts Down More Energy Development Out West
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It was just a few weeks ago that President Obama was on the debate stage telling that nation that Mitt Romney had unfairly tarred his administration as anti-energy development:

We have increased oil production to the highest levels in 16 years … Now, I want to build on that. And that means, yes, we still continue to open up new areas for drilling.

As I noted at the time, Obama’s defense of his record was essentially dishonest. Increased oil production was due almost entirely to a combination of private-sector development and federal efforts initiated by the Bush Administration. As for his pledge to open up new drilling sites? Well, judge for yourself. From The Hill:

The Interior Department on Friday issued a final plan to close 1.6 million acres of federal land in the West originally slated for oil shale development.

The proposed plan would fence off a majority of the initial blueprint laid out in the final days of the George W. Bush administration. It faces a 30-day protest period and a 60-day process to ensure it is consistent with local and state policies. After that, the department would render a decision for implementation.

Interior’s Bureau of Land Management cited environmental concerns for the proposed changes. Among other things, it excised lands with “wilderness characteristics” and areas that conflicted with sage grouse habitats.

The sage grouse, it should be noted, is not endangered, though it is on the waiting list to earn that classification. In 2010, the Fish and Wildlife Service described the bird’s status as, “numerous relatively small populations existing in a patchy mosaic of increasingly fragmented habitat.” Count me skeptical that  a population in such shape requires 1.6 million acres (2,500 square miles) to survive.

November 12th, 2012 at 2:02 pm
Does Obama Owe His Reelection to Right-to-Work Laws?
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Oh, irony of ironies. What little hope there is on the economic front (which was at least sufficient to reelect the president) may have stemmed from policies antithetical to his worldview. From the National Institute for Labor Relations Research:

Right to Work states (excluding Indiana [which didn’t implement its right-to-work law until earlier this year]) were responsible for 72% of all net household job growth across the U.S. from June 2009 through September 2012.  If these states’ job increase had been no better than the 0.85% experienced by forced-unionism states as a group, the nationwide job increase would have been less than half as great.  And the President wouldn’t have been able even to pretend the economy was in recovery.

November 12th, 2012 at 1:39 pm
After Immigration Reform, Then What?

Peter Beinart says the GOP’s “Hispanic problem” is about more than just immigration reform and competing forms of amnesty:

Hispanics do feel that the economic system is “stacked against them” and they do “want stuff” like health care, college-tuition assistance, and other government benefits that might help them get ahead. According to Pew, while only 41 percent of Americans as a whole say they want a bigger government that provides more services, a whopping 75 percent of Hispanics do.

Food for thought for those thinking Marco Rubio’s version of the DREAM Act or another legal quick fix will suddenly flip Hispanics from Democrats to Republicans.

November 9th, 2012 at 3:51 pm
Petraeus Out at CIA

The reason given is that the married general-turned-Director of the CIA had an affair.  That’s horrible.  But if this is a smokescreen to dodge responsibility for the Benghazi fiasco, the story – and David Petraeus’ reputation – will get worse.

November 9th, 2012 at 12:09 pm
Good News From Michigan

Amidst all the bad news in this election, here’s a ray of light: Conservatives held on to a majority on the tightly contested Michigan Supreme Court, with conservative superstar Stephen Markman one of two on the right who won re-election. Michigan voters also rejected, overwhelmingly, a union-backed constitutional amendment to try to enshrine incredibly broad union powers into the state’s fundamental law.

Markman’s re-election is particularly good news. He is a veteran of the wars for a textualist interpretation of the Constitution, and also teaches at the wonderful Hillsdale College.

November 9th, 2012 at 11:27 am
This Week’s Liberty Update
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Center For Individual Freedom - 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:  The GOP’s ‘Inclusion Problem’
Ellis:  Obama Should Accept Boehner’s Offer to Deal
Lee:  A Good Man and a Good Campaign, but a Candidate Who Could Not Win
Hillyer:  Serious Republican Failures

Freedom Minute Video: Saluting America’s Heroes
Podcast:  Unfunded Pension Liabilities: The Next Federal Bailout?
Jester’s Courtroom:  Penny for Your Thoughts; Thousands for a Quote

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.

November 9th, 2012 at 7:24 am
Ramirez Cartoon: The Transformation of America
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

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

November 8th, 2012 at 8:32 pm
UN Gun Controllers Renew Push After Obama Reelection

This summer’s UN gun control treaty collapsed once the United States decided to reject text that would have opened the door to global restrictions on the right to bear arms.

But now that Barack Obama survived his reelection bid, gun control advocates at the UN are hoping he’s more flexible if given another chance to vote on the treaty.

…the U.N. General Assembly’s disarmament committee moved quickly after Obama’s win to approve a resolution calling for a new round of talks March 18-28. It passed with 157 votes in favor, none against and 18 abstentions.

Heaven help us.

H/T: Reuters

November 8th, 2012 at 4:17 pm
Oh, By the Way …
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You know, things got so busy in those last few days before the election — the hurricane, the swing state stops, the basketball game — that the President may have forgotten to tell you a thing or two. Like:

Two Iranian Su-25 fighter jets fired on an unarmed U.S. Air Force Predator drone in the Persian Gulf last week, CNN has learned.

The incident raises fresh concerns within the Obama administration about Iranian military aggression in crucial Gulf oil shipping lanes.

The drone was in international airspace east of Kuwait, U.S. officials said, adding it was engaged in routine maritime surveillance.

Although the drone was not hit, the Pentagon is concerned.

Four years and counting. Surely that unclenched fist is just around the corner.

November 8th, 2012 at 3:47 pm
Holder Sounds Like He’s Leaving

Sounds like the Contempt of Congress citation and ongoing Fast and Furious litigation is getting to the Attorney General:

“That’s something that I’m in the process now of trying to determine,” Holder said. “I have to think about, can I contribute in a second term?”

“[I have to] really ask myself the question about, do I think there are things that I still want to do? Do I have gas left in the tank? It’s been an interesting and tough four years, so I really just don’t know,” Holder told [a group of law] students.

If Alberto Gonzalez can be hounded into resigning for firing federal prosecutors who work for him, then Eric Holder can be shown the door for hiding his role in a gun-walking program that killed dozens of Mexicans and at least one American Border Patrol agent.

Assuming Holder leaves, the next question is whether Obama can find his version of Michael Mukasey to replace him.

If so, it would be one of a series of smart moves the President could do to get his second term off to a bipartisan start.

H/T: CBS News

November 8th, 2012 at 2:22 pm
Podcast – Unfunded Pension Liabilities: The Next Federal Bailout?
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Kristina Rasmussen, Executive Vice President of the Illinois Policy Institute, discusses the growing state pension fund crisis and the possibility that the federal government could move to bail them out.

Listen to the interview here.