Senate Democrats struck a deal Wednesday night with Republicans that will keep President Obama from making recess appointments while Congress is out of town campaigning for the midterm elections.
Democratic leaders have agreed to schedule pro-forma sessions of the Senate every week over the next six weeks, a move that will prevent Obama from making emergency appointments, according to Senate sources briefed on the talks. . .
Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had threatened to send Obama’s most controversial nominees back to the president if Democrats did not agree to schedule pro-forma sessions, according to a senior GOP aide. . .
Under Senate rules, the chamber may only carry over pending nominees during an extended recess if senators agree by unanimous consent. . . The deal saved several of Obama’s most controversial nominees from a reset.
The Venezuelan opposition has won a popular majority in legislative elections. Unfortunately, because of the way Chavez has rigged the electoral system, the opposition may still fall short of achieving the two-fifths of the seats that they need to prevent Chavez from ruling by decree.
The Obama administration is developing plans that would require all Internet-based communication services — such as encrypted BlackBerry e-mail, Facebook, and Skype — to be capable of complying with federal wiretap orders, according to a report published Monday.
This may or may not be a good idea (I think not), but of one thing you may be sure: If this were President Bush’s proposal, the left (in which I include the mainstream media) would be going beserk. There would not be enough trees for all the editorials the New York Times would write.
A new study has found that playing video games trains people to make correct decisions faster, and that skill applies to everyday activities as well. Interestingly, the effect applies to “action video games” but not “slow-moving strategy games”.
What I find most remarkable about the story is this comment:
The buyers of the first house are allowed to retain the house under Australian federal law. This law is designed to protect innocent third parties who are not responsible for questionable practices or illegal activity. They conducted a transaction in good faith and are not to be held accountable or fiscally responsible for the action.
The gentleman in question, Mr. Mildenhall, will be compensated from a fund set aside by the government to settle the dispute.
If this commenter is to be believed (and no one has contradicted him), Australia has decided that buyers of stolen property get to keep it. I find that amazing. Another commenter puts it well:
Having a law that “protects innocent 3rd parties” when they buy what amounts to stolen goods seems like a bad idea. If the purchaser loses some/all of their money when stolen property is reclaimed and returned to the original owner, then purchasers have an incentive to make sure they are purchasing legally-obtained goods from a legit seller. Australian law seems to encourage everyone to remain as ignorant of the circumstances as possible, so that they can buy things on the sly.
The Black Panther scandal has hit the big time, with the Washington Post deigning to cover Christopher Coates’s devastating testimony before the US Commission on Civil Rights:
A veteran Justice Department lawyer accused his agency Friday of being unwilling to pursue racial discrimination cases on behalf of white voters, turning what had been a lower-level controversy into an escalating political headache for the Obama administration.
During a daily intelligence briefing in May 2009, [national intelligence director Dennis] Blair warned the president that radicals with American and European passports were being trained in Pakistan to attack their homelands. [White House chief of staff Rahm] Emanuel afterward chastised him, saying, “You’re just trying to put this on us so it’s not your fault.”
To these guys, It’s not about protecting America. It’s about who the blame lands on.
Scott Johnson has a post on the plight of Molly Norris, who had the idea for “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” and is now in hiding after a fatwa issued by Anwar al-Awlaki, the Al Qaeda imam.
With this sort of thing happening all the more often, I have a modest proposal. The US government should create a program to protect individuals who get Islamist death threats as a result of their free speech. This would be a concrete step that our government could take to defend free speech, and defending our rights is a core function of the government.
The UK’s version of the IRS has a proposal for simplifying tax collection: confiscation. Employers would send paychecks to the government rather than employees. The government would then pass on to the employee what it thinks appropriate.
Newsweek is attacking the Republicans’ pledge to pass only constitutional bills, not as unnecessary, but actually as dangerous:
Not so harmless, however, is the promise to require every bill to be certified as constitutional before it is voted on. We have a mechanism for assessing the constitutionality of legislation, which is the independent judiciary. An extraconstitutional attempt to limit the powers of Congress is dangerous even as a mere suggestion, and it constitutes an encroachment on the judiciary.
Got that? For Congress to limit itself to constitutional legislation is dangerous. And it’s not just Newsweek. Does two make a meme?
POSTSCRIPT: Taking this drivel more seriously than it deserves, RameshPonnuru offers a substantive rebuttal: Marbury v. Madison, the Supreme Court case that invented judicial review, specifically cited Congress’s duty to consider the constitutionality of legislation.
Does the FDIC maintain a list of politically connected banks that get special treatment? The FDIC says no. The Washington Post says yes:
A Washington Post review of documents and interviews with many involved in the decisions show that regulators flagged [OneUnited Bank] early on for its “highly visible” connection – in OneUnited’s case, a former board member who is married to Waters, the chairman of an important banking subcommittee. The alert was part of a previously undisclosed practice at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. of trying to identify banks that might cause “unnecessary press or public relations” problems, according to testimony a top FDIC official gave to House ethics investigators.
Then, the bank won a rare chance to make its case for help to top Treasury Department officials.
The owner of the Las Vegas Review-Journal has for the first time been hit with a counterclaim over its online copyright infringement lawsuit campaign, with attorneys for the Electronic Frontier Foundation accusing the newspaper of entering a “sham” relationship with the Review-Journal’s copyright enforcement partner Righthaven LLC — and accusing Righthaven of copyright fraud.
The EFF is also recruiting attorneys to represent Righthaven’s victims free of charge.
When Tennessee passed a law allowing permit holders to carry guns in state parks, gun opponents claimed there would be a surge of violence. Parks would become free-fire zones. They always say things like that. And, as always, they were wrong.
John Podhoretz explains where Christine O’Donnell came from. She’s much better than the “bearded Marxist” she’s running against, but it’s hard to be convinced that Delaware Republicans made the best choice.
Have you been encouraged by the way Americans have been paring down their debt in the last couple of years? Don’t be. Essentially all of it is due to defaults. Setting defaults aside, Americans have been cutting debt at a 0.08% rate.
That’s how the administration can claim to have created 200k green jobs. The other trick, of course, is the usual one: to look at only one side of the ledger, and not count the jobs that were destroyed by the same policies.
WJLA-TV has fired veteran anchorman Doug McKelway for a verbal confrontation this summer with the station’s news director that came after McKelway broadcast a sharply worded live report about congressional Democrats and President Obama. . .
[General Manager Bill] Lord took exception to McKelway’s reporting and asked to meet with him, according to several station sources who were granted anonymity to discuss the sensitive personnel matter. A shouting match between the two men ensued, leading to McKelway’s suspension, sources said.
This is sort of impressive: Paul Krugman simultaneously castigates Republicans for the fiscal irresponsibility of wanting to extend tax cuts for the rich that cost about $700 billion–and for irresponsibly threatening the extension of tax cuts for the middle class which cost three times as much. Yet you could read the entire column and not realize that it’s the middle class tax cuts which are the really expensive, budget-busting bit.
Dahlia Lithwick, Slate’s legal writer, not only thinks that legislators should ignore the question of whether their bills are constitutional, she thinks that to do otherwise is simply bizarre:
I have been fascinated by Christine O’Donnell’s constitutional worldview since her debate with her opponent Chris Coons last week. O’Donnell explained that “when I go to Washington, D.C., the litmus test by which I cast my vote for every piece of legislation that comes across my desk will be whether or not it is constitutional.” How weird is that, I thought. Isn’t it a court’s job to determine whether or not something is, in fact, constitutional? And isn’t that sort of provided for in, well, the Constitution?
Lithwick is also apparently ignorant of basic constitutional case law, the very subject she presumes to write about. The concept of judicial review does not appear explicitly in the Constitution; it was introduced by the Supreme Court in Marbury v. Madison.
I’ll give Lithwick this though; she has summarized the left’s take on the Constitution perfectly. To wit: flagrantly disregard it, and see if anyone ever reels you in.
Helmke also says he gets “nervous” when gun advocates “talk about taking up arms against the government.” He explained, “When someone thinks that they, on their own, can decide that somehow the government is tyrannical and that they can start a revolution, start a civil war, then we’re not following the process that our founding fathers set up.”
Actually, that’s exactly the process that our founding fathers used.
In testimony before a Congressional committee on Thursday, Schapiro defended the legislation, section 9291 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which allows the SEC to reject some requests for documents.
The provision “enhances the commission’s ability to examine regulated entities by making clear that the commission may protect, in appropriate circumstances, information gathered in the examination process,” Schapiro said.
Of course, every regulatory agency gathers information. How the SEC is different from the rest is beyond me.
But have no fear:
But Schapiro said the SEC will not use the law to cover up its mistakes. To the contrary, she said, the agency has issued guidance to ensure that its employees remain committed to “principles of open government.”
Oh, they promise not to abuse their power? I’m so relieved.
Charlie Crist, the RINO turned not-Republican-at-all running for Senate from Florida, pushed for an audit of Florida Republican Party credit cards. His Republican opponent, Marco Rubio, has taken some heat for misuse of party credit cards and Crist thought an audit would embarrass him further.
Some of the country’s most prominent health insurance companies have decided to stop offering new child-only plans, rather than comply with rules in the new health-care law that will require such plans to start accepting children with preexisting medical conditions after Sept. 23.
Who ever could have predicted such a thing?
The usual suspects are, of course, outraged that companies are pulling out of a sector that the government has made into a money-losing proposition:
“We’re just days away from a new era when insurance companies must stop denying coverage to kids just because they are sick, and now some of the biggest changed their minds,” Ethan Rome, executive director of Health Care for America Now, an advocacy group, said in a statement. “[It] is immoral, and to blame their appalling behavior on the new law is patently dishonest.”
I always find it amusing when the left is deeply offended at its inability to repeal the laws of economics.
BONUS: Even from a leftist viewpoint, in what sense is it “patently dishonest”? Rome himself, in the very same statement, acknowledges the reason for the company’s decision, even as he deplores it. So how are the insurance companies being dishonest? It seems that the health-care-nationalization crowd is so used to calling their opponents dishonest that they don’t even notice when it makes no logical sense.
We really didn’t like getting 2% back on all our credit card purchases. So thanks, Democrats, for putting a stop to that with your new credit card law. We’ll take comfort in the fact that all that money will now go to subsidize people with bad credit.
New documents obtained by Judicial Watch prove that, contrary to statements made the Justice Department (some of which were under oath), the decision to dismiss the voter intimidation case against the Black Panthers was made by political appointees, not career staff.
RELATED: Glenn Fine, the DOJ inspector general, will investigate Eric Holder’s voting rights record. However, Fine is a Clinton appointee, so don’t be shocked if he come back with a whitewash.
This morning I decided that there’s no future in Computer Science, and I’m going to go into business for myself. I’ve decided to become a lobbyist.
For a long time I’ve kept my telepathic powers secret, but today I’m coming out of the closet. I will use my long-distance mind-control powers turn the levers of government in favor of my clients. There will be a hefty fee of course, but nothing compared to what those other lobbyists cost. They have to spend lots of money actually meeting with politicians. My way is much more cost-effective.
I understand that some of you may be skeptical of my powers, so I’ve carried out a small demonstration. Without leaving the comfort of my office, I have telepathically persuaded Sen. James Inhofe to oppose cap-and-trade. I have also gotten Rep. Ron Paul to support a return to the gold standard. Furthermore, unlike many lobbyists, my influence is not limited to one party. I have telepathically induced President Obama to favor heavy interference in the financial industry and oppose tax cuts for the wealthy, and I’ve induced Rep. Dennis Kucinich to oppose space-based mind control weapons (I can’t have the competition, you know).
Attention all special interests! Now that you can see my powers, I’m sure that you will want to retain my services immediately.
No? Why on earth not? I am at least as effective as that lobbyist mentioned in that New York Times article who got John Boehner to oppose cap-and-trade and various tax increases and price controls!
I was all set to do a blog entry lambasting Microsoft for teaming with the Russian government to use charges (often bogus) of software piracy to persecute human rights organizations. The title was going to be Evil empire meets evil empire.
But Microsoft did the right thing. Within a day of the New York Times story, Microsoft issued a blanket license for human rights groups. The license applies automatically, without any need to apply. I have no doubt that Russia will find other ways to persecute its dissidents, but they won’t be able to use Microsoft to do it.
Democrats often accuse Republicans of questioning their patriotism, and those accusations almost never have any merit. On the other hand, when a politician really does question his opponents’ patriotism, it’s pretty much always a Democrat.
Power Line is up in arms over the NYT’s hatchet piece against likely-soon-to-be-Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). They’re right of course; the NYT piece was absurd. It actually claimed — no joke — that Boehner is in the pocket of lobbyists because he opposed cap-and-trade, caps on debit card fees, tax hikes on hedge funds, and various other idiotic Democratic policies that Republicans oppose already.
But what I think is more interesting is the timing of the NYT piece. If you do a search on New York Times stories about John Boehner, you don’t see a lot of hatchet jobs. Boehner simply hasn’t been a target for the NYT. But, the NYT hopped on the anti-Boehner bandwagon within three days of White House’s decision to campaign against him. The only other NYT attack piece I could find directed at Boehner is a Paul Krugman column that also came out after the White House designated its target.
There is no plausible inference other than this: The New York Times takes its cues from the Democratic leadership.
There’s an interesting coda to Kathleen Sebelius’s overt threats against health insurers that tell their customers that premium increases are resulting from Obamacare. Sebelius claimed that administration experts had determined that Obamacare’s early provisions would have a “minimal impact on premiums”.
That’s ridiculous on the face of it: if the cost of the new benefits were minimal, insurers would be offering them already. But we needn’t rely on economics and common sense. Sebelius’s own agency found that the new provisions would increase some premiums by as much as 7%. In comparison, the premium increases that she is blasting range from 1% to 9%. Even at the high end of that range, they’re not much higher than HHS’s own estimate.
I would rather the Delaware Senate primary had gone differently. Mike Castle would have won the seat easily, and although he certainly is not perfect, he is good enough. Good enough, for my purposes, is defined as “will vote to repeal Obamacare.” Unless O’Donnell pulls off the upset again, we lost a vote for health care freedom last night.
But there is a silver lining. There’s no longer any question that tea party activists are staging a hostile takeover of the Republican party. We’ve now seen insurgents defeat party insiders in Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, and Utah. The party establishment is now on notice. Offended fiscal conservatives are not merely going to stay home (which red state insiders might feel free to ignore); they are going to turn the insiders out in the primary. The next time the GOP is in power, it will think twice before engaging in the profligacy of its last turn in power.
Before last night, tea party activists were sending that message at virtually no cost, as most of the insurgents were still favored to win. Now the message has probably cost us a seat. The expense does sharpen the message, but its heavy expense nonetheless. I hope it’s worth it.
Democrats don’t want people to tell the truth about their health care nationalization act. In the past, we’ve seen them ask for people to report their neighbors who speak ill of Democratic health care plans. We’ve seen them summon executives who disclosed the law’s impact on their books (as required by law) to Capitol Hill for a tongue-lashing. And we’ve seen them promise to “reeducate” those who oppose the law.
President Barack Obama’s top health official on Thursday warned the insurance industry that the administration won’t tolerate blaming premium hikes on the new health overhaul law.
“There will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a letter to the insurance lobby.
“Simply stated, we will not stand idly by as insurers blame their premium hikes and increased profits on the requirement that they provide consumers with basic protections,” Sebelius said. She warned that bad actors may be excluded from new health insurance markets that will open in 2014 under the law. They’d lose out on a big pool of customers, as many as 30 million people nationwide.
Once the nationalization law goes into full effect, most individual purchases of health care will have to go through the exchanges. Sure, there’s no requirement to use the exchanges, but few will be able to afford to forgo the subsidy. (It’s much like schooling: you pay for public school through your taxes, so you have to pay twice to use a private school instead. Most people can’t afford that.) And that’s assuming that the government doesn’t make the exchanges an outright requirement, which Democrats would dearly love to do.
So what Sebelius is saying is: tell your customers the truth about our law, and we will put you out of business.
Conversely, Sebelius is saying that we the public will not be permitted to buy insurance from anyone who tells us the truth.
This is an outrage, but it’s just the logical extension of the thuggery we’ve seen throughout this administration’s health care nationalization campaign. The administration demanded that industries pony up in support of the campaign, and those who didn’t bid enough got the shaft. Sebelius is warning her victims that they still have more shaft to give.
David Bernstein spots a remark that is somewhat less reassuring today than it might have been in 1866:
From the concurring opinion of four Justice in Ex Parte Milligan (1866), arguing that Congress has the power to establish domestic military tribunals for certain crimes during wartime:
We have no apprehension that this power, under our American system of government, in which all official authority is derived from the people, and exercised under direct responsibility to the people, is more likely to be abused than the power to regulate commerce, or the power to borrow money.
The last major GE factory making ordinary incandescent light bulbs in the United States is closing this month, marking a small, sad exit for a product and company that can trace their roots to Thomas Alva Edison’s innovations in the 1870s. The remaining 200 workers at the plant here will lose their jobs. . .
During the recession, political and business leaders have held out the promise that American advances, particularly in green technology, might stem the decades-long decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs. But as the lighting industry shows, even when the government pushes companies toward environmental innovations and Americans come up with them, the manufacture of the next generation technology can still end up overseas.
What made the plant here vulnerable is, in part, a 2007 energy conservation measure passed by Congress that set standards essentially banning ordinary incandescents by 2014. . . Rather than setting off a boom in the U.S. manufacture of replacement lights, the leading replacement lights are compact fluorescents, or CFLs, which are made almost entirely overseas, mostly in China.
Consisting of glass tubes twisted into a spiral, they require more hand labor, which is cheaper there. So though they were first developed by American engineers in the 1970s, none of the major brands make CFLs in the United States.
People occasionally try to tell me that it’s not true that the military votes predominantly Republican. This refutes that, even in the absence of other evidence. Would Eric Holder show such disdain for military voting rights if they were a Democratic constituency?
A government analysis has shockingly found that Obama’s health care nationalization act that did nothing to control costs, in fact does not control costs:
The health-care overhaul enacted last spring won’t significantly change national health spending over the next decade compared with projections before the law was passed, according to government figures released Thursday.
The report by federal number-crunchers casts fresh doubt on Democrats’ argument that the health-care law would curb the sharp increase in costs over the long term, the second setback this week for one of the party’s biggest legislative achievements. [The week’s first setback is noted here.]
Health insurers say they plan to raise premiums for some Americans as a direct result of the health overhaul in coming weeks, complicating Democrats’ efforts to trumpet their signature achievement before the midterm elections.
Aetna Inc., some BlueCross BlueShield plans and other smaller carriers have asked for premium increases of between 1% and 9% to pay for extra benefits required under the law, according to filings with state regulators.
These and other insurers say Congress’s landmark refashioning of U.S. health coverage, which passed in March after a brutal fight, is causing them to pass on more costs to consumers than Democrats predicted.
Which is exactly what opponents of health care nationalization said would happen. This is just the leading edge; the real damage is yet to come, when insurers have to start paying out for people with pre-existing conditions.
I stopped in at Office Depot today to buy some tape. I went to the aisle labeled Staplers/Tape, but they didn’t have tape. Staplers galore, but no tape. So I asked a clerk for help, and he pointed me to literally the opposite corner of the store.
I pointed out to the clerk that the Staplers/Tape sign seemed to be in error. He told me (paraphrasing): “Sorry about that. We got that sign from Corporate and they haven’t told us to take it down yet.”
If local stores don’t have the authority to correct obvious errors that confuse customers, Office Depot is doing something very wrong.
When the Nazis took total control of Hungary in 1944, the Holocaust followed. In two months, 440,000 Hungarian Jews were deported to death camps.
To survive, George, then a teenager, collaborated with the Nazis.
First he worked for the Judenrat. That was the Jewish council set up by the Nazis to do their dirty work for them. Instead of the Nazis rounding up Jews every day for the trains, they delegated that murderous task to Jews who were willing to do it to survive another day at the expense of their neighbours.
Theodore hatched a better plan for his son. He bribed a non-Jewish official at the agriculture ministry to let George live with him. George helped the official confiscate property from Jews.
Well, okay, you’re thinking — he was fourteen. Give the guy a break. And I must admit that I — a secular Jew like Soros — have occasionally speculated about how I would have behaved in similar circumstances. And, although in my fantasy I might be a noble resistance fighter, laying my life on the line against fascism the way Primo Levi and others have described it, I certainly have no way of knowing. I might have been a sleazy collaborator myself. But I do know this: if I had done something like that just to survive, it would have haunted me the rest of my days.
And here’s the really creepy part: not so George Soros. In a surprisingly overlooked interview with 60 Minutes‘ Steve Kroft, Soros denied guilt or second thoughts about his World War II activities.
KROFT: I mean, that’s — that sounds like an experience that would send lots of people to the psychiatric couch for many, many years. Was it difficult?
Mr. SOROS: Not — not at all. Not at all. Maybe as a child you don’t — you don’t see the connection. But it was — it created no — no problem at all.
KROFT: No feeling of guilt?
Mr. SOROS: No.
KROFT: For example that, ‘I’m Jewish and here I am, watching these people go. I could just as easily be there. I should be there.’ None of that?
Mr. SOROS: Well, of course I c — I could be on the other side or I could be the one from whom the thing is being taken away. But there was no sense that I shouldn’t be there, because that was — well, actually, in a funny way, it’s just like in markets — that if I weren’t there — of course, I wasn’t doing it, but somebody else would — would — would be taking it away anyhow. And it was the — whether I was there or not, I was only a spectator, the property was being taken away. So the — I had no role in taking away that property. So I had no sense of guilt.
It’s hard to read this and come to any conclusion other than the Democrats support voter fraud:
The “Motor Voter” law was passed in 1993 to promote greater voter registration in the United States. . . A lesser-known provision also obliged the states to ensure that no ineligible voters were on the rolls — including dead people, felons, and people who had moved. Our current Department of Justice is anxious to encourage the obligations to get everyone registered, but explicitly unwilling to enforce federal law requiring states to remove the dead or ineligible from the rolls.
In November 2009, the entire Voting Section was invited to a meeting with Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandes, a political employee serving at the pleasure of the attorney general. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss Motor Voter enforcement decisions.
The room was packed with dozens of Voting Section employees when she made her announcement regarding the provisions related to voter list integrity:
We have no interest in enforcing this provision of the law. It has nothing to do with increasing turnout, and we are just not going to do it.
Jaws dropped around the room. It is one thing to silently adopt a lawless policy of refusing to enforce a provision of federal law designed to bring integrity to elections. It is quite another to announce the lawlessness to a room full of people who have sworn an oath to fairly enforce the law.
Fortunately, the law provides a private cause of action, so individuals can do what the Justice Department refuses to do.
Shark attack films are much more lucrative than seems possible:
THIS month the Discovery Channel is treating American and European viewers to a frenzy of sharks. . . Discovery has been churning out shark programmes for 23 years. Yet ratings are sound. Nature sells.
Indeed, it is one of the best businesses in media. Discovery Communications, which also owns Animal Planet, TLC and a few smaller channels, made a profit of $372m in the second quarter of this year. That is about as much as the film studios of Fox, Paramount and Warner Bros put together.
Insofar as his policies are failed and his proposals indefensible, President Obama is going to fall back on the “I’m a great guy” narrative:
President Obama, once again hard on the campaign stump trying to sell his economic agenda, plans to return to the kind of intimate and inspiring vibe that carried first his autobiography, then his breakout 2004 DNC speech and ultimately his juggernaut presidential campaign.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that when Obama takes the stage in Cleveland Wednesday to discuss his latest economic proposals, his personal story will start to make its way back into the rhetoric.
I think he’s going to find that that well has gone dry, but we’ll see.
Former Obama administration car czar Steven Rattner is coming out with a new book that depicts him swashbuckling through the financial crisis and also shows Obama as “out to get” the car companies and the administration making political decisions about how to deal with bankrupt automakers GM and Chrysler.
Political calculations in the auto bailouts? You don’t say!
Despite blanket denials from top Michigan Democratic Party officials, the elusive group that wants to call itself the Tea Party on the November ballot has been linked repeatedly to Democrats since it emerged in May, a Free Press investigation shows.
From the group hired to collect signatures, to party activists who found candidates and the candidates themselves, the Michigan Tea Party has many ties to Democrats.
The Democratic effort to siphon votes from Republican candidates is not just dishonest and sleazy, it’s also criminal. Fortunately, the Michigan Supreme Court has tossed the fake party off the ballot.
Despite President Obama’s claim to support the free trade pact with Colombia, it still languishes in Congress. Democrats even went so far as to change the House rules to avoid a vote on the deal.
As I’ve noted before, Democrats are opposing the deal for no reason whatsoever. The deal is one-sided, opening Colombian markets to US goods, whereas US markets are already open to Colombian goods. All of which makes the recent action of the California legislature (which has nothing else to do with its time?) to oppose the deal particularly stupid.
And, speaking of stupidity, they misspelled Colombia.
There is one manner in which the Glenn Beck rally was radically different from most:
The much-analyzed speeches at the Glenn Beck Lincoln Memorial rally weren’t as notable as what the estimated 300,000 attendees did: follow instructions, listen quietly to hours of speeches, and throw out their trash.
There’s very good reason to find the Cordoba House project — the mosque being erected on (many say near) Ground Zero — to be extraordinarily unseemly, even if you don’t know anything about Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam behind the project. But, the more you learn about Rauf, the less likely it seems that the project has anything to do with interfaith reconciliation, as he claims.
We already knew that Rauf is an apologist for Hamas, he blames America for the 9/11 attacks, he is connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, and other troubling facts. Now the Wall Street Journal has looked through his early writings and learned more about where he stands.
In a 1977 letter to the New York Times, Rauf wrote in favor of Egypt’s peace with Israel. Sounds good? Not so much: he cited Muhammad’s seventh-century peace with Mecca that gave him the chance to rearm and conquer the city ten years later. He also wrote that Israel should “become one more Arab country, with a Jewish minority”.
In another letter to the New York Times, Rauf wrote in favor of Iran’s Islamic revolution, opining that it “was inspired by the very principles of individual rights and freedom that Americans ardently believe in.” Thirty years later, Rauf still thought highly of the Islamic revolutions “guiding principles”.
Is this man a moderate, as his defenders claim? I hope not. If this man is a moderate Muslim, the center of Muslim thought is more hostile to us than we would like to believe.
POSTSCRIPT: It’s also instructive to look at who is funding the project. We know very little about the project’s funding, since the organizers refuse to reveal it, which by itself should give us a hint. But a FOX NY investigation found that one of the project’s financial backers contributed to the Holy Land Foundation, a terrorist front group. (He says he didn’t know they raised money for terrorists.)
US authorities have abdicated control over a huge swathe of southern Arizona, measuring thousands of square miles, to Mexican drug cartels. The federal government is refusing to carry out its most basic function — protecting the United States from foreign invasion — and won’t let the state of Arizona do it either.
During Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans police stole $4.6 million worth of cars. It’s not the worst crime committed by New Orleans police during the Katrina disaster (that would be the Danzinger Bridge shootings and cover-up), but this one is unique because the chief of police defended the thefts:
When reports first surfaced last month that officers may have taken the cars, New Orleans Police Superintendent Warren Riley said it was not considered looting because the officers used the cars to patrol the city.
“There were some officers who did use Cadillacs,” he said. “Those cars were not stolen.”
The San Francisco Chronicle asked Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) about her appalling 2007 remarks in which she insinuated that Condoleeza Rice had no stake in Iraq because she had no children. Boxer explained:
I asked her how many people had died and she did not know the answer to that question. And since we had lost a lot of Californians, I was concerned.
It’s not clear to me why that would excuse her remarks, but more to the point, it’s entirely untrue. In fact, when Boxer made those remarks she had not yet asked Rice any questions at all, nor did she ever ask that question, even subsequently.
Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education, urged Department of Education employees to attend noted racist Al Sharpton’s counter-rally against Glenn Beck’s rally. Apparently this is legal:
Although the e-mail does not violate the Hatch Act, which forbids federal employees from participating in political campaigns, Education Department workers should feel uneasy, said David Boaz, executive vice president of the libertarian Cato Institute.
“It sends a signal that activity on behalf of one side of a political debate is expected within a department. It’s highly inappropriate … even in the absence of a direct threat,” Boaz said. “If we think of a Bush cabinet official sending an e-mail to civil servants asking them to attend a Glenn Beck rally, there would be a lot of outrage over that.”
Russ Whitehurst, director of the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution’s Brown Center of Education Policy, said nothing like this happened when he was a Department of Education program director from 2001 to 2008: “Only political appointees would have been made aware of such an event and encouraged to attend.”
There’s a lot of competition for the title, but I think Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick wins it with this quote. When asked whether he was troubled by Glenn Beck’s rally at the Lincoln Memorial, Patrick said:
It’s a free country. I wish it weren’t, but it’s a free country.
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