Sunday, June 28, 2009

Isn’t it about time congressmen are required to read what they are about to vote on?

Once again, like the Stimulus bill earlier, congress was willing to vote upon, and enact, a lengthy bill no one could possibly have fully read. All representatives in congress, both those who were for and those against were not allowed to read the Cap and Trade (Cap and Tax) Climate Bill. President Obama and Speaker Pelosi wanted to pass this legislation on a rush basis before too many people became aware of the draconian affect it has on American people and our way of life.

Representative House Minority Leader John Boehner tried to delay the roll call vote by using the Minority Leader’s prerogative of unlimited speaking to read aloud the 300-page Amendment to the bill presented by Democrats at 3:00 AM but he eventually gave up this mini filibuster. Boehner read page after page of the late filed Amendment including passages related to the usage of "qualified youth corps" to regulate energy efficiency in regards to "the sustainability of low-end income communities." "I wonder if ACORN qualifies for these grants," Boehner joked (but the joke was too serious to be funny).

By objecting to the fact that 300 pages were added to the bill at 3 a.m., Boehner gave some time for colleagues and aides to scan the unread extra passages and present certain excerpts on the floor. Speaking for the Democrats, Politico blasted this effort by Boehner:

“Boehner seemed to relish the hour-long stunt, picking out the bill’s most obscure language and then pontificating about what it might – or might not – mean.”

No mention was made by Politico that Democrats presented the amendments in the early hours giving opponents no chance to read let alone argue against the added provisions to the bill.

It is no surprise that the bill co-sponsor Henry Waxman objected to Boehner’s reading the bill on the House floor; he even tried to prevent it on procedural grounds so that it's contents would remain unknown and no one would shift support or delay the bill’s passage. Who can deny passing “laws” in secret is not law at all – it is tyranny and corruption of constitutional ideals - it is a shameful but not unexpected ploy by Democrats in these times.

Waxman also wondered if any “historical records would be broken” by Boehner reading part of the bill and queried whether the tactic was “an attempt to try to get some people to leave on a close vote?” And "so what?" I might respond. Is it an acceptable tactic to call up legislation for vote without giving members of congress time to read it?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The biggest scam of all; cap-and-trade

It is truly amazing how anyone really familiar with the so-called cap-and-trade bill could actually accept this legislation, or in congress, vote for it.

First, it is erroneous to think that it would have any effect on global warming because carbon dioxide is not the cause, it is the effect but unfortunately that battle won in the halls of science is lost in the halls of congress.

Second, it is also erroneous to say that the bill would cut U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions because most “greenhouse-gas emissions” are water vapor – carbon dioxide is a relatively small portion of such emissions.

The House bill is falsely alleged to cut U.S. greenhouse-gas 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050. It would also establish a new Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), which would force utilities to supply a minimum amount of their electricity from renewable energy sources. The result will be: (1) everything used by the public will increase in price because of increased costs to producers from the need to acquire “carbon credits” for their operations will be passed on to consumers and, (2) requiring utilities to change their the means of power production from whatever is being used now to “renewable energy sources,” however defined, will necessarily increase the cost of electricity to homeowners because new “sources” will be more expensive to use that currently used fossil fuels.

The bill supposed to result in achieving carbon-dioxide emission targets by establishing a cap-and-trade system, which would require heavy emitters of carbon dioxide, and the oil and gas industry, to buy annual emissions permits from the government or through a secondary market. It is not rocket science to understand that any money spent on acquiring “annual emissions permits” is simply another expense of utilities and by law and public utility regulations in all states public utilities are guaranteed to earn minimum profits since they are regulated monopolies. In order to “earn” their minimum profits, the cost of electricity to consumers, residential and commercial, has to be increased.

The plan, as written by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, would auction a small percentage of the available permits, or allowances, directly to companies. The rest, more than 85 percent, would be given away to selected industries, local utility companies, states and Indian tribes. The idea itself is ludicrous but it would be nice if congress could explain why Indian tribes would be given available permits – surely casinos don’t emit much “greenhouse gas”, unless you consider cigarette smoke in that category.

Democrats and Republican supporters contended the legislation would help reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil, increase the use of renewable energy such as solar and wind power and increase employment in clean energy industries. How ridiculous that is. Most oil is used to produce fuel for the transportation industry, cars for example. How will solar power and windmills power automobiles and trucks? Not only that, it has been established that production of renewable fuels such as ethanol consume more energy than produced by the products and also involve substantial emissions of “greenhouse gas,” e.g. carbon dioxide. The claim of reducing either reliance on foreign oil or reduction of greenhouse gas is a plain lie.

Obama said “This is a jobs bill” and would increase employment in clean energy industries. There may well be new jobs created but they will be more than offset by the numbers of jobs lost. As manufacturing costs increase businesses will have no choice but to reduce employment as will businesses that depend on those manufactured products. Increased unemployment will also reduce consumer income thereby accelerating the downward spiral of our economy. House Republican Leader John A. Boehner said the bill will cost the economy up to 2.7 million jobs and he may be underestimating the effect.

"When it comes to energy, Washington Democrats, I think, are poised to make matters worse by imposing a job-killing energy tax, courtesy of Speaker Pelosi. This is going to force small businesses and their workers and families to pay more for electricity, gasoline, and other products that are made in America that have high energy content."

The basic idea behind cap-and-trade is simple: Government experts assess how much pollution can be “safely” put into the environment, then shares (sometimes called permits or allowances) equaling that amount are given or auctioned by the government to those who have historically emitted the pollutant. How do you suppose “safe” limits of carbon dioxide can be determined? Will continued emission of carbon dioxide exhaled by us be taken into account?

Polluters then must return to the government enough permits to cover their emissions every year. If they fall short of permits, emitters must buy them from those who have a surplus. The number of permits available decreases annually until a "safe" level of emissions level is reached.

The bill would direct 2 billion free allowances to domestic and international conservation, known as "offsets," which would allow companies to buy emissions permits by effectively paying farmers here and abroad to preserve trees and employ environmental planting practices. I would like to form a business to sell emissions permits by using the money to “preserve trees” by letting them continue to grow; would anyone like to join me?

The legislation would require utilities that provide more than 4 million megawatt hours of electricity a year to buy a certain amount of electricity from renewable sources; thus assuring the cost of electricity will increase.

The amount starts at just 6% in 2012 and gradually increases to 20% in 2020, although utilities could meet up to 8% of the mandate through reduced energy usage by their customers. In other words, the government will figure out some way to make us use less energy (a very broad term) other than by increasing the cost – I wonder what that may me, government controlled thermostats?

Right now renewable energy accounts for about 8.5% of domestic electricity generation, but the House bill's renewable mandate would not recognize all of that as renewable. Hydropower, for example, which makes up a large chunk of current electricity generation, is not all counted as renewable toward the new mandate, nor is geothermal energy.

A new amendment added by speaker Pelosi requires the president to impose trade tariffs on trade partners that do not limit their carbon-dioxide emissions by 2020. To get representatives farm states on board, provisions easing rules on corn-based ethanol production and putting the permit program under the Agriculture Department rather than the Environmental Protection Agency was included.

The bill would have far reaching effects on energy users at all levels of the economy, from giant manufacturers to utilities to individuals. For instance, new government imposed buildings standards would be mandated and some household items will be required to use less energy than they do now. These items include backyard spas, lamps located above art work, drinking-water dispensers and light bulbs in outdoor light fixtures. Are you prepared to live with that?

The bill would force companies to phase out allegedly inefficient products of the kinds described and replace them with allegedly more efficient - and more expensive and less desirable - versions. For example presently used incandescent light bulbs, now costing less than a dollar, will have to be replaced by required compact florescent light bulbs (those curly things), that already cost more and will cost still more in the future when they are the only light game in town.

The bill would also make changes to the government's Energy Star program, which recognizes dishwashers, refrigerators and other appliances that save energy. The tougher standards would mean these "energy saving" products would cost more than regular products and it would take longer for consumers to recoup the extra costs through savings on their energy bill.

"It doesn't do any good to have high-price, energy-efficient products if people will just pay to have their old appliances fixed," said Kevin Messner, vice president of government relations for the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.

If you think you can avoid this by repairing older appliances, think again, everything will wear out sooner or later.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Obama teleprompter lies about Obamacare

I’m not especially a fan of Dick Morris but I find I agree with him more these days since he has become a serious thorn in the sides of both Clintons. For example, here is what he said recently:

"Now that the cameras have been put away and the media is no longer watching, their (Obama and Democrats) secret emerges: They are going to cut medical costs by cutting medical care – and right now. These decisions will not be medical but financial. They will not be based on a doctor’s opinion of what his or her patient needs, but a bureaucrat’s and an accountant s opinion of what the new health care system can afford."

Morris also warns us: "But this is just the very beginning... rationing is coming, and coming soon." To paraphrase Morris; if you need a CAT scan or an MRI, forget it. If you need antibiotics, forget it. As for potentially life-saving or life-extending treatments, take a number and stand in line.

Obama describes his health care plan through his lying teleprompter and claims his plan will reduce healthcare costs and provide the same medical care we receive now. Obama has told us that if you want to keep your doctor, you'll be able to keep your doctor and if you want to keep your present health plan, you'll be able to keep your present health plan. Specifically, Obama said: "If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away." But Obama doesn’t keep his promises and everyone but the public sheep knows that; Obama can't keep that promise and he knows it.

If the Obama plan is enacted, a substantial portion of employers will cut their health subsidies by increasing employees’ share of contributions to the company plan so as to persuade some employees to take the public option of the Obama healthcare plan in exchange for the company provided insurance. The rationale is workers could buy their own coverage in the government public option plan or perhaps employers will even fund part of their workers’ participation in that plan, which will also reduce the company cost substantially.

The Obama’s takeover of health care is nothing more than an unmitigated power grab, even more than his takeover of the banks and the automobile industry. Obama’s goal is not to improve health care but to extend government control of our lives.

If Obama and his Democrat minions in congress are successful, we will lose what many believe is the finest medical care in the world, (why else are people coming to the United States for medical care?).

To reduce costs of healthcare according to the Obama plan it is necessary to reduce payments to medical care providers and/or ration medical care. One critical component is to target the elderly, the already-handicapped and the unborn. Consider Obama's own words and remarks as reprinted in the Washington Times and learn for yourself.

“Part of what I think government can do effectively is to be an honest broker in assessing and evaluating treatment options. The chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill.... There is going to have to be a conversation that is guided by doctors, scientists, ethicists. And then there is going to have to be a very difficult democratic conversation that takes place. It is very difficult to imagine the country making those decisions just through the normal political channels."

What do you think that means? Obama’s top health advisers have emphasized that America should value the lives of young, healthy people more than those of old or sick individuals. One Obama adviser is Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of Obama’s chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel. Kevin Williamson of National Review Online describes Dr. Emanuel’s views: “He wrote in The Lancet in 2008: ‘Unlike allocation by sex or race, allocation by age is not invidious discrimination.’ We all were young once, the argument goes, and so denying the elderly and weak in order to care for the young and fit is just.”

These are scary times and if you’re over the age of 55, be very scared. If you’re chronically ill with diabetes or high blood pressure or multiple sclerosis – or have heart disease or cancer – your future doesn’t look very bright, and not only because of your disease. Do we want to give Obama the power of the federal government and bureaucratic pencil-pushers to decide how long we should live? If we are not entirely convinced of this possibility, do we really want to find out the answer the hard way?

Obama claims that his health plan won’t involve rationing or reduced care. But that’s ridiculous, because all government-run health systems suffer from those drawbacks. For a real-world example, take a look at the Canadian system.

Dr. David Gratzer, a Canadian-trained physician who practices in the United States, describes his own revelation about Canada’s medical system:

“On [my way to medical school class]… I cut through a hospital emergency room and came upon dozens of people on stretchers – waiting, moaning, (and) begging for treatment. Some elderly patients had waited up to five days in corridors before being admitted to beds. They smelled of urine and sweat. As I navigated past the bodies, I began to question everything I thought I knew about health care – not only in Canada, but also in the United States. … I had begun a journey into the heart of one of the great policy disasters of modern times."

How about the similar system is France? In a French journalist’s words reprinted by the Heritage Foundation:

“The majority of France’s state-owned hospitals are managed in a way that is reminiscent of the old U.S.S.R. ... In the average French public hospital, it is not uncommon for every window to be open, even in winter, because the heating system in the building cannot be regulated. With the only options being no heat or unbearably high heat, everyone opts for the latter. Predictably, this is not very cheap.”

Germany is also no exception to the pitfalls of a universal healthcare system. The British medical journal Lancet has an article that says that system is facing bankruptcy on an unprecedented scale.

In Great Britain, one current cost-saving measure is the denial of essential medications to women in advanced stages of certain cancers. Notwithstanding these examples; on June 15th Barack Obama told the American Medical Association (AMA) that other developed countries – he meant nations like Canada, Germany, France, and Britain – pay much less per capita for health care than Americans. Even if this is true, you also get exactly what you pay for; is denying available medicine and treatment to those who need it a viable option to reduce cost? So why does Obama want to bring millions of people into the system literally overnight?

What happens when there are suddenly many more patients than there are practitioners to care for them? Will we have to wait in doctor’s offices like the wait in emergency rooms? And if you’re really sick, what are the chances that you might die in line, waiting for treatment that simply does not come in time? Remember what Dr. Gratzer told us about what’s going on in Canada, one of systems Democrats would like us to emulate?

In his talk to the AMA, Obama implied that costs were rising because patients were getting unneeded care. In fact, the opposite is true. A 2003 survey by the Rand Corporation found that only 11% of patients got treatments they didn’t need – while a whopping 46% failed to receive needed care.

There is a great irony in Obama’s rush for action toward a government-run system; in Great Britain, France, Germany, and even Canada, there’s a growing push to get people back into private insurance systems, taking the pressure off public facilities and doctors. They say it’s a move toward – hold onto your seat – government cost savings.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

When is meddling not meddling?

The answer to the question depends on whether President Obama is talking about Iran or Israel.

President Obama waffles about Iran and is "appalled" at the behavior of the Iran Super Leader toward the brave Iranian protesters as he decides whether strong condemnation may interfere with his plan to charm the Iranian leaders out of developing nuclear weapons but he has no qualms about bullying Israel.

Our glorious leader, to use a phrase common in dictatorships like North Korea, is pressuring the Netanyahu government mercilessly to diminish Israel's security and to accept the terrorist group and Iran puppet Hamas as a negotiating partner, despite Hamas’ express policy that it intends to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.

Obama demonstrates a stunning level of ignorance when it comes to the Middle East and like the laughing stock former President Jimmy Carter unquestioningly swallows the propaganda of the Arabs. As expected, this propaganda is repeated uncritically by most of the Obama-fawning media; how else could Obama get away with one distortion of history after another, all of them aimed at glorifying Islam and discrediting the West, in his Cairo speech?

If Obama knew anything about history, he would not have said that Israel came into existence because of the world's guilt for the Holocaust. Our president does not seem to know or understand that there is a 3,400-year-old connection by Jews to the land now known as Israel where Jews have lived continuously since ancient times. Obama does not know that in 1845 Jews outnumbered Muslim Arabs by almost to 2 to 1 in Jerusalem and were the largest ethnic group in the region, according to a census at the time. Unfortunately in this ignorance President Obama is not alone; many members of congress and most of his adoring press are also unaware of these historical facts or otherwise choose to ignore them.

Of course what can we expect from someone who for 20 years listened to the sermons of Jeremiah Wright - the pastor who recently told a reporter that "them Jews ain't going to let him [Obama] talk to me."

Not long ago Obama was seen in an official White House photo of the president talking to Prime Minister Netanyahu on the phone where he showed the soles of his shoes in the foreground. In the Muslim world this is a sign of grave disrespect which was not lost on Muslim terrorists around the world. A spokesman for a terrorist organization commented:

"It's a sign of humiliation that shows Obama thinks the Israeli government and the Jews don't deserve more than shoes. This proves Obama is disgusted with the Israelis.... With Obama's shoes, change will come."

We don’t know, and doubt, that the president did this on purpose. But President Obama is clearly naïve and inexperienced in Middle East protocols. In any case there is no doubt that Obama’s approach to foreign policy is to treat our enemies well and our friends badly.

David Horowitz calls Israel “the canary in the coal mine.” By that he means that Israel represents the sacrificial lamb in Mid East politics. Obama fails to understand that the enemies of Israel are the enemies of America and all of western civilization. If Obama follows the agenda of Hamas, Hezbollah and other Palestinian groups, Israel will soon be just a memory and our enemies will achieve a victory by their terrorism which they could not otherwise realize through military action.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Obamacare is too expensive but it’s even worse than that

Most Americans are quite satisfied with the way they receive medical care under the present system. Cost of medical care has risen but so has most everything else. If Americans are satisfied for the most part with their healthcare, then why must the entire medical care system be discarded, and on a rush basis at that?

We also are told that millions and millions of people in America do not have medical insurance and the cost of healthcare is rising. We are also supposed to believe that these are such urgent matters there is no time to consider these and other problems in any sort of rational way; "reforming" healthcare must be rushed through congress right away to meet President Obama’s deadline.

To solve this newly identified “crisis”, Democrats in the House and Senate have worked mightily to come up with health care plans that would satisfy President Obama’s sense of fairness on an expedited time basis. Addressing this healthcare crisis urgently looks amazingly like the previous crises of toxic mortgages, an economy that would become non existent if a stimulus program proposed by Obama was not enacted; and we were told both of these crises had to be addressed and solved the day before yesterday; so it is with healthcare which will have the same feeble crisis-solving result.

Under the best of circumstances, other than the military, congress and the government do not function well when given a lot of time to deal with issues deemed important, let alone when done on an emergency basis. As a result we have a number of inefficient and failed government run programs and others that are totally unnecessary for the proper function of government as the founders of our country envisioned. Moreover, only by disregarding the constitution do much of our country’s laws and regulations exist – and the inevitable tinkering with what is believed by many to be at least a satisfactory, and by many others as the best in the world, will destroy medical care as we know it, probably forever.

It has never been required by those seeking to do good in the name of the government to be consistent if consistency interferes with their vision. But the issue of medical care as currently promoted by Obama and Democrats constitutes the greatest invasion of privacy ever contemplated. Some years ago the U.S. Supreme Court somehow found a guarantee of privacy in the constitution and based their decision to remove restrictions on abortion (the infamous Roe vs. Wade case) on the newly discovered constitutional right of privacy. However Obama and Democrats now propose sweeping laws and regulations that will interfere with a citizens’ right of privacy in selecting, requesting and receiving medical care. Furthermore, Americans’ private medical records will be assembled in data bases and be made available to others without their permission. Nonetheless Democrats and many Republicans are willing to subscribe to this hypocrisy.

It is also interesting to note that objection to sweeping government takeover of healthcare, fully one-fifth our total gross national product, is that the takeover will be expensive. Just how costly is debated; Obama and Democrats are low-balling the numbers and the Congressional Budget Office is estimating almost twice the Obama number. The unfortunate thing however is that both sets of numbers are surely wrong and the actual fiscal cost will likely be at least double any estimates.

However I am grateful for any opposition to the government takeover of healthcare regardless of the reason given but the reality is that there is so much to oppose that singling out only the cost seems needlessly minor.

Surprisingly Americans seem to understand that besides the cost of government-run insurance, millions of Americans would lose their current coverage if government run healthcare became law. A New York Times poll also identified other concerns Americans have about government run health care. In the event a government created a system of providing health care for all Americans would be created, 63% of those surveyed were concerned that the quality of their own health care would get worse; 68% were concerned that their own access to medical tests and treatments would be more limited; and 53% were concerned that they would be required to change doctors.

The American people know what the true costs of government-run health care would be: lower quality, less access, and less choice. As the health care debate continues, and the reality behind Obama’s rhetoric is exposed, it will be interesting to see how many people will still support a government-run health insurance plan. Unfortunately the ideas of rationed healthcare and senior citizens being deprived of healthcare, has not sunk in yet.

As a partial answer to concerns of Americans, President Obama has claimed that under his health care proposals, “if you like your insurance package you can keep it.” But the White House has begun to “clarify” the President’s claim. It turns out he didn’t really mean it. According to the Associated Press, “White House officials suggest the president’s rhetoric shouldn’t be taken literally: What Obama really means is that government isn’t about to barge in and force people to change insurance.” It is fair to interpret this assurance to mean that people will not be forced at the point of a gun to accept government healthcare but all other means are available to them.

Depending on the final outcome of the government health plan enacted by Congress, millions of Americans will lose their existing coverage. By opening the public plan to all employees and using Medicare rates, the Lewin Group, a nationally prominent econometrics firm, has said that the public plan could result in 119.1 million Americans being transitioned out of private coverage, including employer based coverage, into a public plan. With employers making the decision, millions of Americans could lose their private coverage, regardless of their personal preferences in this matter. This is a logical result since most employers would be very willing to forego cost of private insurance in favor of a government plan.

Obama, Democrats and too many Republicans are fond of saying there are almost 50 million people without health insurance and that this essentially amounts to a crime against nature. But the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports that a government overhaul of Americans health care system would cost at least $1.6 trillion and would mean the loss of private coverage for an estimated 23 million Americans, according to a recent preliminary analysis.

Even the CBO says that, if enacted, the bills before congress would break a key promise made by Obama: that those with private health insurance would not be harmed.

The number of people who had coverage through an employer would decline by about 15 million (or roughly 10 percent), and coverage from other sources would fall by about 8 million, the report says. Such programs as Medicare and Medicaid will be replaced and the CBO concludes that the bill will have a major impact on the lives of Americans. The CBO said the Obama and Democrat plans would have significant effects on the number of people who are enrolled in health insurance plans, the sources of that coverage, and the federal budget.

Even senator Dodd, the chief Obama healthcare advocate in the Senate, says “everyone would be affected by this legislation and any reform will touch everyone’s lives; this bill is [going to affect] 100 percent of the population of our country, every consumer, every provider and every business.”

Star Parker had an interesting analysis of the alleged millions of people estimated to be without health insurance.

“According to a new study from the Employment Policy Institute, authored by two economists from City University of New York (one, June O'Neill, spent four years as head of the Congressional Budget Office), 43 percent of the 47 million can afford insurance and choose not to purchase it.

According to 2007 census data, 20 percent of uninsured households earn over $75,000.

Regarding the remaining 57 percent, the authors call them ‘involuntarily’ uninsured because they can't afford insurance. But ‘involuntarily’ is also a misnomer, because it implies no connection in how they choose to live to the fact that they can't afford insurance.

The study provides the following portrait of this population: About a third is high school dropouts; they are disproportionately young; about a third are immigrants, mostly Hispanic non-citizens; about half are single without children; about 40 percent did not work during the year.”

According to "Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States," a Census Bureau report published last August, of the 45.6 million persons in the U.S. that did not have health insurance at some point in 2007, 9.7 million, or about 21%, were not U.S. citizens. Also among the uninsured are 17 million Americans who live in households where the annual income exceeds $50,000; 7 million of those without coverage have incomes of $75,000 a year or more. If they don’t have health insurance, it’s not because they can’t afford it. Subtract non citizens and those who can afford their own insurance but choose not to purchase it and the number of uninsured falls dramatically. "Many Americans are uninsured by choice," wrote Dr. David Gratzer in his book "The Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care." As George Will points out, 60% of people in San Francisco without health care are not citizens (read that illegal aliens)

Do you still think it is correct to use so-called millions of people without health insurance as an excuse to demolish our medical system?

Al-Qaida: We Would Use Pakistani Nukes On America

I have never done this before on this blog but with all the Obama hype and a non-foreign policy, I include this here with a question - are you Obama supporters happy with the security of America under President Obama?

From NewsMax:

"Al-Qaida: We Would Use Pakistani Nukes On America

Monday, June 22, 2009 9:08 AM

DUBAI — If al-Qaida were in a position to do so, it would use Pakistan's nuclear weapons in its fight against the United States, a top leader of the group said in remarks aired on Sunday.

Pakistan has been battling al-Qaida Taliban allies in the Swat Valley since April after their thrust into a district 60 miles northwest of the capital raised fears the nuclear-armed country could slowly slip into militant hands.

'God willing, the nuclear weapons will not fall into the hands of the Americans and the mujahideen would take them and use them against the Americans,' Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, the leader of al-Qaida's in Afghanistan, said in an interview with Al Jazeera television.

Abu al-Yazid was responding to a question about U.S. safeguards to seize control over Pakistan's nuclear weapons in case Islamist fighters came close to doing so.

'We expect that the Pakistani army would be defeated (in Swat) . . . and that would be its end everywhere, God willing.'

Asked about the group's plans, the Egyptian militant leader said: "The strategy of the (al-Qaida ) organization in the coming period is the same as in the previous period: to hit the head of the snake, the head of tyranny: the United States.

'That can be achieved through continued work on the open fronts and also by opening new fronts in a manner that achieves the interests of Islam and Muslims and by increasing military operations that drain the enemy financially.'

The militant leader suggested that naming a new leader for the group's unit in the Arabian Peninsula, Abu Basir al-Wahayshi, could revive its campaign in Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter.

'Our goals have been the Americans . . . and the oil targets which they are stealing to gain power to strike the mujahideen and Muslims.'

'There was a setback in work there for reasons that there is no room to state now, but as of late, efforts have been united and there is unity around a single leader.'

Abu al-Yazid, also known as Abu Saeed al-Masri, said al-Qaida will continue 'with large scale operations against the enemy' — by which he meant the United States.

'We have demanded and we demand that all branches of al-Qaida carry out such operations,' he said, referring to attacks against U.S.-led forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The militant leader said al-Qaida would be willing to accept a truce of about 10 years' duration with the United States if Washington agreed to withdraw its troops from Muslim countries and stopped backing Israel and the pro-Western governments of Muslim nations.

Asked about the whereabouts of al-Qaida's top leaders, he said: 'Praise God, sheikh Osama (bin Laden) and sheikh Ayman al-Zawahri are safe from the reach of the enemies, but we would not say where they are; moreover, we do not know where they are, but we're in continuous contact with them.'"

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Our two-party system: the evil party and the stupid party

For sometime many of us have recognized that the Republican Party can no longer be regarded as a conservative party. Conservative M. Staunton "Stan" Evans explained how the two-party political system in the United States actually works – Evans said “there are only two parties in the United States, the ‘evil party’ and the ‘stupid party’."

Unfortunately under the present system conservatives have no alternative and must support the Republican Party as the lesser of two evils.

Evans goes on to say: “On occasion the "stupid party" and the ‘evil party’ come together to do something that is truly ‘stupid and evil’ and that we call that ‘bi-partisanship’” – with which I heartily agree.

Most Republicans in congress view their job as trying to “compromise” or “get the job done” or “fix” or “tinker” or “propose alternate plans” (they want to try to come close to the original “evil” plan so as not to appear the “party of ‘no’) and the result is the Republican Party no longer acts like an opposition and inevitably accepts the evil plan in whole or in part. Today’s Republicans never seem to learn that “half a loaf” may be okay for eating but in politics leaves the country with policies as laws that expand government control and reduce constitutionally provided freedom and liberty for all.

There is a solution to the loss of conservative representation in the Republican Party and little or no representation in congress. A third party representing conservative ideals and principles will enable conservatives to express their political views on a national level and need not damage election outcomes like past third parties have done – the notable example being the Ross Peroit candidacy which left us with two terms of President Bill (the morally corrupt) Clinton in the oval office, and adjacent offices, for eight years.

Consider the last presidential election - the Republican Party chose a Democrat-lite candidate, John McCain, for president, conservative Republican Party members held their noses and voted for McCain. If there had been a Conservative Party in place, and the number of votes cast by their members exceeded the regular Republican Party votes, a strong message would have been sent to the Republican Party and the country as a whole that conservatism is an important political force. Furthermore there will be a good chance that conservative Republican Party members will join the Conservative Party so they can get the representation thy deserve. The Republican Party will have no choice but to take into account the beliefs of conservative voters, thus increasing conservative influence in Republican Party decisions. Eventually, I believe the Conservative Party will take precedence and the roles will be reversed. Of course, the Republican Party will be shaken up so people like Arlen Specter, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe and Colin Powell will migrate to the Democrat Party where they belong and perhaps make the Democrat Party more conservative in some respects.

A new Conservative Party will not compete for office with the Republican Party; it will compete only for party registrations. If all conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, register and vote as members of the Conservative Party, their numbers at the polls will show that they truly are the majority not only of the Republican Party but of the voting public.

According to Gallup, who says there is a +/- error of 3%, so far in 2009, 40% of Americans interviewed in national Gallup Poll surveys describe their political views as conservative, 35% as moderate, and 21% as liberal. This represents an increase for conservatism in the U.S. since 2008 and returning to the 2004 level. That 21% call themselves liberal is a reflection of the dumbing down of our education system.

According to Gallup:

“These annual figures are based on multiple national Gallup surveys conducted each year, in some cases encompassing more than 40,000 interviews. The 2009 data are based on 10 separate surveys conducted from January through May. Thus, the margins of error around each year's figures are quite small, and changes of only two percentage points are statistically significant. To measure political ideology, Gallup asks Americans to say whether their political views are very conservative, conservative, moderate, liberal, or very liberal.”

It is also encouraging that there is a distinction in the respective ideological compositions of the Republican and Democratic Parties. “While a solid majority of Republicans are on the same page -- 73% call themselves conservative -- Democrats are more of a mixture. The major division among Democrats is between self-defined moderates (40%) and liberals (38%). However, an additional 22% of Democrats consider themselves conservative, much higher than the 3% of Republicans identifying as liberal.”

Some may argue that it would take a lot of money to launch a third party, but not as much as you may think. Although it obviously is expensive to attempt to advance third party candidates, a Conservative Party not competing for election but only for voter registrations will cost much less. Setting up a national organization and a national education and information effort to launch the Conservative Party are essential but likely can be financed by conservatives of large and modest means.

Conservative leadership is the key and we must encourage those who agree with the concept to come forward. I believe such patriotic men and women do exist and will answer the call just as those founding the country did two hundred years ago – the stake for liberty and freedom is no less severe.

I will contribute and will walk the streets for Conservative Party registrations; how about you?

Monday, June 15, 2009

It took God six days to create the world – not being God, Obama takes five months

Obama lies to the people and changes America into his own image.

It hardly seems possible that Barack Obama has only been in office about five months. Even Adolph Hitler as head of Germany did not accomplish as much as Obama has in such a short time. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about the slaughter of people, I’m referring to how the government and the country was changed in mere months after taking office.

The reason Obama has been able to do so much so quickly is that the checks and balances written into the Constitution don't always work. In the United States there are supposed to be three separate and equal branches of government and the press was expected to be an independent scrutinizer of government actions. Unfortunately the American system falls apart when a similar anti-American ideology controls the Executive and Legislative branches and dominates the judicial branch – and the press is a cheerleader for that ideology rather than a scrupulous protector of people’s rights.

It took over two hundred years following the blueprint of the Constitution to build the greatest country the world has ever seen – using the free market system, individual liberty and freedom from government intervention in the lives of Americans. Incredibly two hundred years of success has been undone in just a few months by Barack Hussein Obama after being elected president and taking office January, 2009.

Here is Obama’s scorecard so far – and the worst is yet to come.

The Wall Street Journal summarized the onslaught against American capitalism succinctly:

“Since the onset of the financial crisis nine months ago, the government has become the nation’s biggest mortgage lender, guaranteed nearly $3 trillion in money-market mutual-fund assets, commandeered and restructured two car companies, taken equity stakes in nearly 600 banks, lent more than $300 billion to blue-chip companies, supported the life-insurance industry and became a credit source for buyers of cars, tractors and even weapons for hunting.”

Everyday the government at the request of the Federal Reserve Bank prints more money to finance all this government intervention – and what a sweet deal the Fed has in this imbroglio. By law the Fed has the right to request the Treasury Department to print money FOR THEM. The Fed then loans the newly printed money to the government AT INTEREST so the Obama government can exercise its newly assumed power over American industry and the banking system. The result is the owners of the PRIVATELY-owned Fed, (many of the Fed owners are not Americans or American companies) reap a handsome profit as the American economy goes down the drain.

Not only is this a boom for the Fed, imagine the power that Obama has because the government has acquired ownership interest in so much of American enterprise. For example, Obama effectively owns about 60 percent of Citi Bank. Citi finances much of the business transacted in the United States and other countries. As owner of the bank, Obama can dictate how Citi uses its money; in other words, who wins and who loses. The same may be said of AIG who is a huge financier of businesses and institutions around the world – and the government owns 80 percent of AIG.

The Wall Street Journal says the government “has taken stakes in nearly 600 banks.” Try to imagine the scope of the expanded government authority and control of our country, of our not-so-free-enterprise and the American people, by dictating lending practices of so many banks!

We are told that the health industry is one-fifth of our economy; amounting to about $2.3 trillion of our gross national product. Obama’s latest push is to impose control of healthcare for all Americans and illegal aliens. The president is seen on television and in other venues everyday advancing his agenda to bring the entire health industry under government, and his, control. The sycophant news media helps Obama by re-broadcasting Obama’s lies and filtering any criticism.

The phony war on global warming, now called climate change, provides another opportunity for Obama and the government to expand control over American lives and assure an income stream to the government and chosen environment activists. This too is an Obama goal being advanced in the first five months of his administration and dutifully advocated by the Democrat leaders in the House and Senate – and of course the leftist news media.

We have yet to hear about “immigration reform” which will become a Democrat voter registration program by granting amnesty and “legal” voting privilege to illegal immigrants. This is to be another initiative achieved before the 2010 elections which carry a risk of loss of Democrat majorities in the House and/or the Senate. However, the Republican Party as it is presently constituted is hardly a dependable opponent of Obama’s plans and cannot be relied upon to do what’s necessary to thwart government takeover and further encroachment of our freedoms and the capitalist system of free enterprise.

If you doubt Republicans cannot be relied upon to do the right thing for our country and oppose Obama, consider that the Stimulus Bill which could only have been passed with Republican senate votes and the House passage of the “Hate Crimes” law and the GIVE Act, both of which saw Republicans “reach across the aisle” in congress joining with Democrats to pass such legislation because in their view these bills “contain some beneficial provisions.” When will Republicans learn you can’t make a bad law better and remember that half-a-loaf is only good for eating; not for the rights of Americans?

It’s time for a new “Republican Party”; more about that later.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Let’s think about carbon dioxide seriously

Can you remember when during the war against pollution it was considered great progress that catalytic converters were required in automobiles to change poisonous carbon monoxide to benign carbon dioxide? It’s more than ironic then that we now consider CO2 itself a pollutant.

Can you also remember when scientists told us global cooling was the problem? (Funny, no one said we should produce more CO2 to warm the atmosphere.)

As a result of an unscientific decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officially designated carbon dioxide (CO2) as a pollutant which enables congress and the EPA to regulate the carbon dioxide we exhale as a pollutant. By the logic of the Supreme Court and the EPA, the Creator seriously goofed.

Carbon dioxide, the newest designated pollutant, is a fundamentally important factor in our food chain because it nourishes plants, animals are nourished by plants, and humans are nourished by animals and plants. It can be realistically said that without carbon dioxide all living creatures would cease to exist and the planet Earth would look like Mars.

Aren’t pollutants supposed to be harmful?

Of course it is true that too much of even a good thing can be bad. For example, it is possible to die if fed large amounts of water and too much oxygen can also pose a danger to human life. So then the question is: “how much carbon dioxide is bad for you?” Is there an acceptable amount of CO2 for our atmosphere? There is likely no right answer to this question. Furthermore, the amount of CO2 in earth's atmosphere has fluctuated greatly over the history of the planet and long before humans appeared on earth; at various times being far greater than it is now.

Presently the amount of carbon dioxide in the air is about 385 parts per million. Some scientists say that 1,000 parts per million would provide an ideal atmosphere for plant life, would accelerate plant growth, would increase plant production and would be able to feed far more animal and human life than is currently possible. Clearly without a scientific answer, whatever CO2 standard Congress, Al Gore or the EPA selects will be purely arbitrary.

Of course we are told the problem is carbon dioxide is causing the planet to warm and this is somehow very bad for polar bears and sandy beaches. So how can we explain that for 7,000 of the last 10,000 years the earth was cooler than it is now and we find that living things prospered more when the climate is warm than when it is cold? We also learned that the Antarctic icecap was significantly larger during the warmer mid-Holocene period than it is today. Are we sure warmer is bad?

And what roll does the sun play in all this; is the temperature of the atmosphere only affected by carbon dioxide? We might also ask how does Congress, Obama and Al Gore propose to regulate the earth's temperature when as much as 3/4 of the variability is due to variations in solar activity, with the remaining 1/4 due to changes in the earth's orbit, axis, and reflectivity? A reasonable person might say mankind can no more regulate earth's temperature than the ocean tides.

A review of scientific journals and reports by world renowned climatologists has revealed several things which show the foolhardiness of attempts to affect climate change at all, let alone by reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Consider the following:

1. Human activity (according to NASA data) accounts for less than 4 percent of global CO2 emissions.

2. CO2 itself accounts for only 10 or 20 percent of the greenhouse effect. (This shows the ignorance of the Supreme Court and EPA's decision to classify CO2 as a pollutant because if CO2 is a pollutant as a greenhouse gas, then the most common greenhouse gas of all - water vapor, which accounts for almost 75% of the atmosphere's greenhouse effect - should be regulated, too. The EPA isn't going after water vapor, of course, because then everyone would realize how absurd climate-control regulation really is.

3. Even if Americans were to eliminate their CO2 emissions completely, total human emissions of CO2 would still increase as billions of people around the world continue to develop economically and the world population increases (largely due to Muslims).

Clearly, it is beyond the ability of mere mortals to say what is the right concentration of CO2 is or the optimal global average temperature is or how to control CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

Congress is hell bent on enacting a climate control bill and Obama is drooling over the prospect of increasing government control still more. However Dr. Mark W. Hendrickson, an adjunct faculty member, economist, and contributing scholar with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College, has asked the following questions of Congress and the EPA:

“Who will be forced to drive and fly less often? (If we quit using every gasoline-powered vehicle in the country, we still wouldn't reduce CO2 emissions as much as Al Gore wants.)

How much economic pain should be imposed on Americans for heating and cooling their homes? (Your 75-percent-higher electric bill will fund President Obama's “green jobs” machine.)

Which businesses will need to move offshore to power their operations at a competitive cost? (This is nothing new. EPA regulations started causing off-shore oil-refinery jobs decades ago.)”

The impact of CO2 regulations will hurt us far more than CO2 itself ever could.

When Obama and his sycophant congress penalize carbon, the good question to ask is what the cost will be to Americans. By reducing the amount of carbon dioxide by producers of products used by us, the output of such goods will be lower than it otherwise would be. So if we legislatively require a smaller volume of CO2 output, we should also consider what the trade off will be.

A cap-and-trade system like in the Waxman-Hardy bill (regardless what they call it) would raise the price of anything that, directly or indirectly, depends on the burning of fossil fuels. Electricity especially would become very much more expensive because much of our electricity production is from coal-fired power plants. There is no doubt the cost to Americans will be greater than it would have been without a climate-change policy.

It may not be easy to calculate the extent but the latest UN's IPCC report (AR4) says that action against greenhouse gas emissions (like the of cutbacks required in Waxman-Markey bill) is very aggressive in the range of models studied by the IPCC and could cost up to 5.5 percent of global GDP by the year 2050, relative to the baseline trajectory of GDP if no carbon caps are imposed. If you doubt this, take a look at the Heritage Foundation report on the subject; here is the example they give (for efficient use of revenues).

"For simplicity sake, if your household income is $100,000, then the carbon legislation could raise the prices of goods and services which you might use could make you spend more than $5,500 annually in time."

However, the Heritage foundation says these numbers rely on efficient use of revenues and the real cost gets worse. These MIT and IPCC estimates assume an optimal enforcement of the climate policies, for all major governments and for one century. The actual IPCC report has the following caveat:

“It is important to note that for the following reported cost estimates, the vast majority of the models assume transparent markets, no transaction costs, and thus perfect implementation of policy measures throughout the 21st century, leading to the universal adoption of cost-effective mitigations measures, such as carbon taxes or universal cap and trade programmes…. Relaxation of these modeling assumptions, alone or in combination (e.g. mitigation-only in Annex I countries, no emissions trading, or CO2-only mitigation), will lead to an appreciable increase in all cost categories. (Working Group III, p. 204, emphasis added)”

If history is a guide, the government will spend more money than estimated. The cost is likely to reach much more than it otherwise would if it has hundreds of billions in cap and trade revenues at its disposal every year.

The government income from cap and trade will not be used to reduce the deficit, or be used to reduce taxes. Costs will be far greater and the government will end up squandering far more than 5.5 percent of total output of the GNP in the year 2050, even if all of the other modeling assumptions are taken at face value.

With such higher cost to Americans from the Waxman-Hardy bill, it’s interesting to see to what extent the planet would “benefit” from the public's sacrifices.

According to this estimate by climate scientist Chip Knappenberger, Waxman-Markey would lead to a planet that warmed 9/100ths of a degree Fahrenheit less than would otherwise be the case, by the year 2050. As the Mises Daily Report by Robert P. Murphy says “In case you think Knappenberger's figure is bogus, look at the reaction by NASA scientists and others at a leading pro-intervention blog. They don't dispute the figure; they instead say that the United States must show leadership by capping its own emissions.”

Obama sympathizer Paul Krugman has tried to support the concept of restricting carbon dioxide emissions but it is noteworthy that at the time of the urgency to pass the Stimulus Bill, Krugman argued that an inadequate measure could be worse than nothing, because it would squander President Obama's political capital. So if there is a showdown on the subject in congress, and the result is a law that does very little to change global temperatures, it would be actually be worse than if nothing were achieved legislatively.

It should be obvious to everyone that the idea of global warming has now been completely politicized and the effect will be another huge seizure of property rights not only without compensation required by the Constitution, but with severe costs to all of us – all because we did not think about carbon dioxide seriously.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Obama’s three (of many) great lies

We’ve all heard the joke that about the three great lies that begins with “the check is in the mail.” There is a new joke on Americans but it isn’t funny. What is it you may ask, it’s Obama in general and what he has said in the past about his socialized healthcare plan in particular.

There are so many Obama contradictions it would take a professional to catalog them all. Even in the same speech Obama can say one thing and then announce something else in direct contradiction. The “government news media” as Rush Limbaugh like to call them, does not make any effort to call attention to these ‘Obamaisms’ and will do anything to suppress whatever Obama says or does that might open him up to criticism. Remarkably, this same news media howls when accused of bias.

For most Americans the present healthcare system is quite satisfactory and they would not change it if given half a chance to vote on it “directly.” I say directly because it is widely assumed - mostly by Obama, Democrats and the news media - that the last election expressed voters’ desire for “change”, including in the healthcare system. However I believe the election result may reflect a wish to replace George Bush with a new face (a more or less black one at that), but voters were not actually approving either the Obama “spread the wealth” message or voting for socialized medicine. Certainly, Americans had no idea they were in effect voting for nationalization of private industry and financial institutions. Do you think voters had any idea their vote would bring about another government Czar, one who would dictate the pay of executives?

But getting back to the three great lies masquerading as truths, consider what Obama first said and what he now advocates as part of his plan to take over the healthcare industry, fully one-seventh of the entire US economy.

During the campaign Obama’s lame opponent came up with some pretty outlandish ideas; for example, John McCain actually at one point said we should consider taxing healthcare benefits. Obama and his media allies jumped all over this. Obama said on the campaign trail (Newport News, Va., October 4, 2008):

“So here’s John McCain’s radical plan in a nutshell: he taxes health care benefits for the first time in history… Well, I don’t think that’s right.”

So the first great Obama healthcare lie concerns taxing such benefits. What is Obama’s position on this now? Obama ally Senator Max Baucus told the Washington Post that Obama is now willing to tax employer-provided health benefits. Baucus said: “Yeah, it’s something that he might consider. That was discussed. It’s on the table.”

“Limiting or ending the tax-free status of health benefits makes sense if it’s used to cut other taxes and put all health insurance—employer-provided or not—on a level playing field. The existing benefit is an artifact of World War II-era price controls and creates a tax penalty for people who buy their own insurance.” (President Barack Obama)

Yeah sure; other taxes will be cut if healthcare benefits are taxed – Brooklyn Bridge for sale anybody?

Interestingly, the Obama healthcare benefit tax plan would go much further than even the hair brained McCain idea. Unlike the McCain plan, which would have taxed employer-provided health benefits and used the money to pay for a new health care tax credit, the plan now being considered by Obama and the Democrats would tax employer-health benefits to fund increased government health care spending. For the 250 million-plus Americans who already have health insurance, this is an especially raw deal—they pay more taxes and get nothing in return.

In another speech on the campaign trail Obama laid the basis for big lie number 2 – “You won’t be forced to buy health insurance.”

Here’s what Obama said on the campaign trail (Janesville, Wis., February 13, 2008):

“The main difference between my plan and Senator Clinton’s plan is that she’d require the government to force you to buy health insurance and she said she’d ‘go after’ your wages if you don’t and I won’t.”

Obama has later said, and repeated in his current healthcare plan described in a letter to Democratic Senators Ted Kennedy and Max Baucus - using the new code word “responsibility” to refer to the same kind of mandate he slammed in Hillary’s plan:

“I understand the Committees are moving towards a principle of shared responsibility — making every American responsible for having health insurance coverage, and asking that employers share in the cost. I share the goal of ending lapses and gaps in coverage that make us less healthy and drive up everyone’s costs, and I am open to your ideas on shared responsibility.”

There is no reason to have a mandate other than to force people to buy insurance who don’t want to, mostly young people who are healthy, and think they’ll never die and want to spend their limited income on their careers, families or just having a good time. According to the Census Bureau, about 60 percent of the uninsured are under age 35, with the highest rates in the 18-24 bracket (28.1 percent uninsured) and the 25-34 (25.7 percent uninsured) bracket. This is about forcing some people who don’t want health insurance to pay for other people through a new government program. It’s more of “spreading the wealth around.”

The first time around when Hillary proposed her healthcare “reform”, the health insurance companies were major opponents and sponsored the “Harry and Louise” TV ad that helped to derail HillaryCare. This time Obama learned his lesson and inserted a provision to buy off insurance companies; he and Democrats learned a lesson from the 1993 HillaryCare fight when the insurance companies stopped a Washington health care takeover. The Obama mandate is a giveaway to insurance companies to buy their support this time by forcing healthy young people who use less health care to pay insurance premiums.

For big lie number 3, let’s look at his tax proclamations. Obama made a big thing during his campaign that only rich people would see their taxes raised. Here’s what Obama said on the campaign trail (September 12, 2008, Dover, N.H.):

“I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”

Like in the other examples given, Obama has changed his tune now that the election is over and he sits comfortably in the oval office.

These days’ new ideas are floated every day, but they all would involve taxing people who make less than $250,000. In fact, even his income tax hikes for the rich have now been dropped down to start at considerably lower than the $250,000 threshold. In addition we now see proposals for a soft drink excise tax, cap-and-trade energy taxes, and most recently the VAT, a form of national sales tax that is actually the first “non-progressive” tax if unaccompanied by tax payments to the ”poor” (like the so-called earned income tax credit). And of course the tax on health benefits I mentioned above would also break the only-tax-the-rich pledge.

It’s easy to see what the Obama “three great lies” have in common: those working for a living will all pay huge amounts, likely trillions of dollars, in higher taxes for “free” government health care. In fact, probably the biggest lie of all is that government health care is free.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Figuring out why healthcare costs are rising is not difficult; and the reason is not what you may think

Healthcare reform is on every Democrat mind and the cheerleader in chief is President Barack Obama. We are told healthcare costs are increasing so fast that if Obama’s Healthcare plan is not adopted immediately, if not sooner, we will all die of dysentery tomorrow. Of course, similar urgency was claimed in advance of the TARP bail out of toxic mortgages and the Stimulus Bill to take us out of the impending recession – both cries of wolf were hoaxes and excuses to slide along the path to socialist Gomorrah.

The big bugaboo in the case of healthcare is said to be the rising cost. For example, since Medicare was created in 1965, U.S. health spending has risen about 2.7% faster than the economy and on current trend would hit 20% of GDP within a decade. Every public or private attempt to arrest this climb has failed: wage and price controls in the 1970s, the insurance industry's "voluntary effort" in the '80s, managed care in the '90s. The increase in cost is not surprising given the way it is being handled but what is surprising is why people in and out of government can’t understand why costs are rising as they are – and it has nothing to do with increases in the quantity and quality of care provided.

Let me give you an analogy that will explain my theory of the reason healthcare costs rise.

During the housing boom everyone who sold a house expected to make a profit or at least recover their costs of selling commissions, improvements, etc. The result was that a house was expected to be sold for a higher price than paid by the previous owner. Obviously this led to a continuum of ever increasing housing costs.

Now let’s consider the healthcare industry. To maintain or reduce costs the government and allied insurance companies reduce the payments to doctors and providers. But the cost sustained for service by providers and medical equipment manufacturers does not get lower and in fact increases. Expenses of Doctors for office staff, space and equipment rises, not to mention malpractice insurance without tort reform. Medicare, Medicaid and Insurance companies pay the provider a percentage of the amount billed to the patient; and the percentage keeps decreasing in the false belief that is the way to reduce the cost of medical care. However, if medical providers are to maintain their standard of living, the amount they charge has to be increased as reimbursement decreases.

If you don’t believe me, here is a real life experience I had. Because I am (hopefully) a cancer survivor, I go for periodic PET scans to see if I remain free of the nasty cancer cells. If I use my medical insurance to pay for this, the PET scan charge to the insurance company is $4,200; if I pay for the procedure myself, the cost is $1,200. Why the difference you ask, well the service provider knows the insurance company will only pay a fraction of the amount billed. So to recover actual costs and a decent profit, it is necessary to ask the insurance company (or Medicare) for more money for the service. When I pay out of my pocket, the service provider gets to keep the entire amount charged and there is no voluminous paper work and payment time delay involved.

Medicare is an example of government interference that results in higher healthcare cost because it reflects the entire practice of medicine but distorts it like a funhouse mirror. It simply fixes the prices for thousands of services and procedures, usually well below those of private payers. There is no way of knowing if these administered prices are the "right" level, and, either way, marginal costs adapt to what is paid, creating perverse incentives of their own. Congress also regularly uses Medicare to skew the distribution of medical resources, such as extra payments to teaching hospitals or rural areas.

But the worst aspect is that, as has been said, “Medicare is an ocean of money surrounded by people who want some.” It is not only an entitlement to beneficiaries, but a de facto revenue entitlement to hospitals, physicians, nursing homes, durable medical equipment suppliers and the rest provided they keep raising prices in proportion to the decreasing reimbursement by the government.

Then there is the element that the healthcare industry is big business. Unlike the individual medical practitioner, for profit hospitals and medical equipment manufacturers are big business. As a result, de facto revenue entitlements go to hospitals, nursing homes, durable medical equipment suppliers and the rest. In terms of effect on profits to these groups, even a tweak to the Medicare fee schedule is a small-scale equivalent to trimming farm subsidies. The system will never be as rational as we might want unless it is severed from politics, but doing that in a way that does not impose a financial burden to the medical profession or the result will be ever increasing healthcare costs and a likely decline in the quality of medical care.

Unfortunately, the entire Obama agenda is about increasing political, rather than individual, control of the health markets. The Ted Kennedy proposed healthcare bill would provide insurance subsidies up to 500% of the poverty line (for a family of four, that's $110,250). In that kind of world, all costs will climb even higher as people use far more "free" care and federal spending will reach epic levels. Bureaucrats watching the bottom line will try to ration care or reduce further reimbursements to Doctors. Naturally, adding to the Obama socialist theories, Congress will get involved and make things worse, as it always does. Us hapless patients will be caught in the political crossfire as we always do except that rationing will mostly affect older folks who the government will say to provide them medical care is not cost effective.

Monday, June 8, 2009

America descends into Marxism while Europe escapes socialism

For years Europeans were chastised by Americans for their slide into the Gomorrah of socialism while the United States remained the bastion of free market capitalism. That’s why it is with more than a little irony we now see European conservatism emerging while America plunges into the depths of a centralized economy where the government nationalizes major segments industry and banking with more to follow. Healthcare which comprises one seventh of our economy will soon be taken over by the hydra of government.

In recent elections Europeans (except for Greece where the governing conservatives were defeated because of corruption scandals) reduced the number of socialists in government and increased or kept in place conservative majorities. Even in some of Europe's largest economies voters replaced socialist left parties in the parliaments of France, Germany and other countries. Leftists in The European Union dominated for years but now center-right have taken most seats, (267 of 736 in the European parliament) whereas the number of center-left leaning parties were reduced (159 seats). Opponents of socialists also are leading in Britain and Spain. In Germany Social Democrats got 20.8 percent; their worst result since World War II in any nationwide election.

Volker Kauder, the leader of Merkel's party in the German parliament said "We are the force that is acting level-headedly and correctly in this financial and economic crisis."

Socialists in France lost to French President Nicolas Sarkozy's governing conservatives. The Socialists dominated the last vote in 2004 but were defeated in the recent elections and barely held on to second place in the voting.

The results in the EU parliament are particularly important because the Parliament has evolved over five decades from a merely consultative role to one having the power to vote on or amend two-thirds of all EU laws. Lawmakers get five-year terms and residents vote for lawmakers from their own countries. The parliament can also amend the EU budget and approve candidates for the European Commission, the EU administration and the board of the European Central Bank.

Graham Watson, leader of the EU's center-right Liberal Democrats said "People don't want a return to socialism and that's why the majority here will be a center-right majority."

In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders' anti-Islamic party took 17 percent of the country's votes, taking four of 25 seats.

In Austria as well the main rightist party gained while the ruling Social Democrats lost substantially. The big winner was the rightist Freedom Party, which more than doubled its strength over the 2004 elections to 13.1 percent of the vote - they campaigned on an anti-Islam platform.

The Hungarian far-right Jobbik party won three of 22 seats, while the main center-right opposition party, Fidesz, won 14 seats to the governing Socialists only four.

Italy also leaned to the right with Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi's Freedom People's Party having a lead over his main center-left rival.

An exit poll in Poland showed Prime Minister Donald Tusk's pro-business Civic Platform party with 45.3 percent leading the left party with 29.5 percent; this was also a shift to the center-right for Poland at the European parliament.

But the most interesting of all was that Pravda – the voice of the “Evil Empire” – chastised the United States for what writer Stanislav Mishin called “the American decent into Marxism.” Mishin said this “… is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me dear reader, I meant people.” Isn’t it amazing that someone in a communist country can recognize what is happening in the United States and Americans cannot?

Here is how Mishin described the America “descent” into Marxism:

“First, the population was dumbed down through a politicized and substandard education system based on pop culture, rather then the classics. Americans know more about their favorite TV dramas then the drama in DC that directly affects their lives. They care more for their "right" to choke down a McDonalds burger or a BurgerKing burger than for their constitutional rights. Then they turn around and lecture us about our rights and about our 'democracy'. Pride blind the foolish."

"Then their faith in God was destroyed, until their churches, all tens of thousands of different "branches and denominations" were for the most part little more then Sunday circuses and their televangelists and top protestant mega preachers were more then happy to sell out their souls and flocks to be on the 'winning' side of one pseudo Marxist politician or another. Their flocks may complain, but when explained that they would be on the 'winning' side, their flocks were ever so quick to reject Christ in hopes for earthly power. Even our Holy Orthodox churches are scandalously liberalized in America."

"The final collapse has come with the election of Barack Obama. His speed in the past three months has been truly impressive. His spending and money printing has been a record setting, not just in America's short history but in the world. If this keeps up for more then another year, and there is no sign that it will not, America at best will resemble the Wiemar Republic and at worst Zimbabwe.”

I think Mishin is right on.

The Pravda writer also understood better than Obama worshipers that the US financial wizards “… are now gorging themselves on trillions of American dollars, in one bailout after another. They are also usurping the rights, duties and powers of the American congress (parliament). Again, congress has put up little more then a whimper to their masters.”

How demeaning is it that an outsider can see what people here can’t?

“Then came Barack Obama's command that GM's (General Motor) president step down from leadership of his company. That is correct, dear reader, in the land of "pure" free markets, the American president now has the power, the self given power, to fire CEOs and we can assume other employees of private companies, at will. Come hither, go dither, the centurion commands his minions.”

Is he wrong when he says “The American president has followed this up with a ‘bold’ move of declaring that he and another group of unelected, chosen stooges will now redesign the entire automotive industry and will even be the guarantee of automobile policies.”

Mishin is not alone in noting the American “descent into Marxism,” even his leader Prime Minister Putin, less then two months ago, warned Obama and UK's Browne, not to follow the path to Marxism, it only leads to disaster.

Who can disagree with Stanislav Mishin – “The proud American will go down into his slavery with out a fight, beating his chest and proclaiming to the world, how free he really is. The world will only snicker.”

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Obama panders to Muslims and minimizes American military efforts to protect freedom

There is so much to talk about President Obama and what he is doing to the country someone like me who wants to get “the word out” would have to write an article every hour to address all of Obama’s statements, actions and America-destroying proposals. It was said, erroneously, that Rush Limbaugh would have a tough time after Bill Clinton left office by that was not true and there was plenty to highlight during the George W. Bush administration. Now with Obama doing or saying something Anti-American in his effort to “change” the country so often, there is so much to report for all to become aware of that the shear volume of such things becomes the problem.

Since it is the most recent manifestation of the Obama willingness to belittle America, let’s take a look at his pandering speech in Cairo.

The only improvement in Obama’s behavior during this trip to the Arab world was he didn’t bow to the Saudi King; in fact, although Obama’s supporters strenuously tried to explain Obama didn’t bow last time despite video to the contrary – he just bent over because the King is shorter than him – this time he didn’t bend even when presented with an expensive gold necklace (wonder where that will end up).

The presidential campaign last year was full of cries of “racism” whenever anyone used Barack Obama’s middle name “Hussein.” Even the pitiful challenger, Senator McCain, criticized anyone on his staff if they dared use Obama’s full name. So what happened – Obama himself used his Muslim name when he was sworn in as president. This presaged Obama’s speech in Cairo where he glorified his Muslim roots and let the Muslim audience believe here was a new US president that understood them and didn’t mind that they wanted to take over the world and develop nuclear capability.

Obama said it was all right if Iran wanted to develop nuclear energy for power plants as long as they said they were not going to build atomic bombs in the process. Obama tried to minimize the danger of this permission by quoting Ronald Reagan “trust but verify.” The unresolved question is what happens if Iran breaks their promise after being allowed unfettered nuclear development programs and actually makes atomic bombs in secret. Remember, Muslims are allowed under the Koran to make false promises if it suits them. Will the next Obama apology be to Israel for the destruction of their country?

By the way; there are two things of note in this – first, why does Iran need nuclear energy for power production when it sits on huge oil reserves and is not restrained by environment wackos and how come nuclear power is OK for Iran but not for the United States?

As part of the Obama Muslim buttering-up, he said that "One of the points I want to make is, is that if you actually took the number of Muslim Americans we'd be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.” Really, do the 2.3 million or so Muslims in the US (according to the Pew Research Center) make us “one of the largest Muslim countries in the world”?

Obama went so far as to tell Muslims “It is part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.” Now isn’t that special – I didn’t see that in the Constitution where it describes the job of president and where was that exactly in the oath of office he took? I also don’t remember Obama saying to a Jewish audience or the Christian audience at Notre Dame that it was his responsibility to fight for them.

There were many unfortunate things Obama said before his world-wide Muslim audience that are despicable but none more so than his remarks denigrating the performance of our brave military in the war on terrorism; which can be better described as a war of defense against Muslims and Islam.

Barack Hussein Obama did not take the opportunity to tell about the hard work and sacrifice of our troops in the Mid East to bring freedom to Muslims and appeared ashamed of the efforts and sacrifices made by our military in the war on terror despite the importance and success of our military’s efforts to keep America safe in the process of saving Muslims. While our troops are putting their lives on the line daily in order to protect us from terrorism and the ideology of Jihadism, their Commander in Chief refuses to use either term, ‘terrorism’ or ‘jihad’, in his entire speech addressing the issues facing the US relationship with the Muslim world even though it is evident that Jihadists want to kill us.

Obama fell all over himself to impress the Muslim audience that the US has a new leader in charge. It was disappointing to say the least to see Obama minimize the significance of American troops in preserving American national security. Freedom does not come from his rhetoric, but from the blood and sweat of our heroic military men and women.

Obama could also have reminded the Muslim audience that America saved their collective asses in many places like Kosovo, victims of the Tsunami in Indonesia, torture chambers in Iraq, Saddam invasion of Kuwait, female victims of the Taliban in Afghanistan, aid to Muslims in Africa being killed, starved and raped by other Muslims, billions to help Muslim AID victims in Africa – BUT Obama did none of that.

I ask all of you who read this, if the president won’t support our military don’t that mean we must do what he will not? It seems to me any of our soldiers on the front line in the war to defend America against Islam’s destructive forces deserve our fullest support. I believe that our troops do not hear that they are supported enough. They get discouraged when they see the far left politicians who are in power continuously call into question the legitimacy of their missions and suggest their work may be pointless or misguided. President Obama says that we responded to 9/11 in ways that were “contrary to our ideals” and that we were driven by “fear and anger” but we know that the duty of our troops has been selfless and valiant, their task vital, and their conduct honorable.

Many people are far too comfortable taking our troops for granted and focusing only on where some individual goes wrong. Our media is complicit in encouraging the practice. Most Americans, especially those who have observed the work and the character of our military men and women understand the overwhelming reality: our troops carry out our nation’s most important work, they do it under terrible conditions, and they ask for little in return. But they deserve all the thanks we can give them.

Let’s turn out July 4th in TEA parties around the country to show our patriotic feelings for America and to praise our brave men and women in the military.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sotomayor has decided that the Bill of Rights does not apply to the states

If you thought the Bill of Rights gives you constitutional protection for freedom of speech, of religion and a free press; you are wrong according to Obama Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor. The likely newest member of the high Court decided that all these rights guaranteed by the first Ten Amendments which make up the Bill of Rights can now be taken away from us at the whim of our state legislatures - who would have imagined.

Sotomayor has been criticized for racist statements and a belief that courts set "policy" not just issue decisions based on the law, and it has been noted that she meets the Obama intention of appointing a Supreme Court judge with "empathy," but her credentials as judge have been accepted without question - this is a big mistake.

Sotomayor was on a panel of the Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit which issued an unsigned opinion dismissing a challenge to a New York law that banned a martial arts weapon despite the earlier Supreme Court ruling in Heller v District of Columbia which struck down a ban on handguns and said individuals have the right to keep arms at home for self defense. Contrary to the Heller decision, the panel on which Sotomayor served said (in the case of Maloney v. Cuomo) that it was clear from the Supreme Court precedent (the Heller case) that the Second Amendment could be applied only to the federal government, or in a federal enclave such as Washington. It said the Supreme Court has "the prerogative of overruling its own decisions," but why is that relevant?

The issue raises the question of whether the Bill of Rights applies to state and local governments. Lawyers challenging gun restrictions and legal scholars contend that they do through the due-process clause of the 14th Amendment and that was the finding of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in a case earlier this year. The Supreme Court's decision last year in the Heller case decided for the first time that the Second Amendment provided an individual right to bear arms.

If the 2nd Amendment can be said to not apply to the states and local governments, then why should the other rights spelled out in the Bill of Rights apply?

A recent decision of the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reached the Sotomayor conclusion in a ruling rejecting a challenge to a tough Chicago suburb handgun law. Her supporters say the similar opinion by the 7th Circuit somehow makes the nominee immune to criticism on this issue but no one explains why the Sotomayor view of the 2nd Amendment can be distinguished from the other first eight Amendments that include the First Amendment that provides freedom of religion, freedom of speech and the press and the right of peaceful assembly. In fact, the First Amendment specifically says "Congress shall make no law …." if the first ten Amendments are not applicable to the states than according to Sotomayor each state may establish their own limitations on these basic rights. As my mother used to say, "Two wrongs don't make a right."

In my view our constitutional rights hang in the balance with the appointment Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. A powerful revolution expanding government authority is underway with Obama's election as President, and the Democrats about to obtain a 60-seat majority in the U.S. Senate. But an adverse Supreme Court can stop and undo a lot of that but appointing judges like Sotomayor will prevent even this small possibility.

David Souter was a surprise to the Republicans who appointed him and worked for his confirmation. His vote made a difference on the side of many important issues in many Supreme Court decisions. Justice Anthony Kennedy cannot be relied upon; adding another judicial activist to the Supreme Court will take the country still further away from the one created by our founders.

We cannot afford or risk an even worse appointment than Souter who seems to believe her opinion caries more weight than a white person and that the court makes policy, not just applies the law - a Justice who seems to have an insufficient passion for protecting and strengthening the freedoms that make our country great.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Can we attend future GM stockholders’ meetings?

Since the government of the people owns 60% of Government Motors, formerly General Motors, I guess that means any or all of us can attend stockholders’ meetings. Hmm, I wonder where the meetings will be held.

Obama said “What I have no interest in doing is running GM." Unfortunately Obama has a history of lying and saying one thing and doing another – so how can we believe Obama’s men won’t be calling the shots at the auto company at Obama’s direction? Furthermore, Obama said that he wouldn’t be involved in decision making at GM “except in only fundamental issues.” Wow – doesn’t that mean that Obama won’t get involved in day-to-day minutia but will be involved in any important things?

What Obama said in the principles of ownership is that the administration acknowledges that in "exceptional cases" of substantial assistance to the private sector, it reserves the right to set up conditions to protect taxpayers, promote financial stability and encourage growth.

But, Obama stressed: "The federal government will refrain from exercising its rights as a shareholder in all but the most fundamental corporate decisions. When a difficult decision has to be made on matters like where to open a new plant or what type of new car to make, the New GM, not the United States government, will make that decision."

But, it's certainly not lost on the administration that automakers have a huge presence in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Missouri — all potential battlegrounds in a presidential contest. “Whether voters there will remember the 66 percent of GM jobs Obama helped retain, or the 34 percent that GM had to let go to satisfy Washington, won't be known until the next election.”

While Obama may not make daily operating decisions, the administration has made substantive moves already, even before he took ownership of 60% of the company.

The president a month ago forced Rick Wagoner out as GM's CEO. The Treasury Department dictated what bondholders should get for the $27 billion they held in GM debt. Obama's team determined that GM needed to downsize so that it could break even if car sales remain at 10 million vehicles a year, instead of the 16 million auto sales threshold it needs today (which requires GM to reduce retail outlets). GM will also be required to not sell in the US cars GM makes outside the country. And on Treasury's instructions, GM will replace a majority of its board members in consultation with the Obama administration. – But Obama says he won’t be involved with the management of the company; do you believe it?

Obama has imposed tougher fuel efficiency requirements by which GM (and all other auto companies) will need to observe. The government assured consumers that it will guarantee GM warranties – (does this mean the government will take care that oil leak on your new car?).

The new CAFÉ standards will make all companies have to produce small unsafe cars but will the public buy them? On the other hand if that’s all that Obama makes available as he controls auto companies, will we have any other choice?

Consider this too; if these small Junkers don’t sell is Obama above raising fuel prices by increasing federal tax on gasoline?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Can only whites be guilty of racism? Is preference given to one race racism?

If you aren’t able to win at the ballot box fairly then you have to win unfairly because winning is everything when you want to change the country. We already know that Obama’s private community organizing army, ACORN, has corrupted the election process by obtaining fraudulent voter registrations; now we learn that it’s OK for Obama’s supporters to be more open in their support of Obama’s election by physically intimidating voters at the polls.

A videotape captured three members of the Black Panthers decked out in their uniforms wielding a nightstick and intimidating voters in a Philadelphia polling place during last Election Day. The incident got national attention when it was captured on videotape and distributed on YouTube. The obvious display of intimidation prompted the government under the Bush administration to sue the Black Panthers involved for violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act by scaring would-be voters with a weapon, racial slurs and military-style uniforms.

Government lawyers under the Bush administration in its last days pursued the case for months after obtaining an affidavit from a prominent 1960s civil rights activist who witnessed the confrontation and described it as "the most blatant form of voter intimidation" that he had seen, even during the voting rights crisis in Mississippi a half-century ago."

Lawyers handling the case also found that one of the three Black Panthers had gained access to the polling place by securing a credential as a Democratic poll watcher, according to The Washington Times who had reviewed relevant documents. The government lawyers from the Justice Department were on the verge of securing sanctions against the men earlier this month. The court had already entered a default judgment against the three Black Panthers on April 20, 2009. Justice lawyers were seeking a default judgment and penalties against the three men as recently as May 5, before being ordered to abruptly end their legal action 10 days later.

The intimidating Black Panthers were dressed in military-style uniforms, black berets, combat boots, battle-dress pants, and black jackets with military-style insignias and were armed with "a dangerous weapon" and used racial slurs and insults to scare would-be voters and those there to assist them at the Philadelphia polling location on Nov. 4th

The complaint said the three black men engaged in "coercion, threats and intimidation, ... racial threats and insults, ... menacing and intimidating gestures, ... and movements directed at individuals who were present to vote." It said that unless prohibited by court sanctions, they would "continue to violate ... the Voting Rights Act by continuing to direct intimidation, threats and coercion at voters and potential voters, by again deploying uniformed and armed members at the entrance to polling locations in future elections, both in Philadelphia and throughout the country."

According to the complaint, Malik Zulu Shabazz (Black Panther Chairman), a Howard University Law School graduate, said the placement of King Samir Shabazz and Mr. Jackson in Philadelphia was part of a nationwide effort to deploy New Black Panther Party members at polling locations on Election Day.

The New Black Panther Party reportedly has 27 chapters operating across the United States, Britain, the Caribbean and Africa. Its Web page said it has become "a great witness to the validity of the works of the original Black Panther Party," which was founded in 1966 in Oakland, Calif.

To support its evidence in the case, the government had obtained an affidavit from Bartle Bull, a longtime civil rights activist and former aide to Sen. Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 presidential campaign. Mr. Bull said in a sworn statement dated April 7 that he was serving in November as a credentialed poll watcher in Philadelphia when he saw the three uniformed Panthers confront and intimidate voters with a nightstick.

"In my opinion, the men created an intimidating presence at the entrance to a poll," he declared. "In all my experience in politics, in civil rights litigation and in my efforts in the 1960s to secure the right to vote in Mississippi ... I have never encountered or heard of another instance in the United States where armed and uniformed men blocked the entrance to a polling location."

Mr. Bull said the "clear purpose" of what the Panthers were doing was to "intimidate voters with whom they did not agree." He also said he overheard one of the men tell a white poll watcher: "You are about to be ruled by the black man, cracker."

He called their conduct an "outrageous affront to American democracy and the rights of voters to participate in an election without fear." He said it was a "racially motivated effort to limit both poll watchers aiding voters, as well as voters with whom the men did not agree."

According to the reviewed court files, the three black men named in the complaint - New Black Panther Chairman Malik Zulu Shabazz, Minister King Samir Shabazz and Jerry Jackson - refused to appear in court to answer the accusations over a near-five month period.

Inexplicably, the Holder Justice Department lawyers did not enter the affidavit in the court case, according to the files reviewed by the Washington Times.

The reason for discontinuing legal action against the Black Panthers occurred because the black Attorney General, Eric holder, under the black U.S. President overruled career government lawyers handling the case and ordered them to end a civil complaint accusing three members of the Black Panthers of voter intimidation (members of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense).

A spokesman for the black Attorney General confirmed that the agency had dropped the case against the three black members of the Black Panthers, dismissing two of the men from the lawsuit with no penalty and getting an order against the third man that simply prohibits him from bringing a weapon to a polling place in future elections.

The Attorney General spokesman, Alejandro Miyar, proudly proclaimed that the Obama Justice Department was "successful in obtaining an injunction that prohibits the defendant who brandished a weapon outside a Philadelphia polling place from doing so again," and "Claims were dismissed against the other defendants based on a careful assessment of the facts and the law." Evidently the “careful review “ did not include viewing the videotape which clearly showed voter intimidation by all three Black Panthers.

Rumors of an internal dispute within the Justice Department about the ordered action were not addressed because Mr. Miyar declined to elaborate or confirm, but didn’t deny, that there had been any such internal dispute between career and political officials, saying only that the department is "committed to the vigorous prosecution of those who intimidate, threaten or coerce anyone exercising his or her sacred right to vote."

People directly familiar with the case, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity to the Washington Times because of fear of retribution, said career lawyers in two separate Justice offices had recommended proceeding to default judgment before political superiors overruled them.

During his January confirmation hearings, black Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said that during his lengthy Justice Department tenure, the career lawyers were "my teachers, my colleagues and my friends" and described them as the "backbone" of the department.

"If I am confirmed as attorney general, I will listen to them, respect them and make them proud of the vital goals we will pursue together," he said.

Obviously, Eric Holder is no more committed to his spoken words than his boss in the White House.

One of the Black Panthers, Jerry Jackson, was an elected member of Philadelphia's 14th Ward Democratic Committee, and was credentialed to be at the polling place last Nov. 4 as an official Democratic Party polling observer, according to the Philadelphia City Commissioner's Office.

Can only whites be guilty of racism? Is preference given to one race racism?

I report, you decide. (With apology to Fox.)

[By the way, wouldn't Sotomayor's decision in the firefighter case be in the same catagory of preference to one race and therefore "racism?"]