Friday, February 27, 2009

What is the "Stimulus" bill all about?

This is not a complicated question. First, clearly it is not about helping the country. Nor is it about fixing any problems, financial or otherwise, that we may have. The simple answer is that it's about power – power for Obama and for the Democrat Party, and obliterating any dissent and opposition.

Obama, Pelosi and Reid, and their cohorts, want to turn the United States into a one-party country and to put the Republican Party out of business once and for all. To do this it is necessary to eliminate any meaningful political competition by stifling dissent and securing billions for their efforts and for their troops like ACORN. The massive appropriation called a stimulus - some $787 billion of our money - is really a political war chest for the Democrats. They want to change the face of American politics forever, and they want to use your taxpayer money to do it. The billions of dollars are to reward their political friends and have huge amounts of cash to dole out before the 2010 and 2012 elections.

Rahm Emanuel says they should take advantage of the “crisis” but there was no such thing that could not have been addressed more thoughtfully with hearings, evidence and testimony just as all previous important issues were addressed. Looking at the “Stimulus” law the question can be asked “why, if the country is in dire need of emergency stimulus, most of the money appropriated by this law will not even be spent this year”? Instead, spending will go on for 5 to 10 years. There is no mystery here: these billions of our money will fund the Democrat political machine for many years to come.

The lie about the urgency was made clear when President Obama, rather than immediately signing the bill, went on vacation to celebrate Valentine's Day with his wife in Chicago. [Amazingly he had been in Washington less than a month before he took his first vacation!] In fact, Obama took almost four days to sign this "urgent" bill.

Congress passed the largest spending bill in its history by essentially suspending debate and public examination of the pending law. The Democrats say they suspended normal procedures because the country so desperately needed to avoid what Barack Obama said was an economic "catastrophe." The bill apparently was so urgent that the Democrats even excluded Republican leaders from any involvement in negotiations on it.

The Democrats worked late into the night to produce a secret "compromise" bill among themselves and then refused even to share it with Republicans or the public until just hours before the bill went to the floor for a vote. The final stimulus bill was 1,079 pages long. Clearly Barack Obama never read the bill. Many members of Congress have admitted not one senator or congressman even read the bill before they voted for it!

Can you recall when Congress ever simply voted on a bill that involves so much money with its members having no idea what it says? Can you recall when congressional leaders like Pelosi and Reid, as well as President Obama, accepted such a monumental law without allowing even one day of scrutiny by Congress, its staffs or the public?

The way Democrats succeeded is by lying, just as they always have.

First they told us that the country is in such a dire situation that it was an emergency but the bill was not an emergency measure and was not even treated as such by President Obama. They falsely claimed it was an emergency bill to cut off all debate.

Then they said the bill provided immediate help to our ailing economy but the truth is that the bill does not offer significant, immediate stimulus. Most of the money won't even be spent this year, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office who also said that the stimulus bill would actually decrease the GDP over what would have been the case if the bill was not enacted. In other words, the CBO said that the bill actually will hurt long-term economic growth.

Thirdly, they said this bill was a “bipartisan” effort to save the economy; it was anything but. Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham said bluntly: "If this is going to be bipartisanship, the Country's screwed." Originally every Republican in the House voted against the bill, along with six Democratic congressmen. Ultimately in the Senate almost every Republican opposed the bill except three liberals: Senators Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins and Arlen Specter. The end result was hardly a “bipartisan” product and Republicans shouldn’t share the blame for the eventual failure.

The real purpose of spending is to lay the ground work of the remaking of America's political system into a one-party system - a one-party socialist state like that which destroyed other countries. Of course you won’t hear about this in the liberal news media but that's the real agenda behind the Obama stimulus bill. This is why so little of the stimulus is spent now and is spread out over several years. Obama and Democrats will have hundreds of billions to disburse to their supporters, creating a new party cadre that will help them win re-election in 2010 and 2012; the fraud perpetrated by groups like ACORN to register Democratic voters are examples of what we will see in the future.

In the run-up to the 2009 election, millions of new "voters" were registered by ACORN and it clearly helped elect Obama and gave the Democrats big majorities in the House and Senate. Since their game plan for 2008 worked they want to use public funds - our tax dollars - to pay for more of their political activities. Why else would groups like ACORN be given $3 billion in the final stimulus bill? If you recall Obama raised $750 million for his campaign, compared with that amount, ACORN's $3 billion is staggering. No doubt, these billions will help ACORN in its political work of "community organizing" - a euphemism for Democrat activitism.

But it's not just ACORN who is getting "stimulus."

The bulk of the Obama stimulus goes directly to the powerful government employee unions that helped get Obama elected and are the ground troops of the Democrat Party. It has been estimated that half of the stimulus appropriation directly benefits government employee and service employees union that played key roles in Obama's election.

The bill also gives tens of billions to state and local governments to dole out to their allies that means there will be even less accountability by Congress. Let us also not forget the massive payoffs to the special interests of the Democrat Party, with giveaways such as $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts, $300 million for new cars for government bureaucrats, $1.2 billion for "youth activities," tens of billions for "green, environmental and energy programs", another $3.7 billion for “green” military bases and $125 billion more to restore "abandoned mines." Besides all this the bill creates 33 new government programs; once created they live forever.

The stimulus money will give the Democrats the opportunity to become the dominant political party for the next generation. They want a one-party system headed by a popular man. Will what we just witnessed be a fatal blow to the very foundation of our republic?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Islam’s new anti-Jewish friend, the Obama administration

On April 20-24, 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland, the United Nations will host the “Durban Review Conference,” – a follow-up to the 2001 UN World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance (WCAR). As mandated by the UN General Assembly, the Human Rights Council of the United Nations (UNHRC) is responsible for organizing and convening the event “towards the effective and comprehensive implementation” of the conclusions and recommendations of WCAR, and to continue the “global drive for the total elimination of racism.”

Sounds good doesn’t it; after all who is not in favor of ending racism? However the truth is that the conference has nothing to do with racism; it is, like its predecessor conference (Durban I), part of a campaign to coordinate the diplomatic and legal war against Israel, an attempt to outlaw any criticism of Islam and a complete fraud having nothing to do with human rights.

The conference to be held in April is better known as Durban II, the sequel to the first such conference held in South Africa in September, 2001. That conference was transformed into an anti-Semitic diatribe reminiscent of Nazi Germany. America under George Bush honorably refused to participate; but not this time around under B. Hussein Obama.

Ironically the timing of the Durban II conference also sends a message to the world that it is intended to demean Israel as it will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, at a time overlapping Israel's annual observance of Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Memorial Day, on April 21. It is incredibly insulting that a conference organized by the United Nations, which gave birth to Israel in 1948 out of the ashes of the Holocaust, promises to repeat its shameful performance of 2001 by again allowing unbridled hatred, condemnation and slander of Israel.

As opposed to the Bush Administration, the Obama Administration is objecting to an automatic boycott and is attempting to change the event's tone via negotiations. However the wording of the previous Durban conference decision is already in the UN's lexicon, and therefore it would be impossible to achieve more than minor changes in the harsh anti-Israel text.

Israel and Canada already announced that they will not participate in the controversial conference and some European countries are also considering doing the same. However if the United states attends, then other countries that boycotted the earlier conference will likely find it politically expedient to reverse the boycott and join the United States in legitimizing this overt anti-Israel and anti-freedom of expression conference.

The Americans are hoping that dialogue would prompt the conference to address what the US views as genuine problems of racism worldwide. However, this is ridiculous since Libya, Cuba and Iran (all members of the UN Human Rights council) have achieved unanimity with all Islamic countries to condemn Israel and silence criticism of Islam. Furthermore, no Islamic country is noted for its human rights; any belief that they will solve "problems of racism worldwide" is idiotic.

The roughly 100 clauses that various states are attempting to include in a conference decision extensively criticizes Israel for human rights abuses and does not accept that the United Nations itself created the state of Israel.

Among the provisions sought to become international law are clauses that aim to make any attack on Islam a criminal offense and calls "on states to develop, and where appropriate to incorporate, permissible limitations on the exercise of the right to freedom of expression into national legislation." Yes, you read that right. The transparent purpose is to criminalize all criticism of Islam, a.k.a. "Islamophobia”.

The Obama administration actually sent representatives to participate in the so-called “planning” for the Durban II conference in February. However since the stated purpose of the Durban II conference is to review and implement the declarations adopted at the UN's anti-Israel hate-fest that took place in Durban I, there is no possibility that the US representatives could have had any affect on the conference preparations or conference outcome.

At Durban I, both the UN-sponsored NGO conclave and the UN's governmental conference passed declarations denouncing Israel as a racist state. The NGO conference called for a coordinated international campaign aimed at delegitimizing Israel and the right of the Jewish people to self-determination, and belittling the Holocaust.

The NGO conference also called for curbs on freedom of expression throughout the world in order to prevent critical discussion of Islam. As far as the world's leading NGOs - including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch - were concerned, critical discussions of Islam are inherently racist.

In defending US participation in the Durban II planning sessions, Gordon Duguid, the State Department's spokesman, argued, "If you are not engaged, you don't have a voice. We wanted to put forward our view and see if there is some way we can make the document [which sets the agenda and dictates the outcome of the Durban II conference] a better document than it appears it is going to be."

However, as I said, this naïve expectation is absurd for two reasons.

First, since the stated purpose of the Durban II conference is to oversee the implementation of the first Durban conference's decisions, and since those decisions include the anti-Israel assertion that Israel is a racist state, it is clear that the Durban II conference is inherently, and necessarily, anti-Israel.

The second reason that both the State Department and the White House should have realized that they are powerless to affect the conference's agenda is because that agenda was already set in previous planning sessions chaired by the likes of Libya, Cuba, Iran and Pakistan; and that agenda includes multiple assertions of the basic illegitimacy of the Jewish people's right to self-determination. The conference agenda also largely adopted the language of the Durban I conference that called for the criminalization of critical discussion of Islam as a form of hate speech and racism. That is, the Durban II conference's agenda is not only openly anti-Israel, it is also openly pro-tyranny, and antithetical to US constitutional First Amendment right of free expression.

In any case, the Islamic bloc, supported by the Third World bloc, has an automatic voting majority. Beyond insignificant wording changes, the US has no ability whatsoever to change the conference's agenda or expected outcome.

The position of President Obama and his administration clearly shows that the United States will no longer support Israel unconditionally. Since it came to office a month ago, every single Middle East policy the Obama administration has announced has been against Israel's national security interests.

Just consider: President Barack Obama's intense desire to appease Iran's mullahs in open discussions; his stated commitment to establish a Palestinian state as quickly as possible despite the Palestinians' open rejection of Israel's right to exist and support for terrorism; his expressed support for the so-called Saudi peace plan, which would require Israel to commit national suicide by contracting to within indefensible borders and accepting millions of hostile, foreign-born Arabs as citizens and residents of the Jewish state; his decision to end US sanctions against Syria and return the US ambassador to Damascus; every single concrete policy Obama has set forth harms Israel.

Recently Professor Anne Bayefsky, the senior editor of the EyeontheUN Web site, said that by participating in the planning sessions the US is accepting the conference's anti-Israel agenda. Bayefsky reported that at the planning session in Geneva, the Palestinian delegation proposed that a paragraph be added to the conference's agenda. Their draft "calls for implementation of... the advisory opinion of the ICJ [International Court of Justice] on the wall, [i.e., Israel's security fence], and the international protection of Palestinian people throughout the occupied Palestinian territory." The American delegation raised no objection to the Palestinian draft.

By not objecting to this Palestinian draft, not only did the US effectively accept the ICJ's authority, for practical purposes it granted the anti-Israel claim that whatever Israel does is a violation of human rights (and not for self defense).

This assertion aligns with the language already in the Durban II agenda, which calls Israel's Law of Return racist. This law, which grants automatic citizenship to any Jew who wishes to live here, is the embodiment of Jewish nation and the vehicle through which the Jewish people has built a nation-state. In alleging that the Law of Return is racist, the Durban II conference asserts that the Jews have no right to self-determination in their homeland.

As Bayefsky and others argued this week, by entering into the Durban preparatory process, the US has done two things. First, it has made it all but impossible for European countries like France, Britain, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, which were all considering boycotting the conference, to do so. They cannot afford to be seen as more opposed to its anti-Israel and anti-freedom agenda than Israel's closest ally and the world's greatest democracy. So just by participating in the planning sessions the US has legitimized a clearly bigoted, morally illegitimate process, making it impossible for Europe to disengage.

Second, through its behavior at the Geneva planning sessions this week, the US has demonstrated that State Department protestations aside, the administration has no interest in changing the agenda in any serious way. The US delegation's decision not to object to the Palestinian draft, as well its silence in the face of Iran's rejection of a clause in the conference declaration that mentioned the Holocaust, show the US did not join the planning session to change the tenor of the conference but that the US is participating in the planning sessions because it wishes to participate in the conference.

The United Nations again dishonors itself by encouraging this conference to reconvene in the hands of terrorist states. How can the United States possibly be a part of this insanity? If we join this cabal, we not only dishonor Israel we dishonor ourselves. Obama should do as President Bush did and boycott Durban II to deny the world's Islamic terrorists and bigots the privilege of our legitimizing presence among them.

Monday, February 16, 2009

What we are not told about oil prices

Gasoline prices keep going up and the price of oil goes down. Obviously this is a sign that big oil companies are gouging us. Ask any Democrat politician, ask President Obama, read any newspaper, watch CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS and MSNBC, they will all say the same thing. In fact, ask your neighbor, he will also tell you the oil companies are fixing oil prices and gouging the public. Why not, no one explains oil prices so what else is one to believe?

Oil prices recently have been generally in the range of $34 to $40 a barrel, as reported by the press and on television. Gasoline prices have risen about $.60 to $.70 a gallon as the reported price of oil has dropped. Just this week the price of oil closed under $34 a barrel and the national average price of gasoline rose to $1.95 (I paid $2.19 in California). But is this the whole explanation? Not really.

It’s true that the price of gasoline is tied to the price of oil; but it’s a matter of which oil price.

For reasons known only to the insiders, the so-called “benchmark” price of crude oil is “West Texas Intermediate” which is the price set at the New York Mercantile Exchange and which is quoted throughout the media.

Usually West Texas crude, a high grade of oil, sells for a higher price than inferior grades of oil produced in the Mid East and other places around the world. But it is oil coming from overseas that is used to make most of gasoline in the United States. So prices at the pump actually reflect the overseas oil price, not the “benchmark” West Texas sweet crude oil. Foreign oil is selling for $10 to $20 higher at the well head than the lower benchmark price (West Texas crude oil) and that does not include the added cost of transportation to U.S. refineries. [As an aside, the converse is also true. When the benchmark oil price was $147 a barrel, Iraq oil sold for $87 a barrel under contract pricing.]

Current domestic economic conditions have significantly reduced the demand for the West Texas crude oil and inventories are increasing; therefore, the supply exceeds the demand and prices fall and this is reflected in the decreasing benchmark price. It is unfortunate but because the price of the higher quality West Texas oil is usually higher than inferior imported oil, there are no pipelines to refineries outside of Texas. So even though this domestic oil is priced lower at present, refineries outside of Texas don’t have access to it. The result is that although it may appear that the price of oil has dropped a lot if you just look at the published benchmark price of oil actually the cost of oil used to produce gasoline for most of the country has not dropped to benchmark prices.

Another factor of costs is that reduced demand because of the economic slow down has resulted in decreased gasoline production by producers (Texas oil excluded) to minimize overproduction. So when the demand increases even slightly there is a greater demand than supply and the gasoline price goes up, as it is now.

It’s interesting how much is not told to the public. Perhaps that’s because the news media only wants to make people think the worst of business to make private enterprise not look so good; that way government can be looked to for all solutions and people will more readily accept the socialist paradigm.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Mr. Obama the barn is also “shovel ready” and is as useful to the economy as the stimulus bill

The President and Democrats have heralded the so-called “compromise bipartisan” stimulus bill passed by the House as curing what ails us. Obama lies to us that millions of jobs will be created and together with the tax cuts in the bill we will take our economy out of depression. But the truth is that neither will help over the long run.

There is indeed billions and billions of dollars for federal and state projects to build “infrastructure”; for example, money for biking and walking trails, building schools, renovating and building federal buildings, removal of fish barriers, to name just a few. Most of these projects are years away and require all sorts of government approvals such environmental impact studies before ground is broken and will do nothing to lift the economy now. Bill proponents tell us that many are “shovel ready” and could begin right away but regardless whether government projects start now or by the 2010 elections, they are still government jobs with finite time impact since once completed the related jobs go away unless fed with additional government money and new make-work jobs become part of our economic stream.

Government jobs were the basis of the “new deal” recovery plan during the 1930’s under FDR but they did not correct the national economy. The effective “economic stimulus” did not occur until the private sector geared up for a successful war drive and the economic recovery continued after the war because the free market system was energized with long lasting private investment which produced long term jobs and economic growth. The Obama make-work government projects in the “stimulus” bill will do no more lasting economic good than did the equivalent Roosevelt undertakings during the depression years before the World War. Only improving the private sector and its ability to create, maintain and grow profit-making enterprises will be effective to provide long term economic recovery and lasting jobs.

During his campaign for election Obama continually promised both jobs and “tax cuts for 95% of Americans”, omitting only the “fat cats” who didn’t need tax reductions because they are wealthy. Anyone with common sense would shudder in disbelief but there were more voters who believed what they wanted to believe as they listened to the dulcet tones of the “messiah” than those with the sense they were born with so Obama was elected to do his magic and “change” the country.

Obama did keep his promise of sorts; the bill passed by congress and to be signed into law shortly does include tax cuts (though it is not known if they apply to 95% of workers) but what are the tax cuts and will they improve the economy as promised? Not likely.

The new Economic Recovery Act (it’s no longer referred to in elite circles as a “stimulus” bill) is estimated at $787 billion by the Congressional Budget Office. It combines $281 billion in tax cuts with $308 billion in outlays funded by the appropriations committees and about $198 billion in spending for benefit programs such as unemployment assistance, $250 payments or millions of people receiving Social Security benefits, and extra money for states to help with the Medicaid health program for the poor and disabled.

However the billions of dollars for tax cuts amount to no more than $400 for most workers, with couples getting $800. It is estimated that workers will see an additional $13 a week in their pay checks (at least those still with jobs) beginning in June 2009 and then $8 a week in 2010. Does anyone but the most ardent Obama acolyte really think these tax cuts will spur on the economy? With the increasing price of gasoline the “Obama tax cuts” are not even likely to fill the gas tank of your car.

Yes Obama filled his promise of jobs and tax cuts but like everything today’s liberals do, it is done with smoke and mirrors which would make the illusionist proud.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Abraham Lincoln - False idol?

President Obama has glorified President Abraham Lincoln and some of Obama's supporters even liken him to Lincoln as a savior of the country. Too bad; if Obama had done a little homework he might have discovered that he doesn't like what Lincoln believed and said publicly about black folks. Does Obama really want to compare himself to Lincoln?

Who said?

“There is a natural disgust in the minds of nearly all white people to the idea of indiscriminate amalgamation of the white and black races ... A separation of the races is the only perfect preventive of amalgamation, but as an immediate separation is impossible, the next best thing is to keep them apart where they are not already together. If white and black people never get together in Kansas, they will never mix blood in Kansas ...” (said about the Kansas-Nebraska Act). “Racial separation must be effected by colonization of the country's blacks to a foreign land. The enterprise is a difficult one but where there is a will there is a way, and what colonization needs most is a hearty will. Will springs from the two elements of moral sense and self-interest. Let us be brought to believe it is morally right, and, at the same time, favorable to, or, at least, not against, our interest, to transfer the African to his native clime, and we shall find a way to do it, however great the task may be”.

If that was said today almost everyone in the country would yell “RACIST”. The news media would hound the person into oblivion and very likely criminal charges of some sort would be brought.

The answer: Abraham Lincoln!

Lincoln was a proponent of resettling negroes. He also said to affirm the humanity of blacks was more likely to strengthen public sentiment on behalf of colonization than the Democrats' efforts to "crush all sympathy for him, and cultivate and excite hatred and disgust against him ..." Resettlement ("colonization") would not succeed, Lincoln seemed to argue, unless accompanied by humanitarian concern for blacks, and some respect for their rights and abilities. By apparently denying the black person's humanity, supporters of slavery were laying the groundwork for "the indefinite outspreading of his bondage." The Republican program of restricting slavery to where it presently existed, he said, had the long-range benefit of denying slave holders of an opportunity to sell their slaves at high prices in new slave territories encouraged them to support a process of gradual emancipation involving resettlement of the excess outside of the country.

In the Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858 "Little Giant" Stephen Douglas focused on the emotion-charged issue of race relations. He accused Lincoln and Republicans in general, of advocating the political and social equality of the white and black races, and of thereby promoting racial amalgamation. Lincoln responded by strenuously denying the charge, and by arguing that because slavery was the chief cause of miscegenation in the United States, restricting its further spread into the western territories and new states would, in fact, reduce the possibility of race mixing. Lincoln thus came close to urging support for his party because it best represented white people's interests.

On August 21, before a crowd of 10,000 at Ottawa, Lincoln declared: “I have no purpose directly or indirectly to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so”, and further, “I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races. There is physical difference between the two which, in my judgment, will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality, and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position”.

At the time Lincoln ran for president presidential contenders did not make public speeches after their nomination. However in a widely reprinted pre-nomination speech, delivered at Cooper Union in New York City on February 27, 1860, Lincoln expressed his agreement that slavery is "an evil not [to] be extended, but to be tolerated and protected" where it already exists. "This is all Republicans ask -- all Republicans desire -- in relation to slavery," he emphasized, underscoring the words in his prepared text. After stating that any emancipation should be gradual and carried out in conjunction with a program of scheduled deportation, he went on to cite Thomas Jefferson:

“In the language of Mr. Jefferson, uttered many years ago, 'It is still in our power to direct the process of emancipation, and deportation, peaceably, and in such slow degrees, as that the evil will wear off insensibly; and in their places be, pari passu [on an equal basis], filled up by free white laborers"'.

Abraham Lincoln took the oath as President on March 4, 1861. Among the first words of his Inaugural Address was a pledge (repeating words from an August 1858 speech) intended to placate Southerners: "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so in Kansas ...". Referring to a proposed Amendment (the Crittenden amendment), which would make explicit constitutional protection of slavery where it already existed, he said, "I have no objection to its being made express, and irrevocable." He also promised to support legislation for the capture and return of runaway slaves.

Of course, Abraham Lincoln is noted for the Emancipation Proclamation. However from Lincoln’s own words as well as his actions, something other than a desire to free the slaves is responsible for his Emancipation Proclamation. Largely unreported by most American histories of the war is the revolt launched against Lincoln by United States Senate Republicans in mid-December, 1862, just before he signed the proclamation into law.

According to an old friend of Lincoln, Illinois Representative Orville Browning, and others, many senators demanded the President conduct a more effective war effort and they were apparently prepared to bring down his administration if he did not. This threat included emancipation as a method of war that would torpedo the South’s economy and ability to defend itself. It was expected, they thought, that a slave uprising – with the attendant slaughter of white Southern women, children, and old men – was within the realm of possibility and hence would bring success to the North more quickly.

When told the Constitution gave individual states and not the national government jurisdiction over slavery, Lincoln claimed emancipation as a war powers act that he as commander-in-chief he could employ – for military purposes.

With the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln quashed the Senate revolt but his ambivalent feelings for it resurfaced when he ignored the urging of his cabinet, including Seward, Chase, Blair, and Bates, and confined his decree to those slaves in Confederate-controlled territory. That is, he freed none of the slaves over which he had control when he had the opportunity.

Thus, contrary to popular belief, the Emancipation Proclamation did not in fact give freedom for all slaves as has been widely believed. The Emancipation Proclamation consists of two executive orders issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War. The first one, issued September 22, 1862, declared the freedom of all slaves in any state of the Confederate States of America that did not return to Union control by January 1, 1863. The second order, issued January 1, 1863, named the specific states where it applied.

The proclamation did not free any slaves of the Border States (Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, Delaware, and West Virginia), or any southern state (or part of a state) already under Union control. It directly affected only those slaves who had already changed to the Union side.

After the war, abolitionists were concerned that since the proclamation was a war measure, it had not permanently ended slavery. Several former slave states passed legislation prohibiting slavery; however, some slavery continued to be legal, and to exist, until the institution was ended by the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment on December 18, 1865.

The famous former slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass said about Lincoln views of negroes: "Illogical and unfair as Mr. Lincoln’s statements are, they are nevertheless quite in keeping with his whole course from the beginning of his administration up to this day, and confirm the painful conviction that though elected as an antislavery man by Republican and Abolition voters, Mr. Lincoln is quite a genuine representative of American prejudice and Negro hatred and far more concerned for the preservation of slavery, and the favor of the Border Slave States, than for any sentiment of magnanimity or principle of justice and humanity."

Happy Birthday Abe!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The worst part of the “Stimulus” bill is not the give-away to radicals; it’s the start of socialized medicine

The spending plan urged by President Obama and made real by Pelosi, Reid and three Republican renegades will become law. The Democrat nightmare was passed with the urgency of a car salesman who says “here’s my best deal but you have to take it right now”, no time to think about it or to really understand it, and certainly no time to discuss it with others. Take the deal now or lose it.

There are so many things wrong with the misnamed “Stimulus Bill” that it is difficult in a short time to name them all but how about these for starters:

Billions for the radical environmentalists' agenda:

$20 million "for the removal of small- to medium-sized fish passage barriers
"$70 million to "Support Supercomputing Activities" for climate research
$10 million for biking and walking trails
$200 million for plug-in car stations
$400 million for NASA to conduct research on climate change
$600 million for diesel emission reduction
$650 million for "alternative energy technologies, energy efficiency enhancements and deferred maintenance at Federal facilities
"$1.5 billion to build "green schools
"$2.4 billion for "carbon capture demonstration projects"- (?)

Billions for federal bureaucrats:

$150 billion to more than double the budget of the U. S. Department of Education- THIS MEANS MORE FEDERAL CONTROL OF OUR CHILDREN AND OUR LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS
$34 million to remodel the Department of Commerce HQ
$54 million for federal programs that our government has criticized as "ineffective" or that cannot pass basic financial audits-PAYING TO CONTINUE PROGRAMS THAT DON'T WORK!
$462 million for equipment, construction, and renovation of facilities at the Center for Disease Control
$1 billion for follow-up to the 2010 Census
$1 billion for AMTRAK

Billions in political payoffs:

$83 billion for tax credits for people who don't pay taxes

And there's billions more in tax money to finance lobbying of Congress by the banking industry, to pay outrageous bonuses for industry CEO's, and to allow companies to buy up their competitors, all in the name of "stimulus".

YET, as bad as all this is, most damaging to America and Americans is the start of the socialized medical program insisted upon by Obama and the Democrats.

This usurpation of one/seventh of our national economy was tried and rejected under the Clinton Administration created by the now Vice President, Hillary Clinton, when details became available for public scrutiny. The present Democrat leadership learned the lesson of the past and have now tricked the public by inserting the core of socialized medicine in the so-called stimulus bill which Obama himself says (like the car salesman) must be bought immediately. However instead of just a lost car deal, Obama says failure to act right now (or yesterday) will bring on a catastrophe for the country.

As David A. Patten has clearly described the hidden Pandora's box for Newsmax -

“Buried in the bowels of the stimulus plan the Senate passed Tuesday are key healthcare provisions that will set America on the road to socialized medicine, involve the government in your choice of a doctor, and inevitably trigger another funding crisis that will be used to justify still greater federal intervention in America’s healthcare industry”. broke the story when no one else read and reported this onerous detail of the 628 page bill which surely was not read by every legislature voting for it - if, for no other reason, they don’t care what it does other than it leads the country irrevocably down the path to European socialism.

The “Stimulus” bill contains a little-known provision that $50 billion President Obama expects to spend in the next few years on a nationwide digital health records system for every individual will result in rationed medical care. Obama plans to spend $50 billion "over five years" to create a system of electronic health records for every person who sees a doctor. It would demand every American submit to a government program for electronic medical records without a choice to opt out. Personal information could be shared electronically with millions of people, including documentation on abortions, mental health problems, patient non-compliance, lawsuits against doctors and sexual problems.

Sue A. Blevins, president of the Institute for Health Freedom, said unless people have the right to decide "if and when" their health information is shared, there is no real privacy. She also warned the public because the system is scheduled to be mandatory for everyone." The IHF calls on Americans who care about health privacy to contact their members of Congress and President Obama to voice their own opinions about the need for opt-out and patient consent provisions, to ensure true patient privacy rights," the organization said.

The IHF is one of the few raising the alarm at this point; they said the stimulus plan would impose an electronic health records system on every person in the U.S. without any provision for seeking patient consent or allowing them not to participate."Without those protections, Americans' electronic health records could be shared – without their consent – with over 600,000 covered entities through the forthcoming nationally linked electronic health-records network," IHF spokesman Blevins said. The bottom line is that patients "would end up losing control of his or her personal health information.

"Now Betsy McCaughey, former lieutenant governor of New York and an adjunct senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, has released a commentary warning about the likelihood of rationed care and a health care system that simply provides treatment when it determines the cost-benefit ratio for the treatment and the patient meets its guidelines.

Writing on, Betsy McCaughey, the former New York lieutenant governor describes the bill’s provisions as “tragic,” adding, “Senators should read these provisions and vote against them because they are dangerous to your health".

It’s clear to see how devastating the bill is once one understands it creates a new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, to “guide” decisions your doctor makes about your healthcare. She writes “enforcing uniformity goes too far.

”McCaughey notes that former Health and Human Services secretary nominee Tom Daschle authored the bill’s key health provisions. Indeed, a warning about what Daschle had in mind was sounded in my article “Daschle is bad for America’s health” which appears on

The stimulus plan bill calls for creating a board named the "Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research." Similarly, Daschle’s goal is stated in his book and, as I pointed out, is to slow the development and use of new medications and technologies because they are driving up costs by entrusting all medical care decisions to a "Federal Health Board" of political appointees. He praises Europeans for being more willing to accept 'hopeless diagnoses' and 'forgo experimental treatments,' and he chastises Americans for expecting too much from the health-care system."

The (Stimulus) bill treats health care the way European governments do: as a cost problem instead of a growth industry. Imagine limiting growth and innovation in the electronics or auto industry during this downturn," McCaughey said.

The bill gives the secretary of Health and Human Services the right to punish hospitals and doctors who are not “meaningful users” of the new healthcare system. The HHS secretary, authorized in the bill to exact “more stringent measures of meaningful over time,” has sole discretion to define which doctors and hospitals are in compliance. She says the provision is intended to slow use of new technologies and medicines that drive up the cost of healthcare.

As I pointed out in my article, and as echoed by McCaughey, the greatest impact will be the elderly because the law will displace the old standards – a treatment must be “safe and effective,” by adding a cost-effectiveness standard. That means treatments could be accepted or rejected based on cost, and the elderly would be disproportionately affected because old folks will be subject to healthcare rationing.Other nations that utilize such programs typically deny costly treatments to patients who are senior citizens, and McCaughey warns that would be the case in the United States, too."

Daschle says health-care reform 'will not be pain free.' Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them. That means the elderly will bear the brunt," she warned. She cited a 2006 ruling in the U.K. that determined elderly patients with macular degeneration must go blind in one eye before getting treatment with a costly drug to save their other eye."

Medicare now pays for treatments deemed safe and effective. The stimulus bill would change that and apply a cost-effectiveness standard," she said.

McCaughey points out the bill’s healthcare regulations would impact every American. “The stimulus bill will affect every part of healthcare, from medical and nursing education, to how patients are treated and how much hospitals get paid. The bill allocates more funding for this bureaucracy than for the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force combined”.

As McCaughey writes, the incipient plan for national healthcare will actually hurt business and employment.“The healthcare industry is the largest employer in the U.S. It produces almost 17 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product,” she writes on “Yet the bill treats health care the way European governments do: as a cost problem instead of a growth industry. Imagine limiting growth and innovation in the electronics or auto industry during this downturn. This stimulus is dangerous to your health and the economy.”

The only ones warning about this looming tragedy have been the IHF, authors like McCaughey, bloggers like me and conservative talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity – the entire traditional news media has been silent so it is difficult to arouse the public to coming destruction of their healthcare as they know it.

In an e-mail to listeners Limbaugh said, “The march to socialized medicine starts in the spending bill that Obama is scaring you into backing. This thing is packed with earmarks for liberal special interests. It's not stimulative. Health provisions in the ‘stimulus’ bill tell old people: You're gonna die, so accept it and get out of the way! Stop using up money we'd rather spend treating somebody younger.”

When this bill is signed by President Obama and becomes law doctors would end up with no choice about treatments. Hospitals and doctors that are not 'meaningful users' of the new system will face penalties; you and me and America’s healthcare system will be the losers. The government will be making decisions about whether you live or die and doctors and patients will have nothing to say about it.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The “bipartisan” spending bill hasn’t changed much

The three Senators, Maine Senators Collins and Snowe and Pennsylvania Senator Specter, who crossed the aisle in perfidy claim that the bill has been improved; perhaps they say so because tax payer funded contraception has been removed and the total “stated” expenditure is reduced about $100 billion. However more likely is that these masquerading Republicans actually sympathize with the give-away program to finance socialist institutions and also drink the Obama Kool-Aid.

Still a staggering amount in excess of one trillion dollars, (about 10 percent of our gross domestic product), the spending bill does little to stimulate the economy from the financial doldrums and much to assist Obama and Democrat socialist ideas and supporters.

Of course it won’t happen but wouldn’t it be nice for someone to publicly ask Obama, Reid and Pelosi how these expenditures still in the “bipartisan” bill will stimulate the economy rather than merely the recipients?

$650 million for digital TV coupons;

$600 million for new cars for the federal government;

$6 billion for colleges/universities;

$50 million in funding for the National Endowment of the Arts;

$44 million to repair the U.S. Department of Agriculture headquarters;

$150 million for livestock (and honeybee and farm-raised fish) insurance;
$200 million for the National Mall, including $21 million for sod!

One might say “yes but these are only a ‘small’ part of the total package”, which may be true but as has been said “a billion here and a billion there and pretty soon your talking about real money”; besides, isn’t this supposed to be a stimulus bill?

Let us also note that the bill creates at least 32 new government programs at a cost of over $136 billion. That means that much of this plan's spending provisions are dedicated to creating new government programs.

An additional portion is dedicated to programs which target those programs Democrat leaders promised to their supporters in less than economy-stimulating fashion; such as at least 150 different federal programs, ranging from Amtrak to the Transportation Security Administration.

Even those writing the spending bill say that out of 152 separate spending provisions only 34 have any chance at keeping or growing jobs.

Only one in seven dollars of an $18.5 billion expenditure on "energy efficiency" and "renewable energy programs" would be spent within the next 18 months.

At in excess of $850 billion (not counting interest and other charges) the bill is large enough to give every man, woman, and child in America over $2,700 and enough, for example, to give each person in a state like Ohio $72,000. Said another way, $850 billion is enough to give every person living in poverty in the United States over $22,000.

The total cost of this one piece of ---- legislation is almost as much as the annual discretionary budget for the entire federal government. Just the House Democrats' plan (all Republicans voted against it) would cost each American household over $6,700 in additional debt, paid for by our children and grandchildren.

Despite claims the spending bill will enhance transportation and infrastructure; in actuality only $30 billion of the plan – or 3% – is for road and highway spending. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that only 25 percent of infrastructure dollars can be spent in the first year, making the one year total less than $7 billion.

Democrats have loaded up the bill with spending on existing large programs which, it has been reported, already have large, unexpended balances. For example, the plan provides $1 billion for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) – a program that already has $16 billion on hand. States also are sitting on some $9 billion in unused highway funds – funds that Congress was to rescind later this year.

Obama talked over and over about the tax cuts he would give and which are supposedly contained in this bill. However almost one-third of the so-called "tax relief" in the House Democrats' plan (and in the Senate plan as well) is spending in disguise; that is, true tax relief makes up only 24% of the total package – not the 40% that President Obama had announced. Furthermore, only 2.7%, or $22.3 billion of the overall package, is provided for small business tax relief. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that the legislation increases by seven million the number of people who get a check back from the IRS that exceeds what they paid in payroll and income taxes.

“Transparency” was the byword of the Obama campaign yet all board members of the "Accountability and Transparency Board" created by this legislation are appointees of the President; none will be appointed by Congress.

However in my view the greatest fraud of the Obama/Democrat spending bill on the public is that it gives billions of taxpayer dollars to left-wing groups like the Association of Community Organization for Reform Now (ACORN), which has been accused of voter fraud, is reportedly under federal investigation, played a key role in the housing meltdown, and is significantly responsible for Obama’s election. ACORN will receive over $4 billion to continue their work now and in the next election.

If you think $850 billion is all Democrats have in mind to spend to transform the country into a socialist state, you would be wrong. $850 billion is just the beginning – many Capitol Hill Democrats want to spend even more taxpayer dollars on their "stimulus" plan. In fact, the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Representative. David Obey (D-WI), told Roll Call earlier this month, "I would not be surprised to see us go further on some of these programs down the line."

People of Maine and Pennsylvania, are you proud of what your senators have wrought? If not, do something about it in the next election.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A “bipartisan” bill?."

"A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe." -- President Obama, Feb. 4.

In response to President Obama’s sky is falling prediction, The House and Senate drove in high gear to “save the country”. But fearful that their effort would fail, they called for “bipartisan legislation” to share the blame.

Obama said he wants to bring Republicans into the mix, pledging to listen to them, praising the late-Friday negotiations. Obama said that "by the evening, Democrats and Republicans came together in the Senate and responded appropriately to the urgency this moment demands."

What is the ultimate “bipartisan bill” that Obama heralded; it is legislation that has three discredited Senators who list themselves as Republicans supporting it. Days and days of news reports exclaimed the “negotiations” with Republicans to produce a bipartisan senate spending/stimulus bill after all Republicans refused to support the House version. Finally with the assent of the least conservative Republican-denominated senators the Democrats proudly proclaimed the incredible, worse piece of ---- (legislation) ever passed in the country’s history was deemed a successful bipartisan act.

Unlike Democrats who hang together to avoid hanging separately, there are too many in the Republican column that are willing to “compromise” with Democrats even if it means setting aside any semblance of political distinction between sensible basic conservative principles and leftist expansionist government. The Republican Party should withdraw party credentials of Senators Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe and Arlen Specter.

Tax cuts worth $18 billion were dropped from the measure. The agreement also reduced the income cap for workers who would benefit from Obama’s $1,000 payroll tax credit, to $140,000 for married couples and $70,000 for singles from $150,000 and $75,000, respectively; yet these “bipartisans” said it would be an improvement.

Speaking for the renegades, Maine Senator Collins said “This compromise greatly improves the bill,” and said that she, Maine Senator Snowe and Pennsylvania Specter would support the bill. So what was the price of their perfidy; a reduction of merely $100 billion in non stimulating pork from a trillion dollar government expansion.

Democrats, who control the Senate with 58 votes, need support from at least two Republicans to gain the 60 votes needed in Monday’s procedural vote and bring the bill up for approval; Collins, Snowe and Specter will provide the needed votes to allow Obama and his socialist-inclining cohorts to inflict a substantial change on America’s historical system of checks and balances where authority not expressly granted under the Constitution to the federal government is retained by the people and the states.

President Obama said it would be “inexcusable” for Congress to get “bogged down in distraction, delay or politics as usual” over the stimulus legislation “while millions of Americans are being put out of work.” So how many jobs will the bill provide?

One of Obama’s supporters of the bill, Senator Ben Nelson, a Nebraska Democrat who led the push to reduce that total, said after agreement was reached with the three renegades that he and other lawmakers worked “line by line, dollar by dollar” to cut more than $100 billion.

‘Jobs, Jobs, Jobs’

The plan they produced is “about jobs, jobs, jobs,” he said.


U.S. Senator James Inhofe said of the “compromise” bill "that despite the reduction of $100 billion from the total, “the fact is we still face a trillion dollar spending bill. Making it worse, the bill is 93% spending and only 7% stimulation”.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, whose analysis are traditionally relied upon by congress, said the “The Obama stimulus is harmful over long haul. President Obama's economic recovery package will actually hurt the economy more in the long run than if he (Obama) were to do nothing”. The CBO said the House and Senate bills will help in the short term but result in so much government debt that within a few years they would crowd out private investment, actually leading to a lower Gross Domestic Product over the next 10 years than if the government had done nothing. In a letter to Senator Judd Gregg, the incoming Secretary of Commerce, the Congressional budget Office said it estimates that by 2019 the Senate legislation would reduce GDP by 0.1 percent to 0.3 percent on net. [The House bill] would have similar long-run effects. CBOs basic assumption is that, in the long run, each dollar of additional debt crowds out about a third of a dollars worth of private domestic capital, CBO said in its letter.

Another undesirable aspect is that in their rush to do something Congress has given up control over how the money is spent, leaving the decision to bureaucrats around the country. Fred Wertheimer of the congressional watchdog group Democracy 21 said "Someone has to decide how money gets spent. It's either going to be Congress or the executive branch or states or municipalities.”

Sarah Binder of the Brookings Institution also spoke to this: “If members of Congress aren't writing into the bill how the money will be spent, then someone else must make those decisions — or, in this case, a lot of people. Because there is so much money here, and in so many different forms, there is no single pathway for the money to go out to states and localities”. “When this bill passes, a Niagara Falls of money will flow out of Washington and into the accounts of state highway commissioners, governors and legislatures, local school boards, county executives — even mayors. It raises a whole host of questions about how efficiently money can be spent, how effectively it will be spent, how quickly money can be spent, just because there's no set process here for determining how money will get out the door to create jobs or, as the president said, to save jobs."

All good points wouldn’t you say?

But the Democrats don’t like when questions are raised, especially if asked about what amounts to special earmarks in the bill. U.S. Representative David Obey, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, helped write the bill and says he doesn't like being asked about earmarks. "We simply made a decision, which took about three seconds … and with all due respect, that's the least important question facing us on putting together this package." However that doesn't mean Congress will be responsible if the money is spent badly, he says.

If Congress isn’t responsible for spending trillions of dollars, how could they responsibly give away so much taxpayer money?

"The person who spends the money badly will be responsible. If money is spent badly, we want to know about it so we can hold accountable the people who made that choice. And guess what? Regardless of what we do, there will be some stupid decisions made." Those stupid decisions are in addition to the stupid decisions made by Congress.

David Walker, a former U.S. comptroller general, said “the bill appears to have no mechanism for directing spending. It's left up to those state and local officials, who may or may not have the ideas or the means to spend it appropriately. And that will lead to "a series of disappointments that it's too late to do anything about."

It's not just the 628 pages of the bill which means nobody in congress reads it, it is the huge number of special-interest tax breaks, giveaways and protections it contains. In just two examples of non-stimulus special provisions are the $88.6 million for new construction for Milwaukee Public Schools, which the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports have shrinking enrollment, 15 vacant schools and, quite logically, no plans for new construction and $150 million for livestock (and honeybee and farm-raised fish) insurance.

It is a fraud on the public to rush through a bill in which the normal rules (committee hearings, finding revenue to pay for the programs) are suspended on the grounds that a national emergency requires an immediate job-creating stimulus -- and then throwing into it hundreds of billions that have nothing to do with stimulus.

Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell had it right “Now, if most Republicans were convinced that this would work, there might be a greater willingness to support it. But all the historical evidence suggests that it's highly unlikely to work. And so, you have to balance the likelihood of success versus the crushing debt that we're levying on the backs of our children, our grandchildren, and, yes, their children."

Yes the Obama/Democrat purported stimulus bill is a sham and yes America will suffer irrevocably, but the shame of all this is that three Republicans in name only joined with the leftists in Congress and the White House to give cover for the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the country. This should be a lesson to the Republican Party that we should not have such a “broad tent” that it encompasses those who don’t adhere to the conservative principles that have enabled the Party to win elections and govern in the past, Ronald Reagan being just one example.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Daschle is bad for America’s health

Tom Daschle was Senate Majority leader in the mode of Senator Harry Reid but with a softer sounding voice but what he said was as chilling as an ice cube on a bare back. After a few years of hibernation Tom Daschle has been awakened by President Obama and thrust onto the public stage where he can cause even more damage to the country than he did as a senator. Obama wants to entrust the future of America’s health care to this off-the-wall, big-government liberal and we are in jeopardy of having the health care we have now being replaced with a system where the government determines what’s good for us as Democrats are want to do but this time at the risk of our lives.

President Obama has nominated Tom Daschle for Secretary of Health and Human Services and has designated Daschle to be the “nation’s health care czar”. The Clinton-care system proposed by President Clinton and his wife, now Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, failed because the Clinton health care proposal was blatant and became known to public for what it was; a government takeover of our health care in place of the private care that has served us well enough to be responsible for increasing our span of life. Because the Clinton proposal reached the light of day in all its details it was derailed by public criticism. Daschle learned from this error and adopts the idea that the plan could have gotten past the public if the folks had not learned details of the scheme.

The “keep the specifics away from the public” however will be a bit difficult in the case of Daschle because he has revealed quite a bit of what he has in mind; that is if the public can be made aware of it. Daschle wrote a book entitled “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health Care Crisis” in which he describes his proposal for a Federal Health Board that would make the important decisions about what sort of treatment, drugs, technology and procedures Americans should receive.

Daschle’s Federal Health Board of political appointees would “oversee the health care industry and have the power to make complicated medical decisions and be independent of political pressures. Among the responsibilities the board would have is to “define evidence-based benefits and lower overall spending by determining which medicines, treatments and procedures are most effective and identify those that do not justify their high price tags”; in other words deny payment. Daschle says the Board would function like a “Supreme Court of Health”.

Rules for private insurers who participate in a newly formed national pool would be set by the appointed Board. They would also have the authority to determine benefit coverage under all government health care programs. Initially the Federal Health board would control only government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid but Daschle would have the Board’s authority to extend to all health plans that cover Americans.

The Daschle proposals reflect also the thinking of President Obama as a centralized government run national health care system where bureaucrats and an appointed board make the life and death decisions instead of individual medical practitioners. Daschle acknowledges this would weaken the doctor-patient relationship but for liberals the end justifies the means and to them it is more important to control people than do what is in their best interest. This will be ultimate of the government making decisions about what is good for us and what isn’t because it’s too expensive. Naturally older folks will see their health care curtailed because doing so is “cost effective”.

While the senate contemplates whether Daschle’s tax evasion should deny him appointment to office, they should also learn what Daschle has in mind to do to our health care and reject him for that reason alone.