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Heavy-Handed Politics

"€œGod willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world
without the United States and Zionism."€ -- Iran President Ahmadi-Nejad

Monday, May 04, 2009

"The choice before us is clear. I strongly feel that the great majority of Americans believe that nothing would better encourage economic growth than leaving more money in the hands of the people who earn it. It's time to stop stripping bare the productive citizens of America and funneling their hard-earned income into the Federal bureaucracy. ... Americans have always been prepared to pay their fair share, but today they should make it clear to all elected officials that government has gone beyond its bounds and that the people will not tolerate [an] ever-increasing tax burden."

 --Ronald Reagan

"Our Constitution represents a compact between the states and the federal government. As with any compact, one party does not have a monopoly over its interpretation, nor can one party change it without the consent of the other. Additionally, no one has a moral obligation to obey unconstitutional laws. That's not to say there is not a compelling case for obedience of unconstitutional laws. That compelling case is the brute force of the federal government to coerce obedience, possibly going as far as using its military might to lay waste to a disobedient state and its peoples."

--economist Walter E. Williams

"I cannot find any authority in the Constitution for public charity." --President Franklin Pierce (1804-1869)

"I feel obliged to withhold my approval of the plan to indulge in benevolent and charitable sentiment through the appropriation of public funds. I find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution." --President Grover Cleveland (1837-1908)

"I don't like the income tax. Every time we talk about these taxes we get around to the idea of 'from each according to his capacity and to each according to his needs.' That's socialism. It's written into the Communist Manifesto. Maybe we ought to see that every person who gets a tax return receives a copy of the Communist Manifesto with it so he can see what's happening to him." --accountant and Commissioner of Internal Revenue T. Coleman Andrews (1899-1983)

Pakistan Implodes
By Alan Caruba

The wars going on in the Middle East may soon spread, as fanatic Islamists throughout the region threaten to take over Pakistan and Afghanistan while continuing to wage war in Iraq. If they’re successful, India will be dragged into the full scale battle against the Taliban and al Qaeda. Where it spreads from there is anyone’s guess. The question many are asking is whether Barack Obama will make the tough decisions necessary to keep Pakistan from falling to the Taliban – or is he willing, as George W. Bush was, to drive out a tyrannical regime?

As the U.S. Retreats, Iran Fills the Void - WSJ.com
Convinced that the Obama administration is preparing to retreat from the Middle East, Iran's Khomeinist regime is intensifying its goal of regional domination. It has targeted six close allies of the U.S.: Egypt, Lebanon, Bahrain, Morocco, Kuwait and Jordan, all of which are experiencing economic and/or political crises.

Iranian strategists believe that Egypt is heading for a major crisis once President Hosni Mubarak, 81, departs from the political scene. He has failed to impose his eldest son Gamal as successor, while the military-security establishment, which traditionally chooses the president, is divided. Iran's official Islamic News Agency has been conducting a campaign on that theme for months. This has triggered a counter-campaign against Iran by the Egyptian media.

The Next Housing Bust - WSJ.com
Everyone knows how loose mortgage underwriting led to the go-go days of multitrillion-dollar subprime lending. What isn't well known is that a parallel subprime market has emerged over the past year -- all made possible by the Federal Housing Administration. This also won't end happily for taxpayers or the housing market.

Last year banks issued $180 billion of new mortgages insured by the FHA, which means they carry a 100% taxpayer guarantee. Many of these have the same characteristics as subprime loans: low downpayment requirements, high-risk borrowers, and in many cases shady mortgage originators. FHA now insures nearly one of every three new mortgages, up from 2% in 2006.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

People who believe in 'universal health care' show remarkably little interest -- usually none -- in finding out what that phrase turns out to mean in practice, in those countries where it already exists, such as Britain, Sweden or Canada. For one thing, 'universal health care' in these countries means months of waiting for surgery that American get in a matter of weeks or even days. ... No one who compares medical care in this country with medical care in other countries is likely to want to switch. But those who cannot be bothered with the facts may help destroy the best medical care in the world by falling for political rhetoric."

--Hoover Institution economist Thomas Sowell

"The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."

--James Madison

Thomas Sowell : Survival Optional
It used to be said that self-preservation is the first law of nature. But much of what has been happening in recent times in the United States, and in Western civilization in general, suggests that survival is taking a back seat to the shibboleths of political correctness.

We have already turned loose dozens of captured terrorists, who have resumed their terrorism. Why? Because they have been given "rights" that exist neither in our laws nor under international law.

"A report yesterday held that Vice President Joe Biden has been lobbying [Arlen] Specter for six years trying to get him to switch parties. If that's not torture, I don't know what is: Six years of having to listen to Biden? Talk about political waterboarding."

--political analyst Rich Galen

For Edwards, investigation is latest stage of saga
RALEIGH, N.C. – His once-prominent political career is buried and the turmoil of his marriage is playing out in public. Now, John Edwards is facing a federal inquiry.

The two-time Democratic presidential candidate acknowledged Sunday that investigators are assessing how he spent his campaign funds — a subject that could carry his extramarital affair from the tabloids to the courtroom. Edwards' political action committee paid more than $100,000 for video production to the firm of the woman with whom Edwards had an affair.

Iran's New Target: Egypt

Cairo's desire for Mideast peace threatens Tehran's ambitions. - WSJ.com
Tehran sees Egypt as its greatest rival in the region, and the most formidable Arab bulwark opposing its influence. It is in this context that Hezbollah actions in Egypt should be assessed. Acting as a front for Iranian objectives, Hezbollah is tasked with distracting Egypt from the diplomatic process that will hopefully lead one day to a two-state solution in the Palestine-Israel conflict.

Egypt's persistent attempts to bring about peace in this arena and its encouragement of other Arab countries to follow its path with Israel threaten to deprive Iran of the single most potent regional issue that it can exploit to further its radical agenda. Thus Tehran seeks to undermine the prospects for this peace -- and it, along with its clients, believe the way to do this is by undermining Egypt. Similarly, Egypt's security interests in the Gulf, and its traditional role as a force for regional stability, present a clear obstacle to Iran's wider regional ambitions. More.

Specter's Switcheroo

When principled politics gets too tough. - WSJ.com
In his 1970 book "From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor," advertising legend Jerry Della Femina tells the story of trying to see Philadelphia District Attorney Arlen Specter:

"'Are you crazy?' his people said. 'Nobody gets to meet Arlen Spector [misspelling in original]. We can't even see him.' 'All right,' I said, 'what's Arlen Specter for?' 'Arlen Specter is for getting elected.' 'All right,' I said. 'What is Arlen Specter against?' 'Arlen Spector is against losing.'"

That more or less sums up the Pennsylvania Senator's announcement yesterday that he will quit the GOP and seek re-election next year as a Democrat. "I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans," said Mr. Specter. And perhaps he does, to the extent Mr. Specter has a philosophy.

But it's also true that the 79-year-old finds himself trailing former Congressman Pat Toomey, his GOP primary opponent for 2010, by 21 points in the latest polls. By running as a Democrat, he will avoid a tough fight for the nomination and increase his chances of winning in his home state, which has been trending Democratic in recent elections. More.

On the release of classified memos

Writing for Stratfor's Global Security and Intelligence Report in a piece titled, "A Chilling Effect on U.S. Counterterrorism," Fred Burton and Scott Stewart had this to say:
Politics and moral arguments aside, the end effect of the memos’ release is that people who have put their lives on the line in U.S. counterterrorism efforts are now uncertain of whether they should be making that sacrifice. Many of these people are now questioning whether the administration that happens to be in power at any given time will recognize the fact that they were carrying out lawful orders under a previous administration. It is hard to retain officers and attract quality recruits in this kind of environment. It has become safer to work in programs other than counterterrorism.

The memos’ release will not have a catastrophic effect on U.S. counterterrorism efforts. Indeed, most of the information in the memos was leaked to the press years ago and has long been public knowledge. However, when the release of the memos is examined in a wider context, and combined with a few other dynamics, it appears that the U.S. counterterrorism community is quietly slipping back into an atmosphere of risk-aversion and malaise — an atmosphere not dissimilar to that described by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (also known as the 9/11 Commission) as a contributing factor to the intelligence failures that led to the 9/11 attacks.

(Bold emphasis mine - HH)

You can read the entire article here.

Larry Elder : The 100-Day Assault on America
Aided by an eagerly compliant Democratic-controlled Congress, a sycophantic media, and a bunch of squishy Republicans, President Obama has taken the country on a radical, mind-boggling leap into collectivism.

 "There are a lot of bad ideas in Washington and somebody needs to stop them."

-- former Senator Bob Dole


The Interrogation Memos and the Law
Criminalizing legitimate policy differences will paralyze the conduct of foreign policy.

Bigotry at Miss USA
By David Aikman

We all know how political correctness and anti-Christian bigotry has taken over Hollywood and most American college campuses. We didn't expect that the plague would infect the finals of the Miss USA contest. Well, it's come to that.

Carrie Prejean is a beautiful Miss California who was first runner up in a recent final of the annual Miss USA contest. She also happens to be a committed Christian. So when Perez Hilton, a gay judge on the panel who is known for his vulgarity provocatively asked her if she approved of gay marriages, she politely, but forthrightly, said she didn't. For that, as Perez made clear later, she lost the crown.

How far have we gone if taking a Christian and traditional position now means you are disqualified from winning a beauty pageant?

White House: ‘Vice President Misrepresented What the Vice President Meant’

White House (CNSNews.com)
– What Vice President Joe Biden meant and what he actually said about traveling and the swine flu are two different things, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told a somewhat snickering press room on Thursday. The explanation came after Biden, on NBC’s “Today” show, said that in light of concerns over the swine flu, he would not travel in “confined places,” such as an airplane or the subway.

So much for a new, healthy relationship. Mr. Obama meets reality.

Relations Between Russia, West Sour Again
(CNSNews.com) – Just weeks after the U.S. and Russian leaders met at the G20 summit, signaling a new era after a period of strained relations, the optimism generated by that encounter was looking premature Thursday amid a series of heated disputes.

Whein is a tax credit not a tax credit? When you have to pay it back.

CNSNews.com -
Taxpayers to Get Rude Surprise Next Spring
Washington (AP) - Millions of Americans enjoying their small windfall from President Barack Obama's "Making Work Pay" tax credit are in for an unpleasant surprise next spring.

The government is going to want some of that money back.

The tax credit is supposed to provide up to $400 to individuals and $800 to married couples as part of the massive economic recovery package enacted in February. Most workers started receiving the credit through small increases in their paychecks in the past month.

But new tax withholding tables issued by the IRS could cause millions of taxpayers to get hundreds of dollars more than they are entitled to under the credit, money that will have to be repaid at tax time.

Mike Gallagher : Why Bother?
Because I want to stop the swine flu, I must be a racist.

When I had the nerve to suggest that since people from Mexico were bringing a deadly swine flu virus into the United States that it might be a good idea to tell them to stop coming by closing the southern border, it took all of about three minutes for a caller to accuse me of being a racist.

A Disastrous and Ignorant Attitude

Jeb Bush, GOP: Time to leave Reagan behind - Washington Times
Jeb Bush, GOP: Time to leave Reagan behind
Party leaders go on 'listening tour' with eyes on future

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Saturday that it's time for the Republican Party to give up its "nostalgia" for the heyday of the Reagan era and look forward, even if it means stealing the winning strategy deployed by Democrats in the 2008 election.

"You can't beat something with nothing, and the other side has something. I don't like it, but they have it, and we have to be respectful and mindful of that," Mr. Bush said.

Pakistan steps up pressure on Taliban - Washington Times
Soldiers, helicopters pressed into action near Islamabad.

Groups want ethics probe of Murtha, others - Washington Times
Four political watchdog groups that typically support Democratic causes want a congressional ethics panel to probe ties between three House Democrats and the defunct Washington lobbying firm, the PMA Group, which benefited from the lawmakers' help.

What Makes a Good SC Justice? Empathy. Knowldege of the Rule of Law? Not so Much.

Obama wants court pick to have 'empathy' - Washington Times
President Obama said Friday he will look beyond traditional legal experience to fill the seat of retiring Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter — to someone who can relate to average Americans.

Austin Hill: The Politics Of "Pandemics"
So who, precisely, is trying to "hype this thing for all it's worth?"

George Will: California Sagging

California's increasingly severe and largely self-inflicted economic crisis will deepen on May 19 if, as is probable and desirable, voters reject most of the ballot measures that were drafted as part of a "solution" to the state's budget deficit.

Media pigs misinforming public about so-called "epidemic"
The swine flu "epidemic" is only a few days old, and Big Pharma is already plotting to make a fortune. But they have it wrong on swine flu. It won't be an epidemic – it'll barely even be a ripple.
Read the full story.

California tree huggers want to take away your television
It should be no shock to anyone that the state that gave the world Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer is also the state that's at the leading edge of the effort to take away your big, flat screen TV. Why would they want to do that? Well, to save the planet, of course.
Read the full story.

Congress gets ready to burn smokers with latest bill

Written by William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.

The way things are going, it won't be long until cigarettes are banished from the American landscape forever. Not long ago, I told you about a bill in Congress which proposed putting the regulation of tobacco products under FDA jurisdiction. In early April, this bill was passed in the House, and it won't be long until it reaches the Senate.

Of course, the bill as it currently stands gives the FDA only the authority to regulate tobacco, not to ban it. But even with specific language in the bill prohibiting a federal tobacco ban, it doesn't take a genius to realize that this argument will be debated sooner or later. And now that the FDA is on its way to holding sway over tobacco, you can bet it will fall on the "sooner" side of things.

In fact, TIME Magazine columnist Dr. Scott Haig put it succinctly: "Rather than equate [cigarettes] with food and drugs, if lawmakers were serious about the health costs of smoking, they would take the logical next step and just make the damn things illegal."

Even Sen. Ted Kennedy, who will officially introduce the passed House bill to the Senate said, "FDA regulation of cigarettes -- the most lethal of all consumer products -- is long overdue," adding that he was "confident" the bill should quickly sail through to Senate approval.

And while the anti-smoking crew are sure to celebrate this next giant step toward the end of tobacco, those of use who are fond of our personal freedom aren't quite so thrilled. By inviting the government to wipe the American landscape clean of all tobacco products in the name of the public good, we slide a bit further down the throat of Big Government.

For years I've written to you about small-scale efforts to ban not just cigarettes, but all manner of other things deemed "unsafe." First, they'll take your cigarettes. Then what's next: Fattening fast foods? Red meat? Alcohol? Candy? The possibilities are, unfortunately, endless. And you know darn well that once the government takes control of anything, it rarely if ever loosens its grip.

Of course, none of this takes into account the fact that tobacco is not the big bad wolf our national health organizations have made it out to be.

Crying "Uncle Sam": Website charts emotional course through tough financial times

There's no surer way to put yourself in a foul mood than by watching the financial news these days. And your friends in the U. S. government (who, by the way, have played no small role in helping to create these tough economic times) have been good enough to post a new section on a website alerting you to the signs of depression that can result from the collapsing economy.

See? President Obama really cares.

The U. S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service has created a website called "A Guide to Getting Through Tough Economic Times." The site warns of the health dangers that could result from losing your job or your house -- including over-eating and gambling.

Yes, only the government could possibly consider squandering money to create a website that tells people who lost their jobs or homes that -- and I'm quoting directly, now -- "it can be particularly devastating to your emotional and mental well-being... these problems can add tremendous stress."

Your tax dollars at work, right?

Smoke 'em if you got 'em... and before Big Brother takes 'em.