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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

Friday, July 31, 2009

Obama Goes Easy on Shoe Bomber
The Obama Justice Department has withdrawn the "special administrative measures" imposed at the federal prison in Colorado against "Shoe Bomber" Richard Reid, the jihadist who tried to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight in 2001.

Special administrative measures (SAMs) are security directives, renewable yearly, issued by the attorney general when "there is a substantial risk that a prisoner’s communications, correspondence or contacts with persons could result in death or serious bodily injury" to others."

National Review Online's Andy McCarthy writes: "Why abandon the SAMs? Because they were a violation of Reid's First Amendment rights to free speech and free exercise of his religion, of course. Read more at NewsMax.

CNSNews.com - Conyers to Introduce Constitutional Amendment Making Health Care a ‘Right’
(CNSNews.com) - During his speech at a recent National Press Club luncheon, House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) said he is introducing a constitutional amendment that would establish health care as “a right” for all Americans.  More.

New Poll Shows Obama Approval Dropping Among Key Supporters
– A new Gallup survey shows that President Barack Obama’s approval rating continues to decline, even among voting blocs that make up the backbone of his supporters, including young and moderate-to-liberal voters. Approval of Obama has slipped below 50 percent for the first time among some groups, according to the Gallup survey conducted July 26-28.

Public Opinion Sours on Health Care Reform, Polls Show
White House (CNSNews.com)
– While conservative-leaning Democrats in the House of Representatives pushed for compromises in health insurance reform legislation this week, the plan hit other stumbling blocks in terms of public opinion. In the last month, at least three polls show a majority or plurality opposing the health care reform package supported by President Barack Obama.

Obama’s Science Adviser Called for ‘Zero Economic Growth’
– At a time when it was popular among environmentalists to talk about capping pollutants, John Holdren was writing about placing “caps” on the U.S. economy itself and working toward “zero economic growth.” Holdren, who is now President Obama’s top adviser on science and technology policy, wrote in the 1970s that it would be “entirely logical” to cap the Gross National Product, the total productivity of the American economy.

Cap-and-Trade Law Could Benefit Organized Crime by Creating Carbon Credit Black Market, Senator Warns
– Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wy.) said the cap-and-trade legislation passed by the House of Representatives could be a boon for organized crime in the United States by creating a carbon credit industry that could spawn fraud, money laundering and other criminal activities.

Senior Citizens Left Off Government’s Swine-Flu Vaccination Priority List
- Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to minimize suffering and death from influenza, the Health and Human Services Department says on its Web site. But some senior citizens complain they’ve been left off the list of people who will be first in line to get the swine flu vaccination, when it is ready. One CNSNews.com reader suggested the omission is in line with the Obama’s administration’s plan to “minimize” health care for the elderly, as the reader put it.

Venezuela: 'Freedom of expression must be limited'
Associated Press Writer

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) - Venezuela's top prosecutor insisted Thursday that freedom of expression in Venezuela "must be limited" and proposed legislation that would slap additional restrictions on the country's news media.

The new law would punish the owners of radio stations, television channels and newspapers that have attempted to "cause panic" and "disturb social peace," Attorney General Luisa Ortega said.

It also would punish media owners who "manipulate the news with the purpose of transmitting a false perception of the facts."

"Freedom of expression must be limited," Ortega said. Read more.

Obama’s Health-Care Plan Could Keep Consumers from Choosing Own Insurance Plan After Five Years

Washington (CNSNews.com)
- President Obama is promoting a “big government-run” health-care plan that is going to “crowd out” private sector insurance companies, and will give the government the power to eventually design insurance policies for consumers, House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) told CNSNews.com Thursday.

The Left’s ‘public option’ is no option

By Amanda Reinecker
The Heritage Foundation

"Americans just aren't buying President Obama's all gain, no pain, health care claims," Heritage Foundation expert Conn Carroll reports. That's because more and more Americans are finding that President Obama's "public option" would be, as Heritage President Ed Feulner writes in Townhall.com, the "only 'option.'"

The "public option" would be a government-run health insurance company that would "compete" with other firms. But it wouldn't be just another insurance company.

"Far from being merely an option," Heritage Vice President Stuart Butler explains, "a Medicare-style public plan would unleash a dynamic that is not what Americans thought they were voting for last November."

Government's dueling roles as health insurer and health insurance regulator would give the "public option" an unfair leg up on its competition, suffocating private firms and forcing millions of Americans onto government rolls.

It's no secret that some lawmakers support the "public option" exactly because it could effectively nationalize the health insurance industry, creating a single-payer system where government is the sole provider. In an impromptu interview, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) admitted, "I think if we get a good public option, it could lead to single payer."

But many other lawmakers, including many Democrats, are hesitant to support such a radical plan. Butler attributes this to the age-old fact that more government "turns out not to be a selling point" among most Americans. Facing strong resistance, both the House and Senate are defying President Obama's wishes and postponing a health care vote until after the August recess.

The conservative alternative

If they don't get their way, the Left threatens to "torpedo reform" of any sort. This could stymie even common-sense conservative reforms.

The Heritage Foundation alternative to socialized medicine is to enact serious reforms in current tax and insurance law that would expand personal ownership and control of health insurance and transfer the control of health care dollars to individuals and families.

These reforms would move today's bureaucracy-driven, heavily regulated third-party payment system to a new patient-centered system of consumer choice and real free-market competition.

One plan, the Patients' Choice Act of 2009, would expand individual control over their health care dollars. The plan, as Heritage experts Greg D'Angelo, Rea Hederman and Paul Winfree explain, would provide a new health care tax credit of $2,290 for individuals and $5,710 for families. This would allow Americans to buy health insurance with pre-tax dollars, even if their employer doesn't offer coverage, and take their plan with them from job to job.

This change "would not only help the middle class buy insurance and extend coverage to the uninsured," they argue. "It would also set in place powerful incentives to reduce the rapid growth in health care expenditures."

Visit Heritage's FixHealthCarePolicy.com to learn more about alternatives

It's time for Congress to start listening to the people and devise real health care reform that advances freedom, opportunity, prosperity and civil society. As Heritage's Stuart Butler argues, "it's time for President Obama to pull the plug on the public option."

Monday, July 27, 2009

N.J. arrests hurt governor's re-election

Down in polls, Corzine taps reformer as running mate
Washington Times
Last week's unprecedented corruption sweep of New Jersey elected officials has thrown a wrench into the re-election bid of Gov. Jon Corzine, spurring him to pick a self-proclaimed reformer as his running mate as he struggles with a tough challenge from Republican Chris Christie, a former U.S. attorney who leads in polls by more than a dozen points.

The bust on Thursday saw three mayors and two assemblymen - all but one Democrats - nabbed on charges of bribery in a political scandal that fuels the historical image of dirty New Jersey politics. In all, 44 people were arrested as part of a larger probe focused on money laundering and the illegal sale of human organs.
Gov. Corzine not implicated in sting. Continue reading.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

CBO deals new blow to health plan

For the second time this month, congressional budget analysts have dealt a blow to the Democrat's health reform efforts, this time by saying a plan touted by the White House as crucial to paying for the bill would actually save almost no money over 10 years.

Germany calls carbon tariffs eco-imperialism
ARE, Sweden (Reuters) - Germany called a French idea to slap "carbon tariffs" on products from countries that are not trying to cut greenhouse gases a form of "eco-imperialism" and a direct violation of WTO rules.