Sunday, May 31, 2009

Obama, Resign Now!

Even the left is getting agitated.

An Early Call for Obama's Resignation
With Democrats Like Him, Who Needs Dictators?

by Ted Rall
We expected broken promises. But the gap between the soaring expectations that accompanied Barack Obama's inauguration and his wretched performance is the broadest such chasm in recent historical memory. This guy makes Bill Clinton look like a paragon of integrity and follow-through.

From healthcare to torture to the economy to war, Obama has reneged on pledges real and implied. So timid and so owned is he that he trembles in fear of offending, of all things, the government of Turkey. Obama has officially reneged on his campaign promise to acknowledge the Armenian genocide. When a president doesn't have the 'nads to annoy the Turks, why does he bother to show up for work in the morning?

Obama is useless. Worse than that, he's dangerous. Which is why, if he has any patriotism left after the thousands of meetings he has sat through with corporate contributors, blood-sucking lobbyists and corrupt politicians, he ought to step down now--before he drags us further into the abyss.

I refer here to Obama's plan for "preventive detentions." If a cop or other government official thinks you might want to commit a crime someday, you could be held in "prolonged detention." Reports in U.S. state-controlled media imply that Obama's shocking new policy would only apply to Islamic terrorists (or, in this case, wannabe Islamic terrorists, and also kinda-sorta-maybe-thinking-about-terrorism dudes). As if that made it OK.

In practice, Obama wants to let government goons snatch you, me and anyone else they deem annoying off the street.
Preventive detention is the classic defining characteristic of a military dictatorship. Because dictatorial regimes rely on fear rather than consensus, their priority is self-preservation rather than improving their people's lives. They worry obsessively over the one thing they can't control, what Orwell called "thoughtcrime"--contempt for rulers that might someday translate to direct action.

Locking up people who haven't done anything wrong is worse than un-American and a violent attack on the most basic principles of Western jurisprudence. It is contrary to the most essential notion of human decency. That anyone has ever been subjected to "preventive detention" is an outrage. That the President of the United States, a man who won an election because he promised to elevate our moral and political discourse, would even entertain such a revolting idea offends the idea of civilization itself.

Obama is cute. He is charming. But there is something rotten inside him. Unlike the Republicans who backed Bush, I won't follow a terrible leader just because I voted for him. Obama has revealed himself. He is a monster, and he should remove himself from power.

"Prolonged detention," reported The New York Times, would be inflicted upon "terrorism suspects who cannot be tried."

"Cannot be tried." Interesting choice of words.

Any "terrorism suspect" (can you be a suspect if you haven't been charged with a crime?) can be tried. Anyone can be tried for anything. At this writing, a Somali child is sitting in a prison in New York, charged with piracy in the Indian Ocean, where the U.S. has no jurisdiction. Anyone can be tried. Why is it, exactly, that some prisoners "cannot be tried"?

The Old Grey Lady explains why Obama wants this "entirely new chapter in American law" in a boring little sentence buried a couple past the jump and a couple of hundred words down page A16: "Yet another question is what to do with the most problematic group of Guantánamo detainees: those who pose a national security threat but cannot be prosecuted, either for lack of evidence or because evidence is tainted."

In democracies with functioning legal systems, it is assumed that people against whom there is a "lack of evidence" are innocent. They walk free. In countries where the rule of law prevails, in places blessedly free of fearful leaders whose only concern is staying in power, "tainted evidence" is no evidence at all. If you can't prove that a defendant committed a crime--an actual crime, not a thoughtcrime--in a fair trial, you release him and apologize to the judge and jury for wasting their time.

It is amazing and incredible, after eight years of Bush's lawless behavior, to have to still have to explain these things. For that reason alone, Obama should resign.

© 2009 Ted Rall
Ted Rall is the author of the new book "Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?," an in-depth prose and graphic novel analysis of America's next big foreign policy challenge.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lessons From Jakarta

Things I Never Knew

Anyone can be President, even someone who is not eligible.

Most of the people can be fooled most of the time, if you have help from the media and a teleprompter.

You can blame just about anything on George Bush, if you keep a straight face when you say it.

Americans believe they can borrow their way out of debt.

The evening call to prayer is the most wonderful sound in the world.

He campaigned in all 57 States.

George Bush never challenged his Muslim faith.

We are not at war with the Islamic world.

Israel will do just fine without US help.

Nine hundred million dollars will really help the poor Hamas in Gaza recover from their trauma.

Hugo Chavez, is a nice guy and a decent author.

Barry did not bow to the King of Saudi Arabia, he curtsied.

It only takes a million dollars to hide all your records.

He went to Trinity United Church of Christ for twenty years, but never inhaled.

Khalid Al- Monsour can get anyone into Harvard.

George Soros can buy anyone he wants to buy, along with ACORN and the Media.

You really are not judged by the company you keep.

It really does not matter if you say one thing and do the opposite, as long as people look the other way.

The United States really needed to apologize to the world for her past sins.

Big Government's job is to take care of everyone's problems, no matter what the cost in taxes might be.

The White House should own banks, auto companies, mortgage companies, and should run health care.

We really need more Mexican citizens, and minorities need to own more radio stations.

Veterans and Catholics are potential radical terrorists.

And last, but not least, Americans have no idea what Socialism means.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Remember Me

I am reposting this beautiful tribute to the men and women of our armed forces. My deepest thanks to all of you who keep us safe from harm.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

An Open Letter to Our Fathers and Grandfathers

An Open Letter to Our Fathers and Grandfathers
You Won the Battle But Lost the War
By Aaron Zelman
Executive Director of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership
Fleet Marine Force Medic, Third Marine Air Wing, Vietnam Veteran

To our fathers and grandfathers who fought in World War II:

America owes everything to you. You sacrificed your youth, you saw your buddies die before your eyes, you gave up life and family and love as you fought in Europe or the Pacific -- all to save the world from fascism.

We can't even measure how much we owe you -- you, and the staunch women who stood with you -- the WACs, the Waves, the nurses who treated the wounded under unthinkable conditions, and the Rosie-the-Riveters who kept the country going back home. Yet, in the decades since the end of the war, your victory has been stolen. From you, from your children, your grandchildren, and from all of us.

You won a long, hard, painful battle. But when you came home, you lost the war. You lost the Bill of Rights and freedom. And so we all lost.

America is becoming a lot like the countries you fought against.

The country you fought for was a land of self-reliant people, people proud to stand on their own two feet. It was a country of decency, of neighbors and neighborhoods, where people took care of each other, their families and themselves. It was a country where citizens had a say in what their government did, a country where the government respected private property, family life, the right to worship, the right to express opinions without fear, the right to own firearms, and the whole way of life those freedoms stood for.

It wasn't perfect, but it was America.

The countries you fought against were rule-ridden bureaucracies where citizens did what they were told -- or else. They were countries where people were supposed to hate whomever the government wanted them to hate, and to love and trust the government more than they loved and trusted themselves. In these countries, children belonged more to the rulers than to their mothers and fathers, and private property was subject to control by bureaucrats. In these countries people didn't dare do or say anything the politicians didn't approve of.

Today in the United States there are people who spit on the memory of your sacrifices -- people like Sen. Charles Schumer, who successfully pushes "gun control" laws that trash the Second Amendment, and Sen. John McCain, whose infamous "campaign finance" law made free speech a federal crime for independent advocacy groups. We shrink before officials who decree that unpopular opinions are "hate speech." We endure leaders who tell us that it's wrong to hate certain groups of people, but perfectly okay for those groups to hate and malign others. Today much of America is controlled by people who'll fine us or even put us in prison for doing perfectly harmless things to our own land and homes.

Free speech. The right to keep and bear arms. Property rights. The right to live your daily life free of interference from people who want to push you around. Weren't these rights the very things you were fighting for?

The steady downhill slide

This process of destruction isn't new. You no sooner came home than the government you fought for started handing over power to the governments you defeated -- and even worse governments. They did it by handing authority to the United Nations, an organization dominated by unfree countries who don't share, or even have minimal respect for, the values that gave us the Bill of Rights. All they want is to take what they can get from us.

The U.N. quickly dragged us into another war in Korea - where many of you also suffered and died. Since then its powers have expanded so much that the U.N. has gained control over some U.S. lands (in the name of "biosphere sites," "world heritage protection," and "anti-desertification" treaties). Now they've even got a world court -- run from our own New York City, even though the impotent U.S. voted against it. This court can try American citizens and soldiers without giving them any of the constitutional protections you fought so hard for.

And next they're talking about imposing global taxes. On you. On what Tom Brokaw rightly called The Greatest Generation. And on us, your sometimes-less courageous successors.

The downhill slide has been steady: inflationary spending, debasement of the currency, punitive taxes, propagandizing of schoolchildren so they can't think for themselves, restrictions on property rights. Politicians have maneuvered to prop up the dangerously broken Social Security system, which Ronald Reagan rightly called an "intergenerational Ponzi scheme." They've created giveaway programs that let everyone from drug addicts to billionaire businessmen live off the sweat of ordinary working people. The regulations of this Nanny State have us so wrapped in bureaucratic red tape we can hardly move. And often we dare not express our honest opinions for fear of being labeled -- sometimes even punished -- for being a "hater," a "gun nut," or an "extremist" (which sometimes means nothing more than being an independent thinker).

Your federal government even passed a "gun-control" law (the Gun Control Act of 1968) based directly on the Nazi law that Sen. Thomas Dodd had the Library of Congress translate for him. This Nazi law was then signed by "Mr. Great Society," President Lyndon Johnson1

Did you risk your life fighting Hitler so that American politicians - some of whom you voted for and contributed money to -- could impose Hitler's very own laws on you? But that's exactly what happened -- and that was only the camel's nose under the tent when it came to "gun control."

Who's to blame?

Good Americans were once spirited, individualistic, independent, and skeptical of government power. Now, good Americans are a lot like the stereotypical "good Germans" of Hitler's day, compliant, docile, and worshipful of government.

This is largely our fault -- we of the Baby Boom and Generation X. We let you down. We, who in many cases knew nothing but comfort and security, weren't willing to sacrifice for freedom, as you did. Fat, happy, and lazy, we believed our government when it said it would take care of us, so we could remain children forever. We believed the slickly smiling politicians when they told us that if we just handed them enough power and money, they would eliminate every danger and make us as eternally content as sleeping babies in a nursery.

We chose to ignore the fact that this is the path to an all-powerful police state. We chose not to remember the historic truth that Ronald Reagan and many others have expressed: A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take it all away. Already we see the government rationing heath care -- rationing care to the very people it falsely and grandly promised to protect! How long before the old, the chronically ill, the "unfit" are decreed to be, as the Nazis put it, "useless eaters"?

Maybe you won't live to see the all-powerful state at its most cold and brutal. Will your children or your grandchildren be the ones to suffer?

It's a crime and a shame. It's un-American in the truest sense.

But when you cry, "Why are they doing this to my country?" at least part of the answer also has to be, "Well, where have you been all this time?"

Look in the mirror.

Your early life was tough, scarred by the hunger, insecurity, and national self-doubt of the Depression. You did your duty in a war that was longer and more brutal than anybody bargained for. When you came home, you were tired and just wanted -- perhaps for the first time since your childhood -- to live normally. And you deserved your peace.

But as Thomas Jefferson said, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

The dirty little secret is that freedom wasn't stolen from us entirely by other people. We lost freedom ourselves because we weren't vigilant. We didn't exercise our rights or responsibilities as citizens -- we of the Baby Boom and Gen X, but also you, our fathers and grandfathers of World War II..

We went on voting for politicians who lied to us. We obeyed -- or maybe even enforced -- unconstitutional regulations. We had our hands out when politicians bought our freedom in exchange for subsidies, grants, and "entitlements." We tolerated, sometimes even cheered, violations of the Bill of Rights, as long as they were committed against people or groups we didn't like, not realizing the Bill protected our rights, too.

When every president since Richard Nixon told us we had to fight another war, a War on Drugs, we paid our taxes and cheered as millions of our fellow Americans went to prison, as no-knock midnight raids became an American institution, and as police forces were corrupted by the lure of illegal drugs and black-market money, just as they had earlier been corrupted during Prohibition. None of this has saved our children from drugs or made American streets safe. On the contrary, it's been one of the biggest destroyers of the Bill of Rights, and one of the biggest factors in increasing violence and police-state power in the U.S.

Even those of us who called ourselves conservative or libertarian often demanded that "there ought to be a law" against every activity we disliked. We forgot the very essence of freedom: The essence of freedom is leaving our fellow citizens, and the citizens of other countries, alone as long as they're not using force or fraud against others.

It's a fact -- though sometimes not a simple one to live with: If you want freedom you have to accept that, every day, millions of people might be doing things you don't personally approve of. You have to recognize that it isn't your right to stop them. That was what people came to America for. We hate it when others try to keep us from living our lives as we wish. But how often have we demanded laws to keep others from going about their own peaceable business?

Look in the mirror. We have met the enemy. And as Pogo said, "He is us."

It's time now for True Americans to act.

You World War II veterans, you World War II nurses, and you Korean War veterans ... you all have one last job to do in the fight for freedom. My fellow Vietnam veterans, this goes for you, too -- and for the young soldiers who fought in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, the Balkans, and Somalia. It goes for you, also, Rosie the Riveter.

You must teach the coming generations about what freedom really means. You must teach them it's not just having a lot of consumer goodies and fancy electronic toys. You must remind them that those pleasures are the product, not the heart, of free individual choices - and that those choices are protected by the Bill of Rights. You must remind them of the real meaning of the things you fought for -- the freedom of peaceful individuals to speak, believe, and live as they wish, unfettered by government dictates and punishments -- and to respect the right of others to do the same.

In fact, each and every one of us must do this if we want to restore and maintain freedom.

We must all live our personal lives like free men and women while we fight to restore the values of freedom to our country and our culture.

We must fight ALL enemies, foreign and domestic -- as you pledged to do when you signed on to serve your country. We must recognize that some of our most ruthless, implacable enemies ARE domestic -- men and women who look like us and talk like us but whose values are as foreign to America as those of any Hitler, Mussolini, or Hirohito. We must not allow ourselves also to become domestic enemies of freedom by supporting their policies.

America today seems a fallen land -- politically and economically powerful, but empty inside. A land that has lost its heart, its passion for freedom.

But freedom doesn't have to be gone forever. Many times in the past enemies made the mistake of thinking that America was lazy and complacent, too well-fed and self-satisfied to put up a good fight. The Japanese believed it before World War II. The terrorists believed it before September 11.

Our enemies have always been wrong.

You can never underestimate the fighting spirit of the American people, once they know that a fight is necessary to preserve their own future and their children's. An awakened America is a powerful thing, and dangerous to all opponents. We put aside our petty political differences, our daily pleasures, and our selfishness and we fight like wildcats.

There's hope for freedom -- if we can unite behind the Bill of Rights, unite behind freedom and individual rights. We must remember what the Bill of Rights is. It is a list of things an honest government -- a government that is truly of, by, and for the people -- is forever forbidden to do. And we must never ask our government to do these forbidden things, or stand by silently when it tries to.

To unite behind the Bill of Rights is to unite against crushing, bloated, grasping government power. This time our fight may not have to be with guns and cartridges. This time our weapons can be ideas and ideals. This time our job is to fight against the apathy and ignorance of our own culture. This time our aim is to arouse other Americans so they'll neither want nor tolerate an un-American government whose false promises of security are used to enslave them

Let us make forever sure that our American dead have not died in vain, that they have truly died for freedom. Let us live -- and cherish -- that freedom every day of our lives.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Hey America, Do You Remember?

Written by Thomas Segel

Harlingen, Texas, May 20, 2009: Hey America, do you remember when a single political party took over complete control of the government? It happened because of bitterness about the war and unhappiness among the citizens.

Do you remember when people started believing that the only way to solve what they perceived as problems was to ignore the Constitution? The lack of citizen concern for the way the country should be governed led to multiple constitutional violations.

Do you remember when massive financial support provided the funding for the election campaign? This was particularly evident when wealthy businessmen offered their backing.

Do you remember when the opposition party, religious groups and other interests were blamed for the countrys ills? Things were made to sound so bad that only one party and one man were identified as being able to save the nation.

Do you remember when everybody was promised everything? There were so many changes being promised to so many people that support came from everyone who felt personal need for government assistance.

Do you remember the attacks on people of different political beliefs and on opponents? Even the media and the courts closed their eyes to the lies and distortions offered up by the campaign.

Do you remember when the media became a tool of the new government? There was an infiltration of personnel supporting the promises of change into every element of the media and the people seldom heard the complete political message or truth of the times.

Do you remember he came to power during an economic collapse? The number of unemployed grew. There was major crisis in the country and people needed something or someone to blame for their problems.

Do you remember he was a brilliant speaker, his presence had a power over people, he was a good organizer and a smooth politician? Do you remember he was a driven man, who believed he had the destiny to become the leader of his country? Do you remember that his strong ego and self-belief persuaded other people to believe in him?

Well, most of you are really not old enough to remember. It happened 77 years ago in a country called Germany.

Obama's Credit Card Fraud

Under the credit card reform proposed by the Obama administration, customers who pay their bills on time will now be subjected to higher fees to compensate for the restrictions that these companies face regarding what fees they can charge their delinquent customers. But wait! Looks like they get to screw the delinquent customers as well, through unrestrained interest rates, which will be far more debilitating over the long term to those who do not pay their bills on time. Credit Card Companies to ALL consumers: Checkmate.



Published on on May 22, 2009

The widely heralded credit card reform legislation making its way through Congress is a sellout to the credit card companies. Obama has proposed and Congress has passed a series of minor reforms that deal with the fringes of the problem - late billings, retroactive interest rate hikes, misapplication of payments and such - but fail to reform the most basic offense of the companies: their usury.

Congress explicitly rejected any limitation on the interest rate credit card companies can charge. It remains perfectly legal for them to charge rates that would make a loan shark blush.

In our book Fleeced, we explain how, until 1979, credit card interest was subject to usury limits of the various states. But the Supreme Court emasculated these limits by ruling that the state of the lender, not of the borrower, had the sole power to legislate interest rate limits. South Dakota swiftly jumped into the void the Court created, eliminating any usury limits. All the credit card companies moved there and took advantage of the regulatory vacuum to hike up their rates to unconscionable levels.

Competition can do nothing to force down rates since 90% of the credit cards are issued by a handful of companies. And states are paralyzed when it comes to regulating rates.

It is up to Congress to act. Yet the credit card companies' massive campaign donations succeeded in buying off enough Democrats and virtually all the Republicans to kill any limits on interest rates. So companies can continue to charge basic rates of 18 percent and then up to 30 percent as punishment for minor offenses like being a few days late in making payments.

But Obama and his Democratic allies are loudly proclaiming their success in fighting for the consumer despite their failure to use their majorities to afford any real protection form usurious interest rates.

Congress should have legislated a ceiling on regular interest rates limiting them to five points above prime and on punitive rates requiring them to be no more than ten points above prime. But Obama and the Democrats (and, of course, the Republicans) caved into the special interests and left out any interest rate controls.

The high rates charged by credit card companies obviously do a great deal to impede consumer spending and drive families into bankruptcy. The average credit card balance for those who have such debt is over $13,000. A 30 percent interest rate means more than $300 per month in interest payments alone!

It is cruel to see Obama offering the illusion of hope for credit card victims while denying them real relief.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Top Ten Myths of American Healthcare

Excellent post at The Old Jarhead about the myths surrounding healthcare in the US (and what Obama does not want you to know!).

A Case Study in ObamaCare

From the Wall Street Journal:

How Washington Rations
ObamaCare omen: a case study in 'cost-control.'

Try to follow this logic: Last week the Medicare trustees reported that the program has an "unfunded liability" of nearly $38 trillion -- which is the amount of benefits promised but not covered by taxes over the next 75 years. So Democrats have decided that the way to close this gap is to create a new "universal" health insurance entitlement for the middle class.

Such thinking may be a non sequitur, but it will have drastic effects on the health care of all Americans -- and as it happens, this future is playing out in miniature in Medicare right now. Desperate to prevent medical costs from engulfing the federal budget, the program's central planners decided last week to deny payment for a new version of one of life's most unpleasant routine procedures, the colonoscopy. This is a preview of how health care will be rationed when Democrats get their way.

At issue are "virtual colonoscopies," or CT scans of the abdomen. Colon cancer is the second leading cause of U.S. cancer death but one of the most preventable. Found early, the cure rate is 93%, but only 8% at later stages. Virtual colonoscopies are likely to boost screenings because they are quicker, more comfortable and significantly cheaper than the standard "optical" procedure, which involves anesthesia and threading an endoscope through the lower intestine.

Virtual colonoscopies are endorsed by the American Cancer Society and covered by a growing number of private insurers including Cigna and UnitedHealthcare. The problem for Medicare is that if cancerous lesions are found using a scan, then patients must follow up with a traditional colonoscopy anyway. Costs would be lower if everyone simply took the invasive route, where doctors can remove polyps on the spot. As Medicare noted in its ruling, "If there is a relatively high referral rate [for traditional colonoscopy], the utility of an intermediate test such as CT colonography is limited." In other words, duplication would be too pricey.

This is precisely the sort of complexity that the Democrats would prefer to ignore as they try to restructure health care. Led by budget chief Peter Orszag, the White House believes that comparative effectiveness research, which examines clinical evidence to determine what "works best," will let them cut wasteful or ineffective treatments and thus contain health spending.

The problem is that what "works best" isn't the same for everyone. While not painless or risk free, virtual colonoscopy might be better for some patients -- especially among seniors who are infirm or because the presence of other diseases puts them at risk for complications. Ideally doctors would decide with their patients. But Medicare instead made the hard-and-fast choice that it was cheaper to cut it off for all beneficiaries. If some patients are worse off, well, too bad.

Medicare is already the country's largest purchaser of health care. Private carriers generally adopt its rates and policies, and the virtual colonoscopy decision may run this technology out of the marketplace. Now multiply that by the new "public option" that Democrats favor, which would transfer millions of patients to a new insurance program managed by the federal government. Washington's utilitarian judgments about costs would reshape the practice of medicine.

Initially, the open-ended style of American care will barely be touched, if only for political self-preservation. Health planners will adjust at the margins, as with virtual colonoscopy. But scarcity forces choices. As the Medicare trustees note in their report, the tax increases necessary to fund merely the current benefit schedule for the elderly would cripple the economy. The far more expensive public option will not turn into a pumpkin when cost savings do not materialize. At that point, government will clamp down with price controls in the form of lines and rock-bottom reimbursement rates.

Mr. Orszag says that a federal health board will make these Solomonic decisions, which is only true until the lobbies get to Congress and the White House. With virtual colonoscopy, radiologists and gastroenterologists are feuding over which group should get paid for colon cancer screening. Companies like General Electric and Seimens that make CT technology are pressuring Medicare administrators too. More than 50 Congressmen are demanding that the decision be overturned.

All this is merely a preview of the life-and-death decisions that will be determined by politics once government finances substantially more health care than the 46% it already does. Anyone who buys Democratic claims about "choice" and "affordability" will be in for a very rude awakening.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Soak the Rich, Lose the Rich

Great article from the WSJ about the consequences of high state taxes on job growth and tax revenues. The ability of people to move to states whose values are more in line with their own is a hallmark of the Founders' thought processes in creating a system of governance in which the power of the Federal government is limited in scope.


With states facing nearly $100 billion in combined budget deficits this year, we're seeing more governors than ever proposing the Barack Obama solution to balancing the budget: Soak the rich. Lawmakers in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Oregon want to raise income tax rates on the top 1% or 2% or 5% of their citizens. New Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn wants a 50% increase in the income tax rate on the wealthy because this is the "fair" way to close his state's gaping deficit.

Chad Crowe
Mr. Quinn and other tax-raising governors have been emboldened by recent studies by left-wing groups like the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities that suggest that "tax increases, particularly tax increases on higher-income families, may be the best available option." A recent letter to New York Gov. David Paterson signed by 100 economists advises the Empire State to "raise tax rates for high income families right away."

Here's the problem for states that want to pry more money out of the wallets of rich people. It never works because people, investment capital and businesses are mobile: They can leave tax-unfriendly states and move to tax-friendly states.

And the evidence that we discovered in our new study for the American Legislative Exchange Council, "Rich States, Poor States," published in March, shows that Americans are more sensitive to high taxes than ever before. The tax differential between low-tax and high-tax states is widening, meaning that a relocation from high-tax California or Ohio, to no-income tax Texas or Tennessee, is all the more financially profitable both in terms of lower tax bills and more job opportunities.

Updating some research from Richard Vedder of Ohio University, we found that from 1998 to 2007, more than 1,100 people every day including Sundays and holidays moved from the nine highest income-tax states such as California, New Jersey, New York and Ohio and relocated mostly to the nine tax-haven states with no income tax, including Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire and Texas. We also found that over these same years the no-income tax states created 89% more jobs and had 32% faster personal income growth than their high-tax counterparts.

Did the greater prosperity in low-tax states happen by chance? Is it coincidence that the two highest tax-rate states in the nation, California and New York, have the biggest fiscal holes to repair? No. Dozens of academic studies -- old and new -- have found clear and irrefutable statistical evidence that high state and local taxes repel jobs and businesses.

Martin Feldstein, Harvard economist and former president of the National Bureau of Economic Research, co-authored a famous study in 1998 called "Can State Taxes Redistribute Income?" This should be required reading for today's state legislators. It concludes: "Since individuals can avoid unfavorable taxes by migrating to jurisdictions that offer more favorable tax conditions, a relatively unfavorable tax will cause gross wages to adjust. . . . A more progressive tax thus induces firms to hire fewer high skilled employees and to hire more low skilled employees."

More recently, Barry W. Poulson of the University of Colorado last year examined many factors that explain why some states grew richer than others from 1964 to 2004 and found "a significant negative impact of higher marginal tax rates on state economic growth." In other words, soaking the rich doesn't work. To the contrary, middle-class workers end up taking the hit.

Finally, there is the issue of whether high-income people move away from states that have high income-tax rates. Examining IRS tax return data by state, E.J. McMahon, a fiscal expert at the Manhattan Institute, measured the impact of large income-tax rate increases on the rich ($200,000 income or more) in Connecticut, which raised its tax rate in 2003 to 5% from 4.5%; in New Jersey, which raised its rate in 2004 to 8.97% from 6.35%; and in New York, which raised its tax rate in 2003 to 7.7% from 6.85%. Over the period 2002-2005, in each of these states the "soak the rich" tax hike was followed by a significant reduction in the number of rich people paying taxes in these states relative to the national average. Amazingly, these three states ranked 46th, 49th and 50th among all states in the percentage increase in wealthy tax filers in the years after they tried to soak the rich.

This result was all the more remarkable given that these were years when the stock market boomed and Wall Street gains were in the trillions of dollars. Examining data from a 2008 Princeton study on the New Jersey tax hike on the wealthy, we found that there were 4,000 missing half-millionaires in New Jersey after that tax took effect. New Jersey now has one of the largest budget deficits in the nation.

We believe there are three unintended consequences from states raising tax rates on the rich. First, some rich residents sell their homes and leave the state; second, those who stay in the state report less taxable income on their tax returns; and third, some rich people choose not to locate in a high-tax state. Since many rich people also tend to be successful business owners, jobs leave with them or they never arrive in the first place. This is why high income-tax states have such a tough time creating net new jobs for low-income residents and college graduates.

Those who disapprove of tax competition complain that lower state taxes only create a zero-sum competition where states "race to the bottom" and cut services to the poor as taxes fall to zero. They say that tax cutting inevitably means lower quality schools and police protection as lower tax rates mean starvation of public services.

They're wrong, and New Hampshire is our favorite illustration. The Live Free or Die State has no income or sales tax, yet it has high-quality schools and excellent public services. Students in New Hampshire public schools achieve the fourth-highest test scores in the nation -- even though the state spends about $1,000 a year less per resident on state and local government than the average state and, incredibly, $5,000 less per person than New York. And on the other side of the ledger, California in 2007 had the highest-paid classroom teachers in the nation, and yet the Golden State had the second-lowest test scores.

Or consider the fiasco of New Jersey. In the early 1960s, the state had no state income tax and no state sales tax. It was a rapidly growing state attracting people from everywhere and running budget surpluses. Today its income and sales taxes are among the highest in the nation yet it suffers from perpetual deficits and its schools rank among the worst in the nation -- much worse than those in New Hampshire. Most of the massive infusion of tax dollars over the past 40 years has simply enriched the public-employee unions in the Garden State. People are fleeing the state in droves.

One last point: States aren't simply competing with each other. As Texas Gov. Rick Perry recently told us, "Our state is competing with Germany, France, Japan and China for business. We'd better have a pro-growth tax system or those American jobs will be out-sourced." Gov. Perry and Texas have the jobs and prosperity model exactly right. Texas created more new jobs in 2008 than all other 49 states combined. And Texas is the only state other than Georgia and North Dakota that is cutting taxes this year.

The Texas economic model makes a whole lot more sense than the New Jersey model, and we hope the politicians in California, Delaware, Illinois, Minnesota and New York realize this before it's too late.

Mr. Laffer is president of Laffer Associates. Mr. Moore is senior economics writer for the Wall Street Journal. They are co-authors of "Rich States, Poor States" (American Legislative Exchange Council, 2009).

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lessons from 1940

A great post from the Heritage Foundation website, The Foundry.

Herbert Hoover was no laissez-faire president like Calvin Coolidge, however he did respect the constitution, and he never was willing to go as far as Franklin Roosevelt. He made a speech just before Roosevelt’s election to a third term, in which he made some salient points—ones we would still be wise to consider today.
With Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin in power, and with a myriad of other dictators and authoritarian powers sprinkled across Europe, it was critical that the free citizens of America see the danger of handing over the reigns of industry to government—that economic power is so much more than just economic. As Hayek said a few years later, “Economic control is not merely control of a sector of human life which can be separated from the rest; it is the control of the means for all our ends.”
Hoover explained this concentration of power that had preceded the tyrannies of every stripe popping up in Europe, and warned that the same could happen in America. The danger lies in the belief that government can solve all economic problems, if only it has enough power. Quoting from The Roosevelt Myth:
In every single case before the rise of totalitarian governments there had been a period dominated by economic planners. Each of these nations had an era under starry-eyed men who believed that they could plan and force the economic life of the people. They believed that was the way to correct abuse or to meet emergencies in systems of free enterprise. They exalted the state as the solver of all economic problems.
These men thought they were liberals. But they also thought they could have economic dictatorship by bureaucracy and at the same time preserve free speech, orderly justice, and free government.
These men are not Communists or Fascists. But they mixed these ideas into free systems. It is true that Communists and Fascists were round about. They formed popular fronts and gave the applause. These men shifted the relation of government to free enterprise from that of umpire to controller.
Hoover then goes on to name the ways in which the government is taking on the role of controller—and they are precisely the same controls government is taking on today:
Directly or indirectly they politically controlled credit, prices, production or industry, farmer and laborer. They devalued, pump-primed and deflated. They controlled private business by government competition, by regulation and by taxes. They met every failure with demands for more and more power and control … When it was too late they discovered that every time they stretched the arm of government into private enterprise, except to correct abuse, then somehow, somewhere, men’s minds became confused. At once men became fearful and hesitant. Initiative slackened, industry slowed down production.
Obama jokes about his exalted state. At the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner he said, “During the second 100 days, we will design, build and open a library dedicated to my first 100 days.” And joked, “My next 100 days will be so successful, I will complete them in 72 days. And on the 73rd day, I will rest.” But we should know by now that this is not funny: we have a dangerous belief in the power of the executive. The situation we face to day is in some ways less dangerous than when Hoover delivered this warning, as there are fewer external totalitarian powers to fight. However, at home we face the same challenge: will we cede our freedoms to government, in exchange for some promised, temporary economic security?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Dead People Get Stimulus Checks

If dead people who were never on Social Security are getting Stimulus checks, then how do we know that living persons who are not entitled to these check are not getting them as well?

Dead People Get Stimulus
Updated: Thursday, 14 May 2009, 10:30 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 14 May 2009, 5:28 PM EDT

MYFOXNY.COM - This week, thousands of people are getting stimulus checks in the mail. The problem is that a lot of them are dead. A Long Island woman was shocked when she checked the mail and received a letter from the U.S. Treasury -- but it wasn't for her.

Antoniette Santopadre of Valley Stream was expecting a $250 stimulus check. But when her son finally opened it, they saw that the check was made out to her father, Romolo Romonini, who died in Italy 34 years ago. He'd been a U.S. citizen when he left for Italy in 1933, but only returned to the United Stated for a seven-month visit in 1969.

The Santopadres are not alone. The Social Security Administration, which sent out 52 million checks, says that some of those checks mistakenly went to dead people because the agency had no record of their death. That amounts to between 8,000 and 10,000 checks for millions of dollars.

The feds blame a rushed schedule, because all the checks have to be cut by June. The strange this is, some of the checks were made out to people -- like Romonini -- who were never even part of the Social Security system.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

545 People

By Charlie Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.
Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits? Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don't propose a federal budget. The President does. You and I don't have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does. You and I don't write the tax code, Congress does. You and I don't set fiscal policy, Congress does. You and I don't control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred Senators, 435 Congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices, 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913 Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don't care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator's responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party. What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes.

Who is the speaker of the House? Nancy Pelosi. She is the leader of the majority party. She and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million can not replace 545 people who stand convicted -- by present facts [Lucie's note: AND, FOR MANY OF THEM, A LONG HISTORY] -- of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can't think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it's because they want it unfair. If the budget is in the red, it's because they want it in the red. If the Army & Marines are in IRAQ, it's because they want them in IRAQ. If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it's because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems. Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like "the economy," "inflation," or "politics" that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible. The 545, and they alone, have the [authority]*. The 545, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.

Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees. We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years with the Orlando Sentinel.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

*The original word was "power'; I substituted "authority." Ultimately it is WE who have the power. They tell us convincingly that they have the power. No. WE give them the authority to act on our behalf, in the best interest of this country, based on the rule of law as outlined in the Constitution. They are acting with reckless disregard of their oath of office:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United
States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to
the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of
evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am
about to enter: So help me God."

Can you name ONE of the 435 members of Congress who acts as this oath prescribes? (OK, I can name one - Ron Paul).

So what do you do when the criminals and traitors are also the overseers? One answer: we get inquiries into steroid use in professional baseball, and investigations into NFL teams taping each other!

"It's not your Party; it's your performance: YOU'RE FIRED."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Saturday, May 9, 2009

What Makes It Work

Enlightening article on the necessity of virtue in a free society.

What We Want

What We the People Who Attended Tea Parties in Body or Spirit Want

Many pundits and leaders suggest the Tea Party demonstrations are an act of “desperation.” Well, if waking up at the eleventh hour to realize our Country has been hijacked elicits a touch of hysteria, then sure, we are feeling desperate. But that is not why the word desperation and others like it seem so carefully chosen. The real idea is to paint the Tea Party movement with broad and disparaging sound bites. That way, hundreds-of-thousands if not millions of protesters can be snidely dismissed, as when critics snigger, “ The ‘teabaggers’ do not even know what they are protesting for,” or when we’re condescendingly referred to as “those people waving teabags around.”

Well, maybe we are just lackeys bussed in by Karl Rove. Or maybe we are all unemployed and upset because our care-package has not yet arrived. Or maybe, just maybe, we know exactly what we want but critics do not like it because that particular sound-bite distills down to Liberty, and in a world crazed by political-correctness, Liberty cannot possibly pertain where guilty Americans are concerned. So for all you moral relativists, we will spell it out:

We want our Government’s current spending binge reduced or repealed as much as possible because we recognize that any tax cuts promised today are nothing but payoffs, and tomorrow’s tax burden will be insufferable. We do not want our grandkids’ kids to live under this yoke!

We want Government to adopt pay-as-you-go spending rules – at all levels! – rules that align with an income based on fair taxation. That means all taxes – Local, State, and Federal – when added together from cradle to grave should never exceed forty-nine percent of a citizen’s total lifetime income. Anything more constitutes slavery. And forty-nine percent should only be called for in times of dire National emergency. Otherwise, a lifetime tax-cap of thirty-three percent comes closer to
keeping faith with the spirit of our heritage. Along with that, some regulation to curb the excesses of Capitalism would be welcome. But replace it with Socialism? No way!

We want the Government the heck out of U.S. Corporations. Let the failures fail and restructure if they can, and otherwise let the rest operate without a political officer looking over their shoulder.

We want to know where the TARP money went and why its fate has been kept secret when we were promised transparency. We want to know who really pulls the strings at the Federal Reserve.

We want energy/environmental policies based on facts and science, not fear enabled by climate-modeling gurus and a PR machine. We want policies that take us into the future without cutting off our past at the knees – policies that build a bridge, not a cliff.

We want our borders closed and illegal immigration stopped. Cold! We want illegal aliens to be treated humanely but not given a free ride or invited gratis into the political arena to become a voter-block for the give-away Left.

We want mandatory photo IDs and proof of citizenship as minimal requirements to participate in elections.

We want the “politically correct” class to show a little more tolerance for those who have shown so much tolerance through the years we allowed political correctness to grow into a monster. Shame on us! It may be late but at last we are paying attention!

We want acknowledgement that, while taking pride in diversity and Religious Freedom, this Country's founding was primarily influenced by Christianity. Yes, the Founding Fathers espoused the separation of Church and State, but not separation from the values and moral imperatives of Religion: “ We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." These threads run common to all peaceful religions, and we honor them.

We want term limits for all elected officials because career politicians grow corrupt. We need turnover. While we may throw an occasional “baby out with the bath water,” that sacrifice is necessary to purge the cesspool our bath water has become.

We want the First and Second Amendments to stand unsullied and inviolate. Period!

We want volunteerism to mean Volunteer-ism. Making it mandatory is an oxymoron and smacks of indoctrination. It runs contrary to promoting values that might lead one to volunteer of their own Free Will.

We want the Left to stop chipping away at Conservative Values and Morality so as to use social breakdowns as an excuse to codify amorality.

We want all the apologies for our Country’s existence to cease and desist! Give credit where credit is due and recognize that for all the mistakes the United States of America has made, her positive influence far outweighs them.

We want our leaders to stop using the rhetoric of failure. Stop demoralizing our men and women in uniform! We want our Veterans to be honored, not profiled!

We want to retain full control of our National Sovereignty. No treaties attacking our Rights; no bench rulings citing International Law.

We want an end to the vilifying of private sector achievers – the picking out and even cultivation of a few bad apples to create public examples for the purpose of stirring class envy. These attacks really rankle when so many elected officials go unpunished for the parts they have played and continue to play in creating this mess.

We want the restoration of proper checks and balances in our Government. We want to see judges who legislate from the bench get removed from the bench. We want the Executive Branch to be checked when it attempts to sweep whole agencies into its sphere of authority. Where is the due process to either cede such power or proclaim it excessive? We want a
Legislature that is prohibited from squelching or bypassing inconvenient minority dissent.

We want and desperately need journalists to honor the sacred trust bequeathed to them. Report the unvarnished facts without spin; tell the Truth when our elected officials have forgotten how or refuse to.

We want people to wake up and stop mouthing, “ We hope this President is the best and most successful we have ever had.” Think for a moment what that really means: More government takeover of businesses. More government meddling with our Freedoms. More government picking through our pockets. More government Control of our lives until we are so benumbed we no longer remember or care what it means to be Free.

We want to end the rhetoric of race-baiting. We are not immune to the allure of affirmation that would attend a successful Afro-American Presidency. But that does not make this President’s policies correct, which in turn makes knowing how misguided they are all the more painful. None of which makes us racist.

We want the recognition we deserve for holding one of the largest demonstrations in the history of this Country. The Tea Party mobilized hundreds-of-thousands if not millions of people, and for every one who attended there were dozens more who wanted to. This was a peaceful outpouring of True Patriotic Concern on a grand scale. There were no vandalized buildings, no tear-gas grenades, no arrests, and we even picked up our litter. What news could be bigger? But besides “desperation” and "teabaggers" all we get from the critics is, “ What’s next?” Please take this as a small down payment.

We want our fellow Americans to wake up and realize that labeling your conservative friends and neighbors domestic security risks is an act of despicable profiling. Our Freedoms – those of all American’s – are being systematically dismantled.

If all this makes us desperate then we are guilty as charged. But we are not going away quietly, and the more people we reach the more who will join us in the drive to renew the Vision of Our Country's Founding Fathers. That is what we want!

Respectfully yours,
We the People

Friday, May 8, 2009

"Who Are They and Where Are They Taking Us?", Continued

Here is the sixth part in a series sent to me by an astute reader who has studied this subject in great detail. Interesting and very disturbing insight into what is happening right underneath our feet, and unbeknownst to the vast majority of citizens, the repercussions of which could not pose a more serious threat to our country.

*Who Are They? Where Are They Taking US?*

*Part VI. The Players*

* *The rise of the current resident of the White House can clearly be traced to a triad composed of three main players, Khalid al-Monsour, George Soros, and Rahm Emanuel.

* *It is public knowledge that it was Khalid al-Monsour who sponsored Barack Hussein Obama into Harvard. “Dr. Khalid Abdullah Tario Al-Mansour is an internationally acknowledged advisor to Heads of State and business leaders in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and North America. He has been actively involved in structuring investments and joint ventures worldwide for over 35 years. Dr. Al-Mansour was also responsible for the Africa investment activities of Kingdom Holdings, Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal’s investment company. During his distinguished career, Dr. Al-Mansour has been a guest lecturer at Harvard University, Bombay University, Columbia University, UCLA, University of Kenya, London School of Economics and the University of Ghana.In addition to Africa Venture Partners, Dr. Al-Mansour sits on the Boards of: Saudi African Bank; Kingdom Holdings, Africa; Multimedia Super Corridor (Malaysia); Space Tech Inc.; AmNet Corp. International; New Avenues Fund Ltd; United
Bank for Africa; United Networks; and Landmark Entertainment.”

Khalid al-Monsour also bankrolled Barack Obama's senatorial bid in Illinois to the tune of $60,000, and was contributing financially to Obama in the late eighties and nineties, well before he ran for any office. It is hardly conceivable that Dr. Al-Monsour and George Soros never rubbed shoulders in the financial or political worlds. The personal agenda of Soros is completely congruent to the agenda being followed by the current resident of the White House, and that is an

Rowan Scarborough wrote the following on November 5, 2008.

“No man has a larger stake in a president Barack Obama administration than ultra-liberal billionaire George Soros.

This decade, the Hungarian-born hedge fund investor has poured tens of millions of dollars into left-wing attack groups and Democratic campaigns. Soros' grand plan is to destroy the Republican Party and conservative movement, while promoting the wish list of the political Left.

With Democratic victories Tuesday, Soros may be on the cusp of fulfilling his dreams of social reorder -- funded by a fortune of $7 billion he amassed through rampant speculation on world currencies.”

That Soros is reputed to have profited to the tune of one billion dollars as a result of the collapse of the housing market and the subsequent financial chaos is well publicized. Yes, Soros is a kingpin in the plan to destroy the Republic and replace it with a socialistic monstrosity controlled by the current resident of the White House. In all this, it was Rahm Emanuel who was the “mechanic” who fine tuned the DNC to make it all happen. His intricate involvement in the Clinton White House, Fannie Mae, Wall Street, and Chicago political thuggery were the ingredients that made the chemistry perfect for the takeover,
and that is precisely what it is. It is a hostile takeover of the Republic. Rahm Emanuel was the Chairman of the DNC Caucus. It was Emanuel who manipulated the Caucus to nominate Obama and not Hillary Clinton. A seventy-eight page article which was a mathematical proof of Caucus Fraud was posted by Lynette Long on the Internet and called for an investigation into the fraudulent activities surrounding the result of the Caucus. For some reason, that report has disappeared from the
Internet. It has disappeared as mysteriously as all of the records which would prove Barack Hussein Obama is not eligible to hold the office of President of the United States.

Coming Soon to a Neighborhood Near You!

Sing along now! "These are the people in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood, in your neigh-bor-hood. Ooooh, these are the people in your neighborhood, the people that you meet each day". (Sesame Street)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Superb Article from Investors Business Times

This article offers an excellent explanation of the ramifications of the current administrations economic policies. It is definitely worth your time to read and digest.

Putting It All Into Perspective

By Tyler Durden
07 May 2009 @ 11:35 am ESTNext Equities Article
Tonight, instead of more charts that demonstrate an increasingly broken market, or links to mainstream media sources of exponentially diminishing value, I provide a selection, culled from the most recent investor letter of hedge fund Elliott Associates. The letter does an exemplary job of addressing and explaining the core issues affecting both U.S. taxpayers and investors (as well as our global readers), with either a near- or long-term horizon, and cuts through the verbiage, the rhetoric, the patronizing and the obfuscations of both the MSM and the administration and its agents, like a warm knife through butter.


A fresh, enthusiastic and self-confident team has come to power in Washington, but we fear that the stimulus program that was recently enacted will not have the desired multiplier effects, and was not designed to create lasting value or solid future growth. Contrary to widespread hopes and sound practice, the spending programs are front-loaded with superficial effectiveness and back-loaded with problems.

Promising to spend, and actually spending, hundreds of billions of dollars, with “whatever it takes” waiting in the back pocket, will definitely appear to stabilize the economy. If the government spends enough money, a flush of pink will be slapped back into the pale cheeks of the stunned economy—even if the spending is mostly pork, payback and pet projects of the new gang in town. The money will be spent (at least in the beginning) at a time of underutilized capacity and falling aggregate demand.

However, the government is operating as if it does not matter where it goes, as long as it is “shovel ready” and large. That said, one is reminded, shovels can be used for both worthy long-term projects and piles of garbage.

The program to get us out of the recession should have been aimed not only at stabilization but also at fostering incentives to save and invest. It does not. It could have provided large spending for infrastructure (such as energy infrastructure) which would remove bottlenecks in the supply chain, catalyze growth and innovation, reduce dependency on uncertain and expensive foreign sources of energy, and other spending which would provide leveraged long-term benefits. It does not, except in very small doses. Instead, it focuses on hollow spending which will result in some stabilization at the cost of trillions of dollars of government debt being added, year after year. Merely shoveling money out the door is not a path to giving people confidence in America's economy, future growth and leadership in the world. We applaud the fact that the government action is big and relatively fast. However, it could be much stronger and smarter, and it could have included more strategic thought, collaboration and input from others across the political spectrum. We predict that these errors and omissions will produce ill effects much later.

Read More Here

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Feeding the Monster

A great post from the blog, Get Liberty, which details the differences in pay and benefits between the public and private sector. Here in RI, this is one of the main issues which has caused our economy to circle the drain. Looks like the rest of the US is using our state as a model for growth. Good luck with that.

Feeding the Monster

By: adminOn: 04/28/2009 12:22:24In: Fiscal ResponsibilityComments: 0
By Isaac MacMillen

“An appeaser is one who feeds everyone else around him to the crocodile, in hopes he'll eat him last.” –Winston Churchill

American taxpayers are feeding a voracious monster that threatens their very existence. Much like the unwitting tourist that feeds a wild animal only to whet its insatiable appetite, American taxpayers are funding a government bureaucracy that, at its current and projected growth rate, will eventually consume the private sector.

Now, with the release of a study drawing attention to the disparity in pay and benefits between the public and private sectors, the seriousness of the situation is finally being brought into full view.

According to USA Today, public sector employees make nearly 44 percent more than their private sector colleagues, once benefits are factored into the equation. The average state or federal employee makes $39.25, of which $13.38 is benefits, while the average salary of a private employee is $11.90 less—$27.35, including $7.98 in benefits.

This huge disparity is dangerous. While the private sector produces goods and services that stimulate economic growth, the public sector siphons off tax dollars and drains the investment pool. As the public sector grows—and no doubt it will continue to expand, as the Democrats in the White House and in Congress push their Big Government plans—production declines and deficits explode.

Read the rest HERE.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Remember Me

A Letter Worth Reading

Andrew C. McCarthy
May 1, 2009

By email (to the Counterterrorism Division) and by regular mail:

The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Attorney General of the United States
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

Dear Attorney General Holder:

This letter is respectfully submitted to inform you that I must decline the invitation to participate in the May 4 roundtable meeting the President’s Task Force on Detention Policy is convening with current and former prosecutors involved in international terrorism cases. An invitation was extended to me by trial lawyers from the Counterterrorism Section, who are members of the Task Force, which you are leading.

The invitation email (of April 14) indicates that the meeting is part of an ongoing effort to identify lawful policies on the detention and disposition of alien enemy combatants—or what the Department now calls “individuals captured or apprehended in connection with armed conflicts and counterterrorism operations.” I admire the lawyers of the Counterterrorism Division, and I do not question their good faith. Nevertheless, it is quite clear—most recently, from your provocative remarks on Wednesday in Germany—that the Obama administration has already settled on a policy of releasing trained jihadists (including releasing some of them into the United States). Whatever the good intentions of the organizers, the meeting will obviously be used by the administration to claim that its policy was arrived at in consultation with current and former government officials experienced in terrorism cases and national security issues. I deeply disagree with this policy, which I believe is a violation of federal law and a betrayal of the president’s first obligation to protect the American people. Under the circumstances, I think the better course is to register my dissent, rather than be used as a prop.

Moreover, in light of public statements by both you and the President, it is dismayingly clear that, under your leadership, the Justice Department takes the position that a lawyer who in good faith offers legal advice to government policy makers—like the government lawyers who offered good faith advice on interrogation policy—may be subject to investigation and prosecution for the content of that advice, in addition to empty but professionally damaging accusations of ethical misconduct. Given that stance, any prudent lawyer would have to hesitate before offering advice to the government.

Beyond that, as elucidated in my writing (including my proposal for a new national security court, which I understand the Task Force has perused), I believe alien enemy combatants should be detained at Guantanamo Bay (or a facility like it) until the conclusion of hostilities. This national defense measure is deeply rooted in the venerable laws of war and was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in the 2004 Hamdi case. Yet, as recently as Wednesday, you asserted that, in your considered judgment, such notions violate America’s “commitment to the rule of law.” Indeed, you elaborated, “Nothing symbolizes our [administration’s] new course more than our decision to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay…. President Obama believes, and I strongly agree, that Guantanamo has come to represent a time and an approach that we want to put behind us: a disregard for our centuries-long respect for the rule of law[.]” (Emphasis added.)

Given your policy of conducting ruinous criminal and ethics investigations of lawyers over the advice they offer the government, and your specific position that the wartime detention I would endorse is tantamount to a violation of law, it makes little sense for me to attend the Task Force meeting. After all, my choice would be to remain silent or risk jeopardizing myself.
For what it may be worth, I will say this much. For eight years, we have had a robust debate in the United States about how to handle alien terrorists captured during a defensive war authorized by Congress after nearly 3000 of our fellow Americans were annihilated. Essentially, there have been two camps. One calls for prosecution in the civilian criminal justice system, the strategy used throughout the 1990s. The other calls for a military justice approach of combatant detention and war-crimes prosecutions by military commission. Because each theory has its downsides, many commentators, myself included, have proposed a third way: a hybrid system, designed for the realities of modern international terrorism—a new system that would address the needs to protect our classified defense secrets and to assure Americans, as well as our allies, that we are detaining the right people.

There are differences in these various proposals. But their proponents, and adherents to both the military and civilian justice approaches, have all agreed on at least one thing: Foreign terrorists trained to execute mass-murder attacks cannot simply be released while the war ensues and Americans are still being targeted. We have already released too many jihadists who, as night follows day, have resumed plotting to kill Americans. Indeed, according to recent reports, a released Guantanamo detainee is now leading Taliban combat operations in Afghanistan, where President Obama has just sent additional American forces.
The Obama campaign smeared Guantanamo Bay as a human rights blight. Consistent with that hyperbolic rhetoric, the President began his administration by promising to close the detention camp within a year. The President did this even though he and you (a) agree Gitmo is a top-flight prison facility, (b) acknowledge that our nation is still at war, and (c) concede that many Gitmo detainees are extremely dangerous terrorists who cannot be tried under civilian court rules. Patently, the commitment to close Guantanamo Bay within a year was made without a plan for what to do with these detainees who cannot be tried. Consequently, the Detention Policy Task Force is not an effort to arrive at the best policy. It is an effort to justify a bad policy that has already been adopted: to wit, the Obama administration policy to release trained terrorists outright if that’s what it takes to close Gitmo by January.

Obviously, I am powerless to stop the administration from releasing top al Qaeda operatives who planned mass-murder attacks against American cities—like Binyam Mohammed (the accomplice of “Dirty Bomber” Jose Padilla) whom the administration recently transferred to Britain, where he is now at liberty and living on public assistance. I am similarly powerless to stop the administration from admitting into the United States such alien jihadists as the 17 remaining Uighur detainees. According to National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair, the Uighurs will apparently live freely, on American taxpayer assistance, despite the facts that they are affiliated with a terrorist organization and have received terrorist paramilitary training. Under federal immigration law (the 2005 REAL ID Act), those facts render them excludable from the United States. The Uighurs’ impending release is thus a remarkable development given the Obama administration’s propensity to deride its predecessor’s purported insensitivity to the rule of law.

I am, in addition, powerless to stop the President, as he takes these reckless steps, from touting his Detention Policy Task Force as a demonstration of his national security seriousness. But I can decline to participate in the charade.

Finally, let me repeat that I respect and admire the dedication of Justice Department lawyers, whom I have tirelessly defended since I retired in 2003 as a chief assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York. It was a unique honor to serve for nearly twenty years as a federal prosecutor, under administrations of both parties. It was as proud a day as I have ever had when the trial team I led was awarded the Attorney General’s Exceptional Service Award in 1996, after we secured the convictions of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and his underlings for waging a terrorist war against the United States. I particularly appreciated receiving the award from Attorney General Reno—as I recounted in Willful Blindness, my book about the case, without her steadfastness against opposition from short-sighted government officials who wanted to release him, the “blind sheikh” would never have been indicted, much less convicted and so deservedly sentenced to life-imprisonment. In any event, I’ve always believed defending our nation is a duty of citizenship, not ideology. Thus, my conservative political views aside, I’ve made myself available to liberal and conservative groups, to Democrats and Republicans, who’ve thought tapping my experience would be beneficial. It pains me to decline your invitation, but the attendant circumstances leave no other option.

Very truly yours,


Andrew C. McCarthy

cc: Sylvia T. Kaser and John DePue
National Security Division, Counterterrorism Section