Forget amnesty, look where Democrats now stoop for votes! From the ranks of convicted felons.

ON CAPITOL HILL

Forget amnesty, look where Democrats now stoop for votes!

Proposed law would grant Obama’s party deluge of new supporters



Posted: March 23, 2010
10:44 pm Eastern

By Drew Zahn
© 2010 WorldNetDaily


Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich.

 

Democrats in Congress are pushing for a new law that would allow nearly 4 million people currently banned from voting to cast their ballot, and most of those millions, studies show, will vote Democrat.

And where will these new voters come from?

From the ranks of convicted felons.

Last week, a House subcommittee heard testimony on H.R. 3335, the “Democracy Restoration Act.” The bill seeks to override state laws, which vary in how they restrict when convicted felons released from prison can vote.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., and sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., states, “The right of an individual who is a citizen of the United States to vote in any election for federal office shall not be denied or abridged because that individual has been convicted of a criminal offense unless such individual is serving a felony sentence in a correctional institution or facility at the time of the election.”

Advocates of the bill trumpet it as a civil rights issue and a matter of freedom, while pointing out that a disproportionate number of black and Hispanic Americans have been disenfranchised by laws restricting felons from voting.

Critics call it another example of the federal government overstepping its constitutional powers to squash state sovereignty and point out that the laws don’t discriminate against minorities, for the statistics simply reflect the disproportionate numbers of black and Hispanic Americans convicted of crime.

Critics have also hinted that the law is politically convenient for Democrats.

Read the stunning report on how the unthinkable – the theft of an American election – may be on the horizon!

Hans von Spakovsky, a former Commissioner on the Federal Election Commission, explained in a blog statement, “What is particularly revealing about this bill is that it does not say anything about the other civil rights that a felon loses, such as the right to own a gun or serve on a jury or in some states, to work as a public employee.

“That is an interesting comment given that the ‘findings’ in the bill claim that such state felon laws ‘serve no compelling State interest,'” he concluded. “I guess this legislation would serve one compelling interest for the sponsors – it might get them votes they need to win in close elections.”

Multiple studies have backed up van Spokovsky’s claim, showing that convicted and former felons consistently lean Democrat.

During the hotly contested 2000 presidential election, for example, an article in the National Law Journal stated, “Al Gore sure could use an extra million-plus votes on Nov. 7. And those potential voters are out there. But inconveniently, they’re all in Sing-Sing, San Quentin and hundreds of other prisons, and in the big pool of prison alumni. And for now, they can’t vote. … But a movement is afoot to change that. And if that happens, a new study co-authored by criminologist Christopher Uggen of the University of Minnesota indicates, the felon vote could give many close elections to the Democrats.”

Uggen’s study concluded that Bill Clinton pulled 86 percent of the felon vote in 1992 and a whopping 93 percent in ’96, and in most elections going back decades Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate would have received at least seven of every ten votes cast by felons and ex-felons.

A Public Opinion Strategies survey in Washington State in May 2005 similarly found that even after accounting for other differences that predict how people vote – including race, religion, age and other demographics – felons were 36 percent more likely than non-felons with the same characteristics to have voted for John Kerry over George W. Bush and 37 percent more likely to be registered Democratic.

Still, proponents of the bill insist that regardless of politics, laws barring ex-felons from voting are a civil rights issue.

“State disenfranchisement laws disproportionately impact racial and ethnic minorities,” the bill itself states. “Eight percent of the African-American population, or 2,000,000 African-Americans, are disenfranchised. Given current rates of incarceration, approximately one in three of the next generation of African-American men will be disenfranchised at some point during their lifetime. Hispanic citizens are also disproportionately disenfranchised based upon their disproportionate representation in the criminal justice system.”

Deborah J. Vagins, American Civil Liberties Union legislative counsel adds, “Felony disfranchisement laws are rooted in the Jim Crow era and were intended to bar minorities from voting. To this day, they continue to have a disproportionate impact on minority communities. Moreover, revoking the right to vote for millions of citizens is not only undemocratic, it is counterproductive to the rehabilitation and reintegration into society of those released from prison.”

Van Spakovsky, who testified before the subcommittee, disagrees.

“Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment specifically provides that states may abridge the right to vote of citizens ‘for participation in rebellion, or other crime.’ The Fourteenth Amendment simply recognized a process that goes back to ancient Greece and Rome,” van Spakovsky told the congressmen. “The claim that state laws that take away the right of felons to vote are all rooted in racial discrimination is simply historically inaccurate – even prior to the Civil War, when many black Americans were slaves and could not vote, a majority of states took away the rights of voters who were convicted of crimes.

“It is true that some Southern states tried to use these laws during Reconstruction and afterward to disenfranchise blacks,” he continued, “but those laws have all been changed and amended. The case cannot be made today that such laws are in any way applied in a discriminatory fashion.”

Van Spakovsky concluded, “No … showing of intentional discrimination can be made with regard to such state laws today, and they cannot be held unconstitutional even if they have a ‘racially disproportionate impact.’ Criminals lose their right to vote because of their own conscious actions in violating the law, not because of their race.”

Currently, state laws vary on when and how convict can regain the vote. In two states, even prisoners can vote, while in others, a felon must first finish parole, pay off existing fines or complete other steps of reconciliation with society.

But why disenfranchise felons in the first place?

For von Spakovsky, the answer is both constitutional and practical.

“H.R. 3335 represents an unconstitutional intrusion into the rights of the states,” he testified. “Congress simply does not have the constitutional authority to force states to restore the voting rights of convicted felons.

Furthermore, he argued, “H.R. 3335 would force all states … to allow criminals to vote before they have even completed the primary terms imposed on them as a punishment by their fellow citizens through our justice system. So at least some individuals who have shown no compunction whatsoever about breaking the law will be given the ability to help make the law.

“In Virginia,” von Spakovsky explained, “the felon must also show that he has paid all court costs, fines, and restitution to their victims. This proposed bill would completely ignore and override this process, particularly at the expense of victims who are still owed restitution, and grant relief on a wholesale basis, without considering whether someone is really entitled to restoration of his rights.”

NYT: BHO Goal Is To Redistribute Wealth

NYT: BHO Goal Is To Redistribute Wealth

Discreetly buried in the ‘Business’ section of the New York Times:

In Health Care Bill, Obama Attacks Wealth Inequality

By DAVID LEONHARDT

March 23, 2010

For all the political and economic uncertainties about health reform, at least one thing seems clear: The bill that President Obama signed on Tuesday is the federal government’s biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago.

Over most of that period, government policy and market forces have been moving in the same direction, both increasing inequality. The pretax incomes of the wealthy have soared since the late 1970s, while their tax rates have fallen more than rates for the middle class and poor.

Nearly every major aspect of the health bill pushes in the other direction. This fact helps explain why Mr. Obama was willing to spend so much political capital on the issue, even though it did not appear to be his top priority as a presidential candidate. Beyond the health reform’s effect on the medical system, it is the centerpiece of his deliberate effort to end what historians have called the age of Reagan.

Speaking to an ebullient audience of Democratic legislators and White House aides at the bill-signing ceremony on Tuesday, Mr. Obama claimed that health reform would “mark a new season in America.” He added, “We have now just enshrined, as soon as I sign this bill, the core principle that everybody should have some basic security when it comes to their health care.” …

[T]he bill will also reduce a different kind of inequality. In the broadest sense, insurance is meant to spread the costs of an individual’s misfortune — illness, death, fire, flood — across society. Since the late 1970s, though, the share of Americans with health insurance has shrunk. As a result, the gap between the economic well-being of the sick and the healthy has been growing, at virtually every level of the income distribution.

The health reform bill will reverse that trend. By 2019, 95 percent of people are projected to be covered, up from 85 percent today (and about 90 percent in the late 1970s). Even affluent families ineligible for subsidies will benefit if they lose their insurance, by being able to buy a plan that can no longer charge more for pre-existing conditions. In effect, healthy families will be picking up most of the bill — and their insurance will be somewhat more expensive than it otherwise would have been

Does anyone understand any of this?

Of course the bottom line is that healthcare benefits and services will be stolen from rich Peter and given to poor Paul — who only makes $82,000 a year.

Much about health reform remains unknown. Maybe it will deliver Congress to the Republicans this fall, or maybe it will help the Democrats keep power. Maybe the bill’s attempts to hold down the recent growth of medical costs will prove a big success, or maybe the results will be modest and inadequate. But the ways in which the bill attacks the inequality of the Reagan era — whether you love them or hate them — will probably be around for a long time

Since Mr. Obama began his presidential campaign in 2007, he has had a complicated relationship with the Reagan legacy. He has been more willing than many other Democrats to praise President Reagan.

Mr. Obama praised Reagan once. And even that was the most backhanded of compliments. Mr. Obama later explained he just meant to commend him for his ruthless ability to ram through his dangerous achievements.

“Reagan’s central insight — that the liberal welfare state had grown complacent and overly bureaucratic,” Mr. Obama wrote in his second book, “contained a good deal of truth.” Most notably, he praised Mr. Reagan as a president who “changed the trajectory of America.”

This was not meant as praise. Mr. Obama meant that President Reagan had turned America in the wrong direction.

But Mr. Obama also argued that the Reagan administration had gone too far, and that if elected, he would try to put the country on a new trajectory.

In truth, as we have often noted, Mr. Obama repeatedly announced that the goal of his life was to reverse the ‘Reagan Revolution.’ What he called in his first autobiography, “the dirty deed” of Reagan and his minions.

He claims that is why he got into politics in the first place.

“The project of the next president,” he said in an interview during the campaign, “is figuring out how you create bottom-up economic growth, as opposed to the trickle-down economic growth.” …

Before he became Mr. Obama’s top economic adviser, Lawrence Summers told me a story about helping his daughter study for her Advanced Placement exam in American history. While doing so, Mr. Summers realized that the federal government had not passed major social legislation in decades. There was the frenzy of the New Deal, followed by the G.I. Bill, the Interstate Highway System, civil rights and Medicare — and then nothing worth its own section in the history books.

Now there is.

What a bizarre and pig ignorant approach to history — even for a former President of Harvard.

Nevertheless, this article is significant. Mr. Obama’s true purpose has now become so glaringly obvious, that even the New York Times has to ‘report’ it.

How can Mr. Obama deny that he is a socialist now?

The Times has made it official.

White House: Transparency? Are you kidding?

White House: Transparency? Are you kidding?

By: Byron York
Chief Political Correspondent
03/24/10 5:47 PM EDT

The Obama White House did not allow the press to cover the president’s signing of the executive order created to win Rep. Bart Stupak’s vote for Obamacare. At the daily briefing, reporters wanted to know why no press photographer or reporter was allowed in. Press secretary Robert Gibbs told them they should be happy with a picture from the White House photographer, Pete Souza — a photo produced and selected by the White House. It will be a “nice picture,” Gibbs assured reporters.

Reporters tried to appeal to the White House’s professed commitment to openness and transparency. Gibbs was having none of it. The White House wanted to limit coverage of the executive order, so in the spirit of openness and transparency it simply shut the press out. This is how Gibbs’ back-and-forth with reporters went:

“The president is signing an executive order on abortion that is a pretty big national issue,” a reporter asked. “Why would that be closed press, no pictures?”

“We’ll put out a picture from Pete [Souza],” Gibbs said.

“But what about a picture from the actual national media, not from — ” the reporter started to follow up.

“On, the picture from Pete will be for the actual event,” Gibbs answered.

“Right, but what about allowing us in, for openness and transparency?”

“We’ll have a nice picture from Pete that will demonstrate that type of transparency.”

“Not the same, Robert,” the reporter said. “Never has been.”

“I know you all disagree with that,” Gibbs answered. “I think Pete takes wonderful photos.”

Gibbs’ suggestion that the press corps thinks Souza is a bad photographer set off the reporters. That’s not what they were saying; the point was that the press was not allowed in.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa,” the reporter said. “Don’t twist this — it’s not an attack on Pete.”

“Well, I don’t know why you’d want to attack Pete, Chuck,” Gibbs said, “but I’m going to stand up here and defend Pete’s — “

“It’s not transparent and it’s a vital issue.”

“And you will have a lovely picture from Pete.”

“You really think that’s all it’s worth, is a photograph, on an issue this important?”

“No, I think you’ll be able to see the President sign the executive order.”

“Not hear anything anybody has to say?”

“You’ll have a nice picture.”

And here it is: a nice picture, exactly what the White House wanted you to see, and nothing more.

U.N. health organization praises U.S. health reforms you know it’s bad when the totalitarian UN likes it

U.N. health organization praises U.S. health reforms

3:40pm EDT

By Matthew Bigg

ATLANTA (Reuters) – The head of the U.N. World Health Organization on Wednesday praised U.S. healthcare reforms signed by President Barack Obama this week as a breakthrough, stepping into a sharp domestic political debate.

“The people in this country and their leaders are courageous. That (healthcare reform) is an unprecedented achievement,” WHO Director General Margaret Chan said.

She was speaking to reporters after a lecture in which she argued that unrestricted market forces were limited as a means of redressing imbalances in global health care.

The reforms of the $2.5 trillion healthcare sector passed by Congress after months of heated debate will extend health insurance to 32 million Americans who currently have none.

It will also bar insurers from refusing coverage to people with preexisting medical conditions, expand the Medicaid government health insurance program for the poor and impose new taxes on the wealthy.

Conservatives and other critics argue that it will send the U.S. budget deficit soaring and slow economic recovery, but also that it represents unwarranted federal intrusion into the freedom of individuals to make healthcare choices.

Chan has made clear her view that governments and global organizations such as WHO should make a case for market regulation to deliver more equitable health benefits.

“Market forces, all by themselves, will not solve social problems. That is why public health needs to be concerned,” said Chan in a lecture at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The hardest thing … is persuading world leaders or ministers … that health concerns can, in some instances, be more important than economic interests. Economic growth is not, after all, the be-all, end-all, cure-all,” said Chan, whose organization is based in Geneva.

She cited pharmaceutical companies which she said would not by themselves conduct costly research to deliver cheap drugs to combat preventable diseases that largely affect the poor.

(Editing by Tom Brown and David Storey)

The Left’s war on America

The Left’s war on America

Ann Kane

The leftist progressives continue to plot their strategies in a perpetual war of their own making.  They are on stage mocking America because of the health care takeover, while they have financial institution reform and amnesty for illegal aliens waiting in the wings.  News headlines and conservative pundits tell us the leftists drew a line in the sand when their puppet congressional representatives voted for health care reform.  They have declared war on the American people.  How will we respond?

Winston Churchill wrote about the reality of fighting for a just cause.

“Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed, if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not so costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance for survival. There may be a worse case.You may have to fight when there is no chance of victory, because it is better to perish, than to live as slaves.”

Obama removed a bust of Churchill from the White House upon his arrival last year, and sent it back to England whence it came.  Very chilling.

In our arsenal, we have many ways of counterattacking the left.  States are throwing lawsuits at Obamacare; Republicans in congress are using every means possible to repeal the legislation; and private conservative citizens are working doggedly to put like minded candidates into office in the fall. 

However, conservatives should not delude themselves into thinking that these responses alone will win this political war.  According to David Horowitz in his booklet The Art of Political War for Tea Parties, we have to know our enemy because “defining the opposition is the decisive move in all political war.”   We must understand how the America haters do battle.

Just listen to what progressives/tyrants say.  Remember, what they accuse conservatives of being, such as an angry mob, is who they are in reality.  Since they are so radical, and hateful of the good in society, they have to project their ill will onto others.  Hitler exemplified Freudian projection theory.  In speaking to the Reichstag in Berlin in 1942 about his disdain for Churchill, Hitler in fact described himself.

“He is the most bloodthirsty or amateurish strategist in history…For over 5 years this man has been chasing around Europe like a madman in search of something that he could set on fire. The gift Mr. Churchill possesses, is the gift to lie with a pious expression on his face and to distort the truth…His abnormal state of mind can only be explained as symptomatic of a paralytic disease or of a drunkard’s ravings.”

We cannot wait until November, we cannot wait for the courts to take action, and we cannot wait for others to do the right thing.  We must do the right thing now.  We must know we are at war, and be willing to sacrifice ourselves for the good of our country.

Obama’s Dangerous Diplomacy

Obama’s Dangerous Diplomacy

Posted By Jacob Laksin On March 24, 2010 @ 12:05 am In FrontPage | 5 Comments

[Editor’s note: As a presidential aspirant, Hillary Clinton condemned [1] “cowboy diplomacy” that alienated America’s allies; as secretary of state in the Obama administration, she has practiced it, leading the recent onslaught against Israel for its decision to construct housing in a city that it considers its rightful capital. For some perspective on the administration’s disproportionate response, Front Page is joined by Joel Pollak [2], a human rights lawyer and author from Skokie, Illinois. Pollak is currently the Republican nominee [3] challenging Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky in Illinois’ 9th congressional district. Pollak discussed the radical shift in the administration’s policy toward Israel, why human rights law does not support the administration’s terrorist detention policies, and standing up to Rep. Barney Frank.]


FPM: The Obama administration’s recent row over Israel’s announcement of new settlements in Jerusalem seems much ado about nothing. When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier announced a 10-month moratorium on settlement construction as a good-faith gesture, he specifically excluded Jerusalem, a position that has been held by all Israeli prime ministers in recent decades and which, initially at least, was not protested by the Obama administration. Moreover, as you’ve pointed out [4] in these pages, Ramat Shlomo, the neighborhood where the 1,600 homes are to be built, is not some remote outpost; it is in a part of East Jerusalem that is almost certain to remain part of Israel in any future Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. How then do you account for the severity of the Obama administration’s response – everyone from Vice President Biden to Secretary Clinton to presidential advisor David Axelrod has publically condemned Israel in the past few weeks – and the hard line it has taken against Israel?

Pollak: There are two reasons for the severity of the response. One is a radical shift in policy. This administration is abandoning the commitments of its predecessors to allow Israel defensible borders that would include some territory across the 1949 armistice line (the 1967 line, or Green Line). Instead, it is adopting the Arab (Saudi) peace initiative, which seeks complete withdrawal to the armistice line. The difference might not amount to much, in terms of total land area, but it is a radical and dangerous shift in the way we approach the conflict, and it has severe implications for the future of Jerusalem.

The second reason for the severity of the response is that this administration–even more than its predecessor–cannot admit its mistakes. It refuses, for example, to acknowledge that its first year of Mideast diplomacy, based entirely on Israeli and American concessions, has been a failure. So it has doubled down on Israeli concessions, much the way it has doubled down on unpopular domestic policies in the belief that people will eventually submit to exhortation by the president.

I also think there was a degree of blunder in the whole crisis–not just on the Israeli side. Vice-President Biden responded in a (sadly) characteristic way to a perceived slight. He insulted the U.S. more than Israel ever did by making a show of being humiliated. Great nations do not fly into hysterics over housing decisions by friendly foreign governments. Biden’s antics–and the administration’s follow-up–also made the U.S look weak by showing that we were not prepared to support our strongest ally. Even if we had truly been damaged by Israel’s housing announcement, the administration wasted whatever leverage it might have had by backing Israeli PM Netanyahu into a corner. For an administration that purports to believe in diplomacy, this was a poor example of it.

FPM: The Obama administration’s position seems to be that Israel’s settlement activity in East Jerusalem is sabotaging the “peace process” with the Palestinians and preventing negotiations from taking place. David Axelrod has put it [5] in nearly those exact terms. What do you make of this argument?

Pollak: Settlements are not the problem. The Gaza disengagement in 2005, which uprooted all settlements and soldiers from the territory, was met with an escalation of terror. The fact that the Obama administration does not seem to remember that is very troubling.

 

FPM: It has been suggested that the U.S.-Israel relationship is the most strained that it has been in nearly four decades. How would you describe the current state of that relationship and what can both sides do to mend it?

Pollak: The relationship between the American people and the Israeli people is stronger than ever. The relationship between the two administrations is functional. But the relationship between the Israeli people and the American administration will not be repaired easily. What Israel can do to repair the relationship is to remain committed to its own defense. Self-reliance and strength breed respect. That is the basis on which the close relationship was built after Israel’s victory in the Six Day War. What the U.S. can do to repair the relationship is to get serious about Iran. Announce that we will support a pre-emptive Israeli strike against Iran if the need arises. Indicate that we will target Iranian political institutions as well as military institutions if the nuclear program is not stopped. Offer real and active support to the Iranian democracy movement. I believe that would go a long way to restoring the trust of the Israeli public in the Obama administration. Also, recognizing Jewish claims in at least the Jewish parts of East Jerusalem would have some effect in moving both administrations past the most recent debacle.

 

FPM: Some have argued [6] that the administration’s disproportionate condemnation of Israel will only embolden anti-Israel extremism in the Middle East – whether from Palestinians or from Iran. Do you agree and how big of a concern is that?

Pollak: I agree. It has already emboldened anti-Israel extremism elsewhere, including in the U.S. It is a huge concern because it makes diplomacy–the very diplomacy to which this administration is committed–far more difficult. It resets Palestinian and Iranian expectations at impossible levels, and encourages a culture of incitement against Israel. For example, Hamas used the Obama administration’s criticism of settlements to attack the re-construction of a centuries-old synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, which Jordan had destroyed after it occupied the area in 1948. They turned a housing issue into an international religious conflagration. It was a foreseeable outcome.

 

FPM: When Obama advisor David Axelrod [7] recently went on cable news shows to condemn Israel, it highlighted the fact that some Americans Jews, particularly on the Left, have a vision of what it means to be supportive of Israel that is radically different from how most Jews would understand the concept. Another example might be J-Street [8], the self-styled “pro-Israel, pro-peace” activist group that, despite its claim of supporting Israel, nevertheless opposed Israel’s military campaign against Hamas. How do you explain the disconnect between the putatively pro-Israel aims of such people and groups and the actual implications of the positions they take?

Pollak: I think many well-meaning people on that side of the issue fail to understand the disconnect between sentiment on one hand and logic on the other. I met someone involved in J Street the other day, who told me he was opposed to a military option on Iran, partly because the Iraq war had gone badly. Fine–that is a defensible position, even if I don’t agree with it. He then went on to say he opposed sanctions against Iran as well. Now, if you oppose military action, and you oppose sanctions, what are you left with? Defeat and destruction. I think after a certain point, when idealism stands in bold defiance of reality, it ceases to be excusable. As Orwell argued during WWII, at some point the subjective impulse of pacifism crosses over into effective support for fascism. I think many of those folks don’t realize what they’re arguing, though some should by now.

FPM: You are a human rights lawyer and a graduate of Harvard Law School, so I am interested in how you see the Obama administration’s decision to close Guantanamo Bay and to hold civilian trials for terrorist detainees like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. For instance, the administration has indicated that it may seek to transfer [9] some of the detainees to Thompson prison in your home state of Illinois. Are such policies what human rights law prescribes, as the administration has repeatedly suggested?

Pollak: Human rights law, in my view, prescribes exactly the opposite–namely, that we maintain a separation between the military and civilian worlds. Granting war criminals access to the generous protections of the civilian court system may also encourage terrorists to attack civilian rather than military targets, especially since the administration still intends to try the bombers of the U.S.S. Cole in the military system. I believe there are better alternatives to holding all of our detainees at Guantanamo Bay–we could use several different military prisons overseas, for example–but until we find those alternatives, we should not rush to implement decisions made for political rather than security reasons. In my state, the majority of people do not want terror detainees captured on foreign battlefields to be brought to U.S. soil–neither to Illinois nor to any other state.

FPM: You first gained fame (or infamy, in some quarters) in 2008 when you asked [10] Rep. Barney Frank during his appearance at Harvard how much responsibility he bore for the financial crisis. At the time, you didn’t get much of an answer [11]. So, let me ask you: How much responsibility do politicians from both parties have for the financial crisis and how would you rate the government’s handling of that economic crisis to date?

Pollak: I believe they bear a great deal of responsibility. They weakened the principles of risk and reward that provide the foundation of our economy and our financial system. I think the government has not handled the crisis well at all. Both the outgoing Bush administration and the incoming Obama administration seem to have made the problems worse, if they can be said to have addressed them at all. The massive spending and bailouts have placed this country’s future growth–its future solvency–in danger. To the extent that our economy has begun to show some positive signs, I believe credit is due to the persistence and faith of the American people, not to the self-interested interventions of politicians.

FPM: This past weekend, the Democrats finally passed the health care bill that they have been pushing for the past year, though they did so using procedural tactics that were controversial, to say the least. What do you make of the substance of the bill and did the Democrats’ ends in this instance justify the means?

Pollak: The bill prepares the way for the nationalization of health care in America. It does nothing to address the problem of cost, while placing the quality of care at risk. The goal–as Democrats stated openly on many occasions–was to show that radical change could be accomplished, in order to prepare the way for further radical changes and a massive redistribution of wealth. In the process, they undermined public faith in democracy by casting aside the ordinary rules of political deliberation. We need to start over–not just on health care, but on restoring the faith of the American people in our constitution and in our institutions of representative government. It took only one year to destroy what took many years to build: trust. It may take many more years to restore that trust. As difficult as that will be, and as long as it will take us, we have to begin today.

FPM: Joel Pollak, thanks very much for joining us.

Obama’s Purple Politics

Obama’s Purple Politics

March 24th, 2010

By Andrew Cline, The American Spectator

 He says one thing and does another

As patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel, bipartisanship is the last refuge of the partisan. For Sunday’s vote on the Senate health care bill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wore a light purple suit, literally wrapping herself in the color of bipartisanship. Rep. David Obey, who was presiding, wore a purple necktie, as President Obama did during his State of the Union address. Pelosi spoke of the 200 Republican amendments included in the bill that everyone knows doesn’t contain a single major Republican idea.

The health care reform bill was a partisan Democrat smorgasbord of taxes, regulations and entitlement. There was nothing bipartisan about it, but there the Democrats were, wearing their purple and attacking Republicans for uniformly opposing the bill that didn’t have any Republican votes because it didn’t earn any.

It was a sign of how surreal American politics has become. Stagecraft and spin trump facts; symbolism and rhetoric trump truth. Though 34 Democrats voted against the bill, making opposition to it the only bipartisan act of the day, anyone absorbing the theatrics might be misled, as intended, into thinking that the majority was acting out of a spirit of bipartisan unity while the minority was stewing, recalcitrant, in its own hate and bile.

Campaigning in New Hampshire in October of 2007, Sen. Obama said, “We’re not going to pass universal health care with a, with a 50-plus-one strategy.” Ah, the old, bipartisan Obama Americans thought they were electing. If only they’d gotten that guy as president instead of Mr. “I won. So I think on that one, I trump you.”

Read More:

Obama and Clinton Flunk the Pinocchio Test at AIPAC

Obama and Clinton Flunk the Pinocchio Test at AIPAC

March 24th, 2010

By Leo Rennert, American Thinker

 Obama promised to be Israel’s best ally and promised that Jerusalem would remain undivided… I guess he didn’t mean that

What a difference a couple of years make.

Back in early 2008, when both Obama and Hillary Clinton were competing for the Democratic presidential nomination, they courted Jewish voters big time at AIPAC’s annual policy conference.

Their 2008 comments and pledges of all-out support of Israel now ring quite hollow in light of their unrelenting pressures and criticisms of that nation.

Let’s start with Obama. In his AIPAC address two years ago, he sought to allay concerns and reservations among Israel-supporters about how he would deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if he became president. To win over the doubters, Obama declared that as far as he was concerned, Jerusalem must remain Israel’s “undivided” capital. Big cheers and sighs of relief from his AIPAC audience.

…Except that almost as soon as he left the conference hall, Obama’s campaign put out a correction that he hadn’t meant to say what he did say and that Jerusalem’s fate would still have to be negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians. By declaring that the city should remain “undivided,” Obama simply meant that it wouldn’t be marred by the kind of ugly barriers that sliced through Jerusalem before 1967.

For many Israel-supporters, Obama’s lightning-quick turnabout marked a turning point — from bending over backwards to give him the benefit of the doubt that his Israel-hating pastor, the Rev. Wright, really hadn’t had any influence on his thinking, to viewing him as a politician whose support of Israel was definitely in the very doubtful column. This is especially true since in the run-up to the 2008 campaign, Obama gladly accepted the national backing of his church — the United Church of Christ — without ever challenging its fierce anti-Israel stance. With Obama, the past was prelude.

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Sales of New U.S. Homes Dropped in February to Lowest on Record

Sales of New U.S. Homes Dropped in February to Lowest on Record

By Bob Willis

March 24 (Bloomberg) — Sales of new homes in the U.S. unexpectedly fell in February to a record low as blizzards, unemployment and foreclosures depressed the market.

Purchases decreased 2.2 percent to an annual pace of 308,000, figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. The median sales price climbed by the most in more than two years.

The new-home market is vying with foreclosure-induced declines in prices for existing homes in an economy where unemployment is forecast to average 9.6 percent this year, close to a 26-year high. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner yesterday said it would take a “long time” to repair the housing market as the administration takes steps to overhaul real-estate financing and regulation.

“It’s going to be a long, slow slog and the lagging sector will be new home sales because they have to compete with existing sales and foreclosures,” Bill Hampel, chief economist at the Credit Union National Association in Washington, said before the report. “New home sales probably have until the fourth quarter until they start recovering.”

Sales were projected to climb to a 315,000 annual pace, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 78 economists. Forecasts ranged from 275,000 to 343,000. The Commerce Department revised January data to show 315,000 sales at an annual pace, up from the previously estimated 309,000.

Goods Orders

Another Commerce Department report showed orders for long- lasting goods rose in February for a third month, while inventories and backlogs climbed by the most in more than a year, indicating the manufacturing rebound will keep propelling the recovery.

The 0.5 percent increase in bookings for durable goods was in line with the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and followed a 3.9 percent gain the prior month. Excluding transportation equipment, orders advanced 0.9 percent, more than anticipated.

The report on home sales showed purchases dropped in three of four U.S. regions last month, those most likely to have been influenced by the winter storms. Purchases fell 20 percent in the Northeast, 18 percent in the Midwest and 4.6 percent in the South, which includes the Washington area.

Demand climbed 21 percent in the West, pushing the year- over-year increase in that region up to 35 percent, the biggest 12-month jump since March 2004.

Higher Prices

The median price of a new home in the U.S. increased 5.2 percent to $220,500 in February from a year earlier. The advance was the largest since September 2007.

The supply of homes at the current sales rate increased to 9.2 months’ worth, the highest since May, from 8.9 months in January.

Housing, the industry that triggered the worst recession in seven decades as the subprime mortgage market collapsed, showed signs of recovering in 2009 as an $8,000 first-time buyer tax credit boosted sales ahead of its originally scheduled expiration in November.

Extension of the credit for contracts signed by April and its expansion to include some current homeowners has failed to boost sales in recent months.

New-home purchases are considered a leading indicator because they are based on contract signings. Sales of previously owned homes, which make up the remainder, are compiled from closings and reflect contracts signed weeks or months earlier.

Existing Homes

Sales of existing homes fell 0.6 percent in February to a 5.02 million rate, the lowest since June, and the inventory of unsold homes rose to its highest level in almost two years, the National Association of Realtors reported yesterday in Washington.

Prices fro existing home have dropped due to foreclosures, which RealtyTrac Inc. forecasts will reach a record 3 million this year. Such sales draw buyers away from the market for new houses.

A lack of jobs is another hurdle to a housing recovery. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg in early March forecast the jobless rate this year will average 9.6 percent, near the 26- year high of 10.1 percent reached in October.

The end of Fed purchases of mortgage-backed securities, aimed at keeping borrowing costs low, represents another challenge for the industry. The program is scheduled to expire at the end of this month.

“Promoting and maintaining stability in the housing market is critical to achieving economic recovery and sustainable long- term growth,” Geithner said in testimony before Congress yesterday. The administration will develop a “comprehensive reform proposal” beginning later this year, he said.

Obama gives sugar plums to the special interests

Obama gives sugar plums to the special interests

March 24th, 2010

By TIMOTHY P. CARNEY, Washington Examiner

  Special Interests Benefitted greatly from the passage of Obamacare

“Tonight,” President Obama intoned near midnight Sunday, after the House had passed two health care bills, “we pushed back on the undue influence of special interests. … We proved that this government — a government of the people and by the people — still works for the people.”

But even before the president spoke, the Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America — whose $26.1 million lobbying effort in 2009 was the most expensive by any industry lobby in history — hailed the health package as “important and historic.”

The second-biggest industry lobby in America, the American Medical Association, also cheered, as did the American Hospital Association, the No. 5 industry lobby. Throw in the goliath senior lobby AARP and Beltway powerhouse General Electric, and you realize Obama’s underdog tale is all bark and no bite.

The health care bill Obama signed into law Tuesday is a triumph for the special interests. It will benefit the biggest businesses, and by injecting more government into the economy, it will permanently stimulate K Street.

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