Please, read and pray. America is in danger of falling. Will We, the people, allow that to happen? With God, ALL things are possible.

 Is the American Dream Over?

Peter Marshall Commentary

                            “Why do you not know how to interpret the present time?  
     Last Sunday, at the behest of the President of the United States, the majority of the Democrat members of the House of Representatives violated their oath to uphold the Constitution, rejected the legacy of the Founders of this great nation, and betrayed the trust the American people had placed in them as their representatives.
 
Yes, this was accomplished by the threats, arm-twisting, and deal-making of the first socialist President voted into the Oval Office by millions of deceived people, most of whom are ignorant of American history and the principles on which our nation was founded. But the larger blame must rest on the Congress, for they are responsible for the laws which govern us.
 
Obama signed the bill into law on Tuesday, in a high-fiving kind of celebration too nauseating to watch, capped off by Vice-President Joe Biden’s self-disgracing potty-mouth remark to the President — sadly symbolic of the crudity and crass arrogance of this Administration.
 
Except for the Republicans (who all voted correctly for the first time in living memory!) and the few Democrats who early in the voting rejected the bill, the rest of the House violated the spirit, if not the letter of the Constitution, by turning over to the Executive Branch of the government the authority to manage another one sixth of the economy. Thereby they made a mockery of the sacrosanct separation of powers clause, for nothing in the Constitution allows the people’s representatives to simply hand over a large chunk of the American free enterprise system to the Federal employees of the Executive Branch.
 
The Congress rejected the constitutional form of government given us by the Founding Fathers, which was based on individual rights and free markets. There is nothing free about this healthcare bill, which mandates that you must buy a healthcare plan and that that plan must be acceptable to the “Health Choices Administrator” appointed by Obama, or else you will pay a fine. Oh, they call it a “tax” instead of a fine, to try and avoid running afoul of the Fifth Amendment, which says that no one can be deprived of property (including financial assets) without due process of law. But, since there is no provision to appeal or contest (with due process) this “tax,” it is definitely a violation of the Fifth Amendment. Further, there has never been a time in all of American history when the government has ever forced us to buy something upon threat of financial penalty, which is exactly what will happen to you if you choose not to buy health insurance! This is a thorough violation of the Constitution.
 
Will the courts find this unconstitutional, and void out the healthcare bill? Don’t hold your breath. Since the days of FDR, have the courts ever declared one of these massive social entitlement programs unconstitutional? And even if they did, the Supreme Court cannot enforce its edicts. Obama and company could, if they chose (and I wouldn’t put it past this bunch), to just thumb their noses at the Court, and carry on as before.
 
The Congress most definitely betrayed the trust of the American people by voting through this legislative disaster. A full 75 percent of the population says that they are satisfied with their healthcare plan, even though everybody wants the soaring costs of healthcare stopped and their premiums reduced. Every single poll taken on this healthcare bill indicated that the people were totally against it. But the Democrats in Congress have deliberately violated the will of the people and rammed this legislation down our throats.
 
If this bill were beneficial to the American people, why did the Democrats resort to every procedural trick available to get this legislation passed? If it had been a good piece of legislation, would the bribery of various Representatives and Senators have been necessary to get their votes? This bill was attended on every hand by corruption, fraud, lying, manipulation, and deceit, emphatically revealing its character.
 
In the first few days following Sunday, some were holding out hope that the Senate would pass amendments to the House bill, thereby forcing the House to take it back and produce another version. Not a chance. Yesterday, the Senate shot down every amendment offered.
 
Yesterday, the President issued an executive order stating that people would have to write a personal check if they wanted to purchase insurance covering abortion — i.e., the government subsidies are supposedly not going to pay for abortions. However, an Executive Order does not have the legal force to change anything in a law passed by Congress, and provision for government subsidy of abortions is in the bill Obama signed. Would Congressman Bart Stupak and others have thought it necessary to request the order from the President if the bill didn’t fund abortions? Of course, the most pro-abortion Administration since Roe v. Wade is going to find a way to use our tax monies to pay for further slaughter of the unborn. In other words, yesterday’s supposed keeping of Obama’s bargain with pro-life Democrats like Bart Stupak of Michigan, whose pro-life principles melted under Presidential heat, means nothing. It was just political show-biz. 
 
Please understand that this healthcare bill is NOT about healthcare — it is about government takeover of 18 percent of the American economy. It is a huge government power grab — the greatest in our entire history. If it were about truly trying to reform the healthcare system, which badly needs reforming, the Congress would have long since passed legislation that addresses the major roadblocks to fairly providing all Americans access to competitive health insurance plans. Among the necessary chain-busting reforms are: tort reform (a ceiling put on the possible awards for mal-practice lawsuits, thereby lowering doctors’ insurance costs that they have to pass on to their patients); ending the insurance companies’ monopolies within the various states by throwing open the ability to purchase health insurance across state lines (as we do with car insurance), thereby increasing competition; establishing high-risk insurance pools in states so that those with pre-existing conditions can still obtain insurance at reasonable rates; ending the current tax discrimination against people who don’t have health insurance with their employers (everyone paying for healthcare should have the same tax benefits); and requiring the costs of all kinds of healthcare to be available so people can pick and choose. True reform plans that make these needed fixes have been in Congress for a long time (Representative Paul Ryan, R-WI, has an excellent one) but the Democrat majority will not let them see the light of day, because reform is not the objective — growing government power is.
 
Proof of the power grabs contained in this bill is a provision that takes control of all student education loans away from all private companies and lodges it in the Federal government. All education loans are now Federal. The 2700 pages of this horrible monstrosity contains innumerable instances of government takeover, but since no one has had the time to thoroughly digest what it contains, various horrors will continue to bubble to the surface in the coming months, like polluting oil from a sunken tanker.
 
Despite what the media and the Democrats are saying, this bill does fund abortions and will probably end up requiring participation in abortions by healthcare providers in spite of religious objections; it does provide free healthcare for illegal immigrants; and it does create rationing of healthcare, especially for senior citizens, for whom cost factors will dictate what operations and treatments are covered by insurance. It will put great pressure upon many insurance companies, undoubtedly driving many of them out of business and turning many more of them into shell companies of the government, just as the government took over General Motors and AIG. This will inexorably push health insurance toward a single, public option government-run healthcare provider system.
 
Do you realize that the IRS is now going to be managing your healthcare? That Federal agency is going to have the power to tell you what to do about your health insurance, because the IRS will give the details of your financial life to the Department of Health and Human Services in the process of determining whether you qualify within the acceptable standards of health insurance, or whether you are to be fined. All of your personal medical information, from the hospitals, physicians, and employers will also be turned over to the appropriate Federal agencies. A case could be made that this violates the Fourth Amendment protecting citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures, but don’t expect that to get anywhere in the courts.
 
This legislation creates 159 new Federal agencies, and will require 17,000 new IRS agents alone. The percentage of American workers employed by government will pass 50 percent very quickly.
 
We have been turned into a European welfare state, where most people pay little or no income tax while becoming dependent upon government benefits. In 2004, about 20 percent of American households were receiving about 75 percent of their income from the Federal government, and another 20 percent were receiving almost 40 percent. Back then, about 60 percent of American families were receiving more government benefits and services than they were paying back in taxes — in other words they had a “net dependency” on government. It has recently been estimated that Obama’s first budget alone, even without this horrible healthcare legislation which contains further gross amounts of earmarks and payouts, increases the level of net dependency to 70 percent. Welcome to the United Socialist States of America!
 
Is the American dream over? Is the monstrous debt the Obama is piling up going to destroy the economy and wreck the hope of prosperity for our children and grandchildren. I see no way around it, unless the course of this Administration is reversed.
 
Obama claims over and over that this bill reduces the Federal deficit. That is simply a lie. The bill will bring the national debt to $2.4 trillion dollars, which is  a completely unsustainable level.
 
This coming fall the Congress must decide whether to proceed with the cuts in the doctors’ reimbursement rates which this bill requires, or to postpone or cancel them, which will add to the impossibly huge Federal deficit the bill creates. The bill binds Congress to either trash Medicare or add to their fiscal irresponsibility.
This biggest entitlement program in American history will force a drastic raising of taxes. Not only will the Medicare benefits go down, high income earners will see their Medicare tax go up 3.8 percent, and their income tax rate rise from 35 to 39.6 percent. The bill also creates a 3.8 percent tax on interest and dividend income above certain levels beginning in 2013. All of this will further depress the economy.
And, because these tax increases will be needed for just a partial funding of the Obama healthcare horror, the looming bankruptcy of Social Security and Medicare will not even be touched. That means that a future Congress will have to either cut Medicare benefits or raise taxes again on the middle class.
The financial chickens are coming home to roost. No welfare state has ever been able to sustain itself for long. The American dream will be over unless there is drastic change.
 
What can be done?
 
There obviously is no redress until November. I personally think that the court challenges will come to nothing, and that any attempt to do anything in Congress is going to be blocked by the Democrat majorities. The only hope is this: If the anger of the American people at Obama and the Congress for selling out the American experiment in self-government and freedom continues to rise, it is just possible that we could see a conservative revolution that would throw the socialist-minded Democrats and Republicans (and there are some!) out of Congress and replace them with men and women of principle determined to clean the corruption out of Washington. But make no mistake, it will take a revolution the likes of which as not been seen in this country since 1776. We cannot simply elect to the Congress Republicans who talk about changing this or that — that’s not enough to save the Republic. Folks, in the entire history of the country, no entitlement program has ever been repealed. Once people start feeding at the public trough, they never deny themselves and give up their addiction. The only hope for repeal is that the Congress becomes convinced that the terrible high price and pain of this legislation will be far worse than the supposed benefits, and becomes willing to take drastic action.
 
Therefore, we must send people to Washington who are fiercely determined to roll back this tide of socialism, and restore America to its founding principles of free enterprise, free markets, low taxes, and a vastly reduced government that is responsible to the people.
 
If (and it’s a very big if) this happened, a truly conservative Congress could, upon arrival in January of 2011, simply refuse to pass the appropriations bills necessary to fund this socialist monstrosity. It would thus be unfunded, which would effectively kill it until more sensible healthcare legislation could be crafted. And, there is a window of time (several years) in which to reverse things before the horrible tax increases hit.
 
Can it be done? I honestly don’t know. It will take a miracle of God not seen in America since the victory over the British in the War for Independence. Our Lord Jesus has promised us that “with God all things are possible.” But, the American people are going to have to rise up and take back control of our lives out of the hands of government. Is there enough understanding and will in the hearts of the people to do this? Are enough of us free of a welfare mentality to restore American freedom?
 
Perhaps. If the November elections were to be held tomorrow, we might see fairly sweeping results. But I don’t think people yet realize to what extent things need to be overthrown. I don’t think that the average American grasps the magnitude of the revolution that alone will save us from becoming another socialist welfare state. The whole trend of the last 60 or 70 years has to be reversed. From FDR’s New Deal, to Lyndon Johnson’s (Not so) Great Society, to Barack Obama’s Yes We Can (Make America Socialist), government has steadily become more and more obtrusive and controlling in our daily lives.
 
My fear is that the resolve to change things, which is quite high at the moment, will dissipate by November. The memory of the American people is notoriously short. What will happen between now and then is in the hands of the Lord, however. We must pray fervently for His intervention, for His hand to stir the hearts of the people to accomplish what needs to be done. And, it is quite possible that this ideologue President and his crowd will continue to alienate and exasperate the people with more socialist programs, keeping the pot boiling until the fall.
 
What I know for sure is that the lights are dawning in the hearts of the people. They’re starting to understand what Washington is doing to them. The anger and the resistance is growing. For the first time in many of their lives they’re getting involved in public issues; they want to try and change things. They realize that it’s not just about them — the futures of their children and grandchildren are at stake.
 
The revolution is building, it’s growing. Pray, pray. God is still on His throne. He called this nation into existence, and He is not going to allow some deluded politicians to destroy it. He will not abandon us.
 
Don’t give up, and don’t despair. Choose hope.
 
In the darkest days of the Civil War, Iowa Congressman James Wilson brought a group of clergy to Lincoln in the White House, urging him to do more to abolish slavery. One of them told the President that he believed God might well allow the Union to be destroyed if we didn’t deal with it. Lincoln uncoiled his long limbs out of his chair, rose to his full height, and pointing his finger at the man, said: “My faith is greater than yours. . . (for) I believe He will compel us to do right in order that He may do these things (abolish slavery), not so much because we desire them as that they accord with His plans of dealing with this nation, in the midst of which He means to establish justice.”
 
And so it came to pass.
I believe Lincoln’s words are still true today.

Deadly Obamacare Kills Businesses, Jobs

Pamela Geller

Deadly Obamacare Kills Businesses, Jobs

by Pamela Geller You think Obama has been a nightmare? You ain’t seen nothing yet. That was just the preview.

American business, the motor of the global economy, was dealt a deathblow by the Marxist putsch that the Democrat Party delivered in the form of the healthcare bill. Why wasn’t this made public before the vote? The numbers are staggering. It was revealed Friday that AT&T, the largest telephone company in the country, will take a one-billion-dollar hit in the current quarter as a result of this economic attack on America. The farm-equipment company Deere is looking at $150 million in new healthcare-related charges this quarter, and Caterpillar is facing  $100 million.

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Who do you think will pay for this? We will pay. According to Reuters, “Verizon Communications, the second biggest U.S. phone company, told employees that tax burdens under the new law would likely filter down to employees.” Business is not something in the abstract, or the evil force the leftists and the communists deceptively smear it to be — business is work, business is people, it is jobs, it is production. When business pays, we pay. Jobs pay. Consumers pay.

And we will pay for more than that as well. Have you seen the commercials yet for people who have maxed out their credit cards, and have loans over ten thousand that they can’t pay back, urging them to apply for stimulus dollars? Are you one of those who played by the rules, worked hard, did the right thing? If so, you’re screwed. The man has you and your wallet and your kids’ wallet by the throat. Welcome to the era of the degenerate: they will be sucking your blood and your children’s blood and your children’s children’s blood for decades to come, or however long America lasts.

Notice how Obama bad news always drops on Friday nights. But the Democrats will not forever be able to keep quiet the reality and the consequences of Obama rule.

Meanwhile, as the health care putsch continues, the world goes to hell in handbasket. The sinking of the South Korean warship near the North Korean border Friday was almost certainly an act of war, even as South Korean officials played down that possibility. Nonetheless, it reeks of the North Koreans. North Korea never would have pulled something like this under Bush. Never. But they know Obama will do nothing and that South Korea is on her own. Barack Hussein Obama ain’t Harry S Truman.

With Obama at the helm, expect hell to break loose. Iranian nukes? Yawn. Pakistan jihadis with nukes? Crickets chirping. Abandonment of Israel? Check! Socializing healthcare? Job 1!

And as they take over seventeen percent of the American economy, how cocky the Democrats are — full of contempt for the hard-working American. In order to fund Obama’s counter-insurgency in America, the enemy must be cut off of supplies, succor and support. And who is the enemy? He is us. The U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, has ordered the closing of numerous fast-food outlets on bases. Command Sgt. Maj. Michael T. Hall explained that “some of the morale, welfare and recreation facilities throughout Afghanistan” for troops would be cut: “In the coming weeks and months, concessions such as Orange Julius, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Dairy Queen and Military Car Sales will close their doors.”  

Trillions on the backs of our kids, but no cheezboigers for the troops. But there is plenty of money for Kobe steaks for King O. Date nights in Manhattan with Michelle for a million. $600 sneakers for her as well. And remember that taxpayers footed the $101,000 bill for in-flight parties on Air Force jets arranged by Nancy Pelosi: according to journalist Bob Unruh at WorldNetDaily, “it reads like a dream order for some wild frat party: Maker’s Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Bailey’s Irish Crème, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewars scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey … and Corona beer.”

This is so off the charts. There is no decency on the left. They are hypocrites who are destroying American businesses and stealing from hard-working, struggling Americans.

Could the parties be more different, the differences more stark? Say what you will about the Republicans, but they were disciplined. The Democrats are increasingly fascist in their tactics, statist in their policy, anti-Israel, anti-America, and anti-military. The Republicans are pro-small government, pro-Israel, pro-individual rights, pro-business, pro-America.

I don’t know how any clear-thinking, rational, decent human being could vote in November 2010 for the corrupt statist collectivists.

Harry Reid Supporters Attack Tea Party Bus!… Update: Breitbart Attacked!

Harry Reid Supporters Attack Tea Party Bus!… Update: Breitbart Attacked!

Posted By Jim Hoft On March 27, 2010 @ 12:16 pm In News, Politics, Tea Party | 269 Comments

The biased writers at the Associated Press [1] said the tea party in Nevada would draw angry protesters today.

[2]
 

They were right.

Supporters of Democratic Senator Harry Reid attacked the Tea Party Express [3] bus today in Nevada.
This statement [4] was just released:

Supporters of Senator Harry Reid have just thrown eggs at the Tea Party Express bus caravan – striking at least one of the three buses (the red Tea Party Express bus) with multiple eggs.

About 35 Reid supporters had lined Highway 95 in front of the Nugget Casino in Searchlight where they were attempting a counter-demonstration the tens of thousands of tea party supporters who are gathering for the “Showdown in Searchlight.”

More details to follow…

Do you suppose the state-run media will be as outraged about this as they were about the bogus [5] hate crimes [6] or coffingate [7] story? Don’t count on it.

Read the rest of this entry »

It’s over: MPs say the special relationship with US is dead Obama strikes again

It’s over: MPs say the special relationship with US is dead

Winston Churchill, Franklin D Roosevelt and Josef Stalin

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Winston Churchill, Franklin D Roosevelt and Josef Stalin

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Michael Smith

BRITAIN’S special relationship with the US — forged by Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt in the second world war — no longer exists, says a committee of influential MPs.

Instead, America’s relationship with Britain is no more special than with its other main allies, according to a report by the Commons foreign affairs committee published today.

The report also warns that the perception of the UK after the Iraq war as America’s “subservient poodle” has been highly damaging to Britain’s reputation and interests around the world. The MPs conclude that British prime ministers have to learn to be less deferential to US presidents and be “willing to say no” to America.

The report, entitled Global Security: UK-US Relations, says Britain’s relationship with America is “extremely close and valuable” in a number of areas, particularly intelligence co-operation. However, it adds that the use of the phrase special relationship, in its historical sense, “is potentially misleading and we recommend that its use should be avoided”.

It does not reflect the “ever-evolving” relationship between the two countries and raises unrealistic expectations, the MPs say.

“Over the longer term, the UK is unlikely to be able to influence the US to the extent it has in the past,” the committee adds.

In an apparent rebuke to Tony Blair and his relationship with President George W Bush, the report says there are “many lessons” to be learnt from Britain’s political approach towards the US over Iraq.

“The perception that the British government was a subservient poodle to the US administration is widespread both among the British public and overseas,” the MPs say. “This perception, whatever its relation to reality, is deeply damaging to the reputation and interests of the UK.”

While the relationship between the American president and the British prime minister was an important part of dealings between the two countries, the cabinet and parliament also had a role to play. “The UK needs to be less deferential and more willing to say no to the US on those issues where the two countries’ interests and values diverge,” the MPs say.

They are also critical of the US use of extraordinary rendition and torture. The report calls for a comprehensive review of the use by the CIA of British bases, such as that on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, to carry out extraordinary rendition.

“The issues relating to rendition through Diego Garcia to which we have previously drawn attention raise disturbing questions about the uses to which US bases on British territory are put”, the MPs say.

They express regret at “considerable restraints” on the ability of both the government and parliament to scrutinise US activities carried out on British territory.

“We recommend that the government should establish a comprehensive review of the current arrangements governing US military use of facilities within the UK and in British overseas territories.” The review should “identify shortcomings in the current system of scrutiny and oversight … and report to parliament on proposals to remedy these”.

The report also demands a statement from the government on the implications of the Court of Appeal judgment regarding the alleged collusion of MI5 in the torture of Binyam Mohamed, a British resident.

Last month the court ordered the government to release evidence from American intelligence reports which showed that MI5 was aware of the torture.

Senior US officials subsequently suggested that releasing such evidence might prevent the US from sharing some intelligence with Britain.

Palin: Media ‘lies’ about links between tea parties, violence

Palin: Media ‘lies’ about links between tea parties, violence
By: Kenneth P. Vogel
March 27, 2010 05:34 PM EDT

SEARCHLIGHT, Nev. – Firing back at critics who say that she and other conservatives had encouraged harassment of House Democrats who supported the health care overhaul, Sarah Palin Saturday ripped the media for casting her and tea party activists as violent. 

“When we talk about fighting for our country, let’s clear the air right now about what it is that we’re talking about,” she told a crowd estimated by organizers at 20,000 gathered for a rally in a windswept desert lot about four miles north of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s tiny hometown. “We’re not inciting violence. Don’t get sucked into the lame-stream media lies.”

Palin said “violence isn’t the answer.” She said “our vote is our arms” and encouraged activists not to be discouraged by the passage of the Democratic health care overhaul bill last week, but rather to channel their energies into defeating congressional Democrats who supported the legislation.

Democrats this week accused Palin of exacerbating the already tense atmosphere after last weekend’s House vote passing the overhaul by telling her followers via twitter “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!” and by singling out 20 House Democrats who voted for the health care bill as targets on her website using a map with cross-hair gun sights on their districts.

The targeting phraseology is commonly used by political pros to indicate priority races, but Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) told a New York television station that Palin’s presentation was dangerous, given the context.

“She may believe that she’s engaging in metaphor,” said Weiner, whose Kew Gardens, N.Y., district office received a letter containing white powder (later ruled not hazardous). “But there are too many people who have twisted minds who might think that she’s being literal.”

The tea parties – and the Republicans who hoped to benefit from their energy at the polls – suffered a public relations setback after passage of the overhaul unleashed a rash of threats and vandalism targeting Democratic House members who supported it, ranging from a broken congressional office window to a severed gas line at the home of a congressman’s brother to death threats against a lawmaker who brokered a key deal that paved the way for passage. 

Palin, though, told Saturday’s crowd that “when I talk about it’s not a time to retreat, it’s a time to reload,” she was “trying to inspire people to get involved in their local elections and these upcoming federal elections. And telling people that their arms are their votes is not inciting violence.”

Palin called said the apparent link between threats against Democrats and the tea party movement was “not true. It’s a bunch of bunk.” Addressing a media riser behind the crowd, Palin, a contributor to FOX News, said “we ask for some fair and some balanced reporting coming from you.”

The allegations of media bias from Palin and other speakers including Internet entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart and talk show host Mark Williams prompted angry pointing, yelling and jeers from the crowd aimed at the media riser.

And Williams, who is an official with the political action committee that organized the rally, Our Country Deserves Better PAC/Tea Party Express, said reports by lawmakers and reporters of slurs directed at House Democrats during tea party rallies in Washington before Sunday’s vote were “a crock.”

And he alleged that when his group’s buses drive down Searchlight main street, they were pelted with eggs by Reid supporters.

“Thuggery is a left-wing tactic,” he declared. “We denounce it. We will not stand for it.”

Feelin’ Groovy: Obama Makes 15 Recess Appointments, Scolds GOP

Feelin’ Groovy: Obama Makes 15 Recess Appointments, Scolds GOP

March 27th, 2010 Posted By Pat Dollard.

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WASHINGTON (AP) – Although he’s had to wail far less time than President Bush, President Barack Obama announced Saturday he would bypass a vacationing Senate and name 15 people to key administration jobs, wielding for the first time the blunt political tool known as the recess appointment.

The move immediately deepened the divide between the Democratic president and Republicans in the Senate following a long, bruising fight over health care. Obama revealed his decision by blistering Republicans, accusing them of holding up nominees for months solely to try to score a political advantage on him.

“I simply cannot allow partisan politics to stand in the way of the basic functioning of government,” Obama said in a statement.

The 15 appointees to boards and agencies include the contentious choice of union lawyer Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board. Republicans had blocked his nomination on grounds he would bring a radical pro-union agenda to the job, and they called on Obama not to appoint Becker over the recess.

Obama went ahead anyway, while also choosing a second member for the labor board so that four of its five slots will be filled. The labor board, which referees labor-management disputes, has had a majority of its seats vacant for more than two years, raising questions about the legality of its rulings.

Overall, the appointments will take place through next week, allowing people to make the transition to their new jobs, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki. said. The news of Becker’s appointment drew the quickest ire from Republicans.

“Once again the administration showed that it had little respect for the time honored constitutional roles and procedures of Congress,” said Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Obama’s foe in the 2008 presidential election. “This is clear payback by the administration to organized labor.”

Both Republican and Democratic presidents have made recess appointments, which circumvents the Senate’s authority to confirm nominees, when they could not overcome delays. President George W. Bush made more than 170 such appointments in his two-term presidency. President Bill Clinton made nearly 140.

Obama had been on record as warning of recess appointments if the Senate didn’t act. He followed through at the end of a week in which his political standing was significantly bolstered by the party-line passage of a historic health care bill, a student loan overhaul and a hard-fought nuclear arms treaty with Russia.

The White House dropped the news in a press release on a quiet Saturday, with Obama at Camp David and lawmakers home in their districts.

The recess appointments mean the 15 people could serve in their jobs through the end of 2011, when the next Senate finishes its term. A recess appointment ends at the completion of the next Senate session or when a person is nominated and confirmed to the job, whichever comes first.

Obama filled two posts at the Treasury Department: Jeffrey Goldstein as under secretary for domestic finance and Michael Mundaca as assistant secretary for tax policy. He singled them out: “At a time of economic emergency, two top appointees to the Department of Treasury have been held up for nearly six months.”

On Becker, Republicans have held up his confirmation for months, saying they fear he would circumvent Congress to make labor laws more union-friendly. Democrats had failed to overcome Republican delaying tactics on Becker’s nomination, and all 41 GOP senators wrote to Obama on Thursday urging him not to appoint Becker over the break – to no avail.

The White House says the appointees have been awaiting a vote for an average of seven months.

Obama named four people to the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, which has also been operating without a quorum.

The Senate’s top Democrat, Harry Reid, welcomed Obama’s move. “Regrettably, Senate Republicans have dedicated themselves to a failed strategy to cripple President Obama’s economic initiatives by stalling key administration nominees at every turn,” said Reid, the majority leader from Nevada.

Obama and Democratic leaders say he faces more obstruction, in terms of the number of pending nominees and the length of their delay in getting a vote, than Bush did. The hyper-partisan atmosphere in Washington began long before Obama’s presidency but remains as entrenched as ever, if not worse, during his term.

Already in a struggle with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over a financial overhaul, Obama now has another one over Becker. “The business community should be on red alert for radical changes that could significantly impair the ability of America’s job creators to compete,” the chamber said in a statement.

In February, Democrats fell far short of the 60 votes they needed to push through Becker’s nomination. Two Democrats joined Republicans in opposition.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Saturday that Obama’s move “is yet another episode of choosing a partisan path despite bipartisan opposition.”

Obama’s Claims Of Gross Delays On Nominees Exposed As A Scam

Obama’s Claims Of Gross Delays On Nominees Exposed As A Scam

March 28th, 2010 Posted By Pat Dollard.

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The Ministry of Propaganda’s news wire service which operates under the generic moniker “Associated Press”, of course went into full Obama Uber Alles mode yesterday, beginning each story about his outrageous recess appointments with the state-approved phrase “Fed up with delays, (Herr) Obama today appointed…”

Republicans are pushing back on Democratic claims that they’re stonewalling President Obama’s judicial nominees, saying things may be bad now — but they were far worse under President Bush.

Democrats were notorious for filibustering judicial nominees during the Bush administration, a situation that got so heated, both parties had to strike a deal to prevent GOP leaders from rolling over foes with the so-called “nuclear option.” And while nominees under Obama are having a tougher time clearing final confirmation than under Bush, the candidates are getting hearings three times faster than they did during the Bush years.

“Hearings have been scheduled at a much more rapid case,” a Senate Republican aide said. “Republicans have not engaged in any indiscriminate stall tactics, and to suggest otherwise is inconsistent with the numbers.”

According to GOP-kept data, Circuit Court nominees have waited an average of 48 days to reach committee. They waited an average of 135 days under Bush — and during the first two years of the Bush administration, that number was 176.

But with some high-profile and controversial nominees for the bench currently being back-benched, Democrats are railing against Republicans for gumming up the works.

“It has to end and the American people want it to end,” President Obama told a gathering of Democratic senators last month.

The last straw seemed to come when Senate Republicans, for two days this week, blocked afternoon hearings as part of a symbolic statement against the “reconciliation” process that was used to pass a health care follow-up bill with a simple majority. One casualty of that protest was federal appeals court nominee Goodwin Liu, whose hearing had already been delayed one time before.

On top of that, appeals court nominee Robert Chatigny had his hearing postponed earlier in the month. The committee will not get to either of them until after the upcoming spring recess.

“Senate Republicans’ tactics of obstruction and delay know no limit,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said in a statement, adding that he’s tried to accommodate GOP requests for postponements with both Liu and Chatigny. “Those accommodations have met with the same Republican stonewalling we have seen in our efforts to consider judicial nominees since President Obama was elected.”

Leahy spokeswoman Erica Chabot said her boss is concerned about hearing delays, but is especially worried about the backlog of nominees — 22 of them — awaiting a full Senate vote since being voted out of committee.

“There are nominations that have been pending on the Senate’s executive calendar for months,” Chabot said.

So far, only 18 of Obama’s 56 Circuit and District Court nominees have been confirmed.

By comparison, Bush had 42 of his nominees confirmed by this point.

But there’s a big difference — Bush was putting up judges for consideration far earlier and far more often than Obama was. Bush nominated a total of 97 judicial candidates in the same period, more than a dozen of whom were nominated by the spring of his first year in office.

Obama’s nominees came mostly in the second half of 2009 and beyond.

“Except for the Supreme Court nominee, we didn’t really get court nominees until after Memorial Day,” said Don Stewart, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, adding that the Senate’s been tied up with other things since then. “Every single day of December was health care … so we didn’t do any judges. That wasn’t our decision.”

He acknowledged Republican objections have in some cases kept Senate Democrats from getting the consent needed to bring nominees to the floor, but said Democrats could get around that by filing for cloture — a move to cut off debate that takes 60 votes and one which Republicans had to use under Bush.

That’s how Democrats in November were able to stop the filibuster of David Hamilton, an appeals court nominee whom Republicans blocked for five months.

While Hamilton was controversial, Leahy noted that most of the nominees awaiting a vote are relatively innocuous and encountered no opposition at the committee level.

But two nominees in the pipeline, Liu and Chatigny, will surely see sparks fly once Congress returns from recess.

Liu, a Berkeley law professor up for a spot on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, has been under fire for his writings suggesting health care is a right and describing the Constitution as a document that should adapt to changes in the world. The nomination is getting extra attention because conservatives are concerned that he could be on the fast track for the Supreme Court.

Chatigny, a District Court judge up for a seat on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, has raised concern because of his role in trying to fight the execution of convicted serial killer and rapist Michael Ross, also known as The Roadside Strangler.

Despite Leahy’s statement condemning Republican delay on those candidates, their nominations date back only to late February.

Uplifting the Poor One Lie at a Time

Uplifting the Poor One Lie at a Time

By Robert Weissberg

Joseph Schumpeter, the great Austrian economist, observed that the first thing a man would do for his ideals is lie[1]. Nowhere is this more true than when defending America’s burgeoning social welfare colossus. Deceit is almost a moral imperative. Why should cruel truth stand in the way of uplifting millions who allegedly suffer through no fault of their own? Who wants to be the cold-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge who rigorously fact-checks iffy welfare applications? 
Nevertheless, if a contest were held for “lying to do good,” today’s radical tenured professors would be Olympic champions. Since academic outsiders seldom observe this breathtaking “well-intentioned” mendacity, let me offer a case study of this dubious munificence. A recent New York Times story recounts a group of University of California-Berkeley professors endorsing spending billions for early childhood intervention to help struggling Hispanics. According to research on 8,114 infants, they found that while Hispanic children are intellectually similar to other American toddlers at age two, they quickly fall behind linguistically and cognitively. This gap then widens with age and, according to the research, is not a result of poor nutrition or parental neglect, the usual alleged culprits in cognitive gaps. Nor does poverty fully explain the divergence since even poor whites outshine Hispanics. 
The difference, it is alleged, is a purely environmentally caused “disparity” that must be “attacked” before these youngsters mess up in elementary school — which, in practical terms, means lower incomes, etc., etc. In other words, being below average mentally is akin to, say, stunted growth due to a dietary deficiency and thus, at least in principle, remediable. Whether this gap is nature, nurture, or some mix is irrelevant since there is nothing about environmentally caused phenomena that makes them particularly remediable (doubters might review the history of U.S. public housing). It is all very simple, and in the words of one author, “The reading activities, educational games and performing the ABC’s for Grandma — so often witnessed in middle-class homes — are less consistently seen in poor Latino households.”    
The Berkeley professors’ call for yet more early childhood intervention is hardly a voice in the wilderness. The Times also quotes Eugene Garcia, an education professor at Arizona State University who admits that the reason why Hispanic kids so quickly fall behind whites is unclear, but this uncertainty hardly deters him from likewise recommending early intercession. Carmen Rodriguez, director of Columbia University’s Head Start Program, concurs: Toddlers from low-income families are doomed unless they receive early intellectual stimulation. Indeed, this early childhood intervention strategy to narrow learning gaps is the academic orthodoxy regardless of the advocate’s race or ethnicity. 
And Washington hardly objects. President Obama’s appropriately named stimulus package included $3 billion for Head Start and Early Hard Start to help young parents stimulate their children’s mental development, and not even skinflint Republicans object. Given the tough job market for recent college grads, perhaps unemployed English majors will explicate the hidden patriarchy in Three Little Pigs to wide-eyed, stimulus-deprived Hispanic toddlers.
Now for a few facts from that awful, cold-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge:
Early intervention has not worked, and nothing suggests that tinkering and extravagant funding will reverse these failures. Head Start began in 1965. It has to date absorbed $167 billion, it is relentlessly scrutinized (annual assessments are legally required), and the failure verdict is indisputable. Similar disappointing results occurred even in much smaller labor-intensive projects, where youngsters intellectually lagging behind their peers received daily intellectual stimulation. One such intervention began at three months of age and transpired for seven hours a day, five days a week. When the children were a bit older, they attended a “stimulation center” from 9:00AM to 4:00PM every day of the year. Alas, by fourth grade, the value of this intensive intervention had vanished [2].     
A 1985 U.S. Department of Health and Human Service analysis found that the Head Start program’s claim of long-term benefits was exaggerated, and this included increases in cognitive test scores and academic benefits plus such non-academic benefits as reducing crime, teen pregnancy, and unemployment [3]. Another study of Head Start completed in 2006 using a random assignment experimental design with 5,000 children did show some initial progress (using some 41 indicators of cognitive impact), but, yet one more time, the intellectual benefits vanished by the time children entered first grade [4]. And these two studies are typical.     
What apparently fuels this optimism is not science, but mass media accounts from the likes of Newsweek desperate to find magic bullet solutions to racial/ethnic differences. Further, add entrepreneurs hawking IQ-boosting gimmicks to anxious parents (e.g., Mozart CDs for infants). Perhaps these Berkeley professors based their ideas on the hype commonplace in children’s stores catering to well-educated parents.
How can academics at respectable institutions get away with this mendacious fantasy? Why has the New York Times reporter (James C. McKinley, Jr.) passed on the “Will it work?” question? What about the guardians at the Maternal and Health Care Journal where the study will be published? Surely these experts are familiar with the term “literature review,” and if they had done the required work, then the folly of their recommendations would be obvious. This is almost the equivalent of the Berkeley Geography Department embracing a flat earth.
There are important lessons here. Obviously, the ideologically infused analysis suggests that the desire to expand the social welfare state, even if by quackery, has become so ingrained in certain academic departments (and the New York Times) that it resembles a religious faith. Nobody challenges the assumption that a racial/ethnic difference that favors the white middle class is “a problem” requiring government-funded solutions. Everything is just “compassionate” belief coupled with a moral imperative to spend government money. So much for erudite professors ridiculing anti-science creationism — different gospels for different folk.  
The Head Start “solution” also betrays economic illiteracy. Is government-funded talk-to-kids-with-bigger-words intervention the superior tactic to close cognitive gaps? What about reducing taxes on small businesses so Juan and Juanita can become entrepreneurs, and with the newfound cash, move the family to a middle-class neighborhood so Juan Jr. can play with more linguistically advanced kids? Perhaps the family’s newfound wealth could finance horizon-expanding travel versus having a social worker give Juan Jr. a second-hand account. If, as the authors claim, poverty is a key reason for the lack of intellectual stimulation, why not instead use the billions to cut taxes for the ambitious poor instead of hiring more government workers to meddle in family life?   
To be frank, the “well-intentioned” professors just don’t care about Hispanic kids. Expanding the social welfare state is paramount. Nor is it self-evident that Hispanic parents want to be preempted by outside “experts.” These Berkeley professors are merely honoring politically correct gods and squandering billions combined while ignoring opportunity costs as irrelevant. Just imagine a Berkeley professor of education announcing that cognitive differences, regardless of source, are probably intractable, and so Hispanic youngsters, like every other human being, must make the best of their abilities. And why risk totalitarian tinkering with family life to achieve racial/ethnic proportionality in America’s prestige professions?  So, given the failures of past intervention efforts, Juan’s parents may be better-advised to inculcate their son with a strong work ethic and good habits and insist that he find a suitable occupation. With lower taxes thanks to eliminating wasteful spending, Juan Jr. can prosper.  
Robert Weissberg is Professor of Political Science-Emeritus, University of Illinois-Urbana.

[1] Joseph Schumpeter, History of Economic Analysis. New York: Oxford University Press, 1954. P. 43.  
[2] The best overview of these efforts can be found in Steven Farron, The Affirmative Action Hoax. Santa Ana, CA: Seven Locks Press, Chapter 7.
[3] Cited in Hood, John 1992. “The Head Start Scam” Policy Analysis number 187. Washington, DC: CATO Institute.
[4] Cited in Lindsey Burk, “Study: Head Start Has No Lasting Impact From $167 Billion Spent,” School Reform News, March 2010

Welcome extremist pro union lawyer Craig Becker to NLRB

Welcome extremist pro union lawyer Craig Becker to NLRB

Rick Moran

I think it’s safe to say that the NLRB is now about as impartial a body as Robespierre’s Revolutionary Tribunal that condemned tens of thousands to the guillotine during the French Revolution.

Now that SEIU flunky Craig Becker has been added to the board via recess appointment, it will be as if Andy Stern woke up on Christmas morning with this heart’s desire in his stocking:

But Becker’s appointment drew strong denunciations from Republicans because his overt pro-union disposition and former writings have convinced many that Becker will push provisions making it easier for employees to unionize through the NLRB, instead of the White House having to move such actions through Congress.”In his January State of the Union address, President Obama pledged that he would work in a bipartisan fashion to confront the challenges facing our nation. Instead of living up to that pledge, the President today ignored the Senate’s bipartisan rejection of a highly-controversial nominee,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch, Utah Republican.

All 41 Republican senators sent a letter to the president Thursday urging him not to recess appoint Becker.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the president was “overriding the will of the Senate.”

“This is the first time since 1993 that the Chamber has opposed a nominee to the NLRB. The Chamber’s opposition is based on Mr. Becker’s prolific writings, which suggest a radical view of labor law that flies in the face of established precedent and case law and is far outside the mainstream,” said Randel Johnson, the Chamber’s senior vice president for labor, immigration and employee benefits.

The Obama administration has increasingly looked to the NLRB as the forum in which to accomplish its pro-labor goals, rather than through Congress, after support for the Employee Free Choice Act, also known as “card check,” dissipated last year.

Do we detect a pattern here? Obama can’t get cap and trade through the senate so he tasks the EPA with doing the dirty work. Now that it looks like card check is stalled, Obama is “reaching out” to the NLRB to fulfill his dream of the Unionized States of America.

Oh, by the way – if Mr. Becker isn’t radical enough for ya, how about Lesbian activist Chai Feldblum for EEOC commissioner who has promised never – repeat never – to rule in favor of religious liberty when opposed to sexual liberty.

Welcome to the new Mainstream.

Hope and Change, as Predicted

Hope and Change, as Predicted

By Randall Hoven

In January 2009, I wrote “Predictions of Hope and Change.” President Obama had been in office barely a week, and the big topic was his “stimulus” plan. It had not yet passed, and there was some uncertainty that it would. Nor had he released a proposed budget of any kind. In fact, everything about his presidency was a guess.
I made ten fairly specific predictions. How did they turn out?
Prediction 1. “Obama and the Democrats will pass a massive stimulus bill … it will cost just a smidgen less than the $850 billion [TARP] bailout …”
Actual results: They indeed passed a $787-billion stimulus. But they were even cleverer than that. Shortly after, within two weeks, they passed a $410-billion omnibus bill. So the total was well over the $850 billion mark, but no one noticed since all the focus was on the thing called “stimulus.”
Prediction 2. “The $849 billion stimulus will be a bit short on construction spending but chock full of funding for the left.”
Actual results: The Dept. of Education spent about ten times as much stimulus money as the Dept. of Transportation did. Of all the stimulus money going to the states, only 8.6% went for “transportation,” while 85% went for “health, education and training.” In any event, a net 880,000 construction jobs were lost from February 2009 to February 2010. Apparently, Robert Reich got his wish about the money not going to “white male construction workers.”
Prediction 3. “The current recession will end later this year, although its end might not be declared until some time in 2010 … the markets will start recovering. Not to a Dow of 14,000 though…”
Actual results: The NBER has not yet called it a recovery, but almost everyone else has. Just about all economic indicators show that the recession ended mid-2009. Real GDP grew in both the third and fourth quarters of 2009, as did industrial production. The Dow went below 7,000 in February 2009, but it drew back from the abyss and has hovered around 10,000 to 11,000 for the last six months.
Prediction 4. “Obama will keep his promise about pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq.”
Actual results: The Iraq pull-out plan appears to be on or ahead of schedule. There were 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq last February and 98,000 this February. What we didn’t know then, and what I didn’t predict, was that the troops would be assigned to Afghanistan instead. The number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan went from about 30,000 to almost 80,000 in the last year, with more planned through this summer for a total close to 100,000.
Prediction 5. “Benjamin Netanyahu will be elected Prime Minister of Israel. When the Mideast situation degrades … It will be blamed on Israel’s right wing, intransigent Prime Minister.”
Actual results: Netanyahu is now the Prime Minister of Israel. And everyone from Hillary Clinton to Joe Biden and even General Petraeus is blaming Israel for making things tough across the Middle East, including Iraq and Afghanistan.
Prediction 6. “Iran will get the bomb … In any case, no one will take action against them…  Sanctions will either be lifted or ignored …”
Actual results: Iran doesn’t seem to have the bomb yet, but it is on its way. Even president Obama admitted as much as far back as last February. There is still a lot of talking, but no doing, about sanctions.  So this prediction is still open, but it appears to be on track.
Prediction 7. “Osama bin Laden will be killed or captured … We’ll release some former Gitmo detainees …”
Actual results: Osama bin Laden has not yet been killed or captured. But efforts to kill Taliban and al-Qaida in the AfPak area have intensified. We kill a Baitullah Mehsud in Pakistan one day, and release a Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a 9/11 plotter, from Gitmo another. Ironically, releasing terrorists from Gitmo might be a good idea: They’ll go back to their terrorist ways, and then we kill them and everyone around them with bombs from 10,000 feet — no tribunal, no trial.
Prediction 8. “A host of leftist legislation will become law … universal health care … Banks and banking will be effectively nationalized …”
Actual results: Universal health care is now law. That is, we started getting taxed for it, but the coverage doesn’t start until about 2015. Banks are pretty close to nationalized. The government now owns 60% of what was General Motors and 10% of Chrysler. Most of the other legislation is on its way, with nothing to stop the Democrats for at least the rest of this year now that those silly House and Senate rules are made up as they go along.
Prediction 9. “In a development that will surprise many, President Obama will not spend like a drunken sailor (or a compassionately conservative Republican), at least in 2011 and 2012.”
Actual results: We have not hit 2011 yet, but projections of Obama’s budgets through the next decade show deficits averaging about $1 trillion each year.  Now that the stimulus and national health care are under his belt, Obama is starting to talk about deficit reduction. He even kicked off a commission for it. The good bets, though, are that “deficit reduction” plans will come in the form of increased taxes, not reduced spending. No matter, since it is perception that counts. By November, Obama will have transformed himself into a “deficit hawk,” and the voting public (50% of it) will believe it.
Prediction 10. “Barack Obama will be re-elected in 2012 with approximately 60% of the popular vote.”
Actual results: The 2010 elections have not happened yet, much less the 2012 elections, so we don’t know how this prediction will turn out yet. But despite a loss of almost five million jobs during his tenure, an unemployment rate hovering near 10% and passage of a huge and mostly unpopular health care bill, Obama’s job approval rating is close to 50%, and he matches the likely big names on the Republican side in popularity. Nothing so far indicates that Obama is not headed for a second term.
By my score, six of my ten predictions have come true or mostly true (1 to 5, and 8). Not bad for four years’ worth of predictions after one year. The other four are still open, but most look on track.
Before Obama took office, I characterized the possible scenarios of his presidency as the good, the bad, and the ugly. I was hoping for “the bad.”
If the more dramatic and least popular of these policies are enacted early, the electorate will want to change the change, maybe even as soon as 2010 — especially if the economy continues to struggle.  In that sense, we conservatives (meaning anyone not socialist) should hope the Obama/Reid/Pelosi ruling coalition gives it to us good and hard and soon.
I believed that Obama would have to go “ugly” to sneak through his leftist agenda. That is, he could not be open about it, much less in-your-face, because the electorate would not let it happen.
It was worse than I thought.  Not only would Obama take the “bad” route, but the electorate would not mind. Yes, the Tea Party movement sprang up, but it seems limited to a subset of the 47% of the people who did not vote for Obama in the first place. Among those who voted for him, I’m seeing very little mind-changing. As stated earlier, his poll numbers are not really all that bad.
Imagine if the NBER declares the recession over and unemployment falls below 9%. Imagine we pull out of Iraq as planned. Imagine things go well enough in Afghanistan that we leave there as planned also. Obama hovers around 50% approval right now. Things don’t have to get all that much better to put him out of reach of any Republican opponent you can name.
It does look like the Democrats will lose some seats in Congress this year, but enough to switch control? Of both houses?  Even if so, Republicans would face filibusters in the Senate and presidential vetoes through 2012. And what if, God forbid, Thomas, Scalia, Roberts or Alito leaves the bench?
It looks like we’ll get the bad and the ugly. We have so far.
Randall Hoven can be contacted at randall.hoven@gmail.com or via his website, randallhoven.com.
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