Senator: Bank Bill Empowers Gov’t to Track Consumers’ ‘Personal Characteristics,’ Force Them to Respond ‘Under Oath’…

Sen. Shelby: Financial Reform Violates Privacy
Friday, May 07, 2010
By Matt Cover, Staff Writer


Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), senior Republican on the Senate Banking Committee
(CNSNews.com) – Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), senior Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, said that provisions in the new financial regulatory bill violate privacy rights by allowing the government to collect any financial information it wants from any financial institution it wants.
 
Shelby, speaking at a press conference outlining Republican concerns about the financial regulatory overhaul, said that the bill violated Americans’ privacy rights by allowing the government to collect any financial information from any financial firm.
 
“I’m sure the ACLU – because we’ve heard from them – and others are looking at this very closely. I believe that it violates a lot of people’s privacy,” Shelby said.
 
Shelby added that Republicans would offer amendments that would attempt to “surgically strike” such objectionable provisions.
 
Republicans’ privacy concerns stem from the new information-gathering authorities the bill would give to the federal government, allowing it collect any information, including records from Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) and the addresses of depositors, from any financial institution at any time.
 
One such entity, the Office of Financial Research, is empowered to collect “any data or information” from any financial organization or federal regulator. One of those regulators, Shelby pointed out, would be the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP), which is empowered to collect a person’s ATM receipts and the addresses of depositors.
 
“The Democrats’ new bureaucracy poses a threat to our privacy,” Shelby said, “Under section 1022 of their bill, the new bureau would collect any information it chooses from businesses and consumers including personal characteristics and financial information.
 
“Individuals could be required to provide the new agency with written answers–under oath–to any question posed by the bureau regarding their personal financial information.”
 
This information along with all other information collected by federal financial regulators can be used by the Office of Financial Research to monitor the entire financial system for so-called systemic risk.
 
The Office of Financial Research would serve as the brains behind the Financial Stability Council, which may request “the submission of any data and information” from either the office or another regulator like the BCFP.
 
“The Office may, on behalf of the Council, require the submission of periodic and other reports from any financial company for the purpose of assessing the extent to which a financial activity or financial market in which the financial company participates, or the financial company itself, poses a threat to the financial stability of the United States,” says the bill.
 
If banks don’t comply, they can be subpoenaed by the director of the Financial Stability Council.
 
Democrats saw no problem with the broad information-collecting powers in their bill. Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said that there “wasn’t any 4th Amendment issue” in allowing the government to collect any financial data it wants.
 
The 4th Amendment protects against “unreasonable searches and seizures” by the government. Reed said that the nation “desperately” needs to have the government monitoring the inner workings of the financial industry, arguing that if government couldn’t collect any information it thought it needed, regulators would be “flying in the dark.”
 
Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) told CNSNews.com that if privacy issues arose as a result of the new collection powers, then Congress would deal with them at that time.
 
“I agree [with Reed]. I don’t see it,” Casey said. “If we get a bill passed, and it gets implemented and an issue arises that someone believes is an infringement on privacy, we’d certainly consider that and analyze that.”
 
CNSNews.com pressed Casey about exactly what activities would be prevented under the bill, pointing out that fraud is already illegal under federal law. Casey could not name any specific banking practice that the new bill would put a stop to or protect consumers from.
 
“The principle benefit of it is [that] it will hold firms, entities, and individuals accountable on Wall Street that have been allowed to run wild for a long time,” Casey said.

Pelosi: It’s Cheaper to Treat Teens for Drug Use Than Interdict Drugs at Border

Pelosi: It’s Cheaper to Treat Teens for Drug Use Than Interdict Drugs at Border
Thursday, May 06, 2010
By Edwin Mora


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
(CNSNews.com) - While pointing out that it is the responsibility of the federal government to secure the U.S.-Mexico border, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) said Thursday it is cheaper to treat teens for drug use than it is to interdict drugs being smuggled across the border.
 
CNSNews.com pointed out to the speaker at her weekly press briefing that a recent Justice Department report indicated that one in five U.S. teenagers used drugs last year, and then asked: “Are you committed to sealing the border against the influx of illegal drugs from Mexico and, if so, do you have a target date in mind for getting that done?”
 
“Well if your question is about drugs, I’m for reducing demand in the United States,” said Pelosi. “That is what our responsibility is on this subject. The RAND Corporation a few years ago did a report that said it would be much less expensive for us to, through prevention first and foremost, but through treatment on demand to reduce demand in our country, is the cheapest way to solve this problem.
 
“Incarceration is the next cheapest,” Pelosi continued. “It costs seven times more to incarcerate than to have treatment on demand. It costs 15 times more to interdict at the border. And it costs 25 times more with eradication of the cocoa leaf. This is an issue that it is very important to our country because of what it’s doing to our teenagers. That is the problem, what it is doing to our people.”
video below

http://www.eyeblast.tv/public/checker.aspx?v=Xd6UkU4znz

The RAND Corporation is a non-partisan, non-profit institution aimed at helping to “improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis.”

According to the Justice Department’s National Drug Threat Assessment for 2010, “Nineteen percent of youth aged 12 to 17 report past year illicit drug use.” The assessment said that Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) are now the predominant supplier of illegal drugs in the United States. “Law enforcement reporting and case initiation data show that Mexican DTOs control most of the wholesale cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine distribution in the United States, as well as much of the marijuana distribution,” said the assessment.

Pelosi did say it was the responsibility of the federal government to control the border, although she did not believe that would prevent illicit drug use by teens in the United States.

“Controlling our border is our responsibility,” she said. “So, whether you’re talking about stopping drugs from coming in or having a well-managed migration policy, we have a responsibility to secure our border. But I don’t know what you meant by ‘seal’ and I think sealing the border doesn’t do a whole lot to reduce demand in the United States. As I travel the country, I know that kids are on meth and they can make it in their bath tub.”
 
To solve the drug problem, she said, requires reducing demand. “Let’s secure our border for every reason that we have responsibility to do so,” she said, “but if it’s talk, if our purpose is to solve that problem, we must reduce demand and the best way to do that is through prevention and through treatment on demand.”

Last week, CNSNews.com similarly asked Rep. Raul Grijalva (D.-Ariz.), who represents a district that covers 300 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, if he was committed to sealing the border against the inflow of illegal drugs. Rather than answer the question, Grijalva turned and walked away, eventually shouting back at the reporter that it was “punkish” to ask the question.
 
Transcript of Speaker Pelosi’s answer to CNSNews.com’s question on stopping illicit drug traffic across U.S.-Mexico border:
 
CNSNews.com: Madame Speaker, the Justice Department has reported that one in five teenagers used illicit drugs last year and that most of those drugs came across the border from Mexico. Are you committed to sealing the border against the influx of illegal drugs from Mexico and, if so, do you have a target date in mind for getting that done?
 
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.): “Well if your question is about drugs, I’m for reducing demand in the United States. That is what our responsibility is on this subject. The RAND Corporation a few years ago did a report that said it would be much less expensive for us to, through prevention first and foremost, but through treatment on demand to reduce demand in our country, is the cheapest way to solve this problem.

“Incarceration is the next cheapest. It costs seven times more to incarcerate than to have treatment on demand. It costs 15 times more to interdict at the border. And it costs 25 times more with eradication of the cocoa leaf. This is an issue that it is very important to our country because of what it’s doing to our teenagers. That is the problem, what it is doing to our people.
 
“Controlling our border is our responsibility. So, whether you’re talking about stopping drugs from coming in or having a well-managed migration policy, we have a responsibility to secure our border. But I don’t know what you meant by ‘seal’ and I think sealing the border doesn’t do a whole lot to reduce demand in the United States. As I travel the country, I know that kids are on meth and they can make it in their bath tub. So, again if the issue is predicated on your first premise, which is one in five teenagers in America has used drugs, is that the point?
 
CNSNews.com: “Yes.”
 
Pelosi: “Okay, so let’s, you know, let’s secure our border for every reason that we have responsibility to do so, but if it’s talk, if our purpose is to solve that problem, we must reduce demand and the best way to do that is through prevention and through treatment on demand.”

Arizona governor: Boycott is misguided

Arizona governor: Boycott is misguided


By Gov. Jan Brewer
Special to ESPN.com

In my 28 years of public service, I have made a lot of tough calls. But with a federal government unwilling to secure our border for years and years, Arizona is left with little choice. Imagine a sporting event in which rules have been agreed to for 70 years, but the umpires refuse to enforce those rules. It makes no sense. Although I recognize that Arizona Senate Bill 1070, as amended, is not the entire solution to our illegal immigration problem in Arizona, most people are united in the hope that it will finally inspire the politicians in Washington, D.C., to stop talking and to start action now.

By now, sports fans everywhere have heard something about the passage of Senate Bill 1070, a measure I signed into law. It has resulted in protests outside ballparks hosting our Arizona Diamondbacks and has led to calls on Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig to strip the City of Phoenix’s opportunity to host baseball’s Midsummer Classic in July 2011.

  Jan Brewer
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer took in the Diamondbacks-Phillies game a couple of days after she signed SB 1070 into law.

 

Urging Major League Baseball to take away next year’s All-Star Game from Phoenix is the wrong play. In Arizona, both proponents and opponents of Senate Bill 1070 have stated that economic boycotts are an inappropriate and misguided response to an issue that is clearly worthy of proper public debate and discourse. Put simply, history shows that boycotts backfire and harm innocent people. Boycotts are just more politics and manipulation by out-of-state interests. As a border state, Arizona has already paid a heavy price for the federal government’s failure — hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars in unreimbursed costs — and its citizens should not be punished further.

It is critically important that all Americans understand the impetus for this new law and have a clear understanding of the law itself. Our neighbor to the south, Mexico, is in a massive battle with well-organized drug cartels. Because of Washington’s failure to secure our southern border, Arizona has become the superhighway of illegal drug and human smuggling activity. In December 2008, the U.S. Justice Department said that Mexican gangs are the “biggest organized crime threat to the United States.” In 2009, Phoenix had 316 kidnapping cases, turning the city into our nation’s kidnapping capital. Almost all of the persons kidnapped were illegal immigrants or linked to the drug trade.

Essentially, our border leaks like a team with a last-place defense. The very same week that I signed the new law, a major drug ring was broken up and Mexican cartel operatives suspected of running 40,000 pounds of marijuana through southern Arizona were indicted.

While drug smuggling is the principal cause of our massive border-violence problem, many of the same criminal organizations also smuggle people. Busts of drop houses, where illegal immigrants are often held for ransom or otherwise severely abused, are not uncommon occurrences in Arizona neighborhoods.

Today, Arizona has approximately 6,000 prison inmates who are foreign nationals, representing a cost to our state of roughly $150 million per year. Arizona taxpayers are paying for a vast majority of these incarceration expenses because the federal government refuses to pay what it owes. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, as governor of Arizona, sent numerous requests to the federal government to pay for these prisoners — only to be given the same answer she and President Barack Obama are now giving Arizona: They will not pay the bill.

The Immigration Issue

Arizona’s new immigration law has become a hot-button topic in the world of sports. Over the past several days, ESPN has presented a number of perspectives on the controversy.

Jeff MacGregor: Razing Arizona
Steve Nash: Opposed to law Video
J.A. Adande: Suns make a statement
OTL debate on Arizona law Video
Fay Vincent’s advice for Bud Selig
SportsNation: Your thoughts

 

When I signed the legislation, I stated clearly I will not tolerate racial discrimination or racial profiling in Arizona. My administration worked for weeks with legislators to improve SB 1070, to specifically clarify and strengthen its civil rights protections. I issued an executive order to implement proper training and enforcement protocols for our police so that the intent of the language could not be misconstrued. Although it is already against the law, the new law undeniably prohibits law enforcement officers from considering race, color or national origin in implementing the new statute.

I have worked for years without fail to solve problems diligently and practically. I have done so always with an eye toward civility, and always with the greatest respect for the rule of law.

This new law is no different. As committed as I am to protecting our state from crime associated with illegal immigration, I am equally committed to holding law enforcement accountable should this statute ever be misused to violate an individual’s rights.

There have been countless distortions, honest omissions, myths and bad information about Arizona’s new law — many, undoubtedly, spread to create fear or mistrust.

So here are the facts:

1. The new Arizona law creates a state penalty to mirror what already is a federal crime. Despite the most vile and hate-filled portrayals of proponents of the law as “Nazis,” actions that have been condemned nationally by the Anti-Defamation League, it is ALREADY a federal requirement for legal aliens in the United States to carry their green card or other immigration document. The new Arizona law enforces what has been a federal crime since before World War II. As anyone who has traveled abroad knows, other nations have similar laws.

2. Contrary to many of the horror stories being spread — President Obama suggested families risk being pulled over while going out for ice cream — law enforcement cannot randomly ask anyone about their immigration status. Much like enforcement of seat belt laws in many states, under SB 1070 there must first be reasonable suspicion that you are breaking some OTHER non-immigration law before an officer can ask a person about their legal status. Only then, after law enforcement officers have a “reasonable suspicion” that another law has been broken, can they inquire about immigration status — but ONLY if that individual’s behavior provides “reasonable suspicion” that the person is here illegally.

“Reasonable suspicion” is a well-understood concept that has been thoroughly vetted through numerous federal court cases. Many have asked: What is reasonable suspicion? Is it race, skin color or national origin? No! Racial profiling is prohibited in the new law. Examples of reasonable suspicion include: a person running away when approached by law enforcement officers, or a car failing to stop when the police turn on their lights and siren.

3. Arizona’s local law enforcement officers, who already reflect the great diversity of culture in our state, are going to be trained to enforce the new immigration law in a constitutional manner. It is shameful and presumptive for opponents to question the good will and the competence of Arizona’s law enforcement personnel. The specter that is raised of rogue, racist police harassing people is insulting to those in Arizona who risk their lives in the name of law enforcement every day.

President Theodore Roosevelt said, “No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man’s permission when we require him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor.” Arizona has been more than patient waiting for Washington to act. Decades of federal inaction and misguided policy have created a dangerous and unacceptable situation. Arizona has acted to enforce the rule of law equally and without bias toward any person.

It is time for our country to act to resolve our border security problem; an economic boycott in Arizona would only exacerbate it — and hurt innocent families and businesses merely seeking to survive during these difficult economic times.

A boycott that would actually improve border security would be to boycott illegal drugs. Dramatically less drug use and production would do wonders for the safety of all our communities.

Jan Brewer is the governor of Arizona.

Morning Bell: A Recovery Only Washington Could Love

Morning Bell: A Recovery Only Washington Could Love

Posted By Conn Carroll On May 7, 2010 @ 9:27 am In Enterprise and Free Markets | 3 Comments

Today the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor and Statistics released its monthly jobs report [1] showing that the nation’s unemployment rose to 9.9% in April despite the addition of 290,000 jobs, 66,000 of which were temporary Census 2010 jobs. The rise in unemployment was driven by the entrance of 195,000 previously discouraged Americans reentering the workforce. In total, the U.S. economy has now lost a net of 2.6 million jobs since President Barack Obama signed his $862 billion stimulus plan. We are 7.6 million jobs short of the 137.8 million he promised the American economy would support by 2010.

It is encouraging to see the American economy beginning to recover, but these numbers again indicate that the Obama administration’s heavy government hand has retarded and deformed what otherwise would have been a more robust recovery. The White House may tout Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports showing their $862 billion stimulus created jobs, but the CBO has also admitted [2] their computer simulation didn’t take any actual new real world data into account. To the contrary, an independent study of real world stimulus facts found [3]: 1) no statistical correlation between unemployment and how the $862 billion was spent; 2) that Democratic districts received one-and-a-half times as many awards as Republican ones; and 3) an average cost of $286,000 was awarded per job created. $286,000 per job created.

And what kind of jobs were created? According to Gallup [4] the federal government is hiring at a significantly faster pace than the private sector. And data from BLS confirms that governments are increasing public sector pay at far faster rates than the private sector [5]. None of this should be a surprise. President Obama specifically designed his stimulus [6] to preserve government union jobs.

Not that President Obama’s agenda has failed to produce any private sector jobs. The Washington economy is booming [7] as private firms have been forced to hire legions of lawyers and lobbyists to both protect their firms from Obama’s new agenda and find ways they can turn it into profit. This is why energy companies are spending millions on lobbyists to shape legislation [8] instead of on scientists to find energy. It is why software companies are spending millions on lawyers [9] to get federal government business instead of on engineers to develop new technologies. Back in 1994, columnist Jonathan Rauch explains what happens when Washington becomes a center of profit for the private sector:

Economic thinkers have recognized for generations that every person has two ways to become wealthier. One is to produce more, the other is to capture more of what others produce. … Washington looks increasingly like a public-works jobs program for lawyers and lobbyists, a profit center for professionals who are in business for themselves.

What happens when big government, and the big businesses best capitalized to influence it, are the main drivers of economic recovery? The recovery is slower and smaller than it otherwise would have been. A recent study by the Kaufman Foundation [10] found that small businesses have led America out of its last seven recessions, generating about two of every three new jobs during a recovery [11]. But under this Obama recovery, not only are government jobs growing faster than private sector jobs [4], but jobs are rebounding faster at large employers than small businesses [12].

And the Obama agenda is only set to make the environment for small businesses worse. The Obama budget plans to raise taxes on the small businesses that earn 72% of all small business income [13]. Taxes on capital gains are set to increase to 20% while taxes on dividends are set to rise to 39.6% [13]. Obamacare not only inflicts $503 billion in new taxes by 2019, $87 billion of which come from employer mandate penalties [14], but also burdens small businesses with new 1099 IRS paperwork every time they do more than $600 in business with another entity [13]. Oh, and Obama is proposing more IRS funding and a change in law that will make it harder for small businesses to hire independent contractors [15].

There are far more types of small businesses engaged in more kinds of economic activity than Congress can devise special policy to help. This sort of one-off, micro-managing, tinkering policy may gain a headline and support, but it will not help small businesses broadly [13]. The more Washington taxes and regulates, the harder it is for small businesses to innovate, force big businesses to be more productive and create new jobs. The more the Obama agenda is implemented, the slower our recovery will be.

Quick Hits:

  • Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Labour Party suffered a devastating defeat [16] at the polls yesterday, losing over 100 seats in Parliament, but Conservative Party leader David Cameron failed to get the 326 seats needed for a new majority.
  • A day before Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) accused Republicans of “making love to Wall Street” he solicited $2,500 [17] from at least one Wall Street firm.
  • A major cheerleader for Obamacare, the American Medical Association (AMA) is now trying to silence doctors [18] who oppose it.
  • Despite Obamacare’s passage, Americans are now more concerned about health care costs [19] than they were last year.
  • Faisal Shahzad has told investigators that he drew inspiration from Anwar al-Awlaki, a Yemeni-American cleric whose militant online lectures have been a catalyst for several recent attacks, [20] an American official said Thursday.

One Year Ago Obama Reached Out to the Taliban For Peace… Now They’re Planting Bombs in New York City

Posted by Jim Hoft on Thursday, May 6, 2010, 5:32 AM

Just think… It was only one year ago that Barack Obama reached out to the Taliban for peace in Afghanistan. Analysts said Obama’s remarks resembled a dream more than reality.

Less than a year later Taliban-trained jihadists are planting bombs in Times Square.

This undated image, obtained from orkut.com on May 4, 2010, shows Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani-American who is suspected as the driver of a bomb-laden SUV into New York’s Time Square on May 1. Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Pakistan, was arrested late on May 3 at John F. Kennedy International Airport by FBI agents in New York as he tried to take a flight to Dubai, local and federal officials said. (REUTERS)

Authorities now believe that Faisal Shahzad was trained by the Taliban and made a dry run in Manhattan.
The Wall Street Journal reported, via HotAir:

U.S. and Pakistani investigators are giving increased credence to links between Times Square bombing suspect Faisal Shahzad and the Pakistan Taliban, with one senior Pakistani official saying Mr. Shahzad received instruction from the Islamist group’s suicide-bomb trainer…

Mr. Shahzad received training in explosives in a camp run by Qari Hussain, the official said. Mr. Hussain is a senior commander with Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, the Pakistan Taliban’s formal name, and trains suicide bombers, the official said. Mr. Hussain is also a cousin of Hakimullah Mehsud, the Pakistan Taliban’s chief. The 30-year-old Mr. Shahzad has admitted to investigators that he received training from militants in Waziristan, U.S. officials said…

But, Obama believed he could talk these moderates into a peace deal.
He’s living in a dream world.

Previous Taliban messages ignored by Obama:
** Taliban Beheads Man As Gift to Obama
** Taliban to Obama & Biden: “We’re Not Moderate”
** Team Taliban Rejects Team Obama’s “Lunatic” Idea
** Taliban’s Top Officer in Southern Afghanistan Is Former Gitmo Detainee

The Left Hopes for a Tea Party Terrorist

The Left Hopes for a Tea Party Terrorist

Posted By Rory Cooper On May 6, 2010 @ 6:00 pm In Ongoing Priorities, Protect America | 1 Comment

Last week, someone tried to detonate a roadside car bomb [1] in Times Square. And while investigators were searching for the guilty terrorist, some liberals in this country had already found a culprit – you.

That’s right. We’ve entered an era where some on the left expressly hope that when terrorist attacks occur, the guilty parties are their fellow Americans, not Islamic jihadists.

It’s crazy, but true.

After Times Square attack, a narrative quickly emerged that the bomber was a lone wolf and may be a conservative, probably a tea partier. It didn’t begin among the fringe, but from names and faces you know. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer, alike, purposefully attempted to immediately convict a domestic political ideology – the Tea Party movement – rather than waiting for evidence to be uncovered.

To recap, on Saturday evening, thanks to an alert street vendor, New York City authorities discovered a 1993 Pathfinder SUV loaded with explosives parked in Times Square [1]. On Sunday, television reports started showing a possible suspect in grainy footage who appeared to be a balding white male in his 40’s [2]. By Sunday evening, the authorities easily tracked the car back to its original owner [1], who informed them that a 30-something male of Middle Eastern origin bought the vehicle.

It was during that brief period of investigation that accusations and false assumptions started to fly. First out of the box were Secretary Napolitano and Mayor Bloomberg, who appeared on television shows to offer theories based on absolutely no evidence.

In her now famous way of casually dismissing terrorist attacks, Napolitano stated on ABC This Week that it was probably a “one-off [3]” event, or essentially a lone wolf. She offered this view after the host, Jake Tapper, actually clued her in [4] that the plot looked similar to other bombings in London and Scotland, which were hatched by small groups of connected Middle Eastern terrorists. But Napolitano underplayed the incident, and her “one-off” theory [5] supported — intentionally or not — the narrative that this could be a domestic incident. She repeated these claims on NBC’s Meet the Press [6].

Then there’s Mayor Bloomberg, who on Katie Couric’s show on Monday opined that the suspect could be “a mentally deranged person or somebody with a political agenda that doesn’t like the health-care bill or something [7].” While government authorities were quickly tracking down the owner of the Pathfinder, Mayor Bloomberg was on TV saying the guilty party may have been someone merely upset with Obamacare.

Cue the fringe. Daily Kos [7] wildly said there are only two types of terrorists, jihadists or tea partiers. Then Robert Dreyfuss, an “investigative journalist” for the leftist site The Nation, railed against media outlets that correctly analyzed the possibility that this could be a jihadist attack. He concluded that it was “far more likely” that the perpetrator was “a member of some squirrely branch of the Tea Party [8].” Now that’s what we call investigative journalism.

In Politico’s Arena, Washington and Lee University Law Professor Timothy Stoltzfus Jost said it was much more likely “the bomb was placed by a right-wing lunatic [9]” and that the right-wing media “bears some responsibility.” So now it’s all Fox News’ fault. At least Professor Jost had the courage to apologize the next day [10] for his liberally drawn conclusions. Oh the irony of a law professor from liberal academia presuming guilt, rather than innocence, and moving for conviction with no evidence.

No sooner had the left firmly staked out ground that the terrorist was a conservative, a tea partier, a right-winger, than the authorities arrested Faisal Shahzad on Tuesday [1]. Shahzad reportedly admitted to the crime, and his vast contacts with known terror networks in Pakistan were revealed almost immediately. Not too many mea culpas from the left. But at least nobody was still making the claim about conservatives, right? Wrong.

Enter Contessa Brewer, anchor for MSNBC [11]. Brewer went on the liberal Stephanie Miller radio show on Tuesday and said: “There was part of me that was hoping this was not going to be anybody with ties to any kind of Islamic country.” She further said: “…There are a lot of people who want to use terrorist intent to justify writing off people who believe in a certain way or come from certain countries or whose skin color is a certain way. I mean they use it as justification for really outdated bigotry.”

Who did Contessa Brewer hoped had committed this act? There are a lot of things Brewer could have wished for – that the attempted attack never happened, that innocent American Muslims are not treated unjustly, that America would never see attempts like this again. She didn’t.

Instead, Brewer lifted the curtain on what many Americans already suspected. When the left talks about tea party violence, it isn’t because it actually occurs. It is because they hope it occurs so as to corroborate their skewed worldview that the tea party is a fringe political movement, rather than a peaceful congregation of Americans of all political stripes who don’t like the direction their country is headed.

The Times Square bomber was a jihadist. He was Middle Eastern. He trained in Pakistan. These are the facts of the case. The great hope of conservatives is not to rush to blame one group or another for an attack. Our hope is to have a federal government that will prevent these attacks rather than awkwardly respond, as we saw this week. We also hope to engage in respectful political discourse without being called a bigot.

We are in a war on terror, even if the White House is uncomfortable using those words. Our enemy in this war is more often than not going to be Middle Eastern, even if the left is uncomfortable knowing this. However, there will be times when instances of terror will not fit this profile, which is why reasonable people need to wait for the facts before commenting, even if that makes some uncomfortable.

Sarah Palin endorses Carly Fiorina in California Senate race

Sarah Palin waded into the California Senate race on Thursday, endorsing former Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Carly Fiorina, a Republican, over another candidate who has curried favor with conservative grassroots activists.

“Please consider that Carly is the conservative who has the potential to beat California’s liberal senator, Barbara Boxer, in November,” Palin said on Facebook.

Fiorina is in a tough race against moderate Republican Tom Campbell and Chuck DeVore, who has garnered support from Tea Partiers.

“I’m a huge proponent of contested primaries, so I’m glad to see the contest in California’s GOP, but I support Carly as she fights through a tough primary against a liberal member of the GOP who seems to bear almost no difference to Boxer, one of the most leftwing members of the Senate.”

Recent polls show Campbell leading the pack.

“California is still Reagan Country, and Carly promises her “Reagan conservative” values will be put to good use for her state and for our great nation. Shaking it up in California is long overdue. Let’s help Carly do it!”

But Palin was forced to update her Facebook note after the endorsement elicited outrage among her followers. By Monday morning, more than 1,500 people had left comments questioning Fiorina’s conservative credentials. “Oh No Sarah! You’re wrong!!!!!!! Chuck DeVore is the true conservative, what are you doing?????” said one commenter, Rae Plaster.

Palin’s update: “Carly has been endorsed by the National Right to Life, the California Pro-Life Council, and the Susan B. Anthony List. She is pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-military, and pro-strict border security and against amnesty. She is against Obamacare and will vote to repeal it and prevent the government takeover of private companies and industries. Carly is also a strong supporter of the Second Amendment.”

“Like me,” Palin continues, “she is a member of the NRA, has a 100% NRA rating, and she and her husband are gun owners. She is pro-energy development and believes as I do in an all-of-the-above approach to energy independence. She is against cap and tax. And most importantly, Carly is the only conservative in the race who can beat Barbara Boxer. That’s no RINO. That’s a winner.”

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2010/05/06/sarah-palin-endorses-carly-fiorina-in-california-senate-race/print/#ixzz0nFftYtuo

The American Flag is Disrespectful on Cinco de Mayo?

The American Flag is Disrespectful on Cinco de Mayo?

by Greg Knapp

american_flag_t_shirt-p235519325351062009uh8q_400

We’ve reached a new low. A high school disciplined students for wearing American flag t-shirts to school because they did so on Cinco de Mayo. As some of the students of Mexican descent explained – “That’s ‘our’ day.”

“We knew it was Cinco de Mayo. But we just came to show our flag,” said student Dominic Maciel. “We didn’t mean anything by it. We didn’t want to start anything. Nothing like that.”

We obviously aren’t teaching our kids well. They should know that the American flag is offensive in America! I blame the parents.

Student Anthony Caravalho was also sent home for not turning his shirt inside out. “They said we had to wear our t-shirts inside out and then we could go back to class and we said no,” said Caravalho. “It would be disrespectful to the flag by hiding it.”

It’s our flag that’s disrespectful. They could have avoided trouble and been hailed as tolerant if they’d burned the American flag t-shirts.

Some Mexican-American students KTVU spoke with said they thought wearing red, white and blue on Cinco de Mayo was disrespectful. “It’s just kinda disrespectful that they would do that on this day,” said student Victoria Wright. “I mean, we don’t go around on 4th of July wearing red white and green and saying ‘Viva Mexico,’ because that’s disrespectful.”

Sure they live in America, they’re getting a free education at taxpayers expense, and they have tremendous opportunities here they wouldn’t have in Mexico, but they want to celebrate the country their parents couldn’t wait to get out of. That makes perfect sense. Huh?

I am a first generation American. My mother came over from England after WWII. My grandfather died flying for the RAF. But I don’t see England as my country. I’m an American and proud of it. I like England and I respect my ancestry, but I LOVE America and never find flying her flag disrespectful. The vast majority of legal immigrants feel as I do. I don’t understand the ones who don’t.

Dominic Maciel said his father is of Mexican descent. “I have no problem with them wearing their Mexican stuff, their Mexican flags,” said Maciel. “I just thought I’d show my pride. American pride.”

Way to go, Dominic. I’m not easily shocked by how far we’ve gone in the PC game. But this one got me today.

Dear Barack: Is the US Still an Ally of Israel?

Dear Barack: Is the US Still an Ally of Israel?

by Thomas Del Beccaro

If you will, imagine Slobodan Milosevic, during the early part of his reign, threatening to wipe Great Britain off the map. Imagine further, that after he made that statement, he announced that he was in the process of obtaining nuclear missiles.  Undeterred by such comments, the UN, appoints Milosevic’s country to its Commission on Human Rights.  Great Britain, understandably angered by such comments and a lack of World action, calls for renewed diplomatic action and increased sanctions.  Shortly thereafter, The Prime Minister of Great Britain visits the United States.

obama-netanyahu

The President of the United States, however, agrees to only meet in private and refuses to take a picture with the Prime Minister.  Thereafter, the President calls for a loosening of the sanctions against Milosevic and says not a word about the appointment to the Commission on Human Rights.

I suggest to you that if that had come to pass, not only would Great Britain be beyond outraged, but US allies around the globe would sink back in their chairs and wonder if the US could be trusted as an ally at all.

As difficult as that scenario was to imagine is not near as difficult as it is for Israel today.

Iran’s leader has point blank called for Israel to “vanish” if not worse.  According to the BBC, Ahmadinejad attends “rallies” where his supporters carry “placards sporting the slogan ‘Israel should be wiped off the map.’” Combined with the lies of Iran’s leaders about their nuclear acquisition program and missiles capable of firing nuclear weapons, those statements are beyond ominous.

After years of failed diplomacy, stunningly, the White House is seeking to loosen sanctions on Iran in the form of exempting “cooperation” nations from the sanctions program, i.e. potentially letting Russia and China off the hook.

Last week, according Fox News, the “United Nations  . . . elected Iran to its Commission on the Status of Women, handing a four-year seat on the influential human rights body to a theocratic state in which stoning is enshrined in law and lashings are required for women judged immodest” – without a word of protest from this President.

Of course, let’s not forget that this President refused a public picture with the Israel Prime Minister after he traveled half way around the globe to visit this Country.

Yes it is true that the US still gives direct aid to Israel and this President has claimed that Israeli is an important ally of the United States.  But just how important given the above? Even Senate Schumer says that Obama’s “counter productive” Israeli policy has to stop.”

If from the comfort of the US Senate, a liberal New York Senator is speaking out on that question – how must Israeli feel?  What do the rest of our allies think? And yes, while it may be an exaggeration to ask whether Israel is still an ally of the US, the true test of any alliance is whether its ally will come to its defense, not just in name, but in battle.  Amidst the continuing terrorist actions within the US – which have garnered remarkably little action from the Obama administration – these questions are all the more worrisome.

Obama’s Big Government Problem

Obama’s Big Government Problem

Posted By Rich Trzupek On May 7, 2010 @ 12:10 am In FrontPage | 1 Comment

Listening to an Obama speech is like chowing down on a box of assorted chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get. The president’s commencement speech at the University of Michigan [1] last Saturday was a classic case in point. To paraphrase an orator whose reputation for greatness did not involve the use of either speechwriters or teleprompters: never in the course of American politics has a president used so many words to say so little. For example, on the one hand, Obama deplores the nature of debate in the nation today:

“You can disagree with a certain policy without demonizing the person who espouses it. You can question someone’s views and their judgment without questioning their motives or their patriotism. Throwing around phrases like “socialist” and “Soviet-style takeover;” “fascist” and “right-wing nut” may grab headlines, but it also has the effect of comparing our government, or our political opponents, to authoritarian, and even murderous regimes.”

On the other hand, there’s really nothing to worry about, for that’s the way it’s always been:

“In fact, this isn’t a new phenomenon. Since the days of our founding, American politics has never been a particularly nice business – and it’s always been a little less gentle during times of great change. A newspaper of the opposing party once editorialized that if Thomas Jefferson were elected, “Murder, robbery, rape, adultery, and incest will be openly taught and practiced.” Not subtle.”

The president is also happy to acknowledge that too much government is obviously a bad thing:

“The democracy designed by Jefferson and the other founders was never intended to solve every problem with a new law or a new program. Having thrown off the tyranny of the British Empire, the first Americans were understandably skeptical of government. Ever since, we have held fast to the belief that government doesn’t have all the answers, and we have cherished and fiercely defended our individual freedom. That is a strand of our nation’s DNA.”

Which, of course, is why we need more government:

“But what troubles me is when I hear people say that all of government is inherently bad. One of my favorite signs from the health care debate was one that read “Keep Government Out Of My Medicare,” which is essentially like saying “Keep Government Out Of My Government-Run Health Care.” For when our government is spoken of as some menacing, threatening foreign entity, it conveniently ignores the fact in our democracy, government is us. We, the people, hold in our hands the power to choose our leaders, change our laws, and shape our own destiny.”

It’s pretty much all like that. It always is when Barack Obama hits the teleprompter. If you only listened to his words, you’d have a hard time figuring out what exactly this president stands for. Fortunately, we have the benefit of observing his actions, so America has a pretty good idea where his real sympathies lie. The mainstream media touted the Michigan commencement speech as a blast back at the “anti-government” crowd [2] and, with a small correction, that’s what it was. Despite the bromides, the president was clearly firing back at what should correctly be called the “small government” sentiment in America that is embodied by the tea-party movement. (“Anti-government” is a phrase that properly describes anarchists, not patriotic Americans protesting more bureaucracy, more spending, more debt and less self-determination).

Nobody outside of crazed militia types says, or thinks, that “government is bad.” Rather, millions of Americans believe that government is inefficient, expensive and stifling and should therefore be used as a means toward accomplishing an end only when absolutely necessary. “Absolutely necessary” can be defined as some of the examples that Obama cited: police officers, highway safety and the laws and regulations designed to prevent workplace injuries and promote environmental responsibility. There’s a role for government in all of these cases that no private entity could fulfill, but it should be self-apparent that we all pay a price when we employ government to do so.

Having police protect us requires a justice system and, the government being what it is, that justice system is necessarily bloated, inefficient and burdened by mountains of contradictory rules. We deal with OSHA and the EPA, because most of us realize that somebody has to do what some private companies won’t: ensure that both employees and the environment are protected. But again, we pay a price. OSHA may help prevent injuries, but it’s also enormously powerful and too often petty. The EPA has done a stellar job of cleaning up America, but the massive bureaucratic structure it created while doing so now intrudes in the operation of private enterprise in stifling ways that have little or nothing to do with environmental protection. It’s always that way. Once the nose of the bureaucratic camel pushes through the tent, you’ve got yet another dromedary for a roommate, and the basic problem is that there’s not much room left in the tent that used to be our private lives for more camels.

The crux of Obama’s defense of big government is that, in a democracy, the “government is us.” No doubt the president really believes that, because his entire working life [3] has been spent working for the government, in academia or as an advocate for people trying to get more out of government. His “real world” experience, as those of us who work in the private sector understand it, is zero. Accordingly it’s no surprise when Obama doesn’t understand that for the majority of us in the private sector – who pay for the ever-expanding public sector, by the by – the government isn’t “us” at all. The government isn’t the people we actually elected, as the president styled it, the government is rather the army of nameless bureaucrats to whom the people we elected have bequeathed, and continue to bequeath, enormous power over our lives.

The liberal myth says that conservatives and libertarians trust the private sector and don’t trust the public sector. That’s not the case. The truth of the matter is that we don’t trust anybody. But, when it comes to excess in the private sector, at least we have a chance of winning. If some company rips off a consumer, the consumer can go to the Better Business Bureau, complain to the Attorney General, call the local media watchdog, or employ a vast number of other means to settle the score. If a consumer thinks that a particular corporation’s product is inferior, there’s a host of other companies willing to fill the need. But, when it comes to government excess, people don’t have any hope of leveling the playing field unless they’re very rich or very lucky. There is no protection from our protectors. Anyone who has been victimized by an over-zealous IRS agent, EPA official, OSHA inspector or any other member of the bloated, blustering bureaucracy that runs more and more of our lives knows exactly how stifling big government is.

So yes Mr. President, we understand that we need some government in our lives. The problem, as we see it, is that we have so much damned government that it’s getting harder and harder to breathe.

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