Using Tax Law To Manipulate Public Opinion

Remember during the presidential campaign when Afghanistan was the “good war” according to the Democrat party.  The Afghanistan war was the war we had to win in order to win the war on terror.  Well, that was then; this is now.

The public support for the war in Afghanistan has dropped as the war has dragged on.  I understand that, but even though the war has lasted a long time, the number of casualties in Afghanistan (and Iraq) is very low compared to the number of casualties in World War II (even though that was a much shorter war).  I realize that every casualty is important, and I also realize that although the number of casualties is lower, the number of seriously wounded veterans returning home is higher.  We are at a point where we need to decide as a country whether or not we are going to cut off terrorism at its root or simply deal with major attacks within our country as they happen (which they will if we abandon Afghanistan).  We have abandoned Afghanistan before (the book THE KITE RUNNER by Khaled Hosseini is a fictionalized, but realistic story of what happened next).  If we abandon Afghanistan again, we will have lost any credibility we might have had as an ally in that part of the world.

The opposition to the war in Vietnam was due in large to the fact that there was a draft.  I believe that many of the protesters of that war were spoiled children who simply did not want to be drafted and go to war.  They were used by the political forces opposing that war to eventually force America to abandon the Vietnamese people and allow a mass killing to take place in that part of the world.  Since there is not a draft now, organizing opposition to the War in Afghanistan has been more difficult for the opposition.  Now, however, there is a new approach. reported today that:

“Higher-income Americans should be taxed to pay for more troops sent to Afghanistan and NATO should provide half of the new soldiers, said Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.”

There are a few things wrong with this statement.  NATO may not have half the soldiers to send.  American, China, Russia, and Iran are the only countries in the world making large military expenditures.  Even if they were members of NATO, somehow I don’t think China, Russia, or Iran would be likely to help us in Afghanistan.  Secondly, according to, the cost of the war in Afghanistan in 2009 will be approximately $173 billion dollars.  According to the Wall Street Journal on April 4, 2009, the cost of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) will be close to $375 billion.  According to The Heritage Foundation, the true cost of the Stimulus Bill (when you consider that the increased funding for programs the left loves like Head Start, Medicaid, COBRA, and the Earned Income Tax Credit will probably not be cut back) will probably eventually total $3.27 trillion.  (Follow the link to The Heritage Foundation to see the chart showing how they got that number.)  Meanwhile, the Democrats are working on passing a healthcare bill that will cost at least $848 billion over 10 years. 

Mr. Levin, I don’t think the War in Afghanistan is the major contributor to the spending problem. 

Investigating The Fort Hood Shootings

Yesterday’s Washington Examiner posted an article about the investigations into the Fort Hood shootings.  President Obama plans to have the FBI, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Pentagon, intelligence and other officials investigate the incident.  The goal is to see if there were some way the tragedy could have been averted.  Democrats in Congress have bowed to White House pressure and cancelled their investigation. 

The article points out:

“…administration declined to send anyone to a rogue congressional hearing on the matter Thursday. Sen. Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate homeland security committee, noted that —

“it will be very difficult to fulfill our committee’s responsibility without the cooperation of the executive branch.””

The Obama Administration is totally unwilling to cooperate with a Congressional investigation into the Fort Hood shootings.  Since the FBI and the military were evidently involved in keeping an eye on the shooter before the incident, it seems odd that they would be asked to investigate their reasons for not taking action.  This is one time that I think a thorough Congressional investigation is in order!

Altering The Numbers On Global Warming

One of the big stories on the internet yesterday was the story of a hacker who posted emails from Hadley Climatic Research Unit (CRU), Britain’s largest climate research institute.  The emails suggest that scientists were altering data in order to make sure they could prove global warming.

The story is all over the internet.  My two sources are Power Line and (for the scientific type who actually understands how this works) WattsUpWithThat, which has charts, graphs, and other scientific things.

It’s a simple story, but a very important one because of the timing.  Some of the people attending the upcoming meeting in Copenhagen had planned to use global warming as a reason to set up a ‘world authority’ that would have some control over every country on the planet.  National sovereignty was going to be negatively impacted by the need to control global warming.  If there is no need to control global warming, the concept of a ‘world administrator’ might not go over so well.

This is a copy of one of the emails posted at Power Line.


There is another email which talks about leaving a particular scientist out of the ‘loop’ because he might not be ‘as predictable as we’d like.”  That is no way to run a research unit!

Even if global warming is real, there is no evidence that man is responsible for it.  I believe we all need to take better care of Earth, but I also believe civilization can move forward while creating a ‘greener’ society.  I am not ready to give up my steak dinner to save the planet, because I do not believe that giving up my steak dinner will save the planet.  It might be healthier for me, but that is my choice–that decision shouldn’t come from someone in Copenhagen I have never met!  

Until the global warming types are willing to switch to nuclear power, drill offshore safely, and thoroughly research other sources of energy (rather than make emply claims of what those sources of energy will accomplish), I refuse to take them seriously. 

Climate Change Seems To Have Stalled

Yesterday Der Speigel reported that scientists are puzzled as to why global temperatures have stopped rising over the past ten years.  Maybe they are about to realize that we really don’t know all there is to know about what controls global temperatures. 

The article states:

“…not much is happening with global warming at the moment. The Earth’s
average temperatures have stopped climbing since the beginning of the
millennium, and it even looks as though global warming could come to a
standstill this year.

“Ironically, climate change appears to have stalled in the run-up to
the upcoming world summit in the Danish capital, where thousands of
politicians, bureaucrats, scientists, business leaders and
environmental activists plan to negotiate a reduction in greenhouse gas
emissions. Billions of euros are at stake in the negotiations.”

The thing to notice in this quote is that “Billions of euros are at stake in the negotiations.”  There is a move in some circles to make ‘carbon credits’ the new currency.  Many American politicians will make a lot of money if global warming regulations are put into effect.  The meeting in Copenhagen is not about climate–it’s about making the countries that have prospered give up their prosperity and give large amounts of money to poorer countries.  Many of the countries receiving the money have political structures in place that will allow the leaders of the country to become very rich while having no impact on either pollution or the general population in that country. 

The bottom line here is simple.  It is foolish to make drastic worldwide economic changes to combat a problem that may not even exist.  There have been climate cycles since the world began, there is no reason to doubt that these cycles will continue indefinitely.

Behind The Scenes Of Healthcare Legislation

Yesterday The Hill reported that the House of Representatives passed the Medicare “Doc Fix” by a vote of 243-183. 

According to the article:

“Despite a vow to offset any new spending, the Democratic measure would cost $210 billion over 10 years but does not include a “pay-for” in the bill.”

This part of healthcare legislation was passed separately from the major healthcare bill in order to make the “ObamaCare” bill appear to cost less than it actually does. 

Meanwhile, ABC News reported yesterday that “On page 432 of the Reid bill, there is a section increasing federal Medicaid subsidies for “certain states recovering from a major disaster.”  Translated into English, this means that Democrat Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, who has been hesitant to vote for the healthcare bill, now has to consider the fact that Louisiana will receive $100 million in additional Medicare subsidies if healthcare reform passes when she decides how to vote on this legislation.

The article at ABC News posted the language in the bill that would give Louisiana the $100 million.  That part of the proposed reform takes two pages.  It sort of makes you wonder what the other 2000 plus pages contain.

I guess it’s just more of the “Chicago Way.”

Why Women Need Access To Mammograms Before Age Fifty

Kimberly Hodgens-Smith is a friend of mine.  This is her story told in her own words.

In August 2006, I was 44 years old and attended my yearly physical exam. During that exam my physician examined my breasts while asking me if I performed self-exams. As she continued examining my breasts I responded “no if I did I’d be in here every other month scared out of my wits.” She informed me there was new research stating that self exams may not be very effective at detecting breast cancer and that mammograms were the most useful diagnostic tool doctors had. Three weeks later I went for my yearly mammogram at the regional hospital near my home at which time a lump was found. Of significance is that my experienced primary care physician did not detect this lump a few weeks earlier and it was only detected by the mammogram. I was concerned when the radiologist said I’d have to return for an ultrasound and I’d need a surgeon to perform a core biopsy. I’m aware that most benign cysts can be biopsied by the radiologist or ultrasound tech so the fact that a surgeon was being called in right away was alarming. I chose to get my follow up care and biopsy done at an advanced care hospital in Boston. On September 11, 2006 I was informed of my results by the radiologist that indeed I had stage 1 Infiltrating ductal carcinoma in situ a cancer that would need surgery. The week that I waited to meet with the surgeon who would do my lumpectomy was indeed the worst week of my life so far! In synopsis I ended up having a lumpectomy that did not have clear margins and then underwent a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. I’m not the kind of person who wants to look over their shoulder and I certainly did not want the terror of a cancer diagnosis to consume any more of my life than necessary. Fast forward to 2009 and the news that the government task force assigned to reinvent our medical cogs and wheels have announced the intention of putting off screening mammograms until the age 50 for women. If this policy were in effect today it is very likely that my cancer would be growing and spreading as I write. I have 3 more years until I reach the age 50 and would not have access to mammogram. I’d most likely be facing a stage 3 cancer at age 50 with a higher likelihood of fatality. While I’m thankful to be cancer free today, I am aware that breast cancer can recur at any time. It is not like other cancers where you reach a 5-year-all-clear mark. If this mammogram policy becomes a reality I wonder how many mothers, wives, and daughters we are going to endanger? I could never adjust to that kind of CHANGE.

Are There Conflicts Of Interest In The Justice Department Regarding The Trials Of Terrorists?

Today’s Washington Examiner posted an article by Byron York on Wednesday’s meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee and its discussion of terrorist trials.  During the meeting, Attorney General Eric Holder refused to reveal possible conflicts of interest involving Justice Department lawyers who, before joining the Obama administration, worked on behalf of Guatanamo detainees. 

According to the article, Senator Charles Grassley pointed out:

“I want to know more about who is advising you on these decisions. There are attorneys at the Justice Department working on this issue who either represented Guantanamo detainees, or worked for groups who advocated for them. This prior representation I think creates a conflict of interest problems for these individuals.”

The article concludes:

“…”Sen. Grassley expects Attorney General Holder to respond fully to all requests from committee members, including the important requests for ethics recusals discussed at today’s hearings,” a Grassley spokesman said after the hearing. “Those requests should be complete and timely.””

Some of the law firms Justice Department lawyers worked for before joining the Obama Administration will be representing terrorists in civilian trials.  These law firms would probably not be involved in military trials.  There is a major potential here for a conflict of interest.

The Actual Cost Of The Healthcare Bill In The Senate

According to today’s New York Post, the numbers we are hearing bandied about on the latest healthcare proposal are not quite revealing the entire picture.  According to the article:

“The Democrats cite the bills’ projected costs from 2010-19. Yet, as the Congressional Budget Office reports, the bill would cost just $9 billion total from 2010 through 2013 — versus $147 billion in 2016 alone. In the first 40 percent of what the Democrats are calling the bill’s “first 10 years,” only 1 percent of its costs would yet have hit.

“As the CBO analysis indicates, the bill’s real 10-year costs would start in 2014. And in its true first decade (2014 to 2023), CBO projects the bill’s costs to be $1.8 trillion — double the price Reid is advertising.”

The trick here is very simple.  If you beging to collect taxes to pay for healthcare starting in 2010 and don’t actually let the full program kick in until 2014, you have three years of taxes without services to make the overall cost of the bill appear lower.

The other major problem with Senator Reid’s healthcare bill is how it impacts cuts in doctors’ pay.  The article states, “The bill says it would cut payments to doctors for services to Medicare patients by 23 percent in 2011 — and never raise them back up, ever.”  If you were a doctor, would you be taking any more Medicare patients?

This is a bad bill and should be stopped in the Senate.  The bill that needs to be put forth will include tort reform, portability of health insurance across state lines, insurance pools for pre-existing conditions, and tax breaks to help lower income people afford health insurance.  None of these items are included in the present proposal.  We need less government interference in healthcare–not more.

The Perils Of Trying Terrorists In Civilian Courts

Williams Ayers was a domestic terrorist involved in the Weather Underground Organization that claimed responsibility for a dozen bombings between 1970 and 1974.  After he was acquitted of domestic terrorism charges in a civilian trial due to issues in evidence gathering, Bill Ayers stated, “Guilty as sin, free as a bird — what a country, America.”   Do we really need to do this again?

Learning From Experience

Today Yahoo News (via Associated Press) posted an article regarding another pirate attack on the Maersk Alabama today.  The owners of the Maersk Alabama have evidently learned from their experience in April–the pirates were fought off by private guards on board who fired off guns and a high-decibel noise device.

According to the article:

“However, Roger Middleton, a piracy expert at the London-based think
tank Chatham House, said the international maritime community was still
“solidly against” armed guards aboard vessels at sea, but that American
ships have taken a different line than the rest of the international

Shipping companies are still pretty much overwhelmingly opposed to the idea of armed guards,” Middleton said. “Lots of private security companies
employee people who don’t have maritime experience. Also, there’s the
idea that it’s the responsibility of states and navies to provide
security. I would think it’s a step backward if we start privatizing
security of the shipping trade.”

There is something in the American make-up that defends private property.  It is my opinion that the concept of defending yourself has been lost in a large portion of the rest of the world.  The ship escaped capture because the security forces were on board–they were not saved by naval ships in the area.  They avoided capture because of having people on board who thwarted the attack. 

Thank goodness that the owners of the ship took the precautions they did to avoid a repeat of what happened in April!

Why President Obama Needs To Be A One-Term President

Yesterday at Power Line posted an article by Paul Mirengoff concerning President Obama’s embracing of the International Criminal Court (ICC).   The Obama Administration has decided that the U.S. will participate in a conference with the members of this court.   Stephen Rapp, the U.S. Ambassador at large for war crimes, has stated, however, that we do not plan to join the ICC in the near future. 

The worrisome aspect of this is that we are involved in a war on terror with people who do not play by any rules.  This might put us in the position of being judged for our conduct in that war by people who favor the terrorists or favor the demise of the United States.  If President Obama is elected to a second term, he will probably join the ICC.  He is not politically stupid enough to join in his first term.  This is further evidence of the lack of understanding of this President of the importance of American sovereignty over ‘global government.’

Leggo My Eggo

In a world of serious news and major political stories, this item might be overlooked, but to some of us, it is very important.  Yesterday The Christian Science Monitor reported that there will be a shortage of Eggo waffles in the grocery stores until mid 2010.  The shortage of Eggos is due to a summer flood at Kellogg’s Atlanta factory and equipment problems at a Rossville, Tennessee, plant. This is serious–Eggos represent 73 percent of the frozen waffle market.

The market for frozen breakfast foods grew 6 percent last year.  The fastest growing part of the frozen breakfast food market is frozen breakfast muffins.  The shortage of Eggos may increase the growth of frozen breakfast muffins in the frozen breakfast food market. 

The growth of the frozen food breakfast market is a reflection of a few things going on in our society.  As wives struggle to balance career and family, frozen breakfast foods offer a lower-sugar alternative to some of the popular breakfast cereals.  For single people, the convenience and portion control are a plus. 

Hopefully, we will get our normal supply of Eggos back by July!

Should All Americans Be Required To Own Guns?

Today’s Washington Post posted an article with an interesting proposal.  Al Home suggests that if Congress can pass a law to require all Americans to purchase health insurance, they should consider passing a law requiring all Americans to own guns.  The article points out that in 2008 more than 250 million guns were owned by U.S. citizens.  When President Obama was elected, there was a surge in gun sale, resulting in approximately 260 million guns in a population of nearly 309 million.  The article concludes that there may be more than 100 million citizens left unprotected against their gun-owning fellow citizens.

The article states:

“Surely everyone can agree that this is an outrage. Moreover, it is an
outrage that Congress can easily fix, without months of committee
meetings, town halls or tea parties. All that is required is a
bipartisan, pro-constitutional bill to extend the Second Amendment’s
protection of gun ownership to all Americans, whether they like it or

This is an interesting idea.  At least the concept of gun ownership is in the Constitution, and I am sure there might be a few Republicans willing to make this a bi-partisan bill!

The article in the Washington Post is a good reminder of how ridiculous it is to require all Americans to purchase health insurance (with the threat of fines and jail time if they do not comply).  Hopefully, Congress is paying attention.

Allow Our Soldiers To Defend Themselves Or Bring Them Home

Yesterday’s Washington Times posted an article about the rules of engagement set in place by General McChrystal in order to limit civilian casualties. 

According to the article, these are some of the rules:

No night or surprise searches

ANA or ANP must accompany U.S. units on searches

U.S. soldiers may not fire at the enemy unless the enemy is preparing to fire first

U.S. forces cannot engage the enemy if civilians are present

Troops can fire at an insurgent if they catch him placing an IED but
not if insurgents are walking away from an area where explosives have
been laid

Only women can search women

The only one of these rules that makes sense to me is the last one.  It is a noble concept to want to limit civilian casualties during war, but it makes no sense to have only one side following these rules.  In World War II, the allies made decisions that killed civilians in order to win the war.  Dresden was one such decision.  Allowing the Germans to  bomb a British city after the allies had broken the enigma code was another.  The military believed that to evacuate the British city would have shown that the allies had broken the code, so they allowed the people to remain in harm’s way.  War is an ugly thing, and innocent people do get killed, but I can guarantee that if the Taliban regains Afghanistan, there will be a greater number of innocent people killed than would be killed in protecting the country.  Saddam Hussein killed more innocent people during his time as leader of Iraq than were killed in the Iraq war.

If we are not willing to let our soldiers fight the war we have sent them to fight and to defend themselves against a proven enemy, we need to bring them home.  One of the problems of Viet Nam was the rules of engagement.  We don’t need to make that mistake again.

The Government Website On Stimulus

The Freedom Foundation Of Minnesota posted a report evaluating the federal government stimulus tracking website report on Minnesota.  The government website reports that 35 jobs have been saved or created as a result of $404,340 in stimulus spending in Minnesota’s 57th congressional district.   According to the government website, in Minnesota’s 27th congressional district 2.5 jobs have been created at a cost of $3,159,657.  In the 13th congressional district 5 jobs were created at a cost of $42,109.  Aside from the obvious high cost of some of those jobs, this sounds like good news, but evidently the government website didn’t bother to fact-check its numbers–the 13th, 27th and 57th congressional districts in Minnesota do not exist,  Minnesota has a total of eight congressional districts.

As concerned citizens we need to keep track of where the stimulus money is going.  Our government should be required to give us accurate information on that subject. 

Just a note–according to the website, only 58% of the stimulus money has been awarded and only 13% actually received.  What are we waiting for?  Why not just give the money back to the taxpayers and let them grow the economy?

Senior Citizens And Healthcare

The Washington Post reported yesterday on a study done by Richard S. Foster of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  The non-partisan report stated that the provision in the healthcare legislation proposed that cuts more than $500 billion from future Medicare spending would reduce benefits for some seniors and jeopardize access to medical care for others.  That is a rather obvious conclusion.  The legislation plans to add more than 30 million people to the ranks of the insured, many of them through Medicaid, at the same time it plans to cut the amount of spending on Medicare and Medicaid.  They are increasing the number of people served while cutting the amount of money available.  That’s bad enough, but they are doing it at the time when the baby boomers are reaching Medicare age.  This makes no sense at all.

The article points out:

“In its most recent analysis of the House bill, the CBO noted that Medicare spending per beneficiary would have to grow at roughly half the rate it has over the past two decades to meet the measure’s savings targets, a dramatic reduction that many budget and health policy experts consider unrealistic.”

The only realistic way to cut spending per beneficiary is to reduce services and care available.  The only way to maintain the level of care and add 30 million people is to spend more money.  This healthcare bill has the potential to be very expensive.  According to Republicans, the report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services forecasts an increase in spending of $289 billion.  The Democrats argue that the increase in costs will be offset by ‘Medicare savings.’  I guess I wonder why if all these ‘Medicare savings’ are there, we have not taken advantage of them before.

Opposing A Congressional Investigation Of The Fort Hood Shooting

Today’s New York Post posted an editorial by Dick Morris & Eileen McGann on President Obama’s opposition to a Congressional investigation into the shooting at Fort Hood.  He stated that we must “resist the temptation to turn this tragic event into political theater.”  This remark was made at the same time he is creating “political theater” in New York City by putting Khalid Sheikh Mohammed on trial there.  The trial in New York City will provide a goldmine of information to terrorists on how we collect information and how our anti-terrorism apparatus works.  A Congressional investigation into Fort Hood will not compromise our safety in any way.  Why does President Obama oppose it?

The editorial in the New York Post theorizes:

“Obama and his handlers know that the key to building favorable ratings is to control the agenda. And the more the national discussion centers on national security and terrorism, the more Republicans gain. So the Fort Hood terror attack comes at an awful time for an administration trying to turn the nation’s attention away from the terrorist threat….And, as evidence mounts that the FBI was on to Major Nidal Malik Hasan for years, the president is doing his best to stop Congress from finding out why these warnings went unheeded.” 

The attack at Fort Hood caught people in authority not heeding warnings.  No administration wants their shortcomings exposed, but in a democracy, that exposure is required (with the hopes of avoiding a repeat mistake).

The article suggests that President Obama has an agenda in bringing terrorist trials to New York:

“As he (President Obama) likely decides to send more troops to Afghanistan and eyes abandoning the “public option” to secure Senate passage of his health-care plan, Obama has to rebuild his credibility on the left. A public circus that focuses on waterboarding and interrogations could be just what he wants and needs.”

Politics may win elections, but it does nothing to keep our country safe.

Something To Consider As State And Federal Taxes Rise

Today’s Washington Examiner posted an editorial suggesting that we ban government employee unions. 

According to Department of Labor statistics released in January 2009, about 40 percent of government workers (at the federal, state, and local levels) are represented by unions.  The union membership in the private sector is less than 10 percent.

The problem is the conflict between the union’s goal of increasing pay and benefits for its workers and the local, state, and federal governments’ need to stop the spiraling tax rates needed to cover the additional cost.

Unions began as a way to prevent companies from taking advantage of their workers.  They were needed and accomplished many worthwhile things.  Now they have become those corporations, and no one is holding them accountable.  Union leaders have incomes and benefits that would make Wall Street blush.  Union money is routinely given to political parties without the consent of the union members.  The unions have become as corrupt as the corporations they once sought to clean up. 

The article at the Washington Examiner does not mention the unsavory connection between the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).  This is another reason to examine the relationship between unions and government employees.

Is It Wise To Bring Terrorists To New York On Purpose?

The National Review Online posted an editorial by its editors on Saturday on bringing al-Qaeda terrorists to New York.  Andrew McCarthy posted an article at Nationa Review’s The Corner on Friday on the same subject.

The editors of National Review reminds us that treating terror as a law-enforcement issue was one of the problems of the 1990’s.  The article points out:

“While the champions of this (law enforcement) approach stress that prosecutors scored a 100 percent conviction rate, they conveniently omit mention of the paltry number of cases (less than three dozen, mostly against low-level terrorists, over an eight-year period, despite numerous attacks), as well as the rigorous due-process burdens that made prosecution of many terrorists impossible, the daunting disclosure and witness-confrontation rules that required government to disclose mountains of intelligence, the gargantuan expense of “hardening” courthouses and prisons to protect juries and judges, and the terrorists’ exploitation of legal privileges to plot additional attacks and escape attempts.”

Bringing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) to New York City will break the ice in making it easier to move the remaining Guantanamo terrorists into this country.  These are not American citizens, and yet we are transferring them to America and giving them the rights of the citizens they tried to kill. 

The argument for this insanity is that it will make us safer.  We need to remember that after following the course of treating terrorists as common criminals in the 1990’s, we were rewarded with the September 11th attacks. 

Andrew McCarthy points out:

“Let’s take stock of where we are at this point. KSM and his confederates wanted to plead guilty and have their martyrs’ execution last December, when they were being handled by military commission. As I said at the time, we could and should have accommodated them. The Obama administration could still accommodate them. After all, the president has not pulled the plug on all military commissions: Holder is going to announce at least one commission trial (for Nashiri, the Cole bomber) today.”

Mr. McCarthy points out that if the military commissions are going to continue, there really is no reason to bring KSM to New York for trial other than to open the gates for a trial of the Bush Administration.  I understand that politics is not a friendly business, but I feel strongly that the Obama Administration and the Democrats are putting politics ahead of national security.  These trials will be a serious blow to America’s ability to defend herself.

“The Chicago Way” Takes Over Washington, D. C.

Every now and then I post an article that I do not fully understand.  This is one of those times.  Although the details of this are confusing to me, I am posting it because what is being done here is important.

Thursday’s Washington Examiner posted an article entitled, “Obama to weed out Bush political appointees who careered in; Establishes new political test for career jobs.”  The article explains that John Berry, President Obama’s director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), has issued a new directive that will introduce politics into the hiring process of civil servants.  The OPM was originally created to end the practice of civil service jobs being used for political rewards.  Now it is being used to make sure people who have ideas contrary to President Obama do not get those jobs.  This is done indirectly by using a time restriction.  Please read the entire article to get the details of what is at work here.

The article points out:

“…if you worked for President Bush in the executive branch at any time during his second term in the White House, you may not be approved. The same applies if you worked for a Republican Member of Congress at any point during the past five years.

“Amazingly, even Berry had to acknowledge in his directive that political appointees cannot be barred from career positions because of their political views. The whole point of the career service, after all, is to insure that federal workers are hired on the basis of merit, not their political views.”

One of the things that bothers me about the Obama Administration is the way it deals with people who have ideas that are different from their ideas.  This is another example of that mindset.  Part of the strength of democracy is the free discussion of opposing ideas.  I am not sure that concept is allowed under this administration.

The American Press

This is not original, and I do not know who wrote it, but it really points out the concept of how “spin” can influence how a story is told.


“A Harley biker is riding by the zoo in Washington, DC, when he sees a  little girl leaning into the lion’s cage. Suddenly, the lion grabs her by the  cuff of her jacket and tries to pull her inside to slaughter her, under the  eyes of her screaming parents.
The biker jumps off his Harley, runs to  the cage and hits the lion square on the nose with a powerful punch.  
Whimpering from the pain the lion jumps back letting go of the girl,  and the biker brings her to her terrified parents, who thank him endlessly. A  reporter has watched the whole event.
The reporter addressing the  Harley rider says, ‘Sir, this was the most gallant and brave thing I’ve seen a  man do in my whole life.’
The Harley rider replies, ‘Why, it was  nothing, really, the lion was behind bars. I just saw this little kid in  danger and acted as I felt right.’
The reporter says, ‘Well, I’ll make  sure this won’t go unnoticed. I’m a journalist, you know, and tomorrow’s paper  will have this story on the front page… So, what do you do for a living and  what political affiliation do you have?’
The biker replies, ‘I’m a  U.S.. Marine and a Republican.’ The journalist leaves.
The following  morning the biker buys the paper to see if it indeed brings news of his  actions, and reads, on the front page:

That pretty much sums up the media’s approach to the news these days.”

I Know This Is Controversial, But…

Yesterday’s Boston Herald posted an article about the move to require Bay State drivers 75 and older to pass a mental and physical test to renew their license.  I know 75 is the new 50 (or whatever), but elderly drivers (and their families) cannot always be depended upon to judge when an elderly driver should give up the privilege of driving.  I myself plan to be cruising around in my Mustang convertible when I am 99 years old, but I also have to admit that that may not be a realistic idea.

The article points out:

“Deborah Banda, director for AARP of Massachusetts, said the elder-advocate group has been meeting with lawmakers to complain about the arbitrary age cutoff: “We need to get unsafe drivers of all ages off the road.”

“Pressure to pass stricter rules for elderly drivers skyrocketed this year following several deadly accidents, including one that killed a 4-year-old Stoughton girl crossing the street and another that crushed a Weymouth police officer against a utility truck.”

There are a lot of side issues involved in the question of elderly drivers.  Is this age discrimination?  If families lived closer together and were more involved, would the elderly need to drive?  If public transportation were better, would the elderly need to drive?  My town has a senior citizens bus which transports people various places during the day, do more towns need buses like that?  How does our society regard the elderly and their need to feel useful and independent?

Public safety should be the overriding issue in this debate.  I don’t like the idea of setting an arbitrary age for testing elderly drivers, but I think this may be an idea whose time has come.

Does A Democracy Have The Right To Defend Itself?

Today Reuters is reporting that five of the detainees at Guantanamo are being sent to New York City for trial.  The detainees include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who will now be tried in a civilian court instead of a military tribunal.  The majority of the people detained at Guantanamo were captured on the battlefield.  They are generally not American citizens, and there is no reason to give them the civil rights of American citizens.  Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has admitted to being one of the planners of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.  He is an admitted terrorist.  Why should he be entitled be tried in the civilian justice system of the country he was trying to destroy?  What kind of a trial did he give Daniel Pearl before he slit his throat?

Keep in mind that the blind sheikh,Omar Abdel-Rahman, was put in prison for the first World Trade Center bombing.  When he sat in prison, plans were made to do the job again.  Putting him in prison was not a deterrent to terrorists planning future operations in America. 

The article reports:

“(Attorney General) Holder said that he would authorize prosecutors to seek the death
penalty against the five accused of the September 11 attacks and that
they would be held at a federal detention facility in New York.

“The decisions about the terrorism suspects came as Obama’s top
lawyer, Gregory Craig, who was charged with leading the White House’s
troubled effort to close Guantanamo, announced his resignation Friday.”

The fallout of the decision to try the Guantanamo detainees in civilian courts will unfold within the next two to five years.  It will include World Court trials of the members of the Bush Administration who worked so hard to keep our country safe.  As this unfolds, we can expect to find ourselves asking the question, “Does Democracy have the right to defend itself?”

A Reason To Vote Against Anyone Who Votes For National Healthcare

Yesterday at Hot Air, Ed Morrissey reported on an answer given by Representative Nancy Pelosi in an interview regarding the healthcare bill the House of Representatives just passed.  Here is the exchange:

“Stone: Do you think it’s fair to send people to jail who don’t buy health insurance?

“Pelosi: … The legislation is very fair in this respect.”

There is nothing I can add to that.  Please follow the link and read the entire article.

The Word That Comes To Mind Is “Chutzpah”

Today’s New York Post notes that the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) is suing the federal government for cutting off their funds following the video scandal involving trafficking in the underage sex trade.  ACORN claims that it was unfair of the government to cut off funds “without an investigation”, and according to the Post “has asked a federal judge in Brooklyn to immediately reinstate the funding to its housing program.”

According to the article:

“The suit, filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights, claims poor people will suffer due to the lack of funding.

“ACORN, which is based in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, has received approximately $53 million in federal aid since 1994.”

I guess the question I have is, “How many poor people have actually been helped by that $53 million in federal aid, and how much of it has used in ways the taxpayers would not approve of?”

Anyway, lets see what the federal judge in Brooklyn does with this case!