June 30, 2007

Al Gore's Assault On Truth

The inconvenient truth is that science contradicts what he claims on more than a few points.

Many of the assertions Gore makes in his movie, ''An Inconvenient Truth,'' have been refuted by science, both before and after he made them. Gore can show sincerity in his plea for scientific honesty by publicly acknowledging where science has rebutted his claims.

For example, Gore claims that Himalayan glaciers are shrinking and global warming is to blame. Yet the September 2006 issue of the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate reported, "Glaciers are growing in the Himalayan Mountains, confounding global warming alarmists who recently claimed the glaciers were shrinking and that global warming was to blame."

Gore claims the snowcap atop Africa's Mt. Kilimanjaro is shrinking and that global warming is to blame. Yet according to the November 23, 2003, issue of Nature magazine, "Although it's tempting to blame the ice loss on global warming, researchers think that deforestation of the mountain's foothills is the more likely culprit. Without the forests' humidity, previously moisture-laden winds blew dry. No longer replenished with water, the ice is evaporating in the strong equatorial sunshine."

Gore claims global warming is causing more tornadoes. Yet the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated in February that there has been no scientific link established between global warming and tornadoes.

Gore claims global warming is causing more frequent and severe hurricanes. However, hurricane expert Chris Landsea published a study on May 1 documenting that hurricane activity is no higher now than in decades past. Hurricane expert William Gray reported just a few days earlier, on April 27, that the number of major hurricanes making landfall on the U.S. Atlantic coast has declined in the past 40 years. Hurricane scientists reported in the April 18 Geophysical Research Letters that global warming enhances wind shear, which will prevent a significant increase in future hurricane activity.

Gore claims global warming is causing an expansion of African deserts. However, the Sept. 16, 2002, issue of New Scientist reports, "Africa's deserts are in 'spectacular' retreat . . . making farming viable again in what were some of the most arid parts of Africa."

Gore argues Greenland is in rapid meltdown, and that this threatens to raise sea levels by 20 feet. But according to a 2005 study in the Journal of Glaciology, "the Greenland ice sheet is thinning at the margins and growing inland, with a small overall mass gain." In late 2006, researchers at the Danish Meteorological Institute reported that the past two decades were the coldest for Greenland since the 1910s.

Gore claims the Antarctic ice sheet is melting because of global warming. Yet the Jan. 14, 2002, issue of Nature magazine reported Antarctica as a whole has been dramatically cooling for decades. More recently, scientists reported in the September 2006 issue of the British journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Series A: Mathematical, Physical, and Engineering Sciences, that satellite measurements of the Antarctic ice sheet showed significant growth between 1992 and 2003. And the U.N. Climate Change panel reported in February 2007 that Antarctica is unlikely to lose any ice mass during the remainder of the century.

Now Al Gwhore and his supporters claim that there is a consensus behind his claims -- but either he is lying or he believes that "consensus" trumps truth. It may be inconvenient, but it is time for him to tell the truth.

UPDATE: Al Gore conveniently avoids correcting his errors/lies in this NY Times column -- I guess he believes that an assault on a inconvenient truths is OK if Earth's in the balance.

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Pelosi Blames Democrat-Approved Tactics In Senate For Failure Of Democratic Agenda

But it is really all the fault of the Republicans for not rolling over and playing dead, you see.

The problem for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi isn't just President Bush. It's the Senate.

Pelosi sounded more apologetic than celebratory Friday when she announced with her Senate counterpart, Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democrats' list of accomplishments six months after they seized control of Capitol Hill and promised "a new direction" in Washington.

"I'm not happy with Congress, either," Pelosi, of San Francisco, conceded.

She pinned the blame on "the obstructionism of the Republicans in the United States Senate."

Immigration has joined Iraq, stem cell research, Medicare drug pricing, the 9/11 Commission's recommendations and other promises in the dustbin of the current Congress. Heading into a July Fourth recess after a bruising failure on immigration, Congress has a public approval rating in the mid-20s, lower than Bush's and no better than Republicans' ratings on the eve of their catastrophic election defeat in November, when the GOP lost control of the Senate and the House.

Seems rather hypocritical to me -- after all, this is the woman who promised "bi-partisanship" but has never tried to deliver on that -- and is faulting the GOP for daring to use some tactics that ought to be familiar to both her and the mobbed-up Senate Majority Leader who was standing beside her as she delivered her comments.

"The Republicans are doing what the Democrats did," said Julian Zelizer, a history and public affairs scholar at Boston University. "They're using the power of the Senate filibuster, and the power in the House when you have narrow majorities, to make a do-nothing Congress -- even when there's a lot of issues on the table, even when there's a lot of interest in accomplishing things."

In other words, she is angry that the GOP would dare use the powers that the Democrats insisted upon as a matter of right when they were in the minority. I believe that the proper response is "Payback's a bitch -- and so are you, Nancy."

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June 28, 2007

More Impeachment Nonsense

Seems like the chattering class is having wet-dreams about getting rid of Dick Cheney. In the latest example, we have a call to impeach Cheney over what amount to policy differences and questions of style. But the problem with the argument is that it really is less a case for impeaching the vice president than it is for impeaching President Bush.

The Constitution does not expressly forbid the president from abandoning his chief powers to the vice president. But President Bush's tacit delegation to Cheney and Cheney's eager acceptance tortures the Constitution's provision for an acting president. The presidency and vice presidency are discrete constitutional offices. The 12th Amendment provides for their separate elections. The sole constitutionally enumerated function of the vice president is to serve as president of the Senate without a vote except to break ties.

In contrast, Article II enumerates the powers and responsibilities of the president, including the obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. A special presidential oath is prescribed. Section 3 of the 25th Amendment provides a method for the president to yield his office to the vice president, when "he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office." There is no other constitutional provision for transferring presidential powers to the vice president.

Yet without making a written transmittal to Congress, President Bush has ceded vast domains of his powers to Vice President Cheney by mutual understanding that circumvents the 25th Amendment. This constitutional provision assures that the public and Congress know who is exercising the powers of the presidency and who should be held responsible for successes or failures. The Bush-Cheney dispensation blurs political accountability by continually hiding the real decision-maker under presidential skirts. The Washington Post has thoroughly documented the vice president's dominance in a four-part series running this week. It is quite a read.

In the end, President Bush regularly is unable to explain or defend the policies of his own administration, and that is because the heavy intellectual labor has been performed in the office of the vice president. Cheney is impeachable for his overweening power and his sneering contempt of the Constitution and the rule of law.

The problem, of course, with this argument is that the President DOES have the power to delegate executive authority to a wide array of advisers and appointees -- indeed, the presidency has never been a one man job, hence the need for the Cabinet and a White House staff larger than many small towns If a president (any president) can delegate to appointed and/or civil service employees, then surely a delegation to the elected Vice President is not forbidden by custom, law, or the Constitution itself.

Fein, of course, rightly recognizes that George W. Bush would never be impeached -- and certainly not removed, by the Democrats in Congress. So instead he proposes going after Cheney, who is truly despised by the Left. The problem is that any removal that might come to pass under this scenario would result in the appointment of a new Vice President by George W. Bush -- one who must be confirmed by the Democrats unless they wish to look supremely arrogant in their attempt to overturn the results of the 2004 presidential election by disrupting the line of succession to clear the way for Nancy Pelosi to take the presidency.

SO who would be the likely nominee for VP in such a scenario? I could think of several individuals who would frighten the crap out of the Dems -- Condi Rice, Newt Gingrich, or another respected conservative -- who would suddenly be thrust into the position of front-runner for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination. Faced with an incumbent VP, one with a great deal of good will from his or her recent elevation to the new office, the chances of the Democrats electing one of their own would be greatly diminished.

So come on, Cheney-haters -- take your best shot. Anything you do will serve to strengthen the GOP

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June 27, 2007

The Market At Work In Houston Talk Radio

No doubt this will be Exhibit A on the need for the Fairness Doctrine in the eyes of local Democrats.

Filling in for conservative talk-show host Michael Berry Tuesday morning, Houston lawyer Geoff Berg was direct with KPRC radio's listeners.

"I am a moderate," he announced. "Michael is a right-wing fanatic. We are going to disagree."

He was on point.

Listeners — and apparently advertisers — disagreed so much that KPRC/950 AM fired Berg after one day on the job, ending his brief stint as a talk-radio host.

"Right after the show, the producers told me that I'd done a great job as host," Berg said Wednesday.

"(But) later in the day, they said don't come back."

Berg's defense of gay marriage and adoption displeased KPRC listeners, many of whom were used to Berry's more conservative take on social and political issues.

"There were truly some vicious calls, but that's fine," he said. "That's what you'd expect in this business."

In this case, it was clearly market forces that knocked Berg off the air. And while I consider that to be too bad (and wish I had put him on when I ran out for breakfast this morning), I also believe that this is how it is supposed to work -- if the audience does not want a host, the station should not keep him around.

On the other hand, there are those who think radio listeners are little children who must be fed their broccoli, and would insist that Berg have a regular spot on KPRC in order to make sure that the station is "balanced" -- even if the listeners don't care to hear what Berg has to say, they need to swallow what Mama says is good for them before they are allowed to consume what they want.

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Get A Refund

From the fine folks over at GayPatriot.

PatriotPartner (John) wanted me to pass along some news to all of you who used to support the Republican Party before the Party left us and sold out America’s national security and citizenship to illegal invaders.

He called the Republican National Committee today and they are, in fact, giving him a refund of the entire amount of his donations to the party in the past twelve months. He also tells me that the RNC staffer is getting a lot of refund calls this week.

So now it is your turn to join in the cash-out of the Republican Party. CALL NOW!

Republican National Committee - 202-863-8500
National Republican Senatorial Committee - 202-675-6000
National Republican Congressional Committee - 202-479-7000

CALL FOR YOUR REFUND NOW!

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Dems Move Towards Airwave Censorship Bill

After all, government can’t be letting the people decide what they want to hear, can we?

Democratic leaders say that government has a compelling interest to ensure that listeners are properly informed.

“It’s time to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). “I have this old-fashioned attitude that when Americans hear both sides of the story, they’re in a better position to make a decision.”

Now let’s take a look at that argument – the “compelling interest” standard has been used by the courts to allow exceptions to the First Amendment in the past – and not just in the case of broadcast media. Does the government also have “a compelling interest to ensure that” readers of newspapers, magazines, and websites are also “properly informed”? What Durbin has proposed here is nothing less than a standard that would allow the federal government to censor all media in the name of ensuring that We the People are “properly informed” – according to our Lords and Masters with the federal government.

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June 26, 2007

Ron Paul Swings Round The Bend

Well, this one is loony even for Ron Paul.

New Hampshire's convicted tax evaders Ed and Elaine Brown have gained a new supporter: presidential hopeful Ron Paul.

In an interview with RogueGovernment.com, the Texas congressman compares the Browns to Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Junior. He says the Browns are suffering like those leaders.

The Browns are holed up in their Plainfield, New Hampshire home and have threatened violence against federal officials if marshals come to arrest them. They were convicted of an elaborate scheme to hide millions of dollars in income. Their protest has become a rallying cry for anti-tax activists and militia members.

So now it appears that the renegade Republican has sided with convicted felons who threaten to murder law enforcement officials who attempt to take them into custody. This is support for terrorism by any other name -- if true.

However, Ron Paul denies that it is true.

Texas Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul said he did not compare a New Hampshire couple who refuses to pay taxes with Ghandi.

On Fox News Channel today, Paul said he doesn't know much about the case of Ed and Elaine Brown on Plainfield, N.H. but that he, like Ghandi, doesn't believe in violence to protest wrongs and it has appeared that the Browns have chosen another path.

I've not seen the interview, but I wouldn't be surprised if the initial report is true. After all, the site with the original interview describes it as follows.

Lee Rogers interviews Congressman and Presidential candidate Ron Paul about a myriad of issues in this interview. Lee discusses the following topics with Dr. Paul in this half hour interview.

Abolishing the Federal Reserve and the IRS, the restoration of honest money, the plunge protection team, the government standoff with Ed and Elaine Brown over the income tax, the broken health care system, abolishing big government agencies, the CIA/NSA, global government, the New World Order, the North American Union, semi-secretive organizations like the Council on Foreign Relations, American imperialism around the world, the billion dollar embassy being built in Iraq, the fraud of the global war on terror, illegal immigration, the move to tax and regulate the Internet by the establishment, the coming world ID system, the move towards fascism in America, the possibility of martial law being declared in the United States, the prospects of a new independent investigation into the attacks of 9/11 as well as the prospect of impeaching George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

In other words, Paul is associating with the radical fringe of the conspiracy movement. I think giving the interview to this fellow should be reason enough to disqualify Ron Paul from any serious consideration as a candidate -- especially given that it is incredibly easy to believe that the initial press report is true. After all, given the fact that Ron Paul gives aid and comfort to 9/11 conspiracy theorists and Truthers, would you really be all that surprised if he did come out in support of the Browns?

Fortunately, we at the national level have other choices besides Ron Paul. And in Texas CD14, GOP primary voters have the opportunity to replace Paul with Friendswood City Counncilman Chris Peden.

Posted by: Greg at 03:42 PM | Comments (20) | Add Comment
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Journalist And Political Donations

Last week, MSNBC did a piece on the political contributions of journalists -- and noted that they are overwhelmingly to left-wing politicians and causes. Now personally, I have no problem with such donations if they are disclosed. After all, journalists are Americans (though I'd argue many are rather unAmerican) and have a right to participate in our political system.

Indeed, I agree with Randy Cohen, whose column, "The Ethicist" is syndicated by the New York Times.

Cohen had given $585 to MoveOn.org in 2004, when it was organizing get-out-the-vote efforts to defeat Bush. Cohen at first told MSNBC.com that he thought of donating to MoveOn.org as no more out of bounds than giving to the Boy Scouts.

"We admire those colleagues who participate in their communities — help out at the local school, work with Little League, donate to charity," Cohen said in an e-mail. "But no such activity is or can be non-ideological. Few papers would object to a journalist donating to the Boy Scouts or joining the Catholic Church. But the former has an official policy of discriminating against gay children; the latter has views on reproductive rights far more restrictive than those of most Americans. Should reporters be forbidden to support those groups? I’d say not."

Now I'd argue that his slanted comments against the Boy Scouts and borderline-bigoted comments about the Catholic Church show some other reasons why he probably isn't fit for the field of journalism or a column of the sort he writes (aside from the fact he has no formal training in ethics), he is essentially right. In a society that values expressive speech, why should those who speak for a living be banned from speaking as private individuals?

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June 25, 2007

Richardson: Abortion Is A SCOTUS Litmus Test

Republicans are often asked if opposition to Roe v. Wade is a litmus test in the selection of judges. In light of these comments by Gov. Bill Richardson establishing a litmus test for judicial nominees, other Democrats be asked if support of that bloody precedent is a litmus test for the selection of future Supreme Court justices in a Democratic administration?

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said Friday that if he is elected president, he would use abortion as a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees, rejecting candidates who don't support the 1973 decision legalizing abortion.

"I know that I am going to upset some people," Richardson said. "I would say, 'Do you believe Roe v. Wade is settled law?' and if they say, 'Yes,' they have a good chance of being picked. If they say 'No,' I will not pick them."

Dred Scot v. Sanford and Plessy v. Ferguson were both beloved precedents for Democrats in their day, and considered "settled law" by that party before they were overturned. Richardson therefore fits well in the tradition of his party in establishing a litmus test in support of a decision that says some human beings are less equal than others under the US Constitution.

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McCain Out By Fall?

It appears that John McCains time is past.

THE former presidential front-runner, John McCain, may drop out of the 2008 race by September if his fundraising dries up and his poll ratings continue to drop, according to Republican insiders.

The speculation, vigorously denied by McCain’s camp, is sweeping Republican circles after a disastrous few weeks in which the principled Arizona senator has clashed with the party’s conservative base on immigration and also alienated independent voters by backing President George W Bush’s troop surge in Iraq.

Randy Pullen, chairman of the Arizona Republican party, said: “He’s a battler, so I’d expect him to carry on, but everyone is waiting to see what his new fundraising totals are. That’s pretty critical. If he doesn’t have the money, he won’t be able to run.”

The second fundraising quarter for candidates closes at the end of June and McCain’s results should be known by mid-July.

The interesting question is this -- if McCain does leave the presidential race, how does his support break? Does it fracture, or go as a block t one of the other candidates -- possibly raising a second-tier candidate's profile or putting one of the front-runners into a commanding lead?

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June 24, 2007

Reid's Office Gets Buddy A Vegas Hook-Up

Next time you are in Vegas waiting in a long line, why don't you give Harry Reid's office a call? They will get you VIP service and a complimentary upgrade!

The July/August issue of The Atlantic magazine includes a profile of Harlan Coben, author of 16 best-selling crime novels. The article identifies some of Coben's celebrity friends, including television host Bryant Gumbel, rock musician Nils Lofgren and Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.

* * *

The article's author, Eric Konigsberg, reports that he accompanied Coben on a book-signing tour that stopped in Las Vegas. He describes a telling scene:

"When we arrived at our hotel, the Luxor, the check-in line looked as if it would take 45 minutes," Konigsberg writes. "Coben e-mailed Reid's office, and it took about a minute for a secretary to call the hotel and arrange for a VIP check-in and a room upgrade."

Hmm. Now, we all know how things work in Las Vegas. The more money you have, the better treatment you receive. Few people around here really argue with that, right?

But this Harlan Coben scenario is a little different.

First, we have this novelist, who lives in New Jersey, securing a favor from Reid's office. Clearly, Coben was made aware sometime in advance of this incident that if he contacted the senator's office, any problems he encountered in Las Vegas would be taken care of. Is this a common activity at Reid HQ? Who else is Nevada's senior casino host helping out in this way? Coben may seem fairly harmless, but what about others who have benefited from Reid's succor?

Second, we have somebody in Reid's office dropping everything to place a call to the Luxor to fix an inconvenience experienced by the senator's friend. Is it possible that Reid's staffers might have more important things to do than ensure VIP treatment for a New Jersey-based novelist?

Third, we have the folks at the Luxor, an MGM Mirage property, immediately bending over to provide special treatment to Reid's buddy. What does this say about the relationship between Reid and the state's dominant industry? Doesn't this suggest something more than an arm's-length association? What does the casino expect in exchange for helping out Reid's friend?

I'm curious -- since when is it the role of Congressional staffers to "hook up" the friends their bosses? And what do the folks who do these favors for staffers expect to get in return? Seems like an ethics violation to me -- because after all, isn't the appearance of impropriety an impropriety? Or is that standard only for Republicans?

Posted by: Greg at 06:11 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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June 22, 2007

What's The Deal Here?

The headline makes it pretty clear -- the story is about the president's energy proposal.

Bush touts proposal to cut back on gas

So why is this the opening paragraph?

It must take a lot for President Bush to cancel out on raising campaign cash for a fellow Republican.

In fact, the first FIFTEEN PARAGRAPHS are devoted to the relationship between the President and Senator Jeff Sessions, their conflicts over the immigration bill, political fundraising, and the president getting winded going up some stairs. Only in paragraph 16 do we get this first glimmer of information about the energy proposal.

At the power plant appearance, Bush touted his approach for cutting gasoline consumption as the Democratic-controlled Senate opened debate on a broad energy bill.

That would be the first of seven paragraphs on the president's objections to the Democratic energy proposal in Congress. By my count we have now gone 22 paragraphs without actually talking about the President's "proposal to cut back on gas."

But wait -- here it comes!

Bush wants the standard increased to 35 billion gallons a year by 2017. He calls it an "alternative fuels" standard, instead of a renewable fuels standard, because he would count so-called coal-to-liquid fuel and other nonrenewable sources.

That's right -- paragraph 23 actually deals with the topic indicated in the headline. Now we are in for some substantive reporting on the subject, right?

Wrong. The article has only two paragraphs left. I present them for your consideration.

He also pushed increased use of nuclear power, from the plant that is home to the first U.S. nuclear reactor to go online in more than 20 years. Browns Ferry's Unit 1 reactor began producing power again last month after being shut down for safety reasons in 1985. Its other two reactors returned to service in the 1990s.

The reactor was shut down two days after its restart when a leaky pipe burst and spilled non-radioactive fluid. Such problems prompted Greenpeace to call Browns Ferry "a strange poster child for a nuclear future."

Nope -- nothing about gas there.

And so we get a grand total of two sentences about the president's proposal to cut back on gasoline usage -- despite the fact that the headline was about the president's proposal to cut back on gas usage. Even if we are generous and count the criticisms of the congressional plan as "touting" the president's proposal, we still see only 1/3 of the story devoted to what the headline tells us the story is about -- and the third at that!

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June 21, 2007

Worst Congress Ever

That would be the verdict of the American People.

Just 14% of Americans have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in Congress.

This 14% Congressional confidence rating is the all-time low for this measure, which Gallup initiated in 1973. The previous low point for Congress was 18% at several points in the period of time 1991 to 1994.

Congress is now nestled at the bottom of the list of Gallup's annual Confidence in Institutions rankings, along with HMOs. Just 15% of Americans have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in HMOs. (By way of contrast, 69% of Americans have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the military, which tops the list. More on this at galluppoll.com on Thursday).

So let me ask -- if the American people don't trust the Congress but do trust the military, do you think that maybe the notion of "supporting the troops" might best be expressed by letting them win instead of bringing them home?

Posted by: Greg at 01:14 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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June 19, 2007

Creepy Candidates

Sometimes I think we have too many pollsters doing to many polls. So even though these numbers confirm what I felt in my bones, I have to wonder if this was really necessary.

Hillary Clinton checks in as the "creepiest" candidate in the hunt for the White House, a new Forbes magazine online character poll has found.

A full 15 percent of Americans say Clinton gives them the creeps - including 20 percent of men, compared to 10 percent of females.

No other active candidate comes close to Clinton, who's taken hits from pundits for getting shrill on the speaking stump, making people's hairs stand on end.

But former Vice President Al Gore, a non-candidate basking in the glow of an Oscar award for his recent documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," ties Clinton in the creep-out column at 15 percent.

Any woman who would make the policy proposals advocated by Clinton AND stay married to Bill Clinton should creep out any sane person.

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Bloomberg Bails

I guess I'd get upset about this if the man had ever shown even an ounce of fidelity to GOP principles, but since he has governed like a liberal from the moment he took office I won't lose much sleep over Michael Bloomberg leaving the GOP.

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg abruptly left the Republican Party yesterday, declaring himself free of a "rigid adherence" to ideology and stoking speculation that he will use his multibillion-dollar fortune to mount an independent bid for the White House.

The founder of the Bloomberg financial media empire has repeatedly denied interest in the presidency. At a technology conference yesterday in which he attacked partisanship in Washington, he said: "I plan to be mayor for the next 926 days." But he has refused to rule out a run for the presidency, even discussing the possibility privately with close advisers and beginning to travel around the country, including a trip to the home of the nation's first primary, New Hampshire.

In a statement posted on the official Web site of New York City late yesterday, Bloomberg said that his plans "haven't changed" and that abandoning the Republican banner will better reflect his approach to governance. Bloomberg was a longtime Democrat before shifting his allegiance to the GOP before his first mayoral run in 2001.

"Any successful elected executive knows that real results are more important than partisan battles and that good ideas should take precedence over rigid adherence to any particular political ideology," the statement said. "Working together, there's no limit to what we can do.

For all the talk of a presidential run, I want to know where his base would be? It certainly won't be among the mainstream of the GOP, because a pro-abortion, anti-gun candidate who lacks Rudy Giuliani's record on terrorism simply will not draw from among conservatives. And as far as Democrats, they already have a whole raft of candidates who essentially hold the major tenets of Bloomberg's politics. Where is he going to draw votes?

Posted by: Greg at 11:28 PM | Comments (15) | Add Comment
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June 17, 2007

The Democrat Tax Plan

Here's what you get if the Democrats control Congress and the White House after the election of 2008.

If Democrats follow through on their budget promises, the American people will face the following:
• A $500 per child tax increase.
• A 55 percent Death Tax.
• A 13 percent tax increase for many small businesses.
• A 33 percent tax increase on capital gains.
• A 164 percent tax increase on dividends.

Indeed, it is worse than that. The $400 billion dollar increase in taxes supported by every Democrat running for President will impact 100% of Americans. Take a look at the impact in one Michigan Congressman's district.

A recent Heritage Foundation study revealed the Democratic plan would raise taxes by $3,019 for each person in my south-central Michigan district. Also, the Heritage study revealed this tax increase would cause 2,272 job losses in south-central Michigan and cost my district's economy $207 million.

Why don't we hear about this planned tax increase? Because they don't call it a tax increase -- instead the refer to it as "ending the Bush tax-cuts for the wealthy" by allowing them to expire. You know, tax cuts that reduced the tax rate of every single American who paid income taxes, and which freed millions of Americans from paying any income taxes at all.

Let me leave you with the words of a great American, speaking about tax cuts and their impact on the American economy.

"Lower rates of taxation will stimulate economic activity and so raise the levels of personal and corporate income as to yield within a few years an increased -- not a reduced -- flow of revenues to the federal government."

And no, that is not Ronald Reagan -- it is John F. Kennedy, whose words nearly a half century ago accurately predicted what the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 have done for our economy and government revenues.

Posted by: Greg at 04:36 AM | Comments (44) | Add Comment
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Brownback Staffer Appeals To Anti-Mormon Bigotry

It is time for Sam Brownback to step up to the plate and fire this individual. Indeed, it is time for each and every presidential candidate to forthrightly denounce this sort of bigotry, or explain why a candidate’s religion should disqualify him from office – and which ones they believe ought to be disqualifying. You know – in the interest of letting us know which Americans will be second-class citizens under their respective administrations.

Mitt Romney's Mormonism isn't something his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination talk much about in public, but his faith appears to have stoked a whisper campaign, engineered by an Iowa staffer for Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.).

In an e-mail obtained by The Fix, former state representative Emma Nemecek, the southeastern Iowa field director for Brownback's presidential campaign, asked a group of Iowa Republican leaders to help her fact-check a series of statements about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including one that says: "Theologically, the only thing Christianity and the LDS church has in common is the name of Jesus Christ, and the LDS Jesus is not the same Jesus of the Christian faith."

The e-mail appears to be a thinly veiled attempt to push negative talking points on Mormonism to influence power brokers in Iowa, where Brownback and Romney are engaged in a struggle for socially conservative voters in advance of the state's Jan. 14, 2008, caucuses.

Now let me reiterate something I’ve said a number of times – I have some grave doubts and hearty disagreements with Mormon theology. I don’t believe Joseph Smith to have been a prophet any more than I believe Muhammad to have been one, and I reject as spurious the revelations both of them claim to have received. But just because I do not accept the theology of the LDS Church (or of Islam, for that matter) does not mean I believe the faith should be a disqualifying factor for any candidate for office.

I’m particularly disturbed by the weak-kneed response of the Brownback campaign to this incident.

When informed of the existence of the e-mail, Brownback Iowa communications director John Rankin disavowed the tactic. "Although the forwarded e-mail did not originate from campaign staff and was not sent from a campaign account or on behalf of the campaign, it is unfortunate and regrettable that this e-mail was forwarded by someone working for the campaign, even if for fact-checking purposes on behalf of a publication," Rankin said. "This was against stated campaign policy, this will not happen again, and the staff member responsible has apologized for doing so and has been reprimanded."

So all that happens here is a reprimand? Really? Would the Brownback campaign have been so soft on an email that was clearly anti-Semitic? I think we all know the answer there. Also, why is a Brownback campaign staffer doing fact-checking on Romney’s religion on behalf of some publication? This seems rather odd to me. And given the history of the religious issue in presidential politics, shouldn’t Brownback, a Catholic, be especially sensitive to such bigotry? Frankly, this reflects poorly on Brownback.

And the questions I want answered – what publication was Emma Nemecek doing research for? Why were they seeking comments from a political activist -- rather than an expert on religion -- regarding Mormon beliefs and practices? And why did she turn to fellow political activists for answers? Frankly, the explanation does not wash.

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June 15, 2007

The Case Against Ron Paul

John Hawkins of Right Wing News and Conservative Grapevine makes his case against the Ron Paul candidacy in this week's column over at Townhall.com.

After noting Paul's flirtations with Trutherism, NAU conspiracism, and isolationism (among other things), He really gets to the heart of the matter in the final point of his column.

#9) Ron Paul is the single, least electable major candidate running for the presidency in either party: Libertarianism simply is not considered to be a mainstream political philosophy in the United States by most Americans. That's why the Libertarian candidate in 2004, Michael Badnarik, only pulled .3% of the vote. Even more notably, Ron Paul only pulled .47% of the vote when he ran at the top of the Libertarian ticket in 1988. Granted, Paul would do considerably better than that if he ran at the top of the Republican Party ticket, but it's hard to imagine his winning more than, say 35%, of the national vote and a state or two -- even if he were very lucky. In other words, having Ron Paul as the GOP nominee would absolutely guarantee the Democratic nominee a Reaganesque sweep in the election.

Now I don't know that I entirely agree with the assessment that he is the least electable major candidate -- I think that the American people would be more inclined to send Dennis Kucinich back to keep billy goats from crossing his bridge -- but Hawkins is correct in pointing out that the American people would not accept much of what Ron Paul stands for. Even in his district, he maintains his hold less because his constituents are in lockstep with him than because he is an incumbent with a war chest drawn from a national base who is therefore able to discourage primary challenges.

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June 14, 2007

Happy Flag Day From The Democrats

Demflagday.jpg

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Jefferson Loan Incriminates Him Further

The FBI gave him $100,000. They found $90,000 in his freezer a short time later. I think we just found out where the missing $10,000 went.

Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) notified the House ethics committee weeks ago of a two-year-old loan he made to Vernon Jackson, the Kentucky businessman now in prison for bribing him, according to financial disclosures released on Thursday.

The late disclosure of the $10,000 loan could further hobble Jefferson’s defense when his case goes to trial in January and embolden the members of both parties calling for his resignation. According to media reports in Kentucky, Jackson reported the loan to the FBI soon after he agreed to cooperate with the Jefferson inquiry in August 2005.

The $10,000 loan, which is still outstanding on Jefferson’s 2006 financial statement, may play a more infamous role in the government’s case against the embattled Louisianan. The $90,000 found in Jefferson’s freezer came from $100,000 offered him by government informant Lori Mody in July 2005, but little is known of the remaining $10,000 — other than its FBI status as accounted-for.

When will the DemocRATS start abandoning the sinking ship?

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F.O.O. (Friend Of Obama)

Just a reminder of the high personal standards set by Barack Obama in his personal and political life.

Antoin Rezko, an entrepreneur of considerable charm who found riches in fast food and real estate, is known around Chicago as a collector of politicians.

Back in the 1990s, Mr. Rezko’s office was adorned with framed photos of candidates he viewed as up-and-comers. Among them was Barack Obama, a state legislator whose first campaign donations included $2,000 from Mr. Rezko’s companies. As Mr. Obama built a career that carried him to the Senate in 2004, Mr. Rezko was there with him, holding fund-raisers and rallying support.

Now, as Mr. Obama runs for president, the once-beneficial relationship with his old friend and patron has become problematic.

Last fall, Mr. Rezko was indicted on federal charges of business fraud and influence peddling involving the administration of Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois, whose picture was also on Mr. Rezko’s wall. Since then, Mr. Obama, a Democrat, has had to answer questions about a land deal with Mr. Rezko’s wife, Rita, and about other ties to him.

Since early June, Mr. Obama has given to charity more than $21,000 in donations that his Senate campaign had received from Rezko associates now linked to the federal inquiries. He gave away $11,500 from Mr. Rezko himself last fall.

And for all that Obama tries to distance himself from Rezko, he'll never be able to escape this one.

And when Mr. Obama and his wife, Michelle, bought a house in 2005, Mr. Rezko stepped in again. Even though his finances were deteriorating, Mr. Rezko arranged for his wife to buy an adjacent lot, and she later sold the Obamas a 10-foot-wide strip of land that expanded their yard.

The land sale occurred after it had been reported that Mr. Rezko was under federal investigation. That awkward fact prompted Mr. Obama, who has cast himself as largely free from the normal influences of politics, to express regret over what he called his own bad judgment.

“Senator Obama is a very intelligent man, and everyone by then was very familiar with who Tony Rezko was,” said Cindi Canary, executive director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, a nonpartisan research group. “So it was a little stunning that so late in the game Senator Obama would still have such close involvement with Rezko.”

D.

I.

R.

T.

Y.

Seems to me he'd be a good fit on the ticked with Hillary, don't you think, given the high ethical standards they set for their friends and associates (and spouses).

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June 12, 2007

Bettencourt Not A Candidate In CD22!

Frankly, ladies and gentlemen, this does not strike me as particularly good news for the GOP in CD22.

From an email sent out by Harris County GOP Chairman Jared Woodfill about a meeting held today for party activists involved in taking back CD22 for the GOP.

Paul Bettencourt, Harris County Tax Assessor/Collector, was invited to attend the meeting to discuss the demographics of the district and his future plans. At the meeting, Mr. Bettencourt stated: “I want to encourage an open primary for anyone who wants to serve the citizens of Congressional 22.” Mr. Bettencourt also stated that, at this time, he is not planning to run in CD22. (emphasis mine)

The decision of Paul Bettencourt not to run for Congress in CD22 is the most momentous thing to happen since the courts ruled that Tom DeLay could not be replaced n the ballot last summer. Bettencourt, if he were to run, would be the prohibitive favorite to win the nomination and take back the congressional seat in this overwhelmingly Republican district.

More At Texas Safety Forum, Professors R-Squared, Texas Politics

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Who Does CAIR Represent? (UPDATED)

One has to wonder, given that they've lost 90% of their members since 2001 and are primarily bankrolled by just two-dozen individuals.

Membership in the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has declined more than 90 percent since the 2001 terrorist attacks, Audrey Hudson will report in Tuesday's editions of The Washington Times.

According to tax documents obtained by The Times, the number of reported members spiraled down from more than 29,000 in 2000 to less than 1,700 in 2006, a loss of membership that caused the Muslim rights group's annual income from dues to drop from $732,765 in 2000, when yearly dues cost $25, to $58,750 last year, when the group charged $35.

The organization instead is relying on about two dozen individual donors a year to contribute the majority of the money for CAIR's budget, which reached nearly $3 million last year.

Word is that tomorrow we will learn the names of the organization's major contributors, courtesy of the FOIA request filed by the Washington Times. This could be interesting.

UPDATE: Cover-up? All donor names redacted by the IRS.

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Conservatives Against Rudy?

Frankly, I don't see there being much likelihood of conservatives bolting the party if Rudy gets the GOP nomination, despite the premise of this article.

A growing number of influential social conservatives are speaking out against Rudy Giuliani, with some threatening that they will take flight from the Republican Party in 2008 if the former New York mayor is the GOP nominee.

Giuliani's support for abortion rights and gay rights has not to date prevented him from winning the support of a sizable number of socially conservative voters, according to polls. But the continued strength of his candidacy is causing alarm among leaders of conservative advocacy groups, many of which have been major players in Republican politics.

Why don't I see this happening? Simple -- I don't see Rudy being on the GOP ticket in 2008, and certainly not in the top spot. He's going to the convention with a bunch of delegates, but not enough to win. And if we end up with some sort of brokered convention, my guess will be that we get a Romney-Thompson or Thompson-Romney ticket -- with Rudy offered the AG spot and an eventual Supreme Court seat and McCain installed as Secretary of Defense.

But let's assume for a minute that we are going to see Giuliani at the head of a GOP ticket -- what then? Are these conservatives really going to stay home or vote for a third-party ticket when the result will be the election fo a president much more hostile to their values? Will President Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama, or President John Edwards really help advance the pro-life, pro-family agenda more than President Rudy Giuliani? I'd like to think that these folks will recognize that the impact of that third-party vote would be infinitely worse that the impact for a vote for Rudy and a GOP Congress.

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June 10, 2007

Republican Policies Equal Prosperity

Just a little reminder from George Will.

In the 102 quarters since Ronald Reagan's tax cuts went into effect more than 25 years ago, there have been 96 quarters of growth. Since the Bush tax cuts and the current expansion began, the economy's growth has averaged 3 percent per quarter, and more than 8 million jobs have been created. The deficit as a percentage of gross domestic product is below the post-World War II average.

So, why would any sensible American want to vote for a Democrat?

And remember -- this is what happens when the Bush tax cuts expire.

Twenty-three months after the next president is inaugurated, the Bush tax cuts expire. The winner of the 2008 election and her or his congressional allies will determine what is done about the fact that, unless action is taken, in 2011 the economy will be walloped:

The five income tax brackets (10, 25, 28, 33 and 35 percent) will be increased 50, 12, 10.7, 9.1 and 13.1 percent, respectively, to 15, 28, 31, 36 and 39.6 percent. The child tax credit reverts to $500 from $1,000. The estate tax rate, which falls to zero in 2009, will snap back to a 60 percent maximum, and exemptions that have increased will decrease. The capital gains rate will rise, and the marriage penalty will be revived, as will the double taxation of dividends.

Furthermore, the alternative minimum tax was enacted by Democratic moralists in 1969 because 21 millionaires had legally avoided paying any income tax. The AMT, which allows almost no deductions, had one rate (24 percent) until 1993, when Democrats replaced it with two (26 percent and 28 percent). It has never been indexed for inflation and in the current tax year will hit almost one in five households -- 23 million of them.

Interesting, isn't it, that the group seeing the largest tax increase when the "tax cuts for the rich" expire during the next presidential term will be those making the least? And I wonder how many of those low income Americans removed from the tax rolls completely by the Bush "tax cuts for the rich" will find themselves once again required to pay income taxes with the return to Clinton-era tax policies?

Still, the Democrats want to insist that putting them in power means that "Happy Days Are here Again" -- but I would contend that will be the case only if you believe that the dark days of the Great Depression was a time of joy for Americans

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NRA And Dems Comproise On Background Checks

To the degree this keeps guns out of the hands of the truly mentally ill, I don't have a particular problem with this agreement between two adversaries.

Under the agreement, participating states would be given monetary enticements for the first time to keep the federal background database up to date, as well as penalties for failing to comply.

To sign on to the deal, the powerful gun lobby won significant concessions from Democratic negotiators in weeks of painstaking talks. Individuals with minor infractions in their pasts could petition their states to have their names removed from the federal database, and about 83,000 military veterans, put into the system by the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2000 for alleged mental health reasons, would have a chance to clean their records. The federal government would be permanently barred from charging gun buyers or sellers a fee for their background checks. In addition, faulty records such as duplicative names or expunged convictions would have to be scrubbed from the database.

"The NRA worked diligently with the concerns of gun owners and law enforcement in mind to make a . . . system that's better for gun owners and better for law enforcement," said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), a former NRA board member, who led the talks.

My questions:

1) How difficult will it be for victims of faulty information to correct it?

2) How long will purchase records be retained by the government?

I'm also concerned about the issue of allowing folks with minor infractions to be removed from the database. I'd personally like to see such a program expanded to include those convicted of non-violent felonies -- why should a conviction for tax evasion, for example, be the basis for losing the right to keep and bear arms?

However, this agreement does seem to be a reasonable step towards public safety -- but we must remain vigilant lest it become one more effort to unnecessarily restrict a liberty enshrined in the Constitution.

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June 09, 2007

Romney, Clinton Surge In New Hampshire

Could this be a sign of the eventual presidential contest?

In the the aftermath of this week's presidential debates in New Hampshire, Clinton and Romney come out on top in a new Mason-Dixon poll of likely primary voters there. Among likely Democratic primary voters, Clinton leads Obama, 26%-21%, with Edwards at 18%, Richardson at 9%, and Biden at 6%; no other Democratic presidential contender gets more than 1%.

Among likely GOP primary voters, Romney leads McCain, 27%-16%, followed by Giuliani at 15%, Fred Thompson at 12%, and Huckabee at 5%.

Romney is also quite strong in Iowa, while the other major candidates are abandoning the state by their refusal to participate in the Ames straw poll. If the former Massachusetts governor can win these two early contests, he could effectively shut the door on his GOP opponents. Granted that we are still early in the process and the impact of the Fred Thompson candidacy has not really been felt yet, but we may be seeing the beginning of the Mitt Romney charge to the head of the pack.

The question is -- faced with a Hillary Mitt race, which way would the American people go? Would they vote for the Mormon or the harridan.

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Has Immigration Deal Sunk Bush

Well, he never had any support among the irreconcilable Democrats, who have been out to sink his presidency since before it ever began. And he has lost the support of many Americans, who have been led astray by the constant media focus on bad news in Iraq to the exclusion of the many positive developments there. And now he has alienated much of the GOP base by supporting the illegal immigration amnesty bill. Does this mean that Bush is irrelevant for the next 18 months?

The breakthrough on the “grand bargain” on immigration a few weeks ago had brought new life to a White House under siege, putting a long-sought goal suddenly within reach. After many grim months, there was almost giddiness at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

But that early euphoria only made the grand bargain’s grand collapse on Thursday night all the more of a blow, pointing up a stubbornly unshakable dynamic for President Bush in the final 19 months of his term: With low approval ratings and the race to succeed him well under way, his ability to push his agenda has faded to the point where he can fairly be judged to have entered his lame duck period.

In all, 38 of the 48 Senate Republicans effectively voted against the White House on the crucial procedural vote on the immigration bill, leaving the president’s No. 1 domestic priority somewhere between stalled and dead.

The White House has similarly been through a sharp reversal on the domestic politics of the Iraq war. After receiving a lift last month in the defeat of Democratic efforts to link war finances to Iraq withdrawal dates, the White House acknowledged Friday that it could not renominate Mr. Bush’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Peter Pace, because of expected opposition on Capitol Hill.

For a president whose muscular assertions of executive authority had overshadowed Congress for years, it was a striking indicator of how the balance of power in Washington has shifted away from him.

Sadly, I think it may be that this is the case. Having been abandoned by the white House on immigration, I find it hard to find any motivation to back the administration on anything other than the War in Iraq -- and that not because of Bush, but because of the essential security issues that would be compromised by failing to pursue victory.

Expect to see the GOP candidates for president run against the President as much as they do against the Democrats. After all, he has abandoned us -- why should we remain loyal to him?

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June 08, 2007

Jefferson Pleads Not Guilty

Well, what else is he going to do. If William Jefferson had any honor, he would have never have engaged in these acts in the first place.

Rep. William Jefferson (news, bio, voting record) pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of soliciting more than $500,000 in bribes while using his office to broker business deals in Africa.

Jefferson, D-La., said he understood the charges during the federal court hearing. He was released on $100,000 unsecured bond.

"I am absolutely innocent of the charges that have been leveled against me," Jefferson said afterward. "I'm going to fight my heart out to clear my name."

And with all the folks around him who have already been convicted or entered guilty pleas, can you believe he is going to claim that he was somehow entrapped?

According to court records, FBI agents videotaped Jefferson picking up a $100,000 cash bribe in 2005 from an informant in a hotel parking garage. Two days later, FBI agents raided Jefferson's home in Washington and found $90,000 in cash stuffed in a box in his freezer.

Jefferson alluded to that money on Friday, but he declined to answer any questions.

"The $90,000 was the FBI's money," he said. "The FBI gave it to me as part of its plan — part of their plan — that I would give it to the Nigerian vice president, but I did not do that. When all the facts are understood, I trust that I will be vindicated."

According to court records, Jefferson told associates he needed cash to pay bribes to the country's vice president, Atiku Abubakar. Abubakar has denied the allegations.

He is caught, dead to rights. Too bad he is going to sting this thing along to delay justice as long as possible.

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June 06, 2007

Horrors! Policy Differences Within Bush Administration

And here I thought debate and discussion and disagreement were a good thing in the process of policy formation. How is it that this one is presented as bad?

Vice President Cheney told Justice Department officials that he disagreed with their objections to a secret surveillance program during a high-level White House meeting in March 2004, a former senior Justice official told senators yesterday.

The meeting came one day before White House officials tried to get approval for the same program from then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, who lay recovering from surgery in a hospital, according to former deputy attorney general James B. Comey.

Comey's disclosures, made in response to written questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee, indicate that Cheney and his aides were more closely involved than previously known in a fierce internal battle over the legality of the warrantless surveillance program. The program allowed the National Security Agency to monitor phone calls and e-mails between the United States and overseas.

Oh, I see the problem -- Cheney and the folks hated by the Left actually came out on top in this policy debate. We just can't have the elected leadership win such battles, for that would imply that elections mean something when Republicans win. Nor does it matter that the policy adopted was in conformity witht eh requirements of a Supreme Court decision that went in favor of the Carter Administration doing the same thing.

No story here -- just a boat-load of liberal bias.

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Democratic Profiles In Cowardice

Roger Ailes of Fox News Channel gets this one exactly right when talking about the boycott of debates on the network by Democrat presidential candidates.

“The candidates that can’t face Fox, can’t face Al Qaeda,” said Mr. Ailes. “And that’s what’s coming.”

What are they afraid of -- having to answer a tough question? What will they do when they have to respond to an al-Qaeda attack?

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