Friday, October 30, 2009

Al-Marri's 6 year sentence is way too harsh, Just ask Eric Holder

Andrew McCarthy opines that Al Qaeda operative, Ali Saleh Kallah al-Marri's 6 year jail sentence, is way too lenient. I wholeheartedly disagree with Mr. McCarthy, and I can prove that I am correct by borrowing an argument used by Eric Holder several years ago when he was in private practice, working as a defense attorney. But first, lets examine what Mr. McCarthy has to say on the matter:
Five months ago, when al-Qaeda jihadist Ali Saleh Kallah al-Marri pleaded guilty, it was obvious that the Justice Department had given him a sweetheart deal. On Thursday, a federal judge in Illinois dutifully finished the job. Al-Marri, a committed sleeper operative sent by our enemies to carry out a post-9/11 second wave of mass-murder attacks inside the United States, was given an appalling sentence: He’ll be eligible for release in about six years.

When al-Marri entered his plea back in May, Attorney General Eric Holder crowed that the case demonstrated the criminal-justice system’s capacity to confront and quell international terrorism. As I
observed at the time, though, the plea bargain was a travesty...

In stark departure from prior Justice Department practice, Holder permitted al-Marri to plead guilty to providing material support for terrorism. The material-support offense is generally reserved for non-terrorist sympathizers who facilitate the jihad but are unlikely to carry out atrocities themselves. It is a significantly less serious charge than the crimes — the acts of war — that Marri had actually committed, such as full-fledged membership in the al-Qaeda conspiracy to kill Americans, as well as conspiracies to use weapons of mass destruction.

Because of Holder’s abandonment of past DOJ practice, al-Marri was looking at a maximum sentence of 15 years.... [The presiding judge] pronounced a sentence of a mere eight years... With various credits for good behavior and other reductions, al-Marri could be released, in the United States, in six years or so. And he’s got plenty of jihad left in him.

Many Justice Department lawyers, including Attorney General Holder, come from firms and institutions that spent the last eight years as defense counsel for terrorists. Should we be surprised that, even compared with the “terrorism is just a crime” era of the 1990s, terrorists have never had it so good?
However, while Andrew McCarthy may may have a valid point, I believe that al-Marri actually received a harsh sentence, according to Eric Holder's mind-boggling logic and his intentionally twisted interpretation of the law.

As I've mentioned previously on this blog, Eric Holder, was the leader attorney representing Chiquita International Brands against charges [filed by the US Justice Dept.] that it funneled $1.7 million in protection money to the AUC - a Colombian terrorist organization [and deemed as such by the US State Dept.] responsible for kidnapping and murdering thousands of Colombians and Americans alike - Eric Holder managed to arrange a sweetheart deal in which Chiquita only paid a $25 million fine over five years. Not one of the six company officials who approved the payments received any jail time.

As Sean Hannity noted several months ago:
"What is raising the most eyebrows is the argument that Holder made as lead attorney in the ongoing civil case against Chiquita. According to court documents Holder wanted the case dismissed, because, quote: 'There is no clearly defined rule of international law prohibiting material support of terrorism. Indeed, there is not even consensus on the definition of terrorism'."
Hence, if we were to follow Mr. Holder's line of reasoning, al-Marri shouldn't have received any jail time at all. While it's true that Al-Marri was indeed a full-fledged member of al-Qaeda, who conspired to kill Americans, nevertheless, Eric Holder allowed al-Marri to plead guilty to merely providing material support for terrorism.

Hence, since, as Eric Holder so eloquently opined when he defended Chiquita International, "there is no clearly defined rule of international law prohibiting material support of terrorism" and "there is not even consensus on the definition of terrorism," al-Marri should have gotten off with a mere fine. But instead, the hapless terrorist has been sentenced to sit in jail for 6 years, which is not only totally unfair, it is also a travesty of justice. And undoubtedly Eric Holder shares this sentiment.

And as such Mr. McCarthy, I beg to differ with you and your line of reasoning. Al Marri shouldn't be going to jail at all, he should be a free man.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Eric Holder tries to Silence Voices for School Choice

From the Weekly Standard via the Chicago Daily Observer:
President Obama isn’t taking kindly to a television ad that criticizes his opposition to a popular scholarship program for poor children, and his administration wants the ad pulled.

Former D.C. Councilmember Kevin Chavous of D.C. Children First said October 16 that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder had recently approached him and told him to kill the ad.

The 30-second ad, which has been airing on FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, and News Channel 8 to viewers in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, urges the president to reauthorize the federally-funded D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program that provides vouchers of up to $7,500 for D.C. students to attend private schools.

The ad features Chavous and a young boy–one of 216 students whose scholarships were rescinded by the Department of Education earlier this year when the agency announced no new students would be allowed into the program. The ad also includes an excerpt taken from one of Obama’s campaign statements.

“I saw [Holder] at an event,” said Chavous. “He did ask me in front of others to pull the ad. My response was, ‘No, and I tell you what, if the president does the right thing, not only will we pull it but we will celebrate him.’ ”
Watch the School Choice Ad Here

Read full article at the Weekly Standard:

Pelosi: I've been for Single Payer for 30 years

"I've been for Single Payer for 30 years. When I first started out being for Single Payer, Medicare was 14 years old, it was an adolescent practically. Now it has become such a formidable part of the life of our seniors, [and] Single Payer can become disruptive to Medicare..."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi,
during a blogger conference call - October 29, 2009

Of course, if both Medicare and employer-based insurance ultimately fall by the wayside [as many predict will happen] because of the new health care legislation, there won't be a viable Medicare or employer-based insurance program to disrupt, and then, I suppose, Nancy Pelosi and her ilk would be at liberty to seek out the next best choice: a Single Payer option.

However, to be fair with Speaker Pelosi, she has never attempted to conceal her affinity for the Single Payer option. President Obama, on the other hand - in his weekly radio address on August 22 - asserted that a "government takeover of health care sounds scary to him," even though he professed to being a proponent of Single Payer health care in a speech to the AFL-CIO in 2003.

Here's what Obama said in June of 2003:

“I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care program.. A single payer health care plan, a universal health care plan..., that’s what I’d like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate, and we have to take back the House.”

Here's what he said in his weekly radio address on August 22, 2009:

"We've all heard the charge that reform will somehow bring about a government takeover of health care. I know that sounds scary to many folks, it sounds scary to me too."

Of course, there may very well be a simple explanation to this apparent contradiction. Maybe Obama is just frightened of his own ideologies......

Bart Stupak, just a typical, wishy-washy Democrat

You gotta wonder why someone who says he is opposed to any kind of healthcare legislation that would fund abortions and who purports to be such a staunch pro-lifer, is unwilling to go the full distance to defend his moral principals. Then again, this particular individual happens to be a Democrat - I guess that explains his half-baked brand of morality:

From The Foundry:
Earlier today, The Foundry wrote about Rep. Bart Stupak’s (D-Mich) claim that he and like-minded, pro-life Democrats will work with Republicans to “torpedo healthcare reform unless he gets a vote to strip abortion-related provisions out of the House bill,” as reported by The Hill.

That sounded like good news, but in an exclusive Foundry video of a town hall held in Cheboygan, Mich., on Saturday, it appears that Stupak intends to vote for the Democrats’ healthcare reform, even if it includes public funding for abortion.

"If everything I want [is] in the final bill, I like everything in the bill except you have public funding for abortion, and we had a chance to run our amendment and we lost. OK, I voted my conscience, stayed true to my principles, stayed true to the beliefs of this district, could I vote for healthcare? Yes I still could."
That's a real sensible statement. He voted his conscience, stayed true to his principles and to the beliefs of his district, but could he vote for a healthcare bill that would fund abortions? Yes, he still could.

However, in an interview on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal on Monday, Stupak said he and about 40 like-minded Democrats oppose public funding for abortion in health care:

"We believe, and the majority of the American people believe, that we should not be using public funds to pay for abortion coverage in health care."
It's a shame the unborn fetuses of the world never get a chance to vote their conscience....

Here's the aforementioned video. Note the jeering from Stupak's constituents:

Also see previous post: Obama prevaricates to Stupak about Abortion Funding in Health Care Bill

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Obama prevaricates to Stupak about Abortion Funding in Health Care Bill

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) is leading a coalition of pro-life Democrats to insert abortion funding restrictions into the proposed health care reform legislation. Recently, President Obama had an interesting telephone conversation with Mr. Stupak.

From CNS News:

Bart Stupak (D.-Mich.) told that President Barack Obama told him in a telephone conversation that when he said in his Sept. 9 speech to a joint session of Congress that “under our plan no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions” he was not talking about the actual bill drafted in the House but about the president’s own health care plan—which has never been written.

“I don’t know if it is a game of semantics or what,” Stupak said of Obama’s nationally televised declaration to Congress that the health-care plan will not allow federal funding of abortion.

Both the House and Senate versions of the health-care bill permit federal funds to pay for insurance plans that cover abortions. In his speech to the joint session of Congress, Obama directly rebutted the claim that the plan would fund abortions, calling it a “misunderstanding.” But in his later telephone conversation with Stupak, according to the congressman, Obama said that when he claimed in the speech that the plan would not fund abortions he was not talking about the House plan, he was talking about his own plan. read Stupak the
verbatim transcript of President Obama’s joint-session-speech statement about abortion funding:

“And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up: Under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions." asked Stupak: “Is that a true or false statement?”...

“I called him,” said Stupak. “I called the president--had a discussion with the president. And I read exactly what you just said. And he said: ‘What it says is “under my plan”’—meaning the president’s plan.
And I said: ‘With all due respect, sir, you do not have a plan. The only plan we have out is the House plan.’ So, I don’t know if it is a game of semantics or what.”.....

I wonder what Joe Wilson would have told the president, had he been on the other end of the line. Hmmm.....

Making Nice with the enemy, an ENCOURAGING sign, indeed!

While perusing an article in The Hill about Democrats in Congress frittering away their time with meaningless resolutions, including a resolution being taken up in the House today honoring the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius, I noticed that the House today is also voting on a Democratic resolution ENCOURAGING Iran to release the U.S. hikers detained on the Iranian border in late July.

That's right, you read that correctly:

"ENCOURAGING" Iran to release the detainees.

Here's the actual text:

Whereas on July 31, 2009, officials of the Government of Iran took 3 United States citizens... into custody near the Ahmed Awa region of northern Iraq, after the 3 United States citizens reportedly crossed into the territory of Iran while hiking in Iraq;

Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), That Congress--

(1) ENCOURAGES the Government of Iran to allow [the detainees] to communicate by telephone with their families in the United States; and

(2) ENCOURAGES the Government of Iran to allow [the detainees] to reunite with their families in the United States as soon as possible.

During the presidential primaries, Joe Biden and several Democratic candidates expressed outrage over a congressional resolution which labeled the Iranian Revolutionary guards a terrorist organization. And apparently, the Dems have learned their lesson. The President and Vice President's Good Will gestures toward the enemy - including Obama's decision to release the “Irbil Five” Quds Force commanders who were coordinating terrorist attacks in Iraq - and Obama's Policy Of Appeasement are having a contagious and therapeutic effect on Democrats in Congress.

From here on, Congressional Democrats will appease the enemy and ENCOURAGE them to release Americans who've been taken hostage.

An ENCOURAGING sign, indeed!

The Obama Doctrine, so refreshing, and so therapeutic! Ahhh, it feels so good!

Can we say 'Death Panel'? "YES WE CAN!"

Rush Limbaugh cited the following article on his radio program on Tuesday. And Dick Morris discussed this point with Sean Hannity several weeks ago. But, in case you haven't heard about it, here's what you need to know.

From the New York Post:
Treating Seniors As 'Clunkers' - By Betsy McCaughey:

Everyone knows that if you don't pay to maintain and repair your car, you limit its life. The same is true as human beings age. We need medical care to avoid becoming clunkers -- disabled, worn out, parked in wheelchairs or nursing homes.

For nearly a half century, Medicare has enabled seniors to get that care. But ObamaCare is about to change that, by limiting what doctors can provide their aging patients.

The Senate Finance Committee health bill released last week controls doctors by cutting their pay if they give older patients more care than the government deems appropriate. Section 3003(b) (p. 683) punishes doctors who land in the 90th percentile or above on what they provide for seniors on Medicare by withholding 5 percent of their compensation.

President Obama and his budget director, Peter Orszag, have told seniors not to worry, claiming that Medicare spending could be cut by as much as 30 percent without doing harm. They cite the Dartmouth Atlas of Healthcare 2008, which tries to prove patients who get less care -- fewer hospital days, doctors' visits and imaging tests -- have the same medical "outcomes" as patients who get more care. But read the fine print.

The Dartmouth authors arrived at their dubious conclusion by restricting their study to patients who died. They examined what Medicare paid to care for these chronically ill patients in their last two years. By definition, the outcomes were all the same: death. The Dartmouth study didn't consider patients who recovered, left the hospital and even resumed active lives. It would be important to know whether these patients survived because they received more care.

The journal Circulation addresses that question in its latest issue (Oct. 16) and disputes the Dartmouth conclusion. Examining patients with heart failure at six California teaching hospitals, doctors found that hospitals giving more care saved more lives. In hospitals that spent less, patients had a smaller chance of survival. That's the opposite of what Obama is claiming and Congress is proposing. The Senate Finance bill establishes a formula that penalizes hospitals for high "Medicare spending per beneficiary" (Section 2001, p. 643). That may save money, but the California study suggests it will cost lives.

When Medicare started in 1965, the law forbade the federal government from interfering in treatment decisions. Doctors decided what patients needed, and Medicare paid for each treatment on a fee-for-service basis. Though this protection from government interference has been whittled away a bit, doctors and patients in Medicare still decide what state-of-the-art medical care they want.

The results are huge improvements in longevity and seniors' quality of life. Life expectancy at age 65 has jumped from 79 years to 84, while disability has steadily declined. Seniors enjoy more active lives than their parents owing to hip and knee replacements, angioplasty and bypass surgery, according to James Lubitz and Ellen Kramarow of the National Center for Health Statistics (Health Affairs, Sept./Oct. 2007). Obama adviser Dr. David Cutler reports that the heart medications and procedures Medicare patients have received over the last 20 years have been a "wise investment" resulting in "excellent value" (Health Affairs, Jan./Feb. 2007).

Cuts in future Medicare funding -- what Obama calls "savings" -- will mean less help in coping with aging and possibly shorter lives. Do we really want to treat our seniors like clunkers?
After citing this article on his radio program today, Rush asked:


The answer to that question is:


Rush noted that Obama and his cronies are trying to shift responsibility upon the physicians by forcing doctors - rather than themselves - to become the "Agents of Death". But ultimately -as Rush noted - this legislation was crafted by Obama and Democratic lawmakers.

"Can we say Death Panel?!"



Obama: "I will not rush Copenhagen decision!"

Update: Please note, the following post was written tongue-in-cheek, based on articles written in the AP and Times Online. Sorry, if you were confused.

Background material here, here, here, here and here:

From the A&P:

President Obama pledged on Monday not to rush a decision on whether to attend the UN climate change summit in Copenhagen, as he weighs his options on what to do next in the troubled war on Climate Change.

"I won't put my political legacy in harms way unless it is absolutely necessary and until I am assured there will be a major breakthrough at the summit," Obama told a group of UN envoys and Greenpeace activists at the White House on Monday. He promised that if he ultimately decides to attend the summit it would be with defined goals and the manpower needed to get the job done.

Obama, who is in the process of weighing options put forward by his Green Energy adviser, that includes skipping the summit and delivering a video address from the Oval Office - while pledging to increase carbon taxes here in the US - spoke of the possible dangers and sacrifices of traveling to Copenhagen - including a failed summit, which would be detrimental to the Obama legacy, and frittering away valuable time that could be better spent here in the US pushing forth his health care initiative.

Last week, Danish climate minister Connie Hedegaard prodded Obama to make a swift decision on his Climate Change strategy.

"The White House must stop 'dithering' while the Earth's environment is in danger," she said . "It's time for President Obama to do what it takes to win a war he has repeatedly and rightly called a war of necessity."

But Obama did not tip his hand on how he might decide.

"I will never rush the solemn decision of sending myself into harm's way and jeopardizing my presidential legacy," he said.

"But, if it is necessary," Obama added, "I will travel to Copenhagen to defend our environment from the forces of evil."

Obama stood on a stage under a huge UN flag as he addressed the enthusiastic crowd of UN officials and Greenpeace activists.

"By being here, you join a long, unbroken line of brave heroes who sacrificed their lives for the Earth's environment," he said.

"Thank you for reminding us of the kind of activists and scare-mongerers we can and must always be," Obama said, drawing boisterous applause from the wild-eyed, eco-conscious crowd.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Krauthammer: Obama's foreign policy not even worthy of being called a 'Doctrine'

The Spiegel interviewed Charles Krauthammer and conversed with him about Barack Obama and the Obama presidency. To read the full interview, click here.

Here's a small sampling:

SPIEGEL: You famously coined the term "Reagan Doctrine" to describe Ronald Reagan's foreign policy. What is the "Obama Doctrine?"

Krauthammer: I would say his vision of the world appears to me to be so naïve that I am not even sure he's able to develop a doctrine... I wouldn't elevate that kind of thinking to a doctrine because I have too much respect for the word doctrine....

SPIEGEL: Is it too early to foresee what Obama will be remembered for?

Krauthammer: It is quite early. It could be his election.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Obama withdrawing US troops from Iraq, reaching out to Syria - Chaos ensuing

Obama withdrawing US troops from Iraq - chaos ensuing

From the AP:
A pair of suicide car bombings Sunday devastated the heart of Iraq's capital, killing at least 147 people in the country's deadliest attack in more than two years...

President Barack Obama... earlier this week reaffirmed the U.S.'s commitment to withdrawing its troops from the country....

[But] on the streets of Baghdad, many Iraqis were... wary...

"Everyday, we hear statements from different government officials that our forces are ready to control the situation on the ground when the U.S. forces withdraw," Zahid Hussain Najim said. "But day after day it has been found that these officials are either liars or have no idea about what's going on outside their offices."
Obama reaching out to Syria....

From Enerpub - August 31, 2009:
In February, the Obama Administration waived Syria Accountability Act provisions to approve the export of aircraft parts and repair services to Syria for civil aviation... Additionally, the return of a U.S. Ambassador to Damascus was announced on June 24th.

In July, according to Agence France Presse, Middle East "peace process" envoy George Mitchell told Assad he would work to speed up the process of obtaining exemptions to anti-Syrian sanctions. At the end of July, the United States announced a decision to ease sanctions on spare aircraft parts, information-technology products and telecommunications equipment.

A second delegation from Central Command arrived in August accompanied by an aide to Sen. Mitchell. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the talks were focused on Syria's "ongoing efforts to help stabilize the situation in Iraq."...

Syria's deputy foreign minister, Faisal Mekdad, expressed pleasure at the changed American posture in a Wall Street Journal interview. "We received assurances that the relations between the two countries should resume on the basis of mutual interests and most importantly on the basis of mutual respect. We really welcome such a new approach...”
Chaos ensuing.....

From the AFP - October 24, 2009:
Lieutenant General Ali Ghaidan Majeed, commander of Iraqi ground forces said "what really bothers" Iraq's military brass was security along the country's borders with Iran and Syria, which he said were helping train and equip insurgents infiltrating Iraq.

"Interference from the outside, from neighboring countries, is what is creating terrorism (in Iraq) -- terrorism came to us from the outside, it was imported," he said.

"It is pretty clear to us, and we have lots of evidence coming from those we are arresting -- the trainees are coming from camps in Syria and Iran.

"The people that we arrested, that is what they told us, that is where they were trained. The caches of weapons we find in the south, they are coming from Iran."

Friday, October 23, 2009

White House "Keeping it classy by trashing Deeds anonymously"

As Rush Limbaugh noted on his radio program on Friday, White House officials have been releasing anonymous statements to the media blaming the faltering gubernatorial campaign of Virginia Democrat Creigh Deeds on his refusal to embrace Barack Obama - in an effort to distance the president from the Democratic candidate's failing campaign and absolve Obama and his declining popularity for effectuating Mr. Deeds' downfall.

Additionally, Rush pointed out that Obama is issuing these statements in the midst of the gubernatorial campaign and is showing total disregard for Mr. Deeds and his candidacy.

"Why?" you ask.

Because for Barack Obama, the bottom line is always about: Me, Myself and I.

From US News & World Report:
Just days before President Barack Obama is scheduled to campaign for Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds, the White House is sending signals that Deeds' campaign is over, or as tweeted by CNN's Peter Hamby this morning, "keeping it classy by trashing Deeds anonymously."

At issue is a Washington Post
story headlined "Deeds ignored advice, White House says."

Publicly airing complaints that Deeds is a weak candidate, one who didn't embrace key Obama constituencies... and indeed, has not fully embraced Barack Obama himself, all lays the groundwork that if Deeds loses, despite the best efforts of the Obama team, he has no one to blame but himself....

The Post story codifies the Democratic conventional wisdom that the Virginia gubernatorial race is all but over. President Obama will still campaign for Deeds in Newport News. He'll say all the right things and publicly play the role of the good soldier, even while his political team plays the same old politics as usual which he promised to change.
From CNN's Political Ticker:
A well-known Democratic strategist in Virginia is blasting the White House for placing anonymous quotes in the Washington Post in a pre-emptive effort to blame Creigh Deeds for what might be a loss in the state's upcoming gubernatorial election.

David "Mudcat" Saunders, who gained political fame helping Democrat Mark Warner reach out to rural voters during Warner's successful 2001 gubernatorial bid, told CNN Friday that trying to blame Deeds is "bulls**t" when Democrats around the country are "just tired of politics."...

In a story published Friday, a senior administration official told the Post that the Deeds campaign ignored their advice to embrace the president, which the official claimed would have boosted the Democratic candidate's lackluster support among the African-Americans and young voters who supported Obama in 2008.

Saunders rejected that argument. Embracing Obama..., he argued..., with the contentious economic debates going on in Washington..., would have been a "devastating" political move for Deeds, who is trailing Republican Bob McDonnell in the polls.

"They're making the assumption Virginia is a blue state, and it's not," Saunders said of the administration. "It's not a red state either. The very best that can be said about Virginia is that it's light purple. For them to say if he had listened to us they would win, that's chickens**t..."

"It's a shame when our center of government, the White House, won't talk on the record. I discount all of it," Saunders said of the Post article. "It's a lack of courage. And it goes against transparency that Obama told us last year was going to come out of the White House. Anybody who makes anonymous quotes out of the White House should be fired."...

Republicans, not surprisingly, are enjoying the back-and-forth. Republican National Committee spokeswoman Katie Wright said the White House is trying to "save face" before Election Day.

"Looks like Creigh Deeds has made the White House enemies list," said Republican National Committee spokeswoman Katie Wright. "Deeds isn't the only one responsible for the downfall of his own campaign. While Deeds has promised higher taxes on Virginia families and small businesses, President Obama has had an equal hand in dragging his party down in the Commonwealth."
The hell with Creigh Deeds; the hell with the Democratic Party; the hell with America!

Long live Me, Myself and I. Praise be unto the Messiah!

VIDEO: "Rush Limbaugh - Washington Post - Obama slams candidate(s) before they lose":

The monologue on Obama and Creigh Deeds starts at about 2:29 into the video:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Jay Leno Mocks Obama for Attacking Fox News

And, last week, the Carbolic Smoke website reported as follows:

President Obama deployed 40,000 troops to Fox News’ Rockefeller Center headquarters last night in a stunning surprise attack that quickly wrested control of the conservative cable television news channel from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation and placed it in the hands of the Obama White House.

It is believed to be the first war ever declared by a U.S. president on a cable news organization.

President Obama appeared on television shortly after midnight, with his Nobel Peace Prize slung around his neck, to solemnly announce the start of the war: “My fellow Americans, on my orders, at this moment, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to liberate the airwaves from Fox News....


White House Communications Director Anita Dunn revealed that the fighting would have been over “much sooner” execpt that the troops had to be careful to do no harm to NBC and MSNBC, which also have their headquarters at Rockefeller Center.

Read full article

New Gallup poll shows increasing concern over Obamacare

According to a new USA Today/Gallup poll released on Thursday, Americans are now more likely to say that their healthcare costs will increase if a healthcare bill passes...

49% of respondents said they believe their healthcare costs will increase with the passage of a health care reform bill, up from 42% who felt that way last month. 27% said their healthcare costs would remain the same, compared to 32% who felt that way in September. The number of people who felt their healthcare costs would diminish as a result of a new health care bill remained at the 22% it was last month.

"In addition to costs," the Gallup poll showed that "a greater percentage of Americans - now compared with last month - also expect their healthcare situation to get worse in terms of the quality of care they receive (from 33% in September to 39%), their healthcare coverage (from 33% to 37%), and the insurance company requirements they have to meet to get certain treatments covered (up from 38% to 46%)."

"The poll finds no more than one-quarter of Americans believing their healthcare situation will improve in any of the [aforementioned] four areas. And in each, substantially more expect the situation to get worse than expect it to get better if a healthcare bill passes."


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Obama evinces love of capitalism by slashing executive pay

From the AP:
The Obama administration will order companies that received huge government bailouts last year to slash the base salaries of their top executives by an average of 90 percent and cut their total compensation in half, a person familiar with the decision said Wednesday...

In the AIG trading division, the arm of the company whose risky trades caused its downfall, no top executive will receive more than $200,000 in total compensation, the person familiar with the plan said...

The pay restrictions for all seven companies will require any executive seeking more than $25,000 in special benefits... to get permission for those perks from the government...
Okay, I know what some of you are thinking right now:

"This is nothing but pure, unadulterated totalitarianism at its worst!"

However, before you fall prey to the typical Conservative, knee-jerk reaction, please take a moment to ponder the following thought:

The president - on a number of occasions - has pledged that Americans making less than $250,000 will not see their taxes increase. According to Chairman Obama's latest directive, top executives at AIG will receive no more than $200,000 in total compensation, which means their tax rates will never go up as long as Obama is president. Hence, contrary to what the knee-jerk Republicans will have you believe, Obama is exhibiting a profound sense of empathy and compassion toward the aforementioned executives.

Truth be told, Obama is the ultimate capitalist, which is why he'll continue to monitor the salaries of all Americans - in order to ensure that they'll never again have to pay an extra dime in taxes to the IRS...

Gallup: Obama Suffers Worst 3rd Quarter Drop in Approval Since 1953

From Real Clear Politics:
Barack Obama has suffered the worst third quarter decline in his public approval rating of any elected president in the post-World War II era.

Obama's average quarterly approval rating has slipped from 62 percent in the second quarter to 52.9 percent in the third quarter, according to Gallup polling. That 9 percentage point decline is twice the amount of any other post-war elected president. Dwight Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan saw their standing decline 4 points between the two quarters. No other elected president has declined more than 4 points since 1953. The third quarter began July 20 and ended October 19....

More sobering for Obama, Gallup reports that Obama's latest quarterly average ranks 144th, or in the 44th percentile, for all post-war presidents during any quarter.
Read the full article

And, from Rasmussen Reports:
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows that 27% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty percent (40%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -13. That’s just a point above the lowest level ever recorded for this President. It’s also the sixth straight day in negative double digits, matching the longest such streak.

[Just 31% of voters believe that Congress has a good understanding of the health care proposal.]...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

House Democrats Lock GOP Out of Committee Room

From the Wall Street Journal:
Democratic staff for the House oversight committee informed their GOP counterparts today that the majority has changed the locks on the committee's hearing room. While Republicans previously enjoyed their own key to the room, they will now have to request access from Democrats. This followed a bitter partisan argument in which Republicans refused to take down a video from their website that contradicted Dem explanations about a closed-door meeting on the Countrywide VIP loan scandal [see video below].

As we reported last week, the committee was scheduled to meet on Thursday to mark up several minor pieces of legislation. Days before the meeting, California Republican Darrell Issa notified committee Chairman Edolphus Towns that Mr. Issa would call for a vote to subpoena Countrywide documents from Bank of America, which bought the failed subprime lender last year. Recall that, under the "Friends of Angelo" program, named for former Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo, Democratic Senators Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad received sweetheart deals on home mortgages. Mr. Issa wants to uncover the full story on Countrywide's effort to influence Washington policy makers.

Mr. Towns, a New York Democrat who also received mortgages from the unit that processed the VIP loans but claims he received no favors, has opposed such a subpoena. But can he count on his Democratic colleagues to vote it down? Perhaps Mr. Towns would rather not find out. Mr. Issa showed up for the scheduled 2 p.m. markup on Thursday hoping that a few Democrats would vote his way and allow the investigation to proceed. Then a strange thing happened: As Mr. Issa and the GOP members of the committee sat waiting for the meeting to begin, Democrats huddled in a back room without explanation. Thirty-five minutes later, the committee announced that the meeting had been postponed indefinitely.

A committee press release later claimed the postponement was "due to conflicts" with a markup occurring at the same time in the financial services committee. But Mr. Issa's staff videotaped several financial services members leaving the back-room gathering with Mr. Towns at the conclusion of the meeting. If members were there to confab with Chairman Towns, obviously they weren't at any finance committee markup -- suggesting the real "conflict" was between Democrats over whether to keep stonewalling the Countrywide matter. As for the Democrats' decision to change the locks today, Mr. Issa's spokesman Kurt Bardella says, "I guess we're getting some insight into what lengths they'll go to avoid addressing the Countrywide VIP issue...."
VIDEO - "Hit the Road Jack":
Oversight Democrats Run Away From Countrywide Bribe Program Vote:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

McChrystal: Biden plan would transform Afghanistan into “Chaos-istan"

From the New York Times:
The top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, used a speech here on Thursday to reject calls for the war effort to be scaled down from defeating the Taliban insurgency to a narrower focus on hunting down Al Qaeda, an option suggested by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. as part of the current White House strategy review...

When a questioner asked [McChrystal] whether he would support scaling back the American military presence over the next 18 months by relinquishing the battle with the Taliban and focusing on... hunting Qaeda extremists and their leaders with missiles from remotely piloted aircraft, he replied: “The short answer is: no.”

“You have to navigate from where you are, not from where you wish to be,” he said. “A strategy that does not leave Afghanistan in a stable position is probably a short-sighted strategy.”...

Advocating a “counterterrorist focus” in Afghanistan against Al Qaeda, instead of a “counterinsurgency focus” against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, he said, was a formula for what he called “Chaos-istan.” Proponents of that approach, he said, would accept an Afghanistan in which there was “a level of chaos, and just manage it from outside.”...

General McChrystal was named the new American and allied commander in Afghanistan this summer in succession to Gen. David D. McKiernan..., when Mr. Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates decided they needed a fresh approach.

But direct contact between Mr. Obama and the Afghanistan commander has been rare. Aides in London said that Wednesday’s teleconference [a White House strategy session on Wednesday led by Mr. Obama, which included Mr. Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, other cabinet secretaries, top generals, and General McChrystal, participating by video-link from London] was only the second time since General McChrystal assumed his command in June that the two men had talked by videolink, a form of contact with field commanders that President George W. Bush, at the height of the Iraq war, used as often as once a week. Although he was out of Afghanistan on Wednesday, the aides said, General McChrystal was not invited to attend the White House strategy session in person...