masthead-highres

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Outrage of the Day: More Racist Rants from the Anti-Black-Conservative Left

Sometimes I wonder how stupid you have to be to be a liberal. I mean, really. Take this, for example. Some liberals are so, I guess the word would be "threatened," that not all black Americans chose to live on the liberal plantation that they actually have an Internet thread going about how Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli (who is black) looks lighter-skinned in one of the four photos of her they found online than in the other three.

The guy who started the thread, an "administrator" of the website U.S. Politics Online who goes by the pseudonym (presumably it is a pseudonym) "O'Sullivan Bere," questions whether it is "unethical" for there to be a photo in circulation in which Deneen's skin looks lighter.

What is it, buddy? Afraid she'll "pass"?

Another dope on the thread opines, "She obviously realizes that most conservatives won't listen to her if she looks really black."

People, get real. The photo in which Deneen looks "lighter" is a professional studio shot. Studios have special lighting. Everybody looks different in professional portraits -- that's why people pay good money for them. (As to whether the portrait studio photoshopped it a bit, who knows. That's standard nowadays, even for white subjects. If the "administrator" used his own photo instead of one I bet he stole off a movie-related website for his own picture, he'd probably know that.)

So the guy, the dishonorable "O'Sullivan Bere," questions Deneen's ethics in his headline while using stolen photos on his website to raise the ethics issue. I took the Fox News photo O'Sullivan Bere posted on my home computer -- a screen shot of Fox programming off my computer monitor using a $29 piece of software (gee, I wonder why a screen shot looked different than a professionally done studio pic?) and I don't remember the fellow who is pretending to be a character in a movie asking me for permission to re-post the photo. Deneen's husband, Tom, took the shot of her at the Tea Party rally in which she looks darker, and sent it to us for this blog -- so if the Borellis have a plot to make Deneen look lighter in public photos, they sure have a weird way of going about it.

I suppose in all fairness I should note that it appears the apparently-fake O'Sullivan Bere did not steal Tom's Tea Party photo of Deneen directly from my blog. He took it (with permission? I bet not) from this blogger, another idiot. Presumably, that blogger, who also wrote disparagingly about Deneen's skin tone, stole it from our blog, although I won't rule out the possibility that there was another racist little photo-stealing twerp in the mix somewhere, and they all stole from one another after they stole from us.

Now that I have said all that, I'm going to go all moderate for a minute and admit not all liberals are stupid. I bet most of them would find this sort of thing at to be an embarrassment -- for their side. They'd be right.

P.S. Ironically, the thread about Deneen supposedly being unethical for supposedly having her her studio shot photoshopped to make her look lighter had the following ad running when I visited:

USPoliticsOnlineAirbrushAd1.jpg



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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:39 PM

Monday, August 24, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Krugman Again

The perpetually non-serious (despite his grim look) New York Times columnist Paul Krugman claimed on ABC's This Week that "the argument against the public option is sheer nonsense, we know that, it's nothing except the insurance lobby." (See the last few seconds of video, above.)

So the tens of millions of Americans who ardently oppose a public option (takeover) are insurance companies?

Gee, with millions of insurance companies out there, infesting Congressional town hall meetings, tea parties and whatnot, you'd think we wouldn't need the so-called "enhanced competition" of Krugman and Obama's public "option."

Earlier this month, ObamaCare opponents were racists. Now we're insurance companies. What will we be in September -- potted plants?

Hat tip: Firedoglake.

Download a pre-production PDF of The National Center for Public Policy Research's upcoming new book, Shattered Lives: 100 Stories of Government Health Care, for more on the way waiting lists affect the lives of people living in countries with government-run medicine. Feel free to email a free copy to Krugman.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:39 AM

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Outrage of the Day: A Rockefeller Questioning Profits

Senator John D. Rockfeller IV (D-WV) has sent a letter to the top 15 health insurance companies asking them to report how profitable they are. In part because Rockefeller is a Senate Committee chairman, the letters carry with them the threat of an implied subpoena if the companies don't respond.

The day he had the letters sent, Rockefeller said in a statement, "Too often consumers are not getting a fair deal for what they pay, they are not getting the protections they deserve, and the insurance companies are awash in profit."

How does he know? He can't have received any replies yet.

As the Senator's condemnation of the replies before he received them implies, this is grandstanding, not research. Health insurance companies report their profits to various regulators.

Why, if the Senator honestly wanted to know, he could have Googled it. I did.

From the August 5, 2009 Wall Street Journal:
'For every premium dollar that they take in, about 83 cents goes out in medical costs -- doctors, hospitals, and drugs,' says Carl McDonald, health insurance analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. The rest is spent on overhead. Net income comes to just a few cents per dollar of premiums.
More Google results here, here, and here, among many others.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:38 AM

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Congress, Administration Hurt People, Rip Off Taxpayers to Buy People Cars

I have not yet blogged about Cash for Clunkers because every time I think about it, I become so enraged I become completely incomprehensible.

Until I settle down, I recommend this excellent article, "'Cash for Clunkers' Breaking Down, But Not Before Hurting Lower-Income Buyers, Auto Recyclers," by Elizabath Hovde for the Portland Oregonian.

Hovde explains how Cash for Clunkers hurts "already-hurting auto parts suppliers," recyclers and lower-income people, and she has the facts to prove it.

John McCain reportedly is going to filibuster the renewal of Cash for Clunkers when it hits the Senate next week, and good for him. Too bad it was barely debated when it passed the first time.

I agree with those who point to the initial self-destruction of this program and say, if the federal government can't administer a program to give away free money so people can buy themselves a nice new car, how can we possibly trust it to run our health care?

Somebody is saying that, right? Because we would be insane to trust our very lives to a government this full of boobs.

Cash for Clunkers -- the coercive confiscation of the wealth of some people to help other people upgrade the quality of their consumer goods (notice we don't even bother with means testing anymore) -- is antithetical to common sense, fairness and any sense of budgetary realism. It's so bad, it's anti-American. Our federal government was not set up for the purpose of buying people vehicles (or anything else, for that matter).

I'm going to go now and read the list of the Members of Congress who voted today to extend this travesty. None of them, I believe, deep in the hearts, are Americans. Their passports may say they are Americans, but their hearts show something else. And anybody who takes the money under this program is a welfare queen, and should be ashamed of themselves. You are stealing from your fellow taxpayers, and the government endorsing the theft doesn't make it right.

Addendum, 8/1/09: The U.S. public opposes the program, 54 percent to 35 percent.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:35 AM

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Outrage of the Day: The "Stupid" Remark


If President Obama was willing to confidently call the Cambridge, Massachusetts police department "stupid" even while admitting he didn't have all the facts of the case, on what other issues is the President confidently speaking without first examining the facts at hand?

As for the question immediately at hand: If our local police department sees someone breaking into our house, it is welcome to ask questions, even if the person doing it is me.

Do I only think that because I'm white?

Hat tip to NewsPoliticsNews for posting the video on YouTube.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:29 PM

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Congressional Leadership Blocks Debates

The House leadership is refusing to allow debates on controversial issues as Congress deals with spending bills this summer.

The effort is designed to help members of the majority party get re-elected by permitting them to fudge where they stand on issues on which their constituents are divided. In practice, however, it tends to make both Members of Congress (of both parties) and their constituents (of all political persuasions) angry and frustrated.

People like to be heard, even when their views don't prevail, and they are less likely to support people who make them mad. For the country's sake, as well as their own, this is a policy the House leadership should reconsider.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 7:12 AM

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Police Chief Calls Traffic Camera Monitoring "Cowardly"

District of Columbia Police Chief Cathy Lanier called iPhone users who monitor the location of traffic cameras and speed traps "cowardly."

Chief Lanier appears to have totally forgotten the official purpose of the traffic cameras and speed traps, which is to get drivers to follow traffic regulations.

People who stick to the speed limit because their iPhone app told them a speed trap is coming up are not any less safe than people who stick to the speed limit because they see a police car on the shoulder.

In fact, they may be safer, as the pre-warned iPhone users probably don't suddenly hit the brakes as do so many drivers when they see a police car (even if they aren't speeding in the first place -- ever notice that?).

I'm an iPhone user who drives in D.C. I had no interest in getting this app until Chief Lanier made this comment. Now I intend to find out what it is called and get it just because she said this. Few things are more annoying than a public servant abusing citizens for exercising their constitutional rights (unless it is a public servant with the power to make arrests doing it).

I will toss the chief a bone, however: When I start routinely seeing police cars -- the ones that don't have their sirens on or show any sign that they are responding to an emergency -- routinely following the speed limits and other traffic rules, I'll delete the app.

Care to tell your own officers to slow down, Chief?


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:31 AM

Friday, July 17, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Congress Kills Jobs; Doesn't Care

Neither the left nor the right has reason to oppose reform of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, foolish legislation adopted last year with little thought to its ramifications, but Congress won't reform it, and Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) of the House Energy and Commerce Committee continues to refuse to even hold hearings.

CPSIA reform wouldn't end the recession, but it would end some job losses at no greater cost than the passage of the bill. As Congress is going to pay itself anyway, why not?

Carter Wood of the Shopfloor.org blog more details in "CPSIA Update: Jobs Being Destroyed, Congress Looks Away," or visit my Outrage of the Day for March 16, "Waxman Drags Feet on Needed CPSIA Reform."


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:04 AM

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Pork in the Health Care Bill

A liberal crusade for decades has been the transfer of the U.S. health care system to government hands.

So when the liberals are about to make their most serious run at their cherished prize in 16 years, you'd think they'd leave the pork out of their bill, wouldn't you? Because pork in the bill is a turnoff for many voters, regardless of their position on government-run health care.

I thought so. I was wrong.

According to Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), who is Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, the bill released by the Democrats of said committee last week has plenty of work.

According to Enzi, the bill includes:
  • A "Community Makeover Program" to spend billions to "beautify" streets, up to $10 per person in selected communities;

  • A federal government program to build new sidewalks and bike paths, and put up street lights;

  • Financing of new grocery stores and farmers’ markets;

  • Mandate that a new Washington health police bureaucracy dictate what local restaurants can offer their customers; and,

  • Subsidizing community projects such as jungle gyms in parks.
The big-spenders are so addicted to pork, they can't keep it out of anything.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:43 PM

Monday, June 01, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Political Decisionmaking at Government Motors

From "Lawmakers Seek to Influence Plant Locations" by Neil King, Jr. and Kate Linebaugh for the June 2 Wall Street Journal:
The Obama administration has said repeatedly that it won't use its majority stake in General Motors Corp. to meddle in the company's daily affairs. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill aren't being so shy.

The areas of potential concern to lawmakers range from proposed plant and dealership closings to longer-term plans for more fuel-efficient cars. And key elected officials are already promising to weigh in even as President Barack Obama and his aides say they will shield GM from outside pressure.

"I think members will express themselves for sure. We should do that," said Rep. Sandy Levin, a Michigan Democrat whose district lies just north of Detroit. "We should express the interests of our constituents."

...Lawmakers have already shown they have muscle with GM, and they aren't likely to back off now. Members of the Michigan delegation rebelled last month when word got out that GM, post-bankruptcy, planned to boost its imports of cars made at GM factories in China. As a result, GM agreed as part of its talks with the United Auto Workers union to reopen two idled plants by 2011 to manufacture as many as 160,000 compact cars a year.

Rep. Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat whose district north of Detroit includes three plants set to cease production, is one of many lawmakers in the region who want the refitted plants in their backyard.

He has backing from Democratic Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who said Monday that she is going to be "aggressive" about trying to snare a facility that will help keep some automotive jobs in the state, which has the highest unemployment rate in the country.

Ms. Granholm, besides countless television appearances pleading for aid, has made about a dozen trips to Washington to meet with Mr. Obama, the president's automotive task force and dozens of other officials...

"I think where GM builds its next plant is going to be more of a political decision than a business decision," said Rep. Pete Hoekstra, a Republican from western Michigan. "For the foreseeable future, these car companies will be run by the Obama administration, and it will not be arm's length."...
Lawmakers care about their own prominence and re-electability, not profitability. They are not going to run General Motors successfully. Mostly (as is obvious from the priorities stated by the Congressmen in the article above, and by such things as the adoption of legislation forcing automakers to meet unrealistic and anti-family mileage standards), they aren't even going to try.

General Motors didn't stay competitive. Even hundreds of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars won't change that fact.

If the U.S. government actually wanted to help the domestic car business, Congress and the Administration would repeal mileage standards (which kill Americans as well as car companies), stop pro-union public policies and get the government out of car company management and ownership immediately.

The government isn't doing any of those things.



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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:00 PM

Friday, May 29, 2009

Outrage of the Day: "Subsidymagination"

Writing in the Washington Examiner, columnist Timothy Carney exposes General Electric's penchant for lobbying the federal government to force us to pay for its products.

Carney writes:
GE is not simply taking advantage of subsidies that exist -- the company lobbies, with its $18 million-a-year lobbying outfit, to create or protect these subsidies. On greenhouse emissions restrictions, GE is leading the pro-regulation charge.

But these "green" profits for GE don't come out of nowhere. Regulations force businesses to buy GE's products. Subsidies incentivize them to buy GE's products. In either case, regular people foot the bill -- either through higher prices for electricity, shipping, and manufactured goods, or through higher taxes.
Pathetically but hilariously, Carney quotes the head of GE's "Ecomagination" scam, Steven Fludder, trying to pass off GE's lobby-robbery of taxpayers with a little spin:
I'd prefer not to think of words like 'subsidies' and that type of a construct. I think it is more supporting the creation of scale.
We'd prefer not to think of words like "subsidies," too, Mr. Fludder, if only parasites like General Electric and others who prefer not to earn their bread through honest trade would just mend their ways.

The column quotes Steve Milloy, who co-directs the National Center for Public Policy Research's Free Enterprise Project, which has written extensively about GE's brand of game-the-system legal extortion on its FreeEnterpriser blog, crediting him with coining the term "subsidymagination." (Steve is also the author of the excellent new book about the harm environmental lobbyists due to ordinary folk, Green Hell, and he runs JunkScience.com.)

In the Washington Times today, Jerry Seper writes about a decision by political appointees at the Justice Department to overrule career lawyers, who wanted to prosecute men who allegedly stood outside a Philadelphia voting booth and intimidated voters with a stick.

I think of General Electric as the genteel lobbyist version of the men with sticks. We don't want to buy their products, but if we don't, the men with sticks -- Congress and the regulators backed by the tax men -- will see to it that we do.

I don't believe Obama's appointees are on our side on this one, either.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:32 AM

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Obama's Solar Powered Dishonesty

Speaking Wednesday at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, President Obama bragged that a federal-government owned solar electric plant at the base saves taxpayers $1 million a year:
...right now, we're standing near the largest solar electric plant of its kind in the entire Western Hemisphere -- the entire Western Hemisphere. More than 72,000 solar panels built on part of an old landfill provide 25 percent of the electricity for the 12,000 people who live and work here at Nellis. That's the equivalent of powering about 13,200 homes during the day.

It's a project that took about half a year to complete, created 200 jobs, and will save the United States Air Force, which is the largest consumer of energy in the federal government, nearly $1 million -- $1 million a year.
My first thought: But what did it cost to build?

Courtesy of DRJ at Patterico, we have an answer: Over $100 million.

The plant opened 18 months ago, so President Obama's statement won't be true for 97 1/2 years.

Assuming no tax funds are spent on maintenance by then.

The only positive thing I can say here is that the President's statement probably wasn't technically a lie, because he most likely literally had no idea what he was talking about.

But what's his staff's excuse?


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:05 AM

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Congressmen and Businesses Supporting Economic Suicide Pact

In a press release today, the National Center for Public Policy Research makes the point that the Waxman-Markey "American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009" (HR 2454) is akin to an economic suicide pact:
Cap and Trade Bill Economic Suicide for Taxpayers and Businesses, says National Center for Public Policy Research

Contact: Judy Kent at (703) 759-7476 or [email protected]


Get ready to be taxed even more, America!

Memorial Day is the target date set by Democrats Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Ed Markey (D-MA) for passage of a cap-and-trade bill that promises economic hardship for all. The Waxman-Markey "American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009" (HR 2454) would raise taxes on American families by nearly $3,100 a year, lead to huge job losses, and dramatically raise the energy expenditures of American households.

Under a cap-and-trade policy, companies would be forced to raise energy prices. This would unleash a series of adverse economic consequences and hardships for Americans, as numerous studies dictate.
* The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis determined that Waxman-Markey would reduce aggregate GDP by $7.4 trillion, kill 844,00 jobs and raise the energy bill paid by a typical family by about $1,500 annually.

* A study by the National Association of Manufacturers projected that emissions caps, similar to those previously rejected by the U.S. Senate calling for a 63% cut in emissions by 2050, would reduce GDP by up to $269 billion and cost 850,000 jobs.

* A study conducted by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology determined the restrictions could raise gasoline prices by 29%, electricity prices by 55% and natural gas prices by 15% by 2015.

* A 2007 report by the Congressional Budget Office examining the costs of cutting carbon emissions just 15% noted that customers "would face persistently higher prices for products such as electricity and gasoline. Those price increases would be regressive in that poorer households would bear a larger burden relative to their income than wealthier households would."
Given these dire consequences, some may be surprised that some of the nation's largest corporations are lobbying for this bill. Companies participating in the United States Climate Action Partnership, a lobbying group of over thirty corporations and environmental activist organizations, are trying to profit from a government-mandated "cap and trade" anti-global warming policy by selling so-called carbon credits from reductions in greenhouse gases.

During last week's ConocoPhillips shareholders meeting, Tom Borelli, Ph.D, director of the Free Enterprise Project at the National Center for Public Policy Research confronted ConocoPhillips Chairman James Mulva about ConocoPhillips' involvement in the USCAP. Mulva responded by saying he wanted to be at the table when energy policy decisions were being made. [An audio recording of the exchange is available online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uZVcyBfi2M ].

"ConocoPhillips CEO James Mulva has also not done his homework," said Borelli. ConocoPhillips has made a significant investment in Canadian oil sands, which release about three times the amount of carbon dioxide as traditional oil. Since cap-and-trade will increase the cost of carbon emissions, Mulva is lobbying to increase the cost of his investment. In addition, his USCAP partner the Natural Resources Defense Council is taking legal action to block the processing of the oil sands at a ConocoPhillips refinery."

"Pursuing legislation that will raise energy prices in the middle of a recession is economic suicide. It exposes the inability of these CEOs to connect the dots between economic growth and their future earnings," Borelli warns. He told Mulva that ConocoPhillips has done a poor job of promoting the "social good" the Company has done in terms of jobs, tax revenues and energy production.

Instead, "USCAP's support of President Obama's energy policy for what they deem as the 'social good,' illustrates the perils of corporatism - and is eerily similar of the warning in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, which described the unraveling of capitalism," says Deneen Borelli, a full-time Fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research-sponsored African-American leadership network Project 21.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a free-market communications and research foundation established in 1982 and located on Capitol Hill. It receives support from over 80,000 individual contributors. Under 2 percent of its revenue is received from corporations.



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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:00 AM

Monday, May 11, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Lobbying the President to Ignore His Oath of Office

Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness reports that anti-Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell activists are pressuring President Barack Obama to issue an order telling the Defense Department to stop enforcing that law.

The oath of office President Obama, and all U.S. Presidents, took, says: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

The faithful execution of the executive office requires a President to treat our laws with respect. (If he who is in charge of enforcing the laws does not respect them, why should the rest of us?) If the President doe not agree with a law, his proper course it to urge the legislature to repeal or alter it.

Alternatively, he could resign his position as executive and present himself to the people as a candidate for the legislature.

As President Obama, when a Senator, did not push for legislation to repeal Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell, it may be that he is not reluctant to enforce it, and the activists who lobby him are wasting their time. This should be irrelevant, however. The President's job is enforcing the law; the legislature's job is creating them.

The activists, if they must lobby at all, should be lobbying the Congress to change the law, not the President to ignore it.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:51 PM

Friday, May 01, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Businesses Seeking Handouts

Writing on the Free Enterpriser, Tom Borelli describes another way GE and some business partners are hoping to score $4.5 billion in taxpayers' dollars.

Are taxpayers safe from anyone?


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:13 AM

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Keith Olbermann Got a Big Raise While His Employer Got a Bailout

Writing on U.S. News and World Report's website, Peter Roff notes that MSNBC's Keith Olbermann negotiated a $3.5 million raise at the very time his employer was receiving a taxpayer bailout.

Peter reports the "Stop the Worst Bailout in the World" website has started on online petition to Olbermann:
Dear Mr. Olbermann,

While General Electric, the parent-company of your MSNBC network, was negotiating a $126 billion taxpayer-funded bailout, you signed a new contract raising your salary from $4 million to $7.5 million annually. You have used your show as a platform to call for the resignation of corporate executives accepting excessive bonuses on the backs of taxpayers who are picking up the tab for these atrocious bailouts, yet you yourself have no problem engaging in the same “class economic rape” that you accuse them of.

Please heed your own advice and stop accepting taxpayer money to subsidize your nightly diatribes. Resign or return the balance of your excessive raise to the U.S. Treasury.

Sincerely,
Go here if you'd like to sign it (and/or go if you'd like to watch a video the hilarious SNL send-up of Olbermann).

P.S. Here's a video of Keith Olbermann complaining about spending by bailed-out firms ("corporate pirates" ... who "need to be fired"). It's jaw-dropping to watch it knowing that he just got an extra $3.5 million in pay from a bailed-out firm.




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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:46 AM

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Outrage of the Day: "Change Has Come. It's Very Demoralizing."

It's been a while since I've published a letter from Sgt. Joe Roche, my old friend whose letters from Iraq during 14 months in 2003-2004 garnered so much attention.

Since last year, Joe is once again overseas in active duty combat with the U.S. Army (no longer in Iraq). He continues to send letters. Unfortunately, he's gone months without giving me permission to publish any.

In stark contrast to his letters from Iraq, which were optimistic even when few others were optimistic about U.S. operations in that country, Joe's letters now are very alarming. Reading them, I have concluded that it would be a very good idea if all of us (bloggers, Congressmen, citizens -- all of us) paid a great deal more attention to such things as the number of troops deployed in Afghanistan (among other things).

Joe gave me permission to reprint the letter I received from him yesterday. He doesn't get into the very alarming things that are in his other letters; as depressing as it is, it's the least alarming one I've seen from him in months. Nevertheless, his reporting on how some politicians and commentators here are adversely affecting the morale of deployed soldiers should be read by anyone who wishes to see us prevail in the War on Terror.
Amy,

It is frustrating and demoralizing to see the spectacle going on in the press/media and in Washington, D.C. over the release of the CIA memos and the debate over the use of enhanced interrogation techniques or torture. My fellow soldiers are NOT impressed, and are actually quite disgusted by the moralizing going on, and the posturing of some leaders against what we, the United States, had to do in order to get control of the catastrophe that hit us on September 11th, 2001.

The root issue is not being addressed by anyone. This is that there was a massive intelligence failure and a failure of leadership during the decade leading up to 9/11. Our country had been attacked nearly every year since the first bombing of the World Trade Center in New York in 1993. The Khobar Towers bombing (1996), the massive bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania (1998), the USS Cole bombing (2000), including foiled plots such as the Bojinka plot (1995) to hijack a dozen planes in a single day, as well as other attacks such as the massive bombings in Argentina (1994), the numerous bus bombings in Israel (1995-1996), and there were more. Osama Bin Laden had been very prominent throughout the 1990s in calling for war against American civilians, issuing his fatwa in 1998 that led to the 9/11 attacks.

I was involved in the fight against terrorism in the Middle East before 9/11 as you know, and there was a painfully disasterous ignorance and disregard of the threat of Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and terrorism in general before 9/11. I wrote about this threat in 1995 in my college newspaper and was ridiculed as a racist and bigot for suggesting such a thing. FBI agents working this issue were blocked in their investigations. The infamous political "wall" preventing agencies from working together in order to understand the threat was well detailed in the 9/11 Commission Report.

Our government and leadership failed us in the decade leading up to 9/11. Therefore, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 we had to quickly learn and clarify exactly what the threat was. There were concerns of nuclear bombs being brought to New York City, and other WMD warnings. We were blind. Our nation's intelligence was blind. The American people were in a panic, and in lieu of the anger over 9/11 the American people were demanding quick action to avert any repeat of the 9/11 disaster. Our intelligence had no clarity of the extent of the threat, so aggressive measures had to be used quickly just in order to repair the blindness of not only our intelligence agencies, but also that of our leaders and the American people overall. This is why such things happened. If those moralizing today want to point the finger of blame for things they don't like about what we had to do, they need to point to our leadership and the intelligence agencies during the decade before 9/11.

I've heard that one of our current leaders likes to say that he told President Bush one day in the Oval Office that if he looked behind, no one was there following him. True. We had dropped all of our personal affairs, left civilian jobs, said goodbye to loved ones, and joined the military and deployed to the front lines overseas to confront and reverse the consequences of the past decade of failure. That was where we were, in uniform, on the front lines, following the leadership of our Commander-in-Chief.

The one thing we knew before was that we had the backing of our leadership. Yes, change has come. It is very demoralizing.

Joe

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:06 AM

Monday, April 27, 2009

Outrage of the Day: The Leaders of Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela

The (in some cases, self-proclaimed) heads of state and/or government of Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela claim: "...we are going to need two planets Earth by the year 2030."

They also claim "Capitalism is leading humanity and the planet to extinction."

I guess we're doomed, then, because only capitalism has the power to motivate people to create a second planet Earth by 2030.

I don't know a lot about a couple of these leaders, but the ones I do know about are evil. I guess it should be comforting to know that in some ways, they also are idiots.

Hat tip: Drudge.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 7:22 AM

Friday, April 24, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Dismantling the Rule of Law

I can't improve on what Ralph Peters wrote:
With the ugly sanctimony of those who never had to make hard decisions, the American left demands show trials of those who kept us safe after 9/11. Wrapping themselves in repugnant self-righteousness, the MoveOn.org set wants political prosecutions. Should President Obama acquiesce, he won't be furthering the rule of law, but dismantling it...
Read the rest here.

Hat tip: @Mysterious_1 on Twitter.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:11 AM

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Outrage of the Day: No Tolerance for the Truth

BillofRightsIDed.jpgSometimes it seems there's no tolerance at all these days.

Even for telling the truth.

Witness the treatment of Carrie Prejean, aka "Miss California," who was (apparently) not only denied the Miss USA title for holding the same beliefs about marriage as has virtually every society on Earth for thousands of years, but, according to one of the Miss USA pageant judges, because she didn't lie.

Check out this Los Angeles Times blog post by Richard Abowitz:
If you had any doubt that Miss California, Carrie Prejean, lost the crown, if indeed she ever had a chance to win it, with her answer to Perez Hilton's question about states legalizing gay marriage, then read fellow judge Alicia Jacobs' account of her voting. After hearing the answer, Jacobs, a former Miss Nevada USA, writes on her blog, "if I could have made her 51st runner-up, I would have." In a blog item titled "Pretty is as pretty does," Jacobs offers a behind-the-scenes account of the judges and pageant officials involved. Included is Jacobs' account of her reaction as she heard the answer:

"As she continued to speak, I saw the crown move further & further away from her. When she finished, she looked strangely proud for a moment. Personally, I was STUNNED on several levels. First, how could this young woman NOT know her audience and judges? Let's not forget that the person asking the question is an openly gay man, at least 2 people on the judges panel are openly gay. Another judge has a sister in a gay marriage..."
According to this account, Miss USA pageant judge Alicia Jacobs was stunned because Carrie Prejean didn't lie.

So there you have it. Carrie Prejean was expected to know the political views of the judges, and lie if her own views did not conform with theirs.

Can it possibly be an honor to win the Miss USA pageant if lying to the judges is a precondition for victory?

A precondition so openly acknowledged, one of the judges is quoted in the Los Angeles Times expressing shock that a contestant didn't lie?

With all due respect to the winner of this little contest from Hades, I'd say it's no honor at all.

(By the way, the judge who reportedly is shocked Carrie Prejean didn't lie is a news reporter. Given the mendacious state of the news reporting industry, who's surprised?)

Next year, in addition to the main award and the Miss Congeniality and Miss Photogenic awards, the Miss USA pageant should have a "Best Liar" category.

Plus, there should be a new award, to be bestowed upon the most narcissistic of the judges: Most Self-Absorbed.

Addendum 1: A commentary on this by writer Roland S. Martin is pretty good. It begins, "A lot of folks are always saying they like to keep it real, that they want authenticity and straight talk. Yet when someone actually does it, there is hell to pay." Read it here.

Addendum 2: Speaking of a lack of tolerance, if the details in this story are true, former Miss USA Shanna Moakler certainly doesn't have any.

Addendum 3: Before anyone writes to say I've missed the core problem, which is not the promotion of dishonesty but increasingly totalitarian attitudes toward dissent from the PC line on gay marriage, I haven't. In fact, I recommend this document by the Free Market Foundation for anyone who is unaware that some are working to make dissent from the PC line on this issue against the law.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 7:35 AM

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Outrage of the Day: United Nations Threatens Bush Administration Officials

From "European Nations May Investigate Bush Officials Over Prisoner Treatment" by Craig Whitlock for the Washington Post:
...Martin Scheinin, the U.N. special investigator for human rights and counterterrorism, said the interrogation techniques approved by the Bush administration clearly violated international law. He said the lawyers who wrote the Justice Department memos, as well as senior figures such as former vice president Richard B. Cheney, will probably face legal trouble overseas if they avoid prosecution in the United States.

'Torture is an international crime irrespective of the place where it is committed. Other countries have an obligation to investigate,' Scheinin said in a telephone interview from Cairo. 'This may be something that will be haunting CIA officials, or Justice Department officials, or the vice president, for the rest of their lives.'"...
Tell me again: Why do we remain in the United Nations? We're paying nearly the quarter of the budget for a corrupt, bloated organization that sits by (or goes to dinner) while corrupt dictators kill and imprison suspected political opponents (and sometimes their children), but let George W. Bush try to keep Americans alive, and it is all over it.

The United Nations is an affront to our sovereignty, our pocketbooks, and to every sane notion of decency.

America must get out of the United Nations.



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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:36 AM

Friday, April 17, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Obama Lowers Himself

ObamaChavez041709Cartoonb.jpg
As we have no particular reason to believe President Obama kept up with foreign affairs before he was elected, perhaps someone should tell him how Hugo Chavez treats Presidents of the United States.

Come to think of it, why doesn't he know?

Obama is starting to make Jimmy Carter look like Rambo.



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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:28 PM

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Outrageous Tea Party News Coverage

Some mainstream news outlets had decent coverage (here is another fair example) of the Tea Parties across the United States, but others, predictably, were awful.

A Chris Parry article for the Vancouver Sun, "Turnout Tepid in U.S. for Modern-Era 'Tea Parties'" struck me as particularly bad, though not as bad as the adult "humor" used to denigrate the Tea Parties by NBC/MSNBC/Newsweek, and the weirdly hostile reaction by a CNN correspondent.

Newsbusters has these well covered. For details, go to:
"CNN Correspondent Claims Tea Parties 'Anti-Government,' 'Anti-CNN'," by Julia A. Seymour

"Newsweek's Gross Confronted on 'Teabagging' Schtick," by Matthew Philbin

"CNN's Anderson Cooper: 'It's Hard to Talk When You're Tea-Bagging'," by Matthew Balan

"NBC's Chuck Todd Says Tea Parties Haven't 'Caught On'," by Julia A. Seymour

"MSNBC: The Place for Low-Brow 'Teabag' Humor," by Jeff Poor
These folks not only aren't journalists, they can't even play one on TV.

P.S. See the National Center for Public Policy Research's pictures of Tea Party events here, here and here.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:59 PM

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Putin's Totalitarianism

As detailed in this Kim Zigfeld article for American Thinker, Vladimir Putin's Russia continues to get worse.

Zigfeld writing about a Russian court in Siberia issuing a $1.7 billion judgment against a Norwegian telecom firm reminds me of something I wrote back in 2002:
In the past few years, bureaucrats inside the Russian government have demonstrated a troubling tendency to use Soviet-style tactics when dealing with private companies. A situation exemplifying this growing problem has occurred in the case of world famous Stolichnaya Vodka.

Vodka production is Russia's second biggest industry. After the fall of the Soviet Union, in 1991 the government sold the assets of the Russian vodka industry to private industry. SPI International, now based in the Netherlands, bought the rights to Stoli Vodka and has run the company successfully for over a decade. Over one and a half million cases of Stoli Vodka are imported into the U.S. each year.

But last October, the Russian state trademark industry turned SPI's vodka trademarks over to the Russian Ministry of Agriculture, which subsequently declared the trademarks void. A Russian court intervened on behalf of SPI but, to the chagrin of independent observers, the Russian government is ignoring the court's findings and orders. In fact, the government seized the company's assets and trademarks for its own purposes.

If this worrisome situation had occurred only to one company in one industry, it would be troublesome, but perhaps an aberration. Alas, SPI is not alone. Other private enterprises in Russia are suffering similar, all but catastrophic, fates.

If we imagine the havoc that would occur in the United States if our Securities and Exchange Commission (which regulates Wall Street), was corrupt, and officials of the President's cabinet felt empowered to seize the assets of industries as large as, say, our automotive industry - even if ordered not to do so by U.S. courts - then we have an approximate picture of the chaos into which Russia economy may be sliding.

This bureaucratic rot imperils Russia's democratic reforms. For Russia's sake, as well as our own, Congress and the President should press this point to Mr. Putin, who is the one man currently in a position to effectively reverse these dangerous trends in Russia. If necessary, normal trade relations and WTO membership should be withheld.

An impartial legal system that guards property rights is the irreplaceable cornerstone of democratic capitalism. No less than the future of an economically secure and democratically stable Russia is at stake.
I regret that my worries in 2002 don't appear to have been overblown.

I've discussed Putin's Russia many times (for example, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), and news keeps getting worse.

I am reminded of a Putin quote I posted in this blog in 2005:
First and foremost it is worth acknowledging that the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.
-Russian President Vladimir Putin
P.S. I think we can suppose Putin still defends the Hitler-Stalin Pact.



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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:43 PM

Monday, April 13, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Siding With the Pirates

Today's Outrage of the Day is dedicated to those leftists who saw in the rescue of Captain Phillips a story of Western greed and Somali victimization?

Visit the "Captain Phillips is a Hero" post on the American Power blog for more.

Hat tip: Ace of Spades.



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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:38 PM

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Mandating Dirty Dishes

Today's Outrage of the Day is news out of Spokane of environmentalist efforts to ban the sale of dishwasher detergent that actually gets dishes clean.

From Nicholas K. Geranios of the Associated Press:
The quest for squeaky-clean dishes has turned some law-abiding people in Spokane into dishwater-detergent smugglers. They are bringing Cascade or Electrasol in from out of state because the eco-friendly varieties required under Washington state law don't work as well. Spokane County became the launch pad last July for the nation's strictest ban on dishwasher detergent made with phosphates, a measure aimed at reducing water pollution. The ban will be expanded statewide in July 2010, the same time similar laws take effect in several other states.

But it's not easy to get sparkling dishes when you go green.

Many people were shocked to find that products like Seventh Generation, Ecover and Trader Joe's left their dishes encrusted with food, smeared with grease and too gross to use without rewashing them by hand...
The article goes on to say that Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Michigan, Vermont, Minnesota, Illinois, Massachusetts and New York are joining Washington state in mandating dirty dishwasher dishes, and that there is a bill on Capitol Hill to make the phosphate ban national.

The article also says the affected industry group, the Soap and Detergent Association, at first opposed the ban, but now it has completely surrendered to the point of exhibiting signs of Stockholm syndrome (not the AP's wording).

The piece ends by quoting a Spokane resident who runs his dishwasher longer to make up for what the green groups have gotten mandated by law. That, he says, uses five gallons more water (and more electricity).

So we're basically going to hurt the environment by using more water (longer cycles or hand-washing after the dishwasher finishes) and more electricity in order to help the environment.

Is there any part of our lives that is not now or will not soon be regulated by environmentalists working through patsy legislatures?

Go here to read the rest of the AP article.



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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:09 PM

Friday, April 10, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Loving Castro

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus met with brutal dictator Fidel Castro and fell in love.

Read these quotes American Thinker collected from Representatives Laura Richardson (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) and Bobby Rush (D-IL), if you think I exaggerate.

Some people see ugly old murderers and brainlessly swoon. Other people see the Castros and are so repelled, they immediately force their minds to think of something more pleasant -- such as flies in poop. I still believe most Americans fall into the latter category. I'm not sure about a majority of the Congress.

The Washington Post (of all places, so perhaps we have some hope) had a mostly decent staff editorial on this. It notes that, when it comes to Cuba, Senators Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) could also use some scrutiny.

Yes, the rot is bipartisan.



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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:26 AM

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Fake Excuses for Bow to Saudi King


Ben Smith is reporting on Politico.com that the White House is denying that President Obama bowed to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

According to the unidentified (of course!!!) White House aide, when the President shakes hands with short people, he always gets down really low, as a way of making fun of them for being short.

Well, that's not quite what the White House aide with the top-secret identity said, but it's about as likely to be true.

If they had tried to claim the President's knee suddenly gave out right before he shook the King's hand, or the President stepped on his shoelace, well, MAYBE...

...but watch the video for yourself.

Hat tip: Drudge Report.



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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 7:18 AM

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Outrage of the Day: President Obama Denigrating Bush in Europe

No one is under any illusion that Barack Obama and George W. Bush see eye-to-eye on all or even most policy issues, so President Obama's criticisms of President Bush while on foreign soil are unnecessary and, to my way of thinking, tacky.

If Obama won't forgo digs at his predecessor out of a sense of dignity and appreciation for the office of the President of the United States, or appreciation for the old dictum that politics stops at the water's edge, then he might at least remind himself that inevitably, one day (Obama confidently says this won't be until 2017), he himself will be a former President of the United States, and will want to be treated with the same amount of respect President Bush showed to him.

I agree with what Charles Krauthammer said on Fox's "Special Report," by way of NRO with a hat tip to Jake Tapper and Karen Travers:
Where does one begin? Obama says in America there is a failure to appreciate Europe's leading role in the world.

Maybe that's because when there was a civil war in Europe's doorstep in the Balkans and genocide it didn't lift a finger until America led.

Maybe it's because there was an invasion in Kuwait it didn't lift a finger until America led.

Maybe it's because with America spending over half a trillion a year keeping open the sea lanes and defending the world, Europe is spending pennies on defense.

It's hard to appreciate an entity's leading role in the world when it's been sucking on your tit for 60 years as Europe has with regard to the United States, parasitically...

And then he goes on and calls America arrogant, dismissive, and derisive regarding Europe. "The London Telegraph," a correspondent in Strasbourg, said this was the most critical remarks he had ever seen a president give on foreign soil, and I think he's right.

When Kennedy arrived in Paris, he did not attack Eisenhower and the United States. When Obama's elected president, he is president of all of the United States, including Americans who opposed him, and he owns American history, including a past he may not have wanted to engage in.

I think what he did is, in order to gain the adoration of the crowd, he denigrated his country in a way that I think is disgraceful.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:26 PM

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Outrage of the Day: President Obama Calls Us "A Nation of Citizens"


"We are bound by ideals; a set of values," the President says. I wonder where he believes we got those ideals?

We have a President who does not understand or believe in the most basic principles of the founding of the United States. "Nation of citizens" notwithstanding, God help us.

Hat tip: Gateway Pundit.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:13 PM

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Outrage of the Day: U.S. To Pay Legal Bills of U.N. Official It Seeks to Prosecute

The United Nations has agreed to pay the legal fees of Benon Sevan, former head of the U.N.'s scandal-ridden Iraq Oil-for Food program.

Sevan has been charged in the United States with bribery and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, but has been hiding in Cyprus.

Because the United States pays approximately one quarter of the United Nations' expenses, about 25 percent of Sevan's legal fees will be paid by American taxpayers.

For more information, see: Nile Gardiner, Ph.D. and Steven Groves, "Oil-for-Food Revisited: The U.N. Should Not Pay Benon Sevan's Legal Fees," The Heritage Foundation, February 24, 2009.

___________________

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 5:10 AM

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Al Gore Claims Global Warming Theory is Not a Theory

Al Gore on the global warming theory not being a theory:
"The scientific community has gone through this chapter and verse. We have long since passed the time when we should pretend this is a 'on the one hand, on the other hand' issue. It’s not a matter of theory or conjecture, for goodness sake."

-Keith Johnson, "A Heated Exchange: Al Gore Confronts His Critic(s)", Wall Street Journal Environmental Capital Blog, March 5, 2009
Comment: We all know Al Gore is too attracted to the politics of control and his own celebrity status to accurately report facts about global warming, but it he could at least get the definition of "theory" right.

And sorry, Al. Just because you appear to believe in it with all your heart doesn't mean it's been proven. Even Albert Einstein was satisfied to have developed the Theory of General Relativity. If Einstein could live with the word "theory," you should be able to manage it as well, Al.

___________________

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:09 PM

Friday, March 06, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Dow Down 50 Percent Since Obama Inauguration

"The Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen 20 percent since Inauguration Day, the fastest drop under a newly elected president in at least 90 years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg."

-Eric Martin, "'Obama Bear Market' Punishes Investors as Dow Slumps," Bloomberg.com, March 6, 2009
Hat tip: Drudge Report.
___________________

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:01 PM

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