Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Barry takes a swipe at the tea parties; swings and whiffs

He and his administration claimed they didn't know anything about the Tea Parties occurring on 15 April. And of course those of us who attended the Tea Parties were ridiculed by the media as "tea-baggers." (Newsflash to the media -- you guys know more about tea-bagging than the Tea Party attendees. You've been tea-bagging the man who is the president for the last two years.) Captain Ed caught this from Politico where the president, once again, decides to take a swipe at private citizens:

At his 100th-day town hall meeting in St. Louis, Mo., President Obama took direct aim at the anti-tax “tea party” demonstrations that have cropped up over the last month – and took a veiled shot at FOX News Channel, at the cable news network closely associated with the protests.

Asked about fiscal discipline and entitlements reform, Obama seemed to be repressing a smile as he jabbed critics of his spending plans.

"Those of you who are watching certain news channels on which I'm not very popular, and you see folks waving tea bags around, Obama said, “let me just remind them that I am happy to have a serious conversation about how we are going to cut our health care costs down over the long term, how we are going to stabilize Social Security.”

“But,” Obama continued, “let's not play games and pretend that the reason [for the deficit] is because of the Recovery Act."

It’s the president’s most direct response so far to the protests that flared up in some locations around tax day, on April 15.

In his briefing that day, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters: “I don't know if there's a specific response to protests..I think you saw the president today talk about as candidate Obama promising to bring a tax cut to 95 percent of working families in America, and as president delivering that tax cut.”

Let's take this point-by-point. First, it's asinine to claim FOX News was "closely associated" with the protests. It's a news outlet and they do their job which is to report THE NEWS. Only the rest of the MSM decided that almost 500,000 people, turning out across the country in protest of the fiscal irresponsibility of Congress and this administration, isn't newsworthy. Worse, the MSM decided it would be a fun day to ridicule the protesters (using the tea-bagging jokes all day long). And let's not forget Susan Roesgen of CNN infamy who verbally attacked a protester. (This is the stupid broad that had the audacity to demand why the protester out at the Tea Party, and when he responded he was out there in support of liberty she stupidly demanded from him "What does liberty have to do with taxes?" Um, Susan, go back and reread your history. It has EVERYTHING to do with taxes.) It's not as if FOX sponsored any of these protests. They just covered them.

Second, he's not interested in a serious conversation on health care costs or Social Security. If anyone on his side of the aisle had been serious about dealing with Social Security, why didn't they work with Republicans and President Bush when he posited Social Security reform? They didn't. They demonized the president and accused him of destroying the legacy of FDR. I've got news for the president and Democrats -- if anyone has read Mark Levin's new book Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto (still #1 on Amazon) then you know the cat's out of the bag because Mr. Levin explains what Social Security was originally intended for, and it wasn't for retirees.

Third, no the deficits weren't due to the Recovery Act. They're due to the bank bailouts, the auto bailouts, the Recovery Act, the $410 billion omnibus bill with over 9000 earmarks in it, etc., etc., ad naseum. And he can't sit back and say "don't blame me; I inherited this mess." Why? Because despite the fact that President Bush learned a little too late not to pass exorbitant, pork-filled bills, Barry has completely eclipsed any spending that Bush did. CBO numbers show that right now, under the president's current proposals, between 2010 and 2019 the deficit will reach $9.3 TRILLION. It took us almost 230 years to reach a $1 trillion deficit, and this president is going to jump it $8 trillion more in less than four years.

The tax cuts ... First let me say that Bobby Gibbs is so incompetent that he makes Scott McClellan look competent and smart. He's a guy that is the regular pinata for people like Jake Tapper and Major Garrett during White House press briefings. But this "tax cuts for 95% of the people" line is getting old. He's already broken that promise. He broke it the moment he passed the S-CHIP bill. See, S-CHIP is funded on the back of cigarette taxes, and when it was passed it raised cigarette and tobacco taxes. Low income and middle income voters are the ones hardest hit by this tax. While it's not an income tax, it's still a tax, and it's one that is hitting people where it counts. (I have a couple of friends who smoke, and after seeing their cigarettes jump at the beginning of April, they have been working on quitting.) And if you think this is the end of the "habit taxes," think again. Congress is working on an alcohol tax to bring beer and wine on par with hard alcohol.

It shows the hubris this man has in attacking the average citizen who isn't pleased with the way he's leading this nation, and against Congress for performing the idiocy they have for the last 120+ days. He's clearly not pleased with the people. Well, we got news for him -- the people aren't pleased with him. We're not the leg-tingling media here. We're the American people, and we have a right to disagree with what our government is doing. If Barry doesn't like it he has two options.

-- Resign the presidency, and turn it all over to Captain Gaffe-tastic.

-- CHANGE his attitude towards government and the people.

That's it. Those are his options because we, THE PEOPLE, aren't going anywhere, and we're only going to get more pi$$ed at him if he continues this crap.

Publius II

100 Days

We do not have a lot to say about the day commemorating Barack Obama's 100th day in office. The reason for this is that it really does not matter. The "first 100 days" meme is not exactly what it used to be. And aside from the fact that his spending bills have kept the economy down, and will likely keep it there, he really has nothing to brag about. But there are a few out there that have things to say about this day, so I will point readers in their direction, and you can read what they have to say.

First, there is Michelle Malkin discusses his reckless photo-ops.

The editors @ the Washington Times claim that his no-news conference slated for tonight is not going to impress the. Thomas and I believe it has something to do with the slobbering press.

The New York Post has an article up entitled "100 Days, 100 Mistakes" which pretty much sums up his first 100 days.

Armstrong Williams rates his first 100 days, his beliefs versus his convictions.

Jim Geraghty has a list of the Obama promises that have met their expiration dates. As of right now he has seventeen listed.

National Review has a symposium up of authors they regularly have giving their thoughts on the first 100 days.

If I find anymore interesting columns or views, I will be sure to link them here.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

An example of cluelessness

Yesterday, people in Manhattan got the scare of their lives when they witnessed one of the president's jets fly LOW over Manhattan "chased" by two F-16 fighter jets. When I say low, I mean low. Follow the link, and watch the video of the people on the ground. The jet was well below what the FAA deems as "safe" altitude for a plane over Manhattan.

In fact, I spoke with a friend today that used to work for the FAA,and he says that Manhattan is a "no-fly zone" over New York City. This is due to the many high rise buildings in Manhattan, and the environment -- updrafts, heat rises, etc. -- that could play havoc with a plane in the area. Jets are brought in from the East, and aren't permitted any flyovers over Manhattan.

Why is this clueless?

Well, let's see .... DHS had no knowledge of this. When asked about it, Secretary Napolitano stated that she hadn't been informed of the flight.

The FAA pointed fingers at DHS, and claimed they were unaware of the flight until it was already in Manhattan airspace. (This is dangerous, given the airports int he area, and the circus that's caused by unauthorized flights. News and police choppers are the ONLY aircraft allowed to fly over Manhattan.

This was a photo-op, supposedly approved by Louis Caldera. Caldera is the White House Military Office director, who assumed responsibility for it yesterday after the finger-pointing was all said and done, and Barry got done chewing him a new @$$.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg was never briefed on this. Supposedly, according to Caldera, NYPD was informed, but the police commissioner said he never received word. Bloomberg's deputy was said to have received word, and he claims he "forgot" about it. You don't forget things like this, and his deputy, if he's telling the truth, deserves to be fired.

The Oval Office was "furious" over this flyover. The meeting between Barry, Rahm, and Caldera was "heated," and afterwords, Caldera assumed responsibility for it. But this doesn't clear the Oval Office of the charges of incompetence. Why do I say that?

Air Force One is under the control of the president, and he is the ultimate authority in it's use. He's the only one who can sign off on it's use. If he was briefed on this photo-op by Caldera, and forgot, it's incompetence. If he was unaware of it, and Caldera used it anyway, it's incompetence. Barry can't sweep his responsibility, be it direct or indirect, under the rug, and put the blame elsewhere. It's his jet. The buck stops with the president.

I can't tell you folks how dangerous this stunt was. Toss in the panicked New Yorkers witnessing this yesterday -- giving way to the fear they believed they were going to be the victims of another 9/11-style attack, and you get the picture. Again. I urge readers to head over to Hot Air and watch those videos if you haven't seen them already. This was stupid, reckless, and completely beyond the pale. New Yorkers haven't forgotten 9/11, even if many people in this country have. They were there. They endured those attacks. And they lost friends, family, and loved ones in those attacks.

Regardless of who made the call, the buck stops with Barry. If he literally had no idea about the photo-op, then his incompetence is doubled because it sends a message that anyone in his administration can co-opt his plane for whatever reason they want. That's not good in anyone's book, especially in this day and age.

If Barry were smart, he'd man up and accept responsibility for this, even if he didn't make the call. Furthermore, that plane can't just leave the tarmac on a whim. The pilot would have to have orders in hand it was permitted for take-off. If there wasn't any orders, why didn't he call the White House to confirm? And even if he did have orders in hand, again, where was the call to confirm it. If the president's on board, then I could see him bypassing that. But Barry wasn't on board.

One final note to e-mailers. I didn't comment on this yesterday because I was busy at work (and Marcie's at school during the day, guys). I didn't comment on it first thing this morning because I had to confirm a few things about this. But I'd warn people not to refer to the plane as "Air Force One." That designation is only used when the president is on board the plane, and he wasn't. If the Vice President is using it (and we sincerely doubt Captain Gaffe-tastic was given the keys to take the plane out for a joyride) it's designation is Air Force Two. I understand those identifying the plane as such, but without the President or Vice President on board (according to my friend from the FAA) the plane's designations are "SAM 28000" or "SAM 29000." That's in reference to the tail numbers on the planes.

Publius II

Switching to save his skin

Folks, don't think for one moment that he is doing this because he believes in the other side. Yeah, he's a RINO and a POS one at that, but Arlen Specter isn't switching parties because he's suddenly "seen the light." He's doing it to save his political hide:

Veteran Republican Sen. Arlen Specter disclosed plans Tuesday to switch parties, a move intended to boost his chances of winning re-election next year that will also push Democrats closer to a 60-vote filibuster-resistant majority.

"I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans," Specter said in a statement posted on a Web site devoted to Pennsylvania politics and confirmed by his office.
Several Senate officials said a formal announcement could come later in the day or Wednesday.

[For the record, his political philosophy has been more in touch with Democrats than Republicans for years, so it's a lie for him to say "now." He has always been a RINO]

Specter, 79 and in his fifth term, is one of a handful of Republican moderates remaining in Congress in a party now dominated by conservatives. Several officials said the White House as well as leaders in both parties had been involved in discussions leading to his move.

[Dominated by conservatives? Who the Hell are these people kidding? If we had conservatives that "dominated" our party, we'd be winning. the party is filled with squishy moderates that have been a thorn in the base's side for the past decade.]

With Specter, Democrats would have 59 Senate seats. Al Franken is ahead in a marathon recount in Minnesota, and if he ultimately wins his race against Republican Norm Coleman, he would become the party's 60th vote. That is the number needed to overcome a filibuster.

[And the question on every political junkie's mind should be "What deal did Arlen "Faust" Specter cut with the devil?"]

Specter faced an extraordinarily difficult re-election challenge in his home state in 2010, having first to confront a challenge from his right in the Republican primary before pivoting to a general election campaign against a Democrat.

"I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate," he said in the statement.

"I don't have to say anything to them. They said it to me," Specter said, when asked in a Capitol corridor about abandoning the GOP.

[Another lie. He left the people of Pennsylvania to be a moderate that was unable to be depended on to stick to the ideological guns that he claimed to adhere to when he was elected.]

A senior White House official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because no announcement has yet been made, said at 10:25 a.m. EDT Tuesday President Barack Obama was handed a note while in the Oval Office during his daily economic briefing. The note said: "Specter is announcing he is changing parties." At 10:32, Obama reached Specter by phone and told him "you have my full support" and that the Democratic Party is "thrilled to have you."

Of course the Democrats are thrilled to have him. As things stand right now, Al Franken -- (Tax-cheating pornographer, MN) will be seated in the Senate giving the Democrats exactly what they needed. Now there won't be any need for the Democrats to fall back on their reconciliation plans for upcoming votes. They'll have the votes they need to pass whatever the Hell they want, and the GOP can only muster up vocal opposition. They won't be able to stop anything. And as for Barry? Well, get ready for yet another president to travel to Pennsylvania to save this @$$-hat's job. Bush did it in 2004, which was a serious gripe we had with him because Specter was so disappointing in pushing Bush's judicial nominees through the Senate Judiciary Committee.

I wish I could say we're crying over this, but the only tears we have is for the death of liberty and democracy, not this @SShole jumping ship. Given the verbal beating he took on voting for the Pork-A-Palooza, we expected this decision to come down the pipe. We just expected it to come a little later, like after the 4 July recess the Congress always takes. We expected him to go home, make his decision, and come back with a tearful confession that he had done some soul-searching, and realized that he was more in line with Democrats than Republicans. At least then he could pull the wool over the voter's eyes. But this is clearly all about his reelection chances.

Lastly, he apparently had a recent meeting with GOP leaders in Congress, and had a meeting with Pat Toomey. The rumor is that the GOP leaders gave him a lukewarm response, and Toomey obviously gave Specter a piece of his mind. Specter saw the writing on the wall that his goose was cooked. He took the most politically-expedient route to save his butt. The honorable thing to do would be to resign his seat, and take his chances as a Democrat against Toomey. He was elected as a Republican, and now he's switching parties. If we were voters in Pennsylvania, we'd vote for Toomey out of spite. With this decision he's shown he cares little for the voters who elected and reelected him. They should show him the same respect.

Bye Arlen. Don't let the door hit you where the good Lord split you.

Publius II

ADDENDUM: Stop the weeping, folks. This isn't a big loss for us. (E-mailers have already said I'm being unkind to his departure, but I'm about to drop a bomb here to show his disingenuous nature.) Allahpundit snatched this tidbit from The Hill:

I am staying a Republican because I think I have an important role, a more important role, to play there. The United States very desperately needs a two-party system. That’s the basis of politics in America. I’m afraid we are becoming a one-party system, with Republicans becoming just a regional party with so little representation of the northeast or in the middle Atlantic. I think as a governmental matter, it is very important to have a check and balance. That’s a very important principle in the operation of our government. In the constitution on Separation of powers.

Of course, only Specter would think that his "important role" in the GOP was being the resident pain-in-the-ass. Someone should remind Specter that he just joined that "one-party system." And for those who have lambasted Michael Steele for his early missteps, give the man credit where credit's due, folks:

Some in the Republican Party are happy about this. I am not. Let’s be honest-Senator Specter didn’t leave the GOP based on principles of any kind. He left to further his personal political interests because he knew that he was going to lose a Republican primary due to his left-wing voting record. Republicans look forward to beating Sen. Specter in 2010, assuming the Democrats don’t do it first.

This is not a loss for us, at all. For those who stand by the "we need every vote we can get" meme, we agree, but Specter wasn't dependable to begin with. Thumping one's chest for doing the right thing, and expecting a pat on the back sounds utterly liberal to us. It sounds like the petulant kindergartner that wants a cookie for doing something they know damn well they were supposed to be doing. That's his opinion about his supposed stance on Card Check. He wanted a cookie for holding the line. But given a couple of Blue Dogs in the Senate that are considering a vote against it, his stance is irrelevant. If we can get Blanche Lincoln, Ben Nelson, and maybe Kristen Gillibrand, it'll force the Democrats to move on their reconciliation plans. When voters see that heavy-handed tactic, the repercussions could be devastating in 2010.

Publius II

Swine flu update

For the record, despite the fact we live in Arizona, we're not worried about this virus travelling around the world. Concerned? Yes. Worried? Hardly. But we'd be taking this a bit more seriously than our own government is. Janet Napolitano is watching things develop. Oh yeah, that's comforting. CDC hasn't uttered a peep about it? That's a bit more concerning. News is that this is far from over:

A new virus has killed up to 149 people in Mexico and the World Health Organization moved closer on Monday to declaring it the first flu pandemic in 40 years as more people were infected in the United States and Europe.

The WHO raised its pandemic alert level for the
swine flu virus to phase 4, indicating a significantly increased risk of a pandemic, a global outbreak of a serious disease.

The last such outbreak, a "Hong Kong" flu pandemic in 1968, killed about 1 million people.

Although the new flu strain has so far killed people only in Mexico, there were more than 40 confirmed cases in the United States, including 20 at a New York City school where eight cases were already identified. ...

Spain became the first country in Europe to confirm a case of swine flu when a man who returned from a trip to Mexico last week was found to have the virus.

Texas health authorities confirmed a third case of swine flu at a school near the Mexican border and California said it now had 11 confirmed cases.

The U.S. State Department and the European Union urged citizens to avoid non-essential travel Mexico and other areas affected by swine flu.

Mexico relies on tourism as its third biggest source of foreign currency and millions of Americans travel there every year.

Mexican Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova said the outbreak was now suspected of having killed 149 people and warned the number of cases would keep rising.

Thirty-three million Mexican schoolchildren will be off school until the middle of next week as authorities seek to contain the outbreak. Schools in the sprawling capital had already been closed but the government ordered classes canceled across the country until May 6.

Honestly, the first thing we should do -- right now -- is shut down the southern border, and end all travel between the US and Mexico. That sounds harsh, and possibly even knee-jerk, but at this point can we really afford to take the risk? I think not. The WHO claims this is "contained" but as of 10 PM Arizona time tonight, the cases here int he US have climbed to over fifty. That's not containment.

Good news is that none of the cases here in the US have ended in death. People are responding to the appropo treatment. It's elsewhere where there are problems. We can send them what they need to curtail the outbreak, but we need to focus on our status first, and we can't really afford to wait and see if other cases break out. So long as travel between Mexico and the US is kept at the status quo levels, we risk further endangerment to our citizens.

It's time to pull the plug until Mexico can get this contained. We shouldn't rely on the eggheads working for the UN to tell us when this possible pandemic is contained. We need to work on our own efforts at containment. It starts with actions, not teleprompter-issued words and platitudes.

Publius II

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Addressing our readers ....

No, we're not ticked at you guys, but our inbox continues to contain mail asking us why we haven't commented on Meghan McCain, and her complete and utter nonsense that she's been saying about conservatives. Allow me to answer that for the inquiring minds:

#1 -- She's Meghan McCain. She thinks she's important, and she's nothing more than a media wh*re. She's looking for her fifteen minutes of fame because she's riding on daddy's coattails.

#2 -- She doesn't speak for conservatives. We speak for ourselves. She probably believes that because her father was our nominee in 2008 that he's the "leader" of the party. She couldn't be more wrong.

#3 -- She's pushing daddy's Republican ideals. John McCain is not a conservative. He's a moderate Republican that the conservative base can't stand. All due respect to the man for his military service, but his political service has been less than stellar.

#4 -- Harping on her is the equivalent of watching and worrying about who the next contestant on American Idol Idiot will get booted. (Can we just boot the show already?)

#5 -- Anyone who gets "creeped out" that Karl Rove is following them on Twitter is proving their obtuseness. "Following" on Twitter are the people who read what you post. Don't worry Meghan, he's not stalking you. Besides, he's married, and you were never his type.

#6 -- Despite the fact that fisking her would be rather amusing, the pain of having to read her opinions can't be handled by over-the-counter painkillers. Her convoluted advice to the Republican Party will turn it into a watered-down version of the British Tory party. We already have one major party pushing socialism in America. We don't need two.

#7 -- As Geraghty the Indispensable points out her grasp of historical facts isn't exactly spot-on. (To be fair to her, however, as she's not conservative she probably has never read National Review or The Campaign Spot; the latter being the first blog we're aware of to track a presidential campaign.)

#8 -- Last but certainly not least, it's Meghan McCain for crying out loud. Paying attention to her would be like paying attention to other idiots out there like Perez Hilton. Give us a break, folks. We're legitimate bloggers here. You want Meghan McCain news, try looking at TMZ or some other celebutard-watching site.

Publius II

Slow roll time at the CIA? You bet it is

Barry really sent a veiled message to the CIA when he told them they wouldn't be prosecuted for what they did with regard to the detainees, and how they were interrogated. This, of course, comes on the heels of his decision to release a choice set of memos detailing our interrogation methods, and promising that they will never be used again. David Ignatius in today's WaPo explains why this is dangerous:

At the Central Intelligence Agency, it's known as "slow rolling." That's what agency officers sometimes do on politically sensitive assignments. They go through the motions; they pass cables back and forth; they take other jobs out of the danger zone; they cover their backsides.

Sad to say, it's slow roll time at Langley after the release of interrogation memos that, in the words of one veteran officer, "hit the agency like a car bomb in the driveway." President Obama promised CIA officers that they won't be prosecuted for carrying out lawful orders, but the people on the firing line don't believe him. They think the memos have opened a new season of investigation and retribution.

The lesson for younger officers is obvious: Keep your head down. Duck the assignments that carry political risk. Stay away from a counterterrorism program that has become a career hazard.

Obama tried personally to reassure the CIA workforce during a visit to Langley on Monday. He said all the right things about the agency's clandestine role. But it had the look of a campaign event, with employees hooting and hollering and the president reading from his teleprompter with a backdrop of stars that commemorate the CIA's fallen warriors. By yesterday, Obama was deferring to the attorney general whether to prosecute "those who formulated those legal decisions," whatever that means.

Obama seems to think he can have it both ways -- authorizing an unprecedented disclosure of CIA operational methods and at the same time galvanizing a clandestine service whose best days, he told them Monday, are "yet to come." Life doesn't work that way -- even for charismatic politicians. Disclosure of the torture memos may have been necessary, as part of an overdue campaign to change America's image in the world. But nobody should pretend that the disclosures weren't costly to CIA morale and effectiveness.

Put yourself in the shoes of the people who were asked to interrogate al-Qaeda prisoners in 2002. One former officer told me he declined the job, not because he thought the program was wrong but because he knew it would blow up. "We all knew the political wind would change eventually," he recalled. Other officers who didn't make that cynical but correct calculation are now "broken and bewildered," says the former operative.

For a taste of what's ahead, recall the chilling effects of past CIA scandals. In 1995, then-Director John Deutch ordered a "scrub" of the agency's assets after revelations of past links to Guatemalan death squads. Officers were told they shouldn't jettison sources who had provided truly valuable intelligence. But the practical message, recalls one former division chief, was: "Don't deal with assets who could pose political risks." A similar signal is being sent now, he warns.

One veteran counterterrorism operative says that agents in the field are already being more careful about using the legal findings that authorize covert action. An example is the so-called "risk of capture" interview that takes place in the first hour after a terrorism suspect is grabbed. This used to be the key window of opportunity, in which the subject was questioned aggressively and his cellphone contacts and "pocket litter" were exploited quickly.

Now, field officers are more careful. They want guidance from headquarters. They need legal advice. I'm told that in the case of an al-Qaeda suspect seized in Iraq several weeks ago, the CIA didn't even try to interrogate him. The agency handed him over to the U.S. military.

Hammer. Nail. Head. Read the whole thing. Ignatius gets it right in how this is being perceived by the CIA officers that carry out these interrogations. While Barry says one thing -- that these people won't face any consequences -- the truth is they will, and they are right now. This is intimidation on a political level the CIA hasn't seen since the Church Commission hearings of the late 70s. Will we see a round of commissions like that again? Maybe, but that has yet to be determined. If Congress gets it's way, it will likely happen.

I'm not saying that the CIA should be allowed to do whatever they want to do. We still have laws that have to be followed. But to intimidate and cow the CIA, or any intelligence agency for that matter, makes for a very dangerous situation. These people are the ones who crunch the data. They're the ones who dig up the dirt on our enemies. If the president intimidates them where they won't handle sensitive operations, we are going to be opened up to our enemies in ways we can't possibly fathom.

Publius II

Call It What It Is -- Witch-Hunts

President Obama flip-flopped yesterday. He had promised there would be no legal actions taken on the previous administration, but to satisfy the fever-swamp on the Left he has reversed himself. To be fair, he has left the decision as to who should be prosecuted in the hands of Attorney General Eric Holder, but that does not give us much hope on this issue. Joseph McCarthy did something very much like this back in the 1950s, and while his witch-hunt was more than warranted, and hardly involved actual prosecution this one will, and it is unconstitutional on it's face:

President Barack Obama turned heads Tuesday by abruptly warming to the idea of a war-on-terror “truth commission” and by opening the door to prosecution of Bush administration lawyers and senior officials. ...

For weeks, White House aides have been deflecting questions about a commission by saying the president wanted to look forward, not backwards. So Obama took reporters by surprise when he suddenly signaled openness to a commission during an Oval Office press availability with King Abdullah of Jordan.

“If and when there needs to be a fuller accounting of what took place during this period, I think for Congress to examine ways that it can be done in a bipartisan fashion, outside of the typical hearing process that can sometimes break down and break entirely along party lines, ... that would probably be a more sensible approach to take,” Obama said in response to a question. ...

Gibbs faced a barrage of far more skeptical questions from reporters about Obama’s statement that while he has promised not to prosecute Central Intelligence Agency interrogators who relied on official legal advice, that amnesty does not extend to those who drafted the legal opinions authorizing the harsh interrogation tactics.

“I would say that that is going to be more of a decision for the Attorney General within the parameters of various laws, and I don't want to prejudge that. I think that there are a host of very complicated issues involved there,” the president said.

Let me remind readers why this is unprecedented, and make no mistake it is unconstitutional:

"The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States ..."

On September 18, 2001 Congress passed the Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Terrorists. It was enacted in the wake of the September 11th attacks, and authorized our invasion of Afghanistan. On December 16, 2002 Congress passed the Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. What these two resolutions mean is that at that time, and continuing today, we went to war. We are at war. The president is the commander-in-chief and when he issues orders those orders are to be followed. The president consults with his advisers, both legal and policy advisers, to ensure he is taking the right and legal course of action.

What Eric Holder is being asked to consider is whether or not the advisers broke the law. As I said above this is unprecedented because in 232 years a current administration has NEVER gone after a preceding administration. It has always been determined by constitutional scholars that those who serve at the behest of the president, especially in wartime, that those people are absolved from prosecution unless they actually break a law.

Waterboarding has never been made illegal in the United States, and it is not as if Congress has never had the opportunity to do this. Andrew McCarthy said as much yesterday in an interview conducted by Hugh Hewitt. He even cited that the issue was discussed by the Congress with the Military Commissions Act of 2006 but that the Congress "ducked it" then. So how can one be prosecuted for something that is, in fact, legal? That would be akin to someone being prosecuted for owning a firearm when owning one is quite legal.

The unconstitutionality comes in the fact that these people carried out the commander-in-chief's orders. When this nation goes to war, the president is afforded an considerable degree of leeway. While there may be critics of this argument that pull out the Nazis-claimed-they-were-just-following-orders straw man, the Nazis were committing war crimes. The Bush administration, and it's officials and advisers, were not. Nothing that they did could be considered a war crime.

There will be those that get all huffy and puffy over the various lies peddled by groups like ANSWER or Human Rights Watch, both of which have claimed the Bush administration committed war crimes, but there is no proof of them occurring. In fact, the most recent prosecution to take place was with the Haditha Marines. The charges on all but one Marine were dropped. The lone exception is Staff Sgt Frank Wuterich, whose trial has been postponed. And that, by the way, was the last war crimes allegation leveled by the fever-swamp on the Left. All others that they have crowed about have been refuted. They claim that our enhanced interrogation techniques are cruel and abusive to the detainees. But they fail to understand that people like John Yoo, a well-respected lawyer, constitutional scholar, and one of the men who helped fashion the Bush administration's interrogation techniques legality, abided not only by enacted US law and the Constitution, but by the Geneva Convention as well. The administration fashioned a policy that was legal and just.

The fever-swamp believes that the detainees we have taken as prisoners deserve extra rights akin to our own. They do not. I understand that the United States Supreme Court has ruled otherwise, but they are wrong. In each of their decisions regarding detainees, the high court has extended to the detainees rights that have never been bestowed on an enemy combatant in this nation's history. It is as dangerous a precedent as these prosecutions of Bush administration officials that the attorney general will make a decision on.

This should not be allowed to happen. The Supreme Court needs to come out, deny the attorney general and the White House the power to do this, and cite the reason why. It is a violation of Article II, Section 2 of the US Constitution. It is questioning -- virtually trumping -- the powers enumerated and guaranteed to the President of the United States in wartime. If allowed to proceed, not only will this precedent make those powers questionable, but it would allow subsequent administrations to conduct their own witch-hunts on perceived illegalities. This is not what the Framers envisioned. It is 100% contrary to their thoughts. President Barack Obama, in commissioning Attorney General Eric Holder to decide who will be prosecuted, is directly violating the Constitution, and the Supreme Court needs to act.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

CIA Stands Behind Their Techniques

This is a two-fer in hat-tips. The first goes to Ace @ AoSHQ for linking to Rantings And Ravings for their posting of General Hayden's recent interview that the Obama administration is being most disingenuous for the release of the OLC memos detailing our interrogation techniques. For the record, Vice President Dick Cheney has called on the administration to release all of the memos to show the nation what we learned during those interrogations.

To paint the methods as improper or useless is specious on the face as we did learn a great deal from the detainees who endured the interrogation methods we subjected them to, which brings me to the second hat-tip. This one goes to Captain Ed Morrissey @ Hot Air for linking to the defense presented by the CIA in an interview with CNS News about exactly what we did obtain, and what we were able to stop, thanks to those methods:

The Central Intelligence Agency told CNSNews.com today that it stands by the assertion made in a May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that the use of “enhanced techniques” of interrogation on al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) -- including the use of waterboarding -- caused KSM to reveal information that allowed the U.S. government to thwart a planned attack on Los Angeles.

Before he was waterboarded, when KSM was asked about planned attacks on the United States, he ominously told his CIA interrogators, “Soon, you will know.”

According to the previously classified May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that was released by President Barack Obama last week, the thwarted attack -- which KSM called the “Second Wave”-- planned “ ‘to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into’ a building in Los Angeles.”

KSM was the mastermind of the first “hijacked-airliner” attacks on the United States, which struck the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Northern Virginia on Sept. 11, 2001.

After KSM was captured by the United States, he was not initially cooperative with CIA interrogators. Nor was another top al Qaeda leader named Zubaydah. KSM, Zubaydah, and a third terrorist named Nashiri were the only three persons ever subjected to waterboarding by the CIA. (Additional terrorist detainees were subjected to other “enhanced techniques” that included slapping, sleep deprivation, dietary limitations, and temporary confinement to small spaces -- but not to water-boarding.)

This was because the CIA imposed very tight restrictions on the use of waterboarding. “The ‘waterboard,’ which is the most intense of the CIA interrogation techniques, is subject to additional limits,” explained the May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo. “It may be used on a High Value Detainee only if the CIA has ‘credible intelligence that a terrorist attack is imminent’; ‘substantial and credible indicators that the subject has actionable intelligence that can prevent, disrupt or deny this attack’; and ‘[o]ther interrogation methods have failed to elicit this information within the perceived time limit for preventing the attack.’”

The quotations in this part of the Justice memo were taken from an Aug. 2, 2004 letter that CIA Acting General Counsel John A. Rizzo sent to the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

Before they were subjected to “enhanced techniques” of interrogation that included waterboarding, KSM and Zubaydah were not only uncooperative but also appeared contemptuous of the will of the American people to defend themselves. “In particular, the CIA believes that it would have been unable to obtain critical information from numerous detainees, including KSM and Abu Zubaydah, without these enhanced techniques,” says the Justice Department memo. “Both KSM and Zubaydah had ‘expressed their belief that the general US population was ‘weak,’ lacked resilience, and would be unable to ‘do what was necessary’ to prevent the terrorists from succeeding in their goals.’ Indeed, before the CIA used enhanced techniques in its interrogation of KSM, KSM resisted giving any answers to questions about future attacks, simply noting, ‘Soon you will know.’”

After he was subjected to the “waterboard” technique, KSM became cooperative, providing intelligence that led to the capture of key al Qaeda allies and, eventually, the closing down of an East Asian terrorist cell that had been tasked with carrying out the 9/11-style attack on Los Angeles.

Again, Thomas and I contend that this was not torture. These were enhanced techniques designed to break the toughest of the detainees we had in custody, and as the CIS states, it was only to be used on high profile al-Qaeda detainees that would have direct knowledge of a potential terrorist attack. These would not be used on the likes of John Walker Lindh -- the "American Taliban" -- or other low-level fighters. Those people could be, and would be, broken through the normal means of interrogation.

What we find sickening about the administration's release of the memos is that they are not being honest about the entire issue. At heart is whether or not these techniques were successful. If they were not, it would make sense the CIA would not have continued to use them. They were successful in preventing the "Second Wave" follow-up to the 9/11 attacks. We obviously had reason to believe that it was a relevant and very real threat. Had the Bush administration ignored this information, that attack might have occurred, and we can only imagine the aftermath of that attack. Three thousand dead might have been a drop in the bucket.

What irritates me is that the Obama administration has basically kept much of the Bush administration's policies in place when it comes to the war. The things they have changed, such as the Executive Order calling for the closure of the Guantanmo Bay detention facility and the release of these memos, means that we are vulnerable again. Not as vulnerable as we were on September 10, 2001, but the vulnerability is inexcusable. The administration took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, and by extension that includes the nation. To turn their backs on that oath is completely inexcusable.


So much for draining the swamp

You all remember that, right? When Granny Rictus proclaimed that she would "drain the swamp" of corrupt politics? Well, Glenn Reynolds says don't you believe it, and he points out a story where she and other Democrat leaders are applying pressure to their colleagues to end the push for an ethics probe against John Murtha:

House Democratic leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), have ratcheted up the pressure on their rank-and-file members to oppose a resolution calling for an ethics committee investigation into the ties between key Democrats and a controversial defense-lobbying firm.

Democratic leaders have told their members they should let the ethics panel do its work and stop supporting a measure sponsored by Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) that calls for an ethics probe into political donations from the now-defunct PMA Group lobbying firm and earmarks its clients received.

With Congress back in session, Democratic leaders plan to lean on their members again this week or next. The pressure appears to be working. Reps. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) and Tim Walz (D-Minn.), two of more than two dozen Democrats who supported Flake’s measure in the latest vote, on April 1, are now wavering.

“I’ll see what the resolution looks like when it comes up the next time,” Kind said when asked if he plans to continue to support the resolution.

Walz spokeswoman Amanda Frie said her boss is debating whether to support the resolution again in the wake of an announcement last week by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), a new ethics review board, that it had opened 10 cases. The OCE disclosed only the number of open cases, not their subject matter. “He’s waiting to see how those turn out,” Frie explained.

Even though Kind is reconsidering his support for the Flake measure, he remains deeply concerned about the corruptive influence of earmarks and worries that the party is “on a collision course” on the issue if more reforms are not implemented. He said the issue is so “fraught with landmines” that he has personally expressed his views on earmark reforms to President Obama and other White House staff.

Flake has been a constant and consistent crusader against the pork-and-earmark addicted Congress. And Flake's right to do this, as Kind points out the corruptive nature of earmarks. John Murtha is the "king of congressional pork" and has taken home billions to Pennsylvania in taxpayer dollars; bribes, in essence, to keep his House seat.

Flake needs to get members of his party together, especially Boehner and Cantor, and call out the Democrats on the floor of the House. Get out there, and call Granny Rictus down from her throne, and publicly shame her on this. She's been running cover for corrupt member of her caucus for years. She almost appointed former impeached judge, Alcee Hastings, to chair the House Intelligence Committee. She has protected William "Dollar Bill" Jefferson from being removed from the House over his bribery indictment. This power hungry b*tch won't drain the swamp because she's bloody well neck deep in it.

Can Flake and the Republicans pull this off, and shine the light on Murtha's dirty deeds? Time will tell, but we wouldn't hold our breath on this one, folks. The Democrats are in charge, and they're running roughshod over whatever or whoever gets in this way. House rules? What House rules? The Constitution? Ink on a page to Democrats. Too bad we can't launch an ethics probe into the Democrats, as a whole, in Congress. Of course if that happened, three-quarters of their caucus would be tossed out on their ears.

Publius II

Your Department of Homeland Security secretary -- Clueless and stupid

Look folks, we knew Janet Napolitano was worthless before our unfortunate run-in with her as governor for about ten years. We danced a jig when this clueless dipsh*t left the state of Arizona. Unfortunately, she's the head of the Department of Homeland Security, and in an interview on Larry King Dead she claims that illegal immigration isn't a crime: (HT to Captain Ed)

KING: A lot of Democrats in Congress want to you investigate [Joe Arpaio]. They think he is over the line. He says he is just enforcing the law and the problem is the federal government.

NAPOLITANO: Well, you know, Sheriff Joe, he is being very political in that statement, because he knows that there aren’t enough law enforcement officers, courtrooms or jail cells in the world to do what he is saying.

What we have to do is target the real evil-doers in this business, the employers who consistently hire illegal labor, the human traffickers who are exploiting human misery.

And yes, when we find illegal workers, yes, appropriate action, some of which is criminal, most of that is civil, because crossing the border is not a crime per se. It is civil. But anyway, going after those as well.

What makes this all the more amusing for a FORMER federal attorney is that there actually is a law forbidding illegal immigration. Maybe Janet doesn't take it serious because it's not written in Spanish, but it is a crime, dammit. And she's the chief enforcement officer for our borders. Now we know why Barry wanted her at DHS. He needed an open-borders, anti-enforcement nutter in charge there so that when the Congress tries to pass amnesty again, he can have her haul her sorry butt before the Congress to testify on the border problem.

Can we get 51 senators to get rid of this obtuse, retarded tool from DHS, please? She doesn't think that illegal immigration is a crime. She doesn't believe the violence on the US/Mexico border warrants placing the National Guard down there to protect our citizens. She thinks that conservatives, or the "right-wing," are a bunch of extremists that might be tempted to commit acts of terrorism. She believes that our returning soldiers just might go Timothy McVeigh any day now. This is the incompetence known as Janet Napolitano. Instead of being saddled with it, we should find a way to get rid of it.

Publius II

Revealing the secrets minus the Times

It was pretty disgusting to see the New York Times over the last eight years reveal secret after secret about how we were prosecuting this war. There was the revelation of the NSA's terrorist surveillance program, the big reveal on the SWIFT program, and we can't forget that it was the Times who broke the story about who was waterboarded. But gone are the good old days where the press decided what the public should and shouldn't know. But now our government is perfectly content to release those secrets all on their own much to the detriment of our security:

‘Does it shock the conscience?” Chris Wallace, the Fox News Sunday anchor, pressed former CIA director Michael Hayden about waterboarding. General Hayden gave the only responsible answer that honesty would allow: “It depends on the circumstances.”

Wallace’s question came after the Obama administration’s shockingly irresponsible decision to release government memoranda that spell out, in exquisite detail, the enhanced interrogation methods that were approved for top-tier al-Qaeda detainees in 2002–2003. Certainly President Obama is entitled to his rose-tinted opinion that more is to be gained by shelving the tactics than by further exploiting them. As chief executive, moreover, it is his prerogative to supplant a policy of proven effectiveness with one based on vague, counter-historical hopes of depressing terrorist recruitment. He could easily have altered the policy course, however, without giving a tactics seminar to our enemies.

The revelations will make al-Qaeda a more efficient killing machine: better able to resist our efforts to thwart its attacks. Worse, they will paralyze our intelligence community, which now knows that even a presidential assurance complemented by Justice Department guidance and congressional encouragement will not protect agents from second-guessing and possible legal jeopardy a few months or years from now, when vigilance is no longer in fashion and political power has changed hands. To complete the triple play, the disclosures demonstrate to intelligence agents that the commander-in-chief is not to be trusted: He claimed that coercive interrogation tactics beyond the anodyne Army Field Manual measures were being studied to determine whether their authorization might be appropriate; but the revelations make the “study” a hollow gesture — there is nothing to be gained from authorizing tactics the enemy has already been armed against.

Let me be clear, even though so many have been already, that this was an absolutely obtuse decision by the administration. Why? Because our enemy knows what we used to use in terms of interrogation techniques, and now they know they'll NEVER face them, if caught. Andrew McCarthy, who wrote the above (follow the link, and read it all) has prosecuted terrorists in the past as a federal prosecutor in the Clinton Justice Department. If you've read his book Willful Blindness then you know now what he knew then, which was that administration wasn't prepared to deal with terrorism. It had no clue how to really proceed against these animals, and while the subsequent administration understood the gravity of the issue, this one seems content on tearing it all apart.

Only God knows why Barry and Company have decided that this needed to be gotten rid of; why it was necessary to reveal these techniques and secrets. If their excuse is "we campaigned on transparency, and we're delivering" then these people have no business running the show. They're simply too stupid to be trusted with the the responsibility of protecting this nation. They're more interested in fulfilling a talking point for their minions in the mouth-breathing, fever swamp Left that actually keeping this nation protected.

See, now that our enemy knows it'll never face these techniques while Barry's in charge, they've been given a blank check to hit us as often as possible. Couple that with Barry's pronouncement that we're not at war with Islam, and our enemies are still laughing themselves silly. (YES, I know we're not at war with Islam, but we are at war with the most virulent strain of it, and there are those int he religion that, while they may not be jihadis themselves, they are willing to protect these insane fighters.)

Barry really doesn't have a clue as to what he's doing. We warned people during the election that the man was an absolute rookie; a rebel without a clue, if you will. Now, more and more people are seeing him for what he is. He's an idiotic Statist who is letting other Statists -- like Biden, like Granny Rictus, like the Cryptkeeper -- run the show. When he makes decisions on his own, we see the rube in presidential clothing. With his advisers in his ear, he probably bought their idea that this was a smart move.

Riiiiight. I hope they remember that when our next city is targeted by these animals, and 3000 more people end up being killed. I know we will, and we'll be demanding heads on a platter.

Publius II

Monday, April 20, 2009

Obama -- Cut $100 million out of your budgets

Barry must think that Americans are idiots if he thinks this is going to quell the public's outrage at the size, scope, and speed with which the government is growing. And if he thinks this is going to shut us up, he's got another thing coming because $100 million is a drop in the bucket when you're talking about trillion dollar deficits:

President Obama plans to convene his Cabinet for the first time today, and he will order its members to identify a combined $100 million in budget cuts over the next 90 days, according to a senior administration official.

Although the budget cuts would amount to a minuscule portion of federal spending, they are intended to signal the president's determination to cut spending and reform government, the official said.

Obama's order comes as he is under increasing pressure to show momentum toward his goal of eventually reducing the federal deficit, even as he goes about increasing spending in the short run to prop up the economy and support his priorities.

Earlier this month, both chambers of Congress passed Obama's $3.5 trillion budget outline for 2010, which includes unprecedented new investments in health care, education and energy. But the huge budget, which contemplates a $1.2 trillion deficit, has drawn the ire of small-government conservatives, who say that such high deficits jeopardize the nation's economic future.

Last week, conservative activists organized "tea parties" to protest Obama's budget, which House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) says "spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much from our children and grandchildren."

$100 million is chump change, folks. It really is. The CBO has projected deficits that will run close to $8 trillion by the end of Barry's first (and hopefully only) term. And he throws this out there like it's red meat to fiscally-minded citizens. If he had been serious about that, he never would have adopted the FDR style of spending money to get out of a recession.

And remember the meme he offered during the campaign about transparency? The WaPo picks up on that meme from Axelrod on the talking heads shows yesterday:

The Obama administration is moving closer to releasing some results of the "stress tests" aimed at projecting how the nation's 19 largest banks would withstand further deterioration in the economic condition.

"We're confident that, yes, some are going to have very serious problems, but we feel that the tools are available to address these problems," Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said yesterday on CBS's "Face the Nation."

The administration plans to release guidelines for the stress tests this week, and it hopes to make results available in early May. "It's important that there is disclosure," Axelrod said. "And I think the banks are going to want that because they're going to want the markets and the country and the world to know exactly what their condition is."

Disclosure, David? Where was the disclosure of all the earmarks in the $410 billion omnibus bill passed back in early March? What about the disclosure of the $787 billion bailout bill passed immediately after your boy was inaugurated? This administration is anything but transparent, open, or honest with the American people. And you guys are the fools if you think this paltry scrap thrown to the masses ticked off at you for putting future generations in hock.

Publius II

Friday, April 17, 2009

New Issue Up!!!

It's that time of the month where the boss publishes the newest issue of Common Conservative, and waits patiently for you regular readers to enjoy the fruits of our hard work.

Speaking of the boss, he kicks off this issue with a piece on tax sanity in the Obama administration. Of course, we're not too sure if they have any sanity left.

Larry Simoneaux talks up a situation that many families are dealing with right now in the economic downturn -- kids that are forced to move back in with their parents. For some, like Larry, it's not bad having the kids back at home, and it's a reminder that parents will always be parents.

Patrick Shanahan is still on hiatus, and so are Marcie and I this time around. Sorry folks, but we needed a break.

John Lillpop kicks off the guest columns with a piece on Barry's pirate dilemma.

Harold Witkov put together a nice, neat, and short piece on Barry's "passover diplomacy," and no, I'm not referring to the holiday of Passover.

JJ Jackson touches on a subject that Marcie and I have had discussions about lately, and it's the sort of discussion that squishy people recoil from.

Doug Patton takes on the utterly ridiculous decision by the Iowa state supreme court to redefine marriage so that homosexuals can marry.

Ralph Reiland slaps around Lula for his stupid comment about the economic crisis being the fault of "white people with blue eyes."

And Dr. Robert Owens provides a much-needed and uplifting piece about life, in general.

Have fun reading, folks.

Publius II

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

IRS employees ticked at the hypocrisy from the Obama administration

I saw this on the Chicago Tribune's site, and I had to chuckle. It seems that IRS employees aren't happy with having to report to a superior (Tim Geithner) who cheated on his taxes, and yet was still rewarded with his appointment as Treasury Secretary:

The Treasury secretary, who oversees the IRS, didn't pay all his taxes. Neither did five other top nominees for the Obama administration, or their spouses.

Now, as Wednesday's tax deadline looms, some Americans are wondering why they should comply with the arcane requirements of the Internal Revenue Service when top administration officials failed to do the same. Even some IRS employees are upset at what they see as a double standard.

The most criticized example has been Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who admitted not paying $34,000 in payroll and Social Security taxes, saying his failure to pay was an oversight. Five other nominees disclosed similar tax issues, including one as recently as two weeks ago when Kathleen Sebelius, President Barack Obama's pick for secretary of health and human services, admitted she didn't pay $7,040.

"Our members are upset and angry," said Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, referring to concern bubbling up within the IRS over unusually strict rules that can cost agents their jobs if they make a mistake.

In some cases, IRS employees have lost jobs for simply filing a late return or failing to report a few hundred dollars of interest income.

In an interview Tuesday, Kelley said the Geithner case underlines the need for a change of the rules governing IRS employees.

"My issue is not that I want Geithner or anyone else punished," Kelley said. "I want there to be a re-examination of the law that holds IRS employees to a separate standard: one in which a simple mistake can cost them their jobs with no right of appeal."

Robert Schriebman, a California tax lawyer who has testified before Congress, said his clients are seething over the tough treatment they get from the IRS, while some in the president's Cabinet apparently were able to duck paying their taxes.

"Politically powerful people are less likely to get bothered by the IRS," Schriebman said. "It is more than a question of fairness. Not only is the IRS looking away from confronting influential people, the IRS is getting a lot tougher and nastier toward the little guy."

IRS employees have reported that taxpayers are occasionally citing the Geithner case when they are asked to pay their tax bills. "It's making the compliance conversation harder," Kelley said.

Geithner's $34,000 in unpaid taxes pales in comparison to the more than $128,000 owed by Tom Daschle, Obama's first choice to run health and human services. But Geithner's position overseeing the IRS has made his case particularly galling in the public's mind.

His position as Treasury Secretary is a joke, and that's why the public is pi$$ed. He gets to skate, free and clear, of any sort of responsibility, save having to pay the back taxes, and the average citizen gets bullied by the IRS. Worse, IRS employees can get canned if they pull a Geithner. I disagree with the reevaluation of the rules. There should be one strict set of rules for all, not a relaxation of the rules. If IRS employees can be fired for a simple mistake (far more than Timmy the Taxman's excuse that Turbo Tax screwed up, and not him) then why was Geithner approved by the senate for his own lack of fiscal responsibility.

Every taxpayer in America should be up in arms over the tax cheats that have been appointed by Barry. If this were done by President Bush, the calls for the nominees to step down would reach cacophonous levels that no one has ever heard before. The outcry over them, going hand in hand with the Bush haters claiming his Wall Street connections, would never die down. But under Barry? Eh. We're told that these people just made a simple mistake, and then the media tells us to shut up.

I think not.

Colleen Kelley says she doesn't want to see anyone punished, and that's fine. That's her opinion, but we can see her side of things, and the only recourse we can see is for Timmy the Taxman to be removed. If IRS employees can face termination for a mistake, Timmy should be held to account. Their frustration is well-founded in reason. Those who tell them to pipe down are the ones willing to run cover for the tax cheats we've had to watch get rewarded for their illegal activities. That's what galls America.

Publius II

Pat Toomey is in the race

No longer speculation, folks. His site is up, and they are accepting donations. I just sent off our first contribution. Send off yours so we can get rid of Lincoln Chafee-lite Arlen Specter. It's time to send Specter packing because we've had enough of his unacceptable shenanigans. And if you think he'd be worth keeping around remember that he was the 60th vote the Cryptkeeper (AKA Harry Reid) needed to ensure a filibuster-proof vote. You might also be interested to know that when confronted on Hannity's radio show, and Hannity told him to hold off so that the bill could be adjusted "by both sides of the aisle," Specter brushed off the plea, and claimed "we have to act now."

Uh-huh. And what has the stimulus bill done for us since it was passed? Not much, except it gave the president a paltry talking point or two that he used yesterday in his speech before Georgetown. But according to Specter they had to act immediately. Well, that action -- the actions taken by an uneducated Congress; remember that most that voted in favor of it never read it -- is going to cost him.

I'll tell you who we feel sorry for right now. That'd be John Cornyn who is the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. That's the committee that supports Republicans running for reelection, and targeting vulnerable Democrats. Why do we feel sorry for him? Because he's backing Specter. It's a tough pickle to be in for him, and don't blame him. He's doing his job as the chair of that committee.

But this shows that, once again, we shouldn't be giving money to the GOP or any other PAC that raises funds for the GOP. I know that's going to pi$$ off a few Republican friends that we have, who claim we need every dime we can muster to take out Democrats in 2010. The problem is that while Specter may vote with his party 70% of the time, he gets important, key votes wrong, and when that happens, we suffer for it. And if you give money to the GOP PACs, that money is going to earmarked for Specter because he's up for reelection in 2010. This is the same lesson we had to hand out in 2006 when we dealt with Lincoln Chafee.

So get out there and help Pat Toomey. Let's make sure we can take out one of the problems in the GOP caucus in the Senate. Toomey lost last time in his primary fight with Specter because President Bush flew into Pennsylvania to campaign for him. This time, there is no Bush. And Specter was, with the backing of his supporters, hoping for an open primary so that Democrats could cross over and support him. Why? Because the poll numbers show that he has a lot of support from Democrats. He's even gone so far as to urge Democrats to switch parties so they can vote for him in the primaries because he knows he likely won't win the primary against Pat Toomey.

This is the sort of Republican Arlen Specter is. He's an opportunist, and he's a RINO. It's time the Republicans in Pennsylvania -- and conservatives across the country -- oust this sad joke from the Senate. Give to Pat Toomey. Every little bit helps, folks.

Publius II

Welcome to the Tea Party, pal

Good morning, folks, and welcome to Tax Day. Today, while we're all making those last minute adjustments to our taxes, tens of thousands of average, everyday Americans will be taking to the streets, joining Tea Parties across the country. I should know. I'll be at the one outside the state capital in Phoenix. And if you really wanted to know what they're all about, Professor Glenn Reynolds has a simple explanation in today's Wall Street Journal:

Today American taxpayers in more than 300 locations in all 50 states will hold rallies -- dubbed "tea parties" -- to protest higher taxes and out-of-control government spending. There is no political party behind these rallies, no grand right-wing conspiracy, not even a 501(c) group like MoveOn.org.

So who's behind the Tax Day tea parties? Ordinary folks who are using the power of the Internet to organize. For a number of years, techno-geeks have been organizing "flash crowds" -- groups of people, coordinated by text or cellphone, who converge on a particular location and then do something silly, like the pillow fights that popped up in 50 cities earlier this month. This is part of a general phenomenon dubbed "Smart Mobs" by Howard Rheingold, author of a book by the same title, in which modern communications and social-networking technologies allow quick coordination among large numbers of people who don't know each other.

In the old days, organizing large groups of people required, well, an organization: a political party, a labor union, a church or some other sort of structure. Now people can coordinate themselves.
We saw a bit of this in the 2004 and 2008 presidential campaigns, with things like Howard Dean's use of Meetup, and Barack Obama's use of Facebook. But this was still social-networking in support of an existing organization or campaign. The tea-party protest movement is organizing itself, on its own behalf. Some existing organizations, like Newt Gingrich's American Solutions and FreedomWorks, have gotten involved. But they're involved as followers and facilitators, not leaders. The leaders are appearing on their own, and reaching out to others through blogs, Facebook, chat boards and alternative media.

The protests began with bloggers in Seattle, Wash., who organized a demonstration on Feb. 16. As word of this spread, rallies in Denver and Mesa, Ariz., were quickly organized for the next day. Then came CNBC talker Rick Santelli's Feb. 19 "rant heard round the world" in which he called for a "Chicago tea party" on July Fourth. The tea-party moniker stuck, but angry taxpayers weren't willing to wait until July. Soon, tea-party protests were appearing in one city after another, drawing at first hundreds, and then thousands, to marches in cities from Orlando to Kansas City to Cincinnati. ...

There's good news and bad news in this phenomenon for establishment politicians. The good news for Republicans is that, while the Republican Party flounders in its response to the Obama presidency and its programs, millions of Americans are getting organized on their own. The bad news is that those Americans, despite their opposition to President Obama's policies, aren't especially friendly to the GOP. When Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele asked to speak at the Chicago tea party, his request was politely refused by the organizers: "With regards to stage time, we respectfully must inform Chairman Steele that RNC officials are welcome to participate in the rally itself, but we prefer to limit stage time to those who are not elected officials, both in Government as well as political parties. This is an opportunity for Americans to speak, and elected officials to listen, not the other way around."

Likewise, I spoke to an organizer for the Knoxville tea party who said that no "professional politicians" were going to be allowed to speak, and he made a big point of saying that the protest wasn't an anti-Obama protest, it was an anti-establishment protest. I've heard similar things from tea-party organizers in other cities, too. Though critics will probably try to write the tea parties off as partisan publicity stunts, they're really a post-partisan expression of outrage.

As Professor Reynolds would say, read the whole thing. And take to heart what I bolded above. That's what these protests are all about, folks. We're mad as Hell and we're sick of taking it on the chin from these monkeys in Washington, DC.

For far too long we have voiced our outrage at the politicos in DC, and all we ever get is a pat on the head, and assurances that they've heard us. Well, obviously they haven't been listening. If we had been listened to, the Pork-A-Palooza never would have passed. The $410 billion pork-laden omnibus bill never would have passed. Washington, DC has sullied the memory of the Founders, and turned away from their vision and wisdom. The government was never supposed to be as intrusive and oppressive as it is today.

The Tea Parties represent our outrage, but not in the way that most people are used to seeing. This is not your A-typical liberal protest where every nutter, Left-wing, fever-swamp protester that so many of us are used to seeing. Those are the clueless, mouth-breathing mobs. We're not clueless, and this isn't a mob. These are grass-roots-organized protests in a nation founded by the people, for the people, and trust me when I say the people are more than fed up.

This is the day that Washington, DC is going to be forced to pay attention. The media isn't going to cover these, or at least they'll try not to. And while the Left claims that this will backfire, and the amount of people attending these protests won't be as big as expected, they're wrong, and the people will show up. To take the grass-roots movement further Pajamas Media will be covering the protests across the country with hundreds of citizen reporters. They'll be sending in dispatches and videos of what people are doing and saying at the protests.

Is this the beginning of a new movement? Let's hope so. Let's hope this will also get average people involved in politics -- from the city council level up through the upper echelons of power -- to return this government back to it's founding roots; back to the vision the Founders had for the nation and it's citizenry. Oh, and for those that think this is a whole lot of nothing, think again. Check this out from Michelle Malkin. It's a timeline of the Tea Party movement. For those that pooh-pooh this, remember that this all started back in February, and they've exploded to over 2000 tax day, Tea Party protests, including one in Denmark.

This isn't just a passing fancy, folks. If you're not pi$$ed off, you're not paying attention, and it looks like there are quite a few people in this nation that are now paying attention.

Publius II