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June 3, 2011

Adding another lead weight on his campaign. RomneyCare, and now RomneyWarming.

Reuters: Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney broke with Republican orthodoxy on Friday by saying he believes that humans are responsible, at least to some extent, for climate change.

"I believe the world is getting warmer, and I believe that humans have contributed to that," he told a crowd of about 200 at a town hall meeting in Manchester, New Hampshire.

And to think this nut could have been president.

Fox News: A federal grand jury has indicted two-time presidential candidate John Edwards in a campaign finance investigation.

The criminal charges filed Friday came after a two-year federal investigation into money used to cover up an extramarital affair during the 2008 presidential election.

Edwards, a former U.S. senator from North Carolina, said in a statement through his attorney in 2009 that he was confident no funds from his campaign were used improperly.

But federal officials have said the hundreds of thousands of dollars two Edwards donors gave to help keep his mistress in hiding were contributions that should have been reported publicly by his campaign fund because they aided his bid for the Democratic White House nomination.

June 2, 2011

News that isn't.

Katina Trinko, NRO: Mitt Romney just announced his 2012 run at a New Hampshire farm.

“I’m Mitt Romney,” he said before an excited and hollering crowd of supporters. “I believe in America. And I’m running for president of the United States.”

The out-of-touch president.

Nile Gardiner, London Telegraph: Just seven months ago, the United States was swept by a conservative revolution that fundamentally transformed the political landscape on Capitol Hill, and gravely weakened the ability of the president to pass legislation. This revolution is not in retreat but gaining ground, led by charismatic figures such as Paul Ryan, the Reaganite chairman of the House Budget Committee, entrusted with reining in out of control government spending. And as a Gallup poll showed, America is unquestionably a conservative country ideologically, but one that is ironically led by the most left-wing president in the nation’s history.

There is no feel good factor in America at the moment. But there is a great deal of uncertainty, nervousness, even fear over the future of the world’s only superpower. This is hardly a solid foundation for a presidential victory for the incumbent. Even though we don’t know yet who he will be up against, Barack Obama could well go into 2012 as the underdog rather than the favourite he is frequently portrayed as. On balance we’re likely to see a very close race 17 months from now. But there is also the distinct possibility of an electoral rout of the president if the economy goes further south. “Hope and change” might have played well in 2008, but it is a message that will likely ring hollow in November 2012, with an American public that is deeply disillusioned with the direction Obama is taking the country.

The anti-American president.

Don Feder, It’s a shame that President Obama was at Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier this year, a ceremony he’s skipped in years past. His presence dishonored the men and women who sleep in that hallowed ground.

Most of our presidents have loved this country – some fiercely (like Andrew Jackson and Theodore Roosevelt) and some shyly. A few have cared more about partisan politics. But never before have we had an America-hater in the White House.

Obama spent 19 years in the church of a man whose motto was “God damn America!” (not that he heard one of Jeremiah Wright’s sermons, mind you). Other presidents are famous for stirring words of resolve (“December 7, 1941, a day which will live in infamy,” “Ask not what your country can do for you,” “With malice toward none with charity for all”). This president is distinguished by his international apology tours and elitist contempt for the nation he leads.

Obama is the man a fickle fate has chosen to lead America in its hour of greatest peril – a man who can’t say the words “Islamist extremist” or even the word “terrorism,” a man who lavishes praise on the ideology seeking our destruction (“As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam”), a man who studiously ignores National Day of Prayer but has Ramadan fetes in the White House, a man who’s seeded his administration with traitors of the heart (including his faith advisor Eboo Patel, who decries the “myths” that America is “a land of freedom and equality and justice”), a man who refuses to guard our borders, a man who’s waged war on the war on terrorism (by trying to close Guantanamo, grant terrorists civilian trials and prosecute officials of the last administration for what he calls “torture”), a man who consistently betrays our allies (he seeks to give Israel “Auschwitz borders”) while embracing our enemies (he wants to write a $2-billion check to the Muslim Brotherhood – by forgiving Egypt $1 billion in debt and giving it an additional billion in loan guarantees), and who sneers at ordinary Americans as racist xenophobes high on religious fundamentalism and firearms.

May 26, 2011

Another Texas governor in the White House?

Merrill Matthews, Forbes: The governor has repeatedly refused to raise taxes, demanding spending cuts instead to balance the state's budget. Regulations and taxes remain low, making Texas one of, if not the most, business-friendly state in the country.

But if Perry does run, American voters will have a real choice: A principled conservative who has kept his state fiscally sound, lightly regulated, a magnet for business and a place where Americans increasingly want to live. Can anyone claim any of those achievements from the policies of Barack H. Obama?

May 18, 2011

550 Busybodies hate Ronald McDonald.

Julie Jargon, WSJ: More than 550 health professionals and organizations have signed a letter to McDonald's Corp. asking the maker of Happy Meals to stop marketing junk food to kids and retire Ronald McDonald.

The letter, slated to run in the form of full-page ads in six metropolitan newspapers around the country on Wednesday, acknowledges that "the contributors to today's (health) epidemic are manifold and a broad societal response is required. But marketing can no longer be ignored as a significant part of this massive problem."

May 17, 2011

Government by waiver.

Mona Charen, NRO: On May 13, the Obama administration announced the approval of 204 new waivers from compliance with the PPACA. That brings to 1,372 the number of waivers HHS has granted in the 14 months since the law’s passage. The waivers are temporary, designed to prevent wholesale bankruptcies of insurance and other companies before most of the law’s provisions take full effect in 2014. “We are committed to making the waiver process transparent to the public,” an HHS spokesman offered reassuringly. But while the identities of those who have received waivers have been disclosed, the administration has so far declined to reveal the names of those whose waiver requests were denied. Nor has HHS explained its criteria.

In Marbury v. Madison, Justice Marshall wrote: “The government of the United States has been emphatically termed a government of laws, and not of men. It will certainly cease to deserve this high appellation if the laws furnish no remedy for the violation of a vested legal right.” It will also cease to deserve that “high appellation” if we submit to the unreviewable discretion of agencies.

Ignorance is expensive.

Jeff T. Allen, The American Thinker: Understand where our money goes when we fill up at our corner station. Oil company profit is one place: the after-tax profits earned by the most successful oil companies in America works out to about 8-9% of revenues. That's 8 cents of every dollar we spend at the pump, and it's been much lower in years when prices are squeezed by too much supply. Sometimes there are no profits, but rather huge costs, if mistakes that get nasty are made in exploration or transportation (e.g. Exxon Valdez and BP Gulf spills).

The senators standing in front of the gas station would have you think such profit is the biggest chunk of your purchase price -- but it isn't even close. The taxes on gasoline at retail amount to a national average of 47 cents per gallon (including federal taxes of 18 cents, state and local taxes of 18 cents, and sales/other taxes at retail of more than 10 cents). And before taxpayers have paid that princely sum (to people who haven't invested a penny to produce the product), the operating profits of the explorers are taxed at 34% -- which is always passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices. States get into the act here too, taxing the retailers' profits after taxing the product at the pump. And let's not forget the other costs that drive up the gallon price, such as drilling restrictions that force explorers 5 miles deep under the ocean, transportation regulations and taxes, refining regulations, licenses, leases, and myriads of others.
If the public weren't so ignorant and envious of such capitalist exercises as making gasoline, perhaps they might turn their attention toward the biggest cost in their lives and also the biggest reason gas prices are high: government. If the government would spend less time punishing and restricting energy exploration and delivery, we might have more energy. If the government, however, wants to raise the after-tax costs of producing energy, we will surely get less, driving prices higher still.

Liberals have a deranged ideology.

Walter Williams, Investor's Business Daily: If anyone is obliged to give something back, they are the thieves and recipients of legalized theft, namely people who've used Congress, including America's corporate welfare queens, to live at the expense of others. When a nation vilifies the productive and makes mascots of the unproductive, it doesn't bode well for its future.

Trump will not run.

David Eldridge, The Washington Times: Real estate magnate and reality TV star Donald Trump, who teased Republican supporters for months with the prospect of an unlikely but colorful presidential bid, said Monday that the show is over: He will not be a candidate.

“After considerable deliberation and reflection, I have decided not to pursue the office of the presidency,” the New York billionaire said in a statement.

“I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election,” he said, promising his backers that he would support the candidate “who is the most qualified.”

May 12, 2011

Pinheads in California legislature micro-interfering with private business.

Michelle Macaluso, Fox News: Fitted or flat?

That’s the weighty question facing the California Legislature, which is considering a bill that would regulate what type of sheets can be used on hotel bed mattresses across the state.

Keynesian economic theory is a failure now, and has been every time it is practiced.

Veronique de Rugy, WSJ: In February, The Washington Post described a new study by Mark Zandi, an architect of the 2009 stimulus package. Zandi's amazing verdict: Spending cuts would destroy 700,000 jobs by the end of 2012.

The Zandi models are based on the Keynesian view that government spending produces recovery. According to that theory, $1 in government spending produces substantially more than $1 in growth, a phenomenon known as the "multiplier effect."

The use of these outdated models and unrealistic multipliers explains why Zandi was wrong about how many jobs the stimulus would create. He claimed "the country will have 4 million more jobs by the end of 2010" if the stimulus passed. In truth, by the end of 2010 total payroll jobs had fallen by 3.3 million, and the unemployment rate had risen from 7.8 percent to 9.4 percent.

We have tried spending a lot of money to jump-start the economy, and it has failed. Now we need to cut spending and lift the uncertainty paralyzing economic activity. That approach will not just be more fiscally responsible. It will also empower individuals and entrepreneurs. And they are the only ones who can bring on a real recovery.

The special interest president.

Timothy Carney, Washington Examiner: Dining with President Obama Tuesday night at a private $30,000-a-plate fundraiser in the tony Austin, Texas, neighborhood of Westlake Hills was Cecile Richards, CEO of abortion provider and lobbying powerhouse Planned Parenthood. It was a telling reminder of an underappreciated dynamic in Democratic fundraising.

Obama reminded us in April of abortion's pre-eminent role in the Democratic Party: After acquiescing to Republican demands on taxes and spending, he wouldn't budge on federal subsidies for Planned Parenthood. To better understand Democrats' inflexibility on this matter, follow the money.

The abortion lobby spends about $40 million each election to help Democrats. EMILY's List, dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women, operates a political action committee (which can directly fund candidates), a 527 committee (which can run only "issue ads"), and a so-called SuperPAC (which use media to support or oppose candidates). In each of the past three election cycles, the group's PAC and 527 have both been in the top four of those supporting Democrats. The PAC has spent $82 million in that period, while the 527 has spent $35 million, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. In 2010, the group created a SuperPAC, which spent $3.6 million, making it the fifth biggest such group in the country.

Now imagine if Obama had agreed to cut Planned Parenthood funding, or if he ever betrayed the cause of legalized abortion. It would make things pretty uncomfortable around the dinner table at his next fundraiser.

May 9, 2011

Inventing crises.

J. R. Dunn, American Thinker: Obama's worst enemy is Obama, and his downfall will commence when voters awaken to the fact that many of his current "crises" -- and all the most critical ones -- are self-inflicted. They don't simply come out of nowhere, in the form of "events," unforeseen and random, but are generated through acts of omission or commission by none other than Obama himself. This creates an opening that must not be overlooked by the GOP candidate, whoever that may be.

The gas crisis is something that, in its impact on the daily life of voters, should have a serious effect on Obama's chances in 2012. So you'd expect some effort at a solution on his part. But look as long and hard as you like -- that is something you will not find.

The food crisis -- and when people are actually going hungry, it is a crisis -- is of similar nature. Once again we're told that price leaps are beyond human control. But the same factors are at work here. Oil is crucial in agriculture both to fuel farm machinery and as a source of fertilizer. Then throw in the ethanol fiasco, one of the craziest policies ever embarked on by a modern state. We all know this story: in hopes of cutting oil imports and protecting Gaia from global warming, the federal government has mandated a percentage of ethanol as transportation fuel, at the same time subsidizing its production. This has had no effect on oil (as the recent price spike clearly shows) or Gaia either, while boosting food prices to the point where riots, disturbances, and actual starvation have occurred worldwide.

We can also do without another term filled with the same kind of thing. Obama has compiled a record not only of pure incompetence, but willful incompetence. The candidate who hammers him on this, relentlessly, endlessly, and purposefully, will win the upcoming campaign. Obama may be able to beat any given Republican; what he can't do is beat his own record.

Dangerous incompetence at DOJ and ATF.

Investor's Business Daily: Under a program run by the Justice Department, weapons were knowingly sold to criminals suspected of links to Mexican drug cartels, with two guns ending up at the murder scene of a border patrol agent.

Considering how this administration has made a cause celebre out of gun control, the revelation of a program run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), in which weapons were transferred on purpose to Mexican drug cartels and criminals and then lost track of, is at best embarrassing and at worst an unconscionable dereliction of duty.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder, among others, have blamed the rising violence in Mexico by the drug cartels on the transfer of weapons from the U.S. by unscrupulous gun dealers and their "straw buyers" — purchasers who may have legitimate credentials and purchase guns for those who can't legally obtain them.

Yet it seems we set up an operation that wound up doing exactly that.

An internal ATF memo provided by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday showed that U.S. officials allowed criminals to buy 1,318 guns worth nearly $1 million, even after they suspected the buyers were working for Mexican drug cartels, and that the agency's effort to stop the guns had "yielded little or no results."

Two of the weapons ended up at the murder scene of a U.S. border patrol agent in Arizona, Brian Terry.

May 6, 2011

Obama's new rip-off idea.

Investor's Business Daily: Of all the ideas the White House has floated for taking more of your money, none is more pernicious than the latest: slapping a tax on you for every mile you drive. Isn't that what our gas tax does already?

It's not exactly a novel notion. This is the third time President Obama has pushed the idea of a "vehicle miles tax" — a tax on every mile you drive. Like a bad meal, it just keeps hitting the table.

This is the kind of thing Democrats love. It takes money from you and gives it to Washington, and it's really social engineering — forcing people who don't want to live in big cities to move closer, or pay a price.

They'll tell you it's all about creating a "green" tomorrow, or conserving oil, or even balancing the budget. But it has nothing to do with that.

It's about changing your behavior, making you live in smaller homes closer to big cities.

May 4, 2011

"The religion of peace"?

J. James Estrada, The American Thinker: 20-year-old Jessica Mokdad is dead. Her stepfather Rahim Alfetlawi shot Jessica in the head while she was at her grandmother's Michigan home. Alfetlawi was upset that Jessica was not living by strict Muslim customs, according to a report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and so he killed her this past Saturday.

May 3, 2011

Speechifying at its worst.

Mark Steyn, NRO: Personally, I would have liked bin Laden’s death to have been announced by whatever lowest-level official was manning the night desk at the Department of Nondescript Bureaucrats, preferably reading it off the back of an envelope. But, if you’re going to put the head of state on TV to announce it himself, it would have been better to have been all brisk and businesslike – “At 0800 hours American military assets entered an address at 27b Jihadist Gardens, etc” – and finish off with a bit of Churchillian sober uplift about it not being the end or the beginning of the end but maybe the end of the beginning.

Instead, as Stephen Hunter, the novelist and Washington Post film critic, writes:

Any joy one might feel in the intelligence of our analysts and the bravery of our door kickers was significantly diminished by Obama’s malignant narcissism. The first part of the announcement, evoking 9/11, was vulgarly overwritten as per Obama’s view of himself as some kind of gifted orator. The adjective bloated compote was unworthy of the subject, banal and self-indulgent.

Dumbest statement of the week.

National Review, quoting Cindy Sheehan: I am sorry, but if you believe the newest death of OBL, you’re stupid. Just think to yourself–they paraded Saddam’s dead sons around to prove they were dead–why do you suppose they hastily buried this version of OBL at sea? This lying, murderous Empire can only exist with your brainwashed consent–just put your flags away and THINK!

America's leeches.

P.J. O'Rourke, Weekly Standard: Wipe that smirk off your face, Mister President. “We cannot afford $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire in our society.” Is there some Sidwell Friends night school class liberal politicians take to perfect an expression of smug disdain? When Teddy Roosevelt was demagogue-in-chief he at least had the nerve to come right out and call the successful people he despised “malefactors of great wealth.” He didn’t simper and moue at his audience. Go ahead and say it, President Obama: Let’s steal from the rich and give to the poor. Never mind that we’re doing a pretty good job of it already. The top 5 percent of the nation’s earners are being soaked for almost 60 percent of America’s tax revenue.

There are, of course, millionaires and billionaires who are leeches on society, who bleed our GDP and contribute nothing to the commonweal. There was, for instance, a bright young man who worked all the scholarship angles so that wealthy donors (with their tax-dodging charitable contributions) paid his way through fancy schools. He embarked on an urban scam called “community organizing.” Then he obtained a large sum for writing a book about his life and accomplishments at age 34 when he didn’t have any accomplishments and hadn’t led much life. He wormed his way into politics with all its perks and benefits. And now his big house, his stretch limousine, and his luxury jet are paid for out of the public treasury.

May 2, 2011

Osama bin Laden has been killed.

ABCNews: Twenty to 25 U.S. Navy Seals under the command of the Joint Special Operations Command in cooperation with the CIA stormed the compound and engaged Bin Laden and his men in a firefight, killed Bin Laden and all those with him.

April 28, 2011

Obama's not-so-stellar foreign adventure.

Victor Davis Hanson, NRO: In theory, Libya was supposed to save lives, use the military for humanitarianism rather than mere national interests, showcase a new multilateral internationalism, enhance the reputations of organizations like the U.N. and the Arab League, contrast Obama’s careful planning with the plagued Iraqi occupation, reveal Europe as a full strategic partner, and bolster the national-security credentials of the U.S.

As of now, the misadventure has had the opposite effect on all counts: a) More are dying than before, and the “rebels” seem to be treating prisoners in Qaddafi-like fashion, while we are de facto engaged in targeted assassination to achieve regime change. b) While we are committed to a tertiary theater in Libya, there are far more strategically important hot spots like Iran and Syria that do not warrant even a rhetorical broadside, and far more acute humanitarian crises in sub-Saharan Africa. c) How does exceeding the spirit and letter of the U.N. and Arab League authorizations enhance the legitimacy or utility of those organizations? d) After several weeks, can anyone in the administration articulate the exact mission objective, the methodology to achieve it, and the desired outcome and the means to ensure it? e) Europe is being rendered impotent — its Potemkin military forces lacking the American facade that a traditionally U.S.-led and -dominated NATO used to provide; I doubt that it will ever again decide to initiate a military incursion without the assurance of the full resources of the U.S. behind it. f) As of now, I don’t think either Iran or Syria — or anyone else in or out of the region — is awed by U.S. resolve and military dynamism in Libya.

Annoying -- that's what they both are.

Andrew McCarthy, NRO: It’s hard to say what’s more depressing, Obama’s cynicism or the zeal with which the media does his bidding.

Obama's favorite preachers.

Bill O'Reilly, If anyone can explain to me President Obama's choice of preachers, please do so because I am very confused. You would think Obama would have learned his lesson after the Rev. Jeremiah Wright debacle, where his pastor of 20 years was exposed as an America-hating zealot. Then, after being outed, Wright turned on Obama.

But on Easter Sunday, the president and the first lady took their kids to Shiloh Baptist Church, where the Rev. Wallace Charles Smith holds court. The pastor is a race-activist who last year said this at a private Christian college: "Now Jim Crow wears blue pinstripes, goes to law school and carries fancy briefs and cases. ... He doesn't have to wear white robes anymore because now he can wear the protective cover of talk radio, or a regular news program on Fox."

I have worked at Fox News for nearly 15 years and don't know any racists on or off the air. At the very least, Smith is irresponsible in making that statement. And the whole tone of that diatribe is unfair and undisciplined. No fair-minded person indicts lawyers as racists. Obama went to law school.

This whole deal is troubling. After the Wright fiasco, shouldn't the president's staff be more protective of their guy and not put him in front of another bomb-throwing preacher? Or did the president insist on going to that service? If so, why?

Playing the Trump card.

Investor's Business Daily: The bombastic, egotistical Donald Trump is no Reagan. He may not even be a Gerald Ford. But like every other potential 2012 GOP candidate, Trump would make a far better president than Barack Obama.

Americans owe a debt of gratitude to The Donald. In a few weeks he's uncannily exposed the vapidity of the Obama Mystique by pounding fearlessly on some of the president's shortcomings.

"The country has become the laughing stock of the world," Trump rightly says of the collapse of our international standing under Obama's "tough diplomacy." He demands that the Arab League pay for Obama's decision to do its bidding in Libya. He warns that "as soon as we leave Iraq, Iran is going to take over the oilfields." And he promises to "do what I have to do" to stop Tehran from getting nuclear weapons.

On economic policy, Trump has signed Americans for Tax Reform's no-new-taxes pledge, a nice penance for his outrageous proposal a decade ago to impose a multitrillion-dollar, one-off tax on assets over $10 million.

The Trump extravaganza, as clownish as it may sometimes be, has painted a picture for the public of a politician who promised transparency, but whose life becomes more mysterious the more it is scrutinized. Sound bite by sound bite, Trump is exposing a president confident in the power of his own coolness at a time when the world needs an America that practices not multilateralist sweet talk, but independent toughness.

As we've said before, even the least of the possible GOP candidates has more real experience — and more common sense — than this ex-community organizer who spent his legislative career running for president. Trump has made skillful business deals; the others, such as Sarah Palin and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, have managed state budgets, or fixed sick companies like Mitt Romney.

Unlike President Obama, the accomplishments of each extend beyond making speeches.

April 27, 2011

Grown up.

Jonah Goldberg, NRO: Distractions, silliness are our enemy. So proclaimed Obama in his “I am a grown-up” press conference just now. He railed against “distractions” and “silliness” that prevent us from grappling with our very serious problems. Then, he left to go tape the Oprah Winfrey show and hold a fundraiser. No word on when his next tee time will be.

April 26, 2011

Barbour will not run.

Michael O'Brien, The Hill: Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) took himself out of the running for the Republican presidential nomination on Monday.

Barbour surprised most observers by saying in a statement that he wouldn't run for president in 2012.

"I will not be a candidate for president next year," he said. "This has been a difficult, personal decision, and I am very grateful to my family for their total support of my going forward, had that been what I decided."

April 25, 2011

The real Obama.

James Lewis, The American Thinker: Obama is our first Marxist-Leninist president. He never quite uses those words, but in words and deeds he makes it clear beyond doubt. His two autobiographies all but say it.

I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. ... The Marxist Professors and the structural feminists ... we discussed neocolonialism, Franz Fanon, Eurocentrism,and patriarchy.
Obama acts like a Third World socialist, like his Kenyan father, and his thinking is stunningly rigid. He seems to be woefully ignorant about basic economics, science, and technology, international affairs, and the conventions of American politics. Either that, or he is acting that way as part of his peculiar character disorder. Deliberately violating norms is a way to show contempt for "middleclassness," as Jerry Wright calls it. It's the bourgeois values that Karl Marx hated so much. In psychiatry, deliberate lifelong violations of accepted rules are a sign of "oppositional-defiant personality," closely allied with grandiose narcissism. That describes Obama's lifelong character.

Obama believes in internationalism, with grandiose egos like his own ruling the world. That's what the left is all about, and has been since Karl. Marx is not "progressive" but "retrogressive," because grandiose empires started six millennia ago in the great river valleys of the Old World, where city states amassed the power and ideological beliefs to conquer their neighbors. Obama would be at home in Egypt, Persia, Assyria, Alexander's Greek Empire, Rome, the Inca and Maya empires, Russia, Austro-Hungary, the Soviet Union. They are all pyramid-building empires made up of "soviets" -- councils -- commanded from the top.

April 21, 2011

Obama's healthcare ate your wallet -- and your bank account, and your IRA.

Investor's Business Daily: You'd think that when the Congressional Budget Office reported that Obama-Care would cost tens of billions of dollars more than it originally claimed, that would be news. Guess again.

Last month the CBO — Congress' official budget scorekeeper — updated its forecast for ObamaCare's price tag. Instead of $931 billion over seven years, the CBO now says it will cost $971 billion to pay for higher Medicaid costs, subsidies, tax credits and the rest — a $40 billion increase.

At the same time, the CBO now says ObamaCare's new taxes — the penalties for not buying coverage, taxes on high-cost plans, and so on — will be $24 billion higher than it projected last March.

Of course, to Washington, these extra taxes are a good thing since they bring the government's "net cost" down. But to the rest of us, it looks like the price of ObamaCare just went up by $64 billion.

We already knew the country was sold a bill of goods with ObamaCare. Now we're starting to see just how big that bill actually will be.

Left coast left-wing loonies.

Investor's Business Daily: The widow of a slain police officer wants to know why the California Federation of Teachers has taken up the cause of the man convicted of murdering her husband in cold blood. Hey, they teach your children.

Former Black Panthers member Mumia Abu-Jamal has been a poster child for the loony left ever since he murdered Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in cold blood during a routine traffic stop on Dec. 19, 1981.

A jury sentenced him to death. The bullet in Abu-Jamal came from Faulkner's gun. The bullets in Faulkner came from Abu-Jamal's weapon.

Faulkner's widow, Maureen, wants to know why the California Federation of Teachers, which should have better things to do, passed a resolution at its recent annual convention praising Abu-Jamal as a budding journalist who was a victim of a racist judicial system despite two trials and a conviction based on overwhelming physical evidence, eyewitness testimony and even a confession.

Facts are subservient to ideology. Abu-Jamal supported environmentalism and Marxism. He supported the abolition of prisons and, of course, opposed the death penalty. He opposed capitalism and supported the redistribution of wealth.

The logic is, hey, he's one of us so he must be innocent.

The question for the CFT is why is it supporting a convicted cop-killer who is guilty beyond any reasonable doubt, and why now, three decades after his crime?

If this is the mindset of a majority of the rank and file, what kind of skewed teaching about America and its judicial system must be going on in our classrooms?

April 20, 2011

Federal Tax insanity.

Peter Suderman, Reason: How many pages does it take to lay out the insanely complicated rules and requirements of our tax code? According to tax publisher CCH, the total number of pages devoted to federal tax code rules, IRS rulings, and regulations has grown to 72,536. It's no wonder that even the government's own experts and officials can't figure it out. Any system of rules that requires in excess 72,000 pages to explain and understand borders on useless.

Where Obama's socialist healthcare is taking us.

AFP: Hospital waiting times in England have hit their highest level for three years and are likely to rise further as public spending cuts take hold, an independent health think tank said on Wednesday.

Figures from February show that nearly 15 percent of hospital patients waited over 18 weeks for treatment, the longest time since April 2008.

April 19, 2011

Your tax dollars at work -- somewhere else.

Terrence Jeffrey, The U.S. Export-Import Bank, an independent agency of the federal government, is now planning a $2.84-billion loan for a massive project to expand and upgrade an oil refinery--in Cartagena, Colombia.

The money would go to Reficar, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ecopetrol, the Colombian national oil company.

According to the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA), 95 percent of the gasoline purchased by U.S. consumers is refined inside the United States, meaning that expanding the gasoline refining capacity of Colombia is unlikely to have a significant impact on the supply of refined gasoline in the Untied States.

Also according to NPRA, the last time a new oil refinery was built in the United States was 1993, when a small facility was built in Valdez, Alaska. The last time a new large oil refinery was built in the United States was 1976, says NPRA.

EPA vs Your Job.

Investor's Business Daily: The EPA admits to Congress that it does not take into account the impact of its regulations on employment, the economy or international competitiveness. Neither, apparently, does the White House.

This stunning revelation was made by EPA Administrator Mathy Stanislaus in response to a question by Colorado GOP Rep. Cory Gardner. It came during Stanislaus' testimony before the House Environment and Energy Committee on Thursday and exposes the Obama administration's public posture on jobs and the environment as a fraud.

Gardner was asking about an EPA regulation that would govern industries that recycle coal and ash and other fossil fuel byproducts. Recycling is a good thing. Recycled coal ash makes concrete stronger, wallboard more durable and the shingles on your roof longer-lasting.

"We have not directly taken a look at jobs in this proposal," Stanislaus said. That's odd, since his testimony seems to contradict Executive Order 13563, issued by President Obama in January, which requires that all new rules issued by federal agencies take job creation into account. As we have learned, you have to watch what the administration does, not what it says.

As reported in the Daily Caller, the EPA issued a statement on April 30, 2010, in the appendix of its regulatory impact analysis of its coal ash regulation that said the assessment "does not include either qualitative or quantitative estimation of the potential effects of the proposed rule on economic productivity, economic productivity, economic growth employment, job creation or international economic competitiveness."

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's economic forecasting model, a proposed 70% cut in carbon dioxide emissions will cause gasoline prices to rise 77% over baseline projections, kill more than 3 million jobs and reduce average household income by more than $4,000 every year.

The administration did not worry about energy jobs when it stopped drilling in the Gulf and imposed a seven-year ban on drilling off America's main coasts and Alaska. Team Obama is too committed to saving the earth to save your job to even consider it in its regulations.

Losing our freedom.

Heritage: Big government policies are setting us on a path away from a fundamental freedom we cherish—one the Founders strove to preserve. It's the freedom to pursue the American dream—economic freedom—that, tragically, is in jeopardy.

When many folks think about freedom, the first thing that comes to mind is the freedom of speech and religion, the right to bear arms, to vote, or to have a trial by a jury of their peers. Though it isn't enumerated in the Bill of Rights, economic freedom is just as important.

Though President Obama might pay lip service to Americans' desire to rein in government, he's late to the party. From Obamacare to a nearly trillion dollar stimulus bill, trillions in new debt, a $26.1 billion government union bailout, and more, President Obama and the previous Congress have given us plenty of reasons to question their commitment to reform government and restore economic freedom.

April 15, 2011

Obama is a left-wing ideologue.

David Limbaugh, In my book "Crimes Against Liberty," I described President Obama as dishonest, hyper-partisan, a bully, a narcissist and a hard-core left-wing ideologue. Anyone who thinks my description is exaggerated or too harsh didn't hear his Wednesday speech on the budget.

His speech was insulting, misleading, reckless and disgraceful. Instead of offering serious, specific proposals, he gave us generalities and partisan and class warfare. In the words of Ryan in an interview with radio host Mark Levin, Obama basically accused Ryan and other Republicans of being un-American -- of "pitting children with autism or Down syndrome against millionaires." Ryan said he'd never seen a president give a speech that stooped to this level of partisanship, demagoguery and distortion. Obama's "poisoning the well."

The America of Obama's dreams is not the one of self-reliance and entrepreneurship to which he paid phony lip service at the beginning of his speech. It is an America in which the government, rather than the private sector, creates wealth and leads ignorant, helpless people by the nose from cradle to grave, from preschool to the academy, with the caveat that if they succeed too much, they will make themselves enemies of the state and targets for punitive action. Obama's new American dream is an American nightmare.

He is an incorrigible, militant statist who will not stop of his own volition, so he must be defeated. If this latest performance doesn't awaken the lingering Obama apologists to the full extent of his aversion to solving America's problems, nothing will, and they must be defeated, too.

April 14, 2011

Republicans need to grow a spine or go home.

Peter Kirsanow, NRO: “Conservative” politicians have been too satisfied with too little for too long. They’re too easily cowed (still) by the editorial pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post. They behave as if they don’t have confidence in what they’re saying; that American voters are too stupid and venal to appreciate the scale of the problem.

Sure, Republicans only control, as John Boehner repeatedly and inaptly reminds, only one half of one third of the federal government. And politicians, as opposed to pundits, must stand for reelection.

But if the economy is truly in dire straits, then serious politicians would summon the communication skills and political fortitude to persuade the electorate, win the debate, and pass the necessary reforms. If they can’t do it now — when the electorate only last November signaled a receptiveness to serious reforms, a receptiveness perhaps not seen since the Great Depression — then what’s the likelihood they ever will?

Spend money. If that doesn't fix it, spend even more money.

Victor Davis Hanson, NRO: Lost in the furor over the budget is any discussion of the fact that, after a certain baseline point, redistributive payouts might be making things worse for those on the receiving end.

At some point, this historic debate must address the real pathological origins of federal debt: Congressmen, senators, and administration officials of both parties have steered public monies to chosen constituents and causes, without any worry whether the money helps or harms, because by doing so they can build a political base and, in many cases, gain personal profit while in office and real riches when out of office.

Right now, Democrats are arguing that record-level social spending programs are absolutely necessary; that when they fail to achieve promised results, it’s because of too little money; and that anyone who questions these premises is a cruel megaphones for the wealthy who wants to throw the ill out on the street. This is the familiar circular logic of big government: When massive infusions of cash fail to produce results, the reason is insufficient funding — not that it creates complacency and dependency in lieu of self-reliance and personal responsibility.

April 13, 2011

Obama is a perpetual campaigner and a reluctant president.

Andrew Malcom, Los Angeles Times: If President Obama is in political trouble, just wait a minute. He'll give a speech. He thinks speech-making is his best skill and clearly prefers campaigning over presidenting at a desk.

Oh, look! Obama's giving another speech this afternoon.

It's at George Washington University, the administration's new favorite homefield speech-giving place where Obama had Hillary Clinton talk about foreign policy a few weeks ago.

Obama has looked distracted in recent weeks. He launched a war in Libya while taking his family around South America. For more than a week Obama had Clinton do the public explaining and take the "Say What, a Third War?" heat for the guy who beat her in the 2008 Democratic primaries by arguing against such irrelevant foreign conflicts.

April 12, 2011

Romney's unmitigated disaster.

Michael Graham, Boston Herald: As a health care plan, Romneycare is an unmitigated fiasco. It has caused costs to skyrocket, insurance premiums to soar and nonprofit providers like Blue Cross to suffer hundreds of millions of dollars in losses.

But as a political policy, Romneycare is nearly unparalleled in Republican history. It has destroyed one front-runner’s presidential hopes (Romney’s) and helped undermine an entire presidency. For, as Barack Obama’s supporters keep reminding us, Romneycare was the precursor to Obamacare.

Taxpayers now spend $2.5 billion more on our state’s health care budget. The direct cost of Romneycare has gone from less than $100 million a year to at least $400 million — and even that number is suspect. But we do know we’ve spent more than $35 million in a single year on health services for illegal immigrants, and tens of millions more on illegal, unallowable or outright bogus claims.

If you want to know why Romneycare’s costs keep rising, check out this simple statistic from the Patrick administration: In 2006, 85 percent of the insured in Massachusetts got their coverage through private group coverage at work. Today that’s down to 79 percent.

Meanwhile the percentage on the MassHealth dole has doubled, and more than 150,000 people are now subsidized through Commonwealth Care.

Romneycare hasn’t made that insurance more affordable — just the opposite. Many people have seen their premiums double in the past five years. Supporters also never mention that when Romneycare was signed, Massachusetts already had one of the nation’s lowest rates of uninsured.

Billions of dollars spent to accomplish so very little — that’s Romneycare’s legacy, and a glimpse of Obamacare’s future.

I wouldn't invite them, either.

Investor's Business Daily: Well, it's out — the invitation list to the biggest U.K. royal wedding in three decades. A Mustique bartender merited an invite, but it seems the Obamas did not. It's pretty obvious the Brits are sending a message.

Sure, the royal wedding is a ceremonial affair, and news that the U.S. president and first lady weren't invited to the nuptials of Prince William and Catherine Middleton on April 30 won't rupture normal diplomatic relations.

Still, it's eyebrow-arching, given that U.S. presidents have always been invited up till now.

And the slowly leaking list of people who did get invited — charity workers, the head of PR for Audi, David and Victoria Beckham, assorted sheikhs, a Romanian count, parliamentary assistants from small European states, a Texas billionaire, Spanish tile company execs, a favorite Caribbean bartender — underlines that something persuaded the royal family that historically puts on the grandest and most closely watched nuptials in the world to say no to America's first family.

The Obamas' absence will be noticed as TV cameras pan the spectacle as billions around the world watch. The message? Actions have consequences.

Liberal ideologues consistently ignore evidence.

Thomas Sowell, Investor's Business Daily: Someone once said that taxes are the price we pay for civilization. That may have been true when he said it, but today taxes are mostly the price we pay so that politicians can play Santa Claus and get reelected.

For more than 80 years, the political left has opposed what they call "tax cuts for the rich." But big cuts in very high tax rates ended up bringing in more revenue to the government in the Coolidge, Kennedy, Reagan and Bush 43 administrations. This included more — repeat, more — tax revenue from people in the highest income brackets than before.

But the same rhetoric that "progressives" like Sen. Bob La Follette used against tax cuts in the 1920s is still going strong in the 21st century. When you point out to today's "progressives" that "the rich" paid more total tax revenue to the government after what were called "tax cuts for the rich," that doesn't make a dent.

The liberal answer to budget deficits is almost always to raise tax rates on "the rich," in order to bring in more revenue. The fact that higher tax rates have often brought in less revenue than before is simply ignored.

The idealism of the left is a very selfish idealism. In their war against "the rich" and big business, they don't care how much collateral damage there is to workers who end up unemployed.

April 8, 2011

Another whacko Dem over the top.

Dan Joseph, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) said today that the new Republicans elected to the House of Representatives last November came to Congress "to kill women." She also likened Republican efforts to prohibit federal funding of abortion except in cases of rape, incest or where the life of the mother is endangered to actions taken by Nazis.

Liberals' Tax and Spend" plan leads to American poverty.

Investor's Business Daily: Fresh on the heels of the Republican budget plan unveiled this week by Rep. Paul Ryan, liberals in Congress are preparing to unveil their own. We've glimpsed some of the details. They can't be serious.

Paul Ryan's plan to restore fiscal sanity is many things, but insincere is not one of them. Too bad the same can't be said of the plan put forward by Congress' liberals, who think we can somehow tax and spend our way to prosperity.

On close inspection, the liberals' plan amounts to little more than odds and ends from a progressive-socialist wish list that can fairly be described as potentially ruinous, politically unworkable, divorced from reality and economically absurd.

The anti-oil president.

Investor's Business Daily: Making jokes about remembering what it was like to pump gas or speaking at a foreign-owned wind turbine plant does not ease the pain at the pump that has been orchestrated by the White House.

President Obama found time on the eve of a possible government shutdown to dine with the Rev. Al Sharpton, address his National Action Network Annual Gala and make quips about an energy crisis America finds increasingly unfunny.

"I don't pump gas now, but I remember what it was like pumping gas. ... I remember the end of the month (paying bills) .. . I remember that," the president joked Wednesday. Now he spends his time running up the nation's bills while he fulfills his campaign promise to make energy prices "necessarily skyrocket."

The president said he was not "out of touch" as the media accused President George H.W. Bush of being when he demonstrated unfamiliarity with supermarket scanners. No, the president is plugged into reality as he test-drives overpriced electric cars no one wants and tours foreign-owned wind turbine plants.

[Oil companies are] not the ones who are driving up prices by restricting supply. It's an Obama administration that includes a secretary of energy, Steven Chu, who has said "we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe." He was talking about $8 a gallon or higher.

President Obama did not tell his audience at the Spanish-owned facility about Spain's experience with wind energy. A study of Spain's experience with subsidizing wind on the grand scale Obama envisions shows that for every "green" job created, 2.2 jobs were lost in other industries.

April 7, 2011

A preview of Obamacare.

Investor's Business Daily: Recall the complaints that the U.S. is the only developed nation in the world that doesn't provide universal medicine? So how's that arrangement working elsewhere? Rather poorly, particularly in Britain.

Agitators for government health care can no longer, as they did at one time, hold up the British system as the model the U.S. should follow. They've learned to stay away — and for good reason. The system has followed the path that all socialist systems must follow: It is breaking under its own weight.

The nation with the reputation for rotten dental care is quickly developing a reputation for delays in medical treatment. "Devastating and cruel" is how British surgeons are now describing the long waits for operations.

It's the National Health Service's way, reports the BBC, of finding nearly $33 billion in efficiency savings by 2015. To achieve those savings, knee and hip replacements apparently have been limited by the bureaucratic rationing teams.

Britons should be outraged. If the government taxes them to fund universal care, they should get the care. If the government can't do the job — which clearly it can't — it should get out of the business of meddling in people's lives and let everyone take care of his or her own health care.

Americans should be outraged as well, because a Democratic Congress and White House have forced on them a program that will be no more successful than the British health care wreck.

April 5, 2011

Surprise! Obama to run again!

Kyle Wingfield, Barack Obama has launched his re-election bid.

It starts with a web video, a sign of the times.

It very clearly is aimed at Obama’s base — the people who, if he were to pull a huge surprise and not run for re-election, would write his name on the ballot anyway. So, it’s not surprising that the video is more of a get-fired-up production than a first-term retrospective or potential-second-term campaign platform.

That said, isn’t it a little bit odd that even a get-fired-up video doesn’t mention a single, solitary thing that Obama has done — other than get elected?

The wrong man in the wrong job.

Human Events: Eric Holder should’ve never been confirmed as attorney general. Any man who would, as he did, urge President Bill Clinton to grant clemency to 16 members of the Puerto Rican domestic terrorist outfit FALN (a Spanish acronym for Armed Forces of National Liberation) was not only unfit to be America’s lawyer, but he himself should have been investigated.

Yet Holder is, indeed, our attorney general, and his priorities are exactly where we’d expect them to be: dangerous.

Consider that righteous retribution against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his 9/11 cohorts remains in limbo as Holder’s Justice Department continues to seek out ways to try them in civilian courts.

Moreover, Holder refuses to defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, a bipartisan bill passed by Congress and signed into law by a Democratic President.

What’s more, under congressional questioning, he declined even to suggest that there are radical elements within Islam that contribute to anti-Americanism and terrorist activity around the world.

And that’s just off the top of our head.

April 4, 2011

A former President adrift and clueless. (Here's a hint: 444 days.)

Judicial Watch: The only American president to publicly support Middle Eastern terrorism has completed a schmooze fest with a communist dictator in a country that appears on the U.S. State Department’s list of terrorist-sponsoring nations.

It marks the latest “humanitarian” mission for Jimmy Carter, who just a few years ago became the only American commander-in-chief to participate in a hug fest with the head of the world’s leading Middle Eastern terrorist group. During that highly-publicized Syrian jaunt, Carter met with Hamas Leader Khaled Meshal who runs his violent operation from Damascus to avoid being arrested by the Israeli government.

The sophisticated and well-funded Palestinian extremist group has for years appeared on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations and for a former president, or any western leader of Carter’s stature, to meet with its boss is inconceivable. Carter has long supported Palestinian extremism and justifies its violence as a reaction to Israeli apartheid. He even wrote a book ("Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid") about it in 2007.

This week the one-time Georgia peanut farmer made the rounds in Cuba, where he hung out with communist Dictator Fidel Castro and his brother Raul. Carter is the only sitting or former American president to visit the Caribbean island, also deemed a sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. government, since Castro took power in 1959. Carter also visited Cuba in 2002.

Not surprisingly, Carter took the opportunity to do some America-bashing during his stay on the island. He called on the U.S. government to take Cuba off the list of countries that sponsor terrorism, criticized America’s trade embargo against the oppressive communist dictatorship and insisted five convicted Cuban government spies be freed from federal prison.

A President adrift and clueless.

Nile Gardiner, The Telegraph (UK): This week’s Quinnipiac University national poll should be devastating reading for the White House, against a background of mounting confusion over Libya, paralysis in the face of a massive national debt and deep-seated economic problems, and a possible shutdown of Congress. Liberal hopes of an Obama recovery in the first half of 2012 following disastrous midterm elections in November are proving short-lived. According to the Quinnipiac survey, Obama is now at the lowest approval level of his presidency, with his weakest reelect score ever.

President Obama receives strong negativity ratings for his handling of virtually all key issues, including the economy, budget deficit, health care, foreign policy and energy policy. According to Quinnipiac, on the economy 60 percent of Americans disapprove of his performance, including more than a quarter of Democrats. That figure rises to 64 percent on the budget deficit. On health care, less than 40 percent of Americans back the president, with 55 percent opposing. On foreign policy, 47 percent disapprove of his handling, compared to just 41 percent in favour, with only two in five Americans approving of his leadership of the Libya issue.

At the core of the presidency’s declining fortunes is Barack Obama’s lack of leadership, both at home and abroad. The president’s widely criticised dithering over Libya has reinforced the impression of a White House adrift in a sea of confusion, as the world’s only superpower seems incapable of projecting decisiveness on the world stage, while failing at the same time to confront the nation’s biggest economic crisis in decades in the shape of towering debts and European-levels of unemployment.

April 1, 2011

Think about it.

Mona Charen, NRO: When she visited the United States near the end of the 20th century, Mother Teresa pleaded with Americans to reject abortion as “violence.” And so it is. Ms. Behar and most members of Planned Parenthood probably think of themselves as non-violent types. They’ve probably never fired a gun, and they probably oppose most wars. If asked to kill a baby robin in its nest, they’d probably recoil with horror.

Think about that.

Drill here, drill now.

Steven Hayward, NRO: Brazilian domestic oil production has risen 876 percent over the last 20 years – -most of it from offshore. That’s how they “got off foreign oil.” That’s why they went from importing 77 percent of their oil in 1980 to importing none today. In another few years they might even join OPEC and start selling the oil they’ve discovering with help from our technology.

Your tax dollars at work.

"Aurelius", Pundit Press: People in the United States are rallying against wasteful government spending as the deficit and national debt soar. Officials do not seem to be listening. Either that or they really like amphibians.

Having spent $700,000,000 on a new building (the Mark Center) in Alexandria, Virginia, the Department of Defense is looking to furnish the interior. Though you may think that the government might want to save, instead they had an idea: spend $600,000 on a sculpture of a toad that has a fairy on top.

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