Action Alert: Renew Patriot Act

Time is coming for parts of the Patriot Act to expire if not explicitly renewed by Congress.  As you can imagine, or not, the Left at are panicked over what they have been calling illegal spying.

What was made painfully clear years ago and in the report from the 9/11 Commission was that al Qaeda’s goal, besides killing you and me, was to recruit US citizens to carry out their mission. The Left ignored it, calling it scare tactics of the war mongering Bush administration

We’ve been here before and so far, the Patriot Act has done nothing but save our collective ass from attacks. No grandmother has been arrested for her reading list at the public library. However, several terrorist attacks have been thwarted since that time, including several last week, thanks to the tools afforded law enforcement  by the Patriot Act. Some of those arrested last week were US citizens who were successfully recruited by al Qaeda and actually went to Pakistan for terrorist training. Hear that Fertik?

The time has come to counter the efforts of Bob Fertik at, and Russ Feingold and Dick Durbin, to tie the hands of those trying to protect us, to wit:

We elected Democratic majorities to Congress in 2006 to end illegal spying by the Bush Administration. At long last, Senators Russ Feingold and Dick Durbin are leading the way, but all the other Democrats in Congress need to join them.

It’s time to repeal telecom immunity for illegal spying and roll back the worst abuses of the PATRIOT ACT.

Maybe they did, but the American people didn’t. Write your elected representatives and the Congressional leadership today. Tell them the only changes you want to the Patriot Act would be changes that would make it better at combating terrorism both home and abroad, not worse. Tell them that telecom companies with the technical ability to help Homeland Security should be held harmless when they actually do help Homeland Security.

related link: Director of FBI Urges Renewal of Patriot Act

Is The Recession Over?

Considering that your taxpayer dollars, over 1/2 billion of them, are going to a company backed by Al Gore that makes hand-built custom cars, not for the middle class or working people, but for the evil rich like Al Gore, apparently so.

Happy days are here again. The latest model is an all electric one. From Fiskar Automotive . . .

We are accepting pre-orders for our Fisker four-door plug-in hybrid sports sedan – the FISKER KARMA to be delivered in 2010. All orders received from mid-January onwards will be delivered in the second half of 2010. Effective Jan. 1 the deposit amount is $5,000.

All Signature Edition Vehicles, which will be delivered with a special numbered and signed plaque, a color and trim combination similar to the Detroit Show-Car are SOLD OUT.

At this point in time we are also accepting deposits for our Fisker convertible – the FISKER KARMA S. The deposit amount is $25,000

Speaking of stimulating the economy. What? Not ours? Are you serious? How about $400,000 for Gadhafi’s sons? One of whom escorted the Pan American flight 103 bomber back to Libya.

What about the US taxpayers? Eh, we’re all suckers, that’s what. When will you ever learn what Liberals are all about?

Butterfly Evolution In Pictures

The butterflies are ‘blooming’ all over our front yard and this pictorial shows the evolution of it. Wikipedia describes 4 stages of development of holometabolous insects, those that undergo a complete metamorphosis, going through four life stages; embryo, larva, pupa and imago. Below are pictures of the last three.

If you want to enjoy butterflies, get some milkweed plants and they will come. Be sure to tell the pest control people not to spray the area at or near the milkweed, else they will kill the eggs, larvae, and everything else.

Got a laugh when the pest control guy came last week. I told him not to spray the  area, pointing to the milkweed, which by then had been half eaten up by the caterpillars. He said ‘but look they are eating your plants.’ He looked a bit surprised when I said, yes, that’s the idea. That’s why they are there. They are for the caterpillars and soon to be butterflies.  I pointed out some of the pupae hanging around and he said, ‘well, you got a little wild kingdom going on here.’

[nggallery id=4]

A Leader Or Follower Be

Military commanders on the ground say more troops are needed to win in Afghanistan. The President’s advisers (apparently not Secretary of State Hillary Clinton), a flock of doves representing the far Left of his party, want US troops out. Not increased.

Obama's fickle finger of fate.
Checking the wind. Part of the decision-making process.

It’s crunch time for the Obama administration. Not only for how to handle the war, or more correctly, whether to handle the war, but for the message that cutting and running under political pressure sends to our allies and potential allies around the world.

At least under Bush, our allies could count on us keeping commitments and fighting to keep us, and them, safe no matter what the public sentiment was. All that is now put into question under Barack Obama, our new Commander in Chief.

It demonstrates the difference between leading on principle and not leading at all.  Just ask Poland and the Czech Republic.

More Words, Just Words, For Iran?

We’ve heard hollow tough talk like this before. Didn’t work for President Clinton with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, and it isn’t going to move Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad either. President Obama’s words yesterday. . .

“Iran’s action raised grave doubts”

They’re not new actions. They’ve been ignored by the UN and Washington for years.

Iran is on ‘a path that is going to lead to confrontation. . . Iran is on notice that when we meet with them on Oct. 1 they are going to have to come clean and they are going to have to make a choice’

As head of the UN Security Council, can we expect at least eight more years of indecision and inaction while Iran comes up with a nuclear bomb to use on Israel, our troops, and its neighbors? Do you mean a confrontation like another meeting full of finger pointing and idle threats? Or do you mean making a choice like Saddam Hussein chose?

We will soon see how effective ‘hope and change’ is on Ahmadinejad. This is where community organizing and world organizing differ.There is no ACORN presence in Iran to help him.

The problem with Obama in real-world foreign relations has nothing to do with his being black. It has everything to do with his being green.

link: Obama warns Iran: ‘come clean’ on nukes

Cash For Clunkers, What A Deal

Democratic Math, OR, how you got screwed without even a kiss.

Look at how hard working Americans got taken to the cleaners.

If you traded in a clunker worth $3500, you get $4500 off for an apparent “savings” of $1000.

However, you have to pay taxes on the $4500 come April 15th (something that no auto dealer will tell you).  If you are in the 30% tax bracket, you will pay $1350 on that $4500.

So, rather than save $1000, you actually pay an extra $350 to the feds. In addition, you traded in a car that was most likely paid for.  Now you have 4 or 5 years of payments on a car that you did not need, that was costing you less to run than the payments that you will now be making.

But wait, it gets even better:  you also got ripped off by the dealer. For example, every dealer here in LA was selling the Ford Focus with all the goodies including A/C, auto transmission, power windows, etc for $12,500 the month before the “cash for clunkers” program started.

When “cash for clunkers” came along, they stopped discounting them  and instead sold them at the list price of $15,500.  So, you paid $3000 more than you would have the month before.  (Honda, Toyota, and Kia played the same list price game that Ford and Chevy did).

So lets do the final tally here:

You traded in a car worth:   $3500
You got a discount of:       $4500
Net so far                  +$1000
But you have to pay:         $1350 in taxes on the $4500
Net so far:                 -$350
And you paid:                $3000 more than the car was selling for the
month before
Net                         -$3350

We could also add in the additional taxes (sales tax, state tax, etc.) on the extra $3000 that you paid for the car, along with the 5 years of interest on the car loan but lets just stop here.

So who actually made out on the deal?  The feds collected taxes on the car along with taxes on the $4500 they “gave” you.  The car dealers made an extra $3000 or more on every car they sold along with the kickbacks from the manufacturers and the loan companies.  The manufacturers got to dump lots of cars they could not give away the month before.  The used car market takes a hit when the clunkers are destroyed. And the hard working American consumer gets saddled with even more debt that they cannot afford.

Obama and his band of merry men convinced Joe consumer that he was getting $4500 in “free” money from the “government” when in fact Joe was giving away his $3500 car and paying an additional $3350 for the privilege.

Oh yeah, they’ll most likely do a good job with your health care too.

H/T Provolone Greg

Which One Works?

At the beginning of President Obama’s speech to the joint session of Congress on Sept. 9, a truism was spoken about “comprehensive” (that’s political-speak for government-controlled) health care.

President Obama said “A bill for comprehensive health reform was first introduced by John Dingell Sr. in 1943. Sixty-five years later, his son continues to introduce that same bill at the beginning of each session.”

The truism that seems to escape Democrats is that for 65 years, they continue to ignore the will of the people. That socialized medicine is one thing that Americans do not want, and it’s time to move on. If the president really believes what he is saying, then he ought to be confident enough to also say that if his plan does not increase the availability and quality of care and the debt, and does not decrease the cost, then he will scrap his version of health care reform before his term ends and enact H.R. 3400, the Republican alternative.

Regarding President Obama, you have a decision to make. Is he lying about there not being a Republican alternative, or is he that far out of touch that he doesn’t even know it exists? Which one works for you?

Link: Pensacola News Journal Letter to the Editor, 9/24/2009

United Nations, For The Wrong Reason

It has been an interesting couple days in the UN General Assembly, as has the media coverage of it. After suffering through 96 minutes of drivel from Muammar Gaddafi, I was hard pressed to find out what nations, if any, demonstrated their approval/disapproval by leaving the chamber. A tradition of that body since its inception. Where Gaddafi is concerned, I can’t find any evidence that the US delegation walked out.

When Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke his insane bit, the US delegation did walk out.  And I share Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s frustration with the UN for giving Ahmadinejad a platform, and with the delegations there that sat to listen to him deny the Holocaust.

“To those who gave this Holocaust denier a hearing, I say on behalf of my people. … Have you no shame? Have you no decency?”

The media coverage of the walkout is remarkable.  German media Deutsche Welle put it this way. Canada who refused to attend the speech, and 11 delegations left the speech.   According the Associated Press, Ahmadinejad spoke to a half-empty chamber. So out of 192 member states, only 12 showed their disapproval. Does that sound like a half-empty chamber to you?

The whole experience does demonstrate the ineffectiveness, if not unwillingness, of the United Nations to live up to its charter and how the media props them up.

The fact that President Obama is now head of the UN Security Council, a first for a US President, does not give me any hope that the UN will change. His ’round-the-world apology tour, like his speech to the UN General Assembly, validates that his idea of foreign relations is just like theirs. And for our sake, I hope I am wrong.


Don’t Be Fooled, It’s A Tax

Memo to President Barack Obama: It’s a tax. Make no mistake about it. His comprehensive health care reform scheme will add a financial burden on 100% of the American people. Ditto with the President’s ‘Cap and Trade’ scheme.

As a percentage of income, both will impact the poor way more than the rich. His pitch that 95 percent of Americans, the middle class and the ‘working people,’ will not get a tax increase is pure spin.

Are you old enough to remember The Who’s 1971 song ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again?‘ ‘Meet the new boss, same as the old boss,’ as attempts are made to repeat history.

From Wikipedia:

Won’t Get Fooled Again” is a song by the rock band The Who. Written by Pete Townshend, it combines guitar power chords with heavily processed organ and synthesizer sounds to create a textured, atmospheric introduction that explodes into the verse. It tells of a “revolution of revolutions” in an endless cycle, where “the change it had to come, we knew it all along” but each successive new regime turns out to be just like the old one, so that straight away it’s time once again to “pick up my guitar and play, just like yesterday, then I’ll get on my knees and pray we don’t get fooled again“.

We'll be fighting in the streets, With our children at our feet.


AP link: FACT CHECK: Coverage requirement enforced with tax

Five Major Faults With The Health Care Bills

Did you know that the Democrat health care bills in the senate and house share the same five major faults? An analysis of those faults and the recommended fix are presented here by Nina Owcharenko of the Heritage Foundation.

Current efforts by Congress to “reform” the health care system are centered on several flawed policy initiatives that will transfer more power and decisions to Washington and away from patients and families.

Rather than create a massive government-based health care system and dislocate people from their existing private coverage, policymakers should focus on putting the health care system on a path where individuals and families are in control of their health care dollars and decisions.

Shortfalls of the Health Care Bills

The following five provisions are the cornerstone of the House and Senate bills and unavoidably result in legislation taking health care reform in the wrong direction.

1. New Public Plan and Federal Exchange. Both the House and Senate bills would create a new government-run health care plan through the establishment of a federally run national health insurance exchange. The result: widespread erosion of private insurance and substantial consolidation of federal control over health care through the exchange.[1] As is evident in the details of the House bill (H.R. 3200), there is no level playing field for competition between the government plans and private health plans. Plus, the incentives in the legislation guarantee that millions of Americans will lose their existing employer-based coverage.

2. Federal Regulation of Health Insurance. Both the House and Senate bills would result in sweeping and complex federal regulation of health insurance. Moreover, it would take oversight away from states and concentrate it in Washington.[2]

3. Massive New Taxpayer-Funded Subsidies. Both the House and Senate would expand eligibility for Medicaid, but they would also extend new taxpayer-funded subsidies to the middle class. Such commitments would result in scores of Americans dependent on the government to finance their health care.[3] This is unfortunate because Congress could have reformed the tax treatment of health insurance to enable people to keep their existing private coverage and buy better private coverage if they wished to do so.

4. Employer Mandate. Both the House and Senate bills would impose an employer mandate for employers who do not offer coverage and for those whose benefits do not meet a new federal standard. An employer mandate would hurt low-income workers the most and would also stifle much-needed economic growth.[4] Employer mandates are passed on to workers in the form of reduced wages and compensation. This is exactly the wrong prescription for businesses, especially during a recession.

5. Individual Mandate. Both the House and Senate bills would require all people to buy health insurance. There is no doubt that such a mandate would result in a tax increase on individuals and families whose health insurance does not meet the new federally determined standards. This means that Congress will, for the first time, force Americans to buy federally designed packages of health benefits, even if they do not want or need those benefits.

It also means that health benefits will tend to become increasingly costly as powerful special interest groups and representatives of the health industry lobby intensively to expand the legally mandated health benefits, medical treatments and procedures, and drugs that all Americans must buy under penalty of law.

A Better Direction for Health Care Reform

Congress should stop and take a step back from these divisive House and Senate measures. Instead of trying to overhaul one-sixth of the American economy and seize an unprecedented amount of political control over health care decisions and dollars, policymakers should consider proceeding with smaller, incremental improvements. Policymakers need to proceed slowly and deliberately, making sure that the initial steps they take are not disruptive of what Americans have and want to keep, actually work, and do not result in costly and damaging and unintended consequences. There are three broad areas where Members can and should find consensus:

1. Promote State Innovation. Congress should preserve the states’ autonomy over their health care systems and give them greater legal freedom to devise solutions that meet the unique characteristics of their citizens. In addition, individuals should also have the freedom to purchase coverage from trusted sources and not be restricted by where they happen to live. This means that Americans should be able to buy better coverage across state lines. Congress should respect and encourage personal freedom and diversity.

2. Establish Fairness in the Tax Treatment of Health Insurance. There is little disagreement that today’s health care tax policy–which favors coverage obtained through the workplace–distorts the market and is inequitable. Instead of expanding government-run programs like Medicaid, policymakers should offer tax relief to those individuals who purchase private health insurance on their own, regardless of where they work.

At the same time, Congress should make sure that tax relief goes only to taxpayers. Congress should also devise a voucher program, giving low-income citizens the opportunity to get private coverage if they wish to do so. There is a broad bipartisan consensus that Congress should help low-income working families with direct assistance to enable them to get health insurance.

3. Get Serious About Entitlement Reform. Medicare and Medicaid, the giant health care entitlement programs, are not only increasingly costly, but they are also not delivering value to the taxpayers. The best way to secure value to patients (not government officials) is to compel health providers to compete directly for consumer dollars by allowing seniors and the poor to choose the coverage that is right for them using the money that is already available to them in these programs. This will “bend the cost curve” while at the same time allowing private-sector innovation to flourish.

Consumer-Driven Reform

Americans want to fix the problems in the health care system–but not at the expense of their own coverage. It is time policymakers recognize the lack of support for a major overhaul. But instead of continuing to protect the status quo, Congress should advance improvements that put the health care system on a path to reform.

Such improvements should be focused on increasing choice and competition not by turning control over to Washington but by empowering individuals and families to control their health care dollars and decisions.

Nina Owcharenko is Deputy Director of the Center for Health Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

[1]Robert E. Moffit, “A Federal Health Insurance Exchange Combined with a Public Plan: The House and Senate Bills,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2304, July 30, 2009, at

[2]Edmund F. Haislmaier, “Micromanaging Americans’ Health Insurance: The Impact of House and Senate Bills,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 2558, July 23, 2009, at; Dennis G. Smith, “Undercutting State Authority: The Impact of the House and Senate Health Bills,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 2559, July 23, 2009, at

[3]Dennis G. Smith, “New Taxpayer Subsidies: The Impact of the House and Senate Health Bills,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 2564, July 23, 2009, at

[4]James Sherk and Robert A. Book, “Employer Health Care Mandates: Taxing Low-Income Workers to Pay for Health Care,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 2552, July 21, 2009, at

link: Five Major Faults with the Health Care Bills