Tuesday, 21 April 2009
HOW MANY SOCIALISTS ARE THERE IN CONGRESS?
Spencer Bachus, the Republican Senator from Alabama, claimed last week that
there are "17 socialists in congress".
Self-avowed socialist Senator Bernard Sanders from Vermont has challenged him
to name them. Fair enough.
So far Bachus has not. I don't know if he will. But I do know it
was pretty dumb of him to make that claim unless he had something with which to
back it up.
Interestingly, however, Bachus is being given substantial help by Micahel G.
Franc, who writes for National Review. Here is Franc's position on the
April 21, 2009, 4:00
Plenty of senators are just as far to the left as
Vermonts proud socialist or farther.
By Michael G. Franc
Sen. Bernie Sanders wants Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) to
start naming names. So reports Politicos Glenn Thrush.
referring to the usually soft-spoken senior Republican on the House Financial
Services Committee, who had told a Birmingham reporter that there are 17
socialists in Congress.
Bachuss assertion prompted what Thrush
characterized as cries of McCarthyism in the lefty blogosphere especially
when he named only one lawmaker: Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, who happily
calls himself a democratic socialist.
Has Spencer released his list
yet? Sanders joked. Everybodys waiting with bated breath. . . . I think
at the very least he has to tell people what his definition of socialism is.
At the risk of inviting the Lefts wrath, let me help flesh out a list. As
for that elusive definition of socialism, Ill use as a barometer the voting
record compiled by the Senates only avowed man of the people the
distinguished gentleman from Vermont himself. That is, we can presume the more
often a lawmaker votes with Congresss lone acknowledged socialist, the greater
his or her comfort level with the sort of policies he embraces.
in 2009, senators have cast 154 roll-call votes, many of which have been of
historic importance. Its not every Congress, after all, that jumps out of the
starting gate and passes trillion-dollar stimulus packages, creates new
entitlement programs and expands old ones, repeals the most successful
social-policy accomplishment in over half a century (welfare reform), doubles
Uncle Sams role in education, lays the groundwork for the governments takeover
of our health system, and sets in motion a multi-hundred-billion-dollar tax
increase on that most despised of constituent groups the rich.
these first few months of the Obama Era have been heady times indeed for those
who see a government solution to every societal problem.
Only one senator
has voted entirely in sync with Sanders: Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts. But
due to his severe illness, he has voted only eight times, so we will not count
him in the following tabulations.
Over one-third of the Senate 35
senators, all of them Democrats have voted the Sanders line 90 percent of the
time or more. Since thats more than twice the number we need to fill out
Bachuss list, lets restrict membership in the Sanders Socialist Society to
just those senators voting with him at least 95 percent of the time. They number
15: Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio), John Kerry (D., Mass.), Jack Reed (D., R.I.),
Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.), Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.), Tom Harkin (D., Ia.),
Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.), Richard Durbin (D., Ill.), Jeanne Shaheen (D.,
N.H.), Ben Cardin (D., Md.), Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D.,
Ore.), Barbara Mikulski (D., Md.), Roland Burris (D., Ill.), and Ted Kaufman
Falling just shy of the cut-off at 94 percent agreement
with Sanders are Sens. Daniel Akaka (D., Hawaii.), Chris Dodd (D., Conn.),
Daniel Inouye (D., Hawaii), Carl Levin (D., Mich.), Robert Menendez (D., N.J.),
Jay Rockefeller (D., W.Va.), Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.), and Ron Wyden (D.,
Ore.), along with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.).
The sameness of
voting records holds up when you exclude about 50 votes cloture motions, votes
to confirm nominees to various executive-branch positions, and so on that shed
little light on ones philosophical disposition.
Of course, not every
Democratic senator votes in lockstep with Sanders. The greatest deviationist
among Senate Democrats is Nebraskas Ben Nelson, who still managed to agree with
the Vermonter 59 percent of the time.
Republican senators who toe the
Sanders line most often are (can you guess?) Maines Olympia Snowe (61 percent)
and Susan Collins (56), followed by Pennsylvanias Arlen Specter (53).
the opposite end of the Sanders spectrum are such conservative stalwarts as Jim
Inhofe (R., Okla.), Jim DeMint (R., S.C.), Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), John Cornyn
(R., Tex.), and Jim Bunning (R., Ky.).
To the conservative
untutored in the nuances of modern-day socialism, some of Sanderss votes may be
surprising. For example, he joins most Republicans in his avid support of Second
Amendment rights (a well-armed citizenry is the only defense against fascist
storm troopers who might one day invade our homes and strip us of our rights).
And he was one of only eight Democrats to vote against releasing the second $350
billion installment of funds for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (the
proletariat should not pay for the sins of capitalist bankers). These votes
explain why even Jim Inhofe and Jim DeMint agree with Sanders about 10 to 15
percent of the time, and they suggest that some of his liberal colleagues, who
routinely vote against Second Amendment rights and for corporate bailouts, may
actually be to the left of the socialist Sanders!
This raises the
question: Why does Sanders fit so comfortably into the modern Democratic party?
Is he a fraud, just another run-of-the-mill liberal Democrat who sports the
socialist label to impress granola-crunching, tree-hugging, redistributionist
liberals in Vermont? This is entirely possible. After all, during the eight
terms Sanders served in the House before moving to the Senate, he amassed an
impressive, but by no means remarkable, liberal voting record.
Representative Bachus may be surprised to learn that, according to the American
Conservative Unions congressional voting scorecard, Sanders toed the
conservative line more often at 6.5 percent of the time (must be those Second
Amendment votes) than did more than 100 of his former House colleagues,
including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (2.8 percent) and Reps. Henry Waxman (4.7),
George Miller (4.5), Barney Frank (4.4), Rosa DeLauro (4.3), Maxine Waters
(3.3), Jesse Jackson Jr. (3.1), and Charlie Rangel (3.7).
explanation may be that all the recent hyper-partisanship on Capitol Hill and
the ideological realignment of our two major parties have left us with a
national left-of-center party that boasts a sizable contingent of elected
officials whose worldviews are for all practical purposes indistinguishable
from those of their leftist counterparts in Europes socialist
What one calls these lawmakers liberals, progressives,
statists, or even (gasp) socialists is less important than our acknowledgment
that the center of gravity for todays liberal is much farther to the left than
it has been at any time in our recent history.
Now there's a analysis you will never see in almost any of our wonderful
"neutral" media. But, even if media would never tell you about
them, those voting records are what they are.
So now you have the facts. It's your call as to whether Franc (or
Bachus) has a point.
ATTENTION MICHAEL MOORE!!!!
I admit this is unfairly insulting to Moore - and I also admit I would do
well to lose some weight myself. But I couldn't resist.
From The Sun - a UK paper which, it should be noted, is just a tad prone
to sensationalist journalism:
Fatties cause global
THE rising number of fat people
was yesterday blamed for global warming.
Scientists warned that the increase
in big-eaters means more food production a major cause of CO2 gas emissions
warming the planet.
Overweight people are also more
likely to drive, adding to environmental damage.
Lard help us ... overweight
must eat less for planet
Dr Phil Edwards, of the London
School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: Moving about in a heavy body is
like driving in a gas guzzler.
Each fat person is said to be
responsible for emitting a tonne more of climate-warming carbon dioxide per year
than a thin one.
It means an extra BILLION
TONNES of CO2 a year is created, according to World Health Organisation
estimates of overweight people.
The scientists say providing
extra grub for them to guzzle adds to carbon emissions that heat up the world,
melting polar ice caps, raising sea levels and killing rain
And researchers at the London School
of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine say wealthy nations like the US and Britain are
getting fatter by the decade.
Dr Phil Edwards said: Food
production accounts for about one fifth of greenhouse gases.
We need to do a lot more to reverse
the global trend towards fatness. It is a key factor in the battle to reduce
carbon emissions and slow climate change.
It is time we took account of
the amount we are eating.
This is about over-consumption by
the wealthy countries. And the world demand for meat is increasing to match that
of Britain and America.
It is also much easier to get in
your car and pick up a pint of milk than to take a walk.
In peril ... polar ice
The study by Dr Edwards and
colleague Ian Roberts is published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.
Dr Edwards went on: We are not just
pointing the finger at fat people. All populations are getting fatter and it has
an impact on the environment.
UK health surveys estimate
fatness has increased from an average body mass index of 26 to 27 in the last
Thats equivalent to about half a
stone for every person.
Anyone with a BMI above 25 is
overweight, while more than 30 is obese.
A staggering 40 per cent of
Americans are obese, among 300 million worldwide.
Australian Professor Paul Zimmet
predicted a disastrous obesity pandemic back in 2006.
And Oxfam warned yesterday that the
number of people hit by climate-related disasters will soar by more than half in
the next six years to 375million.
The impact of more storms, floods
and droughts could overwhelm aid organisations.
Sun doctor Carol Cooper said last
night: Im not sure which came first, people getting fat and driving or the
other way around. It is true fat people eat more food than average.
A few obese people have a hormone
problem, although most simply dont use enough calories and eat too many. But
making them feel guilty antagonises them and may not help.
Obviously this is a problem we cannot take lightly.
The back view of those two women reminds me of a very offensive but
very funny joke I once heard (sorry, can't remember the comedian - though it
might have been Bobby Slayton). He said he was standing on a movie line
and the woman in front of him looked like either of these two. She was
wearing Guess designer jeans, which have a "Guess?" logo on the back. So
he tapped her on the shoulder and said "I don't know, maybe 240 or 250?".
Personally, I don't picture that "Guess?" logo at all. I'm thinking
"Pass" and Don't Pass"....
JUAN WILLIAMS ON THE DC VOUCHER DISGRACE
Regular readers of this blog know I have already expressed my outrage at the
move to end Washington DC's school voucher program. Doing so
will force motivated students right back into the schools their
parents rescued them from; schools that will not teach them; schools where
they will be ridiculed and a lot worse for daring to work hard and get
Here, from www.foxforum.blogs.foxnews.com is Juan Williams'
version of this same outrage. It
is well worth reading - especially the paragraph I've put in bold
April 20th, 2009 4:55 PM
As I watch Washington politics I am not easily
given to rage.
Washington politics is a game and selfishness,
out-sized egos and corruption are predictable.
But over the last week I find myself in a
The cause of my upset is watching the key civil
rights issue of this generation improving big city public school education
get tossed overboard by political gamesmanship. If there is one goal that
deserves to be held above day-to-day partisanship and pettiness of ordinary
politics it is the effort to end the scandalous poor level of academic
achievement and abysmally high drop-out rates for Americas black and Hispanic
reckless dismantling of the D.C. voucher program does not speak well of the
promise by Obama to be the Education
This is critical to our nations future in terms
of workforce preparation to compete in a global economy but also to fulfill the
idea of racial equality by providing a real equal opportunity for all young
people who are willing to work hard to succeed.
In a politically calculated dance step the Obama
team first indicated that they wanted the Opportunity Scholarship Program to
continue for students lucky enough to have won one of the vouchers. The
five-year school voucher program is scheduled to expire after the school year
ending in June 2010. Secretary Duncan said in early March that it didnt make
sense to take kids out of a school where theyre happy and safe and satisfied
and learningthose kids need to stay in their school.
And all along the
administration indicated that pending evidence that this voucher program or any
other produces better test scores for students they were willing to fight for
it. The president has said that when it comes to better schools he is open to
supporting what works for kids. That looked like a level playing field on
which to evaluate the program and even possibly expanding the
But last week Secretary Duncan announced that he
will not allow any new students to enter the D.C. voucher program. In fact, he
had to take back the governments offer of scholarships to 200 students who had
won a lottery to get into the program starting next year. His rationale is that
if the program does not win new funding from Congress then those students might
have to go back to public school in a year.
He does not want to give the students a chance for
a year in a better school? That does not make sense if the students and their
families want that life-line of hope. It does not make sense if there is a real
chance that the program might win new funding as parents, educators and
politicians rally to undo the bigotry of low expectations and open doors of
opportunity wherever they exist for more low-income students.
And now Secretary Duncan has applied a sly,
political check-mate for the D.C. voucher plan.
With no living, breathing students profiting from
the program to give it a face and stand and defend it the Congress has little
political pressure to put new money into the program. The political pressure
will be coming exclusively from the teachers unions who oppose the vouchers,
just as they oppose No Child Left Behind and charter schools and every other
effort at reforming public schools that continue to fail the nations most
vulnerable young people, low income blacks and Hispanics.
The National Education Association and other
teachers unions have put millions into Democrats congressional campaigns
because they oppose Republican efforts to challenge unions on their resistance
to school reform and specifically their refusal to support ideas such as
performance-based pay for teachers who raise students test scores.
By going along with Secretary Duncans plan to
hollow out the D.C. voucher program this president, who has spoken so
passionately about the importance of education, is playing rank politics with
the education of poor children. It is an outrage.
This voucher programs is unique in that it takes
no money away from the beleaguered District of Columbia Public Schools.
Nationwide, the strongest argument from opponents of vouchers is that it drains
hard-to-find dollars from public schools that educate the majority of
But Congress approved the D.C. plan as an
experiment and funded it separately from the D.C. school budget. It is the most
generous voucher program in the nation, offering $7,500 per child to help with
tuition to a parochial or private school.
With that line of attack off the table, critics of
vouchers pointed out that even $7,500 is not enough to pay for the full tuition
to private schools where the price of a years education can easily go beyond
$20,000. But nearly 8,000 students applied for the vouchers. And a quarter of
them, 1,714 children, won the lottery and took the money as a ticket out of the
D.C. public schools.
The students, almost all of them black and
Hispanic, patched together the voucher money with scholarships, other grants and
parents willing to make sacrifices to pay their tuition.
What happened, according to a Department of
Education study, is that after three years the voucher students scored 3.7
months higher on reading than students who remained in the D.C. schools. In
addition, students who came into the D.C. voucher program when it first started
had a 19 month advantage in reading after three years in private
It is really upsetting to see that the Heritage
Foundation has discoverd that 38 percent of the members of Congress made the
choice to put their children in private schools. Of course, Secretary Duncan has
said he decided not to live in Washington, D.C. because he did not want his
children to go to public schools there. And President Obama, who has no choice
but to live in the White House, does not send his two daughters to D.C. public
schools, either. They attend a private school, Sidwell Friends, along with two
students who got there because of the voucher program.
This reckless dismantling of the D.C. voucher
program does not bode well for arguments to come about standards in the effort
to reauthorize No Child Left Behind. It does not speak well of the promise of
President Obama to be the Education President, who once seemed primed to stand
up for all children who want to learn and especially minority
And its time for all of us to get outraged about
this sin against our children.
The blunt, honest truth is that there is
one reason that thousands of children are being sacrificed. It is to
appease the strong, financially important, vote-rich teachers' unions. I posted several
blogs about this over a month and a half ago, which you can
here . Obviously, Juan Williams understands what is
going on as well as I do.
But do you know it? If you didn't before, I certainly hope you do now.
What a disgrace. What a catastrophe for these children, and for the parents who want nothing
other than to provide them with a good education so they will have
What a shameful action from shameless people.
DID WE REALLY WATERBOARD TWO PEOPLE 266 TIMES?
The New York Times sure thinks so. It made this a front-page story. And
much of the rest of our wonderful "neutral" media dutifully marched along in lock
But is it true? Does it even make the slightest bit of sense?
For this, we call on Steve Gilbert at www.sweetness-light.com. Steve has put
together a blog that should make anyone with a functioning cerebrum think twice
- and then 1,000 times more - before believing the 266-time claim.
Here it is:
April 20th, 2009
From a ready to believe anything bad about the CIA
New York Times:
Waterboarding Used 266 Times on 2
By SCOTT SHANE
C.I.A. interrogators used
waterboarding, the near-drowning technique that top Obama administration
officials have described as illegal torture, 266 times on two key prisoners
from Al Qaeda, far more than had been previously reported.
The C.I.A. officers used waterboarding at least
83 times in August 2002 against Abu Zubaydah, according to a 2005
Justice Department legal memorandum. Abu Zubaydah has been described
as a Qaeda operative.
A former C.I.A. officer, John Kiriakou, told ABC
News and other news media organizations in 2007 that Abu Zubaydah had
undergone waterboarding for only 35 seconds before agreeing to tell everything
The 2005 memo also says that the
C.I.A. used waterboarding 183 times in March 2003 against Khalid Shaikh
Mohammed, the self-described planner of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist
The New York Times reported in 2007 that Mr.
Mohammed had been barraged more than 100 times with harsh interrogation
methods, causing C.I.A. officers to worry that they might have crossed legal
limits and to halt his questioning. But the precise number and the exact
nature of the interrogation method was not previously known.
The release of the numbers is likely to become
part of the debate about the morality and efficacy of interrogation methods
that the Justice Department under the Bush administration declared legal even
though the United States had historically treated them as torture.
President Obama plans to visit C.I.A.
headquarters Monday and make public remarks to employees, as well as meet
privately with officials, an agency spokesman said Sunday night. It will be
his first visit to the agency, whose use of harsh interrogation methods he
often condemned during the presidential campaign and whose secret prisons he
ordered closed on the second full day of his presidency.
C.I.A. officials had opposed the release of the
interrogation memo, dated May 30, 2005, which was one of four secret legal
memos on interrogation that Mr. Obama ordered to be released last Thursday.
Mr. Obama said C.I.A. officers who had used
waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods with the approval of the
Justice Department would not be prosecuted. He has repeatedly suggested that
he opposes Congressional proposals for a truth commission to examine Bush
administration counterterrorism programs, including interrogation and
The Senate Intelligence Committee
has begun a yearlong, closed-door investigation of the C.I.A. interrogation
program, in part to assess claims of Bush administration officials
that brutal treatment, including slamming prisoners into walls, shackling them
in standing positions for days and confining them in small boxes, was
necessary to get information.
The fact that waterboarding was repeated so many
times may raise questions about its effectiveness, as well as about assertions
by Bush administration officials that their methods were used under strict
A footnote to another 2005 Justice Department
memo released Thursday said waterboarding was used both more frequently and
with a greater volume of water than the C.I.A. rules permitted.
The new information on the number of
waterboarding episodes came out over the weekend when a number of bloggers,
including Marcy Wheeler of the blog emptywheel, discovered it in the May 30,
The sentences in the memo
containing that information appear to have been redacted from some copies but
are visible in others. Initial news reports about the memos in The New York
Times and other publications did not include the numbers.
Michael V. Hayden, director of the C.I.A. for
the last two years of the Bush administration, would not comment when asked on
the program Fox News Sunday if Mr. Mohammed had been waterboarded 183 times.
He said he believed that that information was still classified.
A C.I.A. spokesman, reached Sunday night, also
would not comment on the new information.
Mr. Hayden said he had opposed the release of
the memos, even though President Obama has said the techniques will never be
used again, because they would tell Al Qaeda the outer limits that any
American would ever go in terms of interrogating an Al Qaeda terrorist.
He also disputed an article in The New York
Times on Saturday that said Abu Zubaydah had revealed nothing new after being
waterboarded, saying that he believed that after unspecified techniques were
used, Abu Zubaydah revealed information that led to the capture of another
terrorist suspect, Ramzi Binalshibh.
The Times article, based on information from
former intelligence officers who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Abu
Zubaydah had revealed a great deal of information before harsh methods were
used and after his captors stripped him of clothes, kept him in a cold cell
and kept him awake at night. The article said interrogators at the secret
prison in Thailand believed he had given up all the information he had, but
officials at headquarters ordered them to use waterboarding.
He revealed no new information after being
waterboarded, the article said, a conclusion that appears to be supported by a
footnote to a 2005 Justice Department memo saying the use of the harshest
methods appeared to have been unnecessary in his case.
This is news the New York Times considers fit to
All of it is speculation based on two sentences
from a memo:
(Click to enlarge)
If you read the full Rizzo memo (a pdf
file), you can see the the context of this
is ambiguous at best. (This paragraph appears in the midst of a discussion about
SERE training, techniques and standards.)
But common sense itself makes it seem very
unlikely that anything like these numbers could be true.
The fact that waterboarding was repeated so many
times may raise questions about its effectiveness
Gee, do you think so?
If the real power of waterboarding is the supposed
to be fear of drowning, how effective would it be after the third or fourth
time? Let alone the 182nd?
More importantly, wouldnt you think that Mr.
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed attorneys would have mentioned it if he had been
waterboarded 183 times? Or Mr. Zubaydahs attorneys?
Would this not have been a gold-plated get out of
jail free card for them?
Also, lest we forget, Mr. Mohammed represented
himself during his 2008 trial.
He didnt think it was worth noting that he had
been tortured so often? Or did it slip his mind?
On the contrary, according to the August 13, 2007
edition of the New Yorker, Mr.
Mohammed told the International Red Cross that he had been waterboarded five
According to the sources familiar
with the Red Cross report, Mohammed claimed to have been waterboarded five
times. Two former C.I.A. officers who are friends with one of
Mohammeds interrogators called this bravado, insisting that he was
waterboarded only once. According to one of the officers, Mohammed needed only
to be shown the drowning equipment again before he broke.
Moreover, Mr. Mohammeds trial was attended by a
regular Whos Who of "rights groups" from Amnesty International, the ACLU, Human
Rights Watch, ad nausea.
They certainly would have loved to hear this
And dont you think that one of the many
Congressmen or their staff who are investigating this would not have leaked this
The 2005 memo also says that the C.I.A. used
waterboarding 183 times in March 2003 against Khalid Shaikh
Mr. Mohammed was captured in March 2003 by the
Pakistanis. Its not at all clear how soon they turned him over to the US. Some
say right away, some say not.
But even so, that cuts into the number of days
they had to torture him.
But even if the US torturers had him for the full
thirty days of March, that means that they had to waterboard him six (6) times
a day, seven days a week.
Who really believes that?
Well, of course the New York Times would without
Among the number of things that make me question this
story, the timing stands out most conspicuously. If khalid sheikh muhammed
were waterboarded 183 times in a month - if he were waterboarded one
that number of times in a month - do you doubt that his lawyers
would have mentioned it? Same with zubaydeh if he were waterboarded 83 times.
What does the Times think happened? Did the
lawyers and the defendants collectively have a case of temporary amnesia during the
Something stinks here. And it isn't just a selective declassification
of documents designed to impugn the previous administration.
Simply stated, the 266-time claim does not, you'll pardon the expression, hold water.
ZIMBABWE AND WHITE-OWNED FARMS
Yesterday I blogged that "Durban II, the
supposedly anti-racist conference being held in Geneva, Switzerland
this week. I characterized it as Israeli hate-fest which ignored actual racism in many
other countries, and cited Zimbabwe as a prime example.
In that connection, here is a year-old article from The London Times which details
just how grim that racism is and how it has decimated the country. Please
pay special attention to the paragraph I've put in bold print:
Zimbabwe: desperate Mugabe begins
new assault on white-owned farms
How is it possible that a conference on racism wouldn't
deal with Zimbabwe? But this is the UN we're talking about - so if
Zimbabwe is mentioned at all, it will be a couple of quotable comments in
passing, then back to Israel.
Does the UN care about the Zimbabweans who are starving to death because
of mugabe's racism, cronyism and general insanity? Does the UN care that
a "breadbasket" country of Africa has turned into hell on earth because of it?
Base your judgement on its actions, and you'll have your
MURTHA'S EARMARK AND SHAKEDOWN OPERATION (CONT.)
john murtha is such a dissolute, corrupt scumbucket that even CBS News -
hardly what you'd call an enemy of the Democratic Party - has had
enough. Read this vintage take-down of murtha from the CBS web
Murtha's Defense Earmarks
CBS Evening News: FBI Investigates
Those Close To Powerful Lawmaker
(CBS) CBS News investigative
correspondent Sharyl Attkisson and investigative producer Laura Strickler
reported this story for CBSNews.com.
Spring in Washington is
"earmark season" - a busy time for Congressman John Murtha.
business," Murtha said. "I've been in it for 35 years."
As head of a
powerful Defense committee, Murtha controls hundreds of millions of taxpayer
dollars, reports CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson.
And he's not shy about directing money to those who give generously to his
CBS News has learned that this month, Murtha
is steering new earmarks toward 10 companies that recently donated to his
Murtha wants $8 million for Argon ST, a defense contractor
whose CEO gave Murtha the maximum allowed by law - $2,400 by an individual. He's
directing a $5 million earmark toward Advanced Acoustic Concepts, which also
gave the max - $5,000 for a political action committee - to his campaign. In
all, 10 recent Murtha donors are slated to receive $31 million in Murtha
earmarks for 2010.
Taxpayer watchdogs may not like how it looks, but
it's not against the law unless donations were required in order to receive the
earmarks. Looking for evidence of wrongdoing, the FBI has recently raided
offices of two other companies linked to Murtha.
"The sooner it gets to
a bright line that's a direct connection of 'you give me money, you're going to
get taxpayer dollars,' that's when you really cross the line," said Steve Ellis,
with Taxpayers for Common Sense.
That line was crossed in one case,
according to a defense contractor who spoke to us on condition of anonymity for
fear of losing government contracts.
The contractor was set to receive
$1 million tax dollars. He said the military told him the money would come
through a company called Commonwealth Research Institute, whose parent company,
Concurrent Technologies, ranked among the largest earmark recipients. Both were
set up with Murtha's help in his own hometown. The defense contractor said
Commonwealth officials told him to get the money, he should "consider opening an
office" in Johnstown, Murtha's hometown, and chided his company for not giving
"enough campaign contributions to Murtha," and not making "a showing at Murtha's
annual defense contractor fair."
The contractor told CBS News: "I
wouldn't do it. We're just not going to play." He didn't get the funds.
"You called this a 'shakedown?'" Attkisson asked Ellis.
want the money then you've got to do these things, and that's being shaken
down," Ellis said.
"Is there anything illegal about that?" Attkisson
"It's hard to tell until you have all the details," Ellis said.
"Illegality is a tricky thing on this. It's very hard to prove a quid pro quo
because most of these things aren't written down."
subpoenaed in a separate federal probe, would only say it's always encouraged
companies to relocate to Johnstown, and attend Murtha's fair to promote growth -
but does "not encourage anyone to make campaign contributions."
wouldn't comment for our report. He did recently tell a home state newspaper
that he's only trying to bring home the bacon.
"If I'm corrupt," said
the congressman, "It's because I take care of my district."
This disgusting excuse for a "public servant" was an unidicted co-conspirator
in the ABSCAM scandal - and has continued this level of integrity ever
since, spending countless amounts of taxpayer money to grease the palms of
people who play ball.
Shame on the voters in murtha's district for electing him every two
years. Yes, he gets you lots of pork. But don't you care about how
corrupt he is and how he pays off the people who play ball with him? He
represents you. Are you really comfortable with that?
It is time - long past time - to dispose of this garbage in a bad-fitting
suit. But since he is still in congress, is it asking too much to at least
shut down his earmark factory?
TEA PARTIES: DEMOCRATS/THE LEFT VERSUS THE GENERAL POPULATION
Well, we know what Democrats and the left think about the "tea parties" Here
is just a small sampling:
-Nancy Pelosi calls them "astroturf, not grass roots"
-Paul Begala calls the participants "Just a bunch of wimpy, whiny, weasels
who don't love their country...."
-Left wing looney-tune janeane garofalo says ....lets be very
honest about what this is about. Its not about bashing Democrats, its not
about taxes ... This is about hating a black man in the White House. This is
racism straight up. That is nothing but a bunch of [homosexual act] rednecks.
And there is no way around that.
-garofalo, along with a number of media people such as keith olbermann (of
course), rachel maddow (of course), anderson cooper (he is better than this),
etc, have insultingly and offensively referred to them as "tea-baggers***.
-etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseam.
Ok. Now that we've heard from Democrats/the left, what doES the general
Here is an answer from Rasmussen research:
51% View Tea Parties Favorably, Political
Class Strongly Disagrees
Monday, April 20 2009
Fifty-one percent (51%) of
Americans have a favorable view of the tea parties held nationwide last week,
including 32% who say their view of the events is Very favorable.
Thirty-three percent (33%) hold an
unfavorable opinion of the tea parties according to a new Rasmussen Reports
national telephone survey. Fifteen percent (15%) are not sure.
While half the nation has a
favorable opinion of last Wednesdays events, the nations Political Class has a
much dimmer viewjust 13% of the political elite offered even a somewhat
favorable assessment while 81% said the opposite. Among the Political Class, not
a single survey respondent said they had a Very Favorable opinion of the events
while 60% shared a Very Unfavorable assessment.
One-in-four adults (25%) say they
personally know someone who attended a tea party protest. That figure includes
just one percent (1%) of those in the Political Class.
(Want a free
daily e-mail update? Sign up now. If it's in the news, it's in our
polls). Rasmussen Reports updates also
available on Twitter.
David Axelrod, a top adviser to
President Obama, on Sunday characterized the protests in dozens of cities on the
day federal income
taxes are due as potentially unhealthy.
Fifty-eight percent (58%) of
Americans say they followed recent new stories about the tea party protests,
including 32% who followed Very Closely. Forty-one percent (41%) say they didnt
follow the reports.
Republicans were far more
interested in the protests than others. Seventy-six percent (76%) of Republicans
followed news reports, with 50% following Very Closely. By comparison, just 47%
of Democrats and 50% of adults not affiliated with either major party say they
followed the reports at least somewhat closely.
Just 32% of the Political Class
was following along. Among those with populist, or Mainstream, views, 68% were
While 83% of Republicans and a
plurality (49%) of unaffiliated Americans have a favorable view of the tea party
protests, only 28% of Democrats say the same.
The Political Class and Mainstream
classifications are determined by the answers to three questions measuring
general attitudes about government.
Most Americans trust the judgment
of the public more than political leaders, view the federal government as a special interest group and believe that big business
and big government work together against the interests of investors and
consumers. Only seven percent (7%) share the
opposite view and can be considered part of the Political Class.
On many issues, there is a bigger
gap between the Political Class and Mainstream Americans than between Mainstream
Republicans and Mainstream Democrats. That was true on the tea parties, but
Mainstream Republicans do express a more positive view of the protests than
Mainstream Democrats. Still, a majority (54%) of Mainstream Democrats had a
favorable opinion of the tea parties.
While Americans are slightly more
optimistic about the economys improvement in the short
term, they are growing more concerned that
the government may do too much to try to help things along.
Forty-five percent (45%) of
Americans adults now think most people get involved in politics to
protect themselves from what the
government might do.
If these data bear out in the general population, it means there is a
vast gap between the dismissal of tea parties by Democrats/the left, and the
favorability level among the general population.
Maybe the fear that tea parties are a genuine grassroots movement is what
drives Democrats to so desperately try to marginalize them.
Time will tell.
**"Tea-bagging" refers to a sexual act, which you can read about
A CORRECTION ABOUT WWW.SMIRKINGCHIMP.COM
Yesterday I blogged about www.thesmirkingchimp.com -- more
exactly, about the offensive way it is soliciting funding. I stand by
However, I was wrong in specifically referring to Matt Taibbi as if
he were running smirkingchimp.com. While Taibbi has blogged there
for years, I do not know that he has any ownership position. And
if he does not, my comments about how the site solicits funds should not be
directed to him.
This was brought to my attention by commenter Jack
Reynolds. Thanks, Jack. And an apology to Matt Taibbi for putting
the wording of that solicitation on his head (unless he
was the one who wrote it -- in which case the apology is
I am now going to change the original post accordingly.
HOW MUCH IS A HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS?
How much is one hundred million dollars?
I know it would do wonders for my checking account. I'm reasonably
sure that, if it were there, I would not be overdrawn any time soon.
But how much is it in the context of the country's overall budget?
To hear President Obama and his snarky, bumbling press secretary Robert Gibbs
talk about it, you'd swear that saving one hundred million dollars is a
major step towards balancing the budget.
But reality tells a very different story. Please read the
excerpts I've posted below, from an
article at cnsnews.com:
Obamas $100-Million Savings Plan Equals
0.007 Percent of 2010 Deficit
Tuesday, April 21,
By Fred Lucas, Staff
(CNSNews.com) Less than a week
after the nationwide tea party protests against high taxes and government
spending, President Barack Obama on Monday directed his cabinet secretaries to
slice $100 million out of their departmental budgets--an amount equal to 0.007
percent of the deficit spending Obama plans to undertake in
Proposed measures included targeting fraud in farm subsidies,
reducing the number of computers used by the Department of Education, buying in
bulk, and purchasing hybrid vehicles to cut fuel costs for the Department of
Homeland Security, according to a White House news release.
comes after the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected last month that the cumulative deficit from 2010 to
2019 under the presidents proposals would total $9.3 trillion, compared with a
cumulative deficit of $4.4 trillion projected under the current-law assumptions
embodied in CBOs baseline.
That would put the $100-million
cost-savings at about 0.001 percent of the projected national deficit for the
Even for 2009 and 2010, when the CBO projects
deficits of $1.8 trillion and $1.4 trillion, respectively, $100 million would be
0.005 percent and 0.007 percent of the deficit in those years.
Republican leaders on Capitol Hill are not buying into the proposed
savings, which they say are dwarfed by massive spending increases in the
proposed $3.5 trillion budget (for 2010) and the $787-billion recovery package
that passed earlier this year.
The federal government is
already set to spend $4 trillion by the end of fiscal year 2009, said House
Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), citing a CBO report.
administrations new talk of trimming a meager 0.0025 percent from the $4
trillion federal budget just doesnt square with its reckless record on
borrowing and spending, Boehner said in a statement. Washington Democrats have
spent the past three months doling out more taxpayer dollars than every previous
president combined, and the administration is clearly feeling the
Boehner said the administration should target projects, such
as a skateboard park in Rhode Island and bike racks in Washington, D.C., that
were funded by federal dollars in the stimulus bill. He also mentioned last week
that hundreds of thousands of Americans participated in Taxpayer Tea Parties to
say theyve had enough of Washington piling more debt on our children and
Obama has proposed a $3.5 trillion federal budget
to Congress that includes many of his priorities regarding expanding health care
coverage and environmental protection. This comes after the passage of the $787
billion economic stimulus package.
Like Boehner in the House
of Representatives, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also viewed
the White House announcement as little more than a political gesture,
considering that $100 million is about how much the government will pay in
interest per day over the next 10 years on just the stimulus bill.
I appreciate the efforts to save millions by identifying
unnecessary or duplicative government spending, McConnell said in a statement.
But lets not forget that at the same time theyre looking for millions in
savings, the presidents budget calls for adding trillions to the debt. The
nations debt is at its highest level ever, but under the administrations
budget, the amount will double in five years and triple in 10.
As you can see, the "savings" touted by Mr. Obama and Mr. Gibbs
are infinitesimal relative to the amount this administration's
Let me show you: One hundred million is a tenth of a
billion. One billion is a thousandth of a trillion. One trillion is
slightly more than one fourth of the 3.5 trillion budget.
If you work the math out, you'll find that the 100 million dollar savings
is......(can't you just hear the trumpets blaring in anticipation)........one
entire dollar out of every $35,000.
President Obama has slashed every $35,000 expenditure all the way down
to $34,999!!!! Who said this man wasn't a fiscal watchdog?
I assume you recognize my sarcasm here (god help anyone who doesn't).
If so, you probably understand that I consider the hoo-ha over this hundred
million dollar savings to be a pile of BS that Mr. Obama is foisting on whoever
is gullible enough to think it is significant. And, as usual, our
wonderful "neutral" media are, for the most part, abetting him.
Now you know how much a hundred million dollars is.