Saturday, February 20, 2010

US Justice Dept. inquiry in Ore. fatal shooting

The U.S. Justice Department has opened a civil rights inquiry into the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer in Portland.

Aaron Campbell was shot in the back after emerging from an apartment with his hands over his head Jan. 29. He was reportedly distraught. The officer who opened fire has said he thought Campbell was reaching toward his waistband for a weapon.

U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton and Oregon's FBI Special Agent in Charge Arthur Balizan announced the preliminary inquiry into the shooting on Thursday, saying it began earlier in the week. They say it's routine in "an officer-involved shooting of this nature."

Earlier Thursday, City Commissioner Dan Saltzman told a group of African American leaders that he would ask for such an investigation but didn't expect it would show any violations of Campbell's civil rights. Saltzman is the commissioner in charge of Portland police.

The shooting by Officer Ronald Frashour drew a march on City Hall earlier this week, as well as a visit from the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Will Allen is still in custody

Arrested nearly 12 hours ago for DUI in Miami, Dolphins safety Will Allen remains in custody.

Christina Vega of the Miami Herald reported that he was indeed in custody as of 2:00 p.m. ET in lieu of $1,000 bail. Jeff Darlington of the Herald has since posted the link to the Miami-Dade jail at his Twitter page, which shows that Allen has not been released as of 3:00 p.m. ET.

Since coming up with $1,000 surely isn't an issue, it could be that the police have decided not to let Allen go until he has dried out and/or wakes up.

The Dolphins have issued the following statement: "We only recently learned about this and as a result will withhold any comment as we gather more information."

Allen will be subject to punishment under the substance abuse policy, if he is convicted or pleads guilty to the charge.

Corporate Exodus From USCAP Hidden Away In Blog Post

By Kevin Mooney

Corporations are beginning to pull out of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a major driving force behind "cap and trade" proposals. But The New York Times would prefer that readers not become privy to yet another setback for the environmental movement. When USCAP was formed it earned expansive coverage but news of its possible demise only earns a blog post…

Where is the coverage of corporations that have pulled out of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) after lobbying in favor of anti-emissions regulations? The three year old pressure group was heralded and celebrated for its efforts in the New York Times when it first came together. But now that it is contracting, USCAP is suddenly less news worthy.

BP America, Conoco Phillips and Caterpillar have all announced they are pulling out of USCAP, which included a coalition of businesses and green groups that supported "cap and trade" legislation modeled after the Kyoto Protocol. Just a few weeks after the 2008 elections, USCAP representatives appeared at The National Press Club (NPC) to declare their moment had arrived and that Europeanization of the American economy was at hand.

Under cap and trade, electric utilities, manufacturers, and other firms would be limited in the amount of carbon dioxide they could release into the air. Companies that emitted more than their prescribed limit would then have to buy "carbon allowances" in a government-contrived system from companies that had carbon credit. If they pollute beyond their "cap," these companies would then have to "trade" for, i.e., buy, credits in companies that produce more environmentally friendly products.

Anti-emissions regulations were needed despite the recession USCAP members argued as recently as a few months ago because they would discourage the use of carbon-based energy sources in exchange for "green technologies that will create new jobs."

With election of Barack Obama and large Democratic congressional majorities, green activists and compliant business leaders had good cause to anticipate legislative results.

"We are greatly encouraged by the new leadership coming into office," Frances Beinecke president of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) said at NPC press conference in 2008. "Since the president-elect has announced his goals, the Democratic leadership will have to respond, and it might be possible to pull over some Republicans."

David Crane, president and CEO of NRG Energy, a power-generation company based in Princeton, N.J., told NPC audience members that the transition away from a carbon-based economy to one more reliant on clean energy sources is similar in scope to the movement away from the "horse and buggy" to the internal combustion engine.

Crane, who described himself as a "dyed-in-the-wool free market capitalist," said a price on carbon is needed so that market forces will respond and embrace alternative technologies.
Oh brother.

The Times and other liberal media organs have ignored economic reports that raise question about the viability of green jobs.

Gabriel Calzada, an economics professor at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Spain, has produced a recent study that shows green jobs are mostly temporary, heavily subsidized and subtract away from economic performance.

It also important to note that the announcements from BP America, Conoco Phillips and Caterpillar come on the heels of the "climategate" scandal that has gone a long way toward debunking the research underpinning man-made global warming theories.

Instead of published a thorough and detailed report on the possible demise of USCAP these developments are instead reduced to a blog where corporate leaders who are now backpeddling away from cap and trade are permitted to put their best spin on a dramatic policy reversal.

"Missing Bush?" Why Republican Revisionism Won't Sell

By Howard Rich

As America loudly repudiates the leftist agenda of President Barack Obama and his Congressional allies, a group of partisan GOP opportunists is busy promoting a theory of "Republican revisionism."

What does this theory hold?

Namely, that the GOP wasn't "all that bad" – and certainly not as bad as the socialist hordes who have ostensibly pushed America to the brink of financial ruin over the last year. In advancing this theory, the GOP is looking to recast itself as a party that can be trusted with your tax dollars – while simultaneously attempting to reframe the legacy of the President (and dozens of other GOP politicians) who couldn't be trusted with your tax dollars.

This effort is most clearly visible in the GOP's recent attempts to co-opt the Tea Party movement. It can also be seen within the opportunistic machinations of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has been pushing a new "Contract with America" in spite of his obvious betrayal – and subsequent scuttling – of the original movement fifteen years ago.

The GOP's new revisionist message was summed up in a billboard that appeared recently on Interstate 35 in Wyoming.

"Miss me yet?" a smiling picture of former President Bush asks passing motorists.

In a word? "No."

What this theory of "Republican revisionism" lacks is even a tangential basis in fact. That's because Republicans – at least prior to the election of a Democratic Congress in 2006 and a Democratic President in 2008 – were engaged in precisely the same policies they now spend all of their time railing against.

Honestly – why do you think they were booted out of power in the first place?

Republicans are no strangers to massive government overreaching.

For example, President Bush responded to the September 11 terrorist attacks by creating a huge new government bureaucracy, implementing an Orwellian domestic wiretapping capability and engaging our military in two costly foreign wars with no defined objectives and no exit strategy.

Meanwhile, he supported the unconstitutional suppression of free speech by signing so-called "campaign finance" reform, dramatically stifling the ability of the public to criticize incumbent politicians. Fortunately, the Supreme Court has since overturned several of McCain-Feingold's most anti-First Amendment provisions.

Bush and his cronies loved pork barrel spending, too. In 2005 – over the strenuous objections of taxpayer advocates – he signed a massive $286 billion transportation bill that included 6,371 pet projects inserted by Republican and Democratic lawmakers. The bill was a pork-fest that dwarfed previous Democratic transportation boondoggles.

Why did a Republican President sign such a monstrosity?

"The president has to work with the Congress," a Bush spokesman said at the time.

In case anyone forgot, Republicans controlled both the U.S. House and Senate in 2005.

Bush and his GOP allies also fought to create new entitlement spending – including a prescription drug benefit to Medicaid that has cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. They federalized education with No Child Left Behind, although erasing the "soft bigotry of low expectations" has done nothing to bridge America's achievement and innovation gap with the rest of the world.

Perhaps most revealing, for the vast majority of his administration, the "conservative" Bush kept his veto pen in his pocket – refusing to wield the one potent weapon (other than the bully pulpit) that could have been employed on behalf of American taxpayers.

As a result of Bush's fiscal recklessness, budget surpluses turned into deficits and a $5.7 trillion national debt soared to $10 trillion. Also, Republicans are quick to forget that Bush is on the hook for a considerable portion of the unsustainable spending that is currently driving our debt even further into the stratosphere.

Indeed, Bush cemented his anti-free market legacy in late 2008 with the passage of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and tens of billions of dollars worth of automotive bailouts – additional examples of his kneejerk tendency to resolve every crisis faced by the nation with an unprecedented expansion of government power and taxpayer debt.

Was Bush a better steward of your tax dollars than Obama?

Yes – but that's the problem. Getting mugged worse the second time around doesn't absolve the first thief of his culpability.

The simple, unavoidable truth is that Bush and his GOP allies were fiscal liberals, and no amount of "Republican revisionism" can erase that fact.

Howard Rich, chairman of Americans for Limited Government, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.

Editorial: A Credible, Independent Political Threat

If Republicans fail to address the legitimate concerns of the tea party movement and political Independents — especially the demand that Washington actually reduce, pay-off, and one day retire the gargantuan $12.4 trillion national debt — they will have simultaneously passed up on an historic opportunity to present a political program that once and for all liberates the people from the bonds of insolvency, and blown the political opportunity of a lifetime.

Right now, to a large degree, political Independents and tea party activists are breaking for Republicans. But, if the GOP believes that these are the seeds for a lasting majority, and that they need not take any action to earn their support, they need to think again.

If, for example, Congressional Republicans now embrace Barack Obama's dopey debt commission, which will never reduce the debt, or only support half measures over the next year to "reduce the deficit" that, again, will increase and extend what has become a perpetual debt, they will have ceded the true battlefield and laid the groundwork for their own demise, even if they happen to win in 2010.

The annual deficit, which will average more than $1.06 trillion every year for the next ten years under Obama's budget, is only half of the problem, and necessarily the smaller half. The larger half is the current $12.4 trillion debt that is earning interest — at a time when interest rates are just about ready to go up, and interest owed on the debt will rise to an intractable $840 billion by 2020. The American people will figure out rapidly that the debt is still rising on an annual basis, and they will hold Washington accountable.

Moreover, and likely to draw the ire of Independents and tea parties, Obama's debt commission is implicitly designed to legitimize and provide political cover for tax increases. Obama, in presenting the commission, said that its purpose is to "cover the costs of all federal programs." But, since Obama has made off-limits so-called "mandatory" entitlement spending, there are really only two ways to achieve his goal of covering "all federal programs," both of which will be devastating to the nation's economic standing and credit-worthiness: either, 1) the Federal Reserve will print the money necessary to fund the growth of entitlements spending, or 2) Congress will raise taxes to confiscatory levels.

Instead, the demands of the political Independents and the tea party movement are clear: 1) stop inflating the debt away; 2) stop raising taxes; 3) balance the budget; and 4) pay off and retire the national debt. In 1776, a Revolution was born in part because the British Empire thought they could punitively tax the colonies to finance the unsustainable obligations of London. It did not work then, and there is no reason to believe that the American people today will accept higher taxes to "cover the costs of all federal programs." Because, they know intuitively that those programs are unsustainable, and bankrupting the nation to boot.

The American people know that Social Security and Medicare are already in the red. That entitlement spending as a whole is growing faster than the federal budget itself. That the Social Security Trust Fund and other government accounts have already been looted by Congress. That, to sustain Washington's Keynesian spending binge, the Federal Reserve has repeatedly fired up the printing presses to increase the supply of money, thus weakening the dollar and destroying the purchasing power of hard-working American families. That, in so extending, expanding, and perpetuating the national debt, that the nation's Triple-A credit rating is now in jeopardy.

And let us never forget the bailouts, the practice of taxpayers assuming the bad debts of others. Rick Santelli's "shot heard 'round the world" one year ago today — which inspired the tea party movement — was specifically against the foreclosure bailouts, where homeowners who paid their bills on time and in full were being asked to also assume the costs of their neighbors who were delinquent in their payments and not credit-worthy to begin with.

Finally, and very importantly, many of these policies either began or were exacerbated while a Republican sat in the White House. The $700 billion TARP, perhaps the most unpopular legislation in human history, was a bipartisan bill. The housing bubble inflated the most during the 2000's and popped in 2007 because of weak lending standards, because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac sold worthless mortgage-backed securities all throughout the world, and because the Federal Reserve accommodated the bubble with easy money and low interest rates. In short, because of corporatism, or crony capitalism.

But, perhaps most importantly, the crisis happened because the people's elected representatives did nothing and, still refuse to do anything, to stop it. Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, the architect of the Fed's easy money policy, has been reconfirmed to a second term at a time when the nation supports a central bank audit. The money supply has more than doubled since the crisis began in 2007. The $3.83 trillion budget proposed will add a record $1.56 trillion to the national debt. The national debt ceiling has now been raised by $1.9 trillion to $14.294 trillion. Congress wants to take over the nation's entire health care and increase entitlement spending by another $2.5 trillion over ten years when fully implemented. And now, to pay for it all, Barack Obama is laying the groundwork to raise taxes.

The American people are sick and tired of it all. They want leaders in Washington, regardless of their party, to address the unbridled expansion of government, and the decline of their nation — and they want it done now. They know that time is quickly running out. They know that if the government's off-balance-sheet liabilities were put on-budget, the national debt would already be far in excess of the Gross Domestic Product. They see the sovereign debt crisis spreading throughout the world, and understand the principle that "the bigger they are, the harder they fall." They know that the nation's economic superpower status will forever be lost, and the general decline will escalate, when the debt is downgraded.

Republicans have a choice, and over the next year, they will either address the foregoing concerns of the American people, or they will rapidly watch tea party and Independent political support evaporate. They will be held accountable, just as Barack Obama and the Democrat Congress have been held accountable. In less than two years, political support for the current majority party has vanished. The Republicans will have an even shorter string.

The choice is simple, and it is theirs alone: Republicans will either become a part of the solution, or else they will be viewed as a part of the problem. The nation needs a political party that will restore fiscal and monetary sanity to Washington, and there is no time for half measures. For now, political Independents appear to be leaning Republican, but if the GOP fails to act, they will lose both Independent and tea party support. The American people are increasingly not married to political parties; they want action, and are more than willing to take matters into their own hands.

Alexander Haig Dead 1924 - 2010

Alexander Meigs Haig, Jr. (December 2, 1924- February 20, 2010) was a retired United States Army general who served as the United States Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan and White House Chief of Staff under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.[1] In 1973 Haig served as Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, the number-two ranking officer in the Army.[2] Haig served as the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, commanding all U.S. and NATO forces in Europe.

Haig, a veteran of the Korean War and Vietnam War, is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star with oak leaf cluster, and the Purple Heart.[3]

On February 20, 2010 news reports indicated that Haig passed away from an undisclosed illness.

Early life and education

Haig was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Regina Anne (née Murphy) and Alexander Meigs Haig, Sr., a Republican lawyer.[4] He was raised in his Irish American mother's Catholic religion,[5] and attended Saint Joseph's Preparatory School in Philadelphia. He graduated from Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pennsylvania and then went to the University of Notre Dame for one year, before transferring to the United States Military Academy, where he graduated in 1947. He studied business administration at Columbia Business School in 1954 and 1955. He also received a master's degree in international relations from Georgetown University in 1961, where his thesis focused on the role of the military officer in the making of national policy.

Security Advisor (1969–1972)

In 1969, he was appointed as Military Assistant to the Presidential Assistant for National Security Affairs, Henry Kissinger, a position he retained until 1970, when President Richard Nixon promoted Haig to Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. In this position, Haig helped South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu negotiate the final cease-fire talks in 1972. Haig continued in this position until 1973, when he was appointed to be Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, a post he held until the last few months of President Nixon’s tenure, when he served as White House Chief of Staff.

White House Chief of Staff (1973–1974)

Chief of Staff Haig (far right), Sec. of State Kissinger, Rep. Ford and President Richard Nixon meet on October 13, 1973 regarding Ford's upcoming appointment to Vice-President.

Alexander Haig served as White House Chief of Staff during the height of the Watergate affair from May 1973 until September 1974, taking over the position from H.R. Haldeman, who resigned on April 30, 1973, while under pressure from Watergate prosecutors.

Haig played a large "crisis management" role as the Watergate scandal unfolded. Haig has been largely credited with keeping the government running while President Nixon was preoccupied with Watergate.[1] Haig also played an instrumental role in finally persuading Nixon to resign. Anecdotal evidence suggests that Nixon had been assured of a pardon by Ford if he would resign. In this regard, in his 2001 book "Shadow," author Bob Woodward describes Haig's role as the point man between Nixon and then Vice President Gerald Ford during the final days of Watergate. According to the book, Haig played a major behind-the-scenes role in the delicate negotiations of the transfer of power from President Nixon to President Ford.

Haig remained White House Chief of Staff during the early days of the Ford Administration until Donald Rumsfeld replaced him in September 1974. By that time, Ford, in a highly controversial move, had pardoned Nixon for any crimes he may have committed as president. Author Roger Morris, a former colleague of Haig's on the National Security Council, early in Nixon's first term, wrote in his book Haig: The General's Progress, that when Ford pardoned Nixon, he in effect pardoned Haig as well. Haig had been a persistent solicitor of clemency for Nixon.

Secretary of State (1981-1982)

In January 1981, Haig was tapped by President Ronald Reagan to be Secretary of State. Confirmation hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee focused on Haig's role during Watergate. Haig was confirmed by a Senate vote of 93-6.[12]

Reagan assassination attempt

Secretary of State Haig speaks to the press after the attempted assassination on President Ronald Reagan

In 1981, after the March 30 assassination attempt on Reagan, Haig asserted before reporters "I am in control here" as a result of Reagan's hospitalization.
Constitutionally, gentlemen, you have the President, the Vice President and the Secretary of State in that order, and should the President decide he wants to transfer the helm to the Vice President, he will do so. He has not done that. As of now, I am in control here, in the White House, pending return of the Vice President and in close touch with him. If something came up, I would check with him, of course.
—Alexander Haig , Alexander Haig, autobiographical profile in TIME Magazine, April 2, 1984[13]

It was assumed by many who heard this that Secretary Haig had an antiquated familiarity with the order of succession to the presidency. Rather than being seen as an attempt to allay the nation's fear, the quotation became seen as a laughable attempt by Haig to exceed his authority.[14]

Haig would have been incorrect if this were an interpretation of the U.S. Constitution concerning both the presidential line of succession and the 25th Amendment, which dictates what happens when a president is incapacitated. The holders of the two offices between the Vice President and the Secretary of State, the Speaker of the House (at the time, Tip O'Neill) and the President pro tempore of the Senate (at the time, J. Strom Thurmond), would be required under U.S. law (3 U.S.C. § 19) to resign their positions in order for either of them to become acting President. This was an unlikely event considering that Vice-President Bush was merely not immediately available. Haig's statement reflected political reality, if not necessarily legal reality. Haig later said,
I wasn't talking about transition. I was talking about the executive branch, who is running the government. That was the question asked. It was not, "Who is in line should the President die?"
—Alexander Haig, Alexander Haig interview with 60 Minutes II April 23, 2001