Friday, December 17, 2010

ALG to Senate: “Pass Senator McConnell’s 60-day Continuing Resolution, and then Go Home”

December 17th, 2010, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government (ALG) President Bill Wilson today issued the following statement in support of a 60-day continuing resolution to keep the government funded until February 18th:

“The American people owe Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans a debt of gratitude for leading the charge against the 2000-page $1.27 trillion omnibus monstrosity. In November, the American people spoke out against increasing the national debt, and now they have been heard in Washington. But more must be done.

“Congress should now pass Senator McConnell’s 60-day continuing resolution, and then go home. After that, it will fall on the next Congress to begin the hard work of bringing our fiscal house into order, cut spending, and return the nation to a sustainable path in the New Year. Defeating the omnibus is just the beginning, and not the end, of the work ahead of us.”
Get permalink here.

60 or 45 days, or fight!

By Bill Wilson

If Congress does not adopt a continuing resolution of some sort by midnight, December 18th, non-essential services of the government will shut down. As a result, Harry Reid attempted to ram a 1924-page, $1.27 trillion omnibus spending bill through Congress before anyone had time to even read it.

Reid was apparently betting that a government shutdown will be politically bad for Republicans, and that they would capitulate rather than risk blame for it. Fortunately, Reid has now pulled it from the floor of the Senate after a deluge by the American people against the bill.
Even some conservatives had warned Republicans that if they blocked the omnibus, the American people will blame them for shutting down the government. Apparently, they didn’t consider that Democrats might actually back down.

Get full story here.

The Lamest Duck

Permalink here.

Congressman Denny Rehberg On The Death Tax

Video by Frank McCaffrey
Permalink here.

The Rhetoric Huckster

By Adam Bitely

While campaigning for the GOP nomination for President in 2007, Mike Huckabee said that “[w]e have a responsibility to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, to conserve energy, to find alternative forms of energy that are renewable and sustainable and environmentally friendly.” Huckabee continued by stating support to Bloomberg for an “economy-wide `cap-and-trade’ system to control greenhouse gases.”

Fast forward to present-day 2010, and Huckabee is singing a different tune.

In a statement released from Huckabee, he claims:
“In a recent internet post, a contributor makes the claim that I supported cap-and-trade in late 2007 while running for President.

“To put it simply, that’s just not true.

“If companies chose to participate voluntarily as part of their corporate policy, then fine. But I was clear that we could not force U.S. businesses to do what their Chinese counterparts refused to – and doing so would have been a serious job killer.”

That’s quite a reversal for someone to make. Not only has Huckabee flipped his position entirely, he fails to recognize that his previous statements were supportive of the exact position that he now claims he never held.

Get full story here.

IMF warns Ireland may face difficulty repaying loans

The IMF has warned that Ireland faces significant risks that could affect our ability to repay an aid loan.

The International Monetary Fund also forecast we would miss achieving a 3% deficit of GDP by 2015.

The comments come in a staff report issued a day after it approved a €22.5 billion loan for Ireland as part of an €85 billion bailout.

The group said that downside risks are significant stemming from deflationary tendencies, overstretched balance sheets and adverse fiscal and financial feedback loops.

The EU is giving Ireland until 2015 to get its budget deficit below a bloc limit of 3%of GDP.

But the IMF said it forecast the deficit to reach 5.1% of GDP by 2014 and 4.8% by 2015 without further fiscal measures.

Tiger Woods' Life Named Sports Story of the Year

Although a lot of the early news on Tiger Woods and his personal life happened in 2009, the Associated Press has named the Tiger drama the story of the year in sports, beating out the Saints winning the Super Bowl and LeBron James becoming the least popular person ever.

What does this mean? Well, first, it shouldn't surprise you. This is the story of 2010, no matter if you like it or not, which is sad. We are talking about sports stories, and the top one of the entire 12 months has little to do with actual sport. It has more to do with an image, a perception, and how all that was broken because of a wrong turn with a Cadillac.

Tiger dominated the news in 2010, and we wrote about anything he did, but as a sportsman, he wasn't much of anything. He never won, he hardly competed after the Masters and U.S. Open, and if not for the Chevron World Challenge, and exhibition event by most standards, we would have barely caught a glimpse of the famed red shirt that Tiger rocks on Sundays.

What was the most telling moment of Tiger's 2010, in my opinion? That came on Saturday at Pebble Beach, when Woods was roaring up the leaderboard, something we were used to seeing in the past but not so much this season. Tiger birdied 16 and 17, and stood in the fairway on the famed 18th with a wood in hand. Tiger smashed it, started walking after it, screaming at the ball to be right. It was, and Tiger had an eagle putt for 65. As you remember, he didn't make it, posting a 66, and then fading on Sunday with a disappointing 75. To me, that was his season. He was there, and at times he was really there, but it wasn't Tiger Woods golfing, it was a being that looked like him, and swung like him, but just wasn't him.

His story was the most popular, I'd agree with that, but it wasn't anything about his game. It would be nice if he could change that a little when the season kicks off next month.

Getty Images

Arrest Warrant Issued For Floyd Mayweather In Security Guard Incident

Rex Grossman to Start Over Donovan McNabb Against Cowboys

Mike Shanahan is officially not making any friends as coach of the Washington Redskins.  Granted, the Albert Haynesworth situation is more a case of an overpaid diva acting like a douche, but Shanahan certainly doesn’t seem to be overseeing a unified locker room.  According to Kelli Johnson of Comcast Sportsnet in Washington, Donovan McNabb has been benched for the ‘Skins in favor of Rex Grossman and a lot of players are not happy about it.

You might recall McNabb being benched for Grossman at the end of a game earlier in the season — another Shanahan move that wasn’t exactly popular.  What makes all of this so interesting is that the Redskins signed McNabb to a lucrative extension a little over a month ago.  If they’re benching him for week 15 of the season coming off a decent performance, it’s obvious McNabb isn’t in the team’s future plans.

When word of McNabb’s contract extension surfaced, we explained to you how the Redskins have an out with the contract if they decide McNabb is not going to be their quarterback of the future.  The new deal has yet to kick in, and it never has to if Washington doesn’t want it to.  Needless to say, there would be a lot of confused people if McNabb was the Redskins quarterback come training camp in 2011.

By Steve DelVecchio

European Court Finds Problem With Ireland's Abortion Law Implementation

Yesterday in Case of A, B and C v. Ireland, (ECHR, Dec. 16, 2010), the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights dealt with challenges by three Irish women to Ireland's ban on abortions. The country's Constitution bans abortion. It however allows women to travel abroad for an abortion and allows abortions in Ireland where the mother's life (but not merely her health) is threatened. The Court found that the failure of the Irish parliament to implement the provisions on protection of a mother's life violates the European Convention on Human Rights. As summarized in the court's Press Release on the case:
Having regard to the first and second applicants’ right to travel abroad to obtain an abortion and to appropriate pre- and post-abortion medical care in Ireland, as well as to the fact that the impugned prohibition in Ireland on abortion for health or well-being reasons was based on the profound moral values of the Irish people in respect of the right to life of the unborn, the Court concluded that, the existing prohibition on abortion in Ireland struck a fair balance between the right of the first and second applicants to respect of their private lives and the rights invoked on behalf of the unborn.
However the Court found a violation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights as to the third woman. Again from the Court's Press Release:
[T]he third applicant had a rare form of cancer and she feared it might relapse as a result of her being pregnant. The Court considered that the establishment of any such risk to her life clearly concerned fundamental values and essential aspects of her right to respect for her private life.
It went on to find that the only non-judicial means for determining such a risk on which the Government relied, the ordinary medical consultation between a woman and her doctor, was ineffective. The uncertainty surrounding such a process was such that it was evident that the criminal provisions of the 1861 Act constituted a significant chilling factor for women and doctors as they both ran a risk of a serious criminal conviction and imprisonment if an initial doctor’s opinion that abortion was an option as it posed a risk to the woman’s health was later found to be against the Irish Constitution.
Neither did the Court consider recourse by the third applicant to the courts (in particular, the constitutional courts) to be effective, as the constitutional courts were not appropriate for the primary determination of whether a woman qualified for a lawful abortion.... Consequently, the Court concluded that Ireland had breached the third applicant’s right to respect for her private life given the failure to implement the existing Constitutional right to a lawful abortion in Ireland. Accordingly, there had been a violation of Article 8.
Six dissenting judges would have found that the rights of all three women were infringed.  The Guardian reports on the decision.

Mexico's Drug War Has Now Claimed 30,000 Lives

Federal police stand guard in Apatzingan, in Mexico's Michoacan state. At least 11 people were confirmed killed in battles that began Wednesday, including five federal police officers and an 8-month-old. (Reuters)

Mexico's Drug War: Number Of Dead Passes 30,000 -- BBC

More than 30,000 people have died in drug-related violence in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon took office four years ago, the government says.

Almost 12,500 have been killed so far this year, a sharp increase on 2009.

Mexico's attorney-general said the number of deaths was "regrettable", but showed that the security forces were having success in their fight against the drugs gangs.

President Calderon has sent thousands of troops to battle the cartels.

The latest figures were announced by the attorney-general, Arturo Chavez.

Read more ....

UPDATED: Senate Omnibus Bill: Nearly 2,000 Pages of Runaway Spending and Pork

As recession-weary Americans continue to tighten their belts, not even trillion-dollar deficits can persuade Senate Democrats to stop their spending spree. In a single 1,924-page bill—which was crafted in secret and will be voted on before anyone has read it fully—Congress is set to spend a staggering $1.1 trillion on discretionary programs for fiscal year (FY) 2011, plus an additional $160 billion in emergency war spending.

To put this in context, non-emergency discretionary spending has already surged by $217 billion (25 percent) in the past three years—plus an additional $311 billion from the failed “stimulus.” Rather than pare back those unsustainable spending hikes, this bill would pile on a $17 billion increase that exceeds even the House’s massive spending bill.

This is exactly the kind of secretive, pork-laden, massive spending bill that induced a voter revolt last month. This brazen rejection of transparency and fiscal responsibility is a major reason why federal spending has soared to $30,000 per household (a post–World War II record of nearly 25 percent of the economy) and created trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see.

The Ugly Details

The Senate omnibus bill’s offenses go well beyond its overall cost and size. It would spend more than $1 billion to begin implementing the unpopular and unaffordable Obamacare law, which a federal court has ruled unconstitutional. The bill also includes a number of anti-energy policies that make it unnecessarily difficult to tap into America’s domestic energy supply, wastes $1.5 billion in taxpayer dollars on climate change initiatives, and defunds activities for vital nuclear waste storage at Yucca Mountain.
And, in what has become a grand holiday tradition, the Senate stuffed the bill with more than 6,000 earmarks, including:
  • $450,000 for the World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa;
  • $500,000 for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Boston;
  • $100,000 for YouthCare in Seattle;
  • $550,000 to rehabilitate Beacham Street in Massachusetts;
  • $300,000 to renovate the Josephine Bakhita House in Wilmington, Delaware;
  • $150,000 to renovate the Tibbits Opera House in Michigan;
  • $500,000 for streetscaping in Porter County, Indiana;
  • $200,000 to install solar panels at the Community Food Bank, Inc., in Arizona;
  • $700,000 to reconstruct Norwood Drive in Pennsylvania;
  • $500,000 for Denver Bike Sharing;
  • 100,000 for the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Transportation Museum in Columbus, Mississippi;
  • $3.5 million to research Formosan Subterranean Termites in New Orleans;
  • $1 million for peanut research in Athens and Tifton, Georgia;
  • $500,000 for oyster safety in Florida;
  • $600,000 for the Lewis and Clark Legacy Trail in North Dakota;
  • $750,000 for the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail Project in California;
  • $125,000 to develop a walking trail in Mississippi;
  • $2 million for an Ice Age National Scenic Trail in Wisconsin;
  • $250,000 for Pigeon Point Lighthouse in California; and
While fully funding Obamacare and earmarks, the Senate once again failed to find to room to adequately fund defense. This risks leaving our troops ill prepared to defend the nation at home and abroad.

What Congress Should Do

Congress should end the era of massive, pork-laden omnibus spending bills and finally bring runaway spending under control. They can start by passing a continuing resolution that (at the most) freezes FY 2011 discretionary spending at the FY 2010 level. The next Congress can then immediately get to work enacting rescission bills for 2011 to cut spending and adequately fund defense and quickly move to writing a responsible FY 2012 federal budget.

In the meantime, the FY 2011 continuing resolution should be one page long, stating that current spending levels shall continue. Prior to a vote, the Congressional Budget Office should verify that the bill does not (a) shift funding to new Democratic priorities, (b) include advanced appropriations binding future Congresses to spend money, or (c) include unrelated government expansions and regulations. Anything less represents a return to the irresponsible politics of usual and continues the federal budget down the road to crippling deficits and tax hikes.

Author: Brian Riedl



Looks like many Americans wont have to worry about their taxes going up next year:
The House late Thursday gave final approval, 277-148, to a temporary extension of the George W. Bush-era tax rates, delivering a significant but politically bruising victory to President Obama.
The $858 billion legislation now heads to the president’s desk for his signature. It extends the Bush tax cuts across the board for two years, slashes the employee payroll tax by 2 percent for one year, renews the estate tax and extends unemployment insurance benefits for 13 months.
The president argued the deal was the best he could get from Republicans who refused to budge on extending tax cuts for the highest-earning Americans, which Democrats wanted to end. The action by Congress prevents a broad tax increase from taking effect when the current rates expire at the end of the year.
The last votes Thursday capped a fractious three-week debate after Obama abandoned his Democratic allies in the House to cut a deal with Senate Republicans. House Democrats revolted over the pact, decrying the president for capitulating on one of his party’s signature domestic priorities: ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
“This basically concedes the argument to the supply-side Republican failed economic policies,” Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) said.
Other Democrats denounced the bill for exploding an already soaring federal budget deficit. “Wake up and listen to the sirens,” Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.) said on the House floor. “I can’t believe you talk about this bill as fiscal sanity. It’s fiscal insanity.”
It’s amazing how democrats love to distort reality. Democrats have had two years to fix this economy and failed so what do they blame it on? Failed Reagan tax cut policies! With an entire planet full of countries now waking to the realization that taxing their people in order to give the lazy bastards in their society benefits is NOT the way to grow their economies and that’s the path democrats want to tread? Do you need more proof of their desire to destroy the country than to pursue failed policies in every socialist nation on thes planet?

Then there’s the argument that it’s going to raise the nation’s deficit. How can NOT changing a law that’s currently NOT bringing in any revenue all of a sudden be failing to bring in revenue? Because Congress was counting its eggs before they came out of the chicken’s ass, that why! The deficit does not need to go up at all. Congress just needs to do this: