Archive | April 2009

I’m Back

Hello all at ACW. I have been an absentee for a few days due to surgery and recovery (without nationalized health care, mind you). I know I’ve missed a lot of news, current events, etc., but I’m glad to be back. I might not post as frequently as I have before because I will be devoting much of my time and attention toward starting up a business. I’m hoping that I won’t be making more than 250…I mean 200…I mean…150 thousand dollars a year. That way, I will not be contributing too much of my income to the Obama-leftist “Save the Slackers/Nationalized Health Care/Save the World” fund.

AP: If It’s Not New York, It Must Be “South.”

Looks like the Associated Press has some problems comprehending modern American geography:

The AP, today: “With Sen. Arlen Specter’s switch to the Democrats, the Republican Party is increasingly at risk of being viewed as a mostly Southern and solidly conservative party, an identity that might take years to overcome.”


Even in their shrunken minority, Republicans hold 19 House seats in California, eight in Ohio, seven in Michigan, seven in Illinois, seven in Pennsylvania, five in New Jersey, five in Missouri, three in Minnesota, three in New York, three in Washington state, and the one seat in Delaware.

And it works in the reverse, too — Democrats actually represent more House seats in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Virginia and North Carolina than Republicans. Neither party is as regional as conventional wisdom suggests.

What the GOP does have is a New England/New York problem, holding only three House seats in New York state.

Sorry, AP, I don’t think Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Michigan are “south.”

And if you include governors in the mix, the AP looks even more clueless. Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Vermont are hardly “southern” states, yet all three are led by Republicans. And Democrats hold the governorship in such southern states as Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

But the AP never lets the facts get in the way of a good smear against the GOP.

Another Democrat Not Embracing Specter

Uh-oh, poor Arlen Specter can’t get no respect in either party.

JOE SESTAK: The question is, what’s he running for? He also, somehow, failed to use his leadership to shape the Republican party to be towards what he believes in.  So he’s now going to shape the Democratic party? So the final analysis is, would he have done this if an election wasn’t pending? Because we in Pennsylvania tend not to want to have something that has to do with politics, but about what the future’s about rather than legacy.

Sestak makes a very good point… Arlen didn’t jump ship until it became clear that he was going to lose in the GOP primary, and he did so quite soon after that fact became clear. A more obvious case of trying desperately to save one’s own skin would be hard to find.

Update: One question for the pseudo-conservatives who’ve been heaping scorn upon Pat Toomey for having the audacity to (gasp!) run against our Republican stalwart Arlen Specter (sarcasm off). Will you also be denouncing those Democrats like Mr. Sestak who are apparently getting ready to contest the Pennsylvania Democratic primary, or is your approbation reserved only for those in the party you claim as your own even as you oppose many of the core principles of said party?

Just curious.

Specter Switches Parties

So, most folks know by now, Arlen Specter, Senator of Pennsylvania, is switching from the GOP to the Democrats.

Good friggin’ riddance.

First off, let’s be clear. Specter is no Reaganite conservative. His lifetime ACU rating is 44.47… that means he took the conservative position less than half the time he spent in the Senate. His 2008 score is even lower, at 42.

Second, Specter is a hypocrite. When Jim Jeffords did the same thing in 2001, Specter called for a Senate rule to forbid the very thing Specter is now doing himself.

I intend to propose a rule change which would preclude a future recurrence of a Senator’s change in parties, in midsession, organizing with the opposition, to cause the upheaval which is now resulting.

I take second place to no one on independence voting. But, it is my view that the organizational vote belongs to the party which supported the election of a particular Senator. I believe that is the expectation. And certainly it has been a very abrupt party change, although they have occurred in the past with only minor ripples, none have caused the major dislocation which this one has.

Third, his claim in his press release that the GOP has moved too far to the right is laughable. The reason the GOP is in trouble is because they have become “Democrat-Lite,” following the pattern of the lefties in spending and expansion of entitlements under Mr. Bush.

Arlen Specter moving to the Democrats is really just him moving to the party that embodies what he believes, and at least he has the intestinal fortitude to do so. I hereby applaud his honesty, and can’t wait for Pat Toomey to return Specter to private life where he’ll have to live under the laws he’s helped pass.

Update: Oh, Specter is also a liar. In an interview with Newsweek published on 9 April 2009 (yep, about a month and a half ago), he said (emphasis in original):

Newsweek: Would you consider running as an independent.

Specter: No.

Newsweek: No? Definitely not?

Specter: I’m a Republican and I’m going to run in the Republican primary and on the Republican ticket.

Also, as Jim Geraghty points out:

Arlen Specter has made the right decision to win reelection right now; the problem is, he doesn’t face the voters right now. He faces Democratic voters in May 2010, and he faces Pennsylvanians as a whole in November 2010. Right now, being a Democrat and being affiliated with President Obama is a winning hand in Keystone State politics. Today, Arlen Specter bet his next term that the political environment won’t change significantly in the next 18 months.

We will see. But it is very, very rare for a political environment to remain in stasis for an 18-month period.

Indeed. And if economic conditions continue to deteriorate, as many very smart people believe they will, Specter may have just made the blunder that will cost him his cushy Senate seat.

Update II: Gee, looks like not everyone on the left will be welcoming Specter with open arms… at least not Jonathan Chait at The New Republic:

When a politician switches parties, it’s customary for the party he’s abandoned to denounce him as an unprincipled hack, and the party he’s joined to praise him as a brave convert who’s genuinely seen the light. But I think it’s pretty clear that Specter is an unprincipled hack. If his best odds of keeping his Senate seat lay in joining the Communist party, he’d probably do that.

To be sure, Specter is a real moderate on some issues, but his contortions are so comical that no principled read on his actions is very plausible. Specter favored the Employee Free Choice Act favored by labor, turned against it when he faced a primary challenge, and then abandoned his party altogether when it became clear he couldn’t win his primary. In the meantime, he came out in favor of a Hooverite spending freeze after backing the stimulus bill.

Even though Chait doesn’t come right out and say it, though he hints at it in the second paragraph above, Specter is no more a safe vote for the Democrats than he ever was for the GOP. He is at his core a wishy-washy wet-your-finger-and-stick-it-in-the-air weathervane of a politician. Hope the Democrats are ready to deal with that.

Democrats And The Culture Of Corruption, Part Five

This time it’s a governor: Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.

State Attorneys General regularly hire private plaintiffs lawyers on a contingency-fee basis to prosecute cases. The trial bar returns the favor with campaign donations to state office holders. And despite the inherent conflicts of interest and questionable ethics of the practice, corporate defendants have rarely challenged such arrangements. Which is why a motion pending before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is so remarkable — and deserves more public attention.

Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, is a defendant in a lawsuit filed by the state of Pennsylvania over Janssen’s antipsychotic drug Risperdal. The state alleges that Janssen has improperly marketed the drug for off-label uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Janssen denies the accusation, but the merits of the case — which hasn’t gone to trial yet — are not what’s at issue in the motion before the court.

Rather, what’s at issue is the fact that the civil action against Janssen is being prosecuted on behalf of the state by Bailey, Perrin & Bailey, a Houston law firm. And it turns out that Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell’s Office of General Counsel was negotiating this potentially lucrative no-bid contingency fee contract with Bailey Perrin at the same time that the firm’s founding partner, F. Kenneth Bailey, was making repeated campaign contributions totaling more than $90,000 to the Democratic Governor’s 2006 re-election bid.

(emphasis added)

I guess Democrats really have lots of experience with a “culture of corruption.”

Good Question

Mike Wallace of Fox News Sunday inquires of Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), who supports trying Bush administration officials for “war crimes”:

WALLACE: Senator Levin, let me just present a hypothetical to you. What if the next president decides that President Obama, in the decision he has made to continue these drone attacks over Pakistan, where they fire missiles on Al Qaida operatives and also innocent civilians — what if the next president decides that that is a war crime? Should he go ahead and prosecute the Obama team?

As I said before, once you open this particular can of worms, it’s not gonna be easy to get them back into the can. Are ya listening, Senator Levin?

Clinton: We’re Not Abandoning Iraq

From the Credit Where Credit Is Due File:

BAGHDAD (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Saturday assured Iraq that the Obama administration would not abandon the country even as it presses ahead with plans to withdraw American troops amid a recent surge in violence.

Clinton, on an unannounced trip to Baghdad, said the drawdown would be handled in a “responsible and careful way” and would not affect efforts to improve the professionalism of Iraq’s security forces or reconstruction and development projects that are to be expanded.

I gotta admit, this is much better than what we heard in the Democratic primaries, where both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama seemed to just want to leave Iraq to flounder.

An Equitable Discussion Of “Enhanced Interrogations”

For those who want to read a discussion of the enhanced interrogation/torture issue that’s fair to both sides, check out this article in National Journal:

“A democracy as resilient as ours must reject the false choice between our security and our ideals,” President Obama said on April 16, “and that is why these methods of interrogation are already a thing of the past.”

But is it really a false choice? It’s certainly tempting to think so. The fashionable assumption that coercive interrogation (up to and including torture) never saved a single life makes it easy to resolve what otherwise would be an agonizing moral quandary.

The same assumption makes it even easier for congressional Democrats, human-rights activists, and George W. Bush-hating avengers to call for prosecuting and imprisoning the former president and his entire national security team, including their lawyers. The charge: approving brutal methods — seen by many as illegal torture — that were also blessed, at least implicitly, by Nancy Pelosi, now the House speaker, and other Intelligence Committee members in and after 2002.

But there is a body of evidence suggesting that brutal interrogation methods may indeed have saved lives, perhaps a great many lives — and that renouncing those methods may someday end up costing many, many more.

Read the whole thing. Really. Unless you’re a hyper-partisan who believes that anything any Democrat says must be the absolute truth and anything any Republican says must be the most vulgar lie imaginable. Myself, I prefer to find the truth regardless of which party it helps.

The Political Memory Hole

Former CIA Director and House Intelligence Committee Chairman (and he was in that latter post during the time around the 9/11 attacks, which is relevant) Porter J. Goss has apparently had enough of his Congressional colleagues’ conveniently faulty memories:

A disturbing epidemic of amnesia seems to be plaguing my former colleagues on Capitol Hill. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, members of the committees charged with overseeing our nation’s intelligence services had no higher priority than stopping al-Qaeda. In the fall of 2002, while I was chairman of the House intelligence committee, senior members of Congress were briefed on the CIA’s “High Value Terrorist Program,” including the development of “enhanced interrogation techniques” and what those techniques were. This was not a one-time briefing but an ongoing subject with lots of back and forth between those members and the briefers.

Today, I am slack-jawed to read that members claim to have not understood that the techniques on which they were briefed were to actually be employed; or that specific techniques such as “waterboarding” were never mentioned. It must be hard for most Americans of common sense to imagine how a member of Congress can forget being told about the interrogations of Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed. In that case, though, perhaps it is not amnesia but political expedience.

Let me be clear. It is my recollection that:

– The chairs and the ranking minority members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, known as the Gang of Four, were briefed that the CIA was holding and interrogating high-value terrorists.

– We understood what the CIA was doing.

– We gave the CIA our bipartisan support.

– We gave the CIA funding to carry out its activities.

– On a bipartisan basis, we asked if the CIA needed more support from Congress to carry out its mission against al-Qaeda.

I do not recall a single objection from my colleagues. They did not vote to stop authorizing CIA funding. And for those who now reveal filed “memorandums for the record” suggesting concern, real concern should have been expressed immediately — to the committee chairs, the briefers, the House speaker or minority leader, the CIA director or the president’s national security adviser — and not quietly filed away in case the day came when the political winds shifted. And shifted they have.

Circuses are not new in Washington, and I can see preparations being made for tents from the Capitol straight down Pennsylvania Avenue. The CIA has been pulled into the center ring before. The result this time will be the same: a hollowed-out service of diminished capabilities. After Sept. 11, the general outcry was, “Why don’t we have better overseas capabilities?” I fear that in the years to come this refrain will be heard again: once a threat — or God forbid, another successful attack — captures our attention and sends the pendulum swinging back.

As always, it’s the cover-up that really gets the miscreants in trouble… if Her Speakerness Nancy Pelosi had come clean about being briefed about these techniques, we probably would be having this kerfuffle now… but then she couldn’t use these same techniques that she approved, at least tacitly, to smear an administration that is no longer in power.

I guess now we know what is really important to Madame Pelosi and a large number of her Democratic friends.

More Taxes For Your Grocery Shopping Trip

It’s not a joke, one lawmaker wants to tax plastic grocery bags:

US Rep Jim Moran, who co-sponsored the bottle deposit bill, also introduced on April 22 the Plastic Bag Reduction Act of 2009 which would place a 5 cent fee on grocery bags, dry cleaning bags, take-out food bags, retail bags and service station bags, starting January 1.

Under the proposal, that fee would escalate to 25 cents starting January 1, 2015.

Once again, government is removing choice, even the minor choice of “paper or plastic.”

What Is It With Blaming Canada?

First Janet Napolitano, now Senator McCain:

Just days after Janet Napolitano, the U.S. homeland security secretary, sparked a diplomatic kerfuffle by suggesting the terrorists took a Canadian route to the U.S. eight years ago, McCain defended her by saying that, in fact, the former Arizona governor was correct.

“Well, some of the 9-11 hijackers did come through Canada, as you know,” McCain, last year’s Republican presidential candidate, said on Fox News on Friday.

The Arizona senator’s remarks prompted the Canadian embassy to immediately reissue remarks made earlier this week by Ambassador Michael Wilson, who reminded Americans once again that no 9-11 perpetrators came to the U.S. via Canada.

“Unfortunately, misconceptions arise on something as fundamental as where the 9-11 terrorists came from,” Wilson said.

“As the 9-11 Commission reported in July 2004, all of the 9-11 terrorists arrived in the U.S. from outside North America. They flew to major U.S. airports. They entered the U.S. with documents issued to them by the U.S. government. No 9-11 terrorists came from Canada.”

Mind you, I am all for border security, but what good can it do to blame Canada for something that they had nothing to do with? Ya gotta correctly identify the problem before you can solve it, after all.

Biased Polling 101

I don’t post a lot on polls here, primarily because I believe that most modern polls are biased. And just today a new poll was posted that provides a very good example.

WASHINGTON – For the first time in years, more Americans than not say the country is headed in the right direction, a sign that Barack Obama has used the first 100 days of his presidency to lift the public’s mood and inspire hopes for a brighter future.


And yet, the percentage of Americans saying the country is headed in the right direction rose to 48 percent, up from 40 percent in February. Forty-four percent say the nation is on the wrong track.

Now, if you just read the article, you’d think that the pollsters had used a fairly balanced group of respondents to come up with those numbers.

However, if you scroll all the way to the bottom of that article, and click the link labeled “Poll site,” then go all the way back to page 21 of the .pdf version of the report, you find something interesting: the poll respondents were 36% Democrat, 18% Republican, 26% claimed to be “independent,” 18% claimed to be “none,” and 1% refused to answer at all. In other words, this poll uses twice as many Democrats as Republicans! Now, I dunno exactly what the percentages of Democrats and Republicans are in this nation, but in the last national election the Democratic candidate only got about 53% of the vote, and the Republican candidate got around 46%… hardly the two-to-one slant used in this poll.

Now, consider this… they had to oversample Democrats by a two-to-one margin in order to get a 48% “right track” result… makes one wonder what the results would be if they’d used a sample closer to the D-to-R ratio of the election, doesn’t it? I daresay it would be nowhere near 48%.

Let’s All Act Like Rome In The Final Days

I don’t often agree with David Frum, but this time he’s managed to hit the nail squarely on the head:

Since Watergate, American politics has moved into a new era of the criminalization of politics. Special prosecutor begets special prosecutor in a cycle of reprisal that has by now embittered the lives of dozens of former administration officials in the two parties.

Until now, however, this revenge cycle has had one limit: It ends when the administration under attack ends. The Clinton administration did not prosecute Reagan and Bush officials; the Bush administration did not act against Clinton officials.

Now Obama is musing about extending the political reach of the criminal law. If he does so, he will find he has opened a new front of political warfare that will not soon end.

After the 9/11 attacks, President Bush drew a curtain of oblivion against all the errors and mistakes that had led up to the attacks. There was accusation and counter-accusation in the media, but at the official level there was no recrimination against President Clinton’s decision not to kill bin Laden when he had the chance, no action against those who had failed to stop the 9/11 hijackers from entering the country.

If Obama proceeds to take legal action against those who did what they thought was right to defend the country, all that will change. Prosecutions launched by Obama will not stop when Obama declares “game over.” If overzealousness under Bush becomes a crime under Obama, underzealousness under Obama will become a crime under the next Republican president.

Revenge will be exacted for revenge, the costs of government service will escalate, mobilizing cross-party support will become practically impossible for any important action, and the political life of the American republic will take another step toward the play-for-keeps destructiveness of the last days of the Roman republic.

I would say that most of us know how the Roman republic (more commonly known as the Roman Empire) ended, but given the way schools teach history, perhaps that would be wrong. If you’re not familiar with that story, perhaps starting here or here.

Anyway, back to President  Obama’s apparent desire to criminalize political disagreement… it certainly smacks of certain unsavory regimes, such as Soviet Russia (and to some extent, modern day Putin’s Russia), North Korea, Iran, and so on. It also sounds a lot like opening Pandora’s box or even a simple can of worms; once it’s open, it will be nearly impossible to return to the way things were before. An argument could be made that Watergate was the first crack in opening that can of worms (to settle on one metaphor), but regardless of when it started or who started it, there’s no excuse for opening it any further just to extract political revenge for a difference of opinion.

Obama Administration Edits Interrogation Memos

This, folks, is what is known as a lie of omission:

WASHINGTON – President Obama’s national intelligence director told colleagues in a private memo last week that the harsh interrogation techniques banned by the White House did produce significant information that helped the nation in its struggle with terrorists.

“High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qa’ida organization that was attacking this country,” Adm. Dennis C. Blair, the intelligence director, wrote in a memo to his staff last Thursday.

Admiral Blair sent his memo on the same day the administration publicly released secret Bush administration legal memos authorizing the use of interrogation methods that the Obama White House has deemed to be illegal torture. Among other things, the Bush administration memos revealed that two captured Qaeda operatives were subjected to a form of near-drowning known as waterboarding a total of 266 times.

Admiral Blair’s assessment that the interrogation methods did produce important information was deleted from a condensed version of his memo released to the media last Thursday. Also deleted was a line in which he empathized with his predecessors who originally approved some of the harsh tactics after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“I like to think I would not have approved those methods in the past,” he wrote, “but I do not fault those who made the decisions at that time, and I will absolutely defend those who carried out the interrogations within the orders they were given.”

(emphasis mine)

What’s really surprising is that this appeared, of all places, in the New York Times, which can hardly be considered anti-Obama.

Essentially, there were two primary reasons for releasing those memos: to pander to Obama’s far left base, and to make George W. Bush look bad–and it’s not a coincidence that the second helps a lot with the first. In order to do that, however, they had to make it look like the interrogation techniques were useless, and thus, they removed part of what Obama’s own intelligence director had written.

Fortunately, someone who had seen the “before” and “after” memos had more honor than what appears to be the norm in this administration, and blew the whistle. I’d like to publicly thank that person for helping to expose another Obama lie, and will pray that they don’t lose their job because of it.

This is the second big bungle this week, and it’s only Wednesday. One wonders what the rest of the week will bring.

Democrats and the Culture Of Corruption, Part Four

And, here we go again

On the day the new Congress convened this year, Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation to route $25 billion in taxpayer money to a government agency that had just awarded her husband’s real estate firm a lucrative contract to sell foreclosed properties at compensation rates higher than the industry norms.

Mrs. Feinstein’s intervention on behalf of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was unusual: the California Democrat isn’t a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs with jurisdiction over FDIC; and the agency is supposed to operate from money it raises from bank-paid insurance payments – not direct federal dollars.

Even if this is a coincidence (which I sort of doubt), it sure raises the appearance of impropriety, which most ethical people attempt to avoid… and which is–not surprisingly–against Senate rules:

Senate ethics rules state that members must avoid conflicts of interest as well as “even the appearance of a conflict of interest.” Some ethics analysts question whether Mrs. Feinstein ran afoul of the latter provision, creating the appearance that she was rewarding the agency that had just hired her husband’s firm.

But, hey, she’s got a D after her name, so that must make it all fine.

Even The AP Is Unimpressed With Obama’s Spending Cuts

I think we can now conclude that Obama’s weak attempt to look like a fiscal conservative has failed; even the Associated Press is now calling him on it:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Cut a latte or two out of your annual budget and you’ve just done as much belt-tightening as President Barack Obama asked of his Cabinet on Monday.

The thrifty measures Obama ordered for federal agencies are the equivalent of asking a family that spends $60,000 in a year to save $6.

Obama made his push for frugality the subject of his first Cabinet meeting, ensuring it would command the capital’s attention. It also set off outbursts of mental math and scribbled calculations as political friend and foe tried to figure out its impact.

The bottom line: Not much.

As at least one other person has said, about all this really accomplished was to highlight just how much Obama and the Democrat-led Congress are spending.

Just to be perfectly clear: I think that there is a lot of government spending that could–and should–be cut. And if Obama ever proposes real, substantive spending cuts, I’ll probably be right there along with him… except, of course, for cuts in things like defense. However, this was never really a serious attempt to cut spending; this was a serious attempt to look like he’s cutting spending, and he got called on it.

Hat tip to Hot Air, via Contentions.

Behold, The Bacon Blowtorch!

Hmmm… the things you can do with bacon:

I recently committed myself to the goal, before the weekend was out, of creating a device entirely from bacon and using it to cut a steel pan in half. My initial attempts were failures, but I knew success was within reach when I was able to ignite and melt the pan using seven beef sticks and a cucumber.

No, seriously. The device I built was a form of thermal lance. A thermal lance, typically made of iron instead of bacon, is used to cut up scrap metal and rescue people from collapsed buildings. It works by blowing pure oxygen gas through a pipe packed with iron and magnesium rods. These metals are surprisingly flammable in pure oxygen, releasing a huge amount of heat as they are consumed. The result is a jet of superheated iron plasma coming out of the end of the pipe. For sheer destructive force, few tools match a thermal lance. But iron isn’t the only thing that’s flammable in a stream of pure oxygen.

Pictures and video at the link above.

I just had to let my inner geek out to play a little bit.

Oh, he also made a cucumber blowtorch, and says that seems to work a little better.

Here Come The “I’m Cutting Spending” Talking Points

From the Washington Post:

President Obama convened his Cabinet for the first time today and instructed department heads to trim their budgets by a combined $100 million over the next 90 days, cuts he said would help overcome a “confidence gap” among the American people about the use of their tax dollars.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Obama said the budget cuts would be separate from “programmatic cuts” that his economic team is making by going through the federal budget line by line.


Although the cuts would account to a minuscule portion of the federal budget, they are intended to signal the president’s determination to trim spending and reform government, a senior administration official said before the Cabinet meeting.

Okay, first of all, Obama has been President for nearly 3 months… 21 January to 20 April… and he’s just now convening his first Cabinet meeting? I guess it’s hard when all your nominees have evaded their taxes and can’t get confirmed because of it.

Now, a short mathematics lesson… he is talking about cutting $100 million… but the proposed 2010 budget is $3.6 trillion. Now–in common usage today–a billion is a thousand million, and a trillion is a thousand billion, so what that means is that Obama is proposing cutting less than 1% of the budget! In fact, it’s about 1% of the funds allocated to the Corporation For National And Community Service ($1.1 billion), and most departments are allocated far more than that!

There’s only one possible reason for this, and the WaPo hints at it… they want to start using the talking point, “but Obama slashed $100 million out of the budget!” And, lo and behold, the Huffington Post is already spreading that talking point.

So, be ready… when some lefty tells you about how much Obama has cut, explain the proportions to them… remind them that a billion is a thousand million, and a trillion is a thousand billion, so there’s several orders of magnitude between the $3.6 trillion budget and $100 million in proposed budget cuts.

Update: Our own PhyCon has crunched the numbers (thanks!) and determined that $100 million is .00278% of a $3.6 trillion budget.

Here’s another way to put it. Let’s say you make $36,000 (net after taxes) per year… in order to cut .00278% you’d have to reduce your yearly spending by exactly one dollar. That’s probably the best way to explain just how small these cuts are to your typical mind-numbed lefty.

Democrats and the Culture of Corruption, Part 3

You know it’s bad when even the Bible of the left, the New York Times, feels compelled to criticize a Democrat:

The House investigation of Representative Charles Rangel’s ethical gaffes and misdeeds was supposed to be completed in January, by the initial estimate of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But the inquiry blithely rolls forward in secrecy — except for the recent disclosure that the ever feckless ethics committee has been without a chief counsel for the last eight months.

Gee, maybe someone in the Democrat-controlled House doesn’t want there to be a chief counsel because they don’t want the ethics committee to be able to actually do anything? And why would they want that if all Democrats are squeaky clean and ethically pure as Mother Teresa?

So, because he has a D after his name, Rangel gets a free pass on his ethics problems, courtesy of Speaker Pelosi. Aren’t you glad the Democrats are in charge?

Another Falsehood On Guns

Bumping this post: Since the President repeated this lie (yes, I said lie) yesterday, I figured it was time to remind folks of the truth. It was originally posted 4 April 2009.

While we’re on guns

You’ve heard this shocking “fact” before — on TV and radio, in newspapers, on the Internet and from the highest politicians in the land: 90 percent of the weapons used to commit crimes in Mexico come from the United States.

Well, as the Gipper once said, the problem with liberals isn’t that they’re ignorant, it’s that they know so much that isn’t so.

The fact is, only 17 percent of guns found at Mexican crime scenes have been traced to the U.S.

What’s true, an ATF spokeswoman told, in a clarification of the statistic used by her own agency’s assistant director, “is that over 90 percent of the traced firearms originate from the U.S.”

But a large percentage of the guns recovered in Mexico do not get sent back to the U.S. for tracing, because it is obvious from their markings that they do not come from the U.S.

“Not every weapon seized in Mexico has a serial number on it that would make it traceable, and the U.S. effort to trace weapons really only extends to weapons that have been in the U.S. market,” Matt Allen, special agent of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), told FOX News.

See how it changes when you add the context? But you can’t remake all of American society if you tell them that we’re responsible for 17% of the guns used in Mexico.

Here’s the math, for you skeptics out there:

In 2007-2008, according to ATF Special Agent William Newell, Mexico submitted 11,000 guns to the ATF for tracing. Close to 6,000 were successfully traced — and of those, 90 percent — 5,114 to be exact, according to testimony in Congress by William Hoover — were found to have come from the U.S.

But in those same two years, according to the Mexican government, 29,000 guns were recovered at crime scenes.

In other words, 68 percent of the guns that were recovered were never submitted for tracing. And when you weed out the roughly 6,000 guns that could not be traced from the remaining 32 percent, it means 83 percent of the guns found at crime scenes in Mexico could not be traced to the U.S.

So where to the guns come from? Well, there’s lots and lots of places that manufacture guns… including nations like South Korea, China, Spain, Israel, Russia, Belgium, Columbia, and Guatemala. But the lefties never let the facts stand in the way of their plans to turn the USA into the USSA.


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