June 2009

An Inconvenient EPA Report

by Bill O'Connell on June 30, 2009

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Remember the stimulus package that had to pass immediately or we would face economic catastrophe?  Recently released data from the Commerce Department show that the economy was recovering before the stimulus went into effect.  Unemployment has risen above what the Obama administration said it would if the stimulus passed, but oh well, Congress approved and the president signed the legislation to spend $787 billion of your money.

The Next Boondoggle

Now President Obama is trying to ramrod through the Cap and Trade legislation that will put another enormous burden on taxpayers and we have to do this now, immediately, imperatively, or south Florida will be under water and polar bears will be extinct.

A 98 page report from a veteran in the EPA garnered this response from his boss, Al McGartland:

“‘The administrator and the administration has decided to move forward on endangerment, and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision,” he wrote, according to the e-mails released by CEI. “I can only see one impact of your comments given where we are in the process, and that would be a very negative impact on our office.’ ”

Who is the EPA working for?  Is this a government of the people or of the statists?  So because they won the election, the policies of their most extreme supporters must be put in place, no matter how large the bill or how effective the policy.  If it is a sham, too bad, they want it…they shall have it and you get stuck with the bill, the loss of liberty, and them telling you how to live your life.

The Problematic Report

Here is the essence of the report , written by EPA scientist Alan Carlin,  that the EPA finds so damning:

Carlin compiled a 98 page report that pointed to some inconvenient facts that call the connection between CO2 emissions and global temperature into doubt, at a time when the President is pushing “urgent” carbon emissions regulation through the Congress. From FOXNews.com:”Specifically, the report noted that global temperatures were on a downward trend over the past 11 years, that scientists do not necessarily believe that storms will become more frequent or more intense due to global warming, and that the theory that temperatures will cause Greenland ice to rapidly melt has been ‘greatly diminished.’ ”

But hey, on the other side of the ledger you have Al Gore and he has a Nobel prize and an Academy Award, so who are you going to believe?

The global warming threat may be in the process of being debunked but the fiscal threat from the Obama Administration will cause far more damage if we don’t take urgent steps to stop them.

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435 Blind Mice, See How They Run

by Bill O'Connell on June 29, 2009

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Another massive piece of legislation passes the House of Representatives dubbed Cap and Trade, with 300 new pages added at 3AM on the day of the vote.  Now, I like to read and if you give me a real page turner I hate to put it down, but I am hard pressed to remember ever knocking off a 300 page book in one day.  When I was in telecommunications and becoming a subject matter expert on access tariffs, I had to get up and walk around or get a cup of coffee after every ten pages just to clear my head.  So a piece of legalese that is over 1,000 pages would probably take me a month to slog through.

But this is not about me.  Go ask how many Representatives (Salary $174,000 per year) actually read what they were voting on and see what kind of answers you get back.  If you keep asking, “No, but did you read it?” it will be great fun to see the squirming and hear the double talk.  This morning on Fox News Carol Browner, Obama’s energy czar, was asked if she read the bill.  She responded that she was very familiar with it.  She was asked again if she read it, and she said she read vast portions of it.  The host responded, “So you didn’t read it?”  To that remark Ms. Browner took umbrage, “That’s not fair!…” she began.

Don’t They Get It

With a major piece of legislation that can destroy our liberties and burden us and our children with the cost  for years, these overpaid, narcissistic, arrogant employees of ours, don’t even read what they are voting on.  Let’s take Ms. Browner for example, accepting that she is not in Congress and therefore didn’t vote on the bill.  Even if she read 99.9% of the bill, what if the 0.1% of the bill that she didn’t read said, “ignore all of the preceding material, and raise Congress’ salaries 10%.”  If anyone has ever been told to read the fine print on a contract or got snagged because you didn’t, you know that if you didn’t read all of it, you don’t know what you just voted on.  Even Henry Waxman, one of the sponsors of the bill admits, he didn’t read it.

Brevity is the Key

When I was studying computer science I learned that perfection in a program was not reached when there was nothing more to put it, but when there was nothing more to take out.  The beauty of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution is that they can be read in their entirety on your lunch break.  I believe the legislation that created the Interstate Highway System in the Eisenhower Administration ran 29 pages.  This created a massive public works project like we have never seen before, in just 29 pages.  Why are these people in Washington if not to represent us?  Drafting a bill that runs over 1,000 pages is to pack it with favors for special interests that will then help those who approved it get re-elected.  It is all about power.  Getting it, keeping it, expanding it, all at our expense.

Tea Party anyone?

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Cap and Trade Lemmings

by Bill O'Connell on June 26, 2009

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Democrats Lining Up to Vote for Cap and Trade

The tide is turning against the case for man-made global warming.  An article in today’s Wall Street Journal has the following:

“Among the many reasons President Barack Obama and the Democratic majority are so intent on quickly jamming a cap-and-trade system through Congress is because the global warming tide is again shifting. It turns out Al Gore and the United Nations (with an assist from the media), did a little too vociferous a job smearing anyone who disagreed with them as “deniers.” The backlash has brought the scientific debate roaring back to life in Australia, Europe, Japan and even, if less reported, the U.S.” — The Climate Change Climate Change, WSJ, June 26, 2009

So if the case for controlling CO2 emissions is gaining skeptics, what would a reasonable person do?  They would probably pause and listen to see if they should alter their position based on this new information.  What do the statists do?  Double their efforts to jam this gargantuan tax bill through Congress, again without reading it because it’s too big, before the American people find out just how monumentally stupid it is.

Nancy Pelosi, Henry Waxman, and Ed Markey are the lead lemmings jumping into the sea and expecting all of us to follow.  You see, if they can slam this thing in they will have enormously increased their power and make it very difficult to unwind this monstrosity.  Their disdain for what is right for this country and what is best for the American people is truly astounding.  Their arrogance and sense of empowerment knows no limits.

Scientists Speak Out

Far from Al Gore’s pejorative and dismissive label of “deniers”, some real scientists weigh in:

“The number of skeptics, far from shrinking, is swelling. Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe now counts more than 700 scientists who disagree with the U.N. — 13 times the number who authored the U.N.’s 2007 climate summary for policymakers. Joanne Simpson, the world’s first woman to receive a Ph.D. in meteorology, expressed relief upon her retirement last year that she was finally free to speak “frankly” of her nonbelief. Dr. Kiminori Itoh, a Japanese environmental physical chemist who contributed to a U.N. climate report, dubs man-made warming “the worst scientific scandal in history.” Norway’s Ivar Giaever, Nobel Prize winner for physics, decries it as the “new religion.” A group of 54 noted physicists, led by Princeton’s Will Happer, is demanding the American Physical Society revise its position that the science is settled. (Both Nature and Science magazines have refused to run the physicists’ open letter.)”  — The Climate Change Climate Change, WSJ, June 26, 2009

Can you feel your liberties slipping away as those in power do what they want rather than representing us.  Sounds like it’s about time for a tea party.

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New Economic Data In – $787 Billion Wasted

by Bill O'Connell on June 26, 2009

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Money for Nothing

The Commerce Department released the second revision to first quarter GDP and it is the second time it was revised upward.  Originally it was reported that GDP fell by 6.1%, not much different that the fourth quarter’s 6.3%.  Subsequently it was first revised to 5.7% and the last report pegs it at 5.5%.  So what does this mean?

The Economy Bottomed in 4Q08

These figures point to the economy hitting bottom in the fourth quarter of 2008, which means the economy was already on the mend before President Obama took office.  Since President Obama didn’t take the oath of office until 2/3 of the way through January, and rushing through the stimulus package that nobody read took until the mid-point of the first quarter,  the economy improved without any help from the new president.

Medicine or Poison?

With the massive government spending that the Obama Administration and the Democratic Congress is heaping on us, the other economic data bears watching.  The inflation rate nearly doubled to 1.6% in the first quarter from 0.9% in the fourth quarter.  The unprecedented borrowing that the government is undertaking will drive up interest rates and inflation and may likely kill the recovery.  Again, since the Obama effect has not yet kicked in, we haven’t seen anything yet.

Today, the House of Representatives is poised to pass the most massive tax increase in history with Cap and Trade.  Energy costs will skyrocket so that global temperatures will be curtailed by 0.2 degrees Celsius over the next 100 years.  I’m feeling better already.

Money Down the Drain

$787 billion is being spent to stimulate an economy that is recovering on its own, spread pork across the land, and saddle us with unnecessary debt.  That works out to $2,300 for every man, woman, and child in America.  Add in health care at $1 trillion to $1.6 trillion ($4,700 per man, woman, and child), Cap and Trade that will double the cost of gasoline, heating your home, cooking your food, etc.  When will this stop?  If you still believe that no couples making under $250,000 will see any increases in their taxes, snap out of it! We do not have enough rich people in this country to cover the bill even if we tax them at 100%.

At the state level we are already seeing the mobility of the wealthy.  Maryland slapped a new tax on the rich and then discovered that 1/3 of the rich moved out of the state of Maryland.  So you say, “What are the rich going to do?  Move out of America?”  While you giggle over that one, ask yourself this.  Why did the Beatles all move to America?  If you don’t know the answer to that one go read the lyrics to their song, The Taxman. It was to avoid the crushing tax burden in the U.K.  Don’t think that trend can’t reverse itself.

I’ll see you at the next Tea Party.

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Health Care You Can Believe In?

by Bill O'Connell on June 25, 2009

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If you look at President Obama’s record on what he says one day and one he says later when reality sets in, are we really ready to believe him when he says,

“Whatever plan we design upholds three basic principles,” he said. “First, the rising cost of health care must be brought down; second, Americans must have the freedom to keep whatever doctor and health care plan they have, or to choose a new doctor or health care plan if they want it; and third, all Americans must have quality, affordable health care.”

He told us we absolutely had to pass his $787 Billion stimulus package or the unemployment rate would hit 9%, but if the package passed, the unemployment rate would be held to 8%.  It didn’t work.  Unemployment is at 9.1% and climbing.  He said bankruptcy for the auto companies would be disastrous for the economy.  After pouring billions into the auto companies, where are they?  In bankruptcy.  It is estimated that his health care “solution” would cost between $1 and $1.6 trillion. Why should we believe it?  What has he told us he would do that has actually come to pass?  North Korea?  Iran?

What confidence do we have that the government can do anything, other than national defense, better than private industry?  The postal service?  Amtrak? Farm subsidies? Earmarks? Speaking of healthcare what about Medicare and Medicaid?  In a report from March 2008:

“We need to act quickly and effectively to address Medicare’s fiscal health, including enacting the steps proposed in the President’s budget, which would postpone the insolvency date of the Part A trust fund for ten years,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt.

A Modest Proposal

Before attempting to overhaul one-sixth of the U.S. Economy, why doesn’t the Obama Administration fix Medicare and Medicaid?  Show us your stuff Mr. President. Not your charm, not your winning smile. The campaign is over.   Prove that you can make these government programs work before you take on any more massive health care undertakings.

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Another Day, Another Campaign Promise Broken

by Bill O'Connell on June 22, 2009

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On the campaign trail, Barack Obama promised that his administration would usher in a new era of open government.  One of those pledges included posting legislative bills on the Internet for five days before he would sign them so that the public could read them and comment.  Like so many of his other promises he is finding that putting it into action is

“…a tacit acknowledgment that the campaign pledge was easier to make than to fulfill…”

He also pledged to have no lobbyists in his administration until he found he would have no one in his administration.  He pledged to have open and honest government and then he fires an Inspector General who was looking too closely at a friend and campaign contributor.  It seems like half of his cabinet appointees had problems paying their taxes.

Is there a campaign pledge that he has actually kept, unmodified?

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Joe Biden: Full Spin Ahead!

by Bill O'Connell on June 15, 2009

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Joe Biden hit the airwaves on Sunday to try to damp down the growing feeling that Americans have that their president is not Barack Obama, but Bernie Madoff.  Sold a bill of goods that the urgently needed stimulus package of $787 billion would cap unemployment at 8% and prevent it from reaching 9% in the absence of said stimulus, the American people are realizing they were fleeced.  Here’s Joe:

“Vice President Joe Biden said on a Monday conference call with reporters that it was “above [his] pay grade” to explain in detail the methodology the White House uses to estimate the number of jobs created or saved by the economic stimulus legislation, but stressed that there had been no “reasonable” challenges to the estimates.”

Biden used the same coy formulation as his boss used to answer the question concerning abortion and when life begins, i.e., “above my pay grade.”  Well, then let’s wheel in the person in the next pay grade up to explain it to you, Joe.  This is the guy who Obama put in charge of watching how the stimulus money is spent.  So as to really put you at ease, Joe added this gem:

“I’m sorry I’m not an economist,” Biden said as he was describing the methodology. “My background is foreign policy and the constitution.”

Just when you thought it was safe to believe that on the job training for President Obama might be working, his sidekick lets go with that thigh slapper. So who’s watching foreign policy and the constitution?  This president insists that $787 billion of your tax dollars are needed to boost the economy and it is left in the hands of a man who admittedly doesn’t know what he’s doing.

You Have to Spin It to Win It

45% of the American people, according to a Rasmussen poll, believe the remainder of the stimulus package should be cancelled.  Uh-oh, start the spin machine.  So Joe Biden says,

“Vice President Joe Biden said Sunday that “everyone guessed wrong” on the impact of the economic stimulus, but he defended the administration’s spending designed to combat rising joblessness.”

Everyone, Joe?  If I’m not mistaken every Republican Congressman voted against that odious bill and only three Republican senators, including Arlen Specter, who has moved over to your team.  So, Joe, you should modify that to “every Democrat guessed wrong, while the Republicans were spot on.”    And if that’s not bad enough, Rasmussen tells us that 48% of Americans do not believe new stimulus spending will create more jobs.  So membership in your “everyone club” is getting mighty lean.

Rubbing Salt in the Wound

If that’s not bad enough for Joe and his team, consider this: a new Rasmussen poll says that 51% of Americans favor an across-the-board tax cut for ALL Americans to stimulate the economy.  So much for soak the rich and class warfare.  Most Americans know that we are all in this together and we all need to pitch in to get out.  Tax cuts work.  Spending doesn’t.

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With all the umbrage by the likes of Barney Frank about reining in executive compensation, a reasonable question to ask is, “What kind of value are we getting for the $174,000 per year that we pay each and every Congressman and Senator?”  If these people worked for me in private industry, I would fire them in a heartbeat.  Lest it be thought that I am just raging at my television set over the nightly news, let me relate a more personal experience.

Writing your Congressman

I wrote to my congressman expressing my opposition to the Freedom of Choice Act, the purpose of which is to codify Roe v. Wade.  I received a letter back from my Congressman with these dubious points:

  1. “As a practicing Catholic, a husband, and a father…I strongly believe that women in America must have the legal right to choose an abortion.”
  2. “Legislating the outcome of this decision would be an undue intrusion on the rights of women, as well as the confidential relationship between doctor and patient.”
  3. “Outlawing the operation will not end the practice of abortion in America, but rather force it underground and expose women to unacceptable health risks.”
  4. “I share your concerns about late-term abortions, and have said that I would support a ban on late-term abortions if it includes an exception that encompasses the life and health {emphasis added} of the mother.”

Responding to the Congressman

Although writing to your Congressman is supposed to be the way to express your views other than biennially at the voting booth, I have always been skeptical about the practice.  My view is that if the Congressman is of the same political philosophy they might give your letter some weight and try to gain your support ($).  If on the other hand your philosophies diverge, they will likely find a bland polite response from their database of responses, just to make you feel like they care what you have to say.

I felt compelled to respond to the Congressman because his logic seemed both contradictory and flawed.  Here is my response:

Dear Congressman,

Thank you for your response to my communication to you regarding the Freedom of Choice Act.  While I understand your positions, I feel compelled to challenge your reasoning.

You state:

“I strongly believe that women in America must have the legal right to choose an abortion, with the advice of their doctors and trusted confidantes.  Legislating the outcome of this decision would be an undue intrusion on the rights of women.

 

The fundamental argument that makes this a controversial issue is when does life begin?  Are there just the mother and a clump of cells involved, or are there two human beings involved?

Let’s examine your position from the context of the first point.  If it is just a woman and a clump of unwanted cells, you say government should not intrude.  However many people who share your beliefs feel that it is perfectly alright to intrude all the time, where the consequences are even less grave.  An individual wants to ride their bicycle and feel the wind through their hair but the government steps in and says no, you can’t do that, you must wear a helmet.  Why?  Who is affected other than the bicycle rider?  No one. Yet government can step in and say no.  An individual wants to drive their car without wearing a seat belt, and the government steps in and says no, you can’t do that.  Who is affected other than the unbelted person?  No one.  Yet the government can step in and say no.

Now in the case of abortion, while I can understand the arguments on both sides, and the real reasons behind them, cases of botched abortions where the child lived are proof enough that this involves more than a single individual, but you say government shouldn’t intrude to protect a human life.  Government can dictate to an individual how they can live their own life, but it is out of bounds to protect the lives of the innocent?

You state:

“Outlawing the operation will not end the practice of abortion in America, but rather force it underground and expose women to unacceptable health risks.”

Can’t the same be said of outlawing murder?  Outlawing murder hasn’t ended it.  So should we legalize murder?  Perhaps we can set up murder centers so it can be done cleanly and painlessly.  We should really fight to stop back alley murders.

You say:

“Public laws should not attempt to overrule a doctor’s professional judgment on crucial medical decisions regarding a patient’s health.”

 

Can I count you among those opposed to President Obama’s health initiative?  After all it includes the creation of a national board that will review medical practices and procedures and, let’s not kid ourselves, dictate what health care can be administered and what cannot.  You’re overweight?  No hip replacement for you.  You’re over 80?  Well we’ll have to let you go blind in at least one eye before we pay for the surgery to correct your vision.  You’re a smoker?  Well you’ll have to quit before we can even consider treating you.

It pains me when I hear people say, “As a practicing Catholic,” and then go on to defend their position on abortion.  That formulation provided a unique twist when Mario Cuomo first foisted it on the American people, as a neat way for Catholics to look the other way on abortion and still be faithful.  With all due respect Congressman, as a practicing Catholic, you need more practice.

Would you stand in front of the NAACP debating the Dred Scott case, with the argument, “Well, I have to support the Supreme Court’s decision on Dred Scott, for while I am personally opposed to slavery, I believe legislation opposing slavery would be an undue intrusion on the rights of slaveholders.  After all, they paid good money for these slaves.  We just can’t take them away.”  Would you?  To the slaveholder, it was property, not a person.  To the abolitionist, they were human beings who couldn’t be owned by another.  Today, those who are pro-abortion are the same as the pro-slavery people of the nineteenth century.  Those who are pro-life are the abolitionists of the current era.

Slavery was wrong then and an ugly blemish on our history.  People will look back on us and see the same ugly stain of 40,000,000 aborted babies and ask, “Have they learned nothing?”

Sincerely yours,

The Congressman Responds

I really didn’t expect a response to my rebuttal.  I didn’t think the Congressman would want to wade into the arena and battle it out.  When I saw the letter in the batch of mail, I set it aside.  I wasn’t quite ready for the ire of another cafeteria Catholic telling me I had no right to challenge his faith.  However, when I opened the letter I was surprised.  It was the exact same copy of the original letter that I received! The only thing changed was the date.

“How should we reply Congressman?”

“Let’s see, he sounds conservative, let’s send him letter No. 37″

“Okay, done!”

If the Congressman was employed by me and pulling down $174,000 and he tried to submit the same work product twice, he would get an escort to his car after a brief stop to clean out his desk.

The Truth Revealed

The most telling point I missed the first time around.  The Congressman when writing about late term abortions states, “…if it includes an exception that encompasses the life and health of the mother.”  Children have mothers.  Clumps of cells don’t have mothers.  If a woman goes into the hospital to have her appendix removed, do we call her a mother, if she has no children? So if the good Congressman is talking about a mother, what is being aborted is her child.  Killing a child is murder.

Let us not forget that President Obama, the great conciliator and healer, fought against a law while in the Illinois Senate, that would require that a child that survives an abortion be given medical care.  Instead, State Senator Obama supported leaving the newborn infant to die, since that was the intent of the mother.  It’s pretty gruesome and heartless in Obama’s America.

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From Waterboarding to Miranda

by Bill O'Connell on June 11, 2009

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Sometimes I wonder if this is all a bad dream and I will wake up at some point, in a cold sweat, comforted in knowing that it was just that.  With the enhanced interrogation techniques, aka waterboarding, that was used on exactly three very bad men, and yielded 60% of what we learned about Al Qaeda, we are now Mirandizing terrorists on the battlefield.  For those who never got a sufficient dose of crime dramas on TV here is how the Miranda rights start:

“You have the right to remain silent…”

Say no more.  That is all you have to know.  From using a technique to compel these murderous fiends to give up information about their likeminded associates, we have moved to telling them it is their right not to say anything.  Here’s my advice… steer clear of tall or government buildings.

How 9/11 Happened

This is exactly how 9/11 happened.  The Clinton Administration treated terrorism as a law and order issue rather than a war on our way of life.  They constructed walls between the FBI and CIA forbidding them to share information.  What the CIA learned about the terrorists before 9/11 they couldn’t tell the FBI and vice versa.  As a result we got blindsided.

It is interesting to note that in putting together the 9/11 Commission to investigate how it all happened and what we could do to prevent it happening again, Jamie Gorelick, the individual who constructed this barrier in her role in the Clinton White House, was added to the Commission panel when she should have been testifying before it.  (Later, without any financial background she was appointed Vice Chairman of Fannie Mae, made millions during her tenure, and Fannie Mae’s actions led to the current financial debacle).

What more will the Obama Administration do to weaken our defenses?

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Breaking News: Bush Saved 150 Million Jobs!!!

by Bill O'Connell on June 9, 2009

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This just in, President Bush recently admitted that his administration saved 150 million jobs.  When asked about this he tried not to take credit:

“I would talk Americans I met on the street and they would tell me that, well, sometimes they just felt like quitting their jobs.  ‘Why should I keep gettin’ up in the morning every day and going to work, when I could just sit home and get a free house, free car, like that lady in Florida said to Obama.  I couldn’t believe she said that, but he said he would have his staff get back to her.’  I would just tell the fella, that he needs to take care of himself and his family.  The American economy is strong and it will pull out of this.  That’s why I fought to cut your taxes.”

Truth be told, the man did not quit his job.  Another job saved by President Bush, and there are millions more like it.  Amazingly, it was all done without a stimulus package!!!

I know this story is hard to believe, but if you are skeptical, just go up and ask anybody who currently has a job and ask them, “Have you ever felt like quitting your job in the last eight years?”  and you will have your answer.  President Bush saved millions of jobs.  Film at 11PM.

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