Archive for January, 2010

Deficit Reduction Commission Fails in Senate Vote

Posted by courage On January - 27 - 2010

The Senate on Tuesday rejected legislation calling for a congressional commission to recommend reductions in the federal deficit.

The 53-46 vote fell seven votes shy of the necessary 60 under an agreement both parties reached Monday night, and represented deep divisions on both sides of the aisle. A group of 37 Democrats and 16 Republicans supported the commission, while 23 Republicans and 23 Democrats opposed it.

The vote defeated an amendment by Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and ranking member Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) that would have created an 18-member panel to propose spending and reduction policies.

Senators who supported the idea of a commission said they were frustrated at congressional inaction in reining in federal spending.

Who votes to approve federal spending?  Here’s my problem with this bill… We have 538 members of Congress, 100 Senators, 435 members of the House of Representatives and 3 Representatives from the District of Columbia. What exactly is their job, if not to  oversee spending, programs and pork belly pay-offs for votes?  Here’s a suggestion to Congress, DO YOUR JOB.  There are numerous instances of redundancy in the government, start by cutting those departments.  Many of the Czar’s are duplicates of Cabinet positions, cut those positions, as well as their staff.  Quit funding projects to examine the mating rituals of field mice.  Quit okaying a 35% increased budget to the EPA for 2009, this is obscene.

Instead of performing their jobs, some members of the Senate would rather absolve themselves from responsibility and finger-point to some obscure commission, by adding another layer of bureaucracy which is appalling.   Some championing this bill claim it would help the special interest entrenchment in D.C., while this carries be some validity, the truth is that IF these elected officials cannot vote on legislation which serves the country best interests, they need to GO.

Here are the cowards in the Senate who voted in favor of this legislation and refuse to do the job they were elected to perform.

By Vote Position YEAs —-53 _____Alexander (R-TN)Bayh (D-IN)Begich (D-AK)Bennet (D-CO)Bingaman (D-NM)Bond (R-MO)Boxer (D-CA)Carper (D-DE)Chambliss (R-GA)Collins (R-ME)Conrad (D-ND)Corker (R-TN)Cornyn (R-TX)Dorgan (D-ND)Durbin (D-IL)Enzi (R-WY)Feingold (D-WI)Feinstein (D-CA)Franken (D-MN)Gillibrand (D-NY)Graham (R-SC)Gregg (R-NH)Hagan (D-NC)Isakson (R-GA)Johanns (R-NE)Johnson (D-SD)Kaufman (D-DE)Kerry (D-MA)Klobuchar (D-MN)Kohl (D-WI)Landrieu (D-LA)LeMieux (R-FL)Leahy (D-VT)Levin (D-MI)Lieberman (ID-CT)Lincoln (D-AR)Lugar (R-IN)McCaskill (D-MO)Menendez (D-NJ)Nelson (D-FL)Nelson (D-NE)Pryor (D-AR)Reid (D-NV)Schumer (D-NY)Shaheen (D-NH)Tester (D-MT)Udall (D-CO)Vitter (R-LA)Voinovich (R-OH)Warner (D-VA)Webb (D-VA)Wicker (R-MS)Wyden (D-OR)

In the bill they allocated 9 million for staff and other expenditures for 2010 alone, while facing trillions in debt, nine million may not seem like a lot.. yet this is exactly how we have reached the ballooning deficit we have.. one million at a time.  Each one of these, so called Senators, should be removed from office on their next re-election, we can only pray.

The bill can be found here.

In tonight’s State of the Union address, Obama will champion a discretionary budget freeze.  This ploy will attempt to paint the administration as being concerned about the deficit, ignoring the fact that they have raised discretionary spending by 24% in the last year.

See the video at Logistic Monster

Parlor ticks, plan and simple… Are you buying in to the game of illusion?

Senator Evan Bayh: Numbers Spell TROUBLE in 2010

Posted by courage On January - 25 - 2010

Recently Senator Bayh  stated his internal polling leave him unconcerned regarding his re-election bid in 2010.

A comment from Byah in a recent Bloomberg article:

“It’s a more challenging environment for every incumbent,” and “probably more for Democrats than Republicans,” Bayh said. “But the reports of my poll numbers having declined are not accurate. I can tell you that from direct knowledge.”

Well, Bayh may want to check his data; if these polling numbers come from the same method he used to determine his vote on health care.. he’s toast come November.  New poll numbers from Rasmussen paint a very different picture.

Indiana Senator Evan Bayh is another Democratic incumbent who could find himself in a tough reelection battle this fall. A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely voters in the state finds that Bayh attracts support from just 44% or 45% of voters when matched against his top potential Republican challengers.

Congressman Mike Pence is reportedly considering running against Bayh. At this time, he attracts 47% of the vote while Bayh picks up 44%.

A former Republican congressman, John Hostettler, has already indicated he will challenge Bayh. In that match-up, it’s Bayh with a three-point edge, 44% to 41%.

Freshman State Senator Marlin Stutzman has announced that he is in the race. He trails the incumbent by 12 points, 45% to 33%.

Any incumbent who attracts less than 50% support at this point in a campaign is considered potentially vulnerable. However, incumbents have many advantages in a campaign, and Bayh has already raised a large amount of cash for his campaign.

As in many other states, there is a strong correlation between support for the congressional health care plan and voting behavior. Just 37% of Indiana voters favor the plan, while 60% oppose it. Those figures are similar to the national average and include 16% who Strongly Favor the plan and 48% who are Strongly Opposed.(emphasis mine)

Senator Bayh IGNORED the concerns of his constituents in Indiana, he did more than just vote for ObamaCare; he was instrumental in urging wavering Democrats to vote in favor of the legislation.  His comments after a closed door meeting displayed an egostical juvenile glee. (here)  This is not the actions of a Statesman who is concerned about the future of his constituents but rather a politician who is beholding to special interests and places his party over the people he represents.

Yes Senator Bayh, there is trouble on the horizon; dark ominous clouds hang over the trust the people of Indiana placed in you.  The numerous canned emails you spend about “fiscal responsibility” ring hollow and  are void of honest concern.  You whisper in our ears about how as a country we need to reign in spending yet voted in favor of:  Ominubus spending, the stimulus package, cash for clunkers and its increased funding, Congressional pay raises and regulating tobacco, along with its tax increase.  These communications are nothing but a parlor trick, meant to deceive the people.  But as you have seen in Massachusetts, the people have awoken and your days as an elected official may soon be over.

White House Goes on Attack with Lies

Posted by courage On January - 25 - 2010

You Lie

David Axelrod, senior adviser to the President was spotted on TV Sunday saying:

Republicans are “using the filibuster in ways that have never been used before,” and that if they continue to use the procedural tool to block Obama’s agenda, “there will need to be a public discussion about exactly what they’re up to.”

Hey David, I’d like for you to tell me one, just one piece of legislation which has been blocked by filibuster in the last year?  What, you can’t because through the entire first year of the Obama’s administration the Democrats have had a super majority which shut-off any attempt to filibuster.  This is an outright lie.  Obviously you think the American people stupid, you believe we haven’t been paying attention to the shenanigans going on in D.C.; the loose in Massachusetts vividly and without doubt showed that Americans are paying attention and do not like what they are seeing.

“If we don’t move forward and we don’t produce something, the American people are going to believe the caricature that was drawn by the Republicans and the health insurance industry. I think that’s a terrible mistake,” Axelrod said.

Read the rest of this entry »

What is Eric Holder Hiding, and Why?

Posted by courage On January - 24 - 2010

From The Washington Examiner:

You may remember that more than two months ago, amid the controversy over the Obama administration’s decision to grant full American constitutional rights to, and hold a civilian trial for, accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, Republican Sen. Charles Grassley asked Attorney General Eric Holder about Justice Department lawyers who before joining the Obama/Holder team had represented Guantanamo detainees or worked for groups representing them. Grassley pointed to one high-ranking Obama Justice official who formerly represented Osama bin Laden’s driver and another who works on detainee issues despite previous advocacy for detainees.

“This prior representation, I think, creates a conflict of interest problem for these individuals,” Grassley said, adding, “I want to know more about who is advising you on these decisions.” Grassley asked Holder to give the committee “the names of political appointees in your department who represent detainees or who work for organizations advocating on their behalf…the cases or projects that these appointees work with respect to detainee prior to joining the Justice Department…and the cases or projects relating to detainees that have worked on since joining the Justice Department.”

If this is not a conflict of interest, I do not know what is…

Holder was noncommittal. “I will certainly consider that request,” he said. When Grassley pressed, Holder stood firm. “I will consider that request,” he repeated. Later in the hearing, Holder revisited the subject, saying he “didn’t mean to be flip” in responding to Grassley but that he wanted to consider possible ethical concerns about attorney-client privilege before agreeing to Grassley’s request. Holder never said he would provide the information. A few days later, on November 24, Grassley and the other Republican members of the Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Holder citing his “less than encouraging” response and pressing the request for information on the detainee conflicts inside the Department.

Now, two months have passed and the senators have heard nothing. “Sen. Grassley does not have an answer yet,” says a Grassley spokesman. “The Justice Department says it’s ‘in process.’” The Justice Department did not respond to an inquiry about the matter Friday, and it is not clear when the Department will answer Grassley’s questions.

This is becoming a disturbing trend by the Justice Department, they hide in the shadow while the safety of the country is at stake.  And if there is a conflict of interest, how should that be handled?

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Okay the people who are charged with keeping this country safe are apparently in the dark.  Each of them answers no, they were not consulted as to how to charge this enemy combatant, aka as terrorist.

After all, Abdulmutallab was trained by al Qaeda, equipped with an al Qaeda-made bomb, and dispatched by al Qaeda to bring down the airliner and its 278 passengers. Even though the Obama administration has mostly abandoned the term “war on terror,” the president himself has said clearly that the United States is at war with al Qaeda. So who decided to treat Abdulmutallab as a civilian, read him the Miranda warning, and provide him with a government-paid lawyer — giving him the right to remain silent and denying the United States potentially valuable intelligence that might have been gained by a military-style interrogation?

clip…

“The decision was made by the agents on the ground,” Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, referring to the officials who apprehended Abdulmutallab when the plane landed in Detroit. American agents questioned the accused terrorist briefly before he was taken to a hospital to be treated for burns suffered in the attempt to set off explosives hidden in his underwear. After that, Mueller testified, “in consultation with the Department of Justice and others in the administration,” the agents read him his rights.

And that was that. “Isn’t it a fact, that after Miranda was given … the individual stopped talking?” Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions asked Mueller.

“He did,” Mueller answered. But Mueller declined to say who made the decision to grant Abdulmutallab the right to remain silent.

clip…

Republicans on the Judiciary Committee increasingly believe there is only one person who can answer: Attorney General Eric Holder.

It was Holder who made the decision to try 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a criminal trial in New York. It is Holder who has expressed his desire to grant full American constitutional rights to foreign terrorists. It is Holder who is leading the administration’s sputtering effort to move some Guantanamo inmates to the United States. And it is Holder who is apparently cutting other parts of the government out of crucial terrorism decisions like the treatment of Abdulmutallab.

“These days, all roads lead to the attorney general,” says one well-placed Republican source in the Senate. “They seem to have aggregated quite a bit of power inside Main Justice.” The problem is, the Holder Justice Department appears to be handling terrorism issues from a defense-attorney perspective, and doing so without the input of the government’s other terrorism-fighting agencies.

As a reminder Eric Holder was a senior partner with Covington & Burling, a D.C. law firm who represents 17 Yemeni nationals and one Pakistani citizen held at Gitmo.

From C & B’s website:

We represent sixteen men detained at the United States Naval Station at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.  Most of the men have been detained for approximately seven years.  None have been charged with any crimes, and none have been accorded the protections of the Geneva Convention.  In Boumediene v. Bush, 128 S. Ct. 2229 (2008), where we were co-counsel for eleven of the detainees, the Supreme Court held that the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus extends to detainees held at Guantánamo Bay.  Following that decision, we have been preparing for habeas corpus hearings to be held in federal district court Washington, DC, for eleven of our clients.

The firm has been involved in the Guantánamo related litigation for the last five years.  In addition to the on-going habeas corpusamicus proceedings, our efforts have included: bringing cases for review of enemy combatant classification decisions in the D.C. Circuit under the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005; challenging the destruction of CIA torture tapes in federal court; filing briefs and coordinating the amicus effort in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 548 U.S. 557 (2006); filing amicus briefs in support of Supreme Court review in Moussaoui v. United States, 382 F.3d 483 (4th Cir.), cert denied, 544 U.S. 931 (2005); challenging the government’s practice of redacting information from documents given to security-cleared habeas counsel; and challenging the abusive medical and living conditions that the detainees experience at Guantánamo.

Back to the Washington Examiner piece:

That was the message of Wednesday’s testimony from Blair, Leiter, Napolitano, and Mueller, all of whom were out of the loop on the Adbulmutallab decision. Their accounts left a number of Republican senators shaken; as the GOP lawmakers see it, the decision to read Abdulmutallab Miranda rights was a dreadful mistake, one that could have serious consequences down the line. There should be some accountability.

So on Thursday all seven Republicans on the Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Holder asking for a full explanation: Who made the decision and why, and whether the administration now has “a protocol or policy in place for handling al Qaeda terrorists captured in the United States.”

These are questions which demand answers.. who set the wheels in motion that allowed this (thankfully) unsuccessful terrorist to be tried as a common criminal and not an enemy combatant?   And why was it done?  And if the final decision was that of Holder, where do his alliances fall, as a criminal defense attorney with his former law partners or as the individual who  is entrusted to enforce the laws of the land, without creating new precedence?  Need I remind anyone that placing enemy combatants under the category of criminals, giving them Miranda rights and supplying them with attorneys has NEVER, until this administration been done, even during the Civil war.

Supreme Court Decision on Free Speech: January 21, 2010

Posted by courage On January - 24 - 2010

us_supreme_court_seal

Writing for the majority, parts of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s main opinion:

When Government seeks to use its full power, including the criminal law, to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought.  This is unlawful.  The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves.

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Glenn Beck Show 01-22-2010: LIVE FREE or DIE

Posted by courage On January - 24 - 2010

A primer compiled by Glenn Beck on how villains have become heroes; this information we all need to know.

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