Tuesday Night Open Mic for March 16, 2010

As I begin to write for Tuesday night’s open mic topics, I look back over the last couple of weeks and realize that there was little to challenge the brain offered by me. We did the unemployment fix stuff and then kind of sat on simmer for a bit. Tonight I offer quite a few different topics and one that follows a recent trend. For the trend, we have Israel and the treatment from the Obama administration they get. With so much different Israel stuff in the news lately, there is little doubt why we are talking about them again. I think that I see a shift in our policy with Israel going forward though. Elsewhere we have a suppression of religious rights in Arizona along with the official numbers showing that the promise of more transparency in Washington DC was nothing more than campaign rhetoric.


  1. USWeapon says:

    USWeapon Topic #1

    Critics Accuse Administration of Exploiting Israel Dispute, Aiding ‘Enemies’

    Critics suggest the turn against Israel is the latest in a series of diplomatic shifts that appear to give other Middle Eastern nations more weight — while top U.S. officials were applying the squeeze to America’s closest ally in the region, the administration was trying to lead the first U.S. ambassador to Syria in five years through confirmation.

    White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday that the “unwavering commitment” to Israel is unchanged despite the escalating feud over a Jerusalem housing project.

    “Mature, bilateral relationships can have disagreements, and this is one of those disagreements,” he said. “It does not break the unbreakable bond that we have with the Israeli government and the Israeli people on their security.”

    But with Israel’s ambassador calling this the worst crisis in 35 years, lawmakers and Israeli advocacy groups are accusing the administration of blowing the spat way out of proportion in order to extract concessions — jeopardizing the vital relationship with Israel and aiding America’s “enemies” in the process.

    Read the rest of the article at Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/03/16/obama-administration-hammered-dragging-israel-dispute/

    Before I even get started, let me say that I have grown weary of all the general claims by both parties. I know I say that all the time, but it bears repeating, lest anyone forget how little I trust the GOP these days. This article smells a bit like the “dissent is aiding our enemies” mantra that we had the GOP presenting a few years ago.

    Allow me to also express my shock that Israeli advocacy groups are accusing the administration that doesn’t kiss their ass of attempting to undermine Israel. And let me further pretend to be shocked by members of the GOP being critical as well. And the ambassador from Israel says this is the worst crisis in 35 years. To all of them I say shut the hell up.

    Israel pulled a BS move in announcing the settlements on the day that Biden arrived in Israel. It was not a mistake or something they just didn’t think out well enough. It was done intentionally. Big international figures don’t accidentally release information like that with timing like that. They just don’t. Any claims that it was a mistake, an unfortunate accidental release, will for the most part fall on deaf ears from me. I guess for a second there, Israel became that pampered child who thinks they can stand up to daddy. So they decided to push the sugar daddy’s buttons a little. They are finding out the hard way that they cannot push the US.

    As I have said, I have no problem at this point allowing Israel to stand on its own merit, or fall on its own merit. Perhaps facing some threat without big daddy to protect them will force them to reevaluate the decisions they make regarding their treatment of others in the region.

    But those who are doing it, stop already with the cries of how this is aiding our enemies. Because I believe exactly the opposite. Muslims in the region who hate us cite our support for Israel as a major contributor to their anger. I would imagine that us putting Israel in their place would actually harm our enemies far more than help them. Much harder to recruit new members when you begin taking the claim of our supporting Israel off the table. Just a thought there. But overall, this is a silly game played by politicians. And none of us should fall for it. Read up on the issue and decide for yourself. The article I quoted from is longer than what you see. Start by reading it and thinking critically about the attacks on the Obama administration.

    As a bonus, I know the discussions about Israel have continued since the article about them. So this will provide a thread for you all to continue those as well.

    • TexasChem says:

      Please explain why the US can dictate to another country why they can not build in their own CAPITOL city? LOL

      USW-“Muslims in the region who hate us cite our support for Israel as a major contributor to their anger.”


      • USWeapon says:

        They cannot dictate, but they can certainly have something to say, and the world pays attention to what we say. And the issue is FAR more complex than simply building in their own capitol city. You know that.

        as for your “AND?”, the point was that the claim is not supporting Israel is helping our enemies. I disagree, not supporting Israel would hurt our enemies as they would lose a key recruiting tool.

      • Tex

        Jerusalem is NOT the capitol of Israel. In fact the city is not part of Israel as granted by the U.N. charter that established the country. It was to be an independent administration I believe.

        Tel Aviv was the capitol until recent times. Israel has declared it the capitol as just another poke in the eye of the Arab world.

        It appears to me that Israel’s intentions are quite clear. They intend to eventually replace the entire state of Palestine, as first conceived, with the state of Israel. That of course is against the U.N. and will seriously inflame the Arab world even more. But I think that is their goal.

        The Arab goal is also quite obvious. Stop Israel and if possible return to the original concept of the state of Palestine provided by the League of Nations.

        Israel is not some innocent babe in all this Tex. I really don’t understand why you seem to think it is.

        • Further, after 1967, Israel unilaterally claimed a huge swash of territory outside of Jerusalem and part of the West Bank to be part of the city.

          • TexasChem says:

            Yeah JaC and BF… in 1000 BC King David declared (Jebus) or Jerusalem the capital city of the Kingdom of Israel after his conquest of the city from the Canaanites.

            The point is after WWII the nation of Israel was reinstated in that region.

            Palestine is a state with limited recognition. It was proclaimed on November 15, 1988, in Algiers by the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Palestinian National Council (PNC) as an affirmation of the Palestinian people’s right to self determination in form of an independent, sovereign state, at a time when the PLO did not exercise any control over the territory in question.Terrorist organizations responsible for countless deaths.

            I am not going to rehash the entire history of that region with you gentlemen.Most of you are already up to date in that area anyways.You know how many time throughout history those lands have changed hands.

            There are 50 Muslim majority countries in the world encompassing a substantial amount of the worlds landmass as you can see by looking at this map I am posting.I am sure there is more than enough room for the “Palestinians” if only one of those 50 countries would take them in.


            Think about what the reasons are behind the Islamic worlds’ interest is in Israel people.

            • TexasChem,

              So if Mexico comes in, takes your land and burns down your home under the theory that Canada has “lots of room for you”, you’ll be fine with that, right?

        • JaC-“It appears to me that Israel’s intentions are quite clear. They intend to eventually replace the entire state of Palestine, as first conceived, with the state of Israel.”

          TC-Palestine is not a state.
          TC-Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel…at least according to Israel.Just as Washington D.C. is the Capital of the U.S. according to the U.S.!

          • Texaschem

            Palestine IS a state.

            2) Jerusalem is NOT recognized as a capital – in fact, Israel was PROHIBITED by its creation document to make such a claim

            • You must mean Jordan when you say there is a Palestine BF.Palestine was a term coined by the Romans to eradicate any relation that the lands of Judea held to the Jewish people.

              So… you’re telling me that since the PLO and a coalition of Arab states (that support terrorism in their global mission to Islamacize the world by the way) said in 1988 that the west bank is now an independent Nation it should be so?!?

              Heres the deal guys Israel has no problem with Arabs living in their country.You all are up in arms for some reason thinking they are forcing them out of thier homeland.That is not the case.20 % of the Israeli population is Arab!Hell some even serve in the IDF!The displaced Palestinians from the Arab/Israeli conflict left of their own accord during the Arab/Israeli war due to armed conflict.

              What you are failing to recognize is that just as in what is happening in Europe the Muslims have done in the west bank and northern Israel.By increasing their numbers they are attempting to “Islamacize” a geographic region!Stop drinking the Halal Kool-Aid!

    • Bottom Line says:

      United States Constitution – Article I – Section 8:

      The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

      “…and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the UNITED STATES…”

      The UNITED STATES (and territories) are…

      New Hampshire
      New Jersey
      New Mexico
      New York
      North Carolina
      North Dakota
      Rhode Island
      South Carolina
      South Dakota
      West Virginia
      District of Columbia

      American Samoa
      Northern Marianas
      Puerto Rico
      Virgin Islands

  2. USWeapon says:

    USWeapon Topic #2

    Church Fights Back After Arizona Town Bans Home Bible Study

    The national Alliance Defense Fund says a town code that bars religious assemblies in private homes in the Arizona community of Gilbert is unconstitutional.

    The Oasis of Truth church began meeting at Pastor Joe Sutherland’s house in November and rotated homes several times a week for Bible study and fellowship.

    A Gilbert code compliance officer hit the church with a violation notice after seeing a sign near a road advertising a Sunday service.

    A zoning administrator told the church that Bible studies, church leadership meetings and fellowship activities are not permitted in private homes.

    The Alliance Defense Fund’s Doug Napier says no neighbors complained.

    The Scottsdale-based group has filed an appeal with the town of Gilbert, contending its code violates the U.S. Constitution

    Read the rest of the article at Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,589385,00.html?test=latestnews

    OK, at first glance I read this article and thought to myself, “nothing to see here”. The ADF will come to the aid of the church. The church will either gain some sort of exemption or the law will be changed altogether. So while an inconvenience for now, the church will end up winning in the end.

    But then I thought about it and wondered aloud how many such laws are out there on the books. What we are talking about The rights of free men to gather for peaceful purposes on their own private property. As a fundamental premise this is a violation of freedom. I have read about a similar situation from a couple of years ago, I think in Georgia. Many years ago that town’s religious leaders had banned gathering in homes like this. Their purpose then was to stop some pagans from having ceremonies that they thought were morally wrong. Then a few decades later, new leadership in the city used that same law to stop Christians from doing the same.

    This is a CLASSIC example of what happens when you feel that it is OK to pass a law stepping on someone’s rights. What you found OK to do to them is later OK to do to you should you end up in the minority. Want to ban Muslim women from wearing headscarves? Then don’t be surprised later when that same rule is used to prohibit you from wearing a cross around your neck. It is a CLASSIC example of how the majority is not always right. That is why we are a country of law, not majority rules.

    How is it that so many laws such as this are out there in rural America? Every single one of these types of laws should have been ruled unConstitutional at the very time of their inception. Law of Mutuality = whatever right you deem OK to trample on today may result in that same trampling of your rights tomorrow. We must, therefore, ensure that decisions are made based on values and principles, but also always based on the rule of law. We have no right to control the non-violent actions of private citizens on private property. Assuming that we don’t have that right, the positions on a lot of subjects are forced to be changed.

    • Bottom Line says:

      Amendment 1 – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression.

      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

      Amendment 10 – Powers of the States and People.

      The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    • Judy Sabatini says:

      It shouldn’t be anybody’s business if you want to have a home Bible study group. Who is it hurting anyway?

      Just another ridiculous form if interference in your personal life. I say butt out.

      Hope all is doing well today.


    • Buck The Wala says:

      On its face this seems like nothing more than a local zoning ordinance. I don’t think it is the constitutional issue you are making it out to be.

      The rationale behind these zoning ordinances is to maintain a residential community.

      Want it changed – get the neighbors to sign a petition and go before the zoning board.

      • Zonig was never supposed to be used to stop people from inviting people to their home. Can I not have a family reunion or a house warming party because of a zoning law? No, this is a constitutional violation whether it is being done by the zoning board or not.

        • Buck The Wala says:

          Inviting people to a private party at your home is one thing. Putting up signs to advertise for church services at a private residence is another.

          Yes it is your private home. But if I’m buying a home in that neighborhood I would like to know if someone is going to be using their home as a church and placing signs around the neighborhood for advertising.

          It is not a constitutional violation as the purpose behind the ordinance has nothing to do with religion but everything to do with maintaining a residential community.

          • If signs are the issue, there are seperate statutes for that. If we are talking about a community or neighborhood regulation agreed upon before purchase of. The house, fine. If it is government zoning, its a problem. There is a big difference in a private community restricting things for neighborhood home values and some zoning board dictating the use of private property.

            • Buck The Wala says:

              Zoning ordinances are at the local level. They are akin in many respects to covenants that attach to houses in a given development. They are designed to maintain the look and feel of the local community. In a sense they are ‘agreed upon’ prior to purchase as anyone can look up (and should look up) local zoning ordinances prior to purchasing a home in a given neighborhood.

              Take away the issue that this particular case touches upon religion. Would your answer be the same if the homeowner was running a butcher store out of his home, next door to yours?

              • Buck

                Bad analogy.

                The first article on this I read said the meetings were held at different homes. Not the same home.

                So the issue of continuous traffic, noise etc is moot.

                This is more like banning family gatherings, football parties or tuperware parties or a bridal shower.

              • Buck The Wala says:

                Didn’t read the full article. From the blurb it seemed like this was a continuing occurrence at a single home in violation of zoning ordinances.

                Now even if it was a ‘travelling affair’ it could still be violating the same zoning ordinances. I would have to read the ordinance itself.

              • Zoning is not in place to “maintain” a neighborhood. It is for safety, health, and traffic issues. If zoning is being used for other purposes it is being abused. A home based church is no different than an open house or other home event that is open to the public. Even zoning that restricts home businesses is pushing it in my opinion. If a neighbor wants to run a home butcher shop and is not in violation of health codes then why should I care?

  3. USWeapon says:

    USWeapon Topic #3

    Govt. Transparency Down in ‘09

    When President Obama took office, he famously aspired to be the leader in administrative transparency, but now he finds himself struggling to enforce it within his own government.

    In fiscal year 2009, 17 major governmental agencies refused to release information, claiming legal exemptions, 466,872 times, an increase of nearly 50 percent from the previous year, according to a review of requests conducted by The Associated Press. In 2008, the government refused 312,683 requests made under the Freedom of Information Act, AP reported.

    The AP examined the 2008 and 2009 budget year FOIA reports from the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury and Veterans Affairs; the Environmental Protection Agency; and the Federal Reserve Board.

    One example includes the Federal Aviation Administration’s initial denial in releasing information regarding incidents on plane-bird collisions, which the FAA eventually relented on. There was also the infamous Air Force One photo op over New York City, which stirred memories of September 11th, 2001 among the unsuspecting public. The FAA denied information requests on the incident, as well, citing exemptions to FOIA.

    The frequency with which departments have used exemptions to deny information requests runs contrary to the example the President asked its departments to set at the outset. The default should be in favor of sharing information, says a White House memo released today. It reads in part, “[O]n his first full day in office, the President directed you to administer the Freedom of Information Act… with a ‘presumption in favor of disclosure’ and to respond to FOIA requests ‘promptly and in a spirit of cooperation.'”

    Read the rest of the article: http://whitehouse.blogs.foxnews.com/2010/03/16/chasing-transparency/

    Those of you around at SUFA long enough remember when I was writing full articles about the lack of transparency in the administration that promised us transparency like we have never seen before, a new way for government to operate. Several here scoffed at me, blowing me off saying that I was wrong or that I hadn’t been fair in judging the transparency issue so early in the President’s term.

    Turns out I was right, and so was Obama’s promise. He said transparency like we have never seen, we just made the false assumption that he meant MORE transparent. Instead, the results here tell us that 2009 was, in fact, a horrible year in terms of transparency. Nearly half a million requests for information denied in the first year. I want to be shocked, but I am not. Not only has the Obama administration failed to be more transparent as he promised, they have actually become LESS transparent than good ol GWB.

    What this points to for me is a consistently degrading sense of Americans being able to hold their government accountable. Whenever a Freedom of Information request is submitted, the government agencies simply say no. Apparently they didn’t agree to this whole transparency thing. That was Obama’s deal.

    We cannot hold our elected officials accountable when they have meetings behind closed doors on health care. What about health care is so vital to national security that they have to have closed door meetings? You and I both know that there are deals being cut. And how can we hold government agencies accountable when we cannot find out the things we need to know in order to determine whether they are efficient or effective? We can’t.

    It is high time that folks on both sides of the political coin begin becoming more transparent. It is high time that the rest of us begin demanding that they do so. Refuse a FOIA request? Big fine. I say go a step further, Open the books on every single government agency for public viewing at any time. Of course some information will be vital to national security. But 99% of them are not.

    Washington has gone unchecked for far too long. We need a citizen group of full time watchdogs just to attempt to get information through the FOIA rules. And it would take an army of them to enforce it.

    Or perhaps the Congress that is run by the President’s party could simply pass a new law that says nothing more than all records not deemed a threat to national security are available to the public at all times, via an online site or some other medium. But we all know that they won’t do this, as the DC politicians knew from the beginning that transparency was not something they were interested in. Too hard to hide the corruption and bribes if there is transparency.

    • I for one, am not surprised by this. I doubt many are.

      • USWeapon says:

        Agreed. I simply liked that I was somewhat vindicated when I claimed they were not living up to that promise.

      • Nothing Obama does or Congress surprises me any more. I expect them to lie, cheat, steal and hide everything they do. I can’t stand to listen to Obama since he cannot tell the truth, probably broke all his campaign promises, and is doing all he can do to get his programs passed no matter what.

        It’s all disgusting. We are facing serious economic problems in the future and continue to spend ourselves into oblivion and now want to add healthcare to it. The people don’t want this bill passed and they continue to do it. Will there be a breaking point in the USA? Will healthcare be it?

        Our government is totally out of control and we cannot stop it. November is a long way off. They can pass healthcare and cap and trade before November.

    • Good Morning! 🙂

      The lack of transparency, IMHO, has alot to do with the lack of trust in government today, which is a growing sentiment. Why they are acting as such is a big question, and everyone should be asking that question. Actions have purpose, maybe a look into the past can give some answers. No wonder some conspiracy theories are growing in peoples minds, I just hope they stay “theories”.


    • I can tell you first hand that there has been significant pressure placed on the agencies I deal with to INCREASE transparency.

      In fact it has become over kill and is wasting taxpayer money. Offices of transparency for example. Micromanagement from D.C. by a bunch of 20 somethings with masters in Public Admin. telling agencies to do this and do that without any knowledge of existing data bases and information management systems. They think it should all be the same, regardless of how different the information is or how it is used.

      So this revelation about FOIA requests has a little bad smell to it if you ask me. Could be the requests were borderline. Or it could be that most of the rejections came early in the Admin when they put gag orders out while they tried to figure out what to do.

      Deserves continued monitoring, that’s all.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      @USW – just my two cents but I think you’re using one aspect of transparency to substantiate your opinion. For a more appropriate and encompassing view on transparency I’d suggest once again to read and assess the Politifact assessments AND the NSA FOIA Audit report (http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB308/2010FOIAAudit.pdf) – Fox news provides an “angle” on the story which I think is not entirely accurate.

      Are we as transparent as we could/should be? Nope.

      Are we improving? It would appear so.

      Are we improving fast enough? Not always (or, for SUFA folks – anything short of immediate reversal is not fast enough 🙂 )

      • I have already told everyone here that they do not understand the situation. Obama’s administration is perfectly transparent.

        Every meeting he has is posted. The attendees are posted. The subject is posted. If it is not privileged, a transcript is posted, or posted with redactions. Every meeting that every salaried employee in the White House (above a certain level) has meets has the same standards applied. The website allows searching by attendees, cross-referencing, subject, keyword, and text.

        For example, you are able to search for meetings where Rahm was present where the word f*** was used. This yields 1,000+ hits (sortable by the number of times it was said or by date). You could also search for Obama and ACORN and read through the meetings to see if anything seedy is going on. He has surpassed even the wildest dreams of transparency advocates with this site – and he gets absolutely no credit for doing so.

        It’s a shame that he refuses to tell anyone the address of the website though..

        • The transparaency issue has more to do with letting people know what is about to happen and the rpocess by which it may happen before it is a done deal. Transparency is not just compliance with the letter of the law, it is an effort to make open and public the inner workings of our government, in the open, with enough time to research and react. The lack of that is what has most people upset.

          Also, the fact that there in an increase in denials of information could be a result of increased requests for information, which is a good sign of Americans waking up, but in the end it still indicates that “letter of the law” compliance is allowing a lot of government info to be hidden form the public. As far as I am concerned, anything other than national defense concerns should be public info, unless it is information on individuals, in which case it should be available to those individuals, and it should be questioned whether there is a right for the government to have such sensitive information in the first place.

          Are things improving? Maybe in some areas, but a lot of it is smoke and mirrors. An :office of transparency” may just be a way to make it look like they are working hard to do something about the problem without actually changing anything, just loading in more beaurocracy and cost. Pretty typical government “fix” for any issue. Do I think the transparency stuff is a broken promise by Obama? Absolutely, particuarly since he specifically referenced opening up bills for public view IN PLENTY OF TIME before they were voted on. As far as I am concerned, things are no better, if not worse, than before, or at least I am becoming more aware and upset about it.

        • Mathius

          I would not say it is perfectly transparent.

          There are many things being cooked up in meetings and between agencies that are not on the records or available.

          Little things like the “brainstorming session” for a new National Monument from Canada to Utah.

          I agree that there is transparency in some things. Much of which existed if someone wanted to really look but what the heck. Some of it is more than before.

          My issue is that most of the “transparency” is in areas that are really minor.

          I want to know who is cooking up the schemes. Who are the proponents and primary parties helping develop legislation and who is involved in the marketing strategies. I want to know what deals are being cut behind closed doors. I want to know what the Treasury Sec and Fed Chairman really tell the President.

          But that will only come out later, now that everyone publishes a book when they leave government.

          Good day mate.

          • We would all like that, JAC. We all would.

            But let me show you how this plays out.

            Obama opens up the way we would like.

            Wait 3 months.

            Obama is impeached / forced to step down.

            President Biden (*shudder*) is sworn in.

            Wait 10 minutes.

            Biden chokes to death on his own foot.

            President PELOSI!! (*whimper*) is sworn in.

            Wait 3 months.

            President Pelosi is impeached.

            Repeat until 2012.

            A Republican wins campaigning on the obvious corruption/inefficacy/stupidity/etc of the Democrats.

            Wait 3 months.

            He/She is impeached for the same reasons.

            Get where I’m going with this?

            • Mathius

              You notice I didn’t call for open disclosure. Just listed the thing I would like to know.

              Your explanation is exactly why we haven’t known, don’t know and will never know these things. It would destroy the beast.

              And there is some validity in that anonymity does allow outsiders to speak freely to power. The old open council concept the left bitched about when Cheney met with the oil industry on energy policy.

              But I still would have liked to know what the really told him.


              • As would I. As would I.

                But could anyone actually govern if everything was readily available to the public? Nobody likes to see how the sausage is made..

                Perhaps there is a happy middle ground. I hope that Obama can change the status quo over the next few years. 😉

      • One of Obama’s first acts as president was issuing the following memo about open government and the need to honor Freedom of Information Act requests.That is very true.

        So how’s this new era of open government working out? America got change all right, they got it good and hard!

        One year later, Obama’s requests for transparency have apparently gone unheeded. In fact a provision in the Freedom of Information Act law that allows the government to hide records that detail its internal decision-making has been invoked by Obama agencies more often in the past year than during the final year of President George W. Bush.

        Major agencies cited that exemption to refuse records at least 70,779 times during the 2009 budget year, compared with 47,395 times during President George W. Bush’s final full budget year, according to annual FOIA reports filed by federal agencies.

        Ray and Mathius…it seems to me that the “tingling” sensation in your leg may possibly be causing a disruption in your abstract cognitive thought processes! 😉

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          @TexasChem – sorry – I’m not tingling too much. I did want to offer a rebuttle as I think you are misleading the other readers here……

          To set the table – here are the nine exemptions / or reasons on FOIA can be turned down partially or completely:

          Exemption 1: classified national defense and foreign relations information

          Exemption 2: internal agency rules and practices

          Exemption 3: information that is prohibited from disclosure by another federal law

          Exemption 4: trade secrets and other confidential business information

          Exemption 5: inter-agency or intra-agency communications that are protected by legal privileges

          Exemption 6: information involving matters of personal privacy

          Exemption 7: records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, to the extent that the production of those records (A) could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings, (B) would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication, (C) could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, (D) could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source, (E) would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or (F) could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual

          Exemption 8: information relating to the supervision of financial institutions

          Exemption 9: geological information on wells

          I did some research for the DOI to get a sense of this issue:

          The number of requests processed:

          2007 – 5437
          2008 – 4810
          2009 – 5088

          The Number of Times an Exception Was applied:

          2007 – 1290
          2008 – 1828
          2009 – 1711

          Number of Times Exception 2 Was Applied

          2007 – 105
          2008 – 111
          2009 – 116

          Source: http://www.doi.gov/foia/report.html

          I guess at least for this agency I am not seeing the same smoking gun (or tingle in my leg) that TexasChem seems to think is there. Merely repeating (or copying and pasting) the b.s. you hear on other sites does not help drive the conversation forward. If at least DOI seems consistent I would expect that any supposed outliers have some explanation around them, not the least of which is that, as TexasChem does not bother to analyze or share is the actual run cycle of the fiscal year (it ends in October) and the fact that leadership changes in many of the major departments supposedly assessed did not occur immediately after POTUS inauguration. Let’s tell a more complete picture next time TexasChem.



          • So let me get this straight Ray…You are stating that your review was conducted much more thoroughly than the AP’s?I almost had to go to the emergency room!I got dizzy since my eyes were rolling so much at your post up above! 😉

            Associated Press Reviews Annual FOIA Reports
            As part of Sunshine Week, The Associated Press reviewed the 2008 and 2009 budget year Freedom of Information Act reports filed by 17 agencies.

            The review showed the government increased its use of nine major FOIA exemptions in 2009, and the agencies received and processed less FOIA requests in 2009. It also showed that the backlog of old open-records requests fell from 124,019 in budget year 2008 to 67,764 at the end of the 2009 budget year, although it is unknown whether those who made requests in the closed cases received the information they wanted.

            Here let me toss ya’ a bone Ray!Chew on this one for a bit.

            Agency sought $111,930 for FOIA information
            By JESSE J. HOLLAND, Associated Press
            The nation’s immigration agency wants to charge at least $111,930 to say what’s inside one of its databases about citizenship applications.

            The research group that got the bill is protesting.

            • Ray Hawkins says:

              @TexasChem – c’mon, you’re smarter than that.

              Also from the story you quote:

              “The AP is still waiting — after nearly three months — for records it requested about the White House’s “Open Government Directive,” rules it issued in December directing every agency to take immediate, specific steps to open their operations up to the public.”

              That statement is full of interesting things – not the least of which their own carping about their own FOIA requests for documents that are typically declined under exemption two.

              And no – I didn’t pose my research or conclusion to be any more robust than the AP – but I did point out two glaring weakness they intentionally skate over in their piece.

              Funny you didn’t address that.

              The true test in Fiscal 2010 FOIA – plain and simple. I am not optimistic – I actually don’t care much for exemption two. Its akin to me going out to eat and asking the chef to tell me how he prepares my dish and he tells me to go fuck myself. I’m just asking you to be a little more objective and change your lens once in a while.


    • Judy Sabatini says:

      They wouldn’t know transparency if it came and slapped them in the face. If they were so transparent, then why all the secrecy?

  4. USWeapon says:

    USWeapon Topic #4

    Texas Education Board Approves Conservative Curriculum Changes By Far-Right

    A far-right faction of the Texas State Board of Education succeeded Friday in injecting conservative ideals into social studies, history and economics lessons that will be taught to millions of students for the next decade.

    Teachers in Texas will be required to cover the Judeo-Christian influences of the nation’s Founding Fathers, but not highlight the philosophical rationale for the separation of church and state. Curriculum standards also will describe the U.S. government as a “constitutional republic,” rather than “democratic,” and students will be required to study the decline in value of the U.S. dollar, including the abandonment of the gold standard.

    “We have been about conservatism versus liberalism,” said Democrat Mavis Knight of Dallas, explaining her vote against the standards. “We have manipulated strands to insert what we want it to be in the document, regardless as to whether or not it’s appropriate.”

    Following three days of impassioned and acrimonious debate, the board gave preliminary approval to the new standards with a 10-5 party line vote. A final vote is expected in May, after a public comment period that could produce additional amendments and arguments.

    Decisions by the board – made up of lawyers, a dentist and a weekly newspaper publisher among others – can affect textbook content nationwide because Texas is one of publishers’ biggest clients.

    Ultraconservatives wielded their power over hundreds of subjects this week, introducing and rejecting amendments on everything from the civil rights movement to global politics. Hostilities flared and prompted a walkout Thursday by one of the board’s most prominent Democrats, Mary Helen Berlanga of Corpus Christi, who accused her colleagues of “whitewashing” curriculum standards.

    By late Thursday night, three other Democrats seemed to sense their futility and left, leaving Republicans to easily push through amendments heralding “American exceptionalism” and the U.S. free enterprise system, suggesting it thrives best absent excessive government intervention.

    Read the rest of the article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/12/texas-education-board-app_n_497440.html

    I wanted to offer this topic up for conversation as the issue was brought up yesterday. I will save adding more of my thoughts to the discussions that come up, but I wanted to give it a chance to be hashed out.

    • TexasChem says:

      Are you kidding? Its the left wing loons who are always trying to social engineer via textbooks and elitist moonbat teachers/professors.The Obama administration itself is doing it even now to our youth!


      Dr. Frank Wang, former president of Saxon Publishing confessed that textbook production has radically changed over the years. Rather than historians and other experts writing the texts, a blend of freelance writers are drafting them, often in record-breaking speed and catering to politically correct curriculum standards.

      Gilbert Sewall, director of the American Textbook Council, admitted that the quality of textbooks has been gradually declining. Sewall explained, “There’s no doubt that identity politics have contributed to the decline of textbook quality over the last 20 years.” He warns that the most vocal groups have muscled their preferences into curriculum.

      Conservatives have been largely the guardians or preservationists of tradition. Progressives have changed curricula content to pacify the politically correct and adopt what they value today and want others to value tomorrow.

      The 10th Amendment protects each state and American citizen from an overreaching federal government, to decide for themselves (in this case) what is best for their education. That is why, in 2004, the SBOE approved health textbooks for Texas only after publishers changed the wording in some of the approved textbooks to reflect marriage as being between a man and a woman. One of the publishers even changed its text to include a definition of marriage as a “lifelong union between a husband and a wife.”

      In 1789, during the same time when the First Amendment was written, President George Washington signed into law the Northwest Ordinance, which states, “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” Does anyone not know what the term “forever” means? Can any member of the SBOE or any other state board of education be penalized for agreeing with the founders of America?

      • Would you care to share your thoughts on why Thomas Jefferson was removed?

        • Mathius

          Lets be accurate. They only removed him from the discussion on philosophical founders, not with regard to his role as a founder or president. I think their logic is a little weak but the headlines and claims are way overblown on this one point.

          The reasons were given that his thoughts were not really original but based on the work of those already covered. And they added a couple of their own, which I think were appropriate for a more rounded look. As long as the topics and discussion are true and not contrived to support one theoretical side of the debate.

        • I think the changes accurately reflect the inclusion of Thomas Jefferson
          §113.16 (b) (2) (B) identify the Founding Fathers and Patriot heroes, including John Adams, Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Nathan Hale, THOMAS JEFFERSON, the Sons of Liberty, and George Washington, and their motivations and contributions during the revolutionary period; and

          §113.20 (b) (4)(B) explain the roles played by significant individuals during the American Revolution, including Abigail Adams, John Adams, Wentworth Cheswill, Samuel Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, James Armistead, Benjamin Franklin, Bernardo de Galvez, Crispus Attucks, King George III, Haym Salomon, Patrick Henry, THOMAS JEFFERSON, the Marquis de Lafayette, Thomas Paine, and George Washington;

          §113.42 (c) (19) Government. The student understands how contemporary political systems have developed from earlier systems of government. The student is expected to:
          (A) explain the development of democratic-republican government from its beginnings in the Judeo-Christian legal tradition and classical Greece and Rome through the English Civil War and the Enlightenment;
          (B) identify the impact of political and legal ideas contained in the following documents: Hammurabi’s Code, the Jewish Ten Commandments, Justinian’s Code of Laws, Magna Carta, the English Bill of Rights, John Locke’s “Two Treatises of Government,” the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen;
          (C) explain the impact of Enlightenment ideas from John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and THOMAS JEFFERSON on political revolutions from 1750 to the present; and
          (D) explain the significance of the League of Nations and the United Nations.

          §113.44 (c) (1)(D) identify the contributions of the political philosophies of the Founding Fathers, including John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, THOMAS JEFFERSON, James Madison, George Mason, Roger Sherman, and James Wilson, on the development of the U.S. government;
          §113.44 (c) (1) (F) identify significant individuals in the field of government and politics, including George Washington, THOMAS JEFFERSON, John Marshall, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan.

          • The only thing that I can find that removed Thomas Jefferson was changed to: §113.42 (c) (19) (C) “explain the impact of the writings of John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Voltaire, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and Sir William Blackstone”

            That section is §113.42. World History Studies
            I think the context of the section that Thomas Jefferson was removed from still covers the intent of what the government section of the world history class is trying to accomplish. On the stance that this is a world history class talking about government philosophy, the inclusion of Thomas Jefferson in this section would, for the most part, duplicate the philosophy of others.

            Something I do find curious about this section though is that it does not say “such as the writings of”. Most of the other sections I have examined leave it more open ended to the inclusion of others not on the list. Plus they already included Hobbes, so they have to put Calvin in there, those two are inseparable.

            Thomas Jefferson is included in the next section I have listed. §113.44. United States Government, where it talks about the philosophy of the founding fathers and “(1) History. The student understands how constitutional government, as developed in America and expressed in the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the U.S. Constitution, has been influenced by ideas, people, and historical documents.”

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        @TexasChem – in re: that evil Obama youth army – did a little digging from the website link you provided. Here is what the evil socialist/facist/nazis appear to be up to (a sample):

        AmeriCorps members work with volunteers from Arlington County’s community-based Remove Invasive Plants program to participate in the eradication of non-native invasive plant species in riparian zones and in upland areas along Four-Mile Run in preparation for the reintroduction or natural reestablishment of the plant infrastructure native to the eastern hardwood forest.

        Reading for Life is a tutoring AmeriCorps program sponsored by the Carroll County Public School Board. In 2009/2010 forty tutors of reading and math will be placed in 9 different schools serving the K -9th grade student population. Also, one AmeriCorps member will serve as coordinator of the in-school mentoring program–recruiting community volunteers and placing them as mentors for students who need additional adult support.

        Community involvement is also a goal of the Reading for Life members. In the past community involvement has included food, toy, school supply drives, assistance for the Free Clinic of the Twin Counties and the Family Resource Center for domestic violence victims, Head Start school beautification projects, a Hispanic Family Literacy Night, landscape projects for the schools and a local state park. Whenever possible, the Reading for Life AmeriCorps members create opportunities to involve the students in community and school projects to instill the value of volunteerism.

        Boaz & Ruth (B&R) is a faith-based nonprofit located within the heart of the blighted North District business corridor in the Highland Park community of Richmond. The program addresses a community revitalization challenge by engaging the members in service learning projects-restoring a blighted house, turning an abandoned fire station into a restaurant/entrepreneurial incubator, and developing and operating three “social entrepreneurial” ventures-all aimed at revitalizing the community. Furthermore, B&R addresses the prisoner reentry challenge by recruiting ex-offenders as AmeriCorps members and providing them training in life skills, civic responsibility, job skills, and leadership. The reentry community service program is aimed at assisting ex offenders in achieving emotional stability, life and job skills, and in assuming family, community, and civic responsibility while at the same time giving back to the community.

        I am trying to contain my utter disgust at the evil nasty things these kids are doing, albeit with some of my tax money. How dare they!

        In all seriousness – much as I believe that the more local education becomes then the better, I cannot express support for a program, no matter how local, that seeks to politicize the process and the product. You suck Texas (State of…)



        • Ray

          Texas didn’t politicize the effort. It was primarily those on the left looking for the bogey man in the form of religious zealots taking over education.

          The changes made by the board appear pretty reasonable. I may be missing something but given the nature of school curriculum Texas looks pretty comprehensive. Way to freaking long though.

          Some politics has to come into play as politics is how we resolve differing views in a society. Don’t get me wrong. There is GOOD reason to watch Texas closely. But remember D13 pointed out that the local school districts and boards act as a buffer to reduce the adverse effects.

          Hope your day is good

        • No one stated that the kids were doing nasty things Ray.What I stated was the LEFT is running the show.Working on helpful projects while brainwashing young kids to politically correct bulls$1t!

          Anyways Ray… always remember this…I’m from Texas, therefore, I’m automatically cooler than you! 🙂

    • At the bottom of this link, there are attachments for the Proposed revisions to “Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Social Studies and Economics” This is directly from the Texas State Board of Educations website “March 2010 Committee of the Full Board Wed Item 3”


  5. Too all;

    Tis a glorious day to celibrate the Irish, and as they say everyone is Irish on St. Patty’s Day. So to all of you out there be yea Irish by blood or by pint I give this blessing:

    Here’s to a long life and a merry one.
    A quick death and an easy one
    A pretty girl or handsome lad and an honest one
    A cold pint…and another one!

    “Eirinn go Brach”


  6. Judy Sabatini says:

    Totally off topic, but just got this from my son, and wanted to share with all.


  7. Judy Sabatini says:

    Just got this in my mailbox.

    Center for Indiviual Freedom Banner CFIF Eagle

    CFIF Eagle Nancy Pelosi just unveiled Plan B. If she can’t strong-arm the votes she so desperately needs to shove ObamaCare down your throat, she’s going to simply “deem” the Senate version of ObamaCare passed in the House of Representatives without actually voting on it.

    House Minority Leader John Boehner called this latest development a “controversial trick.” Rep. Thaddeus McCotter used the phrases “acme of arrogance” and “shredding the U.S. Constitution” to describe what is going on right now.

    But even Boehner’s and McCotter’s descriptions might be gross understatements. Think about it… why stop at allowing radical leftists in Congress to “deem” that laws have passed without votes?

    Why not disband the Senate and the House of Representatives altogether and allow Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to simply invoke laws the American people oppose by direct declaration? Isn’t that, after all, what they are now attempting to do with ObamaCare?

    This latest scheme to pass ObamaCare without voting on it further proves Pelosi’s, Obama’s and Reid’s arrogance and desperation. They will stop at nothing to pass this government takeover of health care against the wishes of the American people.

    • Between 2005-06, the Republicans used Deem & Pass at least 35 times. I’m not going to pass judgment on whether it’s an acceptable method of passing legislation or not, but let’s not delude ourselves that this is a new trick that Pelosi dreamed up, and that only the Democrats would have such disdain for the American people to use it.

      Any veteran observer of Congress is used to the rampant hypocrisy over the use of parliamentary procedures that shifts totally from one side to the other as a majority moves to minority status, and vice versa. But I can’t recall a level of feigned indignation nearly as great as what we are seeing now from congressional Republicans and their acolytes at the Wall Street Journal, and on blogs, talk radio, and cable news. It reached a ridiculous level of misinformation and disinformation over the use of reconciliation, and now threatens to top that level over the projected use of a self-executing rule by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In the last Congress that Republicans controlled, from 2005 to 2006, Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier used the self-executing rule more than 35 times, and was no stranger to the concept of “deem and pass.” That strategy, then decried by the House Democrats who are now using it, and now being called unconstitutional by WSJ editorialists, was defended by House Republicans in court (and upheld). Dreier used it for a $40 billion deficit reduction package so that his fellow GOPers could avoid an embarrassing vote on immigration. I don’t like self-executing rules by either party—I prefer the “regular order”—so I am not going to say this is a great idea by the Democrats. But even so—is there no shame anymore?

      • Curious, if any of these 35 times (I’ll take your word on that), were they on anything as major, with even remotely similar implications, to our deficit, our way of life, our overall economy as this bill?

        Was there as much outlash against these 35 issues before these steps were taken as there is now?

        If the Dems feel this is so very necessary to the absolute survival of this nation, why in the world wouldn’t they feel confident enough to pass it the way all other major bills are passed?

        • I don’t remember a peep at the time, but then again, I didn’t have SUFA to help keep me informed of such things in 2005.

      • Mathius

        Its the magnitude and type of bill that makes the use of deem and pass unusual. But the notice above also mischaracterises how this procedure is used. It does require a vote, but not a roll call vote.

        That is what Pelosi is trying to avoid. A record of who voted yes and no that can be used by voters in November.

        • Hi JAC,

          I think we should go with ‘precedent’. It could work out really well for Americans later because then Obama, Pelosi, Reid, and all those czars could be deemed guilty of treason! We could remove them from office and punish them accordigly. No muss, no fuss. And when the Leftists complain we’ll just say “Hey Dems did it, so it must be okay!”

          Hey Mr. Banana man count me my bananas….. (sarc off)

        • Perfectly fair, and note my added emphasis to the above quote. I’m just trying to clarify that the Dems didn’t pull this out of nowhere and suddenly try to hoodwink everyone in an Unconstitutional way. I do not know off the top of my head why it was used before or on what, but I would bet the farm that 2005-06 wasn’t the first time either.

          Everyone is acting like Pelosi is doing something new and radical whereas she might just be doing something that is not optimal. I won’t pass judgment on the ethics of the use of the method, but I find it highly hypocritical that (A)the Democrats are using it after complaining so much when the Republicans used it and (B)the Republicans are complaining so much when they used it so many times when they were in charge.

          • Buck The Wala says:


            It is extremely hypocritical of the GOP to be complaining about the use of a tactic they themselves used.

            AND, it is extremely hypocritical of the DEMS to be using the tactic after complaining so much when the GOP had used it (this is assuming the Dems did complain when it was used by the GOP; I really don’t know if this is the case but knowing how both parties act will assume it to be true until someone can demonstrate otherwise).

            However, I don’t think it completely fair to criticize the use of this tactic solely due to the magnitude of the bill in question. Either the tactic is valid or it is not. The fact that this particular technique may not have been used in the past with such a comprehensive bill is, to me, irrelevant.

            • Buck and Mathius

              I think it is fair to say it is unprecedented, given the nature of the bill.

              The constitutional issue comes to play over whether there is a vote on a bill that includes new taxes and spending. A vote by the house is required. If they don’t actually vote on the spending bill then they have a problem.

              The method is OK in its parliamentary construct, in my view. It is a method to pass related bills that are connected because everyone knows that one is required for the other.

              Obviously both sides have lets say “stretched” the use. But then neither side seems very concerned with following their own Parliamentary Rules anyway. In fact they don’t seem to follow any rules at all. Pretty much make em up as they go.

              Happy St. Patties day to ya Buck and Matt.
              Although we Scottish Swedes have no particular fondness for the day, exceptin of course the good excuse to drink fine Irish whiskey.


              • The Republicans were wrong to use this method in the past. This bill is much different. Taking over healthcare is going to transform our country and take over a large portion of the economy.

                Two wrongs does not make it right. Shame on the Republicans for starting this but shame on the Democrats for trying to use the same process for a MAJOR piece of legislation.

            • Also one of my fears is that both parties will begin to go tit for tat (I can hear your jokes…what is tat and where do I trade it in), but seriously, what would stop the GOP from reversing this legislation using the exact same tactic if and when they gain power, and then it could bounce back and forth for quite some time as each party gains the majority. To go a bit further, what could stop either one of them doing any damn thing they pretty much please as long as they have a simple majority?

              • Once in place, the Republicans are going to love ObamaCare every bit as much as Medicare. Even if they personally hate it, the thought of getting of it will be blasphemy. It’s just like how they voted against Medicare but now burn people at the stake for discussing trimming it back.

                Note, as evidence, the way they rage against socialized medicine – except for the elderly.. ah, yes, well, oops.. that must be very uncomfortable for them. But every single solitary member of the house and senate (on both sides) would readily swear on a whole stack of bibles that they think medicare is peachy and have no wish to trim it in any way, shape, or form.

                But your later question is a good one. I have no answer.

              • But the majority of any change you will see will not take effect for years…except the paying for it part. If the goodies aren’t being handed out, then the entitlement has not started…that is the shred of hope I can hold on to if this gets passed. The US simply cannot afford this as spending in Congress currently is. It could possibly be afforded if all unnecessary spending were ceased, and then all fraud was eliminated from any essential spending. That will most likely not happen.

              • Buck The Wala says:

                Not to sound too sarcastic here, but isn’t the entire point of a constitutional republic to have majority control?

                Yes there are of course needs for safeguards. But havn’t things already fallen completely out of whack by requiring a 60-vote super majority to pass practically any legislation?

              • I think the super majority is a good thing. It has to be an overwhelming majority to pass legislation…hell, the ignorant legislation that gets passed by most any modern congress should require 95% to pass…maybe then we wouldn’t have so many restrictive laws…IMO.

              • Buck

                “Not to sound too sarcastic here, but isn’t the entire point of a constitutional republic to have majority control?”

                NO, it wasn’t. Remember, the progressive movement has been trying to “democratize” the republican concept since the late 1800’s.

                Senators were to represent the cumulative State interest, and the House was to represent the People. It was the combination of state and federal sovereignty that make it a Republic. Not whether majority or not.

                The Founders were very fearful of majority rule. Hence the more deliberative house “senate” to “cool the passions of the public”.

                It is time for higher standards for passage. Then and only then will we see a limit to legislation that is important to MOST Americans. Not just a majority that can be drummed up with the latest propaganda.

                Also lets not forget that all the BS this week from the House is to bypass the Senate’s own rules regarding deliberations. It is very distasteful.

              • Buck The Wala says:

                Not so sure about that. Yes, the purpose of the Senate was to allow for ‘cooler heads’ and all that.

                The Founders were (perhaps rightly) fearful of majority control. That is why they developed safeguards – bicameralism, checks and balances, etc.

                But at the heart of it, it was still meant to be majority control. “Majority control with guarantees for minority rights” (something along those lines, can’t remember the exact quote).

                You can make a valid argument for the need to move towards a super-majority system, but lets not pretend that the Founders intended on providing for a 2/3 vote to pass any and all legislation.

              • Buck

                It was clearly their intent that 50% + 1 was needed to pass ordinary legislation.

                I would never argue otherwise.

                I would argue however that much of what has been passed in the past 100 years would have been viewed by them as needing an amendment to give Congress that authority. And that would have been 2/3 plus 75% of the states.

                I do think the standard should be moved up to 2/3 to avoid the kind of stuff we seem to get on a regular basis. But then we need to find a way to prevent purely political play or at least for the people to push against party politics when 2/3 are on the same side of the issue.

        • Bottom Line says:

          JAC – “That is what Pelosi is trying to avoid. A record of who voted yes and no that can be used by voters in November.”

          …All the more reason to be thorough and vote ALL encombents out of office.

          Whether we get the Health-Control Reform or not, a message needs to be sent that we the people have absolutely 0 tolerance for this garbage. It isn’t just a bunch of words on paper…It is our lives and shouldn’t be toyed with.

          IMHO, They should lose their seats just for playing games with the process.

  8. Totally down a different track….

    Have some friends that try to keep me up to date on things and here’s some recent info on Lehmans/SEC et al.

    4 articles – will post separately to avoid moderation.


    Warning: some creative language at times.

  9. v. Holland says:

    Can anyone explain this Slaughter deal that the Dems are talking about?

    • Simply put, they will “deem” the Senate version as law without voting on it. Named Slaughter due to Pelosi’s lackey that first brought this up. If I recall, she’s the one that gave the denture sob story during the health care open debate a few weeks back. Tells you a little bit about her.

      They don’t have the votes in the House for a straight up and down vote, even with Kucinich being bought out yesterday on AF1, so are looking for any twisting way of cramming it through. There are already lawsuits ready to be filed if, in fact, they decide to go this route.

      What a fricken’ mess and what a bunch of corrupt, arrogant people running this country.

    • I would be interested in what Mathius, Ray or Buck think about this. From my point of view, it just seems criminal…even though technically legal? From your point of view, how do you see this?

      • Buck The Wala says:

        Mathius has a good post on this up above.

        Completely legal and constitutional, though I don’t necessarily like the idea myself. And, as Mathius posts, lets not forget that the same Repubs lambasting this technique now had used it no less than 35 times in 2005-2006.

        Also, to me, the argument of ‘well this is a much more comprehensive bill than the ones the GOP used this tactic on’ just doesn’t hold water. Either its a valid technique or it isn’t.

        • Bottom Line says:

          United States Constitution – Article I – Section 7 – Revenue Bills, Legislative Process, Presidential Veto

          All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

          Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

          Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

        • Yea, I read his post above. Politicians should all be drawn and quartered.

        • I was unaware the Republicans did anything such as the “deeming” deal the Democrats are currently doin…I was aware of the reconciliation/simple majority issues though.

          • Hypocrisy runs rampant in those parts.

            While you (and I) may have been unaware of the fact, rest assured that they are fully cognizant. What they are doing is nothing short of lying. They are lying by omission by acting like this is something new the Democrats are doing and which they find morally reprehensible when they did the exact same thing when they were in power.

            Bah humbug.

      • v. Holland says:

        Actually, I am still a mite confused-I am assuming that they have to have a vote to decide whether or not to “deem” . I mean they have always had the option to have a vote right-so if they vote to deem aren’t they in essence voting for the senate bill-Are they actually saying that doing one is any different than the other. Does doing a “deem” change any other part of the process.

        • If i understand it correctly, they would put together all of the “changes” they want in the final bill, and basically vote on the Senate bill as if those changes were already there…basically voting on both at the same time. The caveat is that I do not believe that any of the Representatives would go on record as having voted either for or against the current Senate bill.

          • v. Holland says:

            Okay, so if the house makes these changes all at once and the senate doesn’t agree with the houses changes -what then? Is the bill passed with the changes automatically or is there two bills for the President to sign? Is the Senate left out of the process then? People keep saying it is legal but I don’t see how.

            • The Senate would have to pass the amended bill…that is where the reconciliation comes in…the Senate would only require 51 votes…

              • That would be instead of the normal 60 votes required to pass legislation. It is important to note that reconciliation is only supposed to be possible if the bill is going to reduce the overall spending of congress…I believe.

              • v. Holland says:

                Thanks Terry-all this silliness for deniability-pretty sad.

              • Extremely sad…Modern politics…

              • Buck The Wala says:

                There is already something wrong when we are referring to the ‘normal 60 votes’ needed to pass legislation in the Senate.

                Passing legislation requires 51 votes.

              • Passing legislation only requires 51 votes when done under reconciliation…2/3 is the norm and IMO it should be 9/10ths…

              • Buck The Wala says:

                I disagree — the norm is 51.

                The reason for the ‘need’ for 60 votes is due to, not even the filibuster, but the threat of filibuster.

                I can see a valid argument to be made for requiring 2/3 or 9/10 or what have you, but as it stands now legislation actually requires ‘only’ 51 votes.

  10. v. Holland says:

    Another good reason to slow down-what is it costing to keep these people working so many hours and How many mistakes are being made.

    March 17, 2010

    * Miscellany

    CBO health staffers close to burnout

    Like everyone involved in the health care debate, the Congressional Budget Office seems to have hit its breaking point. CBO health care staffers have been under tremendous pressure for about year to quickly write complicated cost estimates on almost every conceivable facet of the Democrats’ reform plans. In fact, Democrats are awaiting a score on their reconciliation proposal right now.

    And it seems the largely indefatigable staffers have finally hit the wall.

    Erika Lovley:

    The Democrats’ push to get healthcare reform passed through Congress is putting incredible strain on staff in the Congressional Budget Office – a stressor that may have contributed to the recent incorrect scoring of a draft House provision.

    CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf told House Appropriations Legislative subcommittee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) that his staff has been working “100 hour weeks” and cannot keep up with the budgetary and economic impact queries lawmakers have about health care.

    “Analysis of competing health care proposals absorbed a huge share of the agency’s resources, and CBO analysts in that area have worked flat out for more than a year,” Elmendorf said today. “…Considerable congressional interest in analysis of health care issues is likely to persist and …the almost round-the-clock schedule maintained this past year by CBO’s current staff cannot be maintained much longer.”

  11. v. Holland says:


    * Live Pulse
    * Excise tax questions emerging

    Main Content
    Excise tax questions emerging – Live Pulse: Excise tax questions emerging
    March 17, 2010

    * Lobbying/Industry,
    * White House
    We most certainly can’t have the unions upset, now can we we, now what is the % of union workers to non-union workers in this country.

    Excise tax questions emerging

    AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is headed into a meeting with President Obama this afternoon after the White House and Congressional leaders have begun to discuss a higher-than-expected excise tax on some health care plans, in order to maintain their claim that health care legislation will reduce the deficit, a source involved in health care talks said.

    Any unexpected change to the health care plan could endanger support for the bill from labor, which agreed to back it after reductions to the planned excise tax. Proposed new changes, I’m told, concern cuts to the rate at which increases to the tax exemption cap are indexed.

    A labor source said Trumka’s meeting would focus on the entire bill, not just the excise tax question.

  12. 11 Economic Headlines That Make You Wonder What In The World Is Actually Going On
    These days there are times when you read the economic headlines and all you can do is shake your head. Is anyone in control out there? Who in the world could possibly be making so many bad decisions? The truth is that the U.S. economy is in a state of absolute chaos, but whenever anybody in power tries to do something about it they usually seem to make things worse. It is almost as if the vast majority of people in positions of power have lost the common sense that they were born with. Meanwhile, average Americans just keep getting angrier and angrier and are looking for someone to blame for this gigantic mess.

    If only Vince Lombardi was alive today. He would definitely know what to say at a time like this….

    Sometimes it is actually hard to believe what is happening to America. The United States was once the richest and most powerful economy on the planet and was seemingly invincible. But now things are spinning wildly out of control. Posted below are 11 headlines that make you wonder what in the world is going on out there….

    #1) Two very serious dark-suited IRS agents recently visited a carwash in Sacramento, California in pursuit of 4 cents.

    #2) Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd has introduced legislation that would give the Federal Reserve sweeping new powers over the United States economy.

    #3) The Federal Reserve is pledging to keep interest rates at record lows in order to foster economic growth and ease high unemployment.

    #4) China is seeking reassurance from the U.S. government that the U.S. dollar will not decline in value.

    #5) The unemployment rate in the construction industry has jumped to 27.1% as another 64,000 construction workers lost their jobs in February.

    #6) The Obama administration’s “Pay Czar” has decided to limit 2010 compensation for top executives at GMAC because the automobile finance giant continues to lose large amounts of money.

    #7) Internet fraud cases increased by a whopping 22% in 2009 as scammers continued to take advantage of the trusting nature of many Americans.

    #8) $2.5 trillion in IOUs from the U.S. government, payable to the Social Security Administration, are apparently stored in filing cabinets in downtown Parkersburg, West Virginia.

    #9) According to USDebtClock.org, the unfunded liabilities of the U.S. government total over 107 trillion dollars.

    #10) Are Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives about to use a “legislative trick” to pass the reconciled health care reform bill without really voting on it?

    #11) According to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, the approval rate of Congress is down to just 17 percent, and 50 percent of the respondents said that they would like to throw everybody out and start with a completely new Congress.

    • Why is he so baffled? It is not the least bit baffling if you consider that where we find ourselves today makes perfect sense when you consider this is no accident. You don’t rise to the heights of power by being stupid and incompetent.

    • The People want other people “to do something” for the economy when the answer is “do nothing”.

      Free Market economy is a “hands off” not a “hands on” system.

      • I agree that it should be hands off.

        This came from one of the Economic Collapse sites that I visit daily. I try to keep up with those sites because they post some good information that you will not find in the MSM.

        Black Flag, you need to update your site with some new information. I check out your site daily and we are due something new from you.

        Glad to see that you are back on your medication!

    • Another interesting article (pushing his news letter) but still interesting:


  13. Judy Sabatini says:
  14. Hi Ya’ll 🙂

    Thought I’d add some input about a few things. First, 60 votes in the Senate is 3/5’s not 2/3rds. Simple math could resolve this, as well as some reading on the history of the Senate and how 60 votes came to be.

    Second, The healthcare issue continues, and despite the fact that a majority of Americans are against it (the whole bill(s)), Pelosi is chugging along with it. I think she is pulling a reverse fillibuster on the American people, to the point that many of those opposed to it, may be saying “I’m tired of this crap, go ahead and have your way Bit*h”. All the while, Obama is in Ohio telling a story of a women who could not afford her insurance anymore as she is self-employed. She couldn’t be by his side during his speech, because, she fell ill. Despite her lack of insurance, that Obama claims is killing people, she was in the Cleveland Clinic getting the healthcare she needed. Obama is a lying bastard, as is Pelosi and the rest of the shitheads in D.C., and yes, I mean all of them.

    Three, I’ve read, on this site, with purpose these past few weeks, to better understand how emotional issues effect all of us, including how we respond to the issues being discussed and the way we respond. I won’t go into examples, but I believe there is a better way to perceive these issues with logic, rather than emotions. That is something I hope to test and achieve in the future.

    Four, I really like Ya’ll! What a great group of people! 🙂



  15. v. Holland says:

    ObamaCare’s Worst Tax Hike
    For the first time, payroll levies will hit investment income.

    The forced march to pass ObamaCare continues, and all that matters now is raw politics. But opponents should go down swinging, and that means exposing such policy debacles as President Obama’s 11th-hour decision to apply the 2.9% Medicare payroll tax to “unearned income.”

    That’s what savings and investment income are called in Washington, and this destructive tax wasn’t in either the House or Senate bills, though it may now become law with almost no scrutiny.

    For the first time, the combined employer-worker 2.9% Medicare rate would be extended beyond wages to interest, dividends, capital gains, annuities, royalties and rents for individuals with adjusted gross income above $200,000 and joint filers over $250,000.

    That would lift the top capital-gains rate to 22.9% as the regular rate bounces back to 20% from 15% when the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of this year. The top rate for dividends would rise to 42.5% when the Bush income-tax rates expire. The White House plan also raises the ordinary Medicare payroll tax by 0.9 percentage points for the same filers, bringing it to 3.8%.

    Preliminary estimates from the Joint Committee on Taxation peg the revenue from these changes at $183.6 billion over 10 years. The Tax Policy Center of the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution estimates that 86% of the revenue from the investment tax would come from people making more than $624,000, or about 1.2 million taxpayers. This has led many liberals to claim that it won’t matter to investors or harm the economy.

    Yet these static analyses ignore the incentive effects forecast by the Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation. Stephen Entin and colleagues estimates that the investment tax would depress GDP by about 1.3% and reduce capital formation by 3.4%, and thus reduce the after-tax incomes of everyone not paying the tax directly in the neighborhood of 1.1% to 1.2%. Labor productivity and wages would fall across the board, while the lost government revenues from the more-sluggish economy would offset the expected receipts.(…)

    Earning even a single dollar more than $200,000 in adjusted gross income will slap the 2.9% tax on every dollar of a taxpayer’s investment income, creating a huge marginal-rate spike that will most hurt middle-class earners, as opposed to the superrich.(…)

    The White House has embraced this investment tax because Big Labor opposed its preferred excise tax on high-cost health plans. So the White House decided to delay the excise tax, which meant losing $116.2 billion in revenue over the first 10 years. Voila, out came the 2.9% investment tax.

    So for reasons of political expediency, Democrats will now impose a destructive tax that will permanently skew the incentives to work, save and create jobs. Come to think of it, that sums up this entire exercise.

    Full WSJ op-ed

    • Is it just me or do current unfolding events seem a bit too similiar to reasons that led up to the American Civil War?

      1)Economic crash and depression of 1857.
      2)Unjust and unequal tax laws.
      3)Discrimination in legislation against the interests of the American people.
      4)Perversion of the Constitution from its true intent and spirit.
      5)Slavery of a social caste. (WELFARE)
      6)States rights vs Federal.

      It’s a recipe for social upheaval.In my opinion the goose is almost done.

  16. Is it me or Did USW forget to change his clocks at SUFA?

  17. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2011367936_walgreens18m.html

    Walgreens: no new Medicaid patients as of April 16
    Walgreens will stop taking new Medicaid patients in Washington state as of April 16, saying it loses money filling their prescriptions.

    • SARCASM IS ON:I’m interested to find out if the feds’ are gonna step-in and intervene with legislation to “fix” this unprecedented crisis with big-pharma!Silly capitalists!To think they should actually make a profit!Don’t they know healthcare is supposed to be “FREE” for everyone!No one is sposed’ to pay for healthcare!I mean cmon’ man this is the twentyfirst century!

      • Healthcare could be free. Just print the money and pay for it that way.

        One of the comments actually summed it up nicely. The insurance plans dictated by ObamaCare and many states are like car insurance that pays for batteries, tires, oil changes etc. Just think no more crawling under your car to change that messy oil. Let the insurance company pay for it. Who cares what Jiffy Lube charges, I’m not paying.

        • But Jiffy Lube only uses the cheap recycled oil! My car deserves namebrand synthetic. Why can’t I have that?

    • USWeapon says:

      Now isn’t that interesting. My personal opinion, this is exactly what the Democrats want to happen. Then they will have a reason to step in and make it mandatory, thus increasing government control.

  18. Hows this for transparency?

    Specter Opens Door on White House Felonies

    By Jeffrey Lord on 3.16.10 @ 6:09AM

    “There’s a crime called misprision of a felony. Misprision of a felony is when you don’t report a crime. So you’re getting into pretty deep areas here in these considerations.” — U.S. Senator Arlen Specter on March 12, 2010

    “Right now, they’re doing the ‘I won’t confirm or deny,’ and for us, it leaves two possibilities. One is the promise of transparency in this administration is just shot. The second one is even worse, which is either Sestak is lying or the administration has done something wrong and is covering it up…” — U.S. Congressman Darrell Issa on Friday on March 12, 2010


  19. ‘Democrats have a word for this evil. They call it “compassion.”‘

    Jack Wheeler channels Rand here. The democrats are fascists and they will not give up. Props to Wheeler for this dead on balls piece.

    EVIL NEVER SLEEPS Dr. Jack Wheeler

    Was Nancy Pelosi always evil? Was Harry Reid? Was Barack Hussein Obama? No, they didn’t start out in life as bad people. Somewhere along the line, most likely not as kids, teenagers, or young adults, but as they aged and acquired political power, something inside them metastasized into a monstrosity of their former selves.

    And in the process, they became evil.

    Yet it is not true that power corrupts necessarily. Power did not corrupt Ronald Reagan. It’s not power in itself that is the avenue to evil, it’s one’s values and principles. Valuing the founding American principle that every individual has a moral right to his or her own life, liberty, and the pursuit of their own personal happiness enables a politician to resist the temptation to use power to control other’s lives.

    It is disregarding that founding principle that provides the path to evil – which we could define as the compulsion to control the lives of others, the willingness to sacrifice the lives and happiness of others in order to achieve your own goals.

    And yes, Democrats have a word for this evil. They call it “compassion.”

    They have other words for their moral cannibalism, such as “fairness” and “social justice.”

    There are many lessons to be drawn from this, but the one to focus on right now is that the evil currently personified by Pelosi-Reid-Obama is compulsive. It is relentless. Liberals will never ever give up and leave us alone. It is the purpose of their lives to control ours. Evil never sleeps.

    The individuals will come and go. Today it’s Pelosi Galore and Zero. Tomorrow there’ll be others in their place. The specific issues, crises, and causes will come and go. The chosen passion of the Left as a rationale for controlling people was Marxism until the fall of the Soviet Union. Now in Marxism’s place is Global Warming. When that fails, they’ll find something else.

    This is not to preach pessimism. Pessimism promotes surrender to evil. It is to preach the appropriate antidote to pessimism in face of relentless evil – realistic optimism.

    The natural benevolence of normal people makes them resistant to recognizing evil initially. Folks in the 1930s couldn’t believe Stalin was purposefully starving 10 million Ukrainians to death. Even when we were at war with Hitler, no one could believe the reports of his murdering millions of Jews in concentration camps. All of this was such hideous evil that it was literally inconceivable to normal people.

    It took Pearl Harbor for us to recognize the evil of Tojo’s Imperial Japan. It took Hitler’s idiotic mistake of declaring war on us after Pearl Harbor (as he was an Axis ally of Japan) to open our eyes to him. Then we did what it took to rid the world of Nazism and Japan’s Co-Prosperity Sphere, including firebombing Dresden and nuking Hiroshima/Nagasaki with no apologies whatever.

    We couldn’t do that to the Commies of the Soviet Union because they got nukes as well. The Libs thus excused their evil and said we’d just have to accommodate it – until Ronald Reagan decided, “We win – they lose,” and won the Cold War by engineering the implosion of the Soviet Empire from within.

    Shortly thereafter, in a spasm of unrealistic pollyannic optimism, a bright guy named Frank Fukuyama wrote a stupid book, The End of History, which quickly became a runaway bestseller – because people wanted to be told they didn’t have to fight evil anymore.

    You’d have thought that the Atrocity of 9/11 would have disabused people of the no-more-evil lunacy – but what disarmed them morally from going after Jihadi Moslems like we went after the Nazis was that Islamic Totalitarianism disguised itself as a religion.

    This disguise was so intimidating that the president of the United States went on national television a few days after 9/11 praising Islam as a “religion of peace.” Just how a criminally pathological ideology having the respect of a “religion” castrates our capacity to fight it is explained in What If Hitler Was God? (September 2005).

    Very fortunately, we have no such inhibitions regarding Liberalism, Obamaism – more appropriately Zeroism – and Democrat Fascism. What is a worry regarding these pathologies is the delusion that victory over them will come with one final Waterloo – the defeat of ObamaCare, a tsunami wipeout of Dems next November, Zero losing to Sarah Palin in 2012, et al.

    Any of these will only be a temporary setback for the Fascist Left. They will remain dormant for a time, short or long, then the battle resumes. The battle is never over, it only waxes and wanes. We will be fighting this battle – unless we surrender – all our lives. Our children will fight this battle, and our grandchildren – unless they surrender.

    Evil never sleeps. So neither can we. We must always plan for the next battle and devise strategies to win it.


    The anti-Marxist, anti-Soviet guerrillas of RENAMO (Resistancia Nacional de Moçambicana) fighting the Communist seizure of their country of Mozambique in the 1980s, and with whom I spent some time, had as their rallying cry:

    A Luta Continuá – The Struggle Continues.

    The struggle for freedom and against the forces of fascism will always continue. We have the morality of freedom, America’s founding principles, and 300 million guns in private hands on our side. That’s a very good basis for realistic optimism.

    An optimism tempered in the reality that the evil we face is in fact evil, that it means us and our country harm, that it is ruthless, that it is relentless, that it will never abandon its attempt to control our lives.

    Only by facing this reality can we begin to not only hold Democrat Fascists at bay from further destruction of our freedom, but start to recapture the territory of freedom they have stolen from us.

    And this way, no matter what happens to ObamaCare, we can use its passage or failure to expand our freedom, and make Pelosi-Reid-Obama evil if not go to sleep, at least take a nice long nap.

  20. This pisses me off to no end.Can you believe this crap?

    Obama surrenders gulf oil to Moscow.

    The Russians are coming!The Russians are coming! – to drill in our own backyard

    The Obama administration is poised to ban offshore oil drilling on the outer continental shelf until 2012 or beyond. Meanwhile, Russia is making a bold strategic leap to begin drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico. While the United States attempts to shift gears to alternative fuels to battle the purported evils of carbon emissions, Russia will erect oil derricks off the Cuban coast.

    Offshore oil production makes economic sense. It creates jobs and helps fulfill America’s vast energy needs. It contributes to the gross domestic product and does not increase the trade deficit. Higher oil supply helps keep a lid on rising prices, and greater American production gives the United States more influence over the global market.

    Drilling is also wildly popular with the public. A Pew Research Center poll from February showed 63 percent support for offshore drilling for oil and natural gas. Americans understand the fundamental points: The oil is there, and we need it. If we don’t drill it out, we have to buy it from other countries. Last year, the U.S. government even helped Brazil underwrite offshore drilling in the Tupi oil field near Rio de Janeiro. The current price of oil makes drilling economically feasible, so why not let the private sector go ahead and get our oil?

    The Obama administration, however, views energy policy through green eyeshades. Every aspect of its approach to energy is subordinated to radical environmental concerns. This unprecedented lack of balance is placing offshore oil resources off-limits. The O Force would prefer the country shift its energy production to alternative sources, such as nuclear, solar and wind power. In theory, there’s nothing wrong with that, in the long run, assuming technology can catch up to demand. But we have not yet reached the green utopia, we won’t get there anytime soon, and America needs more oil now.

    Russia more sensibly views energy primarily as a strategic resource. Energy is critical to Russia’s economy, as fuel and as a source of profit through export. Russia also has used energy as a coercive diplomatic tool, shutting off natural gas piped to Eastern Europe in the middle of winter to make a point about how dependent the countries are that do business with the Russians.

    Now Russia is using oil exploration to establish a new presence in the Western Hemisphere. It recently concluded four contracts securing oil-exploration rights in Cuba’s economic zone in the Gulf of Mexico. A Russian-Cuban joint partnership will exploit oil found in the deep waters of the Gulf.

    Cuba has rights to the area in which drilling will be conducted under an agreement the Carter administration recognized. From Russia’s perspective, this is another way to gain leverage inside what traditionally has been America’s sphere of influence. It may not be as dramatic as the Soviet Union attempting to use Cuba as a missile platform, but in the energy wars, the message is the same. Russia is projecting power into the Western Hemisphere while the United States retreats. The world will not tolerate a superpower that acts like a sidekick much longer.


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