Thursday, March 31, 2011

Barack Obama, Sarah Palin Argue Over Energy Policy

 Mark Whittington Wed Mar 30, 6:14 pm ET

With the Middle East in chaos and the price of oil soaring, President Barack Obama decided that it was time for another speech on energy policy. The proposals in the speech were reasonable, but the reality, as Sarah Palin points out, is wide of the rhetoric.

After ridiculing Palin for her "drill, baby, drill" slogan, Obama claimed that he is indeed encouraging domestic oil and gas production "so long as it is safe and responsible."

"To keep reducing that reliance on imports, my Administration is encouraging offshore oil exploration and production - as long as it's safe and responsible. I don't think anyone's forgotten that we're not even a year removed from the largest oil spill in our history. I know the people of the Gulf Coast haven't. What we learned from that disaster helped us put in place smarter standards of safety and responsibility - for example, if you're going to drill in deepwater, you've got to prove that you can actually contain an underwater spill. That's just common sense.

"Today, we're working to expedite new drilling permits for companies that meet these standards. Since they were put in place, we've approved 39 new shallow water permits; and we've approved an additional 7 deepwater permits in recent weeks. When it comes to drilling onshore, my Administration approved more than two permits last year for every new well that the industry started to drill. So any claim that my Administration is responsible for gas prices because we've "shut down" oil production might make for a useful political sound bite - but it doesn't track with reality."

Palin is having none of it. Within hours of Obama's speech, which also had proposals for alternative energy and conservation, she posted the following on her Facebook page:
"We have the moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico as well as the de-facto moratorium in the Arctic. We have his 2012 budget that proposes to eliminate several vital oil and natural gas production tax incentives. We have his anti-drilling regulatory policies that have stymied responsible development. And the list goes on. The President says that we can't 'drill' our way out of the problem. But we can't drive our cars on solar shingles either. We have to live in the real world where we must continue to develop the conventional resources that we actually use right now to fuel our economy as we continue to look for a renewable source of energy."
 Palin also favors an "all of the above" energy policy, but one that actually develops domestic oil reserves in the near term.

The tit for tat argument over energy policy might be a hint of things to come for the 2012 election, should Palin decide to run. Palin knows quite a bit about energy policy, stemming from her days as an energy regulator then governor of Alaska. Furthermore, she has linked energy policy with economic growth and national security in what amounts to a Palin Doctrine.

Palin further provides a critique of what passes for Obama's energy policy that amounts to an accusation that he is manipulating oil and gas prices to make them artificially high in order to make his favored alternative energy technology more attractive.

Palin thus has an attack point against Obama that will be hard for the president to defend against. Despite his denials, he has locked up quite a bit of American's oil and gas resources, resulting in greater dependency on foreign oil and higher oil and gas prices. Obama can dispute this all he wants, but Palin will be able to ask people to either believe the president or their lying eyes.

If Palin does decide to run for president, she will have a substantial argument for electing her beside the fact that she is not Obama. She will be able to promise to unlock domestic energy reserves, sparking new domestic energy production, creating tens of thousands of jobs and, perhaps, bring the country out of the economic malaise that has featured throughout the Obama presidency.

Sources: Obama's Energy Security Speech: 'There Are No Quick Fixes', President Barack Obama, National Journal, March 30, 2011

FLASHBACK: What We Were Saying One Year Ago About Obama's Failed Energy Policy, Sarah Palin, Sarah Palin Facebook Page, March 30, 2011


Obama's Good War

March 31, 2011
Well, well, well, so Obama has embarked on his third war in little more than two years. You've got to admit that "flexibility" is his middle name. Or at least one of his middle names: Barack Barry Hussein "Flexibility" Soetoro Obama, Jr. Those are the names we know so far, but The Donald thinks there might be more.

Whodda thunk? Here we are barely into the first week of what started out as a "No-Fly Zone" and it is now turning out to be Air Al Qaida. Ten years ago, AQ had a mere four civilian airplanes to crash into Manhattan, DC and Pennsylvania. Now they have a couple of hundred Tomahawk cruise missiles and a ton of American jets, carrier groups, and some NATO odds and ends, to trade off one ugly tyrant for whoever washes up next on the shores of Tripoli. And the best thing is that the United States has no visible strategic interest in Libya. This is done purely out of the goodness of our hearts, as President Obama explained the other day. Aren't we wonderful? All the liberals are feeling proud to be Americans, after all.

What a relief! For the Democrats, George W. Bush was eight years of "No Blood for Oil!" But barely 24 months later, Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan are "Plenty of blood for oil!" -- as long as it's not our oil. We've just outsourced deep sea drilling to Cuba and Brazil, people who really know how to drill for oil. We have China and Russia publicly explaining international morality to Obama. Gitmo is now a permanent fixture for the War on Terror (or whatever it's called this week). We have two ultramodern Iranian warships in the Mediterranean. The little people are finally getting a voice in Cairo. Peace and love are breakin' out all over.

Obama started his Middle Eastern policy with a grand speech from Al Azhar University in Cairo, the source of anti-Western fatwas galore for the Muslim world. Two years later he's Super-Bush. George W. Bush got a pair of shoes thrown at him by an Iraqi "reporter" at the end of his second term, to loud cheers from the US media. Barack Obama is treated with superstitious reverence by the same objective journOlistas, after community disorganizing the Congressional Democrats, The New York Times business model, Newsweek, the Egypt-Israel peace treaty, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, British Petroleum, the US economy, the Chicago Carbon Exchange and the State of Wisconsin.

Who needs the Tea Party? Obama is doing the job for them. He's the worst enemy the Left has had since Reagan, and the best thing is that they're still in love with him. The Left still can't criticize this president because he's Their Guy, and they are still locked into their own mental concrete. Never again will they be able to say that they're all about Peace and Love, that they would never invade a Muslim country (it's number three so far), that they know how to run the US economy, that the Euros will love our peaceful new non-leadership of the world, or that a black guy has to be elected, to prove to the world how enlightened we are, no matter what he believes, or whether he can open the door to the Oval Office.

Good psychiatrists know that you can't treat narcissistic personalities directly. What you do is to just let life happen to your most arrogant narcissist, and then when they keep getting bloody noses and blaming it on George W. Bush, you just keep asking them "How are you doing this week?" Just give them unconditional positive regard, and eventually they figure it out for themselves.

Americans can consider this administration to be the single most expensive case of psychotherapy in human history. So what if the bill is running up into the trillions of bucks, and the media are still in denial? They still love ObamaCare. They love the post-modern foreign policy. They suddenly get the point of anti-missile defense, because soon Iran's missiles will be able to reach Saudi Arabia and Israel, Paris, Berlin, and Times Square in Manhattan.  Obama has made even the Europeans really militant about Muslim extremism -- so militant that they've now got the US Navy and Air Force on the job. Hell, the Saudis are invading Bahrain to knock down Iranian-inspired rebels. The Egyptians are worried to death about Libyan unrest, and will probably volunteer to knock down Qaddafi next door. Even the MoBros are worried about real anarchy.

Hillary Clinton has turned into a neocon. Notice that? The Clintons sound militantly pro-Western, if not pro-American. Ban Ki Moon has the shakes at the UN about the Norks and their nuclear export trade. The IAEA is sounding almost sane about nuclear proliferation, after slyly covering up Iranian nukes under El Baradei. All the pompous stars of liberal hypocrisy are getting faked out, and they're dancing as fast as they can to memorize their lines of the day. We've had CNN and CBS news reporters getting beaten up in Tahrir Square, amid applause from intellectual leaders of the Left, who are finally seeing their blood-thirsty dreams coming to fruition. In London the Ritz has been trashed by anarchists, supported by half a million welfare state employees who are scared of losing their do-nothing jobs as Europe's budgets are beginning to collapse.  And global warming is dead -- nobody believes it any more.

Now, think about this: could McCain have accomplished this much in a mere two years? I can't imagine it. McCain might be more in touch with reality than Barack H. Obama, Jr. But Obama has squeezed more realism out of the mind-numbed Left in two years than any Republican could have. He's just followed their dreamy prescriptions and we can see the results every single day.

Give this guy four more years and by 2016 the adult wing of liberalism, which has disappeared since the radical Left took over, will have to take charge in the Democratic Party again. The radical Left has been squeezed out of the House already. Madcap Democrats like Dick Durbin now look like the Saudi suck-ups they really are. All we have to do is let ObamaCare run your doctors and hospital care, and soon the inevitable earthquake will keep the Left out of power for a generation.

And best of all, it's only cost us fourteen trillion dollars so far.

It could have been worse. 

Fear of a Government Shutdown?

March 31, 2011
By Steve McCann
Leading Democrats are hoping for a government shutdown over the budget, convinced they will be able to blame Republicans and score political points.
"If I was (sic) head of DNC, I would be quietly rooting for it," said Dean, speaking on a National Journal Insider's Conference panel Tuesday morning. "I know who's going to get blamed - we've been down this road before."

The Democrats and Liberals in general pride themselves on always being the smartest people in the room.  They claim to always be a step ahead of those Neanderthal conservatives who are stuck in the past, and as for those really dumb people in fly-over country -- well there's just no hope for them.  Yet these same self-proclaimed movers and shakers are always reverting to a 70 year old tattered and threadbare political playbook and assume whatever may have worked to their benefit in the past will work again.

Today the Democrats, Chuck Schumer and Howard Dean and their sycophants in the media among others, are out publicly cheerleading and plotting to force a government shutdown in the assumption that they will win in the court of public opinion as they perceive they did in 1995.  But did they succeed in destroying the Republicans in 1995 and what were the circumstances then versus now?

Sixteen years in politics is a lifetime; for those Republicans with weak knees in the House and Senate, perhaps a primer of what the facts on the ground were in 1995 (the last government shutdown blamed on the Republicans) as compared to today is in order.

In 1995 the unemployment rate was 5.6%; today, 9.0%.  (Gallup has a more accurate reading of 10.0%).  The U-6 unemployment rate was 9.9% today 17.0% (the U-6 unemployment rate counts not only people without work seeking full time employment but also marginally attached workers and those working part-time for economic reasons.)  (Gallup shows that figure to be 19.0%) The unemployment rates are up 62 and 72% respectively.   

The federal budget deficit in 1995 was $172 billion; by the end of fiscal 2011 it will be nearly $1.65 Trillion.  (adjusting for inflation: the annual deficit is up by 543%)   The deficit as a percent of GDP in 1995 was 3.2% in 2011 it will be 11.3%.

The national debt at the end of 1995 was $4.9 Trillion; at the end of 2011 it will be $14.5 Trillion.  (adjusting for inflation: the national debt is up 106%, or more than double).  The national debt was 66% of GDP in 1995 and will be nearly 100% of GDP in 2011.  

Overall government (federal, state and local) spending has also skyrocketed.  In 1995, $2.63 Trillion was spent; in 2011 it will be $6.3 Trillion.  (adjusted for inflation: overall spending is up 70%).  In 1995 this spending was 35% of the GDP; today it exceeds 46% of the GDP. 

In 1995, the federal government budget was $1.6 Trillion; President Obama has proposed for 2011 a budget of $3.75 Trillion.  (adjusted for inflation: an increase of 67%)   

The U.S. Gross Domestic Product in 1995 grew over 4.5% from the previous year.  In 2010 the GDP grew only at 2.3% over the previous year.

Another point of economic comparison is the price of oil.  In 1995 it was $17.99 a barrel, today it is $105.00 (an increase of 304% adjusted for inflation).

The Democrats cannot escape the fact that all this devastating economic news over the past 3 years occurred when they either controlled Congress or had a stranglehold on White House and the Congress.

In 1995, the American citizen was not engaged in the political process.  Per the above statistics, the economy was doing well and the average citizen was content to go about his business.

There were no foreign wars ongoing, no terror activity, and no upheavals in the Middle East with the very real prospect of jihadist takeovers in Egypt, Libya and Yemen in addition to a nuclear armed Iran.  The world is a far more dangerous place than it was in 1995 or even 2008.

In the venue of the media there was no Fox News, no internet blogs or news and commentary sites, and talk radio (dominated by conservatives) was a quarter of what it is today.  The media that so aided and abetted the Democrats to spin the 1995 shutdown as a Republican blunder is a shadow of its former self.

But the ultimate determination of the supposed disaster that befell the Republicans is what happened in the next election in 1996 less than a year after the shutdown.  This was also a presidential election year wherein Bill Clinton carried 31 states soundly defeating Bob Dole by over 8.3 million votes.  Yet the Republicans picked up 2 seats in the Senate and lost only 9 in the House after winning a then unprecedented 54 seats in 1994.  The Republicans also maintained control of the House for the next ten years until 2006.

The atmosphere that allowed Bill Clinton, the Democrats and their allies in the media to blame the shutdown on the Republicans does not exist today.  In fact it is the polar opposite.  The Republican leadership of the House and Senate need to understand that.

The people are now engaged.  They are aware of the nation's debt and spending crisis which will lead to national bankruptcy.  The Tea Party movement is unlike any other in recent American history and confirms the anxiety of the vast majority of the people as to the future.  A shutdown will not result in Social Security checks or other vital services being curtailed only the temporary stoppage of non-essential services. 

There is an old adage: if you go back to the well too often, it runs out of water.  Both parties need to heed that advice.

Why Leftists And Muslim Fanatics Can’t Coexist With America and Israel

Ari DavidPosted by Ari David Mar 31st 2011 at 2:12 pm in Politics, Uncategorized, sharia

Conservatives are logical people that  ask logical questions about themselves, of themselves and about the world around them. A great failing of conservative thought on a mass scale is an inability to understand non-conservatives, or more specifically, anti-conservatives. These are groups of people like Jihadist Moslems who work to force Shariah compliance on others, leftists of all stripes: tyrannical atheists, American liberal democrat voters who really understand the democrat party’s plans for the nation and are okay with these plans, socialists, collectivists, communists and other people who have no faith save for their faith in big government solutions for all of a society’s challenges baffle the average conservative’s ability to understand what makes these people tick.

Why would anyone have a problem with conservatism? Even if you are not a conservative, conservatives don’t try to convert or coerce others, they try to convince others. The principles of conservatism are simple, clear and ethical: the civil society, individual liberty, respect for private property, limited government, the free market and the rule of law are not threatening ideas. These basic conservative tenets are welcoming and inclusive ideas.  Unlike Jihadist Islam and communism, the conservative does not seek world domination so why can’t free societies just be left alone and in peace by those who have a differing world view to conservatism? Conservatism naturally “coexists” just by being itself.

At the forefront of conservative “un-“(or “mis” or ”non”) –understanding of anti-conservative thought is the question that if you are a fanatic adherent to Islam or leftism living in a free society, why can’t you just find a nice country that offers that system of government you would prefer to live in and move there rather than trying to destroy Israel or fundamentally transform America and Western civilizations into nations with the type of dystrophic governance that Islamic and leftist tyranny offer? North Korea and Iran welcome people with open arms who wish to be tools of the state. Why don’t people who have a corresponding worldview to these tyrannies just move there rather than trouble themselves with agitating here?

Although many on the left and in the Moslem world argue otherwise, the truth is that America’s and Israel’s very existence precludes the ultimate long term success of this kind of governance elsewhere. For instance, in the case of communism, one of the core tenets is total world domination (as in Islam) this is because the communist knows that if one nation were to remain with a free market economy, those forced to live under communist tyranny would inevitably relocate themselves to a place that had the benefits, pleasures, luxuries and conveniences of a free market and/or would sooner or later agitate in the communist country for free market reforms to bring these things to that society. The bottom line is that free market principles eventually win out over economic tyranny just by existing elsewhere.

Islamic countries experience that identical dynamic. There is no way for a Shariah compliant society with all of it’s idiocy, violence, torture, misogyny, murder and antithetical moral values surviving in the long term if even a small portion of that society learns that there is somewhere else to live on the planet that offers a lifestyle that is more pleasant. People would eventually question all the teachings about Allah the Mullahs espouse because there is something sacred and invincible in the human spirit that always and quite naturally yearns for freedom and pleasure. This natural component of the human spirit will eventually reject everything that virulent Islam, Jihadist and Shariah compliance force on people.

So, the answer to the questions: why can’t the leftist and/or the Moslem fanatic coexist with America and Israel? And why can’t these types of people just find a nice leftist and/or Moslem fanatic society to live in for themselves? Has a very simple answer. No. They cannot make this choice because it is impossible for them to coexist with us without eventually being destroyed by our existence. Even a passive democracy, like say France, will surely attract a number of apostates from these two faiths and these apostates will collapse all the hard work the leftist or Islamic tyrant did to make the perfect leftist or Islamic society. This is why we who are free will always be targeted for death, destruction, conversion and submission by those who are our ideological enemies. Just in case you haven’t noticed, this destruction is exactly what Islam and leftism is unleashing on France as you read this.

Sure, after getting attacked, terrorized or seeing crimes against humanity, our society inevitably fights evil regimes with military force too but it is not the military action America, Israel or the West takes that causes our enemies consternation, it’s our freedom, harmony and very existence that threatens evil regimes and causes them to attempt to destroy us in order to keep their own people in line with the ideologies the leaders have forced on the people to retain power.

This truth completely dispels the illogical myth of “coexistence.” An idea ironically pushed by those on the left and Islam who will never choose to coexist with a free society no matter how well their Utopian ideas of nation wide communes, workers’ paradises, gulags, terrorist training camps, Madrassas, mosques, compact fluorescent light bulbs, solar panels, windmills, smart cars and capped carbon emissions succeed in their own nations in the short term, eventually those flimsy ideas will be washed away by the powerful flow of freedom’s natural watershed. The leftist and Islamic fanatic has only one course of action to take which is to attempt to parch the spring of human yearning and poison the well of human freedom wherever it exists by forcing his sick ideology on all others to give any chance these backwards ideologies have at long term survival.

Big Peace

Wisconsin Judicial Tyranny

Why did the state of Wisconsin bother to have an election last November?

To look at the results, you would think the voters had spoken clearly. They elected a Republican governor and legislature, based on the promise that they would take strong action to balance the state budget and give schools and municipalities more control over their local budgets.

Within a few weeks of taking office, the Republicans followed through on their promise.

Public sector unions that had stubbornly refused to make concessions to help struggling schools and municipalities save money were called out. Labor costs comprise about 80 percent of any school or municipal budget, but the unions wouldn’t let local officials cut labor costs.

The unions abused their collective bargaining privileges, so the state moved to take most of those privileges away. We elect state officials to make those kinds of decisions. If voters decide later that those decisions were wrong, they elect different people next time.

But it’s beginning to seem like the will of the people, as reflected in the election results, is completely irrelevant. The Democrats and their special interest sponsors in the labor movement are using any means at their disposal to block the efforts of the officials who won the election.

Our Founding Fathers warned against “the tyranny of the minority.” This must have been the type of situation they had in mind.

First we had the runaway Senate Democrats, who accept large cash donations from the unions to do their bidding. They fled to Illinois and blocked the legislative process, because the voters did not elect enough of them to defeat Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed legislation through prescribed methods.

How is that democracy?

Now we have Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi, a woman whose family is knee-deep in Democratic Party politics, blocking implementation of Walker’s legislation. She issued a temporary restraining order, based on the accusation that a Senate committee approved the law in violation of the open meetings act. When the Legislative Reference Bureau published the law anyway, she reiterated her order and threatened anyone who implemented the law with sanctions.

That poses a simple question – if the Senate committee indeed violated the open meetings law, couldn’t it just meet again, vote in favor of the law again, then have the full Senate pass it again and the governor sign it again?

Not so simple, according to a Senate staffer. The Senate could do all of that, but the Democrats have vowed to keep posing legal challenge after legal challenge, to block implementation of the bill indefinitely.

As one key Democrat told the media, his party will use a “tsunami of litigation” to hold up the process. And there’s no doubt that they can go judge shopping and find useful tools like Judge Sumi any time they want.

How is that democracy?

People love to gripe about the influence of special interests in government. Now they’re watching a horrific example of special interest influence blocking the will of the voters, and nobody is saying a word.

The Democrats who are doing the unions’ bidding accept thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from organized labor every year. That’s what special interests do – purchase the loyalty of lawmakers – sometimes Democrats, sometimes Republicans - to protect their agenda.

And the unions’ pet lawmakers will go to any length to disrupt the process, even if that defies the will of the voters.

It’s hard to believe that the average voters of Wisconsin, who cannot afford to purchase the loyalty of legislators, are not descending on Madison in droves, demanding that the people they elected to govern be allowed to govern.

Big Government

Judge Maryann Sumi (D*) ‘fixes’ anti-reform restraining order. Again.

 Let’s recap what happened in Wisconsin (that link leads to a whole slew of links that track this epic foul-up by the Democratic party in Wisconsin over what should have been a simple enough demonstration of the principle that elections have consequences).
  • Wisconsin Democratic Senators run away rather than do their jobs.  This prevents a quorum for bills that are primarily financial in nature.
  • Wisconsin Republican Senators end up passing what they can, including a critical union reform bill.
  • Having returned from self-imposed Illinois exile, Wisconsin Democrats find a convenient judge (Maryann Sumi) to issue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), on what is frankly a misunderstanding of the law.
  • Judge Sumi makes a mistake in the TRO by only enjoining the Secretary of State (Democrat) from publishing the law.  For example, she did not enjoin the Legislative Research Bureau (LRB) from publishing the law, despite the fact that they are required to by law.
  • The LRB publishes the law, as per their statutory requirements; as the TRO did not cover that department, they have no choice.
  • On Monday, the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DoJ) points this detail out to the courts and asks them to vacate the order, given that the law is published.
  • On Tuesday, Judge Sumi reissues her TRO to prevent implementation of the law.
  • On Wednesday, the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DoA) points out that this ruling was flawed in that it: did not in fact indicate that the law is not in effect; explicitly declined to state that the law was not legally published; and since when did Judge Sumi get to presume to drag the DoA (a non-party in the original dispute) into this mess she made in the first place?
  • On Thursday, Judge Sumi has to fix her TRO again to rule that the law is not published, in a fashion that satisfies the DoA.
  • At some point in all of this Judge Sumi somewhat plaintively (if you’ll pardon the pun) wonders aloud why the legislative branch simply just doesn’t pass the law again.
  • To which Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) effectively replies “Because we did it right the first time, and it’s not like I tell you how to run a courtroom.”  Left off is the unstated “Although I apparently should.”
I agree with Hot Air: the sooner the Wisconsin Supreme Court takes this away from Sumi, the better.  At this rate, I fully expect the next ruling to feature Bozo the Clown.  Come to think of it, if Bozo has space on his judicial docket…

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*I am assuming.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

FLASHBACK: What We Were Saying One Year Ago About Obama’s Failed Energy Policy

by Sarah Palin on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 10:44am

 It’s unbelievable (literally) the rhetoric coming from President Obama today. This is coming from he who is manipulating the U.S. energy supply. President Obama is once again giving lip service to a “new energy proposal”; but let’s remember the last time he trotted out a “new energy proposal” – nearly a year ago to the day. The main difference is today we have $4 a gallon gas in some places in the country. This is no accident.

This administration is not a passive observer to the trends that have inflated oil prices to dangerous levels. His war on domestic oil and gas exploration and production has caused us pain at the pump, endangered our already sluggish economic recovery, and threatened our national security. Through a process of what candidate Obama once called “gradual adjustment,” American consumers have seen prices at the pump rise 67 percent since he took office. Meanwhile, the vast undeveloped reserves that could help to keep prices at the pump affordable remain locked up because of President Obama’s deliberate unwillingness to drill here and drill now. We’re subsidizing offshore drilling in Brazil and purchasing energy from them, instead of drilling ourselves and keeping those dollars circulating in our own economy to generate jobs here. The President said today, “There are no quick fixes.” He’s been in office for nearly three years now, and he’s about to launch his $1 billion re-election campaign. When can we expect any “fixes” from him? How high does the price of energy have to go?

So, here’s a little flashback to what I wrote on March 31, 2010, at National Review Online’s The Corner:

Many Americans fear that President Obama’s new energy proposal is once again “all talk and no real action,” this time in an effort to shore up fading support for the Democrats’ job-killing cap-and-trade (a.k.a. cap-and-tax) proposals. Behind the rhetoric lie new drilling bans and leasing delays; soon to follow are burdensome new environmental regulations.  Instead of “drill, baby, drill,” the more you look into this the more you realize it’s “stall, baby, stall.”

Today the president said he’ll “consider potential areas for development in the mid and south Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, while studying and protecting sensitive areas in the Arctic.” As the former governor of one of America’s largest energy-producing states, a state oil and gas commissioner, and chair of the nation’s Interstate Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, I’ve seen plenty of such studies. What we need is action — action that results in the job growth and revenue that a robust drilling policy could provide.  And let’s not forget that while Interior Department bureaucrats continue to hold up actual offshore drilling from taking place, Russia is moving full steam ahead on Arctic drilling, and China, Russia, and Venezuela are buying leases off the coast of Cuba.

As an Alaskan, I’m especially disheartened by the new ban on drilling in parts of the 49th state and the cancellation of lease sales in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. These areas contain rich oil and gas reserves whose development is key to our country’s energy security. As I told Secretary Salazar last April, “Arctic exploration and development is a slow, demanding process. Delays or major restrictions in accessing these resources for environmentally responsible development are not in the national interest or the interests of the State of Alaska.”

Since I wrote the above, we have even more evidence of the President’s anti-drilling agenda. We have the moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico as well as the de-facto moratorium in the Arctic. We have his 2012 budget that proposes to eliminate several vital oil and natural gas production tax incentives. We have his anti-drilling regulatory policies that have stymied responsible development. And the list goes on. The President says that we can’t “drill” our way out of the problem. But we can’t drive our cars on solar shingles either. We have to live in the real world where we must continue to develop the conventional resources that we actually use right now to fuel our economy as we continue to look for a renewable source of energy. If we are looking for an affordable, environmentally friendly, and abundant domestic source of energy, why not turn to our own domestic supply of natural gas? Whether we use it to power natural-gas cars or to run natural-gas power plants that charge electric cars, natural gas is an ideal “bridge fuel” to a future when more renewable sources are available, affordable, and economically viable on their own. It’s a lot more viable than subsidizing boondoggles like these inefficient electric cars that no one wants. I’m all for electric cars if you can develop one I can actually use in Alaska, where you can drive hundreds of miles without seeing many people, let alone many electrical sockets. But these electric and hybrid cars are not a quick fix because we still need an energy source to power them. That’s why I like natural gas, but we still have to drill for natural gas, and this administration doesn’t like drilling or apparently the jobs that come with responsible oil and natural gas development. They don't have a coherent energy policy. They have piecemeal ideas for subsidizing impractical pet “green” projects.

I have always been in favor of an “all-of-the-above” approach to energy independence, but "all-of-the-above" means conventional resource development too.  It means a coherent, practical, and forward-looking energy policy. I wish the President would understand this. The good news is there is nothing wrong with America’s energy policy that another good old-fashion election can’t solve. 2012 is just around the corner.

- Sarah Palin

The Known Unknowns of Libya

Tuesday, March 29, 2011
By Daniel Greenfield

The Libyan war may be dumbest war we have ever stumbled into. It is a war where the Secretary of Defense has admitted we have no national interest, a war where we don't know on whose behalf we're fighting or why we're even there. A war that the White House did not bother to run by either congress or the American people, except after the fact. A war that appears to be fought at the behest England, France, their oil companies, and a motley collection of Libyan rebels ranging from former regime thugs to Al Qaeda.

A week after launching it, the administration still can't get its own story straight as to why we're fighting it at all. According to Obama, he went in because he refused to wait for images of mass graves. Other things he refused to wait for were basic intelligence, stated objectives and congressional approval. It took us ten years to decide to remove Saddam, it didn't even take Obama ten days.

Was there any indication that there would be the implied genocide that comes with mass graves? Hardly. On Feb 22nd, Libyan diplomats began claiming in broken English that Gaddafi was committing 'genocide'. Since they had trouble with the language, it's an open question if they even knew what genocide was. And since Libya is an Arab-Muslim country and the civil war is fought between Arab Muslims, who exactly would Gaddafi be committing genocide against? The Tuaregs are the closest thing Libya has to a minority-- and they're fighting on his side. If there's a possible genocide here, it would be of the Tuareg people by the rebels if they win.

But if Obama was too afraid that there might someday emerge pictures of mass graves, why then did he oppose the removal of Saddam Hussein? Mass graves in Iraq are not hypothetical. And photos of them are available. Yet Obama who campaigned on his opposition to a war in which there were mass graves and in which every option had been exhausted after a decade-- now leaps into a war to avoid the possibility that he might ever have to look at photos of mass graves.

This isn't about Obama being too queasy to look at mass graves. If that were the case we would be invading North Korea, Sudan and the cartel run parts of Mexico. Gaddafi is not doing anything that half the Middle East isn't doing, and unlike our close ally Turkey, he's doing it without employing chemical weapons. We aren't in Libya because it's an extraordinary human rights situation, but because our decision making process has become a thorough and complete mess.

What kind of war is it, when a week after it begins, the NATO commander admits that he's examining the possibility that maybe we're actually fighting for Al-Qaeda. Our main enemy in that other war, which we're neglecting in order to begin a war on yet another front. The very minimal condition for any war should be to make sure that we aren't fighting on the same side as our enemies. The only condition lower than that would be to make sure we aren't pointing the guns at ourselves. A war where we can't do that is a very bad war indeed.

But don't worry. While we may not be sure who the rebels are yet, Obama has already proposed arming them. Or rather he's not ruling it out. Which is to say all options are on the table, except the reasoned and lawful ones.

Bad is the operating word in the UK, where RAF instructors are being rushed off to the front lines because of a shortage of Typhoon pilots, and with no aircraft carrier to deploy them from because it's been cut up for scrap, while the Royal Navy flagship is being put up for sale on the military version of eBay. If you're going to start a war, as Prime Minister Cameron has, you should be prepared for it.

But Libya isn't the kind of war you prepare for, it's the kind of war you stumble into. One bad idea mushrooming into another one. An error in judgement by world leaders escalating into a bombing campaign. The only thing missing is Peter Sellers trying to strangle himself. This is how liberals think all war happens, and so that's the kind of war they foisted on us.

European governments with Libyan oil contracts prematurely celebrating a rebel victory, only to see the rebel advance turn into a retreat, scrambling to save the situation by making sure that the rebels win. Before really figuring out who the rebels are. We are bombing Libya, not because of the specter of mass graves, but because key European leaders made a wrong guess about the outcome of a civil war and their political futures and energy supply hangs in the balance.

Despite our No Fly Zone, Gaddafi is still winning. Which means that now we have to get even deeper, to justify our original course of action. Now we may supply the rebels with arms and begin hitting Libyan armor. Then we'll have to start bombing armed camps. And if the rebels still can't pull it off, how many more steps will it take before we start sending the troops in?

The credibility of Obama and key European allies is on the line. The Arab League has already made sure to stake out positions on both sides of the fence. Russia is against it, except when they're sort of for it. China expects to benefit no matter what happens. It's probably the safest bet of any player in the game. Obama and Sarkozy have elections coming up, and they need a win. But their only possible Victory Condition is either Gaddafi getting on a plane or going in the ground. And the latter is clearly more likely to happen than the former.

It's not that Gaddafi is worth saving. He isn't. He isn't even worth the cost of a cruise missile. But it's doubtful that his replacements, most of whom either worked for him or think the Taliban didn't go far enough, will be any better. And what's worse is that we haven't done the due diligence to decide that one way or another. Our military people are just guessing. And they know that it doesn't matter. The politicians have committed themselves, which means that even if tomorrow Libya's rebel council were to appoint Osama bin Laden as its chief, some way would be found to rationalize and normalize the whole thing.

That's how the dominoes of stupidity work. Sarkozy and Cameron fall on Obama, he fingers his chin and tugs on his earlobes while pondering the NCAA draft picks. Samantha Power shows up eager for an opportunity to put her interventionist ideas to the test, with the promise of international support. Obama checks his calendar and decides that they can get it done while he's vacationing with his family in Rio. Imagine Will Smith filling in for Peter Sellers, and you get some idea of how ridiculous and poorly thought out this whole farce really is.

Libya isn't just an optional war, it's a war we began fighting before we even knew we were fighting it. It's a war that's being renamed even as it's being escalated. Odyssey Dawn sounds like an exotic perfume. What about Kinetic Military Action, it sounds like a feature for the latest video game. Anything but an honest admission that this is an undeclared war on behalf of the losing side in a civil war. The side we decided to choose before we even knew what that side was.

And that's the real crime here. The revelation of how little thought and concern went into this war. How the major players, stumbled into this thinking only of themselves. Sarkozy and Cameron dreaming of oil contracts, Samantha Power of forcing her interventionist vision on the world, and Obama, hoping a few billion spent on bombing Libya will help him in the polls. The criminal thoughtlessness behind Obama's decision to go to war-- mirrors the criminal thoughtlessness of his party in turning him into a viable candidate after a few months in the Senate.

The confused leaders of the ad hoc coalition all expect Gaddafi to do the reasonable thing, but that's how they got into trouble to begin with, when they assumed that Libya would be just like Egypt which would be just like Tunisia. But Gaddafi isn't Mubarak, he isn't even Saddam Hussein. What he is, is authentically crazy. Not the usual crazy that's so commonplace in the Arab world. This isn't Baghdad Minister of Information crazy, or GPS Shark crazy or any of the usual melange of conspiracy theories, cunning ploys and contradictory beliefs that are commonplace among regional leaders. No, this is actual insanity. That means it may be possible that Gaddafi will get on a plane tomorrow and fly to Malta and announce that he is resigning to build an entry portal to paradise. Or more likely he will just hang on to the bitter end, spending his fortune on arms and mercenaries. And we will spend ours firing cruise missiles at pickup trucks.

Which means this war may turn into Grenada or Iraq-- or anything in between. It may be resolved tomorrow or three years from now. There really is no way to know, because of how much we don't know. The tactical maxim that 'no plan of operations survives first contact with the enemy' is more relevant here than ever, because of the sheer ignorance and lack of planning that went into this war. Liberals mocked Rumsfeld's 'Known Unknowns' and 'Unknown Unknowns', and here they find themselves in a war filled with 'Unknown Unknowns', things that they didn't even know they needed to know. Like how wars really work.

Sultan Knish

Barack Obama's 'I am not a Crook' Moment

March 30, 2011

The Senate Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps and Global Narcotics Affairs might get a little more heated than usual on March 31, 2011. Among the panel members is Kenneth Melson, Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE).

The hearing will be the first opportunity for senators to question the Acting Director of the ATF about events surrounding Customs Agent Brian Terry's death and the Gunwalker Scandal. Gunwalker, also called "Fast and Furious," was a deviation from Project Gunrunner that only tracked guns being purchased for use in the drug war raging in Mexico. Gunwalker/Fast and Furious actually allowed the guns to "walk" south of the Mexican border without the knowledge or permission of the Mexican government. 

Nearly a week after Sharyl Atkisson presented the first major network report of Project Gunwalker on CBS Evening News, all three major political parties in Mexico asked for a clarification of the events surrounding the project. On March 8th, the Associated Press reported that "Congressman Humberto Trevino estimated Tuesday that 150 shooting injuries or deaths have been linked to guns that were allowed to proceed into Mexico as part of a U.S. effort to build cases against traffickers."

On March 13th Univision, a Spanish language network, broadcast two interviews, one with John Dodson, the subject of Sharyl Atkisson's first report on the growing scandal. The other interview was with Rene Jaquez, the former ATF attaché to Mexico. Both men reported knowledge of the operation and Dodson claimed that it had been ongoing since at least the end of 2009. Yet, when asked about the scandal, President Obama could only say that he had not authorized it.

Earlier this week Barack Obama sat down with Univision's star anchor Jorge Ramos and was asked the direct question: "The Mexican Government complains that they were not informed about the 'Fast and Furious' operation (Gunwalker). Did you authorize this operation and was President Calderon properly informed about it?"

President Obama responded quickly and firmly stating that neither he nor Attorney General Eric Holder authorized the operation. This was Barack Obama's equivalent to "I'm not a crook" statement. The question is not whether the President authorized it; it is when he knew about it. Did the President of the United States know about Project Gunwalker when he slapped the back of President Calderon and told him that they were working to stop the flow of guns, when in fact the operation was engaged in just the opposite?

In the Univision interview Obama revealed more than he would have liked. At one moment he tried to claim that the American government has "too many moving parts" for him to keep up with things like Project Gunwalker. It was a thinly veiled attempt to divert the conversation, but it left Obama looking as if the injuries and deaths of at least 150 Mexican nationals didn't rate his attention.  However, that fact is getting a lot of attention in Mexico where the PGR, or the Mexican Attorney General's office is seeking information on U.S. agents who might have committed crimes by facilitating the movement of arms into Mexico.

Alberto Morales of El Universal, a Mexican national newspaper closely following the developing scandal, has subsequently written an article based on the CBS report by Sharyl Attkisson that featured Darren Gil, former ATF attaché to Mexico. In the interview Gil revealed that he had on numerous occasions requested permission to inform the Mexican government about "Fast and Furious." This would seem to be in direct conflict with the impression left by President Obama only hours before that high-level officials had no knowledge of the operation.

In the interview, Darren Gil revealed that when he asked his supervisor about Fast and Furious he was told that "not only is the director (of the ATF) aware of it, but the Department of Justice is aware of it."  Sharyl Attkisson asks: "They didn't want you to inform your Mexican counterparts?"  Gil: "That's correct."
When the scandal first broke on and was brought to light by the strident efforts of David Codrea of and Mike Vanderboegh of Sipsey Street Irregulars, there was a flurry of activity between Washington and the Phoenix office of the ATF. A serious effort to cover up the scandal took place, evidenced by a letter from Scot L. Thomasson, Chief of the ATF Public Affairs Division wherein Thomasson directs other public information officers to "proactively push positive stories this week, in an effort to preempt some negative reporting, or at minimum, lessen the coverage of such stories in the news cycle by replacing them with good stories about ATF."

Kenneth Melson as the Acting Director must have some of the answers that Eric Holder and boss Barack Obama refuse to address. Among the sitting committee members are Republican Marco Rubio of Florida as Ranking Member and Democrat Tom Udall of New Mexico, either one of whom are in a position to ask some tough questions. While New Mexico has not been featured in the border violence, it is doubtless that some of the estimated 2,500 weapons allowed to "walk" into Mexico have impacted the state that shares a border with Mexico and is only miles from the cartel hotspot of Ciudad Juarez. Marco Rubio as a rising force in the Republican Party could seize this opportunity to strengthen his brand and expose the cynical nature of the Obama Administration.

Should either Tom Udall or Marco Rubio choose to take an active role in discovering the truth behind Project Gunwalker, they might ask a few important questions at the hearing. Since the president has disavowed the authorization of Fast and Furious for himself and Eric Holder who then authorized the project? With millions of taxpayer funds going into this project for the past two years, when was its existence revealed to the President and the Attorney General? Is it typical for the Director of the BATFE to engage in international activity without the knowledge of the Attorney General,the President of the United States or the Secretary of State? In a letter dated February 4, 2011, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich responded to a question put to him by Senator Charles Grassley by stating that straw purchases of weapons had never been "sanctioned" by the ATF, is that a true statement?

Update: Kenneth Melson backed out of the hearing. Perhaps the House Government Reform Committee will have better luck securing a subpoena, I have a feeling they are going to need it.

When Dumb Wars Become Brilliant

March 30, 2011
By Peter Heck

During President Obama's Libyan War address, I was listening for one thing.  While most Americans were already aware of what a madman Gaddafi was as well as the evil he was committed to perpetrating against his own people, what we weren't clear on was how a man who persistently derided the Iraq War as "dumb" could justify intervention in a less dangerous state like Libya.

Like any good professor, President Obama didn't just come out and explain the distinction.  He made us work to find it.  And there, buried beneath a few extra helpings of his trademark verbosity, I heard eleven key statements that, when compared to former President Bush's justification for the invasion of Iraq, explain the conundrum "Iraq Bad, Libya Good" perfectly.

First, President Obama reminded us that America should always be hesitant to take up arms.  He counseled, "Mindful of the risks and costs of military action, we are naturally reluctant to use force to solve the world's many challenges.  But when our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act."  Contrast that with Bush's 2003 address when he said, "This nation fights reluctantly, because we know the cost...we strive for peace.  And sometimes peace must be defended." 

In the case of Gaddafi, Mr. Obama stressed that he is a "tyrant," and that "He has denied his people freedom, exploited their wealth, murdered opponents at home and abroad, and terrorized innocent people around the world."  Bush, meanwhile, only called Saddam Hussein a "dictator" who had, "already used [the world's most dangerous weapons] on whole villages, leaving thousands of his own citizens dead, blind or disfigured."

Obama reminded us that Gaddafi had been given, "a final chance to stop his campaign of killing, or face the consequences.  Rather than stand down, his forces continued their advance."  Bush merely said that Saddam had been given, "his final chance to disarm.  He has shown instead utter contempt for the...opinion of the world."

And while our current President was able to tout, "a strong and growing coalition" of support that included 11 countries, our former President could only point to, "more than 35 countries [that] are giving crucial support."

Let's also not forget how inconsistent President Bush was during the Iraq War.  Standing in front of a "Mission Accomplished" banner, he declared that "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended."  This just before adding that, "Our mission continues," and, "now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country."  Obama had no such dissonance as he announced with finality that, "the United States of America has done what we said we would do," before immediately following up with, "That is not to say that our work is complete."

And what work remains?  President Obama carefully outlined, "The transition to a legitimate government that is responsive to the Libyan people will be a difficult task," promising that, "the United States will do our part to help."  President Bush never gave such an up-front assessment, saying only, "We have difficult work to do in Iraq...The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time, but...our coalition will stay until our work is done."

President Obama was careful to point out that our involvement in Libya was critical to protect, "the democratic impulses that are dawning across the region [that] would be eclipsed by the darkest form of dictatorship."  This while President Bush had only suggested that our involvement in Iraq could help by, "inspiring [democratic] reforms throughout the Muslim world."

What's more, President Obama wisely understood that without taking action against Gaddafi, "The writ of the UN Security Council would have been shown to be little more than empty words, crippling its future credibility to uphold global peace and security."  Bush, of course, was disinterested in UN integrity, challenging, "Iraq has answered a decade of UN demands with a decade of defiance...Are Security Council resolutions to be honored and enforced or cast aside without consequence?"

And while Bush offered an inconclusive, "We do not know the day of final victory," before patronizingly reassuring us that our enemy's "cause is lost," President Obama did nothing of the sort.  He quite bluntly told us, "The day when Gaddafi leaves power...may not happen overnight," before promising us that, "history is not on his side."

We all remember Bush's ignoble guarantee that we would be welcomed by the Iraqi people as heroes, even thanking Iraqis who, "welcomed our troops and joined the liberation of their own country."  President Obama threw out no such jingoistic red meat as he recounted how our downed airman parachuting into Libya, "did not find enemies.  Instead, he was met by people who embraced him."

Finally, President Bush delivered a frighteningly open-ended promise to involve the United States in the internal affairs of sovereign nations around the world by suggesting, "American values, and American interests, lead in the same direction: We stand for human liberty."  Thankfully, President Obama didn't do anything remotely similar when he declared, "Wherever people long to be free, they will find a friend in the United States."

You see?  Two diametrically different defenses of two remarkably dissimilar conflicts.  One was dumb, the other is obviously brilliant.  If, after reading those quotes, you're still perplexed by the Professor-in-Chief's logic, let me give you the CliffsNote version: military intervention is dumb only when it's started by a Republican.

Peter is a public high school government teacher and radio talk show host in central Indiana. Email, visit, or like him on Facebook.

American Thinker

Obama Administration Whitewashing Government Inaction Regarding Oil and Natural Gas Leases

In advance of President Barack Obama’s energy speech at Georgetown University, a top oil and natural gas industry leader called on the Obama Administration to abandon its policies “to defer, delay and deny access to domestic resources of oil and natural gas.”

In a statement to reporters during a media conference call this morning, American Petroleum Institute Upstream Director Erik Milito refuted a report by the Interior Department that U.S. oil and natural gas companies are sitting on oil leases granted by the government, refusing to turn them into producing leases.

“The report completely whitewashes the fact that in many cases, the reason these leases have no exploration plans is that BOEMRE is sitting on those plans,” Milito said. “This is like leasing an apartment from the government for $20 million dollars and the government refuses to give you the keys to the apartment – then the government proceeds to complain because you are not occupying the premises.”

Below, I share an excerpt from the full text of Milito’s statement as prepared for delivery by API:

The disturbing reality is that 2011 could go down as the first year since 1957 that there has not been at least one offshore lease sale. Not one.

I’m certain that Americans find it difficult to reconcile that – and the fact that 85 percent of our offshore resources are off-limits to development – despite increased uncertainty in world oil markets and rising worldwide demand for crude oil.
President Obama has a speech on energy scheduled for later today.

We hope he will tell Americans that the administration will abandon their policies to defer, delay and deny access to domestic resources of oil and natural gas: Resources that could help create U.S. jobs, grow the U.S. economy and provide royalties, rents, and revenues to the U.S. Treasury.

However, reports suggest that the President wants to provide “incentives” to develop the leases the industry currently has, but may or may not, actually have oil and natural gas on them.

The reports are that these incentives include shortening lease terms and increasing royalty rates through a graduated system.

These are not incentives.

They are, in fact, disincentives.

These are actions that will discourage investment here in the US and shift that investment to other parts of the world – to places like Brazil.

We hope the president will abandon energy politics in favor of energy policies that will provide Americans what they want and deserve: more energy, economic growth and more jobs.

We have a million American jobs that we can create if our industry is allowed to produce the oil and natural gas in knows how to produce.

And we have 9.2 million jobs to protect – the jobs across the country supported by our industry.

We urge the president to join the oil and natural gas industry in helping us create and protect those jobs.

It is not too late to get America’s energy policy back on track.

If you oppose the Obama Administration’s actions that are literally killing the nation’s oil and natural gas industries, costing American jobs and making us more dependent on foreign sources of energy, CONTACT YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS IN THE NATION’S CAPITOL, let them know how you feel, and make sure they know you’ll be watching their votes.

Big Government

AARP’s Billion Dollar ObamaCare Windfall

Ever since the passage of ObamaCare, I’ve been perplexed by a lingering question: Why did AARP so aggressively lobby for passage of the law? After all, the plan was built on $500 billion in cuts to Medicare.

Even in Washington, half a trillion dollars is still a ton of money. Medicare is sacrosanct among America’s senior citizens. It was unfathomable to me that the nation’s largest membership association of seniors would, not just not oppose the cuts, but would actively lobby for them. It didn’t make any sense.

Mostly, I just chalked up AARP’s actions to its general leftist, partisan leanings. Medicare cuts by Republicans are bad, but cuts by Democrats to increase government involvement in health care are okay. Boy, was I wrong.

According to this blockbuster report, released today by the House Ways and Means Committee, AARP’s support of ObamaCare and, specifically, the Medicare cuts was entirely rational and self-serving. The Committee found, after an 18 month investigation, that AARP stands to reap an extra billion dollars in profits from ObamaCare. (Yes, that is billion with a B.) Worse, this extra profit is largely BECAUSE of the Medicare cuts.

AARP’s members may face uncertainty over their future health care because of the cuts, but AARP faces certain windfall profits for itself.

To understand how this is, you have to understand something about AARP. It makes money by licensing its name to insurance companies to ‘brand’ their products. When you see an ad on TV for AARP insurance, it isn’t actually AARP offering the policy, but an insurance company who has rented AARP’s name.

We’re talking a lot of money. In 2009, the last year information is available, AARP collected almost $700 million in such licensing fees. (This amount is almost TRIPLE what it collected in licensing fees just a few years ago.)

AARP rents its name for three main products; Medicare Advantage policies, prescription drug coverage and Medi-Gap policies. Medicare Advantage policies are an alternative to traditional Medicare. With it, senior citizens can choose to receive their Medicare benefits from private health insurers. It provides a great amount of choice for seniors and gives them the flexibility to tailor plans that fit their health care needs. In the last few years it has become very popular, now reaching about 25% of Medicare recipients. Medi-Gap policies insure the difference between what traditional Medicare covers and what it doesn’t.

Almost half of the $500 billion in ObamaCare’s Medicare cuts come out of Medicare Advantage. The cuts don’t kill the program, but they mortally wound it. CBO estimates that the Medicare Advantage program will be cut in half, causing over 7 million seniors to lose their health care coverage.  They will be forced to return to traditional Medicare and, in most cases, will need to purchase Medi-Gap coverage.

Using very conservative assumptions (AARP keeps its current share of the Medi-Gap market and premiums don’t rise), this increase in the Medi-Gap market will generate more than $100 million a year in additional license fee revenue for AARP. Over a billion dollars every decade. Keep in mind, this revenue is simply for using AARP’s name, so it is almost pure profit.

Wait, you may be thinking, won’t AARP lose a lot of money from the deep cuts in Medicare Advantage?

They sell their name for those policies too, after all, and that program is getting cut in half. Well, license fees for Medicare Advantage policies are a flat, negotiated rate, irrespective of how many people buy the policies. AARP gets paid the same amount, whether one person buys a policy or 100,000 buy a policy. These fees are set by long-term contract. AARP’s current fees came into affect in 2008. So, for very many years, AARP will make the same amount from Medicare Advantage, even if the program shrinks 50%, 60% or even 95%.

In contrast, for Medi-Gap policies insurance companies pay AARP 4.95% of all premiums collected as a license fee. Every new Medi-Gap enrollee brings AARP another cut of premiums.

So, the exact Medicare cuts are structured in such a way that the cuts hit a product line where AARP’s fees are already set for years and boosts a product line where AARP can reap windfall profits.

I can’t say that AARP explicitly lobbied for these Medicare cuts, but you’d be hard-pressed to design Medicare cuts that rewarded AARP more handsomely. And considering the fact that AARP spends more lobbying than PhRMA, it does beg the question.

Oh, and a little lagniappe:   You don’t have to be an AARP member to purchase its Medicare Advantage policy, but you DO have to be a member to buy its Medi-Gap policy. So, the Medicare cuts will actually increase AARP’s membership. That was a nice touch, AARP.

More to come…


Big Government

Huffington Post/AOL Founder, Editor-In-Chief Admit ‘Color of Change’ Campaign Against Me Based on Big Lie

Andrew BreitbartPosted by Andrew Breitbart Mar 30th 2011 at 11:39 am in Featured Story, Huffington Post 

It’s taken a long time, but Huffington Post/AOL founder Arianna Huffington and Huffington Post/AOL editor Roy Sekoff have finally acknowledged that I am not a racist–despite the popular left wing website’s campaign to frame me as one.

From a letter crafted by Huffington Post editor Roy Sekoff to the Daily Caller:
…I want to make it as clear as possible that neither I nor Arianna believe that Andrew Breitbart is a racist.  If we did believe that, we never would have allowed him to blog on HuffPost — let alone featured him on our front page.
I am grateful for Huffington and Sekoff’s true courage to go against many of their partisan bloggers and ideological editors, many of whom threatened to quit if I wasn’t ousted from its “progressive” waters.

For the last six months the Huffington Post, recently purchased by AOL for $315 million, has been running a vengeful propaganda campaign led by a far left wing anti-free speech organization called “Color of Change,” created by former Obama White House “green czar” Van Jones – whose resignation was sealed, to a great degree, by facts revealed in reporting at one of my websites.

Color of Change’s sole purpose is to shut up those with whom it disagrees politically. It uses manipulative write-in (cut and paste, actually) campaigns to intimidate media organizations and the advertisers that support them. Color of Change targets, among others, Lou Dobbs, Bill Bennett, Glen Beck–and Fox News, writ large.

Color of Change openly claims two scalps so far: Mine. First, for getting me kicked off ABC News election night coverage. And, now, for getting me kicked off Huffington Post’s front page.

By using false propaganda to frame me as a racist, something I most certainly am not, these leftists produce a free-speech-chilling atmosphere, informing news editors to think twice about putting a best selling author and effective journalist and publisher on the public airwaves.

In fact, the Huffington Post, which to a great degree I created, has been a repository for the most malicious brand of race-baiting–directed at me. Numerous blog posts at the Huffington Post carry Color of Change’s carefully scripted “race baiter” and “liar” ad hominem language, dutifully carrying out the organized left’s orders to make a strong critic inoperative and ineffective.

That is why I have spent six months pushing my friends atop the Huffington Post to counter the malicious and untruthful propaganda campaign against me. Monday, I finally got what I wanted: for Huffington and Sekoff to confirm publicly what they convey privately–namely, that I am not a racist.

That admission raises questions about the odd editorial policy that the Huffington Post/AOL adopted in the wake of controversy of the last week–namely, that the editors would take away front-page privileges from those who use ad hominem language–anywhere.

In reality, I am the unique target of that policy. For using truthful descriptions of Van Jones’s checkered past, I have been removed from the front page for a rule that didn’t exist when I started writing there.

As long as Huffington Post/AOL maintains a policy against ad hominem attacks, it would behoove its editors to correct the record, and put the truth on their own website, where its readers have been intentionally and maliciously ill-informed for a long time.

Big Journalism

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Elites Way Off on Palin Electability: Part 2 – The Agreement of The Big Five

March 29, 2011

 At the end of Part 1 of this series I asked the question: What happens when Americans, perhaps watching a debate, a speech, or a town hall meeting, begin to realize that Palin is the candidate that they agree with? Yet we had been told, countless times, that Palin is controversial and holds extreme positions (though Obama is never described as such), and here we sit, agreeing with these “crazy” ideas. How will this effect her electability? There are 5 major issues that will win or lose the 2012 Election for someone, if they can handle those issues correctly.

And for the first time ever, Barack Obama will be running in an election where he actually has a political record and has actions to be judged on. Pretty startling fact for a guy running for his second term in the White House. There can be no more myths about where he stands on economic, social, foreign, and domestic issues. No more imaginary “take a scalpel to the budget” or tax cut talk. Not even the media could spin that very well today. There are a handful of major issues that the Republican nominee can use to beat Obama over the head with in 2012. Sarah Palin is the only major candidate who can debate all of these issues without serious conflicts of the past. This makes her both credible and electable.

So fine, Obama and Palin are debating. 100 million people are watching. They are all expecting Palin to be a moron and then are shocked when she isn’t. And then the issues come up. And here we are, wondering who the extremist is. And they debate The Big 5.

Healthcare: Obama, obviously, supports his healthcare plan. Republicans, even he of Romneycare, unequivocally vow to dismantle and replace the program. It has never been popular, even one year after. Even with the most leading questioning pollsters can only come up with a tie. A March 13, 2011 CNN Poll found opposition to Obamacare at a stunning 59%, with support at just 37%. Rasmussen Regular polling finds double-digit support in opposition. A March 19 Gallup poll found that 70% of respondents thought the expensive overhaul would either do nothing for them or make their care worse. A Bloomberg poll found 65-32% of respondents opposed the main clause of the bill, the individual mandate. A February CBS Poll found 51%-34% oppose the bill. This is what we call consensus. And who holds the extremist view? Not Palin. Who agrees with the public? Not Obama.

Spending/Deficit: I think the election of 2010 speaks for itself. As voters rushed to throw out as many Democrats as they could from local and state positions and replace them with “right-wing extremists” the Obama White house was still pretty sure that this whole “hissyfit” was because he was half-black. Yes, because if throwing out a bunch of old white liberals and replacing them with young, and quite diverse I might add, conservatives isn’t a sign of racial hatred towards Obama, I don’t know what is. Obama’s spending is indefensible. It is easy pickings for a Governor who cut spending even while running surpluses. A little-know fact among the public that will be sure to warm their hearts. A March 21 CBS poll showed 68% of respondents thought the deficit was a serious problem, while another 26% said it was somewhat serious. That’s a whopping 94% who think it’s serious. And no, Obama does not fall into that 94%. For someone who has never run anything, he is really good at running a deficit. Obama’s main theme in 2008 was Bush’s deficits. I think that card may run out (but he will try).

Jobs/Taxes: Obama promised if we spent $1 Trillion, unemployment would never go beyond 8%. Not only did it immediately soar past 8% into the 10% range, it hasn’t even flirted with 8% in almost 2 years. As Palin pointed out in a March 24th Facebook posting, the real unemployment is almost double that (unless you believe giving up looking is a sign of a recovering economy). Despite Obama declarations that “The stimulus has worked as planned” the plan was “never go above 8%.” And Republicans always win on taxes. Except, of course, in 2008 where Obama positions himself as the tax-cutter with constant promises of tax cuts for 95% of Americans. Obama simply out-taxed McCain.

Immigration: Jan Brewer won the hearts (and votes) of Arizonans by being one of the first border-state politicians to take this issue seriously. Again, who would be controversial here? Despite laughable claims by the Obama administration on their “border toughness” the public is squarely in the opposite camp. A Jan. 17 USA Today/Gallup poll found opposition to amnesty at 55-43%. An NBC poll was a near identical 55%-43%. A Quinnipiac Poll found 60% Disapproval (28% approval) of Obama’s handling of Immigration with 68% stating he should focus more on enforcing laws to prevent illegal immigration that worrying about legalizing them. A CBS Poll found 88% of respondents feeling illegal immigration is either a very or somewhat serious problem. Who is extreme here?

Energy: The Green movement is becoming less important as gas prices are skyrocketing along with everything that relies on gas to get made. The Green Movement is losing ground as impractical and costing jobs and money. And who has better experience here than a certain governor from a certain state? In 2008, Obama voters were running through the streets announcing they weren’t gonna have to worry about silly things like gas prices and mortgage payments, because Obama was going to deliver.

So there they are: The Big Five. Five issues that can win or lose a Presidential Election, and Palin is on the right side of all of them. She can be on the offensive on every one, as Obama is left defensively responding or flat-out lying (but, alas, he has a record now!). She can go after spending, healthcare, jobs, energy, and immigration. Where she can succeed, the other will stumble. Romney’s big skeleton is Healthcare. Sure, he can say it was different because it was a state issue. But, alas, the principles of his state law were liberal. Gingrich loses on immigration and energy. Huckabee loses on immigration and spending.

In 2008, McCain dropped the ball on half of these issues. Obama out-conservatived (in rhetoric anyway) John McCain on spending, taxes, jobs, and energy. Immigration was a tie for equal ineptitude. McCain had the edge nowhere. Palin is electable because she is most in tune with public opinion on all of the issues.

Supposed “electable” candidates like McCain, Dole, and Bush 41 (after a courtesy term) are DOA as they believe what they have been told: Americans like moderates. They don’t, really. Conservatives sat 2008 out because they did not have a candidate at the top of the ticket to vote for. America is a conservative country, and it takes a conservative to win. Not only is Sarah Palin the only major candidate that is completely tuned-in to public opinion on the big 5 issues, but she is also the only candidates who can put together all of the necessary components to win against the $1 billion candidate. But that is a matter for “Elites Way Off on Palin Electability: Part 3 – Components of Victory.”

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