America, You Asked For It!

Political News and Commentary from the Right

Go for the kill!

Original post by William Kristol at The Weekly Standard

With Obamacare on the ropes, there will be a temptation for opponents to let up on their criticism, and to try to appear constructive, or at least responsible. There will be a tendency to want to let the Democrats’ plans sink of their own weight, to emphasize that the critics have been pushing sound reform ideas all along and suggest it’s not too late for a bipartisan compromise over the next couple of weeks or months.

My advice, for what it’s worth: Resist the temptation. This is no time to pull punches. Go for the kill.

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July 20, 2009 Posted by | Health Care | , , , | Leave a comment

More Partisan Hackery

Congressional Democrats aren’t interested in what the CIA said to Congress. They’re interested in protecting Nancy Pelosi.

by Stephen F. Hayes and William Kristol at The Weekly Standard

Late Friday afternoon, Silvestre Reyes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, announced that his panel would be undertaking a formal investigation of the CIA. The ostensible subject of the probe is a highly classified program that targeted al Qaeda leaders for assassination and which CIA director Leon Panetta briefed the committee about on June 24.

“After careful consideration and consultation with the Ranking Minority Member and other members of the Committee, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence will conduct an investigation into possible violations of federal law, including the National Security Act of 1947,” Reyes said in a statement.

Let us offer to save the distinguished chairman some time, and the taxpayers some money: Forget it. There were no violations of federal law. Dennis Blair, Barack Obama’s director of national intelligence, told the Washington Post that the CIA was not required to brief Congress about a program that appears never to have been implemented. In either case, the statute that governs these matters leaves such notification to the discretion of the executive branch. And within minutes of the announcement of the investigation, and despite Reyes’s claim of having consulted him, Representative Pete Hoekstra, the ranking minority member, blasted the probe as “partisan” hackery.

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July 19, 2009 Posted by | Democrats | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Triumph of Crony Capitalism

by Fred Barnes at The Weekly Standard

First President Bush, then President Obama poured billions into General Motors and Chrysler to keep the companies alive but barely breathing. That was just for starters. Next came Obama’s creation of an Auto Task Force to oversee the auto companies. To head the task force, the president picked Steve Rattner, a Wall Street investor with no experience in automaking but lots in raising campaign money for Obama and Democrats.

GM and Chrysler were quickly restructured, mostly to the benefit of the United Auto Workers, the union which spent millions in 2008 to elect Obama and Democrats. The UAW now owns 17.5 percent of GM and 55 percent of Chrysler–quite a return on an investment of zero dollars. Obama said all parties should “sacrifice,” but only bondholders did. They got a fraction of what they were legally entitled to receive. UAW retirees, in contrast, got a gift of $9.5 billion at GM and $14.2 billion at Chrysler.

There’s an epilogue. Delphi, the auto parts manufacturer once owned by GM and still its biggest supplier, has been in bankruptcy for four years. To acquire its assets and run the company, Delphi and Obama’s Auto Task Force picked an affiliate of the private equity firm Platinum Equity. There was no auction or competitive bidding, though Platinum stands to make millions in the deal. Why Platinum? The UAW favored it, sources said.

There’s a name for all this: crony capitalism. Obama insists he believes in capitalism, but it’s not the free market variety that he’s been promoting since he became president. Obamanomics is a different strain entirely.

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July 7, 2009 Posted by | Bailout | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Death by Obamanomics?

by Irwin M. Stelzer in The Weekly Standard

Death by a thousand cuts. Or in the case of the efficiency of the U.S. economy, by at least four: energy policy, health care policy, trade union resurgence, and fiscal madness.

Start with energy. The world is awash in it. The wind blows and the sun shines, at least some times and somewhere. Oil and gas wells gush, and substantial oil- and gas-rich areas have never even been explored. Coal abounds. Nuclear power can be had at a cost. So why has Barack Obama made energy policy one of his three top priorities — education and health care are the other two — in a country in which inexpensive energy has produced the world’s most productive agriculture, a population capable of navigating America’s huge spaces in air-conditioned comfort, and permitted the substitution of energy-plus-brain-power for back-breaking labor?

One problem is that oil is largely in the hands of very bad actors. Still another is that almost all sources of energy have significant impacts on the environment: solar panels consume acres of space; wind machines are considered eye sores by those who can spot them; oil, natural gas and coal emit CO2, responsible for claims that the globe is warming; nuclear power generates long-lived and dangerous waste.

Some of these problems are soluble, although not without cost. Domestic producers of natural gas tout their product as a substitute for petrol in trucks, busses and other vehicles. Progress is apparently being made in developing cars and trucks that run on at least partly on batteries. The efficiency of vehicles is being increased, albeit in response to inefficient government edicts rather than to more efficient price signals. Never mind that the infrastructure for these various gasoline substitutes has not been developed, and that the cost of these technologies exceeds that of the gasoline-fuelled internal combustion engine by a good margin. They must be listed in the possible column. That’s the good news.

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June 29, 2009 Posted by | Economy, Obama | , , , , , | Leave a comment