September 2011 - Posts

George W. Bush: Address to a Joint Session of Congress Following 9/11 Attacks(9/20/01)
Sun, Sep 11 2011 10:30 AM

In the normal course of events, Presidents come to this chamber to report on the state of the Union. Tonight, no such report is needed. It has already been delivered by the American people.

We have seen it in the courage of passengers, who rushed terrorists to save others on the ground -- passengers like an exceptional man named Todd Beamer. And would you please help me to welcome his wife, Lisa Beamer, here tonight. We have seen the state of our Union in the endurance of rescuers, working past exhaustion. We've seen the unfurling of flags, the lighting of candles, the giving of blood, the saying of prayers -- in English, Hebrew, and Arabic. We have seen the decency of a loving and giving people who have made the grief of strangers their own. My fellow citizens, for the last nine days, the entire world has seen for itself the state of our Union -- and it is strong.

Tonight we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom. Our grief has turned to anger, and anger to resolution. Whether we bring our enemies to justice, or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done. I thank the Congress for its leadership at such an important time. All of America was touched on the evening of the tragedy to see Republicans and Democrats joined together on the steps of this Capitol, singing "God Bless America." And you did more than sing; you acted, by delivering 40 billion dollars to rebuild our communities and meet the needs of our military. Speaker Hastert, Minority Leader Gephardt, Majority Leader Daschle, and Senator Lott, I thank you for your friendship, for your leadership, and for your service to our country. And on behalf of the American people, I thank the world for its outpouring of support. America will never forget the sounds of our National Anthem playing at Buckingham Palace, on the streets of Paris, and at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate.

We will not forget South Korean children gathering to pray outside our embassy in Seoul, or the prayers of sympathy offered at a mosque in Cairo. We will not forget moments of silence and days of mourning in Australia and Africa and Latin America. Nor will we forget the citizens of 80 other nations who died with our own: dozens of Pakistanis; more than 130 Israelis; more than 250 citizens of India; men and women from El Salvador, Iran, Mexico, and Japan; and hundreds of British citizens. America has no truer friend than Great Britain. Once again, we are joined together in a great cause -- so honored the British Prime Minister has crossed an ocean to show his unity with America. Thank you for coming, friend.

On September the 11th, enemies of freedom committed an act of war against our country. Americans have known wars -- but for the past 136 years, they have been wars on foreign soil, except for one Sunday in 1941. Americans have known the casualties of war -- but not at the center of a great city on a peaceful morning. Americans have known surprise attacks -- but never before on thousands of civilians. All of this was brought upon us in a single day -- and night fell on a different world, a world where freedom itself is under attack. Americans have many questions tonight. Americans are asking: Who attacked our country?The evidence we have gathered all points to a collection of loosely affiliated terrorist organizations known as al Qaeda. They are some of the murderers indicted for bombing American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, and responsible for bombing the USS Cole. Al Qaeda is to terror what the mafia is to crime. But its goal is not making money; its goal is remaking the world -- and imposing its radical beliefs on people everywhere.

The terrorists practice a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics, a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam. The terrorists' directive commands them to kill Christians and Jews, to kill all Americans, and make no distinctions among military and civilians, including women and children. This group and its leader -- a person named Usama bin Laden -- are linked to many other organizations in different countries, including the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. There are thousands of these terrorists in more than 60 countries. They are recruited from their own nations and neighborhoods and brought to camps in places like Afghanistan, where they are trained in the tactics of terror. They are sent back to their homes or sent to hide in countries around the world to plot evil and destruction.

[For the Complete speech go here. ]

 

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Obomination: Taxpayers Footing the Bill for Obama’s Campaigning
Fri, Sep 9 2011 12:46 PM

It wasn’t a State of Union, so what was the President doing at the Capitol?  Last night, Obama delivered a speech in the U.S. Capitol with the House chamber as the backdrop.  Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform has demanded that he reimburse taxpayers for use of the Congressional building for a political speech.  The president’s use of taxpayer-funded resources for multiple political efforts is raising concerns about whether such behavior is ethical. 

Last week, Obama launched a petition initiative called “We the People” which opens the White House website to petition drives.  FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe said, “It sure looks suspicious… It looks like lobbying and it looks utterly inappropriate.”   In addition, the Republican National Committee spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski  said, “The president is clearly in campaign mode from his fundraisers to his campaign bus tour, and now more campaign tactics are coming out from the official White House… This shouldn’t come as any surprise to Americans who have come to see him as the ultimate Campaigner-in-Chief.”

The petition drive, which has been widely reported by the media as an effort to change White House policy, is actually a way for the White House to just promote the same old agenda while appearing to listen to the American people.  NBC’s Chuck Todd asked if the administration would earnestly discuss abolishing the Environmental Protection Agency if the idea amassed 5,000 supporters. White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer responded, "If there are ideas that are ones that we fundamentally disagree with or are bad ideas and enough people come forward, we’ll respond to why we disagree with that idea and look for a way to work together on other ideas."  In other words, Pfeiffer has confirmed that “We the People” is just a political maneuver.

This is not the only time Obama’s actions have generated criticism because taxpayers are footing the bill.  The White House coordinated a multimillion dollar taxpayer-funded campaign to use search engines to drive web traffic to a government website promoting Obamacare.   Then, there was Obama’s bus tour through swing states which are integral to winning the upcoming election. 

Obama should stop campaigning on the taxpayer’s dime and actually do his job as the 44th President.  

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Getting the Complete Picture on Photo Voter ID
Thu, Sep 8 2011 10:04 AM

 

Today, Senator Dick Durbin will chair a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing entitled “New State Voting Laws: Barriers to the Ballot?” A misleading press release on Senator Durbin’s website states that “The overwhelming evidence, however, indicates that voter impersonation fraud is virtually non-existent and these new laws will make it harder for hundreds of thousands of elderly, disabled, minority, young, rural, and low income Americans to exercise their right to vote.”

The evidence overwhelmingly contradicts Senator Durbin’s claims.  Studies by the University of Missouri, The Heritage Foundation, University of Delaware and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, American University and John Lott found that voter ID does not decrease the turnout of voters and does not have a disparate impact on minority, poor, or elderly voters.

The Rhode Island legislature, the vast majority which is composed of Democrats, passed a voter ID law this year.  Rhode Island Democrat Senator Harold Metts who sponsored voter ID legislation in the state Senate said, “As a minority citizen and a senior citizen I would not support anything that I thought would present obstacles or limit protections.”  Independent Governor Lincoln Chafee signed the Rhode Island voter ID bill into law and said, “Notably, I spoke with representatives of our state’s minority communities, and I found their concerns about voter fraud and their support for this bill particularly compelling.” 

In a poll conducted by Rasmussen, 75% of American voters believe photo identification should be required at the polls.  85% of Republicans, 77% of voters not affiliated with either major party, and 63% of Democrats support voter ID. The survey also found that support for voter ID is “high across virtually all demographic groups.”

Michael Thielen, Executive Director of the Republican National Lawyers Association, said, “While liberals in Washington oppose voter ID, the overwhelming majority of Americans, including rank and file Democrats stand for this common sense policy.  Mainstream voters recognize that voter ID is a pragmatic policy that ensures elections are fair, open and honest.”

 

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Obomination: The White House’s Responsibility for Judicial Vacancies
Thu, Sep 1 2011 12:03 PM

The White House has turned to the word “unprecedented” again.  This time, Obama is claiming that Senate Republicans are responsible for the supposedly “unprecedented” judicial confirmation delays.  The real reason why the current president has not had comparable numbers of confirmations as prior presidents is because nominating judges has simply not been a priority for the Obama administration. 

With 2012 looming in the horizon, Obama has scrambled to put the blame for the record number of current judicial vacancies elsewhere.  The White House has turned to an infographic about “historic delays” in judicial nomination, claiming that “[t]he rising number of judicial vacancies is a direct result of unprecedented delays in the Senate confirmation process.”  Obama said, “[a] minority of Senators has systematically and irresponsibly used procedural maneuvers to block or delay confirmation votes on judicial nominees.” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has complained, “This is not how the Senate has acted in years past with other Presidents’ judicial nominees. Vacancies are being kept high, consensus nominees are being delayed and it is the American people and the federal courts that are being made to suffer.”  Similar arguments appear in various editorials, like The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic and Politico. 

There’s definitely someone who deserves the blame, but not who’s been in the media. Obama should take accountability for his failure to nominate.  Ranking Member Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa.) said, “It’s disingenuous to say Republicans are holding up the judicial confirmation process.”  Committee for Justice executive director Curt Levey told PBS that a judicial “vacancy may have existed for a long time because Obama was very slow to appoint a nominee.”  The Washington Post reported that “Obama was woefully slow in sending up nominations early in his term, nominating only 34 in 2009.”  According to Judicature, the Obama administration’s “judicial selection machinery suffered from organizational and coordination weaknesses.”  Former Chief Counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee (under then-Chairman Orrin Hatch) Manus Cooney said, “there is not sufficient presidential leadership to force a focusing of the mind of policymakers to try to reach agreement.  There are nominees for less than half of the vacancies on the Federal Court…” 

Regarding the wait nominees have had to endure, Curt Levey set the record straight.  He said, “there are many of Bush's nominees who waited literally years after they got out of committee. There were some nominees who were waiting throughout most of the eight years. So the fact that there's only one out of the 20 who's even been waiting three months I think tells you that things are going fast.”  Ed Whelan wrote, “the delays encountered by the 15 district-court nominees on the Senate’s executive calendar are, in the aggregate, much shorter than the delays experienced by 39 of George W. Bush’s.” He added, “only seven of the pending district-court nominees are beyond the 180-day mark (from first nomination), whereas 34 of Bush’s 39 were.” Moreover, “only one of the pending district-court nominees is beyond the nine-month mark, whereas eleven of Bush’s were.”

Let’s not forget that the Senate is controlled by the same party as President Obama. The White House could have, but hasn’t, put pressure on Senator Reid to schedule votes, invoke cloture or even just ask for a time agreement on district judge nominations.  Further evidence of Obama’s poor judgment on nominations can be seen with selection of Liu and Chatigny, who were so controversial that that even Democrats did not want to take a vote.

Obama’s approach to judicial nominations has drawn criticism from the left. Eleanor Acheson, who managed the DOJ’s role in the Clinton administration’s judicial nomination process, said that Obama has “not established the priority or invested the resources necessary… to focus on… nominations and to keep the nominations pipeline up to the Senate full at all times.”  Furthermore, she lamented that “we have heard nothing from President Obama since his inauguration” about judicial nominations.

Obama is responsible for these judicial vacancies.   That’s the truth no matter how many infographics the White House creates.

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Liberal Hysteria on Voter ID
Thu, Sep 1 2011 8:47 AM

Contrary to Representative John Lewis's assertions in an op-ed entitled "A Poll Tax By Another Name," in The New York Times, voter ID has support from Democrats and Republicans, and is certainly not racist. Lewis calls all voter ID measures "Republican-backed" but he fails to mention the Democratic legislature in Rhode Island passed a voter ID law. Moreover, the bill was sponsored by an African-American state senator Harold Metts who found that vote fraud impacted poor and minority communities. As Metts said: "Voter identification would go a long way to this end. We have been like ostriches with our heads buried in the sand, oblivious to what is going on around us. Fraud has gone unchallenged and ignored, and it must be stopped. . . .As a minority citizen and a senior citizen I would not support anything that I thought would present obstacles or limit protections."

But Democrats continue to play the race card without any legitimate ground to do so. As Mark Hemingway says in the Weekly Standard:

However, just getting to the crux of the debate, almost all of the criticisms of voter ID laws boil down to someone causually throwing around the racism charge. Charges of racism are not only unfounded, but it's a convenient way to cloud the issue by claiming it's a choice between showing ID and disenfranchising minorities. But it's increasingly common that you have to show photo ID even to use a credit card -- I doubt most Americans see this as an unnecessarily burdensome requirement.

What's odd is that Lewis and others constantly criticize voter ID laws without defining what they think would be sufficient proof of identity. Do Lewis and other Democrats simply think showing up at the polls and taking someone's word that they are who they say they are should be sufficient? Do they really think that's a winning argument with the public? Or is the discussion of racism simply a way of avoiding discussing the kind of lax to non-existant voter ID requirements they are actually arguing for?

But Lewis is not alone in his hysteria. Other liberals echo his arguments. Judith Browne-Dianis, co-director of the Advancement Project, said, "What has happened this year is the most significant setback to voting rights in this country in a century."

Congressman Lewis does not even go that far. Lewis lived through and fought the Democrat Party's racist tactics of the past. He is to be commended for that but he is wrong in that these laws will actually help minorities. For how can voter ID laws be a "poll tax" when photo IDs are made available free of charge? The youth, poor and minorities are empowered by a law that enables them to get free identification and ensures that their votes are not diluted by fraudulent votes.

Congressman Lewis cites what he calls the "non-partisan" study of the Brennan Center. The Brennan Center is the only group to come up with a study showing any negative impact of voter ID. A study from American University (authored by President Jimmy Carter's national security advisor for Latin American and Caribbean affairs Robert Pastor) found no negative impact on the voting franchise from Voter ID. The reality is that the Brennan Center study is not a study as much as it is a politically-driven propaganda for the far left. Some of the flaws in the Brennan Center's study including Lewis' absurd claim that 25% of African Americans do not have ID were laid out here by the Heritage Foundation:

The primary argument against voter identification requirements—that many Americans lack proper identification and would therefore be prevented from voting—is not supported by credible studies of voter turnout rates. In fact, the study most frequently cited by opponents of voter identification requirements—Citizens Without Proof, a report produced by the Brennan Center at New York University's School of Law—is both dubious in its methodology and results and suspect in its sweeping conclusions.

By eschewing many of the traditional scientific methods of data collection and analysis, the authors of the Brennan Center study appear to have pursued results that advance a particular political agenda rather than the truth about voter identification. Such speculation is further fueled by the fact that legitimate studies of voter turnout rates in states with identification requirements demonstrate that such laws do not disenfranchise voters; indeed, Americans overwhelmingly support such requirements that increase the reliability and trustworthiness of our election system. . . .

The study is further undermined by several footnotes buried in the report. Citizens Without Proof is most often cited for its claim that 25 percent of African–Americans of voting age (not registered voters, actual voters, or even eligible voters) supposedly do not have a photo ID. Footnote 1 of the report states, "the results of this survey were weighted to account for underrepresentation of race." However, the report does not provide the methodology used to determine how this factor was weighted, making it impossible to judge the accuracy of the footnote's claim.

No responsible newspaper or Member of Congress should ever cite this report. Of course, the race card will continue to be played, and reports will continue to be concocted, because the reality and facts are not on the side of those who oppose Voter ID. The overwhelming majority of Democrats and Americans support Voter ID. Shame on Congressman Lewis for writing and The New York Times for printing this hysteria-based op-ed which has no connection to reality.

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