October 25, 2009

AP Photo Cries Out for Improved Caption

Filed under: General,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:22 pm

Here it is (linked article):

ObamaMITapPicForNewCaption

Alternatives are welcome.

Here are mine:

Obama: Who dressed this guy this morning?

Slocum: Heavenly Father, what shall I do in His presence?

Surely there are readers can do better.

Half-Empty vs. Barely Noticed: Boston Papers’ Treatments of Obama Appearances Starkly Contrast

obama_patrick_090120President Obama was at Democratic Party fundraising events for incumbent Democratic Governor Deval Patrick in Massachusetts Friday night.

The Boston Herald’s Hillary Chabot described the attendance at one of the events (HT Jules Crittenden, who is a Herald editor, via Instapundit) as “barely half-full with 125 deep-pocketed Democrats” in the second paragraph of her report (“President Obama: ‘Tough race’ ahead for Gov. Deval Patrick”).

Meanwhile, at the Boston Globe (“Obama blows in, talks up Patrick and future”), staff reporter Matt Viser saved an observation that “the events appeared to not be fully booked” for the end of his fifth paragraph. The “events” were “a reception and a larger ballroom gathering.” Somehow, if Fenway Park had 20,000 – 25,000 on hand for a Red Sox game (Fenway’s capacity is 37,400, and every Red Sox game has been sold out for over six years), I doubt that Globe sports reporter Bob Ryan would describe it as “not fully attended.”

Here are the first several paragraphs from each report. First, from the Herald:

Plagued by his own plummeting polls and playing to empty seats at a high-roller Hub fund-raiser, President Obama acknowledged yesterday that his close friend and political alter ego Gov. Deval Patrick faces a rough road to re-election.

“There really should be no doubt that this guy gets a second term. But let’s be honest. This is going to be a tough race,” Obama told a room barely half-full with 125 deep-pocketed Democrats who ponied up $6,000 for Patrick and the party. “Re-election is not a foregone conclusion because times are tough.”

Reflecting those hard times, the swanky Westin Copley Place ballroom – where the subsequent $500-a-head fund-raiser was held – was “about two-thirds full,” with about 400 people attending, according to press pool reports.

Despite the dismal box office, Patrick shouted to attendees, “You fired up? Ready to go?”

Now, to the Globe:

President Obama, on a whirlwind visit to Boston yesterday, linked Governor Deval Patrick’s political fate to the fate of the nation, telling Patrick supporters at a downtown fund-raiser that the governor had made the kind of hard choices the country needs to make to put itself on a stronger course.

Sweeping into town for the fund-raiser and to deliver a speech on clean energy at MIT, Obama said Patrick deserves credit for implementing near-universal health care, investing in education, and making the alternative energy and biotech industries a priority. If voters fail to recognize this hard work in next year’s state election, the president said, it will not bode well for the United States.

“When the people of states reward the courageous and hard-working governors like that, that has implications for our nation as a whole,” Obama said at a 125-person reception at the Westin Copley Place.

Otherwise, Obama said, other political leaders will say “then maybe I shouldn’t, as a member of Congress or as a senator, take some chances and take some tough stands in pursuit of that same vision.”

The fund-raiser, composed of the reception and a larger ballroom gathering, demonstrated one of Patrick’s advantages in what is expected to be a difficult reelection campaign: having the president of the United States, a close friend and political soul mate, shower him with praise and help him raise money. Patrick aides said the fund-raiser would bring in more than $600,000 for him, running mate Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, and the Massachusetts Democratic Party – although the events appeared to not be fully booked.

“There’s not a tougher time to be governor than right now,” Obama said.

Several audience members shouted out, “Or President!”

Crittenden’s blog post also notes the variation in the treatment of protests that occurred outside the events.

On a separate note, the Washington Post’s Ceci Connolly made a unique and important observation on Friday about the president’s proposal for state-controlled health care:

Although he has traveled to New England often and speaks about health care virtually every week, Obama has not held a single event focused on the Massachusetts experiment.

The “Massachusetts experiment” is state-run CommonwealthCare, also referred to as RomneyCare because it was originally championed by then-alleged Republican Bay State Governor Mitt Romney.

Obama hasn’t been touting the Massachusetts system, despite the fact that Patrick, the beneficiary of Obama’s fund-raising efforts last night, has gone out of his way to praise it. Patrick even wrote a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed calling CommonwealthCare/RomneyCare “a health reform model” for the nation.

The President knows better. If the Massachusetts system’s cost explosion and inevitable rendezvous with serious rationing were more widely known, it would hurt rather than help Obama’s pet statist cause. Thus, it’s best for him to keep the Bay State’s “grand experiment” under wraps.

Image was obtained from Governor Patrick’s web site.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Glenn Beck Interviews Lord Monckton about the Copenhagen Treaty (with Possible Implementation Alternative)

Filed under: Economy,Environment,Scams,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:15 am

Following up on my Friday Pajamas Media column that was mirrored at BizzyBlog today — Here is a portion of the radio interview Glenn Beck had with Lord Christopher Monckton about a week ago:

In the last couple of minutes above, Monckton presents a possible method for implementing Copenhagen that bypasses the need for Senate ratification:

Well now, I’ll tell you what has to happen. Under your constitution, I think it’s Article VI, there has to be a 2/3 majority of the Senate in order to ratify it. Now I don’t think he’ll get a 2/3 majority in the Senate. I’m reasonably sure there are enough senators including blue dog senators who will (oppose it when they) realize that that if they hand over your democracy and your Constitution and make it subject to this new treaty — because that’s how your Constitution works, (as) Article VI taken with the Vienna Convention on the Interpretation of International Treaties means that an international treaty prevails over your Constitution — so if he signs away your Constitution, he is signing away for the first time to an alien bureaucratic entity that you don’t elect, that’s the danger.

Now if he can’t get it through the Senate — during his election campaign, he and his staff began saying that they didn’t like that part of the Constitution that meant they had to get 2/3 of the Senate to agree. And the way that he is proposing to do it, and this was announced during his campaign — is to get a simple majority in both houses, which he can of course get because he has a reasonable majority in both houses. So that the treaty will be enacted into your domestic law.

Now that is slightly less drastic than if the Senate were to ratify it, because at least in theory, you can repeal a domestic law, whereas you can’t rezile from a treaty. And once you’ve signed a treaty, the only way you can get out of that officially is to get all the other states and parties to agree to let you go. And since you’ll be the country that’s paying most in the way of reparations, there’s no way they will let you go.

Evidence that Obama and his apparatchiks believe that they can sign on to international treaties without the Senate’s advice and consent is here.

I see four potential difficulties with all of this becoming a reality:

  1. Even if the Senate ratifies, does the Vienna Convention on the Interpretation of International Treaties really mean what Lord Monckton says it means? Well, the U.S. has signed it with narrow objections, and this linked graphic from that treaty would appear to indicate that a country can’t invoke an internal law as superior to a treaty, even after the fact. That would appear to leave little wiggle room. It could be argued with vague prospects for success that a constitution is a framework for the law but not THE law.
  2. In regards to the “domestic agenda” gambit, getting a majority of even the Senate to go along is not going to be as easy as Lord Monckton believes it might be. Cap and trade’s prospects aren’t that good, and Copenhagen is significantly more severe.
  3. The “domestic agenda” gambit drags the House into a decision to cede U.S. sovereignty. The Senate, as detached from reality as it is, could conceivably sign on to that. But it seems — emphasis seems — that a majority of the House would unwilling to face what I believe would be the strident across-the-board wrath of their constituents in the 2010 elections. The average congressman won’t want to be on the record in any way supporting Copenhagen. On the Democratic Party side, many will be furious at being forced to deal with something that should be the sole province of the Senate.
  4. I don’t think the idea of whether simple majorities of both houses can constitutionally cede sovereignty through “domestic legislation” has ever been tested. Of course, by the time the test occurs, the legislation would have been in place for several years wreaking its havoc while being stoutly defended by the establishment media as “crucial, landmark, groundbreaking, pioneering, visionary, indispensable,” etc.

Given enough pressure, none of the suggested barriers is insurmountable for the one-worlders. Obviously, it’s best that President Obama not start the ball rolling in the first place. I fear that the only way he won’t is if the groundswell of objection is overwhelming and crosses ideological lines, as it should. Even then, Obama has clear “I do what I want, bleep you” tendencies, and this is one area where he might be determined to exercise them.

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UPDATE: This PJM commenter has a number of other relevant legal cites.

UPDATE 2: This PJM commenter suggest a possible Obama “I do what I want, bleep you” possibility.

There May Be No Coping With Copenhagen

Filed under: Economy,Environment,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:13 am

GlobalWarmingObama’s signature on a climate treaty in December could irretrievably compromise American sovereignty.

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Note: This column appeared at Pajamas Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog, with an accompanying supplement on the constitutional situation with any sovereignty-compromising treaty that might be signed there, on Friday morning.

Update 1: The column text says that Obama may — emphasis may — attend the UN -sponsored Copenhagen climate change conference. On Saturday, Giles Whitell, reporting from Washington for the UK Times Online, asserted that “President Obama will almost certainly not travel to the Copenhagen climate change summit in December and may instead use his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech to set out US environmental goals, The Times has learnt.” Update 1A: Major Garrett at Fox News reports that Obama is, in a senior administration official’s workds, “leaning toward not going.”

I advise vigilance. He’s already going to be in the neighborhood on December 10 to accept his accomplishment-free Nobel Peace Prize.

Update 2: See the vid at this post of Glenn Beck’s interview with Lord Monckton and the discussion that follows concerning the purported superiority of international treaties over a country’s internal laws.

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In early October, President Obama, his wife, and his entourage flew in to Copenhagen, Denmark in hopes of helping their hometown of Chicago secure its 2016 Summer Olympics bid. That didn’t work out very well. Among other things, Chicago’s elimination ultimately in favor of Rio de Janeiro sent the grand designs of Windy City Mayor/Dictator for Life Richard Daley into a more serious tailspin than they were already.

In December, Obama may — emphasis may — make another visit to Copenhagen. If he does, watch out, as the stakes will be far greater than the well-being of a single city. What appears to hang in the balance is nothing less than the future of our country’s ability to determine its own destiny.

Denmark’s City of Spires is the site of the December 7-19 United Nations Climate Change Conference. The conference’s objective is “a global climate change agreement.”

What would the “COP” (“Conference of the Parties) agreement entail? Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has said that it involves agreement on the answers to these four questions:

1. How much are the industrialized countries willing to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases?
2. How much are major developing countries such as China and India willing to do to limit the growth of their emissions?
3. How is the help needed by developing countries to engage in reducing their emissions and adapting to the impacts of climate change going to be financed?
4. How is that money going to be managed?

“If Copenhagen can deliver on those four points I’d be happy,” says Yvo de Boer.

You bet Mr. de Boer would be happy, especially with Items 3 and 4. So would the motley crew of the Third World’s largely autocratic rulers who could mostly care less about what may or may not be happening to the earth’s climate.

That’s because if Mr. de Boer and the one-worlders of the environmental movement get their way in Copenhagen, the United Nations will finally have transformed itself from its original design — as “an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and the achieving of world peace” — into a de facto unelected government, complete with its own tax and spending authorities and its own powers of enforcement.

There’s a natural tendency to dismiss statements such as the one just made as overwrought hyperbole. I would suggest resisting that urge. First, I have been through the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action’s “revised negotiating text,” which is in essence a mock-up of the treaty containing many multi-bracketed items representing matters that remain to be ironed out. I have posted that 181-page PDF document at my blog so that anyone interested can read it. What I am asserting is in there is indeed in there. Second, I am far from the only person expressing this concern.

What follows are some key areas of the document containing what I believe are its most odious provisions. It is of course no substitute for a full reading.

On Page 6 in Preambular Paragraphs (PP) 13-15, signatories are expected to acknowledge the following non-bracketed items:

(PP. 13) “…. current and potential climate change impacts require a shift in the global investment patterns and that criteria for financing allocation shall clearly respond to the priorities identified by the international community, with climate change stabilization being one of these priorities.”
(PP. 14) “…. current atmospheric concentrations are principally the result of historical emissions of greenhouse gases, the most significant share of which has originated in developed countries.”
(PP. 15) “…. developed countries have a historical responsibility for their disproportionate contribution to the causes and consequences of climate change, reflecting their disproportionate historical use of a shared global carbon space since 1850 as well as their proposed continuing disproportionate use of the remaining global carbon space.”

Allow me to translate: Free-market capitalism hasn’t worked to our satisfaction, so it must be stopped. It has brought the earth to the eve of destruction. Oh, and it’s the developed world’s fault, especially America’s. The date chosen in PP. 15 appears to betray a belief that the entire Industrial Age has been one big mistake.

Now let’s go to where the money is.

Paragraph 33 on Page 39 of the Negotiating Text itself reads, “By 2020 the scale of financial flows to support adaptation in developing countries must be [at least USD 67 billion] [in the range of USD 70–140 billion] per year.” The bracketed amounts are the only alternatives. These duties would arrive after a proposed initial start of $50-86 billion.

Paragraph 41 on Page 43 contemplates all manner of potential wealth transfers from the developed world to everyone else, including but not at all limited to the following: possible assessments of up to 0.7% of a country’s gross domestic product (GDP); auctioning of emission allowances; levies on CO2 emissions; taxes on “carbon-intensive products and services”; levies on international transactions; and fines for non-compliance.

At the very bottom of Page 145, there is mention of assessing “financial penalties, at a minimum of ten times the market price of carbon, for any emissions in excess of the level implied by the emissions reduction commitment.” America, meet your carbon straitjacket.

Finally, let’s get to how UNFCCC becomes a governmental entity. Though it appears that it might be supplanted at crunch time by much more vague language, Paragraph 38 on Page 18 describes what the framers have in mind:

The scheme for the new institutional arrangement under the Convention will be based on three basic pillars: government; facilitative mechanism; and financial mechanism, and the basic organization of which will include the following:
(a) “The government will be ruled by the COP with the support of a new subsidiary body on adaptation, and of an Executive Board responsible for the management of the new funds and the related facilitative processes and bodies. The current Convention secretariat will operate as such, as appropriate.”
(b) “The Convention’s financial mechanism will include a multilateral climate change fund including five windows …” (FYI — they are Adaptation, Compensation, Technology, Mitigation, and REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation)
(c) “The Convention’s facilitative mechanism will include …. an international registry for the monitoring, reporting and verification of compliance of emission reduction commitments, and the transfer of technical and financial resources from developed countries to developing countries.”

From all appearances, agreeing to COP would mean signing away a significant portion of our national sovereignty in the name of solving a problem that even former climate-change cheerleaders are starting to doubt, which may just have been totally scientifically debunked, and whose origins are based on raw data that is apparently no longer available — all for the sole purpose of transferring vast amounts of wealth that will be spent on projects accomplishing very little of economic value, thus threatening to impoverish the entire world.

If there’s an alternative way to interpret what I have described here and the totality of the COP itself, I want to know what it is.

Our president, possibly softened up by his achievement-free attainment of the Nobel Peace Prize, has signaled that he’s ready to sign if everyone else is:

US officials said Washington is behind the deal and pledged that President Obama will attend the talks himself if enough progress is made.

I believe it’s fair to characterize a U.S. president who signs the COP treaty as seriously betraying his country’s best interests, regardless of how it might be watered down in negotiations, because its underlying premises are all either very dubious or false. Even though the Senate must ratify any treaty a president signs under what’s left of our Constitution, some might still describe Obama’s choice by employing a word that starts with “T” and rhymes with “reason.”

Positivity: Constitutional Court in Peru admits abortifacient effect of morning-after pill

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 8:28 am

From Lima, Peru:

Oct 23, 2009 / 11:22 pm

Peru’s Constitutional Court has ruled against the distribution of the “morning-after pill” at public health care facilities because the abortifacient effect of the drug has not been ruled out.

According to the public relations office of the Court, the justices hold that “the inexistence of the abortifacient effect, the inhibition of the implantation of the fertilized ovum in the endometrium, has not been demonstrated.”

The court accepted the arguments of various NGOs after evaluating the arguments presented by national and international institutions and found that supporters of the pill could not prove that it does not affect the right to life of the unborn, which is protected by the Peruvian Constitution.

The court’s ruling bans the free distribution of the morning-after pill in public health care facilities, however the drug can still be sold in pharmacies as long as consumers are provided with information on the drug’s potential abortifacient nature.

According to Carlos Polo, director of the Office for Latin America of the Population Research Institute (PRI), the court “has acted correctly because it put things into proper perspective. The promoters and sellers of the pill needed to show that the anti-implantation effect did not exist and they could not do so.”

PRI is one the organizations cited in the court’s ruling. ….

Go here for the rest of the story.