Archive for the ‘democracy’ Category

China’s Bloodshed in Tiananmen Should Be Remembered By “White China Day”

May 21, 2009

Wang Dan, a key figure in the 1989 pro-democracy protests in China, said Thursday he hoped the nation would be “covered in white” to mark the anniversary of the bloody Tiananmen crackdown.

“We are promoting a campaign called ‘White Clothes Day,'” Wang, who was jailed for years in China before being exiled, told AFP from Taiwan, where he was staying temporarily to continue his fight for democracy.

“That means we appeal to Chinese people to wear white clothes (the colour of mourning in China) on June 4 to remember June 4, and we hope that on that day, we can witness a China covered in white,” he explained.

Studying at Peking University in 1989, Wang was first on a list of 21 most wanted students in China after the army cracked down on the Tiananmen demonstrations, killing hundreds, and possibly thousands.

After being arrested, Wang was sentenced to four years in prison in 1991 and freed in 1993. He was re-arrested in 1995 after continuing to campaign for human rights and democracy and sentenced the following year to a further 11 years in jail.

But in 1998, he was exiled to the United States where he continued his fight for democracy in his country.

“We are also inviting over 50 former participants of the 89 movement to get together again after 20 years in Washington DC to have a candle ceremony,” Wang said, adding exiled dissidents would hold a press conference on June 4.

Chinese authorities have reinforced security and the surveillance of dissidents in the country as the ultra-sensitive anniversary approaches, fearing trouble.

Wang Dan, a key figure in the 1989 pro-democracy protests in China, said Thursday he hoped the nation would be “covered in white” to mark the anniversary of the bloody Tiananmen crackdown.

“We are promoting a campaign called ‘White Clothes Day,'” Wang, who was jailed for years in China before being exiled, told AFP from Taiwan, where he was staying temporarily to continue his fight for democracy.

“That means we appeal to Chinese people to wear white clothes (the colour of mourning in China) on June 4 to remember June 4, and we hope that on that day, we can witness a China covered in white,” he explained.

Studying at Peking University in 1989, Wang was first on a list of 21 most wanted students in China after the army cracked down on the Tiananmen demonstrations, killing hundreds, and possibly thousands.

After being arrested, Wang was sentenced to four years in prison in 1991 and freed in 1993. He was re-arrested in 1995 after continuing to campaign for human rights and democracy and sentenced the following year to a further 11 years in jail.

But in 1998, he was exiled to the United States where he continued his fight for democracy in his country.

“We are also inviting over 50 former participants of the 89 movement to get together again after 20 years in Washington DC to have a candle ceremony,” Wang said, adding exiled dissidents would hold a press conference on June 4.

Chinese authorities have reinforced security and the surveillance of dissidents in the country as the ultra-sensitive anniversary approaches, fearing trouble.

Read the rest from AFP:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090521/wl_a
sia_afp/chinapoliticsprotesttiananmen_200
90521084755

[In most of Asia, white is the color of death and mourning.]

PelosiTruthGate: Did CIA Lie About Torture To Congress? Time To Find Out Or Fire Pelosi

May 15, 2009

If the Central Intelligence Agency, the nations top intelligence collection agency, is or has been lying the Congress, that is one of the most serious dangers in our democracy.

If the Congress is not fulfilling its role in “oversight” and “checks and balances” that is an equally serious allegation.

And if the Speaker of the House, any Speaker of the House, is lying about such a serious national security matter, that Speaker needs to step down.

This is now a new Watergate. PelosiTruthGate.

If the CIA lied about torture, did it lie about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?  Did we go to war based upon a lie?

This is serious stuff.  Nothing could be more serious.

We need to get to the bottom of this.

It’s now that simple.

The New York Times buried this story on page A18 today: which removes this organization from the realm of honest journalism.

Related:
The nation’s largest left-wing newspaper is counting its last days

Meanwhile, the Washington Post, to its credit, has prepared a special editorial on the CIA-Pelosi-Truth affair, which is on the Internet now and will appear in print on Saturday.

This is a big issue and a big story, and even the White House is hoping it will (and trying to make it) go away.

Which means we have even more reason to get to the bottom of this serious issue…..

Related:
White House Works To Bury Pelosi-CIA Story, New York Times Complies
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NYT: Pelosi Accusations of CIA Lying on Page A18; Wash Post Makes Special Editorial; White House Dodges Questions
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Panetta: CIA “briefed truthfully on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, describing ‘the enhanced techniques’” to Congress
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Gingrich On Pelosi: ‘Lied,’ ‘Despicable,’ ‘Dishonest,’ ‘Vicious,’ “Incompetent”

http://hotair.com/archives/2009/05/
15/rush-to-pelosi-its-time-to-go/

Obama’s Careless Disregard for Law

May 14, 2009

Anyone, said T.S. Eliot, could carve a goose, were it not for the bones. And anyone could govern as boldly as his whims decreed, were it not for the skeletal structure that keeps civil society civil — the rule of law. The Obama administration is bold. It also is careless regarding constitutional values and is acquiring a tincture of lawlessness.

By George F. Will
The Washington Post

In February, California’s Democratic-controlled Legislature, faced with a $42 billion budget deficit, trimmed $74 million (1.4 percent) from one of the state’s fastest-growing programs, which provides care for low-income and incapacitated elderly people and which cost the state $5.42 billion last year. The Los Angeles Times reports that “loose oversight and bureaucratic inertia have allowed fraud to fester.”

But the Service Employees International Union collects nearly $5 million a month from 223,000 caregivers who are members. And the Obama administration has told California that unless the $74 million in cuts are rescinded, it will deny the state $6.8 billion in stimulus money.
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Such a federal ukase (the word derives from czarist Russia; how appropriate) to a state legislature is a sign of the administration’s dependency agenda — maximizing the number of people and institutions dependent on the federal government. For the first time, neither sales nor property nor income taxes are the largest source of money for state and local governments.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dy
n/content/article/2009/05/13/AR2
009051303014.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

ACORN Won’t Go Away; Neither Will Accusations

May 9, 2009

It’s almost as if the 2008 presidential campaign never ended: The community organizing group known as ACORN continues to find itself in legal jeopardy and the Republican Party continues to spend an inordinate amount of time obsessing about it.

Six months after an election where the controversial liberal group became a partisan lightning rod, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now remains a prominent GOP target, a subject of intense, feverish pursuit seemingly out of proportion with the return on political investment.

By MICHAEL FALCONE
Consider the past week alone.

In the House, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) and other GOP lawmakers called on the Census Bureau to sever ties with ACORN, one of several hundred organizations teaming up with the bureau to conduct the crucial Census count in 2010.

At the same time, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), one of ACORN’s most vocal opponents in Congress, tangled with Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) over an “ACORN amendment” she introduced that would have prohibited any organization indicted for voter fraud from receiving certain federal housing grants.

In the Senate, Republican David Vitter of Louisiana introduced his own amendment that sought to prohibit ACORN from receiving federal volunteer funds through the National Service Act. The Senate rejected it on Thursday.

Outside the legislative arena, Republicans also zeroed in on ACORN.

The Republican National Committee splashed on its home page a story about voter registration charges filed against ACORN in Nevada. The Florida GOP produced a YouTube video aimed at freshman Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson that shows a member of Grayson’s staff calling him the “Congressman from ACORN.”

On Friday, Americans for Limited Government, a conservative group, targeted several vulnerable Democratic freshmen by issuing individualized press releases slamming them for voting to fund “criminal enterprise ACORN.”

The list goes on and on.

At the heart of the GOP’s grievance is the belief that ACORN is a shady liberal front group that regularly engages in fraudulent voter registration activity or outright voter fraud. John McCain suggested as much in one of his debates with Barack Obama when he referred to ACORN by name and accused Obama of not fully explaining his association with the group.

“This could violate the most fundamental aspect of democracy and that is a free and fair election,” McCain said at the debate last October.

Read the rest from Politico:
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0509/22282.html

Chrysler’s Dissenting Lenders Give Up Active Fight Against Sale

May 8, 2009

Derided as “speculators” by President Obama, the hedge funds that said they felt cheated by the government in the Chrysler case have decided to drop their action against the government decision…..

************************

Chrysler LLC’s secured lenders that opposed the automaker’s bankruptcy sale of assets to a company run by Fiat SpA have collectively withdrawn their participation in the court case, a lawyer representing the group said.

The group, calling itself Chrysler’s Non-TARP lenders, may withdraw objections to the sale, said Tom Lauria, the White & Case attorney representing the group.

“After a great deal of soul-searching and quite frankly agony, they concluded they just don’t have critical mass to withstand the enormous pressure and machinery of the U.S. government,” he said.

The case is In re Chrysler LLC, 09-50002, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan)
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From Bloomberg

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/0
5/08/battered-hedge-fund-manag
ers-syndrome/

ACORN Members Again Charged in Voting Irregularities

May 7, 2009

Authorities in western Pennsylvania have accused seven people who worked for the community group ACORN of falsifying voter-registration forms.

The seven have been charged with either forging, illegally soliciting or illegally filling out voter-registration cards in the lead-up to the 2008 election.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr.. announced the charges at a news conference Thursday.

Authorities in western Pennsylvania have accused seven people who worked for the community group ACORN of falsifying voter-registration forms.

The seven have been charged with either forging, illegally soliciting or illegally filling out voter-registration cards in the lead-up to the 2008 election.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. announced the charges at a news conference Thursday.

Read the rest:
http://www.breitbart.com/article.php
?id=D981H0JG3&show_article=1

Is Any System Or Party “Dead” Because of Corruption? Or is Corruption With Us Always?

May 3, 2009

“How can I believe in capitalism.  It is a corrupt system and it failed,” a friend said.

I wondered about the two words “corruption” and “system so closely allied and thought I might replace “people” with “system.”

Are systems inherently corrupt?  Some times.  But more often than not, even the best system can become corrupt because of people who become corrupt.

Over thirty years ago last month, in April 1975, the Democratic government of Vietnam failed and is no more.  That government was widely believed to be corrupt and was replaced by communism — which has itself become a model of corruption.

Yet few Americans I talk to complain that democracy is inherently corrupt — the proof is Vietnam and so this system should be cast aside as dead.

Is capitalism corrupt?  I guess when corrupt people like Bernie Madoff take advantage of the breakdown of checks and balances and others including the congress and regulators fail to do their jobs.

Is the CIA corrupt because of the “torture” of terrorists?  Hardly: President Obama has said that.  But others have said, the corruption is with Bush and Cheney and the others — or with the “system.”

So there may have been failure within the system — that doesn’t necessarily make the system a failure.

We need maybe to make our “system” as corruption free as possible.

The Obama Team seems to make the argument that capitalism is, in and of itself, corrupt and dead: the proof is in our current economic failure.

But it just could be that the system didn’t let us down as much as the people who were not doing their jobs inside the system.  And those people were of two parties; not one.

Related:
Torture: How and When Did Pelosi, Others In Congress Know?
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Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi Were Dead Wrong on Fannie/Freddie — Then Blamed “Regulators”

Every phone call, email or website visit will be monitored by the government

April 25, 2009

Every phone call, email or website visit will be monitored by the state under plans to be unveiled next week in the UK.

By Tom Whitehead
Telegraph (UK)

The proposals will give police and security services the power to snoop on every single communication made by the public with the data then likely to be stored in an enormous national database.

The precise content of calls and other communications would not be accessible but even text messages and visits to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter would be tracked.
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The move has alarmed civil liberty campaigners, and the country’s data protection watchdog last night warned the proposals would be “unacceptable”.

Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, will argue the powers are needed to target terrorists and serious criminals who are taking advantage of the increasing complex nature of communications to plot atrocities and crimes.

A consultation document on the plans, known in Whitehall as the Interception Modernisation Programme, is likely to put great emphasis on the threat facing Britain and warn the alternative to the powers would be a massive expansion of surveillance.

But that will fuel concerns among critics that the Government is using a climate of fear to expand the surveillance state.

Information Commissioner Richard Thomas, the country’s data watchdog, told the Daily Telegraph: “I have no problem with the targeted surveillance of terrorist suspects.

“But a Government database of the records of everyone’s communications – if that is to be proposed – is not likely to be acceptable to the British public. Remember that records – who? when? where? – can be highly intrusive even if no content is collected.”

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukn
ews/5215413/Every-phone-call-email
-or-website-visit-to-be-monitored.html

For Obama and Environmental Law, Cap and Trade; Democracy, Debate are the Inconvenient Truth

April 24, 2009

President Obama’s global warming agenda has been losing support in Congress, but why let an irritant like democratic consent interfere with saving the world? So last Friday the Environmental Protection Agency decided to put a gun to the head of Congress and play cap-and-trade roulette with the U.S. economy.

The Wall Street Journal

The pistol comes in the form of a ruling that carbon dioxide is a dangerous pollutant that threatens the public and therefore must be regulated under the 1970 Clean Air Act. This so-called “endangerment finding” sets the clock ticking on a vast array of taxes and regulation that EPA will have the power to impose across the economy, and all with little or no political debate.

This is a momentous decision that has the potential to affect the daily life of every American, yet most of the media barely noticed, and those that did largely applauded. When America’s Founders revolted against “taxation without representation,” this is precisely the kind of kingly diktat they had in mind.

Michigan Democrat John Dingell helped to write the Clean Air Act, as well as its 1990 revision, and he says neither was meant to apply to carbon. But in 2007 five members of the Supreme Court followed the environmental polls and ordered the EPA to determine if CO2 qualified as a “pollutant.” The Bush Administration prudently slow-walked the decision. As Peter Glaser, an environmental lawyer at Troutman Sanders, told Congress in 2008, “The country will experience years, if not decades, of regulatory agony, as EPA will be required to undertake numerous, controversial, time-consuming, expensive and difficult regulatory proceedings, all of which ultimately will be litigated.”

The Obama EPA has now opened this Pandora’s box. The centerpiece of the Clean Air Act is something called the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, or NAAQS, under which the EPA decides the appropriate atmospheric concentration of a given air pollutant. Under this law the states must adopt measures to meet a NAAQS goal, and the costs cannot be considered. For global warming, this is going to be a hugely expensive futility parade.

Greenhouse gases mix in the atmosphere, and it doesn’t matter where they come from. A ton of emissions from Ohio has the same effect on global CO2 as a ton emitted in China; and even if Ohio figured out a way to reduce its emissions to zero, it would still have no control over the carbon content in its ambient air. But under the law, EPA would be required to severely punish Ohio — and every state — for not complying with NAAQS.

Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA also must regulate all “major” sources of emissions that emit more than 250 tons of an air pollutant in a year. That includes “any building, structure, facility or installation.” This might be a reasonable threshold for conventional pollutants such as SOX or NOX, but it’s extremely low for carbon. Hundreds of thousands of currently unregulated sources will suddenly be subject to the EPA’s preconstruction permitting and review, including schools, hospitals, malls, restaurants, farms and colleges. According to EPA, the average permit today takes 866 hours for a source to prepare, and 301 hours for EPA to process. So this regulatory burden will increase by several orders of magnitude.

The EPA took the highly unusual step of not accompanying its endangerment finding with actual proposed regulations. For now, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson claims her agency will only target cars and trucks. That is bad enough. It probably means, for example, that California’s mileage fleet burdens will seep out to every other state. So even as taxpayers are now paying tens of billions of dollars to prop up GM and Chrysler, Ms. Jackson will be able to tell the entire auto industry it must make even more small cars that consumers don’t want to buy.

Still, why confine the rule only to cars and trucks? By the EPA’s own logic, it shouldn’t matter where carbon emissions come from. Carbon from a car’s tailpipe is the same as carbon from a coal-fired power plant. And transportation is responsible for only 28% of U.S. emissions, versus 34% for electricity generation. Ms. Jackson is clearly trying to limit the immediate economic impact of her ruling, so as not to ignite too great a business or consumer backlash.

But her half-measure is also too clever by half. By finding carbon a public danger, she is inviting lawsuits from environmental lobbies demanding that EPA regulate all carbon sources. Massachusetts and two other states have already sued in federal court to force the EPA to create a NAAQS for CO2.

Which brings us back to the Obama Administration’s political roulette. Democrats know that their cap-and-tax agenda is losing ground, notably among Midwestern Senators. The EPA “endangerment” is intended to threaten businesses and state and local governments until they surrender and support the Obama agenda. The car industry is merely the first target, meant to be the object lesson.

Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey put it this way at MIT recently: “Do you want the EPA to make the decision or would you like your Congressman or Senator to be in the room and drafting legislation? . . . Industries across the country will just have to gauge for themselves how lucky they feel if they kill legislation in terms of how the EPA process will include them.”

This “Dirty Harry” theory of governance — Do you feel lucky? — is as cynical as it is destructive. And contra Mr. Markey, if cap and tax is killed this year, it will be done in by Democrats, many of whom are starting to realize the economic harm it would inflict. In March, the Senate voted 89 to 8 on a resolution vowing to pass a climate bill only if “such legislation does not increase electricity or gasoline prices.”

That’s called democracy, but for the Obama Administration such debate is an inconvenient truth. If they can’t get Congress to pass their agenda, they’ll use EPA and the courts to impose it. How lucky do you feel?

Crazy Times — Crazier Times to Follow

April 23, 2009

We are in a weird age.

Do the smart thing, we were told, and invest in a 401(k) retirement account. Buy into the American dream and own your own home. But lately it seems that those who put their money in low-earning passbook savings accounts or rented rather than buying may have been better off.

By Victor Davis Hanson
National Review Online

Indeed, almost all the old familiar benchmarks of modern American life seem to be going by the wayside.

The blue-chip corporations that were long the brand names of world manufacturing and finance — American International Group, Bank of America, Bear Stearns, Chrysler, Citigroup, General Motors, and Lehman Brothers — are either gone or teetering on insolvency.

The old-guard newspaper industry is fading — the Tribune Company is in bankruptcy court, Hearst at one point threatened to shut down the San Francisco Chronicle, the Rocky Mountain News is already gone. The stock price of the New York Times is worth about the same as its Sunday paper.

Washington is more confusing. Bill Clinton balanced his last budgets but raised taxes. George Bush increased deficits but cut taxes. But now taxes, spending, and deficits soar all at once. We are lectured that prior reckless federal spending and borrowing got us into this mess — but now are told that even more federal spending and borrowing will get us out of it.

We’ve seen housing sales slump when home prices were high but interest rates low. Or when prices were low but interest high. Or when prices and interest were alike high. But we never have seen a bad housing market in which both home prices and mortgage interest rates were low.

Nonsense is passed off as wisdom. Those who caused the financial meltdown walked away with millions in bonuses while taxpayers covered the debts they ran up. The big-spending government claims it may cut our annual $1.7 trillion deficit in half by 2012 — but only after piling up trillions more in national debt.

In our Orwellian world, borrowing to spend what we don’t have has been renamed “stimulus.” Those who pay no federal income taxes — almost half of Americans — can somehow be promised an income tax “cut.” In the new borrowing of trillions of dollars here and trillions there, billions of dollars now sounds like pocket change.

Read the rest:
http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZGYw
M2JkMzcwNWUyMjQ2MDg0MzFmMWZlZ
mQ2ZDdiYTI
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