Daily Archives: February 27, 2009

New Hampshire’s Resolution to Reaffirm Its Sovereignty

The Exception | Feb 27th, 2009

By Scott McPherson

To the victor go the spoils, and the winners write the history books, this latter coming unavoidably with the former. Still, facts persist, despite their inconvenience.

One fact that seems particularly inconvenient to the editors of New Hampshire’s Nashua Telegraph is that the government of the United States is a limited government. Their specific complaint is against “HCR6,” a resolution introduced in the New Hampshire House of Representatives that reaffirms the principles laid out in the Tenth Amendment of the US Constitution, namely, that the federal government exists to exercise delegated powers only, and that all other powers are retained by the states and the people.

A similar resolution was passed by the Oklahoma legislature last year, and about ten other states are considering sovereignty-related legislation. It makes perfect sense: following eight years of an Imperial Presidency like George Bush’s – not to mention 80 years of welfare-statism – state lawmakers should be anxious to tell Washington that they are not branch managers for the federal government. The people, in their sovereign capacity, established the governments of the states, and in turn, the people of the several states ratified the Constitution, creating the federal government. The states are equal agents in this compact, with relation to each other and the entity they created. HCR6 is an attempt to remind folks of this historic fact.

“Resolutions such as this,” write the Telegraph’s editors, “exploit the democracy of the Legislature to pursue an ideological agenda with no practical impact on public policy.” Resolutions stating broad principles or making grand declarations are far from unheard of, and are always used to “pursue an ideological agenda.” That’s the whole point. But whether it has any chance of making a “practical impact on public policy” cannot be known unless and until the resolution is properly discussed and debated. What the Telegraph really means is that they just don’t like HCR6, so ipso facto it is a waste of time. What arrogance.

Worse, the editors betray an incredible ignorance, not just of history, but of the rules of basic decency. They write, “The notion that the Republic is a creation of the states and can be dissolved by the states may have been viable – until 1865…the Civil War settled the debate at the cost of more than 600,000 American lives.” What the Telegraph is ultimately saying is that because the North won the war, the history of our government was automatically re-written and the deaths of 600,000 people – not to mention the jailing of state legislators, congressmen and newspaper editors(!) – are therefore justified. Like the main character in Orwell’s 1984, just burn that inconvenient little scrap of paper and a new truth is unveiled. The problem is, the little scrap of paper they wish us to burn is the Constitution.

Joseph Stalin oversaw the murder of millions in the name of protecting the Soviet Union. If body count is a measure of righteousness, he was an ideal leader. To quote Will Smith from the recent film Hancock, “Are you boys sure you want to ride that train?”

The Telegraph claims that “The Supreme Court of the United States gets to decide if the federal government has exceeded the authority granted by the Constitution, not the state of New Hampshire or any other state.” As the Southern statesman and Senator – and Vice-President – John C. Calhoun consistently argued in the first half of the nineteenth century, the Supreme Court is an agent of the federal government; if the federal government gets to determine its own limits, then any idea of a limited government must logically be abandoned.

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Obama Budget Projects Never Ending Rise In National Debt

The debt will have soared $6.3-trillion during his term. Double it if he wins a second term.

CBS Hotsheet | Feb 26, 2009

by Mark Knoller

Despite the budget cuts and tax increases in the Administration’s new budget plan, federal spending and indebtedness will continue to rise as far as the eye can see.

The federal deficit this year spikes to $1.75-trillion dollars – by far the largest in U.S. history. In fact, the deficit this year is larger than the entire federal budget just ten years ago when all government outlays amounted to $1.70-trillion.

Related

Democrats on track to double national debt by 2010

The new budget reflects President Obama’s commitment to cut the annual federal deficit in half by the end of his term in office. Starting next year, the yearly deficit is projected to decrease from $1.1-trillion to $533-billion in the year 2013.

But – if you check the very last chart in the budget book, it shows the National Debt continuing to soar year after year after year.

As of today, it’s $10.8-trillion. The administration projects it’ll climb to $14-trillion next year and in 2013 wind up at $17.1-trillion dollars – very close to matching the size of the entire economy as measured by the projected Gross Domestic Product. And taxpayers will be paying hundreds of billions in interest on the debt each year.

The budget, which carries the title “A New Era of Responsibility,” shows that at the end of ten years, the National Debt will hit $23.1-trillion dollars – exactly matching the GDP that year.

In his budget message, Mr. Obama explains that “our problems are rooted in past mistakes.”

“We arrived at this point as a result of an era of profound irresponsibility,” taking an unmistakable swipe at the budget policies of his immediate predecessor. And in his remarks to his Summit on Financial Responsibility on Monday, he went still further.

“For too long, our budget process in Washington has been an exercise in deception — a series of accounting tricks to hide the extent of our spending and the shortfalls in our revenue and hope that the American people won’t notice: budgeting certain expenditures for just one year, when we know we’ll incur them every year for five or 10; budgeting zero dollars for the Iraq war — zero — for future years, even when we knew the war would continue; budgeting no money for natural disasters, as if we would ever go 12 months without a single flood, fire, hurricane or earthquake.”

That attack was too much for one time White House spokesman Tony Fratto to bear in silence. He served President Bush as deputy press secretary and as a spokesman in the Budget Office and Treasury Department.

He calls the Obama Administration’s budget “the height of audacity.”

Speaking for himself, Fratto charges the current White House is trying to “mask huge spending increases under the cloak of ‘fiscal responsibility.’” And he rejects the current president’s charge that the previous Administration’s budgets were full of hidden numbers and omissions.

“Our budgets were honest, open, and transparent. Every dime spent was presented, debated, voted on, and counted,” said Fratto in a statement e-mailed to CBS News.

And he defended the Bush White House practice of putting war spending in “supplemental” appropriations bills.

“(It) was done to avoid permanently baking those appropriations into the Defense Department’s baseline budget. That’s good budgeting, not a ‘gimmick.’”.

Until now, Mr. Bush ran up the biggest deficits and the largest amount of National Debt in U.S. history. The National Debt increased $4.9-trillion on his watch. The new budget plan shows the title of biggest spender will fall to Mr. Obama.

If his numbers prove true, the debt will have soared $6.3-trillion during his term. Double it if he wins a second term.

Scientists to fight “global warming” with 100,000 square mile sun shade costing $350 trillion

Scientists claim they can fight global warming by firing trillions of mirrors into space to deflect the sun’s rays forming a 100,000 square mile “sun shade”.

Telegraph | Feb 26, 2009

According to astronomer Dr Roger Angel, at the University of Arizona, the trillions of mirrors would have to be fired one million miles above the earth using a huge cannon with a barrel of 0.6 miles across.

The gun would pack 100 times the power of conventional weapons and need an exclusion zone of several miles before being fired.

Despite the obvious obstacles – including an estimated $350 trillion (£244trn) price tag for the project – Dr Angel is confident of getting the project off the ground.

He said: “What we have developed is certainly effective and a method guaranteed to work.

“Tests are ongoing but we expect to be ready to launch within 20 or 30 years time. Things that take a few decades are not that futuristic.”

Dr Angel has already secured NASA funding for a pilot project and British inventor Tod Todeschini, 38, was commissioned to build a scaled-down version of the gun.

He constructed the four-metre long cannon in his workshop in Sandlake, Oxfordshire, for a TV documentary investigating the sun shield theory.

He said: “The gun was horrendously dangerous. This was the first gun I’d ever built.

“I knew I could put it together safely but at the end of it all I didn’t know what I was going to get.

“It was immensely dangerous. I was attempting to build a gun to produce 1,500G of force but it ended up creating about 10,000G and we had to turn the power down.

“Most weapons used by the army produce 100Gs of force so our gun was about 100 times more powerful.

“The main danger was electrocution because it used enough power to boil 44,000 kettles.

“If you were working with normal levels of electricity you could get a shock and be fine, but if you got a shock off this you would be dead – no question.

“We’ve proved it’s possible to build a scaled-down version of the gun needed to get these lenses into the air so it’s just a matter of scaling up the designs for the real thing.”

If Dr Angel’s sun shield is successful he says the mirrors will last 50 years before needing to be replaced.

“What you are talking about is a project which will stop global warming for centuries to come,” he said.

“At the moment the sums involved sound huge but in the greater scheme of things it’s a price worth paying.

“Over 50 years the mirrors will become damaged and therefore fresh lenses will need to be fired into space to ensure the shield is constant.”

Dr Angel, who pioneers solar energy, is developing cheaper methods of making the lenses to bring the cost of the project down.

In the meantime researchers at the University of Victoria, Canada, are testing the sun shield theory by using computer simulations of the project.

Dr Angel’s sun shield theory will feature on Ways to Save the Planet on the Discovery Channel at 7pm on Sunday.

Tiananmen Mothers Call for Investigation of 1989 massacre

Tiananmen mothers group calls on China to investigate 1989 crackdown ahead of 20th anniversary

Possibly thousands of people were believed to have been killed, but the government has never allowed for a full accounting of the events.

ABC News | Feb 26, 2009

tiananmentankman2A group of mothers whose children were killed in the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square have renewed calls to China’s leaders for a full investigation as the 20th anniversary approaches.

The Tiananmen Mothers — a group of mothers and relatives who lost family in the June 4 pro-democracy crackdown — called for an official investigation, compensation to the victims’ families and punishment for those responsible.

In the open letter made public Friday, Chinese leaders were also urged to “break the taboo” of the demonstrations and seek the truth behind the military crackdown against student-led protesters.

BBC News – June 4, 1989, Tiananmen Square Massacre

China’s leaders sent tanks and troops to crush the peaceful protests on June 3-4, which were deemed a threat to Communist Party rule. Hundreds — possibly thousands — of people were believed to have been killed, but the government has never allowed for a full accounting of the events.

“This will require each deputy to demonstrate extraordinary courage and resourcefulness, political courage and wisdom, to break the taboo and face head-on the unspeakable tragedy that took place 20 years ago and resolve “June Fourth” with the truth,” said the letter, referring to delegates to the annual legislature.

The activist group has released a version of the letter every year for two decades ahead of the annual session of the National People’s Congress, which starts March 5.

The Tiananmen Square Massacre-Hymn To The Fallen

Obama to Seek New Assault Weapons Ban

Previous Ban Expired in 2004 During the Bush Administration

ABC News | Feb 25, 2009

By JASON RYAN

The Obama administration will seek to reinstate the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 during the Bush administration, Attorney General Eric Holder said today.

“As President Obama indicated during the campaign, there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons,” Holder told reporters.

Holder said that putting the ban back in place would not only be a positive move by the United States, it would help cut down on the flow of guns going across the border into Mexico, which is struggling with heavy violence among drug cartels along the border.

“I think that will have a positive impact in Mexico, at a minimum.” Holder said at a news conference on the arrest of more than 700 people in a drug enforcement crackdown on Mexican drug cartels operating in the U.S.

Mexican government officials have complained that the availability of sophisticated guns from the United States have emboldened drug traffickers to fight over access routes into the U.S.

A State Department travel warning issued Feb. 20, 2009, reflected government concerns about the violence.

“Some recent Mexican army and police confrontations with drug cartels have resembled small-unit combat, with cartels employing automatic weapons and grenades,” the warning said. “Large firefights have taken place in many towns and cities across Mexico, but most recently in northern Mexico, including Tijuana, Chihuahua City and Ciudad Juarez.”

At the news conference today, Holder described his discussions with his Mexican counterpart about the recent spike in violence.

“I met yesterday with Attorney General Medina Mora of Mexico, and we discussed the unprecedented levels of violence his country is facing because of their enforcement efforts,” he said.

Holder declined to offer any time frame for the reimplementation of the assault weapons ban, however.

“It’s something, as I said, that the president talked about during the campaign,” he said. “There are obviously a number of things that are — that have been taking up a substantial amount of his time, and so, I’m not sure exactly what the sequencing will be.”

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Guantanamo abuses worse since Obama took office

Reuters | Feb 26, 2009

By Luke Baker

LONDON (Reuters) – Abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay has worsened sharply since President Barack Obama took office as prison guards “get their kicks in” before the camp is closed, according to a lawyer who represents detainees.

Abuses began to pick up in December after Obama was elected, human rights lawyer Ahmed Ghappour told Reuters. He cited beatings, the dislocation of limbs, spraying of pepper spray into closed cells, applying pepper spray to toilet paper and over-forcefeeding detainees who are on hunger strike.

The Pentagon said on Monday that it had received renewed reports of prisoner abuse during a recent review of conditions at Guantanamo, but had concluded that all prisoners were being kept in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.

“According to my clients, there has been a ramping up in abuse since President Obama was inaugurated,” said Ghappour, a British-American lawyer with Reprieve, a legal charity that represents 31 detainees at Guantanamo.

“If one was to use one’s imagination, (one) could say that these traumatized, and for lack of a better word barbaric, guards were just basically trying to get their kicks in right now for fear that they won’t be able to later,” he said.

“Certainly in my experience there have been many, many more reported incidents of abuse since the inauguration,” added Ghappour, who has visited Guantanamo six times since late September and based his comments on his own observations and conversations with both prisoners and guards.

He stressed the mistreatment did not appear to be directed from above, but was an initiative undertaken by frustrated U.S. army and navy jailers on the ground. It did not seem to be a reaction against the election of Obama, a Democrat who has pledged to close the prison camp within a year, but rather a realization that there was little time remaining before the last 241 detainees, all Muslim, are released.

“It’s ‘hey, let’s have our fun while we can,'” said Ghappour, who helped secure the release this week of Binyam Mohamed, a British resident freed from Guantanamo Bay after more than four years in detention without trial or charge.

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Climate change not caused by humans and warming has ceased say Japanese scientists

Climate science is ‘ancient astrology’, claims report

The Register | Feb 25, 2009

By Andrew Orlowski

Japanese scientists have made a dramatic break with the UN and Western-backed hypothesis of climate change in a new report from its Energy Commission.

Three of the five researchers disagree with the UN’s IPCC view that recent warming is primarily the consequence of man-made industrial emissions of greenhouse gases. Remarkably, the subtle and nuanced language typical in such reports has been set aside.

One of the five contributors compares computer climate modelling to ancient astrology. Others castigate the paucity of the US ground temperature data set used to support the hypothesis, and declare that the unambiguous warming trend from the mid-part of the 20th Century has ceased.

Related

Oops. We overlooked 193,000 square miles of ice

The report by Japan Society of Energy and Resources (JSER) is astonishing rebuke to international pressure, and a vote of confidence in Japan’s native marine and astronomical research. Publicly-funded science in the West uniformly backs the hypothesis that industrial influence is primarily responsible for climate change, although fissures have appeared recently. Only one of the five top Japanese scientists commissioned here concurs with the man-made global warming hypothesis.

JSER is the academic society representing scientists from the energy and resource fields, and acts as a government advisory panel. The report appeared last month but has received curiously little attention. So The Register commissioned a translation of the document – the first to appear in the West in any form. Below you’ll find some of the key findings – but first, a summary.

Summary

Three of the five leading scientists contend that recent climate change is driven by natural cycles, not human industrial activity, as political activists argue.

Kanya Kusano is Program Director and Group Leader for the Earth Simulator at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science & Technology (JAMSTEC). He focuses on the immaturity of simulation work cited in support of the theory of anthropogenic climate change. Using undiplomatic language, Kusano compares them to ancient astrology. After listing many faults, and the IPCC’s own conclusion that natural causes of climate are poorly understood, Kusano concludes:

“[The IPCC’s] conclusion that from now on atmospheric temperatures are likely to show a continuous, monotonic increase, should be perceived as an unprovable hypothesis,” he writes.

Shunichi Akasofu, head of the International Arctic Research Center in Alaska, has expressed criticism of the theory before. Akasofu uses historical data to challenge the claim that very recent temperatures represent an anomaly:

“We should be cautious, IPCC’s theory that atmospheric temperature has risen since 2000 in correspondence with CO2 is nothing but a hypothesis. ”

Akasofu calls the post-2000 warming trend hypothetical. His harshest words are reserved for advocates who give conjecture the authority of fact.

“Before anyone noticed, this hypothesis has been substituted for truth… The opinion that great disaster will really happen must be broken.”

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