Archive for August, 2009

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Obama_peeing_lg

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Monday, August 31st, 2009

obama_big_brother_small

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government healthcare plan

Monday, August 31st, 2009

housedemshealthplan

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Monday, August 31st, 2009

obamaurkel

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Monday, August 31st, 2009

Joker-Obama

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What’s next… Obama to control your inbox?

Monday, August 31st, 2009


Posted By Bobby Eberle On August 31, 2009 at 6:56 am

We have all witnessed quite a show since Barack Obama became president. Because the country was facing “crisis” after “crisis,” Obama and his team were more than happy to inject government into the private operations of banks, the auto industry, and energy sector.

But, of course, that’s not enough. Now with the latest cybersecurity bill making its way through Congress, Obama not only will have control over General Motors but could also have control over the Internet. With the power to “shut down online traffic by seizing private networks,” Obama would take one more piece of freedom and add it to his growing list of industries and activities which fall under government “supervision.”

As noted in the report on FOXNews.com, “A Senate bill would offer President Obama emergency control of the Internet and may give him a ‘kill switch’ to shut down online traffic by seizing private networks — a move cybersecurity experts worry will choke off industry and civil liberties.”

New details of the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 were released on Thursday “months after an initial version authored by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V., was blasted in Silicon Valley as dangerous government intrusion.”

Larry Clinton, president of the Internet Security Alliance, told FOXNews.com that the original bill gave Obama the power to turn off the Internet in the case of a cyber-emergency. (Sounds like another potential “crisis” to me.) Of course, as Clinton comments, the bill does not define what a cyber-emergency is.

In an excerpt of the bill obtained by CNET News, the legislation “still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.”

The new version would allow the president to “declare a cybersecurity emergency” relating to “non-governmental” computer networks and do what’s necessary to respond to the threat. Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for “cybersecurity professionals,” and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license.

CNET’s translation? –> “If your company is deemed ‘critical,’ a new set of regulations kick in involving who you can hire, what information you must disclose, and when the government would exercise control over your computers or network.”

Here’s the kicker… not only would this bill put more private industry under the supervision of the government, but once again, the government is showing that it has no grasp of what actually goes on in private industry.

The Rockefeller proposal plays out against a broader concern in Washington, D.C., about the government’s role in cybersecurity. In May, President Obama acknowledged that the government is “not as prepared” as it should be to respond to disruptions and announced that a new cybersecurity coordinator position would be created inside the White House staff. Three months later, that post remains empty, one top cybersecurity aide has quit, and some wags have begun to wonder why a government that receives failing marks on cybersecurity should be trusted to instruct the private sector what to do.

At the risk of stating the obvious, the government should stick to those specific functions outlined by the Constitution and stay out of private industry. Obama and his team continue to seize more control over our private lives, but with each passing day, they also show that they are ill-equipped to handle the situation. The last thing we need is more government control over the Internet and Obama telling cyber-professionals how to do their jobs.

I don’t want Obama patrolling my inbox with “professionals” licensed by his administration. Do you?



Article printed from The Loft: http://www.gopusa.com/theloft

URL to article: http://www.gopusa.com/theloft/?p=1885

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Democratic Health Care Bill Divulges IRS Tax Data

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Posted by Declan McCullagh

One of the problems with any proposed law that’s over 1,000 pages long and constantly changing is that much deviltry can lie in the details. Take the Democrats’ proposal to rewrite health care policy, better known as H.R. 3200 or by opponents as “Obamacare.” (Here’s our CBS News television coverage.)

Section 431(a) of the bill says that the IRS must divulge taxpayer identity information, including the filing status, the modified adjusted gross income, the number of dependents, and “other information as is prescribed by” regulation. That information will be provided to the new Health Choices Commissioner and state health programs and used to determine who qualifies for “affordability credits.”

Section 245(b)(2)(A) says the IRS must divulge tax return details — there’s no specified limit on what’s available or unavailable — to the Health Choices Commissioner. The purpose, again, is to verify “affordability credits.”

Section 1801(a) says that the Social Security Administration can obtain tax return data on anyone who may be eligible for a “low-income prescription drug subsidy” but has not applied for it.

Over at the Institute for Policy Innovation (a free-market think tank and presumably no fan of Obamacare), Tom Giovanetti argues that: “How many thousands of federal employees will have access to your records? The privacy of your health records will be only as good as the most nosy, most dishonest and most malcontented federal employee…. So say good-bye to privacy from the federal government. It was fun while it lasted for 233 years.”

I’m not as certain as Giovanetti that this represents privacy’s Armageddon. (Though I do wonder where the usual suspects like the Electronic Privacy Information Center are. Presumably inserting limits on information that can be disclosed — and adding strict penalties on misuse of the information kept on file about hundreds of millions of Americans — is at least as important as fretting about Facebook’s privacy policy in Canada.)

A better candidate for a future privacy crisis is the so-called stimulus bill enacted with limited debate early this year. It mandated the “utilization of an electronic health record for each person in the United States by 2014,” but included only limited privacy protections.

It’s true that if the legislative branch chooses to create “affordability credits,” it probably makes sense to ensure they’re not abused. The goal of curbing fraud runs up against the goal of preserving individual privacy.

If we’re going to have such significant additional government intrusion into our health care system, we will have to draw the privacy line somewhere. Maybe the House Democrats’ current bill gets it right. Maybe it doesn’t. But this vignette should be reason to be skeptical of claims that a massive and complex bill must be enacted as rapidly as its backers would have you believe.

Update August 27 11 a.m: Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center says in e-mail: “We would oppose section 431(a) of the bill because it violates the intent of the Privacy Act which generally requires agencies to obtain information directly from individuals and not from other agencies.” EPIC still hasn’t updated their Web site to reflect this sentiment, but it’s good to know that other folks have concerns too.

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Pentagon gathering info on reporters

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009


Files prove Pentagon is profiling reporters

Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Thursday, August 27, 2009


WASHINGTON — Contrary to the insistence of Pentagon officials this week that they are not rating the work of reporters covering U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Stars and Stripes has obtained documents that prove that reporters’ coverage is being graded as “positive,” “neutral” or “negative.”

Moreover, the documents — recent confidential profiles of the work of individual reporters prepared by a Pentagon contractor — indicate that the ratings are intended to help Pentagon image-makers manipulate the types of stories that reporters produce while they are embedded with U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

This pie chart was extracted from a report by The Rendon Group, evaluating the focus of coverage by a reporter for a major U.S. newspaper. It indicates the firm’s conclusion that the reporter’s coverage was 83.33 percent neutral and 16.67 percent negative in relation to the military’s mission objectives.

One reporter on the staff of one of America’s pre-eminent newspapers is rated in a Pentagon report as “neutral to positive” in his coverage of the U.S. military. Any negative stories he writes “could possibly be neutralized” by feeding him mitigating quotes from military officials.

Another reporter, from a TV station, provides coverage from a “subjective angle,” according to his Pentagon profile. Steering him toward covering “the positive work of a successful operation” could “result in favorable coverage.”

The new revelations of the Pentagon’s attempts to shape war coverage come as senior Defense Department officials are acknowledging increasing concern over recent opinion polls showing declining popular American support for the Afghan war.

“The purpose of this memo is to provide an assessment of [a reporter from a major U.S. newspaper] … in order to gauge the expected sentiment of his work while on an embed mission in Afghanistan,” reads the preamble to one of the reporter profiles prepared for the Pentagon by The Rendon Group, a controversial Washington-based public relations firm.

Stars and Stripes reported on Monday that the Pentagon was screening reporters embedding with U.S. forces to determine whether their past coverage had portrayed the military in a positive light. The story included denials by U.S. military officials that they were using the reporters’ profiles to determine whether to approve embed requests.

In the wake of that story, officials of both the Defense Department and Rendon went further, denying that the rating system exists.

“They are not doing that [rating reporters], that’s not been a practice for some time — actually since the creation of U.S. Forces–Afghanistan” in October 2008, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters Monday. “I can tell you that the way in which the Department of Defense evaluates an article is its accuracy. It’s a good article if it’s accurate. It’s a bad article if it’s inaccurate. That’s the only measurement that we use here at the Defense Department.”

In a statement e-mailed to Stars and Stripes, Rear Adm. Greg Smith, director of communications for the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, wrote: “To imply journalists embedded with our forces only serve to highlight positive aspects of our mission slights the professional journalists who regularly embed with our forces and report what they experience, both good and bad.”

The Rendon Group declared in a statement that “the information and analysis we generate is developed … not by ranking of reporters.”

But the Rendon profiles reviewed by Stars and Stripes prove otherwise. One of the profiles evaluates work published as recently as May, indicating that the rating practice did not in fact cease last October as Whitman stated.

And the explicit suggestions contained in the Rendon profiles detailing how best to manipulate reporters’ coverage during their embeds directly contradict the Pentagon’s stated policies governing the embed process.

“These ground rules recognize the inherent right of the media to cover combat operations and are in no way intended to prevent release of embarrassing, negative or derogatory information,” reads the “News Media Ground Rules” issued by U.S. military officials for embedded reporters in Iraq.

Several professional journalists’ groups as well as media ethicists criticized the Pentagon’s attempts to rate and manipulate reporters. And at least one military official with knowledge of the profiling system has also begun to raise objections.

“It’s troubling that the military is contracting a private PR firm, paid with U.S. taxpayer dollars, to profile individual reporters,” said one servicemember who declined to be identified for fear of official retribution. “It shows utter contempt for the Constitution, which we in the service pledge our lives to defend.”

Stars and Stripes’ Charlie Reed, Kevin Baron and Leo Shane III contributed to this report.

© 2009 Stars and Stripes. All Rights Reserved.

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citizen asked for ID at town hall meeting before being allowed to ask question

Friday, August 28th, 2009

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Remembering the Darker Side of Teddy Kennedy

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Mona Charen
Friday, August 28, 2009

The death of Sen. Edward Kennedy, we are being told, should strengthen our resolve to act in a bipartisan fashion. Many of the tributes, from former presidents and Republican colleagues, have stressed the late senator’s willingness to find “common ground.” Well, since ancient Rome we’ve been exhorted not to speak ill of the dead. But neither should we completely disfigure the truth.

Before offering some less than hagiographic reflections on the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (may he rest in peace), one pleasant memory: About a decade ago, I was late for a party in northwest Washington D.C. — a neighborhood not known for abundant parking spaces. After circling the block several times, I spied a cramped space and determined that somehow I was going to fit my minivan into it. Just then, a large man approached walking two Portuguese Water Dogs. He stopped, saw my predicament, and proceeded to guide me into the space with lots of laughter, encouragement, and a little bit of teasing. I knew (obviously) that my Good Samaritan was the senior senator from Massachusetts. I have no reason to think he recognized me.

So I have personal experience of Teddy Kennedy’s charm and affability. The many stories of his personal kindnesses to others (including those with whom he disagreed politically) speak well of him — to a point. But Kennedy was a politician who too often permitted his own sense of righteousness to overwhelm the large reservoir of decency that he is reported to have possessed. He could trample on conservatives with, it seems, hardly a pang of conscience. He may have been the “great liberal lion” of the U.S. Senate, but some of us cannot forget that his tactics were often low and dishonorable.

Former President George W. Bush was characteristically gracious about Kennedy (“a great man”) in his comments since his death, but Kennedy went after Bush utterly without scruple. Consider Kennedy’s shrill attacks on President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq. In 2002, Sen. Kennedy himself had said, “There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein’s regime is a serious danger, that he is a tyrant, and that his pursuit of lethal weapons of mass destruction cannot be tolerated. He must be disarmed.” But just a year later, Kennedy was saying, “This was made up in Texas, announced in January to the Republican leadership that war was going to take place and was going to be good politically. This whole thing was a fraud.” In 2004, Kennedy said, “Before the war, week after week after week we were told lie after lie after lie after lie . . . the president’s war is revealed as mindless, needless, senseless, reckless.”

Kennedy did not — perhaps could not — accept that the Bush administration had made a good faith decision to use military force (as his brother did in the Bay of Pigs and Vietnam). Instead, he contributed to conspiracy theories about Bush’s true motives. Echoing the most inflamed leftist websites, Kennedy alleged that “the President and his senior aides began the march to war in Iraq in the earliest days of the administration, long before the terrorists struck this nation on 9/11.”

When the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison came to light, disgust and abhorrence were expressed pretty universally and certainly bipartisanly. But Kennedy, unable to resist a cheap political shot, actually compared the U.S. to Saddam Hussein, saying, “Shamefully, we now learn that Saddam’s torture chambers reopened under new management — U.S. management.”

Sen. Kennedy’s rhetorical ruthlessness was perhaps most famously displayed within minutes of the nomination of Judge Robert Bork to the Supreme Court. The world now knows that Bob Bork is one of the most intelligent, witty, reasonable, and civilized men in America. But at the time, few knew anything about him. Kennedy rushed to the Senate floor to introduce a grotesque bogeyman: “Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is — and is often the only — protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy.”

Judge Bork recounted later that when he met privately with the senator, Kennedy mumbled, “Nothing personal.” When you have calumniated a man before the entire world, you cannot claim that it isn’t personal.

One hopes that the Kennedy family will find comfort in the days ahead. But I cannot join those who uphold Teddy Kennedy as a model public servant, far less as an exemplar of any sort of bipartisanship.

Copyright © 2009 Salem Web Network.

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