Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Why did Nancy Pelosi not allow a vote on the Credit Card Fair Fee Act?

The San Francisco Chronicle reports on a suspicious stock deal involving Nancy Pelosi.

Excerpt:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is the subject of a report on the stock investments of members of Congress that is to air Sunday on CBS’ “60 Minutes.”

[...]Kroft asked Pelosi why she and her investor husband, Paul Pelosi, bought an initial public offering of stock in Visa, the San Francisco-based credit card company, in March of 2008.

The same month, former House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., introduced the Credit Card Fair Fee Act, which would have given merchants the power to negotiate lower fees with credit card companies. The bill, hostile to the credit card industry, was passed by the committee but never brought to the floor. Pelosi was speaker at the time, and controlled which legislation came to a vote.

The Pelosis bought the Visa stock in three transactions totaling $1 million to $5 million, according to financial disclosure reports. The first was the IPO, followed by two other purchases of the stock at higher prices, Pelosi said.

It certainly seems suspicious to me. She owns millions of dollars of stock in a credit card company, and then proposed legislation to regulate that industry is not allowed a vote on the floor of the House.

Filed under: Videos, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We can’t wait: the do-nothing Democrat Senate is blocking 15 bipartisan jobs bills

Have you heard about “The Forgotten 15“? Here’s a news article by the Washington Times that explains it.

Excerpt:

Last week, the House passed a strongly bipartisan bill which would prevent a job-killing 3 percent withholding tax on all government contractors from going into effect. Even though the White House supports the measure, Mr. Reid, a Nevada Democrat, has chosen instead to bring another “small bite” from the president’s failed American Jobs Act to the floor. He wants to hike taxes on business owners so he can blow $60 billion in more stimulus for bike paths, choo-choo trains and bus stops.

Mr. Reid can’t even round up all the Democrats behind his partisan plan, but he continues to drag his feet on items that could pass because the last thing he wants to do is adopt legislation that gives the GOP the chance to take some credit with the public.

The Senate has not been this inactive in at least a quarter-century. As of Tuesday, the Senate had held 194 votes for the year, 54 fewer than at this time last year.

The intransigence has real-world implications. In March, the House passed a strongly bipartisan bill which would have stopped a court order from imposing duplicate and expensive regulations on farmers and ranchers. The Senate never brought the bill up for a vote, and on Monday a key deadline passed, allowing new regulations on pesticide applications to go into effect. That’s bad for jobs.

House Republican leaders want the public to know that they aren’t to blame for the stalemate on Capitol Hill. Speaker John A. Boehner produced a card listing the “forgotten 15” jobs bills that have passed the House but not the Senate. The Ohio Republican gave the card to members, telling them to carry it with them, hold it up at events at home, and flash it during interviews to remind Americans that Republicans are doing everything they can to address the employment situation.

The Democratic strategy is to set up Republicans as a foil for their 2012 re-election bids. Even though the congressional approval rating is down in the single-digits, Mr. Reid wants to draw a distinction between his party and the GOP by only bringing up bills that Republicans will oppose so his caucus can send out accusatory press releases.

The messaging is carefully crafted to fit with Mr. Obama’s latest campaign trail slogans about how “we can’t wait” for Congress to act. He showed his true motives on Tuesday when the president invited congressional Democrats to the White House to ostensibly talk about the jobs agenda. He has no plans to invite Republicans over to chat.

You can print a PDF of the The Forgotten 15 card right here.

Remember, Democrats are great at spending money – not so good at creating jobs.

Projected vs Actual Unemployment With Stimulus 2011

Projected vs Actual Unemployment With Stimulus 2011

Back in 2007, when the Republicans controlled the House and Senate, the unemployment rate was near 4%. FOUR PERCENT. And we had a deficit of $160 billion – NOT 1.6 TRILLION.

Let’s take a closer look at the Forgotten 15 from an article on John Boehner’s web site.

Excerpt:

Campaigning for another failed stimulus and more job destroying taxes, President Obama has repeatedly—and falsely—asserted that “Congress isn’t willing to move” legislation to facilitate job growth. While the president plays politics, House Republicans have been working and approving legislation to promote economic growth and job creation. The House has approved more than 15 bills that, if enacted, would immediately help to grow the economy without more failed stimulus spending. These bills are currently stalled in the Democrat-controlled Senate and the president has not encouraged the Senate to act.

Here is a sample:

4)  H.R. 1230—Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act: H.R. 1230 would require the Department of the Interior (DOI) to auction offshore oil and gas leases in the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico, as well as in an area off the coast of Virginia. The bill would help to reduce energy prices and promote job creation by expediting offshore oil and natural gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico and the Virginia coast.

6) H.R. 1231—Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act:  H.R. 1231 would require that each five-year offshore oil and gas leasing program offer leasing in the areas with the most prospective oil and gas resources, and would establish a domestic oil and natural gas production goal.  The bill would essentially lift the President’s ban on new offshore drilling by requiring the Administration to move forward on American energy production in areas estimated to contain the most oil and natural gas resources.

7) H.R. 2021—The Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011:  H.R. 2021 would eliminate needless permitting delays that have stalled important energy production opportunities off the coast of Alaska.  The bill would also eliminate the permitting back-and-forth that occurs between the EPA and its Environmental Appeals Board.  Rather than having exploration air permits repeatedly approved and rescinded by the agency and its review board, the EPA will be required to take final action – granting or denying a permit—within six months.

10) H.R. 1938— North American-Made Energy Security Act:  H.R. 1938 would direct the President, acting through the Secretary of Energy, to coordinate with all federal agencies responsible for an aspect of the President’s National Interest Determination and Presidential Permit decision regarding construction and operation of Keystone XL, to ensure that all necessary actions are taken on an expedited schedule.  The bill would promote job creation and energy security by ending the needless delay of the construction and operation of the Keystone XL pipeline.

11) H.R. 2587—Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act:  H.R. 2587 would prohibit the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) from ordering any employer to close, relocate, or transfer employment under any circumstance.

16)  H.R. 2433—Veterans Opportunity to Work Act:  H.R. 2433 would create or modify programs that provide employment and training services to veterans and service members separating from active duty.  The bill would also make changes to programs that offer home loan guarantees, ambulance services, and pension payments to qualifying individuals. Among other things, the bill would provide up to 12 months of Veterans Retraining Assistance to no more than 100,000 unemployed veterans that enter education or training programs at community colleges or technical schools to prepare them for employment in an occupational field that is determined by Department of Labor to have significant employment opportunities.

17) H.R. 674—To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the imposition of 3 percent withholding on certain payments made to vendors by government entities:   H.R. 674 would permanently repeal the imposition of 3 percent withholding on certain payments made to vendors by government entities. Currently, the imposition of the 3 percent withholding is set to take effect on January 1, 2013. If the 3 percent withholding tax were implemented as scheduled, government entities would be required to withhold 3 percent of payments to persons providing property or services to the government.  For example, on an invoice for $20,000 the government would pay the business $19,400 and withhold $600 as a preemptive tax.  These added costs would almost certainly translate into fewer private-sector jobs and higher costs for the government and taxpayers.

They are actually up to 17 jobs bills now.

And finally, I have to post this funny John Boehner clip:

We need more of that Mr. Boehner. I think that was a good opportunity to say “freaking” as well. Because he should be pissed off with this Solyndra-bailout President.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

John Boehner vs Nancy Pelosi – who wastes taxpayer money?

House Republican Leader John Boehner

Consider this story from The Hill about John Boehner’s decision to fly commercial airlines between Washington, D.C. and Ohio.

Excerpt:

Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), the presumptive Speaker-elect of the House, will not use a private jet as Speaker for trips back and forth to his home district, he said Wednesday.

“Over the last 20 years, I have flown back and forth to my district on commercial aircraft, and I’m going to continue to do that,” Boehner told reporters at a press conference.

The statement signals the first time since 2001 that a House Speaker has traveled commerically between Washington and their home district.

Following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the Speaker of the House, third in line to the presidency, was assigned a designated Air Force jet to shuttle them back and forth to their home districts on weekends.

Former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) used the jet, as does Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). In 2007, Pelosi requested, and received, a larger jet than Hastert had used — this one capable of flying between Washington and California without stopping to refuel.

A spokesman for Boehner said the Minority Leader had already spoken to security officials about his desire to travel commercially on the weekends, and that he would still use military transport for certain types of trips, like those to Afghanistan or Iraq.

That’s why he’s running for the Speaker of the House uncontested. This is a serious man of principle.

On the other hand, Nancy Pelosi wasted millions ferrying herself and her family around the world on military aircraft, all at taxpayer expense.

Excerpt:

We recently obtained new documents from the United States Air Force detailing Speaker Pelosi’s use of United States Air Force aircraft between March 2009 and June 2010. And they pretty much tell the same, outrageous story as previous documents we’ve uncovered and released.

Here are the highlights from the newest batch of documents, which we obtained pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed on January 25, 2009:

  • Pelosi used the Air Force aircraft for a total of 85 trips, covering 206,264 miles, from March 2, 2009 through June 7, 2010. Pelosi, her guests and Air Force personnel logged a total of 428.6 hours on these flights.
  • Members of Pelosi’s family were guests on at least two flights. On June 20, 2009, Speaker Pelosi’s daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons joined a flight from Andrews Air Force Base to San Francisco International Air Port. That flight included $143 in on-flight expenses for food and other items. On July 2, 2010, Pelosi took her grandson on a flight from Andrews Air Force Base to Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, which is northeast of San Francisco.

According to previous documents uncovered by Judicial Watch, the Speaker’s military travel cost the United States Air Force $2,100,744.59 over a two-year period — $101,429.14 of which was for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol. Seriously, review these documents for yourself and you can see that Nancy Pelosi repeatedly turned indispensible Air Force aircraft into congressional party planes.

For example, purchases for one Pelosi-led congressional delegation traveling from Washington, DC, through Tel Aviv, Israel to Baghdad, Iraq May 15-20, 2008, included: Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Bailey’s Irish Crème, Maker’s Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewar’s scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey, Corona beer and several bottles of wine.

The article also notes that Pelosi would reserve military aircraft all the time, and cancel her reservations at the last minute.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Calgary readers: apologetics conference and debate starts Friday!

Here’s the schedule from the Faith Beyond Belief web site. This conference was organized by Jose Ruba, the same pro-life debater who has been shouted down at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec and St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia!

The debate is on Saturday at 7 PM at the University of Calgary, against a University of Calgary philosophy professor, who has 3 degrees, including a PhD, from Oxford University. The topic is “Do Objective Moral Truths Exist?”.

Friday, October 23rd, 2009
“Ambassadors for Christ: Why Christians Need to have a Faith Beyond Belief”
Clergy and Ministry Workers’ Lunch
(12 pm – 2:30 pm)
Greg Koukl will speak to clergy and ministry workers about the unique challenges and opportunities in reaching our postmodern generation. As a former pastor, Greg will delve into what church workers in particular need to do to equip their congregations to be good ambassadors for the kingdom of God.

Friday, October 23rd, 2009
“Ice Cream is not Insulin”
A Youth Event
(7 pm – 10 pm)
This event is geared towards, youth, youth pastors and parents to help them understand what kind of culture youth are dealing with. Greg will examine how we can help young people embrace the truth of the gospel.

Saturday, October 24th, 2009
Ambassador Training Sessions
(9 am – 2:30 pm)
A detailed and informative way to learn about the Christian worldview and how to defend that view in our culture. Christians will be trained to be good ambassadors for Christ: equipped with the right knowledge, trained to share that knowledge wisely and challenged to embody the right character.

Saturday, October 24th, 2009
“Do moral truths exist?”
Rm. ICT 102 , University of Calgary
(7 pm – 10 pm)
Join Greg as he debates Prof. John Baker, a philosophy professor from U of Calgary. This event is co-sponsored by the U of Calgary Freethinkers.
For more details check out: www.calgarydebate.ca

Sunday, October 25th, 2009
Full Gospel Tabernacle Sunday AM service
(10 am – 12 pm)
Join our host church’s Sunday morning service. Greg Koukl’s talk will be part of a series at the church on how Christians can defend and articulate their faith.

Sunday, October 25th, 2009
“Where do we go from here?”
Sunday Volunteer Lunch
(12:30 pm – 3 pm)
After hearing Greg Koukl speak during the weekend, we’ll challenge volunteers and others about what we should do locally to help create Christian ambassadors.

Hosted by Faith Builder International Church
Calgary Saddle Ridge Community Hall 7614 – 42nd Street NE.

*Note: All events will be held at the Full Gospel Tabernacle, unless otherwise indicated.
Events are free but a free-will offering will be taken.

Full Gospel Tabernacle
155 Falconridge Cres NE, Calgary, Alberta T3J 1Z9
fullgospeltabernacle.org

Does this schedule give you any ideas for your own church and local university? He’s really done a good job on this conference, hasn’t he? You can still send him a donation if you want!

Filed under: Events, , , , , , , , ,

Does the academic left use rational arguments or intimidation in debates?

Muddling Towards Maturity has found yet another interesting post for us. This post is by David French, who writes at the National Review.

The full post:

Late yesterday afternoon, I happened to catch a short-but-insightful lecture by one of my favorite Christian apologists, Ravi Zacharias. In the midst of an interesting discussion about the allure of Eastern mysticism in Western culture, he made a fascinating statement (I’m paraphrasing): In the battle of ideas, stigma always beats dogma. In other words, through stigmatization, one can defeat a set of ideas or principles without ever “winning” an argument on the merits.

I was instantly reminded of not just my own experiences in secular higher education, but also the experiences I see and hear every day while defending the rights of students and professors. Why convince when you can browbeat? Why dialogue when you can read entire philosophies out of polite society? That’s not to say there aren’t intense debates on matters of public policy, but all too often we see social conservatism not so much engaged as assaulted.

I fear that we like to comfort ourselves by saying something like, “kids see through this heavy-handed nonsense.” This is simply wishful thinking. Most people don’t like to be labeled as “bigots,” and they often assume that such overwhelming ideological consensus is the product of considered thought. If “everyone” seems to believe something (especially when “everyone” includes all of your professors and other academic authorities), then mustn’t it be true?

Here’s a question for conservative parents and teachers: Are we really equipping young people to face the challenges of college if we teach them arguments? Or should we instead be primarily preparing them to face scorn and hate with inner toughness and good cheer? After all, when a professor calls you a “fascist bastard” for defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, what is he doing if not trying to defeat dogma with stigma?

Below, I’ll give my thoughts on this.

My thoughts on the academic left

First of all, from a practical point of view, never take anything except math, engineering or computer science at the university, unless you are really passionate about some other field. Everything else is so politicized that you may be forced to assent to things you do not believe in order to pass. There is not a shred of open-mindedness or tolerance for other viewpoints in today’s leftist campuses. It’s just fascism all the way.

Secondly, young conservatives and Christians need to get used to staying calm while ideas that they don’t agree with are shouted in their faced in the typical vulgar, abusive manner that secular leftists seem to find so fetching these days. The best way to do that is to watch as many debates as possible in advance and get used to sitting still and disagreeing while someone else explains their point of view.

Thirdly, other points of view are only annoying if you have lousy reasons for your own point of view. If you put the time in learning your arguments and evidence, and the best that could be argued against you from the other side, then there should be no problem. Just repeat what Jay Richards said after his debate with atheistic journalist Christopher Hitchens: “a sneer is not an argument, an insult is not evidence”. Richards has a Ph.D from Princeton University… Hitchens does not.

Fourthly, we need to start making it common knowledge that atheism does not ground morality and that is a worldview that is responsible for at least a hundred million deaths in the last 100 years alone. That point must be made over and over – when someone claims to be an atheist it should be immediately put to them that meaningful morality is not rationally grounded by their worldview. Don’t let them make any moral judgments without challenging them on the foundations of morality.

Example of what students can expect from left-wing fascists on campus

Don Feder has a list of campus violence incidents against conservative speakers in a OneNewsNow article.

Here are a couple of the incidents in his list:

When she attempted to speak at Penn State in 1999, black conservative Star Parker was forced from the stage. Parker described the experience as “very frightening” and said she “feared for my life.” Parker’s hatefulness was her contention that single mothers are better off with jobs than on welfare, based on her own experience.

At Emory University in 2006, David Horowitz gave a lecture as part of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. To show their outrage at the comparison of radical Islam to fascism, protestors behaved like fascists. A mob of over 300, from groups like Amnesty International, Veterans for Peace, and Students for Justice in Palestine, waved signs and shouted, “Does George Bush respect anybody’s rights?” and “Why don’t you talk about fascism in America?” mixed with chants of “Racist, sexist, anti-gay, David Horowitz go away!” (They can’t reason. But they sure can rhyme.) “Are we going to talk about who killed JFK?” one protestor demanded. (The Zionist-CIA-Karl Rove-AIG Executives cabal?). Horowitz (who had to be escorted off stage) observed, “This is exactly what the fascists did in Germany in the 1930s.” True, but at least they weren’t hypocrites claiming they were motivated by concern for minority rights.

This is the tolerant, open-minded left. The same tolerant left that brought secular-socialist mass-murdering regimes into power in Russia, Italy and Germany. And they kill millions in many ways. You will never find right-wing advocates of free market capitalism and human rights treating their opponents like this. We don’t take positions based solely on emotions, so there is no need for us to use violence to win an argument.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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