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What Is Washington Smoking Now?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

Smoke screening is an effective military maneuver used to mask the locations or movements of units, such as infantry, aircraft, tanks and ships. But those who have mastered that art of deception are not only those on the battlefield but also those in the halls of Washington.

Back on Nov. 9, 2008, just five days after the election, Rahm Emanuel, who is now the White House chief of staff, explained the future Obama administration's philosophy for governing, i.e., for smoke screening: "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before." Here's how they and Congress are living out those words today.

The present smoke hovering over the capital's landscape is the American International Group, which has been bailed out four times by the government since last September -- to the tune of roughly $170 billion. And while our eyes have been on the AIG associates who pilfered $165 million through bonuses and the congressional participants who have condoned such abuses, the federal government is running a quarterback sneak in areas ranging from funding European economies to unhinging America's conservative underpinnings.

First, while people blow a cork over AIG corruptions, far larger amounts of money are being funneled to European financial groups without a peep of protest. AIG employee bonuses are chump change in comparison.

Where is the roughly $170 billion AIG received from taxpayers going? Some of the biggest beneficiaries of the bailouts are European financial affiliates of AIG.

While AIG's bailout money was distributed to American companies Goldman Sachs ($13 billion), Merrill Lynch ($7 billion) and Bank of America ($5 billion), European partners were making out like bandits, too. The banks include Societe Generale of France ($12 billion), the Deutsche Bank of Germany ($12 billion), Barclays of Britain ($8.5 billion) and UBS of Switzerland ($5 billion). Can you believe it?

And it also should be noted that while AIG associates in America are considering giving back their bonuses, AIG executives in Europe say they have no such intentions. (By the way, about $85 million of the $165 million in AIG bonus money was given outside the U.S.)

Of course, financial institutions are not the only ones "benefiting" from Washington's smoke screens. So are pet projects and liberal philosophical platforms across the country. Here are just a few other arenas in which Congress and the president have made political headway while we were sleeping under AIG corruptions and other alleged economic recovery incentives:

--Let's not forget that Congress and the president passed the $410 billion omnibus "stimulus" bill, with its 9,000 earmarks (despite the fact that during his campaign, Obama said he would be against earmarks).

--More politicians with tax evasion problems have been appointed to the Obama Cabinet than were appointed to any previous president's Cabinet (despite the fact that he said his administration would perform the "most sweeping ethics reform in history").

--Obama appointed (and Congress confirmed) David Ogden, a defender of child pornography, to the No. 2 position in the Justice Department.

--Obama's newly appointed secretary of education, Arne Duncan, isn't likely to win the hearts of parents committed to private or home schooling. As he explained in a radio interview, "I'm a big believer in choice and competition, but I think we can do that within the public-school framework." (Mr. Duncan, great to hear you can articulate what you think, but will you represent "we the people" in your decisions? I hear you're a good man, so please don't abandon those of us who choose options other than public schools.)

--Obama's new budget would reduce tax deductions for charitable gifts and severely cripple nonprofits, which already are hurting because of America's recession.

--If Congress passes Obama's new budget, increased taxes will fall upon a larger number of small-business owners than once projected, which ultimately will discourage economic growth and penalize productivity. As Yale University professor Michael Graetz noted, "We're shooting ourselves in the foot economically by relying as heavily as we do on income taxes when the rest of the world relies on consumption taxes."

--Despite its history of fraud, ACORN, that alleged political bastion of election neutrality, will participate in the 2010 census.

--An executive order was signed for Gitmo to be closed, and the war on terror was reassigned as an "overseas contingency operation."

--And Obama announced just this past week that he's sending 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan and possibly 30,000 more troops next year (despite the fact that during his campaign, he promised to reduce the number of our troops in the Middle East).

--Pro-choice platforms and practices have been pushed in ways that America hasn't seen since the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling. Obama overturned the "Mexico City policy," thus allowing federal funds to support international family planning groups that provide abortions. Restrictions for federal funding for embryonic stem cell research have been lifted. And if the public doesn't fight immediately, the conscience clause will be rescinded. Parental rights are about to be handed over to the United Nations. And the Freedom of Choice Act is closing fast on the horizon.

In two-thirds of his first 100 days, Obama has spent more money than any president to date (and most combined), grown big government larger than any administration, raised the debt ceiling and national budget higher than any government in the world, made more liberal changes than Planned Parenthood could plan, and gotten away with breaking any campaign promise he chooses. And he's done all of that with virtually no contests or rebuttals and a continued 65 percent approval rating.

One thing is certain: There's nothing that Obama can't get away with at this point. He is the orchestra leader of a new political blitzkrieg, which makes the Clinton machine look like Tinkertoys.

And you thought AIG was the problem!

America, please wake up and let your voice be heard by your legislators that "we are TEA'D!" Go to http://www.TeaPartyDay.com.

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