Friday, July 23, 2010

Political Digest July 23, 2010

I post articles because I think they are of interest. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article.

Top Ten Republican Dark Horse Presidential Candidates
Excerpt: While widely speculated Republican candidates Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich are already being polled against Obama (and doing well), many voters have been asking me the same thing, “Who else?” New candidates and talent will be popping up like Jiffy-Pop after midterm elections in November. If Republicans do well, fame will shine on faces Americans may never have considered. Think of the national attention that Scott Brown received after he took Ted Kennedy’s seat. Not one American knew who Brown was prior to Kennedy’s death, but after he took Massachusetts he was a national Republican hero. Here are ten candidates (in no particular order) you may not have considered but should: (Interesting speculation. I don't think any of the major candidates (first mentioned) will get the nod. I sorta like #1, #7, #8, and #10 of the possibilities she mentions, but don't think some of the others are credible. Ron P.)

Congress should look under the TARP
Excerpt: This is not the first time that Neil Barofsky, special inspector general of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, has harshly criticized the Treasury Department for its utter lack of transparency and accountability in administering the massive federal bank bailout. But in his latest quarterly report to Congress, the independent watchdog warns that total taxpayer support for the financial system increased by another $700 billion during the past year -- with precious little to show for it. Some of that increase went to supply capital to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac so these quasi-governmental entities could continue guaranteeing mortgages and supposedly stabilize the housing market that they were so instrumental in causing to collapse. But documents provided under subpoena to Congress show that toxic loan peddler Countrywide Financial provided multiple below-market mortgages to already excessively overpaid Fannie Mae officials, including Jim Johnson, Jamie Gorelick, Dan Mudd and Franklin Raines. "They made billions buying and selling each other's toxic loans," CBS investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reported. Also among Countrywide's beneficiaries was Senate banking committee Chairman Chris Dodd, whose name informally graces the just-passed financial "reform" bill. He saved an estimated $75,000, thanks to a bargain-basement interest rate he got in 2003 from Countrywide.

Washington bureaucrats can't run the auto industry
Economies run by the government always create poverty and misery. Always. Excerpt: Set aside for the moment the constitutional argument. There's a practical reason why Washington politicians and bureaucrats have no business managing General Motors and Chrysler: They're no good at it. Exhibit A is what Washington has done to Detroit in little more than a year since the bailouts of 2009. An audit by Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, found that President Obama's auto task force arbitrarily closed many profitable dealerships, destroying thousands of jobs "based on a theory and without sufficient consideration of the decision's broader economic impact." Barofsky observed that Chrysler and GM were subsequently forced to reinstate more than 700 of the approximately 3,000 disenfranchised dealers, "suggesting, at the very least, that the number and speed of the terminations was not necessarily critical to the manufacturers' viability." Obama is wreaking further havoc on the auto industry based on another unproven theory, that of global warming being caused primarily by the burning of fossil fuels in cars and trucks. Obama's solution is more electric cars, but his problem is that consumers have decisively rejected them every time somebody in Washington or Detroit has offered them. Undaunted, Obama has invested $2.4 billion in electric car technology development, including most recently $151 million in economic stimulus funds for a new lithium-ion battery plant in Holland, Mich., owned by a South Korean conglomerate.

The bungling of the auto bailout
Excerpt: Everything you need to know about the nightmare of government-controlled businesses can be found in a damning new inspector-general's report on how and why the Obama administration forced Chrysler and General Motors to oversee mass closures of car dealerships across the country. Under the guise of "saving" the US auto industry through a taxpayer-funded bailout now topping $80 billion, President Obama's bureaucrats pushed the car companies to eliminate thousands of jobs -- with unjustified haste using dubious economic models. Obama ordered the bailout recipients to "prove" their long-term viability by submitting restructuring plans. But White House and Treasury Department "experts" rejected the auto manufacturers' proposals, citing the too-slow pace of their plans to reduce their dealership networks over five years. Once the auto firms modified the plans to meet government timelines, the money flowed. But Neil Barofsky, the federal watchdog overseeing the bank-auto-insurance-all-purpose bailout fund, found that the White House auto-industry task force and the Treasury Department "Auto Team" had no basis for ordering the expedited car-dealership closure schedules. They relied on a single consulting firm's internal report recommending that the US companies adopt foreign auto-industry models to raise profits -- a recommendation hotly disputed by auto experts. Team Obama also ignored the economic effect of rushing the closures. According to Barofsky, it discounted testimony from industry officials that "closing dealerships in an environment already disrupted by the recession could result in an even greater crisis in sales." He also noted that "it is clear that tens of thousands of dealership jobs were immediately put in jeopardy as a result of the terminations by GM and Chrysler."

Holder should sue Maryland to be consistent
The leftist theory is to act as though the constitution says what they want it to, at any given time. Excerpt: There is simply no delicate, nice way to put this: Attorney General Eric Holder is lying. On the CBS show "Face the Nation" this past Sunday, Holder said it is "not true at all" that the Department of Justice's lawsuit against Arizona's SB 1070 is politically motivated. Then Holder tried to take the constitutional high road, claiming that the Arizona law allowing local police to inquire about the immigration status of those reasonably suspected of being illegal immigrants is "inconsistent with our federal Constitution." Oh, is it now? Holder strikes me as one of two things: an attorney general who hasn't read the Constitution, or an attorney general who's read it and assumes most of us haven't. But there must be tens of thousands of Americans who have read the U.S. Constitution. And we know which powers Article I, Section 10, forbids the states to have. And we know that Arizona's SB 1070 can't be even remotely construed as falling into that category. We are also familiar with the much-maligned (and frankly, much-abused and -misused) 10th Amendment, which gives to the states powers not prohibited by the federal government. And we sure as heck know one of two things: When Holder says SB 1070 is "inconsistent with" and "pre-empted by" federal law, either he doesn't know what he's talking about, or he's deliberately misleading the American people. I'm going with theory No. 2. Say what you want about President Obama, but you can't deny this: He's an intelligent man not prone to appointing driveling idiots to positions of power. So Holder knows exactly what he's talking about. For Holder, there exist two U.S. Constitutions: the one that's actually written, and the one that's in his head.

Judge rules to put Crenshaw back on the ballot
The Dem tried to use the Obama trick of knocking opponents off the ballot and it backfired this time. Excerpt. A Will County judge today ruled to put a Bolingbrook Republican and tea party darling back on the ballot for a state Senate race. Will County Associate Judge Bobbi Petrungaro overturned a 2-1 decision by the Will County Electoral Board to remove Cedra Crenshaw, 37, from the ballot over a technical issue with her nomination petitions. Crenshaw is vying to unseat Democratic state Sen. A.J. Wilhelmi in the 43rd District, which has been a Democratic stronghold since 1975. The decision to remove Crenshaw from the ballot energized tea party members, who organized protests on the stay-at-home mom’s behalf and showed up in patriotic T-shirts to her legal hearings. “Finally, we can vindicate the 2,100 people who signed my petition and all the people in the district who are looking for an alternative,” she said after learning of the ruling, which was filed at 4:01 p.m.

American jihadi who threatened “South Park” creators arrested on terrorism charge
Excerpt: The Virginia man who warned on a radical Islamic website that the creators of the cartoon series “South Park” will be targeted for death for their caricature of the Prophet Muhammad has been arrested on charges that he provided material support to the terrorist organization Al Shabab, federal officials said Wednesday. Zachary Adam Chesser, aka Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee, admitted to federal agents that he attempted on two occasions to travel to Somalia to join Al Shabab as a foreign fighter. After he was stopped from boarding a flight from New York to Uganda on July 10, Chesser, 20, allegedly admitted that he intended to travel from Uganda to Somalia. Chesser, of Fairfax County, Va., attempted to board the plane with his infant son; court records allege he intended to use his son as part of his cover to avoid detection.

Maine Says New U.S. Rule Could Hurt Health Insurance Market
Excerpt: Maine's insurance regulator, concerned about disruption to the state's market for individual policies, has asked the Obama administration for a waiver of a minimum medical-spending requirement that the nation's new health overhaul will place on insurers selling such coverage. The request reflects the complex nature of a key piece of the overhaul, requirements that insurers by next year spend at least a certain percentage of premium dollars on patient care, in a measure known as the medical loss ratio, or MLR. As regulators continue to hammer out the details of how the law will be implemented, Maine's superintendent of insurance, Mila Kofman, wrote to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius earlier this month seeking a waiver of the 80% minimum MLR requirement for individual health insurance policies in that state until 2014. The overhaul goes more fully into effect in 2014, when Americans without group coverage will be able to buy individual policies through state exchanges regardless of pre-existing conditions. Regulators and the industry have expressed concern that until then, the new spending requirements could force some insurers to exit markets, causing disruption for patients.

The great health-care cashout: Two more ‘reform’ authors go to K Street to represent Big Health Care
Excerpt: Write a bill that profits drug companies and hospitals, while making the entire health-sector more dependent on government — then go to work as a lobbyist or “policy advisor” for those very companies. That’s what Democratic staffers did and are doing with regard to health-care reform. I call it “The Great Health-Care Cashout,” and we’ve been tracking it here. The latest public servants to parlay “reform” to riches are Connie Garner and Stacy Sachs, both of whom are joining Foley Hoag, a lobbying firm that represents the leading drug companies (which were the biggest winners from “reform.”) Garner, a policy director at the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee, was a chief of author of the portion of “reform” known as the CLASS Act, which provides government insurance for long-term care. This measure kills the private long-term-care insurance market, but it subsidizes long-term care businesses, which, of course, supported the measure. Foley Hoag says Garner will “will focus her practice on representation of national health trade organizations, health providers, national disability, patient advocacy organizations, and educational institutions.” It sounds like she may not register as a lobbyist, but will instead by a Tom Daschle-like non-lobbyist lobbyist

One-fourth of Democrats think Jesus will ‘definitely return’ in 40 years
The rest think he already has and is living in the White House. Excerpt: Thanks to the Pew Research Center, we now may have an idea who is buying up all those “Left Behind” books. Many of them appear to be … Democrats? Yes, that’s right. As part of a larger survey about Americans’ predictions for the next 40 years, just over 1,500 people were asked whether they thought that Jesus Christ would return to the earth during that timeframe. Interestingly enough, it is self-identified Democrats who appear to have more certitude that this will happen than Republicans.

Does Harry Reid know what time it is?
Excerpt: Earlier today, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky observed on the Senate floor that "the president and his Democrat allies on Capitol Hill have pushed an anti-business, anti-jobs agenda on the American people in the form of one massive government intrusion after another." Reid took exception, claiming that “to think that banks, Wall Street, liked Wall Street reform is a stretch beyond our ability to comprehend.” Evidently Reid missed Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein's April 27 observation during testimony before a Senate subcommittee, saying he had "listened to a speech by Barack Obama at Wall Street, and one of the points he made resonated with me because I’d said it myself. He said that the biggest beneficiaries of reform will be Wall Street itself.” Reid must also have missed the vigorous support for the Obama-Dodd-Frank Wall Street "reform" measure by Citicorp and JP Morgan. And we haven't even started talking about which party's incumbents and candidates have gotten most of Wall Street's political contributions during the past five years.

The Tax Tsunami on the Horizon
Excerpt: Many other cuts from the Bush administration are set to disappear and a new set of taxes will materialize. And it's not just the rich who will pay: The lowest bracket for the personal income tax, for instance, moves up 50 percent -- to 15 percent from 10 percent. The next lowest bracket -- 25 percent -- will rise to 28 percent, and the old 28 percent bracket will be 31 percent. At the higher end, the 33 percent bracket is pushed to 36 percent and the 35 percent bracket becomes 39.6 percent. But the damage doesn't stop there, says IBD: The marriage penalty also makes a comeback, and the capital gains tax will jump 33 percent -- to 20 percent from 15 percent. The tax on dividends will go all the way from 15 percent to 39.6 percent -- a 164 percent increase. Both the capital gains and dividend taxes will go up further in 2013 as the health care reform adds a 3.8 percent Medicare levy for individuals making more than $200,000 a year and joint filers making more than $250,000. Other tax hikes include halving the child tax credit to $500 from $1,000 and fixing the standard deduction for couples at the same level as it is for single filers. Letting the Bush cuts expire will cost taxpayers $115 billion next year alone, according to the Congressional Budget Office, and $2.6 trillion through 2020.

State tells employees health insurance will rocket
Excerpt: State and university employees with families can expect to see their monthly health-insurance costs rise as much as 37 percent next year, depending on the type of plan they choose. Figures provided by the Arizona Department of Administration show that health plans for families and single adults with children will shoulder the most-expensive monthly premium increases beginning Jan. 1, while individuals will pay modest increases. The Department of Administration cited federal health reform as the reason the state's health plans will carry "greater expenses and higher premiums for members," according to a June 30 letter sent to about 135,000 state and university employees and their dependents. The letter named two provisions that the state expects will drive health-insurance costs higher. One is a requirement that insurance plans provide coverage for dependent children up to age 26. The other is the federal legislation's ban on lifetime limits, an insurance-industry practice that cuts coverage once an individual's medical expenses exceed a set amount over their lifetime. Because the state is one of Arizona's largest providers of health insurance, its estimates could provide an early glimpse of how large employers will pass along health-reform costs to their employees.

Michigan Should Heed Greece's Experience With Light Rail
Excerpt: Michigan leaders who are enamored with building new light-rail passenger lines should look to Greece's experience with its railway system. The New York Times reports that Greece's Hellenic Railways is bleeding red ink at a rate of $3.8 million per day. The total debt of the Greek railway system has increased to $13 billion, or roughly 5 percent of Greece's gross domestic product. Greek government officials who are interested in selling a stake in the state railway system may have difficulty finding a buyer — the Greek rail system pays three times as much for interest payments on its debt as it takes in on revenues. Light passenger rail systems are a darling of urban planners and environmentalists who share a utopian dream of separating people from their cars. Never mind that light rail systems loose money almost everywhere they are built, requiring taxpayer subsidies to keep them operating. Michigan taxpayers are subsidizing Amtrak at a rate of $7.3 million dollars a year to provide daily service on lines linking Grand Rapids to Chicago and Port Huron to Chicago.

Reid to advance limited oil spill and energy bill, delaying climate action
Excerpt: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) next week will bring a limited package of oil spill response and energy measures to the floor, delaying action until at least this fall on a broader proposal that would impose greenhouse gas limits on power plants, senior Senate Democratic aides said. Aides insisted Reid’s decision is a nod to the packed floor schedule the Senate faces before it leaves in two weeks for the August recess, and that he has not abandoned plans to try and bring up a broader climate and energy plan later in the year. But other legislative priorities and election-year politics may scuttle the wider climate and energy plan altogether.

The Smoking Gun For Media Bias
Only idiots should be surprised. Excerpt: Journo-Gate: For decades, moderates and conservatives have been derided and ridiculed for complaining about the mainstream media's pervasive liberal bias. As it turns out, however, their worst fears were true. If you don't know about Journolist, you should. It's a semi-secret listserv maintained by Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein. Don't bother to try to log on. If they want you, they'll ask you to take part. No outsiders need apply. And who uses it? Almost exclusively liberal journalists and left-leaning movers and shakers. Sound innocuous? It isn't. Journolist has become a forum for lefty journalists to talk about how to push their progressive agenda on America, protect President Obama and hurt his foes. It is a safe-space for the often-vile expression of hatred toward conservatives and their ideas. It all came to light a few weeks ago when news broke that then-Washington Post writer David Weigel, hired to cover the conservative movement for the Post, had made disparaging comments about those he covered on Journolist. Weigel's remarks were bad enough. But in the ensuing weeks, other comments emerged that made it clear his comments weren't atypical. Not only do the liberal journalists despise conservatives and their non-progressive vision for America, but they actively colluded — one might say plotted — to undercut them. This isn't journalism. It's political activism.

GOP loses bid to block suit against AZ law
Excerpt: Senate Democrats on Wednesday turned back a move by Republicans to block the Justice Department from pursuing its lawsuit seeking to overturn Arizona's controversial immigration law. The bid by South Carolina Republican Jim DeMint to nix the lawsuit came out on the losing end of a 55-43 vote. Five Democrats voted to block the lawsuit while two Republicans voted against the measure. The law requires officers, while enforcing other laws, to check a person's immigration status if there's a reasonable suspicion the person is in this country illegally. The administration argues that the law is unconstitutional because immigration is a federal responsibility. Some claim the law will result in racial profiling.

ObamaCare Mythology: One Man's Life Is Another Man's Loss
Excerpt: If President Obama is to be believed, health care is a dwindling, finite resource that must be rationed. According to Obama, quality health care for some deprives the less fortunate of quality care. The only good health care in Obama's worldview is that which is "redistributional." So says Dr. Donald Berwick, Obama's new health care czar, appointed to oversee the distribution of $800 billion worth of benefits payments. This mostly means denying life-extending treatment to seniors, in practice. Of course, Obama lacks the constitutional authority to appoint an individual with this kind of authority without Senate confirmation, but using the "recess appointment" ruse, shocking even Democrat senators, Berwick now holds vast power over who gets what medical treatment. But no matter. Obama has decided. Illegality has not stopped other contentious Obama appointments. Obama does what he wants, when he wants, regardless of his sworn oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution. The drilling ban serves as a perfect example of Obama's lawless mindset. After two court rulings voided the economically destructive ban, Obama announced that he would impose the ban anyway, separation of powers notwithstanding. The Obama redistribution claptrap is based on a false notion, i.e. that one man's gain is another man's loss. But in the ObamaCare paradigm, lives are at stake, so his phrase would read, "One man's life is another man's loss." This idea is either sheer stupidity or overt deception, since no one is denied health care in this country, with or without the ability to pay.

Petraeus Sharpens Afghan Strategy
Excerpt: Gen. David Petraeus plans to ramp up the U.S. military's troop-intensive strategy in Afghanistan, according to some senior military officials, who have concluded that setbacks in the war effort this year weren't the result of the strategy, but of flaws in how it has been implemented.

Judge in Ariz. case well-versed in immigration
The best thing for BO will be to lose this case. Then he’ll get credit from the left for fighting it, and the 70% who support the AZ law won’t be as mad as they would if it was overturned. Of course, we taxpayers will pay for it all, but what else is new. Excerpt: The federal judge who will decide whether to block Arizona's sweeping new immigration law has dealt with the realities of the state's porous border for nearly 10 years. Susan Bolton sentenced a Mexican smuggler to 16 years in prison for leading 14 illegal immigrants to their death in the broiling Arizona desert. She decided in 2002 that Border Patrol officials had legal immunity and couldn't be sued for their part in a 1997 immigrant roundup that led to 430 arrests and drew complaints that Hispanics who were U.S. citizens were harassed because of their appearance. Now Bolton, a former state court judge appointed to the federal bench in 2000 by President Bill Clinton, finds herself in the thick of the biggest question in immigration in years: Whether states frustrated with federal border efforts can dig into the fight against illegal immigration.

Fanning the Flames of Jihad
Excerpt: On July 11, 2010, al-Malahim Media, the media arm of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), published the first edition of its new English-language online magazine “Inspire.” The group had tried to release the magazine in late June, but for some reason — whether a technical glitch, virus (as rumored on some of the jihadist message boards) or cyberattack — most of the initial file released was unreadable. The magazine was produced by someone who has a moderate amount of technological savvy, who speaks English well and who uses a lot of American idioms and phraseology. We did not note any hint of British or South Asian influence in the writing. A government source has suggested to us (and we have seen the claim repeated in the media) that Inspire was produced by a U.S citizen who was born in Saudi Arabia named Samir Khan. Khan is a well-known cyber-jihadist — indeed, The New York Times did an excellent story on Khan in October 2007. Given Khan’s background, history of publishing English-language jihadist material and the fact that he reportedly left the United States for Yemen in 2009 and has not returned, it does seem plausible that he is the driving force behind Inspire. The magazine contains previously published material from Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Abu Musab al-Suri and Anwar al-Awlaki. While it also contains new material, this material, especially from al-Awlaki and AQAP leader Nasir al-Wahayshi (aka Abu Bashir), is consistent with their previously published statements. One of the messages by al-Awlaki featured in Inspire, “A Message to the American People,” was previously released to CNN and reissued by al-Malahim on the Internet July 19, almost as if to validate Inspire. Even though the way in which some of the material in Inspire is presented is quite elementary, and could lead some to believe the magazine might be a spoof, we have found no analytical reason to doubt its authenticity. Presentation aside, the material is quite consistent with what we have seen released by al-Malahim Media in its Arabic-language materials over many months. When closely examined, the inaugural issue of Inspire provides a good gauge of AQAP’s thought and suggests the general direction of the broader jihadist movement.

N.C. Rep.: U.S. missed terror connection
Excerpt: A U.S. politician says the intelligence community missed a connection between a terrorist group and a U.S. blogger now believed to be with al-Qaida in Yemen. Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., said the connections should have been made when Samir Kahn, now thought to be the top editor of an al-Qaida recruiting Web site, was in North Carolina, The Charlotte Observer reported Wednesday. "It becomes clear to me that he had contacts with al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula while he was in the U.S.," she said. "And if that's the case, the intelligence community should have been able to discover that. And if they knew it and didn't do something, that raises more red flags."

US couple had terror hit list: court documents
Didn’t get the memo. Excerpt: A US man has been charged after he compiled a hit list of 15 people he believed had harmed Muslim civilians and deserved to die, court documents showed Wednesday. Paul Rockwood and his wife Nadia were charged with lying to federal investigators about the compilation and content of the list, which Nadia Rockwood delivered to an unnamed individual in April at her husband's request. The Alaska couple were expected to plead guilty to the charges later Wednesday. According to plea agreement documents obtained by AFP Wednesday, Paul Rockwood converted to Islam around late 2001 and soon "became a strict adherent to the violent jihad-promoting ideology of cleric Anwar al-Awlaki." Awlaki, a US-Yemeni cleric, has been accused of inspiring a string of terror attacks, including the 2009 shooting attack at Fort Hood military base, and last year's failed Christmas Day attack on a US airliner.

Two killed in hydro plant terrorist attack
Islamic Jihad, bringing darkness on the land. Excerpt: Russia says Muslim militants are behind a deadly attack on a hydro electric power plant in the volatile North Caucasus region. Militant fighters attacked the power plant overnight with a grenade launcher, according to security services. Two guards were killed in the assault and as many as four bombs exploded in the plant's generator area.

What the NAACP/Tea Party Battle Is Really About
Excerpt: Begin by recognizing that the post-1960s civil rights agenda has been the single most powerful force in expanding Washington power. Nothing comes even remotely close. During WWII, Washington set prices, rationed consumer goods, and limited business profits, but this infringement was correctly understood as temporary and was universally welcomed as vital to national survival (and it was soon ended). Neither the environmental movement nor consumer protection legislation has penetrated so deeply into the everyday life of Americans. Documenting this expansion is endless. In education, for example, the push to integrate America's schools has affected the lives of millions, especially those who fled cities to avoid forced busing, while judicial degrees have shaped everything from tax rates to the racial composition of school staffs. Urban demographics were radically altered by forced integration, and this remains true today. The 1964 Civil Rights Act brought federal intervention into local restaurants and movie houses and even constrained people's ability to choose their neighbors. The 1965 Voting Rights Act and subsequent extensions now make every city and town in America vulnerable to Justice Department oversight if their election system slights minority representation. Employment-based affirmative action has exploded from a narrow presidential directive targeting federal government contractors to a bureaucratic colossus. There is scarcely a person alive, from professors to blue-collar cops and firefighters, whose life-chances have not been shaped by government race policy. There is no escape -- those in rural Idaho seeking a mortgage will probably experience the repercussions of the government's push to promote home ownership among blacks and Hispanics. Yet, thousands of civil rights successes aside, the political appetites of groups like the NAACP seem insatiable. It is no exaggeration to say that they believe that government is sufficiently powerful, if only vigorously prodded, to level outcomes across nearly all of human existence. This faith-based relentlessness soon resembles the classic gambler's fallacy -- if one lawsuit does not bring racially proportionate equality of admission to law schools, file two, and if that comes up short, file four, and eventually, it is believed, victory will arrive.... At some point, even those sympathetic with the civil rights agenda -- and this undoubtedly included most Tea Party fans -- will recognize that this relentless craving for government-imposed racial equality is deeply antithetical to limited government. In the final analysis, then, the NAACP and its allies are on a collision path with the Tea Party movement. Put more formally, given what is already on the books and vigorously enforced, new civil rights measures serve only to expand government, with scant payoff for intended beneficiaries. (Really good essay, looks beyond merely black/white. –Ron. P.)

Gold Coin Sellers Angered by New Tax Law
Excerpt: Starting Jan. 1, 2012, Form 1099s will become a means of reporting to the Internal Revenue Service the purchases of all goods and services by small businesses and self-employed people that exceed $600 during a calendar year. Precious metals such as coins and bullion fall into this category and coin dealers have been among those most rankled by the change. This provision, intended to mine what the IRS deems a vast reservoir of uncollected income tax, was included in the health care legislation ostensibly as a way to pay for it. The tax code tweak is expected to raise $17 billion over the next 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. Taking an early and vociferous role in opposing the measure is the precious metal and coin industry, according to Diane Piret, industry affairs director for the Industry Council for Tangible Assets. The ICTA, based in Severna Park, Md., is a trade association representing an estimated 5,000 coin and bullion dealers in the United States. "Coin dealers not only buy for their inventory from other dealers, but also with great frequency from the public," Piret said. "Most other types of businesses will have a limited number of suppliers from which they buy their goods and products for resale." So every time a member of the public sells more than $600 worth of gold to a dealer, Piret said, the transaction will have to be reported to the government by the buyer. Pat Heller, who owns Liberty Coin Service in Lansing, Mich., deals with around 1,000 customers every week. Many are individuals looking to protect wealth in an uncertain economy, he said, while others are dealers like him. With spot market prices for gold at nearly $1,200 an ounce, Heller estimates that he'll be filling out between 10,000 and 20,000 tax forms per year after the new law takes effect. (Obamacare--the gift that just keeps giving. Surprise! This is buried in the 2300 pages. Got a Krugerrand that you bought back in the 1970s? How about a $5 Liberty US gold coin from your dad's coin collection? After 2012, if you sell to a dealer, he's going to have to 1099 you. Good luck figuring out what you paid for it, when you got it, and from whom. Ron P.)

Obama’s Overdue AIDS Bill
Damn Bush making Obama look bad! Excerpt: George W. Bush made an impressive commitment to the international fight against AIDS when he formed the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief program. Since 2004, Pepfar has spent $19 billion to help distribute anti-viral treatments to about 2.5 million Africans infected with H.I.V. …. Under the Bush administration, about 400,000 more African patients received treatment every year. President Obama’s Pepfar strategy would reduce the number of new patients receiving treatment to 320,000 — resulting in 1.2 million avoidable deaths over the next five years, according to calculations by two Harvard researchers, Rochelle Walensky and Daniel Kuritzkes. Doctors would have to decide which of the 22 million Africans afflicted with H.I.V. should receive treatment and which should not…. President Obama’s plan to decrease support is deeply distressing; American financing for the fund should be increasing.

The Great Recession is just the beginning
Excerpt: Here's a cheery midsummer thought. You know those 15 million unemployed, and that sluggish growth, and the debt hangover and de-leveraging, and those soaring deficits? Well, these woes aren't our biggest economic problems. The real test for the U.S. economy starts once we get past the fallout from the burst housing and banking bubbles that triggered the Great Recession. And when it comes to that challenge -- which involves preserving U.S. living standards in a world of global competition -- we either (1) don't know what to do, or (2) we do know but seem to have little intention of doing it.

The Ford Bailout that Never Happened
Excerpt: Everything revolves around the government, at least that's what the government thinks. If something goes wrong...well, that because government didn't do enough. If something goes right, that's because the government took bold and heroic action. This is something else entirely. Watch below as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says a bailout "probably saved Ford." That bailout never happened.

Dealing with a hostage taker
Video. A tad graphic.

The more corrupt the state, the more it legislates. --Tacitus.

1 comment:

  1. Hostage taker video: Quick, nasty, efficient, saved the cost of a trial. Three cheers for cops! My dad used to say the only way to meet force is with superior force ruthlessly applied. (He was in the WWII US Army and in the FBI.)