Saturday, January 8, 2011

Political Digest for January 8, 2011

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. Help your friends and relatives stay informed by passing the digest on.

Accountability Is Working in Florida's Schools
Good Lord—they are putting kids’ futures ahead of PC and teachers’ union? The horror. As Thomas Sowell shows with his reports on the pre-desegregation Dunbar High in DC, where poor black kids got better test scores than white kids at better funded schools, there is no reason that black and Hispanic kids can’t do very well in school, if there is discipline, the thugs aren’t allowed to pull down those who want to learn, they don’t allow PC to block teaching, and kids come ahead of political unions. ~Bob. Accountability Is Working in Florida's Schools In November, voters in 37 states elected governors, most of whom are new to office. Job creation and economic growth will likely top the list of challenges these leaders will tackle first, and rightly so. But let's hope education reform is not far behind, says former Florida governor, Jeb Bush. While preparing kids for college and careers starts on the first day of kindergarten, the first good indicator of their chances for success may come in fourth grade. That is when students transition from learning to read to reading to learn. A Manhattan Institute study found that students who cannot read and yet are promoted fall further behind over time. Alarmingly, 33 percent of fourth-graders in America are functionally illiterate, according to the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress. Florida's experience in reform during the last decade gives us the road map to avoid this slow-moving economic calamity, says Bush. In 1998, nearly half of Florida's fourth-graders were functionally illiterate. Today, 72 percent of them can read. Florida's Hispanic fourth-graders are reading as well as or better than the average student in 31 other states and the District of Columbia. Accountability must have a hard edge, which means that the responsibilities of educators must be clearly defined, easily understood and uniformly enforced. For example: For the last decade, Florida has graded schools on a scale of A to F, based solely on standardized test scores. This energized parents and the community to demand change from the adults running the system. In addition, Florida ended automatic, "social" promotion for third-grade students who could not read.

Cap-and-Trade by Any Other Name …
Excerpt: Now that cap-and-trade (emission trading to reduce greenhouse gas emissions) is more or less off the table, our politicians are starting to talk about something else—or, at least, something that looks like something else. There are various names for this alternative scheme, from renewable energy portfolio standards to clean energy standards to green energy standards. All of them basically involve the same thing: the government mandates that a certain percentage of electricity that utilities obtain must come from something other than fossil fuels (wind power, solar power, biofuels, etc.). The New York Times reports that President Obama wants 10 percent of the nation’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025. (Gee, if they can’t burn coal to generate electricity, how are we going to all drive ObamaVolts, the coal-powered car? ~Bob.)

Excerpt: The news is going from bad to worse for Ireland. The Irish Independent is reporting that the Swiss Central Bank no longer will accept Irish government bonds as collateral. The story also notes that one of the world’s largest bond firms, PIMCO, is no longer purchasing debt issued by the Irish government. And this is happening even though (or perhaps because?) Ireland received a big bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (and the IMF’s involvement means American taxpayers are picking up part of the tab). I’ve already commented on Ireland’s woes, and opined about similar problems afflicting the rest of Europe, but the continuing deterioration of the Emerald Isle deserves further analysis so that American policy makers hopefully grasp the right lessons. Here are five things we should learn from the mess in Ireland.

Dennis Miller speech
Very funny. Send it to any PC friends you want to give a stroke to.

Good column: A World in Crisis
Excerpt: On December 13, 1931, there was a traffic accident in New York City. A man exited a cab on the Upper East Side and was crossing
Fifth Avenue
when he was hit by a car traveling around 35 miles an hour. The force of the impact threw the man to the pavement. He struck his head. Two of his ribs were cracked. A crowd formed around him; one of the witnesses hailed a taxi to take the man to the hospital. When he was admitted to Lenox Hill the doctors noted that he was bruised and battered but would make a full recovery. He had cheated death. The patient remained in the doctors’ care for eight days. While he was there the driver who had struck him visited. The patient made it clear that the accident had been his own fault; the driver, an unemployed mechanic, had nothing to fear. The incident had occurred because the patient, an Englishman, had looked left as he crossed the street when he should have looked right. The grateful driver left the hospital carrying an autographed copy of the patient’s latest book. The New York Times wrote about the meeting the next day. The headline read, “Churchill Greets Driver Who Hit Him.”

EDITORIAL: The aspirin tax
Excerpt: Forty million Americans started paying higher taxes last weekend because of Obamacare. That's enough to make anyone feel ill, but it's only a start. Obamacare eventually will impose nearly two dozen new or higher taxes on the American public, according to Americans for Tax Reform, which calls the new rules that took effect Jan. 1 the "medicine cabinet tax." This penalty hits many everyday items in the ordinary household. Until now, Americans could use Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Savings Accounts (FSAs) to pay, pretax, not just for major medical care and prescription drugs but also for nonprescription, over-the-counter medicines. Experts say such basic treatments save money in the long run by helping avoid expensive surgery and hospitalization down the road.

NPR Defunding Calls Heat Up First Week of Congress
With the looming fiscal disaster, they should defund ALL forms of entertainment, including the arts, and all business welfare, including ethanol and farm subsidies. ~Bob. Excerpt: National Public Radio might face a real defunding threat in the 112th Congress – especially following its widespread criticism for firing Juan Williams. Congressman Doug Lamborn, Colorado Republican, reintroduced two bills that would slash taxpayer funding from NPR to zero. Lamborn said that while he likes “much of NPR’s programming, the fact is, it is luxury we cannot afford to subsidize.” “Congressional Republicans must show the American people that we are serious about cutting spending and reducing the size and scope of the federal government,” Lamborn said in a statement. “We simply cannot afford to subsidize NPR, or any other organization that is not doing an essential government service. The government must learn to live within its means.”

Three Gifts from the Tea Parties
yup. There were several reasons I gave only a few minutes thought to running against Barney Frank for the open seat in 1980. One was that I’d have had to raise $200-$300k to be competitive. I think Barney raised and spend $500k to beat a retired Army Dentist about 52-48. The dentist, Dick Jones, spent about $70k. ~Bob. Excerpt: To be young, ambitious, and healthy in 2012! In the 1980s, I served three terms as a state senator and was seriously thinking about running for Congress. I suffered a career-ending injury and had to retire from politics. Even before I was injured, I was dubious about throwing my hat into a congressional race for one reason: money. Since I was elected when I was in my twenties, I had little personal wealth -- at least not enough to fund a million-dollar congressional campaign. It was painfully clear that I would have to offer my political services (to put it bluntly, "prostitute myself") to any number of special interest groups in return for campaign cash. That's the way the system worked in the 1980s. That was then...this is now. The Tea Parties, and various conservative offshoots, raised millions and millions of dollars in small donations for their chosen candidates. Even ABC news had to report the phenomenal number of small political contributions garnered by the Tea Parties. This third gift of the Tea Parties needs to continue to develop. Getting enough money into the hands of the best and most reliable candidates will be crucial in our ongoing effort to win back our country.

Excerpt: Call it constitutionalism. In essence, constitutionalism is the intellectual counterpart and spiritual progeny of the "originalism" movement in jurisprudence. Judicial "originalists" (led by Antonin Scalia and other notable conservative jurists) insist that legal interpretation be bound by the text of the Constitution as understood by those who wrote it and their contemporaries. Originalism has grown to become the major challenger to the liberal "living Constitution" school, under which high courts are channelers of the spirit of the age, free to create new constitutional principles accordingly. What originalism is to jurisprudence, constitutionalism is to governance: a call for restraint rooted in constitutional text. Constitutionalism as a political philosophy represents a reformed, self-regulating conservatism that bases its call for minimalist government - for reining in the willfulness of presidents and legislatures - in the words and meaning of the Constitution.

Final Tab for Pelosi’s Speakership: $5.34 Trillion in New Debt—Or $3.66 Billion Per Day
All spending must originate in the House of Representatives. ~Bob. Excerpt: In the 1,461 days that Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) served as speaker of the House, the national debt increased by a total of $5.343 trillion ($5,343,452,800,321.37) or $3.66 billion per day ($3.657,394,113.84), according to official debt numbers published by the U.S. Treasury. Pelosi was the 52nd speaker of the House. During her tenure, she amassed more debt than the first 49 speakers combined. The total national debt did not climb above $5.343 trillion (the amount amassed during Pelosi’s four years as speaker) until Feb. 26, 1997, when Rep. Newt Gingrich (R.-Ga.) was serving as the nation’s 50th House speaker. When Pelosi was sworn in on Jan. 4, 2007, the national debt stood at $8,670,596,242,973.04. At the close of business on Jan. 4, 2011, her last full day in the speakership, it stood at 14,014,049,043,294.41--an increase of $5,343,452,800,321.37.

German Left Party Seeks to Reintroduce Stalinism
Statism still popular in Germany. ~Bob. Excerpt: [Gesine] Lötzsch’s devotion to the reintroduction of Stalinism, which consumed the now-defunct German Democratic Republic (GDR) between 1949-1989, is a telling example of the real motivation of a party that has attempted to reinvent itself as a mainstream, democratic leftist organization stripped of its historical Stalinism. The German Left Party is, without question, a political force to be reckoned with in Germany. The party is the fourth largest in the Bundestag, with 76 of the 622 members of parliament represented by the incorrigibly dogmatic leftists in the federal legislative body. The party also co-governs the city of Berlin with the Social Democrats, forming the so-called “red-red coalition.”

Young Marines meet old vets
Scroll down for a great story. ~Bob.

Republicans Oppose Defense Cuts
Excerpt: Three Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee, in addition to the chairman, Buck McKeon, have put out statements critical of the new round of Obama defense cuts—Todd Akin, Randy Forbes, and Rob Wittman.

Fannie and Freddie Bailout May Cost One Trillion Dollars
Democrats promised that Fannie and Freddie wouldn’t cost taxpayers a nickel. Huh. ~Bob. Forget "stimulus" bills and "shovel-ready" bailouts (for public school teachers, who need shovels for what they're teaching), the current financial crisis, which is the second Great Depression, was created slowly and methodically by Democrat hacks running Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over the past 18 years. As even Obama's treasury secretary admitted in congressional hearings, "Fannie and Freddie were a core part of what went wrong in our system." And if it's something Tim Geithner noticed, it's probably something that's fairly obvious. Goo-goo liberals with federal titles pressured banks into making absurd loans to high-risk borrowers -- demanding, for example, that the banks accept unemployment benefits as collateral. Then Fannie repackaged the bad loans as "prime mortgages" and sold them to banks, thus poisoning the entire financial market with hidden bad loans. Believe it or not, the loans went belly up, banks went under, and the Democrats used taxpayer money to bail out their friends on Wall Street. So far, Fannie and Freddie's default on loans that should never have been made has cost the taxpayer tens of billions of dollars. Some estimates say the final cost to the taxpayer will be more than $1 trillion. To put that number in perspective, for a trillion dollars, President Obama could pass another stupid, useless stimulus package that doesn't create a single real job.

Americans Are Fleeing Obama’s Crony Capitalist Economy
Excerpt: Today the Bureau of Labor and Statistics released its monthly jobs report showing that the U.S. economy added only 103,000 jobs this December. With the unemployment rate now at 9.4%, this marks the 20th month in a row that the unemployment has been over 9 percent, a post–World War II record. You are going to hear a lot of noise from the White House about how this drop from a 9.8% unemployment rate to 9.4% means the economy is in a strong recovery. This is false. The reality is that the only reason the unemployment rate dropped is because the U.S. labor force decreased by 434,000. More importantly 260,000 Americans dropped out of the labor force entirely. This means that the Obama economy is now driving Americans out of the labor force faster than it is bringing them. This Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs tweeted out: “General Motors Co.’s sales were up 21 percent in 2010 for its four core brands.” Which is some interesting spin. As The Truth About Cars points out, GM’s retail market share for all of their brands actually fell a full 1.8 percent in 2010. So why is the President’s closest communication aide doing PR for what is, supposedly, a privately owned car company?

Ponzi Socialism: Why Europe's Malaise Could Come Here
Excerpt: The Bernie Madoff-like Ponzi scheme of big government has been squeezing the productive class and redistributing its tax dollars and innovation to everyone else for years -- and is finally reaching its boiling point. And the way things are going, we're probably not far behind. Barcelona met the new year with the sort of subdued celebration that only 40 percent unemployment can bring.

Are We Fueling Ourselves?...Or Just Fooling Ourselves?
Excerpt: One thing I actually agreed with Jimmy Carter about was his assertion that the struggle to reduce our reliance on foreign oil was "the moral equivalent of war." On this point, he was right -- and we know that now more than ever. It is our petrodollars that Saudi Arabia uses to build its madrassahs all over the world and indoctrinate millions of young Muslims in the Wahhabi doctrines of jihad. Our petrodollars enable Saudi Arabia to control most of the mosques in the United States, making sure that they are run by radical imams. The sad fact is that most of the major oil-producing countries of the world are either hostile to America (Iran, Venezuela, Russia) or politically unstable, the latter a category into which now falls even Mexico, our second-largest supplier of oil (after Canada).

China's development of stealth fighter takes U.S. by surprise
Excerpt: A few weeks ago, grainy photos surfaced online showing what several prominent defense analysts said appeared to be a prototype of a Chinese stealth fighter jet that could compete with the best of America's warplanes, years ahead of U.S. predictions. Days later, the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet disclosed that a long-awaited Chinese anti-ship missile, designed to sink an American aircraft carrier, was nearly operational. As Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates heads to China this weekend, analysts are expressing concern about Chinese military advances, which appear to have taken the U.S. by surprise. The Pentagon had predicted that China wouldn't have a stealth fighter for a decade or more and Defense officials had given no previous indication the anti-ship missile, which had long been tracked by the U.S., was close to fruition.

Gen. Vang Pao led Hmong as 'great man, true warrior'
Excerpt: Gen. Vang Pao, an iconic figure in the Hmong community and a key U.S. ally during the Vietnam War, died Thursday afternoon in Clovis after spending days in the hospital with pneumonia and a heart problem. Over 100 people crowded into the outpatient care center at Clovis Community Medical Center to grieve the loss of a beloved leader, who some saw as the George Washington of the Hmong.

Another American family mourns
Excerpt: Yesterday, Tam Nguyen wore a hat that said "My Son is A Marine" as he stood at the flag-draped, open casket that held that son at a Brownwood funeral home. Cpl. Tevan Nguyen, 21, died Dec. 28 in Afghanistan, another American victim of an improvised explosive device. "That's a good guy," Tam Nguyen said as he looked at his son, clad in Marine dress blues and clutching a rose in his white-gloved hand. Monique Stearns, Tevan Nguyen's girlfriend, hovered over the casket, tissues in her right hand while her left stroked his black hair. Nearby, in the first row, Tevan Jr., their son, slept peacefully with a large yellow stuffed duck. Tevan Jr. will be four months old today, the day they bury his father. (Another young VN-American who took up the defense of his country. --Del)

And another Viet-American fighting for America
This is worth viewing. ~Bob

AARP Gets Payoff from Obama
Excerpt: Obama Administration Exempts AARP's Medigap Insurance Policies from Rate Review and Premium Restrictions Imposed on Other Health Policies under ObamaCare Another shoe falls, another piece of the puzzles drops into place, another peek at AARP's payoff for endorsing ObamaCare comes into focus. While other health policies must go through a rigorous rate review under ObamaCare and justify any premium increases of more than 10 percent, AARP's Medigap policies are to be exempt from the federal review and restriction. AARP disguises its insurance profit as "non-profit royalties" and therefore already receives preferential tax treatment as a result—the company pays no federal income tax on its insurance income. AARP also is exempt from other ObamaCare regulations, such as a restriction on insurance-industry executive pay and a tax on insurance companies. Remember how AARP stunned the world last year when it betrayed seniors, endorsed ObamaCare and threw its enormous political clout behind the lobbying campaign to enact the bill into law? Those of us now with the Alliance said then and we have said all along that AARP's betrayal was financially motivated, pure and simple. Now the scope of the betrayal and the nature of the payoff are coming into sharp focus. AARP feathered its own corporate nest at the expense of its members.

Outgoing Mossad chief: Iran won't have nuclear capability before 2015
Excerpt: Meir Dagan, who retired from his post as Mossad chief on Thursday after eight years, does not believe Iran will have nuclear capability before 2015. In a summary given to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Dagan said Iran was a long way from being able to produce nuclear weapons, following a series of failures that had set its program back by several years.

Islam's Hijackers and Hijackees
Excerpt: For years we've been hearing about how the peaceful religion of Islam has been hijacked by extremists. What if it's the other way around? Worse, what if the peaceful hijackers are losing their bid to take over the religion? That certainly seems to be the case in Pakistan. Salman Taseer, a popular Pakistani governor, was assassinated this week because he was critical of Pakistan's blasphemy law. Specifically, Taseer was supportive of a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, who has been sentenced to death for "insulting Muhammad." Bibi had offered some fellow farm laborers some water. They refused to drink it because Christian hands apparently make water unclean. An argument followed. She defended her faith, which they took as synonymous with attacking theirs. Later, she says, a mob of her accusers raped her. Naturally, a Pakistani judge sentenced her to hang for blasphemy…. If that's what counts for religious moderation in Pakistan, I think it's a little late to be talking about extremists hijacking the religion. The religion has long since been hijacked, and it's now moving on to even bigger things. Pakistan is a special case, but it is hardly a unique one. In Egypt, Coptic Christians were recently slaughtered in an Islamist terrorist attack. The Egyptian government, which has a long record of brutalizing and killing its own Christian minority, was sufficiently embarrassed by the competition from non-governmental Islamists that it is now offering protection. How long that will last is anyone's guess. But Pakistan is special because it has nuclear weapons and is inextricably bound up in the war in neighboring Afghanistan and the larger war on terror.

When the Times Turn Awful
Excerpt: Disaster was so commonplace in those tumultuous days that it came almost as a footnote to the news when an Air Force transport carrying more than a hundred Vietnamese children to this country for adoption crashed on take-off. And the military couldn't spare another plane right away. The soonest a second transport might make it to Saigon, authorities estimated, would be 11 days. By then Saigon would be Ho Chi Minh City -- and all hope of rescuing the orphans would be lost, or at least indefinitely postponed. That's when an American businessman named Robert Macauley entered the picture. He'd been supporting a charity for Vietnamese orphans since 1970 (Friends of All Children), and he wasn't just going to sit there while those kids were stranded for who knows how long. Maybe forever. He would not be deterred. He would not be put off. He would not accept what seemed inevitable at the time. He would find a way to get those kids to their new home. Pronto. Before it was too late. So he leased his own 747 from Pan Am and, mortgaging his house to cover the costs, arranged for a quick flight out of Vietnam for those hundred kids -- and more. Happy ending.

Worth reading: Muslim girls are covertly prepared for forced marriage. Yet the feminists stay silent
Excerpt: This is unquestionably a major issue for western (once-Christian) civilisations: how many immigrants should they admit? The even more important issue, concealed in the Greek government's wall-plan, is this: how many Muslim immigrants can any society take, and yet retain the qualities that made it attractive to Muslims in the first place? Now aside from "refugees" from one Muslim country to its neighbour, there's little sign of mass-population movement from one Islamic country to another. Bangladeshis, Pakistanis. Afghans, Somalis, may operate as guest workers in Saudi Arabia, where they have no rights, but if they seek a brighter economic future, they move their families to the Christian/secular countries of Greater Europe, which includes North America and Australasia. And of course, if the immigrants then conform with local norms -- as British Hindus and Sikhs have usually done -- then there is usually no long-term problem. The result is a cultural enrichment and fusion in which everyone gains. This is simply not true of Muslim immigration. Not merely is there not a single stable, prosperous Muslim democracy in the world, free of terrorism and fundamentalism, there is no society that has received large numbers of Muslims that has not soon been confronted by an Islamic defiance of existing societal norms. This defiance can be cultural, in which dissident dress code is sought as a religious right; or educational, in which Muslims are raised within their own autonomous school system; or legal, with a demand for Sharia law; or insurrectionary, in which local Muslims opt for terrorist jihad against the state which admitted them. No European country -- not one -- that has admitted large numbers of Muslims has been spared any of these outcomes.

The Rise of the New Global Elite
Excerpt: Holly Peterson and I spoke several times about how the super-affluence of recent years has changed the meaning of wealth. “There’s so much money on the Upper East Side right now,” she said. “If you look at the original movie Wall Street, it was a phenomenon where there were men in their 30s and 40s making $2 and $3 million a year, and that was disgusting. But then you had the Internet age, and then globalization, and you had people in their 30s, through hedge funds and Goldman Sachs partner jobs, who were making $20, $30, $40 million a year. And there were a lot of them doing it. I think people making $5 million to $10 million definitely don’t think they are making enough money.” As an example, she described a conversation with a couple at a Manhattan dinner party: “They started saying, ‘If you’re going to buy all this stuff, life starts getting really expensive. If you’re going to do the NetJet thing’”—this is a service offering “fractional aircraft ownership” for those who do not wish to buy outright—“‘and if you’re going to have four houses, and you’re going to run the four houses, it’s like you start spending some money.’” The clincher, Peterson says, came from the wife: “She turns to me and she goes, ‘You know, the thing about 20’”—by this, she meant $20 million a year—“‘is 20 is only 10 after taxes.’ And everyone at the table is nodding.”

Court blocks removal of Utah highway crosses
Excerpt: A Denver appeals court has stayed an order that would remove 14 memorial crosses from Utah's highways intended to honor fallen officers and encourage safe driving. The ruling gives the Utah attorneys general's office 90 days to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that the 12-foot-high memorials are unconstitutional. In August, a three-judge appeals court panel said the crosses represent an unconstitutional endorsement of religion and that the crosses, which bear the logo of the Utah Highway Patrol, should come down.

Damn—the poor guy was “assented”—that’s terrible!
Please It is my pleasure to send you this message, I am Jerome bangora the son of late Dr Cumuli Bangora who was a minister of Finance In Cote D' Ivoire. Before he was assented by unknown group of arm men, (Cote D' Ivory) is one of the world largest producer of cocoa, To day it have become unsettled place to live due to the bad ruling government (Cote D' Ivory) have turn to be one of the conflicts country in Africa. Over ten years of civil war where civilians bears the brunt of wars and violence, Most of those who died due to injuries they sustains because of no medical assistance. Millions are orphans many are homeless, No (EDUCATION) I contact you for a business venture I and my Sister want to establish in your country. I need your help to shift out a total sum of 2.3 million dollars which my late parent deposited in a finance firm before the was assented. Your response regarding to my message will enable me to give you more things in details. Faithfully. Jerome bangora

Tastykakes suffers toothache of unionization, public financing
No more Butterscotch Crumpets or Tasty Pies, the food of my childhood? This is the end of civilization. ~Bob. Excerpt: Philadelphians may lose a sweet economic powerhouse in the Tasty Baking Company if the company is unable to find some sugardaddy to keep it going, which may be thanks to both unionization and government entanglements. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the treat manufacturer's decision to move facilities in order to expand operations resulted in biting off more debt than it could chew: The $100 million debt used to build and move into the new plant, coupled with a failure to gain all expected cost savings from the facility, has put Tasty into a financial squeeze that could force a sale of the firm - identified with Philadelphia like few others - three years from its 100th anniversary. Tasty said Wednesday that it had skipped a debt payment due Jan. 1 and had until Jan. 14 to work out a deal with its banks, led by Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania, for additional relief. Otherwise, it will be in default. How did Tasty get such a toothache? A government-subsidized sugar high. Tasty received $31 million in publicly subsidized financing in addition to other credit from Citizens Bank, Bank of America, Sovereign Bank, and M&T Bank, just before the great recession. According to the report, "everything needed to go right for Tastykake to be able to pay it back, given the thin profit from its business. That hasn't happened."

WH's Gibbs: Obama's vote against raising the debt ceiling was insincere
Well, I’m shocked! You only vote for what’s right if your vote is needed? ~Bob. Excerpt: Asked about that quote – and vote -- today, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said that it was important that “based on the outcome of that vote…the full faith and credit was not in doubt.” Then-Sen Obama used the vote “to make a point about needing to get serious about fiscal discipline….His vote was not necessarily needed on that.”

Media Give Obama a Pass on Debt Ceiling Hypocrisy
Excerpt: President Obama has taken an admirable stand for fiscal austerity, and blasted attempts to yet again raise the debt ceiling, which currently stands at $14.3 trillion (with a T) - or roughly the GDP of the United States. Said the president: The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that “the buck stops here.” Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. Just kidding. That was Senator Obama in 2006, when debt was apparently a far larger problem - even though the ceiling was only(!) $9 trillion at the time.

Prophetic 'Fairy Tales' or Inconvenient Corroboration?
Excerpt: My intention is not to proselytize but to simply draw attention to something that far too many people in this country have made a conscious decision to deny, ignore or shake off as fantasy. As we will read however, our enemy is not of that camp and even though he does not believe in the prophetic writings of the Bible, he does believe in the prophetic writings of his 'holy' book. And as we shall see, those writings are very close to the prophetic writings in the Bible albeit with a perverted twist. And he is preparing to act on his version of those prophecies.

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