Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Political Digest March 31, 2010

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

Man charged with threatening to kill Cantor and his family
A threat against a Republican, from, I read, an Obama contributor and self-professed Muslim. Doubtless Janet N is on the case. Excerpt: A Philadelphia man has been charged with threatening to kill Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and his family. A two-count complaint and warrant was filed today accusing Norman Leboon, 33, of threatening to kill Cantor and his family in a YouTube video posted online this month, according to U.S. Attorney Michael L. Levy and FBI Special Agent in Charge Jan Fedarcyk. "The Department of Justice takes threats against government officials seriously, especially threats to kill or injure others," Levy said in statement. "Whether the reason for the threat is personal or political, threats are not protected by the First Amendment and are crimes." Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring said the congressman was notified over the weekend by authorities that a credible threat was made against his life, and that an arrest had been made.

Muslim charged with threatening to kill Rep. Eric Cantor: "Remember Eric . . . our judgment time, the final Yom Kippur has been given. You are a liar, you're a Lucifer, you're a pig"
Excerpt: Leboon identifies himself as a Shi'ite Muslim -- and certainly his vicious antisemitism is in keeping with Islamic attitudes toward Jews (cf. Qur'an 5:82, 5:59-60, etc.).

RNC expense report renews criticism about Steele's spending
Beyond dumb. Politics is a PR business. Hall’s updating of an old saying, “Whom the gods would destroy, they first give a sense of entitlement.” Excerpt: The Republican National Committee and its chairman, Michael S. Steele, were engulfed in controversy again Monday after new financial reports showed that the party used tens of thousands of donor dollars for luxe hotels, private jets and other questionable expenditures.

STEYN: A healthy dose of catastrophe
Excerpt: In 2003, Washington blessed a grateful citizenry with the Medicare prescription drug benefit, it being generally agreed by all the experts that it was unfair to force seniors to choose between their monthly trip to Rite-Aid and Tony Danza in dinner theater. However, in order to discourage American businesses from immediately dumping all their drug plans for retirees, Congress gave them a modest tax break equivalent to 28 percent of the cost of the plan. Fast-forward to the dawn of the Obamacare utopia. In one of a bazillion little clauses in a 2,000-page bill your legislators didn't bother reading (because, as Rep. John Conyers explained, he wouldn't understand it even if he did), Congress voted to subject the 28 percent tax benefit to the regular good ol' American-as-apple-pie corporate tax rate of 35 percent. For the purposes of comparison, Sweden's corporate tax rate is 26.3 percent, and Ireland's is 12.5 percent. But just because America already has the highest corporate tax in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development is no reason why we can't keep going until it's double Sweden's and quadruple Ireland's. I refer you to the decision last year by the donut chain Tim Hortons, a Delaware corporation, to reorganize itself as a Canadian corporation "in order to take advantage of Canadian tax rates." Hold that thought: "in order to take advantage of Canadian tax rates" - a phrase hitherto unknown to American English outside the most fantastical futuristic science fiction. Ask yourself this: If you impose a sudden 35 percent tax on something, are you likely to get as much of it? Go on, take a wild guess. On the day President Obama signed Obamacare into law, Verizon sent an e-mail to all its employees warning that the company's costs "will increase in the short term." And in the medium term? Well, U.S. corporations that are able to do so will get out of their prescription drug plans and toss their retirees onto the Medicare pile. So far, just three companies - John Deere & Co., Caterpillar and Valero Energy Corp. - have calculated that the loss of the deduction will add a combined $265 million to their costs. An additional 3,500 businesses presently claim the break. The cost to taxpayers of that 28 percent benefit is about $665 per person. The cost to taxpayers of equivalent Medicare coverage is about $1,200 per person. So we're roughly doubling the cost of covering an estimated 5 million retirees. This single component of "health" "care" "reform" neatly encompasses all the broader trends about where we're headed - not just in terms of increased costs and worse care, but also in the remorseless governmentalization of American life and the disincentivization of the private sector. As we see, even the very modest attempts made by Congress to constrain the 2003 prescription drug plan prove unable to prevent its expansion and metastasization. The one thing that can be said for certain is that, whatever claims are made for Obamacare, it will lead to more people depending on government for their health arrangements. Those 5 million retirees are only the advance guard. And, if you're one of those optimistic souls whose confidence in the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is unbounded, let's meet up in three years' time and see who was correct - the bureaucrats passing out the federal happy juice or the real businesses already making real business decisions about Obamacare. Can we afford this? No. Even on the official numbers, we're projected to add to the existing $8 trillion in debt another $12 trillion over the next decade. What could we do? Tax those big, bad corporations a bit more? Medtronic has just announced that the new Obamacare taxes on its products could force it to lay off 1,000 workers. What do those guys do? Well, they develop products such as the recently approved pacemaker that's safe for MRI scans and the InterStim bladder-control device. So that's 1,000 fewer people who'll be working on new stuff. Well, so what? The public won't miss what it never knew it had. So again, the effect is one of disincentivization - in this case, of innovation.

New boards and commissions created in the healthcare bill
Need a job? Want to be a government worker? Can you support the union and vote for the statist party? Here’s where to apply.

Healthcare Timeline
Excerpt: With the enactment of comprehensive health reform, the Kaiser Family Foundation has prepared a timeline detailing when specific provisions of the legislation are scheduled to take effect. The implementation timeline reflects the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which President Obama signed on March 23, 2010, as well as provisions in the Health Care & Education Reconciliation Act passed by the House and Senate. It includes more than a dozen key provisions scheduled to take effect in 2010, including the creation of a national high-risk pool for people with pre-existing conditions that can’t buy insurance on their own, tax credits for small businesses that obtain health coverage for their workers and assistance for Medicare beneficiaries with high drug costs who get hit by the drug benefit’s coverage gap or “doughnut hole,” and continues through 2014, when the major reforms to expand access to health coverage are fully implemented.

The Rich Can't Pay for ObamaCare
Excerpt: President Barack Obama's new health-care legislation aims to raise $210 billion over 10 years to pay for the extensive new entitlements. How? By slapping a 3.8% "Medicare tax" on interest and rental income, dividends and capital gains of couples earning more than $250,000, or singles with more than $200,000. The president also hopes to raise $364 billion over 10 years from the same taxpayers by raising the top two tax rates to 36%-39.6% from 33%-35%, plus another $105 billion by raising the tax on dividends and capital gains to 20% from 15%, and another $500 billion by capping and phasing out exemptions and deductions. Add it up and the government is counting on squeezing an extra $1.2 trillion over 10 years from a tiny sliver of taxpayers who already pay more than half of all individual taxes. It won't work. It never works. The maximum tax rate fell to 28% in 1988-90 from 50% in 1986, yet individual income tax receipts rose to 8.3% of GDP in 1989 from 7.9% in 1986. The top tax rate rose to 31% in 1991 and revenue fell to 7.6% of GDP in 1992. The top tax rate was increased to 39.6% in 1993, along with numerous major revenue enhancers such as raising the taxable portion of Social Security to 85% of benefits from 50% for seniors who saved or kept working. Yet individual tax revenues were only 7.8% of GDP in 1993, 8.1% in 1994, and did not get back to the 1989 level until 1995. Punitive tax rates on high-income individuals do not increase revenue. Successful people are not docile sheep just waiting to be shorn.

How secure is the border?
Not very.

My Destructive Generation
Excerpt: My generation could well be the first generation in American history to leave our country worse off than we found it. I am a member of the baby boomer generation. The generation that came of age in the late sixties during the turbulent times of Woodstock, Watergate and Vietnam. The generation that is now holding the reins of power in most American institutions, from politics to media, to education and culture. The generation that will likely be responsible for squandering America's hard won freedoms and changing America into a third world country, all in the name of 'equality' and 'social justice.' A defining hallmark of baby boomers on the left is hubris and an absolute refusal to learn or acknowledge the lessons of history. They know best. Moral relativism is the cornerstone of most baby boomers. Their theories rest on subjective, personal values instead of concrete scientific definitions. And they acknowledge no other authority or moral code larger than one's choice. They have adopted the Rousseauian strategy of emphasis on passion instead of reason.* And despite the utter failure of the social policies they have instituted, they persist in believing that they can define their own reality. Author Shelby Steele, in his book White Guilt, comes closest to explaining how and why the baby boomer generation believes as it does. Steele makes the excellent point that every generation, when it comes of age, seeks to challenge authority and tradition. Like most adolescent rebels, they are quickly humbled because they overestimate their own truth and underestimate the truth of their elders. They learn a valuable life lesson when they are smacked down by their elders and reality.

The president meets reality
Excerpt: Reality bites. President Obama is just discovering this, after campaigning astride a unicorn of hope and change and after a year of trying to govern high atop Fantasyland.
The real world - replete with violence, competing interests and a cast of evil characters - has intruded on Mr. Obama's starry-eyed plan to recast America as a perpetually apologetic, unexceptional nation that will no longer do anything that could be perceived as antagonistic. Mr. Obama did not anticipate, however, that our adversaries would perceive these moves not as olive branches but as opportunities to run circles around the United States. Russia walked all over him by getting him to abandon a long-agreed-to missile-defense plan for Eastern Europe. Iran snickered at his flaccid attempt to halt its nuclear weapons program and his weak "condemnation" of its internal crackdown. China and India laughed him out the door at Copenhagen when they told him he could forget his climate-change regulations. Even the International Olympic Committee told him to take his Chicago bid for a hike. But the "make nice" policies that caused the biggest splash were those directly related to al Qaeda. Through his announced policies to close the terrorist detainee facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to end the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, to investigate and possibly prosecute the CIA interrogators and to announce the civilian trials in New York of Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and three other top al Qaeda terrorists, Mr. Obama set out to show the world that President Bush and his destructive policies finally were gone. (Except, of course, in every speech Mr. Obama gives.) The new president would be the polar opposite of the warmongering old one, and our enemies would respond with a far-less-hostile position toward us.

Video Shows Harry Reid Supporters Attacking Tea Party Bus
Ah, the tolerant Left caught in action…

The Law is an Ass
Lawyers. In two years, someone will be doing a brisk business in torches and pitchforks. Excerpt: The father of a Marine slain in Iraq has been ordered to pay the court costs of the odious Phelps clan: Lawyers for the father of a Marine who died in Iraq and whose funeral was picketed by anti-gay protesters say a court has ordered him to pay the protesters’ appeal costs. On Friday, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ordered that Albert Snyder of York, Pa., pay costs associated with Fred Phelps’ appeal. Phelps is the leader of the Westboro Baptist Church, which conducted protests at the funeral of Snyder’s son, Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, in Westminster in 2006. Lawyers for Snyder say the Court of Appeals has ordered him to pay $16,510.80 to Phelps for costs relating to the appeal, despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review the Court of Appeals’ decision. I guess he hadn’t given enough.

Attorney General Eric Holder Rules Out Death Penalty for Illegal Aliens Charged With Murder in Washington Suburb
Now if the were in the militia….Excerpt: Attorney General Eric Holder has directed prosecutors in a federal conspiracy and murder trial not to seek the death penalty for three El Salvadoran men who are in the United States illegally. The three are accused of robbing and shooting Claros Luna on July 29, 2009 in Alexandria, Va., just a few miles from the Justice Department, as Luna transported a prostitute from Maryland to Virginia. The suspects, Eris Arguera, Alcides Umana and Adolfo Amaya Portillo, admitted to being members of the MS-13 gang, court documents show. They were indicted on Nov. 24 on federal racketeering and murder charges.

Must Read: Violent Liberal Hate Rhetoric: Fifteen Quotes
Excerpt: In an effort to distract people from the destructive, illegitimate power-grab-of-a-bill masquerading as health care reform that the Democrats just passed over the objections of the American people, liberal members of Congress have spent days over-hyping threats against them. Of course, the sad reality is that EVERYONE who achieves any notoriety at all in this business gets death threats, but it's only treated as noteworthy by the press when it happens to liberals. Had the exact same events that followed the health care debate happened to Republicans instead of Democrats, it wouldn’t have been a page one story in any major paper in the nation. Meanwhile, if conservatives truthfully refer to Barack Obama as a socialist or encourage people to fight back against the takeover of 1/6 of our economy, we're hysterically accused of inciting violence, while liberals who actually call for violence and publicly wish death upon conservatives are given a free pass. Well today, that free pass has run out because people are going to get just a taste of the violent rhetoric that has been coming from the Left for years in this country. Conservatives have long since been willing to stand up and say that they oppose political violence and threats coming from our side – as well we should. So, when will Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama finally stand up and condemn the ocean of violence and hatred being spewed by their friends, supporters and ideological allies?

Chavez Arrests Last Opposition TV Station Owner; Latest Example of What FCC Diversity Czar Lloyd Called Taking the Media Seriously?
Excerpt: Is this what Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chief Diversity Officer Mark Lloyd meant when he said (on camera) Venezuelan thug dictator Hugo Chavez (take that, Sean Penn) had begun “to take very seriously the media in his country”- while praising Chavez’s “incredible…democratic revolution?” The Associated Press (AP) late Friday night reported “Chavez criticizes US as arrests stir concern.” Which plays down the lede in the headline, but gets right into it in the story itself. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday defended the arrest of a major TV channel owner, calling him a criminal and denying the government is carrying out an assault on press freedom. The back-to-back arrests this week of two government opponents – including the owner of Venezuela’s only remaining anti-Chavez TV channel – have drawn accusations that Chavez is growing increasingly intolerant and authoritarian as his popular support has slipped.

China: Crunch Time
Excerpt: U.S.-Chinese relations have become tenser in recent months, with the United States threatening to impose tariffs unless China agrees to revalue its currency and, ideally, allow it to become convertible like the yen or euro. China now follows Japan and Germany as one of the three major economies after the United States. Unlike the other two, it controls its currency’s value, allowing it to decrease the price of its exports and giving it an advantage not only over other exporters to the United States but also over domestic American manufacturers. The same is true in other regions that receive Chinese exports, such as Europe. What Washington considered tolerable in a small developing economy is intolerable in one of the top five economies. The demand that Beijing raise the value of the yuan, however, poses dramatic challenges for the Chinese, as the ability to control their currency helps drive their exports. The issue is why China insists on controlling its currency, something embedded in the nature of the Chinese economy. A collision with the United States now seems inevitable. It is therefore important to understand the forces driving China, and it is time for STRATFOR to review its analysis of China. China has had an extraordinary run since 1980. But like Japan and Southeast Asia before it, dramatic growth rates cannot maintain themselves in perpetuity. Japan and non-Chinese East Asia didn’t collapse and disappear, but the crises of the 1990s did change the way the region worked. The driving force behind both the 1990 Japanese Crisis and the 1997 East Asian Crisis was that the countries involved did not maintain free capital markets. Those states managed capital to keep costs artificially low, giving them tremendous advantages over countries where capital was rationally priced. Of course, one cannot maintain irrational capital prices in perpetuity (as the United States is learning after its financial crisis); doing so eventually catches up. And this is what is happening in China now. STRATFOR thus sees the Chinese economic system as inherently unstable. The primary reason why China’s growth has been so impressive is that throughout the period of economic liberalization that has led to rising incomes, the Chinese government has maintained near-total savings capture of its households and businesses. It funnels these massive deposits via state-run banks to state-linked firms at below-market rates. It’s amazing the growth rate a country can achieve and the number of citizens it can employ with a vast supply of 0 percent, relatively consequence-free loans provided from the savings of nearly a billion workers. It’s also amazing how unprofitable such a country can be. The Chinese system, like the Japanese system before it, works on bulk, churn, maximum employment and market share. The U.S. system of attempting to maximize return on investment through efficiency and profit stands in contrast. The American result is sufficient economic stability to be able to suffer through recessions and emerge stronger. The Chinese result is social stability that wobbles precipitously when exposed to economic hardship. The Chinese people rebel when work is not available and conditions reach extremes. It must be remembered that of China’s 1.3 billion people, more than 600 million urban citizens live on an average of about $7 a day, while 700 million rural people live on an average of $2 a day, and that is according to Beijing’s own well-scrubbed statistics.

A Word to the Weary
Excerpt: I get a lot of email from people who ask if the final degeneration from capitalism to collectivism is now inevitable. Entitlements are never repealed, after all, and we just got saddled with a back-breaking entitlement, piled atop a national debt that was already crushing us. It seems like it would take a miracle just to undo the damage Barack Obama has done in a single year… and that would just get us back to where George Bush left us. Dependency, unemployment, economic contraction, and socialist politics are a perpetual-motion engine of national decline. I also hear from people who wonder just how bad things really are. If they’re so awful, we should be thinking about unthinkable alternatives. If not, maybe we should follow David Frum’s advice, and work out reasonable terms of surrender with our new socialist overlords. After all, Obama’s not the first guy to wipe his feet with the tattered “Don’t Tread on Me” flag. Perhaps none of the wounds from 2009 and 2010 are all that deep, and we’re just a few elections away from Bush-era prosperity again. Thoughts about the future shape our actions in the present. If you believe the events of the past week have permanently and irrevocably deformed the American economy and culture, your feelings are likely to consist of anger, or despair. I can understand why some are tired of fighting the good fight. Robin Koerner at The Moderate Voice reacts to the Obama Administration’s plan to offer incentives if mortgage holders will forgive part of the principle on overvalued homes:

"Change" Is Not New by Thomas Sowell
Excerpt: The recent statement that the earth was warmer in the Middle Ages than it is today, made by the climate scientist who is at the heart of the recent scandal about "global warming" statistics, ought to at least give pause to those who are determined to believe that human beings must be the reason for "climate change." Other climate scientists have pointed out before now that the earth has warmed and cooled many times over the centuries. Contrary to the impression created in much of the media and in politics, no one has denied that temperatures change, sometimes more than they are changing today. …It is those who have been pushing the hysteria who have been playing fast and loose with the facts, wanting to keep crucial data from becoming public, and even "losing" some of that data that supposedly proved the most dire consequences. It has not been facts but computer models at the heart of the "global warming" crusade.

Green think tank tells environmentalists: Leave climate change science behind
Excerpt: Leaders of a contrarian environmental think tank, The Breakthrough Institute, have a way to get beyond the climate science wars: Break the link between global warming research and the push for low-carbon energy. Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, in a new essay in Yale Environment 360, argue that environmentalists are too eager to link natural disasters and dangerous weather to man-made climate change. They say this is a losing hand that has been made even weaker by the furor over the now-infamous hacked climate science emails, and controversy surrounding the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Freeing Energy Policy From The Climate Change Debate
Excerpt: The 20-year effort by environmentalists to establish climate science as the primary basis for far-reaching action to decarbonize the global energy economy today lies in ruins. Backlash in reaction to “Climategate” and recent controversies involving the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s 2007 assessment report are but the latest evidence that such efforts have evidently failed. While the urge to blame fossil-fuel-funded skeptics for this recent bad turn of events has proven irresistible for most environmental leaders and pundits, forward-looking greens wishing to ascertain what might be salvaged from the wreckage would be well advised to look closer to home. Climate science, even at its most uncontroversial, could never motivate the remaking of the entire global energy economy. Efforts to use climate science to threaten an apocalyptic future should we fail to embrace green proposals, and to characterize present-day natural disasters as terrifying previews of an impending day of reckoning, have only served to undermine the credibility of both climate science and progressive energy policy.

A National Survey Of Television Meteorologists About Climate Change:
Excerpt: In January and February 2010, using a web-based method, we surveyed all broadcast TV members of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the National Weather Association (NWA) using member email lists provided by the two professional associations. All participants were offered $30 to complete the approximately 20-minute survey. Of the 1,408 names and email addresses provided by AMS and NWA, 35 people were ineligible because we determined that they no longer worked as TV meteorologists, and 44 email addresses proved to be incorrect (and despite an active search, correct email addresses could not be located). Therefore, the valid initial denominator of our sample was 1,373. Fifty-nine of these people refused to participate, 743 did not respond, and 571 completed at least some portion of the survey, yielding a minimum response rate of 41.6% (which assumes that all non-respondents were eligible to participate).

Global Warming Advocates Threaten Blizzard of Lawsuits
Let sue ‘em back and crash the courts. Excerpt: Environmentalists, unable to squeeze "cap and trade" rules through the U.S. Senate, have a new strategy for combating what they believe is man-made global warming: They're going to sue. They're revving up their briefs and getting ready to shop for judges who will be sympathetic to their novel claim that the companies they believe contribute to global warming are a "public nuisance."

CIA: Iran capable of producing nukes
Excerpt: Iran is poised to begin producing nuclear weapons after its uranium program expansion in 2009, even though it has had problems with thousands of its centrifuges, according to a newly released CIA report. "Iran continues to develop a range of capabilities that could be applied to producing nuclear weapons, if a decision is made to do so," the annual report to Congress states. A U.S. official involved in countering weapons proliferation said the Iranians are "keeping the door open to the possibility of building a nuclear weapon."

Sleeping w/ the Enemy: Obama Hires Muslim Extremist to TSA Senior Policy Advisor
In my view, it’s not that President Wobbly supports the Muslims. It’s that he has the Chamberlin view that they will behave if we just appease them enough. The fact that this has never worked in history doesn’t deter liberals, because they see policies in relation to their desired outcome and their intent, not what the real results are. Excerpt: Why don’t we just hand over the keys of the Department of Homeland Security to Bin Laden or Nasrallah? That makes sense when you consider that we’re basically doing that anyway.

Hate crimes force Jews out of Malmo: Anti-Semitic threats come from Muslim community
Yet more Muslims who didn’t get the “Islam is a religion of peace” memo. Excerpt: Marcus Eilenberg is a Swedish Jew whose family roots in Malmo run deep. His paternal grandparents were Holocaust survivors who found shelter in this southern Swedish city in 1945. His wife's parents fled to Sweden from communist Poland in the 1960s. Now the 32-year-old law firm associate feels the welcome for Jews is running out, and he is moving to Israel with his wife and two children in May. He says he knows at least 15 other Jews who are leaving for a similar reason. That reason, he says, is a rise in hate crimes against Jews in Malmo, and a sense that local authorities have little desire to deal with a problem that has exposed a crack in Sweden's image as a bastion of tolerance and a haven for distressed ethnic groups. Anti-Semitic crimes in Europe have usually been associated with the far right, but Shneur Kesselman, an Orthodox rabbi, says the threat now comes from Muslims. "In the past five years I've been here, I think you can count on your hand how many incidents there have been from the extreme right," he said. "In my personal experience, it's 99 percent Muslims." Sweden prides itself on having taken in tens of thousands of the world's war refugees.

Azerbaijan: Jihadist plot against kindergarten, school foiled
Religion of Peace targets Kindergarten. Excerpt: Azerbaijan said on Monday it had detained eight people including a Chechen man on suspicion of planning "terrorist acts" against a school and kindergarten in the capital of the oil-producing Caucasus state. Secular authorities in mainly Muslim Azerbaijan, a tightly controlled former Soviet republic, are concerned over what they say is the rising influence of radical Islam and the threat posed to the country's oil-fuelled economic growth. Some analysts warn of potential spillover from an insurgency in neighbouring Russia's mainly Muslim southern republics, where suspicion fell on Monday after two female suicide bombers blew themselves up on the Moscow metro killing 38 people.

New West Point report details meticulous training Taliban kids go through at Pakistani terror school
Who smears Islam, cartoonists or vile Islamic followers who would so use children? Excerpt: Pakistani terror camps are teaching children the three R's: reading, 'riting and rage. Taliban suicide schools dotting the Af-Pak tribal belt leave no child behind in the deadly lessons. Graduates don't go to college - they blow themselves to bits in Afghanistan to find paradise. Since 2005, when the Haqqani Taliban introduced suicide bombings in the Afghan war, kids have become a messenger of choice. The suicide schools aren't new, but the processes of recruiting, training and operations are detailed in a grim new report by West Point's Combating Terrorism Center.

Students want ‘Our Lord' phrase off diplomas
Stealth Jihad takes on private, Presbyterian university. Note to the Muslim students: the name “Trinity” does not refer to Mohammad, a goat and a camel. Excerpt: A group of students at Trinity University is lobbying trustees to drop a reference to “Our Lord” on their diplomas, arguing it does not respect the diversity of religions on campus. “A diploma is a very personal item, and people want to proudly display it in their offices and homes,” said Sidra Qureshi, president of Trinity Diversity Connection. “By having the phrase ‘In the Year of Our Lord,' it is directly referencing Jesus Christ, and not everyone believes in Jesus Christ.” Qureshi, who is Muslim, has led the charge to tweak the wording, winning support from student government and a campus commencement committee. Trustees are expected to consider the students' request at a May board meeting.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Political Digest March 30, 2010

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

Must read: The Most Important Feature of ObamaCare is Something No One is Talking About
The collapse is coming. Excerpt: How much time are people willing to spend calculating and arguing about the cost of something that cannot happen anyway? Apparently, quite a lot. On Capitol Hill at least, the most important issues in health reform seem to be budget issues: How much will ObamaCare cost? Will it add to the deficit? Or reduce it? Poll after poll has shown the public is not buying the official estimates. And as often happens, public opinion on this matter is more reliable than expert opinion. Here’s why. ObamaCare will require just about every nonelderly person in America to buy health insurance, the cost of which is going to rise at twice the rate of growth of their incomes. At the same time, the legislation will prevent people from all of the natural adjustments you would expect in the face of rising premiums. They will not be allowed, for example, to scale back and choose more limited insurance. They won’t be allowed to shift to catastrophic-only plans or rely more on self insurance through Health Savings Accounts. In the short run, one of two things will happen with respect to this dilemma. The government (1) can insulate people from rising health insurance costs by providing them with ever increasing subsidies, or (2) it can allow the cost of mandatory health insurance to consume an ever-increasing share of the family budget. Neither approach is tenable.

Must read: A battle won, but a victory?
Excerpt: Barack Obama hopes his famous health-care victory will mark him as a transformative president. History, however, may judge it to have been his missed opportunity to be one. Health care will not be seriously revisited for at least a generation, so the system's costliest defect — untaxed employer-provided insurance, which entangles a high-inflation commodity, health care, with the wage system — remains. Obama could not challenge this without adopting measures — e.g., tax credits for individuals, enabling them to shop for their own insurance — that empower individuals and therefore conflict with his party's agenda of spreading dependency. On Sunday, as will happen every day for two decades, another 10,000 baby boomers became eligible for Social Security and Medicare. And Congress moved closer to piling a huge new middle-class entitlement onto the rickety structure of America's Ponzi welfare state. Congress has a one-word response to the demographic deluge and the scores of trillions of dollars of unfunded liabilities: "More." There will be subsidized health insurance for families of four earning up to $88,200 a year, a ceiling certain to be raised, repeatedly. The accounting legerdemain spun to make this seem affordable — e.g., cuts (to Medicare) and taxes (on high-value insurance plans) that will never happen — is Enronesque. As America's teetering tower of unkeepable promises grows, so does the weight of government, in taxes and mandates that limit investments and discourage job creation. America's dynamism, and hence upward social mobility, will slow, as the economy becomes what the party of government wants it to be — increasingly dependent on government-created demand. Promoting dependency is the Democratic Party's vocation. The party knows that almost all entitlements are forever, and those that are not — e.g., the lifetime eligibility for welfare, repealed in 1996 — are not for the middle class. Democrats believe, plausibly, that middle-class entitlements are instantly addictive and, because there is no known detoxification, that class, when facing future choices between trimming entitlements or increasing taxes, will choose the latter. The taxes will disproportionately burden high earners, thereby tightening the noose of society's dependency on government for investments and job creation. (Did I mention that the collapse is coming?)

Health-care overhaul leaves Democrats in stable condition
Excerpt: After steering the landmark health-care reform bill through Congress, the Democratic Party's leaders have emerged mostly unscathed, according to a new Washington Post poll, but they have not received a notable boost in approval ratings. Shifts among core constituencies suggest that President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) may have reaped some benefit from the legislation's passage, but the public's take on the Democratic Party has not budged, and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) appears to be losing popularity. None of the central players in passing health-care reform appears to be winning favor with the bill's opponents. Views on Pelosi tilt negative but are closely divided, with 42 percent approving of the way she is handling her job as speaker, and 46 percent disapproving, in line with her ratings in a January Post-ABC News poll. Although her overall rating is stable, the survey finds the speaker gained in strong support among Democrats, liberals and those who support the reform package.

The Fix: Health Care poll
Excerpt: A new Washington Post poll released over the weekend provides a mixed bag of data on the recently passed health care bill. Here are five facts you need to know from the poll: 1) Forty-eight percent of those tested approve of how President Obama has handled health care while 49 percent disapprove, a slight improvement for the commander in chief from an early February poll when he stood at 43 approve/53 disapprove. 2) Democrats in Congress are still more trusted (47 percent) to handle the issue of health care than Republicans (34 percent). That gap has narrowed since the February poll, however, when Democrats stood at 56 percent to just 29 percent for Republicans. 3) Support (and opposition) for the bill has barely changed from early February until now. Then 46 percent supported the proposed changes in the bill while 49 percent opposed them; today it's 46 percent support, 50 percent oppose. 4) An enthusiasm (or is it an anger) gap still exists. While 15 percent said they were enthusiastic about the changes to the health are system, 26 percent said they were angry about them. 5) President Obama's messaging that people who like their health insurance can keep it as is doesn't appear to be getting through to the public. Six in ten believe that the bill passed by Congress will require all individuals to make changes to their health care.

Is the health care bounce history?
Pollster Scott Rasmussen’s latest sample suggests that Barack Obama’s approval rating bounced slightly upward when the House passed the health care bills March 21 and has since subsided. Rasmussen’s approval index, subtracting the percentage strongly disapproving from the percentage strongly approving, was -21 on March 20 (reflecting interviews conducted March 17-19), dropped to -10 on March 23 (interviews conducted March 20-22) and today is back up to -16 (interviews conducted March 25-27). Strong approval topped out at 32% on March 25 and is back down to 28%, just a little above the level in the month before passage of the bills March 21. Strong disapproval is at 44%, the highest it’s been. Tentative conclusion: Passage of the bill increased strong approval from and enthusiasm among Democrats for a short time. It did not decrease strong approval from and enthusiasm among Independents and Republicans opposing Obamacare. Gallup’s daily tracking tends to support this conclusion. Gallup’s sample of adults gave Obama a high of 51%-43% approval in the week the health care vote was pending; it’s back down to 46%-46% today.

ObamaCare Nightmare just beginning
Excerpt: The top line numbers are bad but not daunting for the pro-Obamacare forces: 50% of Americans oppose the changes in the new law while 46% support them. But the numbers also show that most Americans believe the new law will cause "the overall health care system in this country" to get worse, "the quality of the health care you receive" to get worse, and "your health insurance coverage" to get worse. The poll also shows that most Americans believe the law will weaken Medicare and that there is "too much government involvement in the nation's health care system." And strong majorities of Americans believe Obamacare will increase the federal budget deficit (65%), increase "your health care costs" (55%), and increase "overall costs of health care in this country" (60%). The American people are right on all counts. And if the events of last week are any indication, these beliefs will only harden over time.

Health Care Overhaul Likely to Strain Doctor Shortage
Actually, there is also already a growing shortage in some specialties, like hip and knee surgeons. This will increase as fewer bright folks want to deal with declining incomes and growing hassles in medicine. Thank you, BO. Excerpt: Primary care physicians already are in short supply in parts of the country, and the landmark health overhaul that will bring them millions more newly insured patients in the next few years promises extra strain. The new law goes beyond offering coverage to the uninsured, with steps to improve the quality of care for the average person and help keep us well instead of today's seek-care-after-you're-sick culture. To benefit, you'll need a regular health provider. Yet recently published reports predict a shortfall of roughly 40,000 primary care doctors over the next decade, a field losing out to the better pay, better hours and higher profile of many other specialties. Provisions in the new law aim to start reversing that tide, from bonus payments for certain physicians to expanded community health centers that will pick up some of the slack.

Good shooting!
Excerpt: In his latest superb book, Intellectuals and Society, Thomas Sowell describes the “intelligentsia” as people who are certain how many shots a police officer should fire in a stressful situation, even though they have never even fired a shot on a pistol range. Today, the Detroit Free Press reports on a protest by the usual suspects over “the controversial shooting of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah.” They seem to think that the fact that he was shot 21 times by the pursuing FBI agents he pulled a gun on is significant. It is. It means that the Detroit FBI office is up to par with weapons training. I would be worried if a fleeing felon who turned to fire at a group of FBI agents in hot pursuit was only hit 2 or 3 times. Fewer hits on Abdullah would have meant more bullets flying around the neighborhood that might hit actually “peaceful” innocent people. But the worst contention by the protesters was that Abdullah was “a peaceful man” who was targeted by the government because he was black.

The Supreme Court and FDR's Power Grab
Excerpt: How great a chance do we have to overthrow ObamaCare in the courts? To answer that question we need to look into that bleak pit of falsehood and mendacity that America's left would like us to ignore at all costs, the historical record. We need to look at the original effort to nationalize the American economy, the one attempted by Obama's model, Franklin D. Roosevelt, by means of the New Deal. FDR was never quite clear about what he wanted to do. He was clear about the goal, but not about how to get there. Not unlike Obama, he left that problem to various retainers, in this case the members of the Brain Trust.

The Government Pay Boom
The recession has been good to Democrat political supporters, like trial lawyers and government employees. The collapse is…oh, you knew that? Excerpt: It turns out there really is growing inequality in America. It's the 45% premium in pay and benefits that government workers receive over the poor saps who create wealth in the private economy. And the gap is growing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), from 1998 to 2008 public employee compensation grew by 28.6%, compared with 19.3% for private workers. In the recession year of 2009, with almost no inflation and record budget deficits, more than half the states awarded pay raises to their employees. Even as deficits in state capitals widen and are forcing cuts in services, few politicians are willing to eliminate these pay inequities that enrich the few who wield political power.

Stuffing union coffers with taxpayer cash
You will belong and support the part, nicht var? Excerpt: One day last fall, approximately 40,000 private day care owners in Michigan woke up to discover they had become members of a public sector union. Most had no idea what was coming. Here's how it happened: The United Auto Workers and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees worked with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission to conduct a vote-by-mail union election. Of the 40,000 day care workers in the state, only 6,000 responded to the ballot they received in the mail. But that was enough for the state to declare all of the day care owners would henceforth be represented by the newly organized Child Care Providers Together Michigan union. According to the Wall Street Journal, Michigan's Department of Human Services collects $3.7 million in union dues for the newly created union. These dues are collected by taking money out of child care subsidies the state pays to day care providers.

Can Obama avert a fiscal catastrophe?
No. Anyone who thinks the healthcare bill will lower the deficit is smoking Hopium. The collapse is coming. It can no longer be avoided. Excerpt: Last summer President Obama told me that once health reform became law, he could pivot to the "broader structural changes" needed to bring the federal deficit under control. Without health reform, he said during a July telephone interview, there would be no hope for fiscal reform. With it, he would be in a position to "start laying out a broader picture about how we are going to handle entitlements in a serious way." Well, it's been six days since he signed the bill, and he still hasn't saved Social Security. Just kidding. We can give him another day or two. But the long-term threat is no joke, as Obama has acknowledged many times. If Obama does not pivot, the country will be in serious trouble. Why? According to a Congressional Budget Office analysis published last week, Obama's budget plan has the government spending one-quarter of the national economy (25.2 percent of gross domestic product) 10 years from now, while collecting revenue that's less than one-fifth (19.6 percent). Such a gap isn't sustainable for any country. The United States would have to borrow so much money that in interest alone the government would be spending 4.1 percent of GDP -- compared with 1.4 percent this year. Other programs -- for defense, for the poor, for national parks, for everything -- would be squeezed more and more. The United States would be increasingly at the mercy of China, Saudi Arabia and other lenders.

Business backgrounds are working for first-time GOP candidates
Early returns in governors' and Senate races across the country show men and women who have spent their entire lives in the private sector making significant gains in their first runs for office.

Report From Liberal Cable Outlet Shows That More Guns Equals Fewer Firearms Deaths
Excerpt: A new report published by shows that more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens results in fewer deaths from the use of firearms. “Firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens prevent 1 million robberies, murders and rapes every year,” John Pierce, a Virginia-based gun-rights activist with, told

Seven arrested in FBI raids linked to Christian militia group
when I heard Michigan, I figured they were going after Muslims in Dearborn. Silly me, that wouldn’t be PC. This is a boon to the narrative the Leftstream media loves to push. Excerpt: At least seven people, including some from Michigan, have been arrested in raids by a FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana as part of an investigation into an Adrian-based Christian militia group, a person familiar with the matter said. The suspects are expected to make an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Detroit on Monday. On Sunday, a source close to the investigation in Washington, D.C. confirmed that FBI agents were conducting activities in Washtenaw and Lenawee counties over the weekend in connection to Hutaree, a Christian militia group. Detroit FBI Special Agent Sandra Berchtold told The Detroit News the federal warrants in the case are under court seal and declined further comment.

Congressman finds political vitriol follows him home to Ohio
Media getting him sympathy by playing up small fringe group. But in my view, politicians’ homes and families should be off limits. Offices and public meetings are fair game. Excerpt: Rep. Steve Driehaus spent the first Sunday of his two-week break from Washington this way: He made breakfast for his wife and kids, took his son to his mother's house and bought the boy a bicycle while his wife and daughters went shopping. Outside his Cincinnati home, a few angry protesters wouldn't allow him a full escape from the raw and vitriolic discussions that have embroiled the health-care debate for more than a year. They showed up to decry the freshman congressman's vote for the overhaul, standing in the chilling rain most of the afternoon Sunday holding signs that read: "Driehaus Voted to Destroy Our Children's Future" and "Remember in November." Sunday's gathering, which never included more than three people at a time, was anchored by Jim Berns, a libertarian who has run for Driehaus's seat three times and for the state legislature 10 times. He wore a suit and waved at the congressman's neighbors -- a couple of whom greeted him with a middle finger, others with a thumbs-up.

Some in Indonesia praise, seek to replicate China's fight against United States
Moderate Indonesia? BO just cancelled a trip home there to jam healthcare down our throats. Excerpt: Amid cries of "God is Great," the former chief of staff of the Indonesian army joined hard-line Muslim activists in a Jakarta ballroom last week to denounce the United States -- and praise China as a model of how to stand up to Washington. "We should do what China has done; America must follow our rules," declared retired Gen. Tyasno Sudarto. Veiled women and bearded men, seated separately to avoid mingling of the sexes, shouted praise for Allah and jabbed their fists in the air. Another speaker hailed China for defying Washington's "neo-liberal" economic creed. The boisterous event, organized by an Islamic organization called Hizb ut-Tahrir, brought together two groups of Indonesians that don't usually mix -- fervent champions of an Islamic state and zealous secular nationalists. What united them was a shared fury at Washington and the hope that Beijing can put America in its place.

Moscow subway explosions kill at least 38
Amazing that despite the best efforts of Bush, Obama, MSNBS, Fox and a host of others, so many Muslims haven’t gotten the “Islam is a religion of peace” memo. Maybe because the Qur’an and Hadith don’t agree? Nah. Excerpt: Two female suicide bombers set off powerful explosions in separate subway stations in central Moscow during the morning rush hour Monday, killing at least 38 people and injuring more than 60 others in what officials said was the deadliest and most sophisticated terrorist attack in the Russian capital in six years

Afghan corruption: How to follow the money?
The problem is that most of the Third World has a view of corruption that is more like Chicago than the Kennedy School of Government view. We try to make our third world ally into a little liberal democracy and undermine them, leading to a much more repressive regime. For examples see Vietnam, Iran, Cambodia under the Cambodian Reds (Khmer Rouge), and Zimbabwe.

Islamic Regime and America’s Elites
Excerpt: The Islamic regime in Iran has a pool of defenders among the American “elite” media, political analysts, activists, and academia. They are invited to and welcomed in Iran, assigned to a “handler” who makes sure the honored guests are dined (not wined), taken to the assigned places and given approved talking points....The Western supporters of the Iranian regime even ridiculously refer to University of Tehran polls, and swear by their fairness and accuracy. They do not know or do not care, or both, that Iranian universities are run by an uneducated Shiite clergy appointed by the “supreme leader.” They do not know or do not care, or both, that paramilitary forces are in control of the university campuses around the country, and that plainclothes guardsmen have been in every hallway and every classroom since the 1998 nationwide student uprisings. Are they deliberately trying to mislead Americans? These are the same people who support liberal groups like the ACLU, which exploit freedom to take advantage of its privileges — but when it comes to Iran’s theocracy, oppression is totally acceptable. (From a Marine buddy who says: While keeping in mind this is an opposition site, this report still brings home the disparity between what we see in news reports (mostly by email as other media are severely censored) and what our "distinguished" visitors have to say about life in Iran. RGP)

Obama Team Is Divided on Tactics Against Terrorism
Between what? Surrender or retreat? Excerpt: Senior lawyers in the Obama administration are deeply divided over some of the counterterrorism powers they inherited from former President George W. Bush, according to interviews and a review of legal briefs. The rift has been most pronounced between top lawyers in the State Department and the Pentagon, though it has also involved conflicts among career Justice Department lawyers and political appointees throughout the national security agencies....The outcome of the yearlong debate could reverberate through national security policies, ranging from the number of people the United States ultimately detains to decisions about who may be lawfully selected for killing using drones.

Christ on cross ‘could be porn under Indon law’
Excerpt; Even the naked body of Christ may be considered as pornography after Indonesia’s Constitutional Court approved a new anti-porn law, Catholics fear. The fears arose after the Constitutional Court declared the anti-pornography law (enacted by the Government in 2008) to be compatible with Indonesian public policy, Fides reports. Fides sources say that in Indonesian civil society, among moderate Muslims, Christians, and Hindu groups, as well as associations dedicated to protecting freedom and human rights - especially in eastern Indonesia- have challenged the document. “It is not that we are pro-pornography,” explained Catholic sources of Fides, “but because it is feared that this law - accepting a controversial generic definition of ‘pornography,’ which includes ‘any attitude and any artistic-cultural form of communication that excites a sexual instinct or is contrary to morality,’ lends itself easily to exploitation: the fundamentalist Muslim fringe can use it to penalize non-Muslims and, ultimately, seek to impose strictly traditional customs, even the Sharia.”

NU rules in favor of underage marriages
Based on the example of the Prophet, the perfect example of conduct, who consummated the marriage wit his youngest wife when she was nine, according to the most reliable Hadith. Except: The minimum age of 16 years to marry under the prevailing 1974 marriage law is not a sharia-binding regulation for Muslims, according to Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) jurists. The panel of sharia experts announced there was no age limitation for marriage under Islamic law. They did not cite gender; but the law states that women must be at least 16 to marry, while the minimum age for men to marry is 18. The experts said Muslim parents can marry off their underage children, but strongly appealed for marriages to only be carried out after the child has reached puberty. The jurists underlined that couples in which both are underage must abstain from sexual intercourse until they are deemed physically and mentally capable of doing so.

US 'may not veto UN resolution on Jerusalem'
Juden, Raus! Putting Israel in its place. Excerpt: The US is considering abstaining from a possible UN Security Council resolution against Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem, sources suggest to the BBC. The possibility surfaced at talks in Paris last week between a senior US official and Qatar's foreign minister. The official said the US would "seriously consider abstaining" if the issue of Israeli settlements was put to the vote, a diplomat told the BBC.

After Obama-Netanyahu flap, Israel backers urged to express support
Supporters of Israel are being urged to write their lawmakers amid tensions between the Obama administration and the Jewish state. The Israel Project, an organization that backs Israel through direct engagement with the media, is urging its supporters to vocally promote a “free and open Jerusalem” by writing elected officials and contacting the media.

We the People
Well done clip.

This has been going around the net. Might be hard to get Congress to vote for!: Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution” "Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States."

Part Time job
You’ll recall that after the Democrats’ candidate for Lt. Governor withdrew when it was revealed he was arrested for holding a knife to the throat of his prostitute girlfriend, I applied on line. (Holding a knife to the taxpayers’ throats would have been fine.) The Gov-Lite thing didn’t work out. They picked the daughter of former Senator Paul Simon, because the State Rep. who came in second was, as Harry Reid would say, a little too dark skinned for the ticket. But I have a new opportunity. The local Fox Channel job board reported a P/T opening for a photo archive assistant….at Playboy magazine. (Really). This weekend I’m going to run over to Iowa, which is where I think the application line probably starts.

Obama Policy Barrage Combats Dem Reelection Threat
Satire: Facing the specter of another two years of Democrat stagnation in Congress, President Barack Obama reportedly plans seize the momentum generated by the bipartisan opposition to his health care reform initiative in order to move boldly on reforming Wall Street, education, energy, employment and Little League Baseball…all at once. “The president spent the last year overcoming resistance from his own party in Congress,” said senior White House adviser David Axelrod. “If he doesn’t launch an all out, multi-front war right now, these same people could be reelected. That’s a nightmare scenario.” The new White House strategy consists of forcing Democrats to declare what they believe on a welter of issues that affect the daily lives of ordinary Americans.

Monday, March 29, 2010

From a Korean war vet

Mr. Hall, I am tired too.

I was at Pusan in 1952. Harry Truman let a group of us out of the AF in December of 1952 strictly for political reasons.

We had been extended for the duration and I was on extra time. I did not mind, it was my duty to my country. Ike had said during a speech before the election, that he would let all of us that Truman had extended out as soon as he took office.

Old Harry said, "Bull Manure! I'll let 'em out." So he let us out on Dec. 22 of 1952.

I am 78 and have been taxed to death these last 3 or 4 decades. I worked until 1 day after my 78th birthday. I was involved in defense jobs and still felt patriotic.

But because I did work long after Soc. Sec. kicked in at age 70, I am penalized for Medicare (the other form of socialized medicine). I made too much last year so the Feds charge me 300% more each month. My wife is penalized only because she is married to me. She didn't work but that doesn't matter. I get hit again thru her.

If I had laid around on my couch and sucked on a beer can, the taxpayer would have helped me with my medicare bill.

We have turned into a really sick society. I'll go before you Mr. Hall, but I feel really bad for my five grandkids and my two great grandkids. They won't have a clue how life was before FDR made his terrible mark on America. I was lucky and his screwball ideas didn't kick in until after WW II ended. Boy did we feel it from then on.

F. Eugene Barber
Las Vegas

Political Digest March 29, 2010

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

Democrats threaten companies hit hard by health care bill
Intimidation—the Chicago way. Excerpt: Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, has summoned some of the nation's top executives to Capitol Hill to defend their assessment that the new national health care reform law will cost their companies hundreds of millions of dollars in health insurance expenses. Waxman is also demanding that the executives give lawmakers internal company documents related to health care finances -- a move one committee Republicans describes as "an attempt to intimidate and silence opponents of the Democrats' flawed health care reform legislation." On Thursday and Friday, the companies -- so far, they include AT&T, Verizon, Caterpillar, Deere, Valero Energy, AK Steel and 3M -- said a tax provision in the new health care law will make it far more expensive to provide prescription drug coverage to their retired employees. Now, both retirees and current employees of those companies are wondering whether the new law could mean reduced or canceled benefits for them in the future. The news is an embarrassment for Democrats. As President Obama and congressional leaders tout the purported benefits of the new health care law, some of the nation's biggest companies are saying it will mean higher costs and fewer benefits -- not exactly what Democrats want to hear in the days after their historic victory.

Obama's army in the health care bill?
This has been out on the net, but I haven’t seen in a source like, say, Fox news or the prominent blogs I accept as reliable. Interesting if true. I wonder if they’ll wear Brown Shirts or go right to the snazzy black uniforms.

Little-Known Health Care Law Provision Is a Budget Buster, Critics Say
While Congress spent the last year debating how to provide health insurance for the uninsured, a little-known provision slipped into the heath care law that could cost some Americans upwards of $2,000 a year. The Class Act, otherwise known as the Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act, is the federal government's first long-term care insurance program.
Under-reported and the under the radar of most lawmakers, the program will allow workers to have an average of roughly $150 or $240 a month, based on age and salary, automatically deducted from their paycheck to save for long-term care. The Congressional Budget Office expects the government will collect $109 billion in premiums by 2019.

Joint Committee on Taxation Confirms that ObamaCare Does Not Enforce Individual Mandate
Excerpt: One of the more controversial elements of ObamaCare is the mandate for most individuals to purchase insurance beginning in 2014. There is really no precedent for a federal mandate of this scale requiring individuals to purchase a product or service. So not surprisingly a number of state Attorney Generals have indicated they will be filing suit questioning the constitutionality of this provision. Of course the individual mandate is also very risky from a political standpoint, as the Democrats who orchestrated the passage of this bill are mandating not only that the young and healthy obtain insurance, but also that even their most fervent liberal constituents must purchase this coverage from the “evil”, private insurance industry. Republicans for their part have focused on the fact that this mandate will be enforced via threat of a financial penalty (or tax), with the added assumption that it is the dreaded IRS which will be enforcing this. And sure enough, it’s already been reported that the IRS anticipates hiring possibly in excess of 15,000 additional personnel to deal with the collection of the individual mandate, and other tax related provisions within the bill. However, it turns out that the Democrats who crafted this bill significantly – and I mean significantly – hamstrung the ability of the IRS or any other federal agency to enforce or collect on this mandate. Here is what the federal Joint Committee on Taxation had to say about this issue in a report released earlier this week:

Lipinski lonely but proud to be pro-life Democrat,0,5214921.column
Excerpt: By voting "no," Lipinski has put a target on his back for smears from the White House staffed by the guys from Chicago. "There were aspects of the president's package that I liked. Helping people get insurance, that sort of thing. But we weren't really voting for health reform. We were voting for a bill that is financially unsustainable. And I couldn't support that bill," he said. As a Roman Catholic against abortion, he's formally a pariah among most Democratic elites. And predictably, he's been attacked by unnamed White House sources in media reports. Who's behind that? Perhaps when White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel (D-Tomczak) asks me out to lunch, he'll tell me. Lipinski said that his "no" vote was about more than abortion. "I looked through the analysis, I determined it was not a good bill," Lipinski said. "It's not sustainable. It will cost more than we can afford

CBO report: Debt will rise to 90% of GDP
This frightens me a bit. I was figuring I’d be safely dead when the collapse came. Excerpt: President Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget will generate nearly $10 trillion in cumulative budget deficits over the next 10 years, $1.2 trillion more than the administration projected, and raise the federal debt to 90 percent of the nation’s economic output by 2020, the Congressional Budget Office reported Thursday. In its 2011 budget, which the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released Feb. 1, the administration projected a 10-year deficit total of $8.53 trillion. After looking it over, CBO said in its final analysis, released Thursday, that the president’s budget would generate a combined $9.75 trillion in deficits over the next decade.
“An additional $1.2 trillion in debt dumped on [GDP] to our children makes a huge difference,” said Brian Riedl, a budget analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation. “That represents an additional debt of $10,000 per household above and beyond the federal debt they are already carrying.” The federal public debt, which was $6.3 trillion ($56,000 per household) when Mr. Obama entered office amid an economic crisis, totals $8.2 trillion ($72,000 per household) today, and it’s headed toward $20.3 trillion (more than $170,000 per household) in 2020, according to CBO’s deficit estimates.

Democrat Hypocrisy on Recess Appointments
Excerpt: When Bush made recess appointments to three “controversial” nominees in 2007, Democrats went ballistic. Senator John Kerry called it “abuse the power of the presidency.” Senator Chris Dodd said it was “an abuse of executive authority.” Senator Joe Lieberman said recess appointments “show disrespect” to the Senate. When Bush used his authority to appoint John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations, Senator Harry Reid said Bush “abused a presidential power.”

A Birthright? Maybe Not.
Excerpt: A simple reform would drain some scalding steam from immigration arguments that may soon again be at a roiling boil. It would bring the interpretation of the 14th Amendment into conformity with what the authors of its text intended, and with common sense, thereby removing an incentive for illegal immigration. To end the practice of "birthright citizenship," all that is required is to correct the misinterpretation of that amendment's first sentence: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside." From these words has flowed the practice of conferring citizenship on children born here to illegal immigrants.

Why pot growers favor pot prohibition
Excerpt: They say pot-smoking is a victimless crime, but it turns out pot-legalization is hardly victimless. Consider the plight of marijuana growers: [AP] If California legalizes marijuana, they say, it will drive down the price of their crop and damage not just their livelihoods but the entire economy along the state's rugged northern coast.... Local residents are so worried that pot farmers came together with officials in Humboldt County for a standing-room-only meeting Tuesday night where civic leaders, activists and growers brainstormed ideas for dealing with the threat. This is a real-life example of a common analogy for rent-seeking -- the tale of the Baptist and the Bootlegger. Prohibition creates a barrier to entry, which drives up prices and profit margins. Lowering the government barriers to entry is good for consumers and would-be competitors, and bad for the incumbent businesses

TRULY Subversive Literature
Excerpt: I don't want hope; I don't want change. I want freedom.

Tea Party Searchlight Nevada Aerial Shots From Helicopter

327 House members tell Obama to make U-turn on US-Israeli relations
Excerpt: Barack Obama talks a lot about the “spirit of bipartisanship.” Now he’s had a chance to see it for himself, thanks to a series of diplomatic fumbles between the White House and Israel, usually one of America’s closest allies. More than three-quarters of the US House of Representatives signed a letter expressing dismay over the direction of the alliance, warning that the “highly publicized tensions” aren’t helping America’s interests:

Briton is Duped into Carrying Terror Cash
Didn’t get the “Islam is a religion of peace” memo. Excerpt: A PLOT by Al Qaeda to blow up a sports stadium was foiled when a British-based courier was arrested.
The man was held in Chicago as he prepared to board a flight for England carrying cash to buy explosives. The money, ultimately bound for ¬Pakistan, was intercepted after an ¬elaborate sting by FBI agents who had penetrated the terror cell. Last week taxi driver Raja Lahrasib Khan, 56, a naturalised US citizen of Pakistani ¬origin, was charged with financing ¬terror.

Good news: There is no chance of jihad terror in San Francisco -- Police Chief apologizes for suggesting otherwise
An update on this story -- and it's great news! The possibility that a Muslim in San Francisco could get involved in jihad terrorism is nil -- it is in fact less than nil, zero minus eight degrees, such that even to suggest the possibility that it could happen is an insult to the area Muslims, each and every one of whom is robustly patriotic! So now that San Francisco is a Jihad-Free Zone, I guess all the airport security personnel will have to be laid off, eh? And the city probably would benefit from having fewer FBI and JTTF folks on the job. They will certainly be able to find jobs in the industries in the city that start to thrive as people flock there from areas that don't enjoy such assurances!

U.K.'s most popular Islamic channel under investigation for promoting "extremism"
Excerpt: "Viewers were told that 'the majority of people in hell will be women'." What kind of rabid extremist would say that? Well, Muhammad. In fact, it comes up more than once. Several times, actually.

Imagining an Israeli Strike on Iran
Interesting and scary. Excerpt: In 1981, Israel destroyed Iraq’s nuclear reactor at Osirak, declaring it could not live with the chance the country would get a nuclear weapons capability. In 2007, it wiped out a North Korean-built reactor in Syria. And the next year, the Israelis secretly asked the Bush administration for the equipment and overflight rights they might need some day to strike Iran’s much better-hidden, better-defended nuclear sites. They were turned down, but the request added urgency to the question: Would Israel take the risk of a strike? And if so, what would follow?

Agencies Suspect Iran Is Planning Atomic Sites
Excerpt: The United Nations inspectors assigned to monitor Iran’s nuclear program are now searching for evidence of two such sites, prompted by recent comments by a top Iranian official that drew little attention in the West, and are looking into a mystery about the whereabouts of recently manufactured uranium enrichment equipment. In an interview with the Iranian Student News Agency, the official, Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had ordered work to begin soon on two new plants. The plants, he said, “will be built inside mountains,” presumably to protect them from attacks. “God willing,” Mr. Salehi was quoted as saying, “we may start the construction of two new enrichment sites” in the Iranian new year, which began March 21.

Obama’s Summit On Entrepreneurship
Excerpt: President Obama will be hosting a “Summit on Entrepreneurship” in our nation’s capital on April 26-27 in the Ronald Reagan building. The Summit is an idea Mr. Obama alluded to in his “A New Beginning” speech in Cairo, Egypt last June—part of the months-long Apology Tour that disgusted and embarrassed so many proud Americans. Certainly entrepreneurship is an important concept for Americans; after all, entrepreneurship, or free enterprise, is in large part what makes America so exceptional. There’s one catch to the president’s Summit, however. All attendees must be Muslims. According to both a White House press release and the summit’s official Web site, the Summit is part of a larger process whereby our government “partners, convenes, and catalyzes” delegates from Muslim majority countries and Muslim communities to “foster entrepreneurship” in those countries and communities. Let’s review. Our president is hosting a business summit encouraging the very free market ideals upon which our country was built for a group of people whose Islamic law eschews those very ideas, to the degree that they hijacked our commercial jetliners and flew them like missiles into the very heart and soul of our financial capitol on September 11, 2001 killing nearly 3,000 innocent Americans. Outrageous. At the bottom of the Summit’s Web site there’s a link that visitors can click on to share their ideas, so here are two ideas for sharing: First, let’s admit that Islam is not a religion of peace. There are, indeed, peaceful Muslims around the world and in the U.S., but as retired Army Lt. Colonel Allen West, an expert on jihad and Islam and a former civilian advisor to the Afghan Army, testifies on a recent panel about jihad, “You must realize that this is not a religion that you are fighting against. You are fighting against a theo-political belief system and construct.” Mr. West goes on to explain that if you study the Koran, the Sura, and the Hadith closely “then you can really understand that this is not a perversion. They are doing exactly what this book says.” (Suppose Bush had hosted a Summit On Entrepreneurship open only to Christians. Think the media would have had something to say?)

The Boys of Alpha Company Marines in Afghanistan. Makes a vet proud.

The True Heroes, 1st Battalion 6th Marines: Marjeh Afghanistan
The “Pogey Bait” 6th Marines—it’s a WWII joke—was one of the two Marine Regiments that did such great service in WWI.

Net Humor
This was sent to me by a former pastor. Thought it was funny, so pass on.

Ok, this is how it works:

1 - Answer the one question below, reply to me only.

2- Then forward this email to all your friends.

3 - Wait till you see all responses ....this is a riot!

Question: "If you saw ME in the backseat of a police car what would you think I got arrested for? " Remember, reply to me only,, then forward this on and see how many crimes you get accused of.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lying about Vietnam Vets

From my buddy Del:

A group called has put out a really slick video that you
can see on You-Tube, which is a tribute to Vietnam vets. Here's the

While it is certainly well intended, the makers fell right into accepting
the totally bogus set of statistics published originally by "The American
War Library", a scam operation set up by one phony vet in southern
California. The claim is that over 2/3 of us have died already, and
we'll all be dead in 5 more years, that we've had an horrendous level of
suicide, divorces, and getting thrown into jail. None of which is true,
about 3/4 of us are still alive, we had an elevated suicide rate shortly
after the war that then leveled off, we aren't any different than any
other group in terms of divorces or going to jail, in fact some studies
show we are on average less likely to have jail time. A lot of this
false information has been floating around for many years, pushing that
image of the average Vietvet as the shaggy old loser with the joint in
his mouth (or maybe the needle in his arm).

Many of us carry baggage from the war, some a lot more than others, but
so did the vets from every war we've been in, even though people have
forgotten the difficulties even the WW2 vets experienced. (And that was
the Good War that we helped win decisively.)

But we have overall done our part as good citizens, most of us are proud
of our service, and most of us don't want anybody feeling sorry for us.
And what we can be proud of is that our activism has made sure that our
guys, our younger brothers so to speak, coming home nowadays from their
service are getting the respect and appreciation they deserve.

So enjoy the video, but don't swallow one tiny bit of the bad stats they
got fooled into using.



Saturday, March 27, 2010

Political Digest March 28, 2010

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

Recommended Books

I’ve just read Lessons from the Vietnam War: Truths the Media Never Told You, by Leonard M. Scruggs. An Air Force pilot in Vietnam, Scruggs has added to the much-needed literature setting the record straight. While as a history student who has read extensively on the war, I didn’t learn much new, this short volume will be valuable for those who are not steeped in what happened in Vietnam, and thus may accept the left-wing myths propagated by the media who hope to mitigate their own cowardice about the war, and to cover up the massive death toll after the Communist Victory as well as the tens of millions sold into slavery by the US Congress in 1974-5.

As an Air force officer, Scruggs naturally concentrates on the contributions of air power, but it’s hard to argue with his assertion that strategic use of air power could have won the war in 1965 again in 1968, and in fact won the military war in 1972, before the Congress reneged on the United States’ treaty commitments under the Geneva Accords to maintain logistic support of the South Vietnamese Forces at the current level. It is little wonder that it is hard to convince the Iraqis and Afghanis who would like a free country that the US will keep its sworn obligations to stand by them. Our record of faithfulness is not good.

Scruggs also accepts the view that the siege of Khe Sanh was a diversion from Giap’s main effort, which was the cities attacked in the Tet Offensive in the winter of 1968. My personal view is that both were main efforts, that Giap believed victory in either would bring victory in the war, and he was prepared to shift his schwerpunkt to reinforce success at either point. That NVN suffered devastating military defeats in both is undeniable to any student of history. That the media pictured them as defeats for the US/SVN was the key point in delivering millions in SE Asia to death and slavery. We won the war in Vietnam and lost it in Washington and the media.

Scruggs includes an excellent and even handed account of the Mai Lai incident, which went far to losing the war in the PR arena. He also has good short accounts of the POW and MIA aspects of the war. Readers unfamiliar with the war will learn what real torture looks like.

After finishing Scruggs’ book, I re-read, Whitewash/Blackwash: Myths of the Vietnam War, by Bill Laurie and R. J. Del Vecchio (a frequent contributor to this blog). This slim book can be read in an hour, and makes an excellent gift to those unfamiliar with the war. It briefly reviews and refutes the main myths that have been circulating. Unfortunately, the media has the narrative they prefer. We shall have to wait for a more objective historical review, after all participants are dead, to hope of having a true, balanced understanding in the history books. Books like these, plus A Better War and Triumph Forsaken will provide the guidance to future historians.

I’ve also just finished Robert Spencer’s new book, The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran. I recommend it to those who would like to understand why, if Islam is a “religion of peace” as everyone from Bush to Obama to Fox News preaches to us, there is a constant, daily drum beat of violence from Muslims around the world. Spenser uses the Qur’an and the Hadith or Sunna (the traditions of the Prophet that “illuminate the Qur’an” and are considered essential to its understanding by Muslims) to show that Jihad, violence, domination and the conquest and subjugation of infidels is firmly rooted in the teachings of the main schools of Islamic thought. That there are tens of millions of moderate Muslims who wish to live in peace is undeniable. And also irrelevant as long as Islamic groups draw on the unchangeable Qur’an to justify violence. You may disagree with Spencer’s conclusions (hopefully because you have studied the Qur’an, not because you just think it can’t be true!), but every person who values political and religious liberty as well as gender equality should be familiar with this book.

Please hold flaming emails disagreeing with my conclusions on these books until after you have read the books. And now we return to our regular-scheduled news of the disasters overtaking our country….

The Myth of the Addicted Army: Vietnam and the Modern War on Drugs
Glad to learn I’m not a druggie after all. Excerpt: A probing analysis of the links between the Vietnam War and the evolution of American drug policy. The image of the drug-addicted American soldier—disheveled, glassy-eyed, his uniform adorned with slogans of antiwar dissent—has long been associated with the Vietnam War. More specifically, it has persisted as an explanation for the U.S. defeat, the symbol of a demoralized army incapable of carrying out its military mission. Yet as Jeremy Kuzmarov documents in this deeply researched book, popular assumptions about drug use in Vietnam are based more on myth than fact. Not only was alcohol the intoxicant of choice for most GIs, but the prevalence of other drugs varied enormously. Although marijuana use among troops increased over the course of the war, for the most part it remained confined to rear areas, and the use of highly addictive drugs like heroin was never as widespread as many imagined.

Vote on the Healthcare Bill

Obama names 15 recess appointments, including union lawyer
Wait! I thought Democrats said using recess appointments was terrible when the last pres did it? Excerpt: President Barack Obama on Saturday wielded his recess appointment powers for the first time, clearing 15 nominees to assume posts that have remained vacant for months due to insurmountable congressional roadblocks. Among the 15 named just days before the Senate departs for Easter recess are Craig Becker and Mark Pearce, the White House's two, hotly contested nominees for the National Labor Relations Board. Republicans have staunchly opposed both nominees, Becker especially, for their pro-labor positions. Business associations were also opposed to the appointment of Becker, an associate general counsel to both the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and AFL-CIO who was nominated by Obama to the NLRB but failed this February to secure 60 votes in the Senate for confirmation. Still, their appointment to the NLRB means the agency may now resume deciding labor disputes without the looming threat of a shutdown by the Supreme Court. Noticeably absent from the list, however, is Dawn Johnsen, the White House's nominee to head the Office of Legal Counsel. Republicans have long excoriated Johnsen for being too much of an ideologue to run such an important wing of the Justice Department, though the Obama administration has repeated it remains confident in her leadership abilities.

Second TSA nominee withdraws his name
Just make a “recess Appointment” and avoid those pesky “advise and consent” questions from Senators. I’m sure CAIR has a nominee for you to consider. Excerpt: The Obama administration's second choice to lead the Transportation Security Administration withdrew from consideration Friday, days after senators questioned his business and personal dealings as a military contractor who provided services ranging from Iraq war interrogators to private guards at the White House. Distractions caused by my work as a defense contractor would not be good for this Administration nor the Department of Homeland Security," retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert A. Harding said in a late-evening statement released by the White House. "The president is disappointed in this outcome," Obama spokesman Nicholas Shapiro said in a separate statement. Obama's previous nominee, Los Angeles airport police executive Errol Southers, withdrew from consideration in January. He blamed stalling tactics by Republicans opposed to extending collective bargaining rights to TSA employees, but his withdrawal also followed disclosures that he gave Congress and the White House misleading information about incidents two decades ago.

Pelosi instructions to Democrats leaving for recess: It’s time to go on offense
Excerpt: Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants House Democrats to go on offense during the critical two-week recess that begins this weekend. Members returning to their districts should tout the new healthcare law’s benefits to their constituents, according to the “recess packet” issued by Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) office this week and obtained by The Hill. “With the passage of health insurance reform, this District Work Period is a critical time to go on offense,” the memo states. Members should “convey the immediate benefits of health reform to your constituents (such as better prescription drug benefits for seniors, tax credits for small businesses and prohibiting insurance companies from canceling your policy if you get sick),” the memo said. Democrats are returning home for the recess covering the Easter and Passover holidays with the most political momentum they’ve had in the past year.

AP: Say, guess what we just found in ObamaCare!
Gotta go on the offensive with these retirees who will be dumped into Medicare…. Excerpt: Congress passed the bill without knowing what was in it. Barack Obama signed it without reading it. Now it looks as though the Associated Press reported on ObamaCare without comprehending its content. Readers will have to scroll far down to discover that the elimination of a key tax break that kept retirees on company prescription-medication plans will mean dumping millions of seniors onto Medicare — and that the AP ignored it until now:
The health care overhaul will cost U.S. companies billions and make them more likely to drop prescription drug coverage for retirees because of a change in how the government subsidizes those benefits. In the first two days after the law was signed, three major companies — Deere & Co., Caterpillar Inc. and Valero Energy — said they expect to take a total hit of $265 million to account for smaller tax deductions in the future. With more than 3,500 companies now getting the tax break as an incentive to keep providing coverage, others are almost certain to announce similar cost increases in the weeks ahead as they sort out the impact of the change. Figuring out what it will mean for retirees will take longer, but analysts said as many as 2 million could lose the prescription drug coverage provided by their former employers, leaving them to enroll in Medicare’s program.

Obama's Full Frontal Attack on Free Speech
Excerpt: Today, in the Wall Street Journal, two articles discuss the immediate effect of the new health care legislation. In ObamaCare Day One, we hear about companies like Caterpillar, which is reporting a first year cost of $100 million or more in order to comply with the new regulations. In another article titled The ObamaCare Writedowns, it is reported that government-mandated accounting rules require corporations to immediately restate earning to reflect the present value of their long-term health care liabilities and taxes. In response to that requirement, today AT&T took a one billion dollar writedown. Other companies reporting health care related losses include: Deere & Co, ($150 million); 3M Corporation ($90 million); AK Steel ($31 million); Valero Energy ($20 million). The consulting firm Towers Watson is estimating that the total for all businesses may reach as high as $14 billion. What does this mean? It means that the U.S. economy just lost another 14 billion dollars. That's $14 billion that will not be available for capital investment or research. $14 billion that is now unavailable for business expansion and new jobs creation. $14 billion that will never make it into the wallets of workers. That's $14 billion real dollars, created through productive work — not paper money simply run off the government's printing presses. However, if that were not bad enough, just like kangaroo*, the President and his congressional cohorts are "hopping mad at this sort of talk!"

The Real ObamaCare Fraud
Excerpt: In the final days before the climactic ObamaCare vote in Congress, one hotly disputed issue was the reliability of the Congressional Budget Office’s projection that the health plan would cost “only” $940 billion over 10 years. Critics charged that this figure was artificially low because it included a projected 21% cut in Medicare payments to physicians that Congress would later restore as a separate $247 billion “doc fix.” In essence, ObamaCare critics charged that supporters were engaged in fraudulent accounting. The critics are right. In the short term, politicians are unlikely to leave the draconian 21% Medicare cuts in place, because it would force many physicians to treat Medicare patients at a loss. Many doctors would drop their Medicare patients (or at least refuse to accept new ones), creating an outcry from the senior citizens’ lobby. The projected cuts have already been postponed multiple times. Originally scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2010, Congress first postponed them until March 1, 2010, then until April 1, 2010, then again until October 2010. However, such postponements won’t solve the long-term problem of rising Medicare costs. Hence, under ObamaCare the federal government also plans on cutting Medicare spending through measures that don’t overtly force doctors to lose money. Although these measures will be portrayed as steps to improve “quality” and “cost effectiveness,” they will in fact have the opposite effects of reducing quality of care and leading to de facto rationing. These constitute the real fraud of ObamaCare.

Primary care access isn’t guaranteed by health insurance
And the doctor shortage will grow, as fewer of the best and brightest will go into a field with diminishing returns, growing paperwork and subject to marauding bands of trial lawyers. In the UK, up to 1/3 of the docs come from the third world. Excerpt: An excellent article appeared recently in the Washington Post, entitled, “Having health insurance doesn’t ensure it will be easy to find a doctor,” where a young, otherwise healthy and insured woman discusses her extreme difficulty in finding a doctor in Washington, DC who will see her. “I was just 23, basically healthy and, most important, insured. So I pulled out my computer, looked up the UnitedHealthcare list of pre-approved doctors and started calling. And I got rejected. Again. And again. (Usually after being put on hold for three or four minutes.) ”

Healthcare Timeline

Fidel Castro Congratulates Obama for Health Care Bill
Socialist solidarity! Excerpt: Will the naysayers who have been complaining about the passage of Obamacare — the most massive expansion of the welfare state in 45 years – be silenced by the revelation that the President’s plan has now received a ringing endorsement from none other than Fidel Castro, the longtime overseer of what is perhaps the most scenic Communist gulag ever established? Yesterday, the former dictator crowed that the passage of American health care reform was “a miracle” that represented a major “success” for Barack Obama.

Will America break up?
Excerpt: The bitter debate over Obamacare has exposed the country's profound divisions. We are no longer one nation or one people. Rather, there are now two Americas: one conservative, the other liberal. Increasingly, we no longer just disagree but we despise each other.
Our disagreements encompass everything - politics, morality, culture and history. We no longer share a unifying essence or common values. One half of America believes abortion is an abomination; the other half considers any attempt to repeal it as oppressive and sexist. One half opposes homosexual unions because it elevates immoral and unnatural behavior to the sacred status of marriage; the other half supports it as an extension of civil rights. One half reviles Mr. Obama's socialist agenda, viewing it as the destruction of capitalism and our constitutional government; the other half embraces it as the culmination of social justice and economic equality. One half reveres America's heroes - Christopher Columbus, George Washington, James Madison, Davy Crockett - and its glorious history; the other half is ashamed of its past, seeing it as characterized by racism, imperialism and chauvinism. Ultimately, a country is not simply its geographical borders with the people inside of it. It is something more - and deeper. A nation must share a common heritage, language, culture, faith and myths. Once upon a time, Americans celebrated the same heroes, sang the same patriotic songs, read the same history and literature, and gloried in its exceptional nature: a city upon a hill, with liberty and freedom for all. It was understood that, for all of our different ethnic and religious backgrounds, America is a product of English and Christian civilization. Those days are long gone. (Yes, there will be a collapse of the Republic, I believe.)

Unions Want to Take Over Your 401(k)
Then they could spend it and put in treasury IOUs as they did with the Social Security Trust Fund. Excerpt: One of the nation's largest labor unions, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), is promoting a plan that will centralize all retirement plans for American workers, including private 401(k) plans, under one new "retirement system" for the United States.
In effect, government pensions for everyone, not unlike the European system and regardless of personal choice. The SEIU, which was integral to the election of Barack Obama as president, is working with the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute (EPI), and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, on SEIU's plan, called "the Retirement USA Initiative." Claiming that the retirement system in place now has "failed most Americans," EPI vice president Ross Eisenbrey, told a labor union publication that "account balances have fallen by a third since late 2007, leaving many older workers unable to retire just as our economy is shedding millions of jobs.” “The failure is broad and deep. It's not just a few people falling through the cracks: most of us already are in the ravine. Three in 10 have only a 401(k) or similar savings plan, and the rest of us are totally out of luck," said Eisenbrey. Eisenbrey said that the median 401(k) account balance was $25,000 in 2006, and the median for workers near retirement was $40,000. "Half of those who had a 401(k) were nearing retirement with less than $40,000 in their account," said Eisenbrey, who is trained as a lawyer and

Leftist Issues Death Threats to Palin and Family on Twitter
Excerpt: There is justifiably some concern relating to the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, and violent threats. It’s just not quite what you’ve been hearing in Big Media. On Twitter, a fellow calling himself Jason Brown has been posting since May 10, 2009, and has a total of 379 messages posted so far……In recent days, Brown has been saying that he is concerned about the violence that he believes Sarah Palin is fostering. So, he is threatening to kill Sarah Palin and her family. (By leftist logic that blames right wing nuts on Republicans like Palin, this is Obama’s fault. About as reasonable.)

Military-Commission Trials Set for the Summer
Excerpt: The Pentagon is poised to rescind last year's order halting military-commission cases, a final legal step as it gears up to try accused terrorists. But there's an awkward hitch: the new trials will be held in the $12 million, high-tech courtroom at Guantánamo Bay, which will refocus the world's attention on the very prison President Obama pledged to close. "As of right now, we don't have the money or the authority" to hold the trials elsewhere, says a senior Pentagon official who asked not to be identified talking about a politically sensitive subject.

Obama’s Legacy and the Iranian Bomb
Excerpt: The second way in which Iran could use nuclear weapons would be to hand them off to its surrogates, Hezbollah or Hamas. A third way would be for a terrorist group, such as al Qaeda, to get its hands on Iranian nuclear material. It could do so with the consent of Iran or by working with rogue elements within the Iranian regime. Finally, Iran could use its nuclear weapons without ever detonating a bomb. By constantly threatening Israel with nuclear annihilation, it could engender so much fear among Israelis as to incite mass immigration, a brain drain, or a significant decline in people moving to Israel....Regardless of his passage of health-care reform and regardless of whether he restores jobs and helps the economy recover, Mr. Obama will be remembered for allowing Iran to obtain nuclear weapons. History will not treat kindly any leader who allows so much power to be accumulated by the world’s first suicide nation—a nation whose leaders have not only expressed but, during the Iran-Iraq war, demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice millions of their own people to an apocalyptic mission of destruction.

LAPD officer killed in Afghanistan roadside bomb attack,0,1747634.story
I continue to wonder if the country still deserves such men. Excerpt: A member of the Los Angeles Police Department's elite SWAT unit, who also served as a U.S. Marine, was killed Wednesday in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb, LAPD officials said. Sgt. Maj. Robert J. Cottle, 45, was traveling with three other Marines in the Marja region of the country, which has been the focus of an intense U.S.-led offensive against Taliban forces in recent weeks, said LAPD Capt. John Incontro, who oversees SWAT operations. Their armored vehicle struck an improvised explosive device, killing Cottle and another Marine and seriously wounding the two others, Incontro said.

Stripped by Massachusetts: Firsthand Account of Strippers Becoming Employees
Back when I was a member of the Massachusetts Legislature, we would have investigated something like this in great depth. Excerpt: The Daily Caller (our buddy Tucker Carlson's brainchild) has a new story telling the tale of a stripper lamenting her profession's transition from independent contractors to regular ol' employees in Massachusetts. The stripper, writing under the pseudonym Pussy Per Se (yes, really) says that "the legislature of Massachusetts, attorney general Martha Coakley, and some savvy lawyers have now put me out of business." But not out of business exactly, just out of independent contracting. Perhaps because she's writing for a conservative site, Per Se begins her argument by clarifying that strippers just strip: they don't have sex (with customers), or wreck marriages (at least not most of the time). She says operating as an independent contractor gave her the freedom to charge her own rates, giving certain customers deals (sometimes two-for-ones with other club workers) or discounts for longer periods in the champagne room. As contractors, dancers pay a "tip out" to the club for the ability to work there, but don't receive additional benefits like insurance or Social Security. "The dancer can take a loss on any particular day, just like any business," Per Se says. Still, the law on independent contracting has the following points that seem to say strippers are employees:

America’s Comeback

I’m Sorry I Voted for Obama website
Get your friends to sign up.

City Of Chicago To Modernize Outdated Graft Programs,17140/
Good satire: In an effort to streamline unethical practices and boost illegal profiteering, Mayor Richard M. Daley announced sweeping new plans Monday to overhaul his city's "antiquated" system of graft. According to Daley, Chicago's once-great fraudulent institutions have grown obsolete, and City Hall is no longer bilking taxpayers out of as much money as it once did. "It's been business as usual for too long in Chicago, and now it's time to find more efficient ways to misuse authority for personal gain," said Daley, who has served as Chicago's mayor since 1989. "We must modernize our illegitimate activities right now, today, before it becomes impossible for public officials to act in my best self-interests."

You picked a fine time to lead us, Barack!