Saturday, September 10, 2011

First glimpse of WTC tribute

Last Updated: 7:40 AM, September 10, 2011
Posted: 1:23 AM, September 10, 2011

At the site of unimaginable death and devastation, a memorial of breathtaking beauty has emerged.

The National September 11 Memorial — here shown for the first time — opens tomorrow on the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks and is a dazzling tribute to the lives lost, and to a city and nation that will never forget.

In the footprints of the old Twin Towers are now two square, below-ground reflecting pools, each nearly an acre, fed from all sides by waterfalls that begin just above ground.

They are bordered by bronze panels inscribed with the names of those who died there, at the Pentagon and in western Pennsylvania.

More names could be added if appropriate, officials said.

Four hundred swamp white oak trees line the serene plaza.

A small clearing known as the Memorial Glade is set aside for special ceremonies.

High above, a spectacular flag honors the victims and first responders.

The navy-blue banner is adorned with 40 gold stars to represent the passengers and crew members who died on United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in Somerset County, Pa.

The stars and a white ring around an image of the Twin Towers form the shape of a pentagon to honor the 184 people who died at the Pentagon and aboard American Airlines Flight 77, which hijackers crashed into the building.

The towers in the center of the flag represent the thousands who died as a result of the hijackers crashing two planes into the buildings.

One tower has a “9” on it, and the other has an “11” in a lighter shade of blue.

The words “We Remember” are inscribed in white below.

Combined, 2,977 people were killed at all three sites in the 9/11 attacks.

“We remember the towers standing, the towers falling, the devastation on the pile, the empty pit,” said Joe Daniels, president of the National 9/11 Memorial.

“And to move to a place of grace and beauty is something that the entire country can feel proud of.”

"I wish we would only use force against white people"... HUH????

Members of the North Rapid community greeted Rapid City Police Chief Steve Allender with thanks and concerns about racism at a North Middle School forum Thursday night.

Allender hosted the forum in the aftermath of the Aug. 2 shooting at a North Rapid intersection in which two police officers and the civilian shooter died.

More than 200 people attended the forum, where Allender discussed efforts to fight crime in North Rapid before taking questions.

"People somehow associate violence with North Rapid," Allender said. "The shooting that occurred had no more to do with North Rapid than anywhere else."

The North Rapid area does have more police officers than any other area of town, Allender said -- a response to the fact that the police department receives more 911 calls from there than any other neighborhood.

But Allender and members of the crowd said crime has significantly improved in recent decades in North Rapid.

Community member Leonard Bryant, who has lived in North Rapid for more than 40 years, said he had seen "the change in North Rapid for the better, and I have seen a change in the Rapid City police for better."

Allender highlighted the importance of community policing, where officers get to know residents and deal with nuisance issues rather than just responding to 911 calls.

"The neighborhood is degraded by nuisance crimes, such as drinking and littering and stacking up junk in the yard," he said.

The solution, Allender said, is to systematically engage a neighborhood, doing things that seem more like "social service work."

"Why are cops doing social service? Because it works," he said.

Although Allender and the Rapid City Police Department received applause and plaudits during the two-hour forum, there was also plenty of criticism.

Multiple audience members told Allender they see problems with racism against Native Americans from police officers.

"I know that there are good cops out there, and there are racist cops," Sandra Little said. "I've seen it. I've lived here most of my life."

Allender defended the department but also asked for help.

"My preference is that we would never have another shooting, ever, involving a Native American," he said.

Saying it was "probably very unprofessional to say," Allender said that "as a white police chief, I wish we would only use force against white people, because it would erase that issue that's so hard to deal with and is so troubling for so many people."

Allender said more than 50 percent of the Rapid City Police Department's arrests are of Native Americans -- far larger than the Native share of the population. He noted that a large number of those involved both victims and perpetrators who are Native Americans. "We have more contact with Native American people than we do non-Native; I can't lie about that," he said.

After multiple speakers called on the police department to hire more Native officers, Allender said the police department had tried and failed in the past.

"If you have a great idea for how we can go out and get little Native American boys and girls interested in being law enforcement officers in Rapid City, I'm all for it," he said.

Another call at Thursday's meeting was for dialogue.

"I want to see this racism stop over here," said Cynthia Gonzalez, who identified herself as a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. "You guys can be more educated in our culture, as well."

Allender said he is "always looking for the next great idea of how to facilitate something that will help us get our issues on the table" and asked for suggestions on constructive ways to move forward.

Copyright 2011 Rapid City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

One Regulation We Can ALL Live Without.....

Miss Universe Hopeful Told to Wear Panties
Miss Colombia has been making appearances without unmentionables
By Greg Wilson
Friday, Sep 9, 2011 | Updated 1:10 PM EDT

Colombian Catalina Robayo Vargas takes the runway during the swimsuit parade, before being crowned Miss Colombia 2010.

Miss Universe officials have a message for Catalina Robayo, Colombia's entry into Monday's contest: Don't forget to wear underwear.

Robayo, one of 89 beauties from around the world competing to win the Donald Trump-owned contest, has been reprimanded for making appearance in tiny skirts - with no panties.

"Colombia had to be spoken to and told she needed to wear underpants as what she was doing was totally inappropriate," a source told Fox News. "People have been pretty upset by it; there have been photos and media appearances where she has completely had her crotch out."

The contest, being held in Sao paulo, Brazil, might benefit from controversy, but going commando goes too far.

"Our supervisors talked to all of the contestants about dressing appropriately, and one of our PR people spoke to [Robayo] and apparently she said she was wearing underwear, said Miss Universe President Paula Shugart. "But regardless, it created quite a stir here for a few days."

The pageant earlier returned bikini bottoms from sponsor Catalina Brasil Swimwear after they were ruled too skimpy for network television.

The contest airs Monday at 9 pm ET.

Barack Obama and John McCain on 9/11: Statements then and now

By Toby Harnden

FROM September 12th, 2008

Seven years ago, Barack Obama, then an Illinois state senator, issued a statement to his local newspaper the Hyde Park Herald. It was published on September 19th 2001 and recently reprinted in the New Yorker magazine. Senator John McCain issued a statement, still on his Senate website, through his Capitol Hill office on the day of the attacks.

This year, both are US senators and their party's presidential nominee and each issued a statement to mark the seventh anniversary of 9/11. All four statements, then and now, are reproduced below. They make interesting reading. No doubt there wilI be views about why some things have changed and some have not.

1. State Senator Barack Obama, September 19th 2001:

"Even as I hope for some measure of peace and comfort to the bereaved families, I must also hope that we as a nation draw some measure of wisdom from this tragedy. Certain immediate lessons are clear, and we must act upon those lessons decisively. We need to step up security at our airports. We must reexamine the effectiveness of our intelligence networks. And we must be resolute in identifying the perpetrators of these heinous acts and dismantling their organizations of destruction.

"We must also engage, however, in the more difficult task of understanding the sources of such madness. The essence of this tragedy, it seems to me, derives from a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers: an inability to imagine, or connect with, the humanity and suffering of others. Such a failure of empathy, such numbness to the pain of a child or the desperation of a parent, is not innate; nor, history tells us, is it unique to a particular culture, religion, or ethnicity. It may find expression in a particular brand of violence, and may be channeled by particular demagogues or fanatics. Most often, though, it grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.

"We will have to make sure, despite our rage, that any U.S. military action takes into account the lives of innocent civilians abroad. We will have to be unwavering in opposing bigotry or discrimination directed against neighbors and friends of Middle Eastern descent. Finally, we will have to devote far more attention to the monumental task of raising the hopes and prospects of embittered children across the globe-children not just in the Middle East, but also in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and within our own shores."

2. Senator Barack Obama, September 11th 2008

"Today, we honor the memory of the lives that were lost on September 11, 2001, and grieve with the families and friends who lost someone they loved in New York City, at the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. We will never forget those who died. We will always remember the extraordinary efforts of our firefighters, police and emergency responders, and those who sacrificed their own lives on Flight 93 to protect their fellow Americans. And we give thanks for the Americans defending us every day in our communities at home, and in our military abroad.

"On 9/11, Americans across our great country came together to stand with the families of the victims, to donate blood, to give to charity, and to say a prayer for our country. Let us renew that spirit of service and that sense of common purpose. Let us remember that the terrorists responsible for 9/11 are still at large, and must be brought to justice. Let us resolve to defeat terrorist networks, defend the American homeland, stand up for the enduring American values that we cherish, and seek a new birth of freedom at home and around the world."

3. John McCain, September 11th 2001:

"There are no words to describe adequately the enormity of these attacks on the United States or the depravity of those who are responsible for them.

"Clearly, the organization and magnitude of these attacks required more than a few people to perpetrate. It will take some time to determine who they are, and who has supported their attacks on the United States. But we will find them out, and they will suffer the full, awesome measure of our justice.

"Until then, we can only pray for the victims and their families, remain calm, and resolute, confident that America will never be cowed by terrorists, no matter how awful their acts, no matter how depraved their hearts.

"These were not just crimes against the United States, they are acts of war. We will prevail in this war, as we have prevailed in the past. May God bless us in this trial, defend us, and make our justice swift and sure."

(NB He also followed up with this on the Senate floor on September 12th.)

4. Senator John McCain, September 11th 2008:

"No American living then should ever forget the heroism that occurred in the skies above this field on September 11, 2001. It is believed that the terrorists on United Flight 93 may have intended to crash the airplane into the United States Capitol. Hundreds if not thousands of people would have been at work in that building when that fateful moment occurred, and been destroyed along with a beautiful symbol of our freedom. They and, very possibly I, owe our lives to the passengers who summoned the courage and love necessary to deny our depraved and hateful enemies their terrible triumph.

"I have witnessed great courage and sacrifice for America's sake, but none greater than the sacrifice of those good people who grasped the gravity of the moment, understood the threat, and decided to fight back at the cost of their lives.

"I spoke at the memorial service for one of them, Mark Bingham. I acknowledged that few of us could say we loved our country as well as he and all the heroes of September 11 had. The only means we possess to thank them is to try to be as good an American as they were. We might fall well short of their standard, but there is honor in the effort.

"In the Gospel of John it is written, 'Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends.' Such was their love; a love so sublime that only God's love surpasses it. I am in awe of it as much as I am in debt to it. May God bless their souls."

Soros: 9/11 Memorials are Nothing but Muslim Hate

Posted by P.J. Salvatore Sep 9th 2011 at 1:18 pm

George Soros has spent an inordinate amount of his life trying to change the landscape of economics to his benefit. Now he’s attempting to manipulate the sentiments surrounding the 9/11 anniversary.

As the U.S prepares to acknowledge the 9-11 10th Anniversary, multi-billionaire financier George Soros released a report that claims a conservative cabal of groups and individuals are Islamophobic and the 9-11 memorials are more about hatred for Muslims than commemorating the killing of close to 3,000 Americans by radical Islamists.

Soros calls these Americans, most of whom are conservatives, Fear Incorporated.

The Soros group known as the Center for American Progress (CAP) is deliberately attempting to take attention away from events in the U.S. that are in progress to commemorate the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history, and focus that attention on claims of Muslim-bashing by members of counterterrorism think-tanks, terrorism analysts and some members of the news media such as Fox News Channel.

That one of the report’s authors is in custody due to a suspected relationship with Hamas says it all.

One of the authors of this Soros-CAP report was interviewed by Al-Jazeera’s Samer Allawi, who is now in custody in Israel facing allegations that he’s a covert agent of Hamas.

Israpundit details CAP’s “proof”:

Center for American Progress released “Fear, Inc.,” yet another report in the increasingly hysterical bullying campaign to shout down criticism of political Islamist efforts to influence American foreign and domestic policy. Their latest “copy and paste” effort duplicates large sections of five nearly identical “investigations” just this year, complaining that millions of concerned Americans are Islamophobes.

The primary organizations– what should be called the “Shariah Defense Lobby”– are the Center for American Progress/ThinkProgress, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) with support from a handful of other far-left or Islamist bloggers and Washington lobbyists.

It’s a running joke in the blogosphere that any Soros media entity exists for the purpose of actually reporting media, a joke because the proprietors of these entities still believe that you believe this.

The Constitution and Real Federal Regulatory Reform

The American Thinker has published as a blog item my review of President Obama’s so-called regulatory review (You call this regulatory reform?). Under the direction of Professor Cass Sunstein, President Obama’s former University of Chicago law school colleague, all federal regulatory bodies were to eliminate regulations which were unduly burdensome to small businesses. Private sector critics promptly called the reforms a drop in the bucket. Let’s look at that. Professor Sunstein claims that the reforms could save businesses over $10 billion in compliance costs over the next five years. The Small Business Administration reports that the total cost of regulation to American business is $1.7 trillion annually. If we assume that Professor Sunstein’s savings estimate is reasonable, and that regulatory costs will not increase over the same time period (a very unreasonable assumption), that makes the total savings from the regulatory review equal to 0.001% of the costs of regulatory compliance. That’s one-thousandth of one percent for those who like their numbers spelled out. “Drop in the bucket” overstates the impact.

Another way to measure the gross impact of federal regulation is to count the pages in the official publication of all federal regulations, the Federal Register. This is a bit crude as a measure, because a very long regulation may be fairly innocuous whereas a short one could have a massive cost imprint, but it is a decent rough gauge of the extent of the totality of federal regulation. The Federal Register for 2010 is over 81,000 pages long, a 19% increase in one year. We do not have a page count on the regulations to be repealed, perhaps because many of the revisions have yet to actually go into effect, but it is safe to assume that they will come nowhere near to matching the voluminous regulations still to be issued under the new Obamacare and Dodd-Frank laws. And there are also the numerous ongoing rule-makings by Professor Obama’s hyperactive regulators at the EPA, NLRB and the rest of the seemingly endless alphabet soup of federal regulatory bodies.

However, all this begs a deeper question: why is the national government regulating small businesses in the first place? To put this question in perspective, the Federal Register was first issued in 1936. At that time it was 2,600 pages long (and that was after four years of the New Deal). The Left will argue that growth in federal regulation is inevitable as our Nation grows. So, let’s look at that. From 1936 to 2010 the population of the United States grew by 240% (128 million to 308 million). Over the same time period the Federal Register grew by over 3131%. That means that the page count of federal regulations has grown at over 13 times the rate of population growth since the middle of the New Deal. And again, as noted, Professors Sunstein and Obama still have much, much more regulation to come.

One of the reasons the first Federal Register of 1936 was so short was that up until then the Supreme Court had followed the original understanding of the Constitution’s interstate commerce clause, which limited Congress’ authority to commercial activity that actually crossed state lines. However, the next year in 1937 the Supreme Court began to abandon the previous understanding of the interstate commerce clause. Under the new interpretation anything that might maybe in any way have any affect on any kind of commerce any where was deemed to come under the federal Congress’ power. This included any business no matter how small it was and no matter how local its activities were. The classic case is Wickard v. Filburn, a 1941 case which held that an Ohio farmer could be fined for violating federal agricultural quotas for food grown for use on his own farm!

This massive re-interpretation of the Constitution’s interstate commerce clause completely overthrew the Constitution’s original allocation of powers between the federal and state governments. Small businesses were now subject to a double burden of federal as well as state regulation. With Obamacare it is now even claimed that a private individual citizen can be penalized under the clause regulating interstate commerce for failing to buy something the federal government says they must buy.

Where did the Supreme Court get the right to make such a massive change to the original meaning of the Constitution? It certainly is not in the Constitution itself. There it says that to change the Constitution you have to get various super-majorities of elected legislatures. There is nothing about courts changing the Constitution. In fact, the entire edifice of the federal regulatory state rests on an undemocratic and unconstitutional expansion of the interstate commerce clause by a body without constitutional authority to make such an expansion.

Unfortunately that expansion is now locked into 70 years of Supreme Court precedents. Even if the current Supreme Court declines to further extend the expansion by overturning the Obamacare individual mandate, that will still leave in place the other 81,000 pages of federal regulations, and many more to come which fall just short of the individual mandate. Republicans in Congress have several legislative proposals to alleviate the federal regulatory burden on small business, but given the morass of special interests behind all of this federal regulation, it is hard to see how Congress will ever make a meaningful dent.

In Timely Renewed: Amendments to Restore the American Constitution, I propose instead that we re-invigorate the constitutional amendment process to restore the original meaning of the interstate commerce clause, along with other much abused clauses. The specific proposal for restoring the interstate commerce clause’s original scope is in chapter 5. With this, small business would be regulated only by the states instead of “one-size-fits-all,” Big Business oriented federal regulations. Only this will really achieve Professors Sunstein and Obama’s purported goal of relieving small business of the regulations which are stifling their ability to produce the new jobs we so desperately need.

Trivia Question: When was the last time a President presided over 2 recessions in his 1st term?

Trivia Question: When was the last time a President presided over 2 recessions in his 1st term?

Ford Goes There...New Ad Knocks Bailed Out Competition (Video)

Posted by Jim Hoft on Friday, September 9, 2011, 8:06 PM

Ford goes there… Their latest television ad knocks the bailed out competition.
The Tatler reported:

This hurts:
REPORTER: Chris, was buying American important to you?

CHRIS: I wasn’t going to buy another car that was bailed out by our government. I was gonna buy from a manufacturer that’s standing on their own, win, lose or draw. That’s what America’s about is, taking the chance to succeed and understanding when you fail, that you’ve gotta pick yourself up and go back to work. Ford is that company for me.

Jobs: HHS Announces $700M to Renovate and Build Health Care Centers

By Susan Jones
September 9, 2011

( – One day after President Obama announced his jobs plan to a joint session of Congress, the Health and Human Services Department announced it has $700 million to spend on building, expanding, and improving community health centers across the U.S.

The grant money for construction projects, authorized by the Affordable Care Act, will create “thousands of jobs nationwide,” HHS said.

The funding also will expand the infrastructure for Obamacare, the law that injects government mandates into the health insurance market.

“For many Americans, community health centers are the major source of care that ranges from prevention to treatment,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “These funds will expand our ability to provide high-quality care to millions of people while supporting good paying jobs in communities across the country.”

Most of the taxpayer money -- $600 million – will be spent on existing health centers for longer-term projects including facility expansion and hiring more employees to serve more patients. The remainder, around $100 million, will be spent on shorter-term projects addressing “immediate facility needs.”

HHS says the nation’s 8,100 community health centers are an important source of local employment and economic growth in underserved and low-income communities.

The centers also are “poised to play an essential role in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act,” HHS says on its Web site.

The $700 million announced on Friday is just the beginning: Over the next five years, the Affordable Care Act provides $11 billion in funding for the operation, expansion and construction of community health centers across the country.

In 2010, community health centers employed more than 131,000 staff, including 9,600 physicians, 6,400 nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants, and certified nurse midwives, 11,400 nurses, 9,500 dental staff, 4,200 behavioral health staff, and more than 12,000 case managers and health education, outreach, and transportation staff. The centers currently serve nearly 20 million patients regardless of their ability to pay.

Rudy slams Bloomberg: "the microphone will not melt" if we have clergy at 9-11 Memorial

Rudy slams Bloomberg: "the microphone will not melt" if we have clergy at 9-11 Memorial

Accuracy in Media has just released video from Mayor Giuliani's speech condemning New York Mayor Bloomberg over his handling of the upcoming September 11th Memorial Dedication.

Who would'a guessed? NBC's F Chuck Todd's Wife is a Democrat operative!

Kristian Denny Todd (PDF)

The Truth About Obama's Jobs Bill

On Thursday evening, President Obama gave a speech to a joint session of Congress discussing the jobs situation here in America. The purpose of Obama’s speech was to convince the American public and their elected representatives in Washington to support Obama’s new $447 billion ‘American Jobs Act’, which has a cost that is 49% larger than the $300 billion act most people were expecting. NIA believes this bill will do nothing to reduce unemployment in America and that it is nothing but another stimulus bill in disguise that will add to our budget deficits.

Obama’s bill proposes a $4,000 per employee tax credit for businesses that hire somebody who was previously unemployed for 6 months or more, at a cost of $8 billion. At the same time, Obama wants to extend emergency unemployment compensation (EUC), which allows Americans who have exhausted standard unemployment benefits that last for 26 weeks to continue receiving them for between 20 and 53 additional weeks. EUC benefits are set to expire at the end of 2011 and continuing them through the end of 2012 will cost U.S. taxpayers $49 billion.

It is totally absurd for Obama to give employers money to attempt to hire people he is simultaneously paying to stay out of work. What makes this even more outrageous is that employers have an incentive not to hire recently laid off workers, when only those unemployed for 6 months or more will bring them a $4,000 check. If this bill is passed it will make the unemployment situation in America far worse than it already is.

NIA has heard from members who own farms and have positions on their farms available, but can’t find anybody interested in working for them and filling the available positions. Every time they hire somebody to work on their farm, the worker purposely does a poor job and tries to get fired. Their sole purpose of getting a job is to convince their local unemployment agency that they are trying to find employment so that they can keep receiving unemployment benefits, when in reality they are trying to take advantage of the system.

Obama is right that any future recovery will be driven by our businesses and our workers, but if Washington wants to make a positive difference the only step it should take to improve our people’s lives, is get out of their lives. It is impossible for any piece of legislation including Obama’s ‘American Jobs Act’, to improve the employment situation here in America. Obama needs to remove any government programs already in place that interfere with the free market. NIA believes that if the U.S. eliminated all unemployment benefits and also got rid of the minimum wage, it would cause the unemployment rate to return to healthy levels.

U.S. employees earning up to $106,800 annually currently pay a 4.2% payroll tax that is scheduled to revert back to 6.2% in 2012. Obama not only doesn’t want employee payroll taxes to raise back up to the historical level of 6.2%, which went into effect in 1990, but he wants to further reduce them to 3.1% for 2012. The annual cost of this employee payroll tax reduction is estimated to be $175 billion. In an attempt to help small businesses, Obama also wants to cut employer side payroll taxes in half from 6.2% to 3.1% on the first $5 million of payroll, while eliminating employer side payroll taxes for new hires. The annual cost of this employer side payroll tax reduction is estimated to be $65 billion.

NIA believes all payroll taxes should be eliminated. Americans who make payroll tax payments today are paying for other Americans to receive entitlement programs that they will never receive. Social Security and Medicare are already on the verge of insolvency. By the end of this decade, NIA believes Americans receiving Social Security checks will be receiving checks that don’t have any purchasing power and aren’t worth cashing. Americans would be much better off if they were able to use the money they currently spend on payroll taxes to accumulate physical silver instead. Only Americans with enough savings in physical gold and silver will be able to retire in the future.

Obama’s bill also provides $35 billion in state and local government aid, $50 billion in infrastructure repairs, $10 billion for a national infrastructure bank, $30 billion for school modernization and repairs, and $15 billion in housing expenditures. Unfortunately, the jobs Obama’s bill will create for construction workers, teachers, veterans, and the long-term unemployed, are only temporary jobs that will vanish after the bill expires, and the money printed to pay these workers will steal from the purchasing power of American workers who already have jobs today. There is no doubt about it that America’s infrastructure is decaying and we need to build new roads and bridges, but this is something that we can’t afford to do until we return to an economy that is based on production instead of consumption.

We need to return to a trade surplus and begin paying off our debt before we can afford to make investments into infrastructure. China can afford to build newer airports and faster railroads because they have a $254 billion trade surplus and $3.2 trillion in foreign exchange reserves that they are better off spending on infrastructure improvements than keeping parked in U.S. dollars that will soon be worthless.

Obama says that everything in his bill will be paid for, but NIA wonders how? The government is claiming this isn’t another stimulus bill and Obama didn’t mention the word stimulus once during his speech. The truth is, NIA believes all of the measures in this bill will have to be paid for by borrowing and printing money, which will increase our budget deficit, expand the money supply, and lead to massive price inflation.

The jolt that Obama is trying to give to the economy he admits has stalled, is the same economy he tried to jolt with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which put the U.S. $787 billion deeper into debt. NIA said at the time this stimulus bill was passed that when it failed to produce the results the government said it would, instead of admitting that stimulating the economy failed and reversing course, they will say the stimulus didn’t work because it wasn’t big enough and attempt to pass further stimulus bills by making new false promises.

Obama is lying to the public just like Congress recently did in regards to its bill to raise the debt ceiling. Congress deceived Americans into believing that in return for raising the debt ceiling so that the government can continue operating as it is today, “spending cuts” would be made to lower future budget deficits. These so called “spending cuts” turned out to be minor reductions to very large spending increases, with even these minor reductions not beginning until early 2013. Government spending is set to rise every single year until the dollar doesn’t have any purchasing power left.

Obama said in his speech last night that, “while corporate profits have come roaring back, smaller companies haven’t.” The reason this is true is only the largest banks and the companies they do business with have direct access to the Federal Reserve’s cheap and easy money. If the Fed didn’t bail out all of the banks on Wall Street that made risky leveraged up bets with other people’s money for the sole purpose of paying their employees huge bonuses, smaller banks would have acquired their assets in bankruptcy court for pennies on the dollar and be prospering today. Instead, small banks that made sound decisions were punished for doing the right thing. The Fed has made it even more difficult than ever for them to compete with the large banks that should be out of business.

If the Fed and Treasury didn’t bail out Wall Street, the world wouldn’t have come to an end like former-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson conned everybody into believing. The truth is, we would be better off today because the bad assets would have been liquidated. The bad assets that caused the financial crisis of late-2008/early-2009 still exist today. The main difference between back then and now is, the size of the Fed’s balance sheet has doubled to $2.862 trillion due to the toxic assets they purchased, and the world is now flooded with excess liquidity of U.S. dollars.

It is impossible for the U.S. not to feel the consequences of the money we squandered fighting wasteful wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and maintaining military bases all around the world. It is impossible for the U.S. not to feel the devastating effects of interest rates that have been left artificially low for way too long. When you have an artificial boom, that boom will eventually go bust and the more that is done to prop a phony economy up that is built on U.S. consumers spending money they don’t have, the harder the economy will fall in terms of high unemployment, high inflation, and a total lack of purchasing power that will cause a permanent decline in the U.S. standard of living.

The fact that Obama felt the need to demand that Congress pass his bill 17 times in 1 speech, shows that nothing positive will come out of this bill for the average American citizen. The only people who will benefit from this bill are bankers on Wall Street who are in line to earn huge fees on the infrastructure deals that get funded by the new national infrastructure bank. While the official U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) unemployment rate in August was 9.1%, down from its peak in October of 2009 of 10.1%, the real rate of unemployment including both short and long-term discouraged workers is now 22.8%, up from 22% in October of 2009 and a new high since the Great Depression in 1933. By further impeding the free market, Obama’s bill will further misallocate what little resources Americans still have left before hyperinflation arrives.

Obama The Failure

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Few things astound me more than those with the temerity to defend the indefensible with casuistic obfuscation. Recently, prominent media personage and Obama apologist Jonathan Alter challenged the world to explain why Barack Hussein Obama is a bad President. At the risk of deigning myself by explaining the self evident, I will respond to Alter’s challenge with the following indictment of Obama and extend an open invitation to debate this very topic on radio, television, or before a public audience.

I could never comprehend the irrational exuberance of Obamatrons or their predilection for ascribing infallible qualities to such a mediocrity the way fundamentalist fanatics attribute supernatural healing powers to fraudsters like Benny Hinn. The only plausible hypothesis that I can conjure is that credulous and knavish Americans lack the sagacity to distinguish between genuine statesmanship and the platitudes and puffery of a charismatic charlatan much as many Americans cannot differentiate between fine cuisine and the execrable garbage of McDonald’s.

The first thing that strikes one about Obama is his profound lack of intellect despite benefiting from a Harvard education thanks to affirmative action. I cannot recall a single instance where Obama has uttered a word that would send an ordinary man fleeing to a dictionary nor can I recall an instance where Obama has quoted a little-known historical fact or specialised knowledge from another discipline. On the contrary, Obama’s historical knowledge is atrocious. He once claimed that his maternal grandfather had liberated Auschwitz something that was impossible because the Soviets were the first to reach Auschwitz in the waning days of World War II.

Obama has also never shown the intellectual wherewithal or discipline to master a foreign language nor has he accomplished anything outside the fields of politicking and demagoguery unlike Dr. Ron Paul who is an accomplished physician. In contrast to Obama, statesmen like Thomas Jefferson produced actual inventions, such as improved ploughs, and demonstrated extensive knowledge of languages, philosophy, and science. Obama does not write his speeches and he is petrified to speak without his teleprompter. Obama’s degree from Harvard Law School is nothing but a gilded adornment designed to conceal the vacuous mind underneath. Those that might nevertheless take refuge in Obama’s academic pedigree might take comfort knowing that the great intellectual titan George W. Bush graduated from the inestimably prestigious Harvard Business School.

Yet the man’s lack of intellect is not nearly as disconcerting as his colossal policy blunders and inability to recognise, much less address, the monumental problems confronting the United States. For example, Obama’s response to the disastrous economy he inherited was to continue the same failed policies that produced the economic collapse. Obama supported the Wall Street bailout perhaps because the Wall Street banks were some of his largest financial backers, as the records at Open Secrets illustrate. Rather than allowing the big banks that peddled toxic mortgages or foolishly bought such mortgages to fail, the “solution” implemented by Obama in conjunction with the Federal Reserve was to recapitalise the banks with money produced out of thin air, resulting in a devalued US Dollar, inflation for US consumers, and the penalisation of saving. Perhaps worse, these actions encourage moral hazard because the Wall Street crooks will continue to engage in reckless behaviour knowing that they will again receive a bailout if they fail. Despite Obama’s claims of success, the toxic mortgage assets have not disappeared. Instead, they remain buried in the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet.

Similarly, the much-touted “Cash for Clunkers” programme peddled by Obama proved an enormous failure. The programme did increase temporary demand for cars, but this ephemeral increase only happened at the expense of future demand. Those that contemplated buying cars simply accelerated their purchases to take advantage of the temporary incentive, but demand for cars quickly plummeted once the handout disappeared. Moreover, the programme was dreadfully wasteful in that the government mandated the destruction of countless used cars. If Obama had a modicum of knowledge about economics, he might have known that the government’s policy to subsidise car sales diverted resources from more productive sectors of the economy. Destroying cars and creating new ones might have helped Obama fudge GDP numbers, but it did nothing to improve the economy or augment overall wealth, much as French economist Frederic Bastiat proved one hundred and fifty years ago with the “broken window fallacy”. Likewise, the tax credit for first time homebuyers proved a colossal fiasco for identical reasons.

One must also question the sanity of Obama’s military policy. Despite his strident rhetoric about ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the undeniable reality is that the United States military remains mired in these disastrous wars and continues to be a behemoth bureaucracy. Alter even has the audacity to cite the Libyan intervention as proof of Obama’s astuteness, yet anyone with a basic grasp of Libyan history knows that the current civil war in Libya is not a battle between despotism and democracy. Instead, the war is a tribal conflict between a brutal tyrant and a motley assortment of political Islamists allied with secular opportunists who are fighting Gaddafi so they can siphon Libya’s oil wealth into their own pockets once they replace him. Despite the rhetoric about ushering transformative change, the United States continues to spend incalculable sums of money on its military under Obama. If Obama had any knowledge of history, he might have learned that excessive military spending was one of the factors that precipitated the Soviet collapse along with an amorphous mass of bureaucrats that cannibalised the rest of the economy and taken corrective measures to reverse America’s inexorable descent into Soviet status.

Yet Obama’s innumerable failings do not stop here for Obama has also embarked upon an extravagant government entitlement that will hasten the fiscal collapse of the United States rather than help it realise the unquantifiable savings that Obama promised would allow Obamacare to pay for itself. Obama has also ignored the perilous predicament confronting Social Security and Medicare. Social Security presently runs a deficit and Medicare is in imminent danger of doing the same. Rather than proposing necessary changes such as reducing benefits, increasing the age at which recipients may collect benefits, or means testing, Obama prefers to delegate the politically unpalatable task to a commission whose recommendations he summarily ignores.

In light of the foregoing, it is abundantly clear that Obama is a demonstrable failure. Yet Obama skilfully works to conceal his ineptitude and the disastrous effects of his own shortcomings by falsifying statistics just as Stalin and Mao did with their numerous failed five-year plans. For instance, Alter cites the 9.1% unemployment figure and that the US economy no longer sheds 750,000 jobs per month as proof that Obama prevented a second Depression. However, Obama’s unemployment numbers fail to account for discouraged workers or those marginally attached to the workforce. If one were to employ this oft-ignored U-6 figure, one finds that the unemployment rate is a staggering 16.2%. Despite the stimulus and unprecedented intervention from Obama and the Federal Reserve, the US economy gained no net jobs in August. To place things in perspective, the US economy needs to add 150,000 monthly jobs merely to keep up with population growth. If the aforementioned does not attest to Obama’s mendacity, then one should recall that Obama’s own website boasted that it had saved or created 30 jobs in Arizona’s 15fth Congressional District, a miraculous accomplishment given that this congressional district does not exist. The website is replete with similar fabrications, yet at no time has Obama assumed responsibility for these farcical claims nor has he held his subordinates to account for their deceit.

Despite these failures, Obama has attacked imaginary problems such as lack of diversity in the federal workforce. Obama recently issued an Executive Order requiring Federal Agencies to implement programmes to increase diversity despite the overrepresentation of ethnic minorities in the federal workforce. Similarly, Obama has promised to tackle (pun intended) and “to throw his weight around” what is undoubtedly the most important affliction affecting the country, which is the lack of a Division I college football playoff. Obama frequently opines on frippery such as the Kanye West outburst or NCAA basketball playoffs, but seems unwilling to answer questions from citizens except those already vetted at Obama pep rallies. Obama even had the gall to interject himself into the dispute between Henry Gates and the Cambridge Police jumping to conclusions that ultimately proved erroneous. Clearly, it is lamentable that a lawyer and a former professor of Constitutional Law would exhibit such a cavalier attitude towards justice.

I could continue ad nauseam, but I have made my point that Obama is an idiot and a colossal failure. I challenge Jonathon Alter to accept my challenge to debate his ridiculous assertions, although it is doubtful that one so intoxicated with Obama will muster the courage to debate those with whom he disagrees or those sensible enough to emigrate from the United States to escape the tyranny of the US government.

The Blind Man In The White House

Photo: Vice President Joe Biden appears to temporarily lose his mind during President Obama's jobs speech on 9-8-11. This is not an altered photo, but a well-timed freeze-frame from a video recording made by Russ Allison Loar.

Obama lost his way. He is drowning in economic problems: unemployment doesn’t fall, au contraire; the economy is in a virtual standstill; the Government debt reaches dangerous heights; the yearly deficits are just plain immoral, and the dollar is weak. He still believes it’s the government’s task to create jobs by pumping borrowed money into the economy. The friendly explanation is he has no clue how a free market economy works. The more stringent view is he hates the free market and wants to destroy it. Today, people are not any more afraid to ask: Why does he repeat the same failed policies over and over again?

His reactionary collectivist ideology blinds him. He is unable to backtrack on his previous decisions. He believes his revolutionary changes (ObamaCare; the nationalization of the car industry, of the student loans, of the mortgage loans; his vast extension of the union’s power; his mammoth expansion of regulations on everything that moves or grows) as essential to his policy, as the defining factor of his presidency. Very probably he believes the next points are proof of his success:

47% of the population depends of government handouts in one form or in another,
only 49% of the people pay income taxes,
3% of the citizens pay over 50% of the income tax,
the component in GDP of the Federal Government grew from 20% to over 25% under his watch.

Yesterday Thursday September 8th, he read again from his teleprompter his plans to revive the American economy. It was ‘all show and no substance’. This was the reason why he insisted to have his reading exercise in front of Congress, on the highest political platform of the USA. Such shows are normally limited to once a year.

His proposals are only a déjà-vu of his old tricks, which don’t help the country forward, but paralyze the economy. He said nothing we haven’t heard before. Obama wants to borrow another 400 billion from the Chinese (?), and spend it on infrastructure. Although, the previous trillion spent on such stimulus had a negative impact on the economy and on employment. He wants to prolong again unemployment benefits. Pay money to people because they are without a job is considered the ‘best’ stimulus for the economy by the Democrats. But, they are afraid to use that ‘stimulus’ word again. Today the word provokes laughter at the Obama policies. Obama wants to give again many billions to the States so they can pay their unionized bureaucrats and keep them on the job. Which States really need this money? The States that are lead by Democrats to bankruptcy, for example my own home State of California.

But wait, Obama will only next week tell us how he will pay for all the new expenses. Why didn’t he tell us yesterday? We know what to expect: higher taxes and phantom savings over the next 10 years. This will never pass the Republican House.

However, he also offered some positive measures. The government will pay its vendors sooner (no kidding); the taxes on wages will be halved; businesses get a tax credit for every veteran hired, etc. The problem is, Obama packs everything together in one ‘all or nothing’ deal. This proves Obama’s aim with this speech was pure politics: corner the Republicans, and blame them for the lack of jobs.

Obama accuses Congress for all economic problems, but he is silent about his absolute majority he enjoyed in both chambers of Congress for over one year, and about the control over both chambers he had for the first two years of his Presidency. The Republican majority in the House is only 8 months young. Obama was able to push through Congress all the laws he wanted for two long years. He used this advantage to the fullest extent, even against the voiced opposition of the American population.

For almost three years he sits on the trade agreements between the US and Columbia, South Korea and Panama. He refused to introduce them in Congress for a vote. Last night he presented the situation as if it’s Congress fault these agreements were not ratified.

As a first reaction the Republicans said to welcome negotiations on Obama’s proposals to boost the economy, and lower the unemployment.

The recent poll by NBC/WSJ shows only 42% of the Americans consider Obama a strong leader. That’s almost 40% less than at the time he became President. Obama is finished as a President. He will NOT be reelected. The majority of the Americans have stuck a needle in his balloon. Most Americans believe Obama is a nice guy, but totally not up to the task to be President.

Confront Obama’s ideas with the proposals of the different Republican candidates for the Presidency in their TV debate the night before Obama’s speech. All of them focus on the growth of the economy, by which unemployment should fall fast, and by which government’s income should rise faster. All candidates agree on the strategy. We see only differences in tactics, in personality, and in how fast and how far they would go implementing their policies.

Some examples.
Radical and meaningful cuts in business income tax: from 39% now to 25%, or to 9%, or even to 0%. The same drastic tax cuts would be offered to private citizens. To balance this measure, all exceptions and loopholes would be abolished. For example: mortgage deductions, child deductions, all subsidies to businesses and to green energy schemes. All candidates pledged not to raise taxes.
Cheap in the US produced energy for all. Energy is the motor of the economy. The purpose is to create a renaissance of manufacturing in the USA. The Republican proposal: remove all impediments and regulations that interfere with the mining, exploitation and use of the enormous US reserves of oil, natural gas and coal.
Fast dismantling of the government and its power over citizens and business. The government IS the problem. The slice of GDP produced by the government must be pushed back under 20%. The suffocating ObamaCare will be repealed immediately, as will most of the new regulations on the financial institutions. All new preferences and extensions of Union power will be annulled. Departments, as for example the Department of Education will be closed, and their tasks delegated to the individual States. Healthcare will be exposed to the free market. Tort reform to lower doctor’s insurance premiums and to make the loser pay the attorney’s costs of the winner.
Responsibility of the individual. People will be permitted to save money in a tax-free account to pay for future health costs. Patients would be free to choose the doctor they want, or the remedy they prefer. Parents would get vouchers and be able to send their kids to the school of their choice: public or private.
Reform today’s Social Security paying the pensions of the retirees. Candidate Perry labeled the actual system a ‘Ponzi Scheme’. With reason. The new members, the young workers of today, pay into the system. Their money is used to pay the earlier registrars, the retirees. The young will never see their money back, because the number of new entrants in the system is dramatically shrinking while those who get the money now live longer. One proposal: the young will be able to invest up to 10% of their income tax free in special accounts.
Medicare, the nationalized health system for the elderly pays doctors a defined amount for every procedure and drug. This means the patient has absolutely no idea how much the cure costs, and doesn’t care. This system would be replaced by giving every body a voucher to buy on the free market the health insurance of his or her choice.

It is obvious for most Americans who the adults are in today’s American politics: the Republicans.

The intolerance of the tolerance preachers

Dr. Michael Youssef - Guest Columnist - 9/9/2011 10:05:00 AM

The Washington National Cathedral, in its commemoration of the 10th anniversary of 9/11, has deliberately and carefully excluded evangelicals from their multi-religious commemoration. The service includes Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims, but not evangelical Christians. Mind you, I am opposed to interfaith services in any shape or form and that is why, in a previous blog, I stated that I was relieved that the mayor of New York spared us the agony of watching the One, True God of the Bible “worshipped” alongside false gods.

The National Cathedral is a member of the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation. Having served as an Episcopal priest in the past for a number of years, the fact that they have excluded evangelicals from their service did not come as a surprise to me at all. Twenty-five years ago, I was one of only a few evangelicals left in that denomination and some of my colleagues labeled me as “narrow-minded” and “intolerant.” What was my sin? I took Jesus at His word and believed that He and He alone -- by dying on the cross and rising again -- is the only way to the Father and eternal life in Heaven for all people of all races and religions.

For believing Jesus’ own claim that He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), I was called “intolerant.” Never mind over 500 years of Anglican history that proclaimed these truths and enshrined them in its Thirty-Nine Articles of Faith. Never mind the many Anglican martyrs who have died defending this truth.

I remember asking the question once, “If you are so eager to preach the gospel of tolerance, how about tolerating me as a Bible-believing Anglican?” A senior clergyman who I was very fond of whispered in my ear in jest, “We use intolerance to shut up people like you so that we can get our agenda through.” I remember thanking him for his honesty.

The truth is, the National Cathedral, in particular, and the Episcopal Church, in general, has rejected the Christian truth of salvation as only possible through Jesus Christ. It is soothing for them, or should I say it is a temporary panacea to their burning conscience, to cover themselves with the cloak of acceptability from other religions. Of course, there are inevitable consequences to their choices and I lovingly and “tolerantly” plead with them to turn and return to the truth before it is too late. I shudder when I think of the consequences of their intolerance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ whose Cross they parade.

I read in the press that a spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention has appealed to President Obama not to attend the service as a protest for excluding evangelicals and Baptists who represent a third of the U.S. population. I offer them the best of luck on this appeal. President Obama is far fonder of quoting what he calls the “holy Qur’an” than the Bible. He is a man who forgets the Easter proclamation, but never forgets a national proclamation of the month of Ramadan. He is not about to offend his own universalist, syncretistic crowd.

May God have mercy on America.

Paul: No, Rick Perry Didn't Threaten Me

by Mark Miller

Ever since this Reuters photo, in which Gov. Rick Perry is seen with one hand on the arm of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Surfside, and his finger in Paul's face, emerged after Wednesday night's contentious GOP debate, the media has been aflutter.

Could the "Texas-size rivalry" revealed in the debate, when the two traded charges and counter charges, have become more heated during a commercial break? Even Paul's supporters were worried that Perry had "assaulted" his elder fellow Texan.

Today Paul responded, revealing what really happened to a group of campaign supporters in California.

"Everybody, my kids included, has been writing, 'What was he saying to you?'" Paul said to his supporters.

He told the group that a Des Moines Register reporter called to ask him the same thing. He said he told reporter, "'Well, I'll tell you what, What he was saying to me I cannot repeat.' And he said, 'What? What?' I said, 'I'm just kidding! I'm just kidding!'"

The truth, Paul said, is, "I don't even recall the moment and I don't remember exactly what he said. But we didn't have any cross words."

At least not during the break. He noted "the most challenging words" were said on stage during the debate.

Video below:

Cowlitz County sheriff Friday posts bulletin about alleged crimes of union protesters

News Release from: Cowlitz Co. Sheriff's Office


Posted: September 9th, 2011 6:01 PM

Kelso, WA - With officers far outnumbered by protesters, Sheriff's deputies, police officers and Washington State Patrol troopers had to back off to a defensive position during Wednesday's ILWU rally due to threats to their safety.

"Our teams of 4 or 5 officers were confronted by baseball bat and axe handle wielding protesters." Said Cowlitz County Sheriff Mark Nelson. "They had their protest signs attached to bats and axe handles. When we attempted to make simple, misdemeanor arrests for trespassing, the officers were rushed by the crowd. Officers were literally holding people back to protect other officers attempting to make lawful arrests." Nelson said. "This is a game changer. We have actively worked with all parties in this situation trying to keep the peace. This is blatant disrespect of the process, the law, and we who are sworn to enforce it." Nelson said.

Due to being seriously outnumbered by violent protesters, additional arrests were not made at that time. However, "This investigation is far from over." Nelson said. "I anticipate that as we review the evidence we have collected, we will be making many more arrests."

Also continuing is the investigation in to the Thursday morning assault and carjacking that took place on the EGT plantsite after security was overrun by a mob of ILWU supporters. At around 4:30 a.m., hundreds of supporters tore down fences, smashed windows, cut air hoses to a grain train, and opened the rail cars, spilling grain all over the ground. Several pieces of evidence, including bolt cutters, pipes, ILWU signs and fliers were left lying around the facility.

Also of great concern was the perception of safety by the security personnel on scene. After seeing all the cars and people massing, then pouring through their gates, smashing out the guardshack window with a baseball bat, and causing damage, the officers had no way out. They were blocked from leaving down E. Mill Road, and there was no other open access out of the facility. At some point they felt that their personal safety was at too great a risk, and they ran for a vehicle and headed towards a back gate. They reported that a group tried to block them in, but the lights of approaching law enforcement vehicles stopped the group and the officers were able to flee.

One of the most frightening parts of the incident was when several saboteures, blocked a Columbia Security officer, (a 48 year old Longview man)dragged him out of his security patrol vehicle, took the vehicle and after recklessly driving it around the EGT facility, crashed it into an embankment. "This is no different than if it had happened on the street, or in the parking lot of any local business." Sheriff Nelson said. "It was a felonious act."

Sheriff Nelson urges anyone with information on this crime, or any portion of it, to contact the Sheriff's Office at 360-577-3092. Anonymous tips can be left on Crime Stoppers, 360-577-1206.

The Global Tea Party and Its Enemies

September 8, 2011 - 8:49 pm - by Michael Ledeen

The Tea Party is at once a very traditional American phenomenon — generally known as a “Great Awakening” — and part of a global insurrection. In both cases, the status quo is portrayed as oppressive and corrupt, and the rebellion against it is highly moralistic and flows from religious sources.

There is a considerable scholarly literature about America’s Great Awakenings, most recently by the Nobel Economist Robert Fogel. He describes it thus:

A cycle begins with a…religious revival…followed by (a phase) of rising political effect and reform, followed by a phase in which the new ethics and politics of the religious awakening come under increasing challenge and the political coalition promoted by the awakening goes into decline. These cycles overlap, the end of one cycle coinciding with the beginning of the next.

Fogel writes of four Great Awakenings: the first inspired the American Revolution and the triumph of the ideal of human equality. The second, associated with millenarian convictions, inspired the generation of the Civil War and the women’s suffrage movement. The third, beginning at the end of the 19th century, embraced the notion of social sin, according to which personal misery was not necessarily due to an individual’s shortcomings, but a societal failure. This religious conviction fed into the period of the New Deal and its attendant social engineering. The fourth — current — Great Awakening started in the 1960s and was marked by a revival of enthusiastic religious practices and by “born again” conversions. It drove the Reagan Revolution, and inspires the Tea Party’s tax revolt, the attacks on entitlements, and a return to ethics of individual responsibility after the embrace of collective sin in the previous phase.

The Second Great Awakening was well described by Alexis de Tocqueville in 1831, and shaped his view of religion in America. The country was swept by an explosion of faith, spread by impassioned preachers claiming direct contact with the Almighty, and demanding that Americans rededicate themselves to the high moral calling of their religion. As it always does, the Great Awakening surged into public life, producing a new moralism in politics (the Temperance Movement, the Abolitionists, campaigns against the dramatic increase in illegitimate births, renewed concern for the poor and disadvantaged, and several utopian communities featuring a fusion of radical social experimentation and a highly personalized religion). A generation later, the passions, ideals, and language of the Great Awakening defined the Civil War.

Whether focused against British governors, slave owners, captains of industry, or bureaucrats of the nanny state, Great Awakenings combine religion and politics in ways that enrage the ruling elites. Many of the furious denunciations of the Tea Party — from accusations of racism to claims that the tea partiers are “religious fundamentalists” — come from members of the current Establishment, who have abandoned the (similarly “fundamentalist”) religious ideals that contributed so greatly to their own success. This further stimulates the newly awakened, who believe the members of the ruling elites have become corrupt, and abandoned the values that made America great.

Religious revival inspires social and political movements that change America. And not just America.

We are in the midst of a global religious expansion that goes hand in hand with a widespread political uprising against oppression and corruption. It is commonly assumed that the most dynamic faith in the global revival is militant Islam, but it isn’t. The blue ribbon goes to American-style evangelical Christianity. You might not know, for example, that a leading Chinese government economist recently wrote a famous study of market economies, in which he concluded that successful capitalist countries have successful churches, and thus that China should embrace religious organizations. As two sharp-eyed British journalists note in their recent book, God is Back, (Evangelical) Christianity is booming in the People’s Republic (and most everywhere else Christians are free to practice their faith), and the Chinese Constitution has actually been amended to make room for it.

Many pundits stress the linkage between fundamentalist Islamism and the revolt against traditional dictatorships in the Middle East, but in fact the tyrannies in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya were not overthrown by Islamist movements, but by people whose calls for liberty, transparency, and moral probity sound much more like the Tea Party than like the theocratic ideologues who are challenging the revolutionaries for control. The revolutionaries are not fighting for a new caliphate or a theocratic state; indeed, for the most part they are in conflict with the religious Establishment, be it the Muslim Brotherhood or the Sunni or Shi’ite clergy. The Islamists may win, but they will continue to be widely seen as reactionaries, even among many of the faithful.

If you want a fine example of how religious revolutionaries turn into reactionary symbols of corruption and arrogance, just look at the Islamic Revolution in Iran.

The leaders of the Islamists’ greatest success — the Iranian revolutionaries who overthrew the shah in 1979 — are now facing a mass movement of Iranians who denounce Khomeini’s successors as corrupt hypocrites. Indeed, the two leading figures in the Green Movement — Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, both of whom profess piety — accuse the regime of having betrayed revolutionary ideals, and demand that a new Iranian government grant greater freedom and shrink the powers of the state. Their followers and supporters probably constitute the overwhelming majority of the population, and their mass demonstrations against the regime in June, 2009, jump-started the “Arab Spring.”

The Global Tea Party thus extends from the United States to China, leaving its footprint in the Middle East. You can even see it in Europe, most recently in the Netherlands, where the lynchpin of the current government — Geert Wilders, an outspoken Christian — has called for a reassertion of traditional Dutch values, denounced the excessive toleration of reactionary, intolerant Islamism, and convinced his countrymen to require immigrants to learn Dutch and learn, and abide by, the rules and ideals of their new society. His recent speech in Berlin sounds very familiar to anyone familiar with Tea Party passions.

So when we hear the leaders of the American Establishment declare war on the tea partiers, we would do well to remember that such movements are deeply imbedded in our national DNA, that those Establishment types owe their own status to such a movement, that the dreams of the tea partiers are shared not only by millions of American voters, but by freedom-seeking peoples in some very unexpected places, and that it is no accident to discover that a global movement in the name of freedom coincides with a global Great Awakening, with roots in America and its unique revolutionary tradition.

UPDATE: Thanks to Instapundit for linking! Happy to have the Punditeers with us. And thanks similarly to Urbanonramps, and Deadcatsandclippings.

Report: Veterans Cemetery Was Used As Private Dump

Published September 07, 2011
Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. -- A maintenance supervisor at one of the most pristine veterans cemeteries in the country used the grounds as his private dump, burying everything from cans of paint thinner to television sets, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. The cost to clean up the mess is already twice what state officials first estimated and growing.

State Department of Administration officials say the company contracted to clean up the garbage has submitted $37,000 in bills, with more likely to come. That's more than double the $18,000 the state Department of Veterans Affairs estimated the effort would cost. Meanwhile, veterans are seething that a state worker would disgrace a cemetery that federal officials have designated as a national shrine.

"Just totally repulsive to me and any veteran," said Brad Cramlet, a 50-year-old U.S. Navy veteran from Pleasant Prairie, a city about 20 miles from the cemetery. "That is hallowed ground. Our veterans are buried there. To have that happen is just totally unconscionable. That's abuse of position. That's abuse of government. Abuse of power."

The sprawling Southern Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery stands on 105 acres outside Union Grove, about 30 miles south of Milwaukee. About 8,400 veterans and nearly 1,900 spouses have been laid to rest there. The cemetery earned an excellence in appearance award from the National Cemetery Administration in April.

The state DVA has released several news releases about the trash, including one last month saying the supervisor resigned in November and cleanup efforts had begun, but the statements offered few other specifics. DVA and state Department of Natural Resources emails and other documents the AP obtained through an open records request reveal more details.

The documents show a whistleblower approached the DNR with a tip that the supervisor was ordering his employees to dig holes and bury all manner of trash from his rental properties, including refrigerators, mattresses, furniture and chemicals.

"I am outraged that such a sacred place such as the final resting place for the men and women who served our great country are allowed to be disgraced in such a manor (sic)," the whistleblower wrote in an undated letter to DNR Warden Mike Hirschboeck. The tipster also wrote to then-U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold on Sept. 30 asking for help.

The DNR launched an investigation on Sept. 14, Hirschboeck said in an interview. The DVA launched its own probe in early October, agency emails show.

The supervisor, who the AP is not naming because he hasn't been charged, resigned that November. According to a letter the DNR sent to then-DVA Secretary Ken Black in February, the supervisor and other cemetery employees told investigators the supervisor had employees dig holes to bury both cemetery waste and his personal property.

The cemetery property included rebar, damaged burners, tools, lawn mower blades and a 55-gallon drum, the letter said. The supervisor's personal garbage included clothing, garden hose, pipes, television sets, aerosol cans, spray paint containers, screws, nails, insulation, turpentine cans, pesticide cans, paint thinner cans, furniture, carpeting, shingles and a mattress.

Scott Ferguson, a DNR spills coordinator in charge of cleanup, said in an interview he remembered seeing a washer-dryer and file cabinets as well.

The garbage was buried far from the nearest headstone, Ferguson said. He didn't have any estimates on much trash was recovered, but the cleanup contract with Veolia Environmental Services called for a front-end loader, trucks and backhoes, suggesting the amount was considerable. The supervisor told the cemetery director he dumped trash on at least three occasions and probably more, according to DVA emails.

Cleanup began during the first week in August and was completed in a matter of days. The DNR is still waiting for tests on the garbage to see if any of the items qualify as hazardous materials, which could be a factor if the agency decides to bring any civil lawsuits or criminal charges.

The incident marks yet another public relations black eye for the veterans agency. It is still reeling from complaints that Black was trying to oust white workers. An audit earlier this year uncovered deficit spending and purchase violations at the agency's two veterans' homes. On top of that, agency secretary John Scocos alleged the DVA board improperly fired him from the post two years ago. Gov. Scott Walker reappointed Scocos to the position last week.

DVA spokeswoman Kathleen School said in a phone interview the $18,000 was a "range" and DVA didn't know what it would cost until the project was completed. She declined to comment further. The cemetery's director, Marian Lewandowski, referred questions back to Scholl.

Black said in a March letter to DVA Board member Peter Moran that agency leaders had met with cemetery staff to review proper disposal requirements and that an "effective communications plan" has been set up to give employees a way to report fraud and abuse to their supervisors.
Veterans Affairs Board Chairman Dan Naylor said he was disappointed and frustrated with the whole affair.

"The hope would be that steps would be taken to ensure this does not happen here or at other department sites in the future," he said.

Alan Willis, department commander for Wisconsin AMVETS, said the former maintenance supervisor should at least be forced to reimburse the state.

"It's a shame that it happened," Willis said. "If we're going to press charges on the individual, whatever comes of that would be deserving."

Scared Muslim let off police shooting

Kara Lawrence From: The Daily Telegraph September 09, 2011 12:00AM


A MUSLIM terror suspect who wounded a policeman in a gunfight escaped conviction on serious shooting charges after a judge found "anti-Muslim sentiment" made him fear for his safety.

A judge found the man had a loaded gun down his pants when police approached him.

But the judge found he had the gun not because he had planned to shoot the officers but because he was concerned for his safety.

It is understood the officers involved in the arrest of the man in November 2005 left the force as a result of the incident.

A suppression order has now been lifted on the June judgment by Sydney District Court Judge Leonie Flannery, who acquitted the man of shooting at Sergeant Adam Wolsey with intent to murder, shooting at him with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, and shooting at him with intent to resist apprehension.

In the judge-alone trial, the man pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Sgt Wolsey had been asked by a supervisor to arrest the man, wanted over terrorism-related offences. For legal reasons The Daily Telegraph cannot publish the outcome of those charges against him.

Sgt Wolsey's evidence was that he, Sergeant Bates and Senior Constables Weston and Behringer, drove past the man on Wilson Rd and followed him before stopping.

Sgt Wolsey stated he and Sgt Bates spoke to the man who spun around, pulled a Browning pistol out of his pants and fired.

Judge Flannery accepted one of the three shots fired by the man struck Sgt Wolsey in the hand. The man was struck by a bullet from Sgt Bates' gun.

The Crown argued the man deliberately fired upon police to avoid arrest.

The man maintained he did not fire at police but at the horizon in what was intended to be a warning shot so he could flee.

The man testified he was sick at the time and jumpy about surveillance and possible police questions.

Judge Flannery accepted it was a reasonable possibility he may have focused on Sgt Bates during the arrest, not noticed Sgt Wolsey, and fired a "warning shot in panic".

"I am not satisfied that he put the Browning in his pants because he was planning to shoot his arresting officers, rather he did so because he was concerned for his safety, and the state he was in brought about his illness, his concern that he was going to be arrested, and the climate of anti-Muslim feeling in the community at the time, he believed that he might be harmed by the police."

The man was convicted on lesser charges of firing a gun in a public place and using an unauthorised firearm and will be sentenced on September 23.

Family Feud - Rick Perry versus the Bush machine

Here is why your establishment republicans are dissing Rick Perry!

At last week’s Republican debate at the Reagan Library, a long-simmering Texas political feud made its grand entrance onto the national stage. Politico’s John Harris asked GOP presidential frontrunner and Texas governor Rick Perry about his former political adviser Karl Rove’s recent statement that Perry’s views on Social Security were “toxic.”

“Karl has been over the top for a long time in some of his remarks, so I’m not responsible for Karl any more,” Perry fired back, later adding, “We’re not trying to pick fights here.”

This wasn’t the first shot that Rove has taken at Perry in recent weeks. When Perry said Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke would be “almost treasonous” for inflating the money supply ahead of the election, Rove went on television and unhelpfully offered his opinion that this was “not, again, a presidential statement.”

The two powerful Texas Repub-licans have a relationship that goes back over 20 years, long predating Rove’s ascension to the White House with Perry’s predecessor as governor, George W. Bush. To this day, Rove takes credit for persuading Perry to switch parties in 1989 and run for agriculture commissioner as a Republican the following year. It’s not surprising that two fiercely competitive political figures would have had their share of disagreements in all that time.

“There’s no question that there’s tension between Bush world and Perry world. The idea that there isn’t is ludicrous to anybody that has been in the middle of Texas politics,” says Texas Tribune editor in chief Evan Smith, referring to the two main camps in the Texas GOP.

But getting anyone actually involved in Texas politics to talk about that tension—especially to a Washington reporter—would violate the first rule of the Perry-Bush fight club. Reached by phone, veteran Texas newspaperman and Texas Monthly contributor R.G. Ratcliffe immediately volunteers, “Let me guess—nobody would talk to you, huh?”

Another Texas political observer flatly states, “I think everybody is in fear of Perry or Rove.” This person declined to be named.

“We have written and others have written about the Bush-Perry stuff, and mostly just speculated, because nobody will talk about it on the record,” Smith says. “We’ve all talked to people off the record or on background. Nobody will talk about exactly what’s at work here—Is it rivalry? Is it jealousy? Is it a simple difference of ideology?”

Ardent Perry booster and Texas state senator Dan Patrick dismisses the tension as “a problem that no one in Texas sees” and “more media hype than reality.” But that is definitely a minority view.

In the end, Smith says that explaining the relationship boils down to interpreting “widely accepted lore.” And in Texas politics there’s enough lore to compile a volume that would put Bulfinch’s to shame.

The trouble is that lore isn’t always dependable. “Everyone who’s been around Texas politics can point to some great story demonstrating the vast fight between the two camps, when in fact sometimes those stories are just stories,” says Michael Quinn Sullivan of the influential grassroots group Empower Texans.

Here are a few of the stories freely offered:

The 1998 campaign: In Texas, the governor and lieutenant governor are elected separately, and in 1998, Bush ran for governor (as the incumbent) and Perry for lieutenant governor. It was already plain that Bush and Rove had designs on the 2000 presidential election, and Rove was pursuing an electoral strategy that would maximize Bush’s margin of victory in the governor’s race so as to demonstrate his broad appeal. Accordingly, Rove was working to mobilize Bush supporters—even if they also supported the Democrat in the lieutenant governor’s race.

The trouble was that Perry’s opponent, John Sharp, was a formidable candidate, and the race between the two of them was close. Rove’s get-out-the-vote calls to supporters of Bush and Sharp would make the race even closer.

“Rove claimed that he had polling showing that Perry was up by 14 points so this wasn’t going to hurt,” recounts Ratcliffe. “[Perry strategist Dave] Carney … had polling showing that Perry was neck and neck with Sharp at best and probably losing by a couple of points, and they got into a big argument with Rove over whether he would continue to make the get-out-the-vote calls to Sharp supporters.”

Complicating things, the Perry campaign wanted to run a negative ad against Sharp. “Depending on who you talk to, you get a different version of the ad. One of them was attacking Sharp on a plan he had for overhauling the state’s business tax, and they were going to call it an ‘income tax,’ ” Ratcliffe says. “And it was so similar to a plan that Bush [had once endorsed that] there was some fear this would come back to haunt Bush in the presidential campaign as, ‘Oh, he proposed an income tax in Texas.’ ”

Rove is then alleged to have threatened the Perry campaign that if they went negative on Sharp, he would withhold further use of the endorsement ad that Perry had received from George H.W. Bush, which was proving effective. Perry didn’t go negative and eked out a too-close-for-comfort victory by 68,000 votes.

Bush’s legacy: In 2007, as improbable as it seems, Perry was stumping for Rudy Giuliani in Iowa and told the crowd, “George [W. Bush] has never, ever been a fiscal conservative.” That might be a defensible statement to many Republicans, but it appears to have been taken as a major affront in Bush world.

“I think the Bush people consider that an extraordinary breach of etiquette from someone whose career was at least in part made by George W. Bush’s embrace of him,” says Smith, “and by Bush’s departure for the White House,” which promoted Perry from lieutenant governor to governor. Ratcliffe thinks the incident created more tension between Rove and Perry than the squabble in the ’98 election. This was seen as a personal attack, and the dispute over election strategy as just a “consultant fight.”

Further, Rove likely encouraged Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison to mount a primary challenge to Perry last year. “It’s hard to look at who endorsed Kay and not draw conclusions,” Smith says. “You had Karl, you had Karen [Hughes], you had H.W. Bush, you had Baker. You have pretty much every consequential figure in Bush world—with the exception of Joe Allbaugh—supporting Kay. You want to call that a coincidence?”

Proxy wars: To some extent, Perry and Bush really just embody the divide in the broader GOP between grassroots conservatives and the more moderate political establishment. Fairly or unfairly, these differences get projected onto Bush and Perry as personal characteristics.

There are obvious contrasts. Perry was the son of rural tenant farmers, while Bush was born into a wealthy political dynasty. “Certainly there are style differences, there are approach differences, there are background differences. You can go on and on and on,” Sullivan says. “These differences mean that everyone thinks there must be conflict, conflict must exist.”

But Sullivan insists the differences mean little to Texas voters. “[There are] great staunch supporters of Hutchison in the gubernatorial primary who are now sporting ‘Perry for President’ bumper stickers on their cars,” he said.

The reality is that many of the contrasts between Bush and Perry could also be explained away by circumstance. Bush had to work with a Democratic legislature when he was governor so was naturally more conciliatory. Perry, on the other hand, enjoyed a GOP supermajority in the last state legislative session, and the era of Pelosi and Obama has GOP voters wanting sharp-elbowed, rather than compassionate, conservatism.

Still, to the extent there is a class divide in Texas politics, neither camp is above exploiting perceptions when it’s useful. “One thing to understand is that it’s really Dallas versus the rest of the state. Over the last decade, if you went to Fort Worth or Houston or Midland you would find Republicans like Rick Perry. But if you went to Dallas they would say he was a hick and a bumbler and was an embarrassment to the Republican party. Dallas is kind of a blue-blood Republican town,” Ratcliffe says.

During the 2010 primary fight against Hutchison, Perry strategist Dave Carney described her and those behind her campaign as “country-club Republicans” to some effect. Smith thinks Rove took that personally. “If you know anything about Karl Rove, he is many things, but I’m not sure a ‘country-club Republican’ is one of them,” he says.

Despite this, Jeb Bush told Fox News last month he’s “never heard anybody in my family say anything but good things about Rick Perry.” But he did allow that there might be tension “maybe with Karl.” For his part, Rove dismissed that idea on The O’Reilly Factor as recently as the night before the Reagan Library debate when Perry dismissed Rove’s criticisms as “over the top.”

Assuming, then, the existence of a Bush/Rove/Perry feud, the question becomes whether this will have an effect on a Perry candidacy.

For starters, the feud may actually help Perry. Democrats will have a hard time portraying Rick Perry as the second coming of Dubya if he’s being regularly jabbed by the man affectionately described as “Bush’s Brain.” (And don’t discount the possibility that Rove the evil genius knows he’s doing Perry a favor by helping draw a sharp contrast between him and the former president early and often.)

Still, like most internecine political disputes, this one may come down to a single concern: money. “There’s probably 100 to 150 extraordinarily rich and extraordinarily conservative Texans,” Ratcliffe says. Access to that many wealthy donors is a unique advantage for a presidential candidate from Texas. “[Housing magnate] Bob Perry [no relation] typically drops anywhere from $4-6 million just in a Texas election,” Ratcliffe says. “It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Bob Perry dropped $10 million into a Rick Perry super-PAC.”

Of course, Bob Perry also gave $7 million to Rove’s super-PAC, American Crossroads, just last year. If Rove really had it out for Perry, he could possibly prevent Perry from securing the “Bush money” in Texas and elsewhere.

But so far that doesn’t appear to be happening, and Rove shrugged off the suggestion it would on The O’Reilly Factor. “He’s got to have his people call the Bush people,” said Rove. “Perry’s just now into the race, and he needs to pick up the phone and start dialing those people—and he is.”

Ultimately, Smith thinks that any disputes with Rove won’t affect a Perry candidacy. “The enthusiasm for Governor Perry in Texas will be sufficient that he’ll not only win Texas, but he’ll win it by a great margin, and he’ll have no shortage of money raised,” Smith says.

Ratcliffe agrees. “I suspect that if the smoke clears and Perry’s the Republican nominee, Rove will fall right in line helping him out.”

Until then, it may seem improbable to have Perry and Rove on the same political page. But if Perry does become the nominee, there’s a whole new chapter in the book of Texas political lore just waiting to be written.

Mark Hemingway is online editor at The Weekly Standard.

"You Want Your F---ing Camera Broken?"

Guy Benson - "You Want Your F---ing Camera Broken?"

Between Richard Trumka's special invitation to the president's "jobs speech," his despicable AFL-CIO 9/11 "tribute" essay, and the AFL-CIO affiliated ILWU's riot and hostage-taking in Washington State, we've been discussing organized labor quite a lot this week. Luckily for the embattled unions, a reporter from Portland, Oregon-based KGW-TV ventured over to the local ILWU headquarters to cover their side of the story. A friendly, staid, and eloquent employee greeted the news crew and calmly explained the situation. Just kidding. He went ballistic, screeching every profane slur in the book, and threatening to commit physical assault and destroy their equipment. *Extreme* content warning:

Happy Friday from a core Democratic Party constituency!

UPDATE - It has come to my attention that my headline is inaccurate. This delightful gentleman asked the cameraman if he wanted his equipment "broke." Townhall regrets the error.

Darryl Worley - Have You Forgotten?

Heaven - 9/11 Tribute - 10 years

Senate Approves $500 Billion Increase in Borrowing Authority

By Corey Boles

The U.S. Senate, in an unusual procedure, cleared the way Thursday for the U.S. to lift its borrowing authority by $500 billion to $15.19 trillion, enough to keep the support federal government borrowing through late January or early February.

The action came under an unusual legislative procedure spelled out under the August agreement to raise the U.S. debt ceiling and avoid a U.S. credit default. In a 52-45 vote, the Senate blocked an attempt by Republicans to slow down the process that will result in the $500 billion debt-ceiling increase.

The increase stems from a deal between Congress and the White House, finalized last month, that spells out how the borrowing limit would be increased by $500 billion. Under the process, lawmakers in both the House and Senate must vote on a resolution of disapproval against the increase in the borrowing limit. President Barack Obama would then have to veto the resolution of disapproval, and Congress would then vote to try and override that veto.

The complicated procedure, designed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), would allow an increase of the borrowing limit while allowing most Republicans to vote against such an increase.

There was a twist in this scenario Thursday evening, however. Democrats held firm, rejecting the resolution of disapproval, thereby speeding the process and increasing the borrowing limit immediately.

Only Sen. Ben Nelson (D., Neb.) broke from his party to vote with the Republicans in trying to move forward with the measure.

The next increase in the borrowing limit, likely in the first quarter of next year, will be dependent on the ability of a panel of 12 lawmakers to reach a deal that cuts at least $1.2 trillion from federal budget deficits over the next decade.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Message From Union War Monger Richard Trumpka...

Sept. 11, 2011: A Day to Commit to Activism

A Message from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

All of us will remember the horror and anguish we experienced 10 years ago. Whether we lost loved ones ourselves—family members, union brothers and sisters—or felt the shock of a society that lost nearly 3,000 people and was forever changed, we need no reminding.

Instead, I would like to reflect on doors that were opened on Sept. 11, 2001, and what has come of them in the 10 years since.

Working men and women rushed through doors to danger and became America’s everyday heroes. Firefighters, construction workers, nurses and EMTs—all kinds of professionals and volunteers—were there not just on the fateful day but some for weeks and months and even years after. And we swore we would never forget.

Doors opened within us to each other. We came together. We flew the flag. We comforted one another. In our grief, we found the best in ourselves.

What an overwhelming sense of unity we shared, all across our nation. And it was this unity that allowed us to begin healing and rebuilding. There is no time in my memory of a more proud example of what we can accomplish when we work together. Solidarity, the cornerstone of the union movement, flowed through all of us and carried us through.

But other doors opened, too—doors to hate, suspicion of “others” and self-centered greed. Our fear was twisted into something much more dangerous.

The unity that had helped us survive faded as divisiveness took root. I look around today in amazement at just how far apart our nation has become—the endless possibilities that came with our unity have all but vanished.

Just 10 years after 9/11, despite our vows, the public servants, construction workers and others who lost their lives or still suffer with the cancerous remnants of the Twin Towers haven’t just been forgotten. They’ve been vilified. The extremist small government posse has turned them into public enemy No. 1, as though teachers and firefighters, EMTs and nurses and union construction workers ruined America’s economy.

In state after state this year—with the heroism of 9/11 less than a decade behind us—politicians targeted the paychecks, benefits and basic rights of these workers in a rabid campaign to shift government support to tax breaks for the wealthy and already profitable corporations.

Wealthy CEOs, anti-government extremist front groups and frothing talk show hosts—from the Rush Limbaughs and Glenn Becks to the Koch brothers, Karl Rove’s American Crossroads group, Americans for Prosperity, the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks and the American Legislative Exchange Council—also pushed open the door to hate.

Make no mistake—setting workers against workers is a highly profitable endeavor. How many times during the vilest state attacks on public workers did we hear the question: “Other people don’t have pensions. Why should he?” Prompting that question required twisting the American psyche—which, by its founding nature, seeks to lift the common good. The appropriate question should have been, “Why doesn’t everybody have a pension?” followed by collective action for retirement security.

We’ve seen the costs of hatred in ill-thought wars, in shameful attacks on immigrants and our LGBT neighbors. We saw it in the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. We saw it in the racism that has found overt and covert expression since Barack Obama began his run for office—from outright declarations of people who said out loud they would never vote for a black man to the ridiculously persistent obsession with our president’s birth certificate. Regardless of his policies or priorities, President Obama is shadowed by the drumbeat of suspicion based on his “other”-ness. And those suspicions are fed and watered constantly by forces that were threatened by his message of “hope and change.”

We’ve seen the cost of greed in the recklessness of financial institutions that created the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression and the devastating jobs crisis that persists today.

But I remember that other door that opened on 9/11—the door to our better selves, to our understanding that we are one and our values require us to care for one another.

That’s what sent 347 firefighters to their death at the Twin Towers 10 years ago. It’s also what sent firefighters to stand with teachers in Wisconsin even though Gov. Scott Walker had exempted them from his attack on public employees. It’s what moves employed people now to demand good jobs for the 26 million Americans who are looking for work. It’s what gives us the courage to take on a crumbling economy and the politicians preaching austerity and ignoring our jobs crisis—to take them on and say, “We are America. We are better than this. And we are one.”

Brothers and sisters, friends, I hope you will join me in marking this solemn anniversary by committing to redouble your activism on behalf of America’s everyday working heroes. We will rise or fall together.