Saturday, November 26, 2011

With Apologies to Allan Sherman

Hello Faddah
Hello Mama
I'm Occupying
Camp Obama
I'm protesting
Wall Street grabbings
And trying to avoid the hobo stabbings

On my iPhone
With my last tweet
I down-twinkled
Jews on Wall Street
Please don't worry
About psychosis
'Cause my Guy Fawkes mask repels tuberculosis

We are saving
This whole nation
With some squad car
We went marching
in Zucotti
And got applauded by the Nazi Party

There's a raping
Every day now
Some are straight and
Some are gay now
Latest outbreak
In the food tent over by the Ben & Jerry's

Taaaake me home
Oh Dad and Mama
Taaaake me home
From Camp Obama
Don't leave me
Out in the plaza scent
Made by
The 99 percent

Cosign loans
Oh Dad and Mama
Don't make groans
Oh Dad and Mama
'Cause Van Jones
Assures me that it's cool
For me
To go to graduate schooooool

Just a minute
Dad and Mama
Got a message
From Obama
He doesn't like the
way we're livin'
So our student loans are hereby all forgiven

No more worries
No more bothers
All thanks to our
Founding fathers
Our dear leaders
won't let me fail
Dear Mom and Dad please disregard this email

157 Air Force Majors terminated without retirement benefits

November 26, 2011
Thomas Lifson

One of the best ways to destroy American military capabilities would be to convince career military personnel -- both officers and enlisted -- that their commitment to service will not be rewarded with the retirement benefits they have earned by their faithful obedience to orders, no matter the personal cost or risks they endure. The Obama administration seems to be ready to destroy the belief that service will be rewarded as faithfully as duty was performed, one step at a time.

The latest step in that direction is the announcement that 157 Air Force majors will be terminated prior to retirement, without the opportunity to complete the 20 full years of service necessary to qualify for retirement pay. Caroline May of the Daily Caller writes:

The Chapman University of Military Law and its associated AMVETS Legal Clinic are blowing the whistle on what they say is an injustice set to be perpetrated on 157 Air Force majors on the last day of November.

"The Obama administration has ordered massive reductions in forces, resulting in many officers who are near retirement being involuntarily separated without retirement or medical benefits," explained institute director Maj. Kyndra Rotunda.

The Department of Defense specifies that service members within six years of retirement normally would be retained and allowed to retire on time with benefits, unless extenuating circumstances exist such as disciplinary issues.

According to lawyers at Chapman and the AMVETS Legal Clinic, the Air Force has deviated from the six-year protection "without any legal authority."

The bond of trust between service members and the nation they serve, once broken, is difficult to rebuild. A nation unable to convince its young men and women to devote their careers to military service is left vulnerable to foreign military threat. Is that what we really want for America?

Hat tip: Bryan Demko

New Bill Would Extend Federal Employment Benefits to Homosexual Partners

Written by Dave Bohon
Friday, 25 November 2011 18:30

In a deep bow to the homosexual lobby, a small army of Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives has introduced legislation that would extend employee benefits to the same-sex partners of federal workers. Under H.R. 3485, homosexual partners of federal employees would be eligible for such benefits as retirement, life insurance, health insurance, workers compensation, and death benefits.

“The federal government must set an example as an equal opportunity employer,” the bill’s sponsor, lesbian Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) was quoted by The Hill as saying. “If we are to treat all federal employees fairly and recruit the best and the brightest to serve in government, we need this legislation.”

Predictably, among the bill’s co-sponsors were three other homosexual Democrats: David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Barney Frank (D-Mass.), and Jared Polis (D-Colo.). Also not surprisingly, Florida Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, added her signature to the bill’s sponsorship. The Hill reported that Ros-Lehtinen, “who has a transgendered daughter, has said recently that her views have evolved on gay and lesbian rights over the last several years. Earlier this year, Ros-Lehtinen supported a bill that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a law she voted for in 1996 under which the federal government defines marriage as between a man and a woman.”

“I am pleased to co-sponsor this legislation,” declared Ros-Lehtinen of Baldwin’s bill, “because we are a nation that prides itself on treating everyone as equals and this bill assures that we bring those same ideals to the regulations that guide federal benefits for domestic partners of federal employees. We have taken steps to gain equal rights for all, but much remains to be done. Passage of this legislation will be one step in the right direction.”

Despite such rhetoric, passage of the bill will be barred by the Republican majority in the House who oppose it, as well as by DOMA itself, which mandates that only marriage between a man and a woman can be recognized by the federal government.

But Democrats are hard at work to rescind DOMA, most recently with the introduction by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) of the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that would give federal legalization of homosexual marriage. As reported by The New American, in mid-November the Democrat-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee overwhelmingly approved Feinstein’s bill, historically marking “the first time a committee in either the Senate or the House has voted to repeal the 17-year-old [DOMA] law.” Without a majority in both houses of Congress, however, passage of Feinstein’s homosexual marriage bill will be postponed indefinitely.

Nonetheless, Democrats march gamely on with such efforts as Baldwin’s bill, which found its companion introduction in the Senate through sponsorship by two non-Democrats: Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), both leaders in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “This legislation is the next step to achieving equity for the gay community,” Lieberman intoned in a committee statement.” Lieberman explained that the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy was rescinded “because we want the best men and women America has to offer to defend our country. The same is true for federal employees: we want to attract the best men and women possible to serve in federal government. One way to do that is by offering competitive benefits to the family members of gay federal employees. This legislation makes good economic sense. It is sound policy. And it is the right thing to do.”

Likewise, Collins insisted that the bill represents “both fair policy and good business practice. The federal government must compete with the private sector when it comes to attracting the most qualified, skilled, and dedicated employees. Today, health, medical, and other benefits are a major component of any competitive employment package. Indeed, private sector employers are increasingly offering these kinds of benefits as standard fare. Among Fortune 500 companies, for example, domestic partner benefits are commonplace.”

According to the committee statement, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the cost of extending benefits to partners of homosexuals would be approximately $70 million per year through 2020. “Considered as a share of the federal government’s total budget for federal employees, this estimated cost would amount to only about two hundredths of a percent (0.0002),” explained the release.

According to The Hill, to counter the fraud to which the measure would be susceptible, a homosexual federal worker “would have to submit an affidavit attesting that he or she is in a same-sex domestic partner relationship. The affidavit must show they have a common residence (with some exceptions related to work or financial circumstances), that neither is married or in a domestic partner relationship with someone else, and that they generally share responsibility for a ‘significant measure of each other’s common welfare and financial obligations.’”

Something Not to be Thankful for: a Comprehensive List of Obama Tax Hikes

By Americans for Tax Reform (Scribe) on November 22nd, 2011

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has signed into law twenty-one new or higher taxes:

1. A 156 percent increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco: On February 4, 2009, just sixteen days into his Administration, Obama signed into law a 156 percent increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco, a hike of 61 cents per pack. The median income of smokers is just over $36,000 per year.

2. Obamacare Individual Mandate Excise Tax (takes effect in Jan 2014): Starting in 2014, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance must pay an income surtax according to the higher of the following

2014 2015 2016 +
1 Adult 1% AGI/$95 2% AGI/$325 2.5% AGI/$695
2 Adults 1% AGI/$190 2% AGI/$650 2.5% AGI/$1390
3+ Adults 1% AGI/$285 2% AGI/$975 2.5% AGI/$2085

Exemptions for religious objectors, undocumented immigrants, prisoners, those earning less than the poverty line, members of Indian tribes, and hardship cases (determined by HHS). Bill: PPACA; Page: 317-337

3. Obamacare Employer Mandate Tax (takes effect Jan. 2014): If an employer does not offer health coverage, and at least one employee qualifies for a health tax credit, the employer must pay an additional non-deductible tax of $2000 for all full-time employees. Applies to all employers with 50 or more employees. If any employee actually receives coverage through the exchange, the penalty on the employer for that employee rises to $3000. If the employer requires a waiting period to enroll in coverage of 30-60 days, there is a $400 tax per employee ($600 if the period is 60 days or longer). Bill: PPACA; Page: 345-346

Combined score of individual and employer mandate tax penalty: $65 billion/10 years

4. Obamacare Surtax on Investment Income (Tax hike of $123 billion/takes effect Jan. 2013): Creation of a new, 3.8 percent surtax on investment income earned in households making at least $250,000 ($200,000 single). This would result in the following top tax rates on investment income: Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 87-93

Capital Gains Dividends Other*
2011-2012 15% 15% 35%
2013+ (current law) 23.8% 43.4% 43.4%
2013+(Obama budget) 23.8% 23.8% 43.4%

*Other unearned income includes (for surtax purposes) gross income from interest, annuities, royalties, net rents, and passive income in partnerships and Subchapter-S corporations. It does not include municipal bond interest or life insurance proceeds, since those do not add to gross income. It does not include active trade or business income, fair market value sales of ownership in pass-through entities, or distributions from retirement plans. The 3.8% surtax does not apply to non-resident aliens.

5. Obamacare Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans (Tax hike of $32 bil/takes effect Jan. 2018): Starting in 2018, new 40 percent excise tax on “Cadillac” health insurance plans ($10,200 single/$27,500 family). Higher threshold ($11,500 single/$29,450 family) for early retirees and high-risk professions. CPI +1 percentage point indexed. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,941-1,956

6. Obamacare Hike in Medicare Payroll Tax (Tax hike of $86.8 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013): Current law and changes:

Current Law Obamacare Tax Hike
First $200,000 1.45%/1.45% 1.45%/1.45%
($250,000 Married) 2.9% self-employed 2.9% self-employed

All Remaining Wages 1.45%/1.45% 1.45%/2.35%
2.9% 3.8% self-employed

Bill: PPACA, Reconciliation Act; Page: 2000-2003; 87-93

7. Obamacare Medicine Cabinet Tax (Tax hike of $5 bil/took effect Jan. 2011): Americans no longer able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin). Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,957-1,959

8. Obamacare HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike (Tax hike of $1.4 bil/took effect Jan. 2011): Increases additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,959

9. Obamacare Flexible Spending Account Cap – aka “Special Needs Kids Tax” (Tax hike of $13 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013): Imposes cap on FSAs of $2500 (now unlimited). Indexed to inflation after 2013. There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children. There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education. Bill: PPACA; Page: 2,388-2,389

10. Obamacare Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers (Tax hike of $20 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013): Medical device manufacturers employ 360,000 people in 6000 plants across the country. This law imposes a new 2.3% excise tax. Exempts items retailing for <$100. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,980-1,986

11. Obamacare "Haircut" for Medical Itemized Deduction from 7.5% to 10% of AGI (Tax hike of $15.2 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013): Currently, those facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction for medical expenses to the extent that those expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI). The new provision imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI. Waived for 65+ taxpayers in 2013-2016 only. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,994-1,995

12. Obamacare Tax on Indoor Tanning Services (Tax hike of $2.7 billion/took effect July 2010): New 10 percent excise tax on Americans using indoor tanning salons. Bill: PPACA; Page: 2,397-2,399

13. Obamacare elimination of tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage in coordination with Medicare Part D (Tax hike of $4.5 bil/takes effect Jan. 2013) Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,994

14. Obamacare Blue Cross/Blue Shield Tax Hike (Tax hike of $0.4 bil/took effect Jan. 1 2010): The special tax deduction in current law for Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies would only be allowed if 85 percent or more of premium revenues are spent on clinical services. Bill: PPACA; Page: 2,004

15. Obamacare Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals (Min$/took effect immediately): $50,000 per hospital if they fail to meet new "community health assessment needs," "financial assistance," and "billing and collection" rules set by HHS. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,961-1,971

16. Obamacare Tax on Innovator Drug Companies (Tax hike of $22.2 bil/took effect Jan. 2010): $2.3 billion annual tax on the industry imposed relative to share of sales made that year. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,971-1,980

17. Obamacare Tax on Health Insurers (Tax hike of $60.1 bil/takes effect Jan. 2014): Annual tax on the industry imposed relative to health insurance premiums collected that year. Phases in gradually until 2018. Fully-imposed on firms with $50 million in profits. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,986-1,993

18. Obamacare $500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives (Tax hike of $0.6 bil/takes effect Jan 2013). Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,995-2,000

19. Obamacare Employer Reporting of Insurance on W-2 ($min/takes effect Jan. 2012): Preamble to taxing health benefits on individual tax returns. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,957

20. Obamacare “Black liquor” tax hike (Tax hike of $23.6 billion/took effect immediately). This is a tax increase on a type of bio-fuel. Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 105

21. Obamacare Codification of the “economic substance doctrine”
(Tax hike of $4.5 billion/took effect immediately). This provision allows the IRS to disallow completely-legal tax deductions and other legal tax-minimizing plans just because the IRS deems that the action lacks “substance” and is merely intended to reduce taxes owed. Bill: Reconciliation Act; Page: 108-113

Obama Fails George Gilder's 'Israel Test'

Gilder sees a direct link from attitudes toward Israel, attitudes toward Jewish excellence, and attitudes toward free enterprise itself.

By Ken Blackwell
November 25, 2011

In these days of Occupy Wall Street demonstrations across the U.S., it’s important to see what motivates Obama administration policies here and abroad. Mr. Obama, as a candidate, had to bat away accusations that he was close, too close, to Rashid Khalidi, a radical Palestinian Arab intellectual. Candidate Obama then soothed worried friends of Israel, by minimizing his intellectual fealty to Khalidi, saying merely that “[Khalidi provides] consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases” on matters related to the Arab-Israeli conflict. How humble. How becomingly modest.

Rashid Khalidi is a professor at Columbia University, Mr. Obama’s alma mater. Khalidi holds the Edward Said Chair in Modern Arab Studies at that distinguished Ivy League school. The late Edward Said (sigh-EED) gained respect among left-leaning intellectuals for his numerous writings on Orientalism, the notion that Western colonial powers viewed Arabs, Asians, Africans and Latin Americans as lesser peoples, as “others.” But, Said was most famous—or infamous—for some direct action. He was photographed throwing stones at Israeli forces as they departed South Lebanon in 2000. Harmless, Said claimed, he was only practicing with his son. But deadly stoning was the weapon of choice for the intifadas engineered by Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas against Israeli soldiers. Arafat and Abbas knew that teenage boys throwing stones with lethal accuracy would play well in the Western media, including especially in the pro-PLO precincts of CNN.

At home, the Occupy Wall Street crowd quickly descended to anti-Semitism. They are protesting income inequality, they say, but their cry of 99% against the 1% is a veiled reference to American Jews, who constitute less than 2% of the U.S. population. More than a few anti-Semitic signs and demonstrators have been drawn to Zuccotti Park, in Lower Manhattan.

In Israel, author George Gilder points out, Arabs were wealthier on the West Bank of the Jordan River and in the Gaza Strip than any Arabs in the world. This, in territories administered by Jews that had no oil. From 1967, when Israel won the Six-Day War against four Arab enemies, until 1991, when Arafat instigated the first of his intifadas (stone-throwing riots by youths) and initiated suicide bombings as a terror tactic, Arabs working with the Israelis prospered and lived healthier longer lives.

Despite vast oil revenues in much of the Arab world, Gilder notes in his important book, The Israel Test, the Arab peoples who live in these countries are poor. We have only to contrast the vast wealth amassed by the late and unlamented Muammar Gaddafi (estimated at $200 billion) with the wretched state of the average Libyan to see this. This was equally true of Iraq. The Saudi people, while materially better off than many Arabs, nonetheless are denied religious and civil rights. Arab rulers keep their peoples at bay by blaming all their troubles on the Jews, on Israel.

Gilder sees a direct link from attitudes toward Israel, attitudes toward Jewish excellence, and attitudes toward free enterprise itself. Occupy Wall Street today is protesting against income inequality. They have been embraced by President Obama, whose stated goal is to “spread the wealth around.” Asked by an interviewer if he would seek tax increases on the wealthy even if that meant lower tax revenues for the government, Mr. Obama said he would, for the sake of “fairness.”

From each according to his abilities to each according to his need: that’s the standard Marxist formulation. Left unsaid is that it is Mr. Obama and his administration that decide whose needs are met and how much to take from those with abilities.

Gilder challenges us to ask ourselves what we think about excellence—that of Jewish achievers and all those others who excel. Do we resent their achievement? Do we attribute it to some evil conspiracy? Do we want to drag them down? Or do we want to emulate them, study, work hard, invent, create, and share our own ideas?

Gilder writes: “With wealth seen as stolen from the exploited poor, the poor in turn [are given] a license to dispossess and kill their oppressors and to disrupt capitalist economies. This is the foul message of Franz Fanon, Hamas, al-Qaida, Hezbollah, and the academic coteries of Chomsky, Zinn, and a thousand Marxist myrmidons across the campuses of the world. But no capitalist system can sustain prosperity amid constant violence. The idea that suicide bombing is a tolerable policy that can be extenuated by alleged grievances is preposterous. It is the violence that makes necessary the police measures that render economic progress impossible, particularly for the groups associated with the attacks. By justifying violent attacks on a civilized democracy -- and then condemning the necessary retaliatory defense -- leftists would allow no solution but tyranny.”

Gilder’s “Israel Test” is not one our Ivy Leaguer president can pass. Of course, Mr. Obama does not support terrorism. But he is giving $500 million this year to the PLO—which has simply deconstructed and re-defined its support for suicide bombers and stone throwers. The president simply shares the worldview of the academy—in which Israel is much to blame for “Mideast turmoil” as her attackers are. He believes that fairness requires redistribution of what he terms “the nation’s wealth.” He sees our Judeo-Christian heritage not as the bedrock of American Exceptionalism, but as merely one part of the broad tapestry of American life.

Barack Obama’s intellectual world is one in which Fanon, Chomsky, Zinn, and those neo-Marxist thinkers hold sway. Only free societies can create enough surplus wealth to support such dissident scholars and their “myrmidons” in the Occupy Wall Street Movement in their midst. But such societies—in the U.S. and Canada, in Western Europe and in Israel--will not survive if they do not understand and protect the very foundations of their own freedom.

Read more "Right Views, Right Now"

Terrorist Bill Ayers to Teach on Radical Theory at #Occupy Harrisburg

Posted by Jim Hoft on Friday, November 25, 2011, 5:51 PM

On October 20th, 2011 the Obama-endorsed Occupy Chicago activists invited unrepentant domestic terrorist turned University of Illinois professor, Bill Ayers, to lead a “teach-in” on the virtues of confrontational tactics. The teaching session was dubbed “non-violent disobedience” in the anti-capitalist revolution.

Bill Ayers told the young leftists about how he met with the North Vietnamese to discuss fomenting revolution in America. The meeting was held on the street in downtown Chicago. The young activists lapped it up.

The video was released tonight by the EAG Foundation:

Next month the unrepentant domestic terrorist will speak at Occupy Harrisburg and lead a teach-in.
FOX 43 reported:

Occupy Harrisburg invited Ayers to lead a teach in and discussion at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore on December 14th. He is also expected to visit the ongoing Occupation of the State Capitol steps. Ayers, a 1960s radical, was a founding member of the Weather Underground in the 1960s and has admitted helping to bomb official sites, including the U.S Capitol and the Pentagon. In the years since he has earned a PhD and is a former university professor.

U.S. Declares Cold War With China

by Robert Maginnis

Last week, President Barack Obama was in Asia to declare a cold war with China. Hopefully the U.S.-China cold war won’t be like the one fought with the Soviet Union that brought the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation and cost trillions of dollars over 60 years.

The crux of the conflict is China’s attempt to assert its sovereignty over the South China Sea, a resource-rich conduit for roughly $5 trillion in annual global trade, of which $1.2 trillion is American, which U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared last year a matter of “national interest.”

Beijing’s assertive behavior in the South China Sea precipitated calls from Asian allies for the U.S. to deepen its involvement to be a strong counterweight. Those calls led to the formulation of Obama’s new Asia strategy, which administration officials admit changes America’s “military posture toward China” into something like the former East-West cold war. The first shots of the new war were heard last week.

President Obama, while traveling in Asia, fired the first rounds of the cold war when he declared the U.S. is a “Pacific nation,” and we intend to play "a larger and long-term role in shaping this region and its future.”

“I have directed my national security team to make our presence and missions in the Asia Pacific a top priority,” Obama said. The region “is absolutely vital not only for our economy but also for our national security,” and then the President and his representatives unveiled an avalanche of cold war-like initiatives intended to counter China’s influence.

The U.S. will increase its military presence in Asia. Obama announced an agreement to permanently station 2,500 Marines in Australia, and to increase combat aircraft such as B-52 bombers and aircraft carriers traveling to Australia. This compliments 28,000 troops already stationed in South Korea, and 50,000 in Japan.

Ally Singapore promised to provide basing for U.S. littoral combat ships, and Vietnam invited the U.S. Navy to use the Cam Ranh Bay port for provisioning and repairs.

Last Friday, Obama announced plans to supply 24 refurbished F-16C/D fighter aircraft to Indonesia, the administration restated its arms commitment to China-rival Taiwan, and the administration is considering offering the Philippines a second destroyer. Also last week, Clinton was in Manila to mark the 60th anniversary of the U.S.-Philippine Mutual Defense Treaty, to discuss regional issues, and then she traveled to Thailand to bolster that relationship.

After Clinton’s meeting with Philippine officials, Albert del Rosario, the Philippines’ foreign minister, issued a statement urging the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to play a more decisive role in the South China Sea crisis. Many ASEAN partners have already promised to increase their naval spending, adding patrol craft and submarines, according to the Wall Street Journal.

On the economic front, Obama announced an Asia Pacific free trade deal, called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, that excludes Beijing. He also used the trip as an opportunity to admonish the Chinese to “play by the rules” and repeatedly criticized Beijing for undervaluing their currency, which makes American goods more expensive.

On the diplomatic front, Obama attended the East Asia Summit (EAS) in Bali, Indonesia—the first time an American president has attended the annual event. Obama wants the EAS to serve as a decision-making body for policy in the region.

Consider Beijing’s behavior that precipitated these cold war initiatives and how Obama’s Asia strategy might play out.

First, China’s actions and rhetoric regarding the South China Sea are warlike. It claims “indisputable” sovereignty over 90% of the sea in order to gain maximum access to about a tenth of the world’s commercial seafood and oil and gas reserves that could rival those of Kuwait. It threatens international oil firms that sign deals with South China Sea countries and Chinese warships routinely harass ships in contested waters.

China’s semi-official Global Times wrote, “If these countries don’t want to change their ways with China, they will need to prepare for the sound of cannons.” The Times was referring to the 750 Spratley Islands in the South China Sea, which are contested by Asian states such as Vietnam.

China’s aggressive behavior and threatening rhetoric are complemented by massive militarization. Beijing is projecting military power far from its shores with a rapidly growing, modern blue-water navy, long-range aircraft with refueling capabilities, a global satellite network, anti-access ballistic missiles (read aircraft carrier killers) and its first aircraft carrier. These instruments of war provide Beijing an expeditionary capability that could lead to a shooting war.

The U.S. established a cold war-like hotline between China’s People's Liberation Army and the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff in anticipation of military tensions. Vice Admiral Scott Swift, the new commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet that patrols the South China Sea, hopes the hotline will prevent inevitable “brushups” from triggering “tactical miscalculations.”

Second, China’s trade practices are undercutting American and regional allies’ economic influence. Obama said, “When it comes to their economic practices, there are a range of things [the Chinese] have done that disadvantage not just the U.S. but a whole host of their trading partners.” Obama expressed widespread frustration at an Asian news conference when he said, “The United States and other countries … feel that enough is enough.”

Last week, Obama met with Chinese President Hu Jintao to express U.S. concerns on economic issues including currency. China’s currency, the yuan, which is pegged to the U.S. dollar, makes its exports cheaper than those made in America. But China argues it has allowed the yuan to appreciate 6.7% since 2010, and the U.S. trade deficit and unemployment problems are not caused by the Chinese currency’s exchange rate.

Deng Yuwen, who writes for the China Daily, argues, “The major causes of Sino-U.S. trade imbalance are the differences in the two countries' investment and trade structure, savings ratio, consumption rate and division of industrial labor, and the unreasonable international currency system.”

Unfortunately, a U.S.-China trade war might become a component of the cold war if our differences are not quickly resolved. That would hurt China by transferring the import market to other economies. China might then respond by selling U.S. Treasuries, which could be a fatal blow to the dollar’s credit and do nothing for America’s unemployment problem.

Finally, China’s aggressive behavior is forcing Asian countries into a new political paradigm. They are coalescing around regional organizations such as ASEAN and inviting the U.S. to be a counterbalance to China. This is reminiscent of the formation of NATO in 1949 just as the Cold War with Russia started.

NATO started as a political association that galvanized into a military structure with the advent of the Korean War. Lord Ismay, the first NATO secretary general, famously stated the organization’s goal as “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” Perhaps Asia’s “NATO” will embrace a similar goal that keeps the Chinese down and the Americans in the region as a security blanket for decades to come.

Thomas Donilon, Obama’s national security adviser, argued the U.S. needs to “rebalance” its strategic emphasis, from Mideast combat theaters toward Asia, where he contends Washington has put too few resources in recent years. That may be true, but the administration had better be careful in its enthusiasm to counter China’s emergent power and not abandon shooting wars in the Mideast just to join other more complex, expansive and incredibly expensive wars in Asia.

Robert Maginnis is a retired Army lieutenant colonel, and a national security and foreign affairs analyst for radio and television.

How to Stay Safe in an Urban Environment

From ATMs to nighttime events, Vice President of Intelligence & former special agent Fred Burton discusses simple things you can do to stay safe in an urban environment.

EMPs: The Next Great Threat to America

Jackson Marsteller
November 23, 2011 at 1:50 pm

This week at The Republican National Security Debate, hosted on CNN by The Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute, an electromagnetic pulse attack (EMP) was mentioned as one of the most important national security issues that is not discussed often. This is true. Despite the gravity of the threat, the United States remains unprotected from the effects of an EMP.

An EMP is a high-intensity burst of electromagnetic energy caused by a rapid acceleration of charged particles. The EMP would disrupt all electronic devices within its zone of impact. It would burn circuits and immobilize electronic components and systems. It addition, the EMP would flow through electricity transmission lines and would damage distribution centers and power lines.

Detonating a singular nuclear weapon at a high altitude can create an EMP large enough to envelop the entire continental United States. The nuclear weapon could be delivered by a long-range ballistic missile from Iran, China, Russia, or North Korea. Even a short-range nuclear-tipped missile launched off of the U.S. shore could cause a devastating EMP effect.

But not all causes of an EMP are man-made, as it can also be caused by a large solar flare called the Carrington effect. The last time such an event happened on a larger scale, it shocked telegraph operators unconscious and their machines caught on fire as the electromagnetic forces from the flare surged through the lines.

The effects of an EMP on today’s society would be even more devastating. According to Heritage’s James Carafano, “communications would collapse, transportation would halt, and electrical power would simply be nonexistent. Not even a global humanitarian effort would be enough to keep hundreds of millions of Americans from death by starvation, exposure, or lack of medicine.”

There are some simple steps that can be taken to prevent against the crippling effects of an EMP attack. First, the U.S. needs to build and adequately fund a robust missile defense system composed of Aegis ballistic missile capable ships, and Aegis Ashore, the land-based ballistic missile component. Second, both the public and private sectors should harden vital infrastructure to make it more resilient and resistant to the EMP—to hedge against an attack or prepare for a solar flare. Third, the U.S. should develop a national plan to respond to EMP emergencies. This would involve educating federal, state, and local officials along with the public about the risks and response options.

Jackson Marsteller is a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. Click here for more information on interning at Heritage.

Ode to the Welfare State, 1949 [Papa B]

Papa B:

U.S. Seals Court Records Of Border Patrol’s Murder

Last Updated: Wed, 11/23/2011 - 3:51pm

The Obama Administration has abruptly sealed court records containing alarming details of how Mexican drug smugglers murdered a U.S. Border patrol agent with a gun connected to a failed federal experiment that allowed firearms to be smuggled into Mexico.

This means information will now be kept from the public as well as the media. Could this be a cover-up on the part of the “most transparent” administration in history? After all, the rifle used to kill the federal agent (Brian Terry) last December in Arizona’s Peck Canyon was part of the now infamous Operation Fast and Furious. Conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the disastrous scheme allowed guns to be smuggled into Mexico so they could eventually be traced to drug cartels.

Instead, federal law enforcement officers lost track of more than 1,000 guns which have been used in numerous crimes. In Terry’s case, five illegal immigrants armed with at least two semi-automatic assault rifles were hunting for U.S. Border Patrol agents near a desert watering hole just north of the Arizona-Mexico border when a firefight erupted and Terry got hit.

We know this only because Washington D.C.’s conservative newspaper got ahold of the court documents before the government suddenly made them off limits. The now-sealed federal grand jury indictment tells the frightening story of how Terry was gunned down by Mexican drug smugglers patrolling the rugged desert with the intent to “intentionally and forcibly assault” Border Patrol agents.

You can see why the administration wants to keep this information from the public and the media, considering the smugglers were essentially armed by the U.S. government. Truth is, no one will know the reason for the confiscation of public court records in this case because the judge’s decision to seal it was also sealed, according to the news story. That means the public or media won’t have access to any new or old evidence, filings, rulings or arguments.

A number of high-ranking Border Patrol officials are questioning how the case is being handled. For instance, they wonder why the defendant (Manuel Osorio-Arellanes) hasn’t been tried even though it’s been almost a year since Terry’s murder. They also have concerns about the lack of transparency in the investigation, not to mention the recent sealing of the court case.

Osorio-Arellanes is charged with second-degree murder. The four other drug smugglers fled the scene and their names were blacked out in the indictment. In 2006 Osorio-Arellanes had been convicted in Phoenix of felony aggravated assault and in 2010 he was twice detained for being in the U.S. illegally.

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this month to address the flawed gun-tracking program, Attorney General Eric Holder said it’s not fair to assume that mistakes in Operation Fast and Furious led to Terry’s death. Holder also expressed regret to the federal agent’s family, saying that he can only imagine their pain.

The 10 Big Stories You Probably Missed Last Week

Eric Platt | Nov. 26, 2011, 6:09 AM

Don't blame yourself if you missed a few key things this week. Even with one eye on CNBC and the other on your Bloomberg terminal, it's likely you'd only remember the awkward conversations over the Thanksgiving dinner table.

Even as markets closed Thursday and took a half day on Friday, there was no shortage of news. Occupy Wall Street once again took focus as the country reacted to police pepper-spraying students on the University of California Davis campus.

The frenzy of Black Friday also took center stage, as people camped out in front of Best Buy, fought in Walmart and tried to get a deal on their holiday shopping.

But that wasn't all that happened.

Ratings agencies announce a slew of downgrades

Ratings agencies Fitch, Moody's and Standard & Poor's announced a slew of downgrades this week to sovereign nations. Hungary's credit was cut to junk by Moody's as the country looks for an IMF bailout in the next year. Belgium saw its debt lowered to AA by S&P as its economy slows. Fitch lowered a number of Portuguese banks after dropping the nation's rating. And to come, S&P announced it might lower Japan's credit rating.

Germany's bond sale disappoints

A sovereign debt sale issued by Germany disappointed when the country only raised €3.64 billion, off from initial targets of €6 billion, representing the weakest demand for a German auction since the euro was launched in January 1999. Germany's central bank had to retain 39% of the issue. At the same time, the Deutsche Bundesbank lowered growth targets for the country to 0.5% to 1% for 2012, from 1.8% earlier this year.

The U.K. narrows its budget deficit

Amid strong austerity measures in the island nation, the United Kingdom lowered its budget deficit as net outlays, excluding that to banks, from the government fell 15% to 6.5 billion pounds. The U.K. fiscal deficit will likely top $134 billion pounds through March, the country's central bank estimates. Economists have argued that cuts are stifling growth, which may now only hit 1% for this year.

HSBC flash Chinese PMI falls to 32 month low

HSBC flash Chinese PMI fell to a not-so-rosy 48.0, down from 51.1 in October. A reading below 50 indicates a contraction in production. That was the lowest number in 32 months, as manufacturer worries of a Chinese slow-down heightened. HSBC's output sub-index also fell to a two and a half year low of 46.7, while new orders suffered the largest decline in one and a half years.

Japanese consumer prices fall for first time in four months

Japanese consumer prices fell 0.1% in October, its first drop in four months. Declining global demand, even against resurgent reconstruction spending, packed a blow to the country. The drop, however, was in line with economist expectations. Household spending has dropped each month this year, and inflation measured in Tokyo fell 0.5% in November, worrying economists that the country could be heading towards another lost decade. At the same time, October exports dropped 3.7%.

AT&T's merger with T-Mobile falls further in doubt

Mobile giant AT&T is planning on taking a $4 billion charge off as it faces the possibility that its merger with T-Mobile will not be approved. The break off fees are made up of $1 billion in spectrum rights and $3 billion in a payment if the $39 billion take over does not close. The company also withdrew its application to the FCC in a bid to prevent proprietary data releases to the public.

Deutsche Bank may sell asset management division

Deutsche Bank may sell its global asset management division after recent regulatory changes and costs have increased pressures on the unit. In a statement that it was conducting a review of the unit, the bank said all options were being considered. Revenue in Deutsche Bank's asset and wealth management corporate division declined 7% year-on-year to €876 million during the third quarter.

Merck settles Vioxx case for nearly $1 billion

In a settlement with the Department of Justice, Merck, Sharpe & Dohme agreed to pay $950 million to settle criminal charges relating to its marketing of Vioxx. As part of the agreement, Merck plead guilty to misdemeanor criminal charges. The company had faced intense criticism when it was reported that it knew of heightened risks of heart attack and stroke in patients, but did not disclose it. Before Vioxx was pulled from the market, it had annual sales of $2.5 billion, representing one of Merck's strongest revenue streams.

Three Olympus board members resign

Three board members have resigned from Olympus, as the electronic maker faces a coming deadline to produce accounts for the period it hid losses. Ousted president, Michael Woodford, will work with the company in an attempt to avoid having its stock delisted. Woodford was fired after he exposed extraordinary fees totaling $687 million to advisors on deals.

Media Ignores Tony Rezko Sentencing

Rezko Sentenced to 10½ Years, Media Ignore It And/Or His Ties to Obama
November 25, 2011 - 10:39 am - by Ed Driscol

At Newsbusters, Noel Sheppard writes, “Depending on which news outlet you rely on for current events, you may not have heard that convicted Chicago real estate developer Tony Rezko was sentenced to 10½ years in prison Tuesday:

From what I can tell, this was the best print report on this matter which was nicely headlined “Former Obama Fundraiser Rezko Gets 10-year Sentence.”

Rival the Associated Press went far easier on Obama in its piece entitled “Blago Ally Rezko Gets 10½ Years, Minus Time Served” which began, “A former top fundraiser for Rod Blagojevich was sentenced Tuesday to 10½ years in prison for pressuring businesses for millions in kickbacks, an unusually stiff penalty that could portend a tough day for the former governor when he is sentenced for his own corruption convictions.”

Buried way down in the article: “Rezko also was a political fundraiser for Obama during his campaigns for Illinois senator, though not for his presidential campaign. Obama has not been accused of wrongdoing in the case, but his relationship with Rezko became an issue during the 2008 election.”

That’s all the AP thought was necessary to share with readers about the President’s dealings with this criminal years ago.

But that’s better than most of the newspapers outside of Chicago. The New York Times hasn’t published a word about this. Ditto most of the nation’s major papers.

When it comes to bad news concerning Mr. Obama, the Gray Lady will publish no news before its time.

United Nations Nuclear Bank

November 24, 2011 By T Kelly

The media hailed Warren Buffett last December for donating $50 million dollars toward a United Nations nuclear bank with control over uranium enrichment. The intent is control over nuclear weapons and nuclear power by the elites who are the true forces behind the UN.

The UN nuclear bank is will be under the authority of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is NOT independent; it was created through a UN treaty and answers to the UN and the UN Security Council. The fully funded UN nuclear bank does not require nations to stop uranium enrichment, which was the original plan; however, the final terms have not been set. The fuel bank will sell enriched uranium for power plants to countries in “good standing“. Therefore, only countries who kow-tow to the UN and IAEA will be provided with enriched uranium.

The United Nations is a supranational entity that answers to no one. After WWII, the UN was sold to the public as an voluntary collection of nations committed to peace and ending war. The UN pretends to vote on issues democratically, but its true goal is a totalitarian world government ruled by the elites at the top. They are happy to bully countries and go to war over resources, as evidenced by the UN resolution last week to attack Libya. They claim that war is necessary for peace.

The UN nuclear bank will consolidate power under the UN for nuclear energy and weaponry, which is another piece of UN Agenda 21, the blueprint for total control and depopulation.

Four things are needed to take political control over a population (the UN has set its sights on the entire world):

1. Money
2. An army
3. Control over the media
4. Control over education

If you have enough money and an army, then control over the media and education are useful but not essential.

Warren Buffet proposed the UN nuclear bank and made a self-serving “donation” of $50 million while demanding matching funds of $100 million from governments. Obama provided $50 million in US taxpayer money and the EU, UAE, Kuwait and Norway made up the rest. At $150 million, world domination is astonishingly cheap! Buffett, a proponent of depopulation, was celebrated as a hero in the media because most people are ignorant about the UN’s true goals.

Warren Buffett is in the energy utility business and owns MidAmerican Energy; his motivation for “donating” to the UN nuclear bank could benefit him later with regard to a UN monopoly over nuclear power for electricity.

Taxpayers will ultimately fund the UN nuclear bank that is in opposition to public interest and freedom. This trick is accomplished through foundations convincing governments to regulate or take action on an issue and then passing the cost on to taxpayers (click here to find out how individuals create public policy that has been used for depopulation).

Buffett proposed the UN nuclear bank through a foundation that he provides funding, called the ‘Nuclear Threat Initiative‘ (NTI). Ted Turner, known for supporting depopulation, is co-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative and Sam Nunn, a former US Senator, is the other co-chair of NTI.

Nunn is the front man working with Cold-War hawks Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State, George Schulz, former Defense Secretary and William Perry, former Secretary of State in the ‘Nuclear Security Project‘ to dismantle nuclear weapons. This project is supported by Zbigniew Brzezinski, Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell and many others.

Nunn, Kissinger, Schulz and Perry are aggressively pushing the dismantling of nuclear weapons through the US-Russia-UN START Treaty and the UN Non-Proliferation Treaty. The objective of these types of treaties, according to Department of State Publication 7277, is to disarm states to a “point where no state would have the military power to challenge the strengthened UN Peace Force….”

Buffett has provided funding for the Nuclear Security Project, too. Buffett said that an atomic attack on the US by mid-century is a “virtual certainty”. In my opinion, with psychopaths like Buffett, Turner and Kissinger (a Rockefeller lieutenant) at the helm, this is practically unavoidable.

As sovereign countries dismantle their nuclear weapons under UN treaties, the UN is simultaneously building its nuclear arsenal by way of the nuclear bank.

Additionally, the UN is locking in another uranium enrichment monopoly over nuclear power for electricity, which will also increase “interdependency of nations.”

Michael Shaw, UN Agenda 21 expert and president of, says:

The UN has a plethora of schemes to advance the goal of world government. The most important of these is Agenda 21 Sustainable Development. This is the global to local movement designed under the cover of green to transform our systems of government and economics. Every county in America has adopted its Sustainable plan moving us all closer to the one world order where your unalienable rights are no longer politically recognized.

While there is little the citizen can do to halt the UN’s control of uranium, the typical American can do much toward exposing the local application of the UN’s march under the local Agenda 21 protocol. In particular, Americans need to understand city alliances with the International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). ICLEI is an NGO, accredited by the United Nations for the purpose of implementing Agenda 21 at the local level. Such contracts have been entered into by over 600 American cities. This is treasonous.

In short, the Sustainable objective is the abolition of private property, education for global citizenship, and the use of technology to control human action. As ordinary people become aware of Agenda 21 hope rises that the Republic can be reestablished and that then the US can sever its ties with the United Nations and end the globalists’ one world ambition.

For full analysis of Agenda 21 Sustainable Development visit


Unable to win fair and square, Big Labor pushes 'ambush elections'

By: Examiner Editorial
11/22/11 8:05 PM

Leaders of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) last week officially endorsed President Obama for re-election in 2012. Endorsing a presidential candidate 11 months before the general election may seem a bit premature, but it's not even the record for the earliest endorsements so far in this cycle. The National Education Association (NEA) endorsed Obama in July, 14 months before the voting. While these early endorsements highlight the fact that Big Labor's leaders are little more than cheerleaders (and paymasters) for the Democratic Party, at least voters will have plenty of time between now and next November to weigh all the facts, policy positions and records of the parties' two eventual nominees.

But what if they didn't? What if unions not only got to endorse candidates, but also schedule election day at a time of their choosing? What if they could also control what the opposing party could say during that election? Would that be fair? Well, it's obviously a moot point in elections for public office, but President Obama thinks it would be just dandy in union votes. His appointees on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) promise to make a final decision November 30th on their proposed new regulations that would allow unions to force organizing elections in non-union workplaces in as little as 10 days.

Currently, there is about a five-week window between when union organizers petition the NLRB to conduct a secret-ballot election, and when the vote actually happens. That time between announcement and vote allows both sides abundant opportunities to make their case, so workers can cast informed ballots on whether to form a union. But the problem for Big Labor is that informed workers are increasingly choosing to keep their freedom to work without paying union dues. Union membership peaked at 26 percent of the work force in 1953. Today, only 9.6 percent of workers are union members. In the private sector, less than 7 percent of workers are unionized.

The NLRB regulation to be adopted next Wednesday is designed to reverse that trend. Union organizers would be empowered to force hurry-up, or

"ambush," elections in less than two weeks. At best, this compressed schedule would significantly reduce the time business owners and managers have to make their case against unionization.

Worse, in typical Obama fashion, the rule of law is being tossed out the window to facilitate this latest union power grab. The board received more than 65,000 public comments when it published the first version of this proposal in June. Federal law requires that the board explain how it will take account of such comments, then publish a proposed final version that incorporates the response. No such explanation has been offered, yet the board plans to hold a final vote on the main provisions of the proposal anyway -- an apparent violation of the federal Administrative Procedures Act. Coincidentally, the recess-appointment by Obama of former SEIU lawyer Craig Becker to the board expires Dec. 31. Without Becker, the NLRB would lack the quorum necessary to vote on anything, much less a major change in union election rules. Some might conclude that Obama's NLRB is flouting the law merely to rush enactment of yet another favor for its Big Labor allies.

Congress raids Obama's health care fund

Money slated for health law gets detoured
Lawmakers tap fund three times within a year

By Paige Winfield Cunningham
-The Washington Times
Thursday, November 24, 2011

In cash-strapped Washington, President Obama’s $1 trillion health care law is presenting a tempting target for lawmakers seeking funds for other projects, as Congress last week raided the health care piggy bank for the third time in less than a year.

Congress last week axed a part of Democrats’ signature domestic achievement to find $11 billion to cover the cost of repealing a withholding tax that otherwise would have hit government contractors in 2013. Mr. Obama signed that bill into law on Monday.

The withholding bill follows two other efforts — one in December and another in April — that reworked the health care law to squeeze savings for other priorities. The December bill funded higher payments for doctors who treat Medicare patients, and the April legislation repealed a paperwork provision in the original health care law that businesses said would be onerous.

All told, Congress and the president have tapped some $50 billion earmarked to pay for benefits and programs in the health care overhaul in future years to fund more-immediate spending needs.

Both earlier efforts dealt with health care issues, but the bill Mr. Obama signed Monday marks the first time that the massive 2010 law has been tapped to fund something completely unrelated.

“They don’t want to open it up. They’re getting forced to open it up now and then, but to open it up for budgetary reasons, I think the pressures are pretty real,” said former Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Holtz-Eakin, who said it’s easier to cut future benefits than it is to cut programs that are already paying out.

Most of the health care law’s benefits won’t begin paying out for several years, and Mr. Holtz-Eakin said he expects legislators to revisit the law again before then.

The failure of the bipartisan supercommittee this week to come up with a plan to shrink the federal deficit and find spending cuts and revenues is likely to increase the pressure to raid the health care program for funds.

Rising cap

In December and April, lawmakers adjusted the formula that calculated how much of a subsidy would be given initially to buy health insurance through the new exchanges. Under the original law, many Americans would receive a subsidy larger than their income reflected, but Congress capped the amount that they would have to repay.

In December, Congress raised the repayment cap — effectively lowering the government’s payout tab — and used the savings to cover higher payments to Medicare doctors. In April, Congress raised the cap again, this time retargeting the money to cover the costs of repealing the so-called 1099 reporting requirement that small businesses said was far too burdensome.

Dipping into the Affordable Care Act to fund other projects angers some supporters of the law, including Igor Volsky, with the Center for American Progress, though Mr. Volsky said the raids have been relatively small in the scope of the whole law.

“I don’t think lawmakers should be taking money out of the law, particularly since the law hasn’t been implemented,” he said. “We don’t know how things are going to shake out. Give it a chance to work; maybe then you can go back in and make some changes.”

New formula

The rare bipartisan agreement last week to repeal the plan to withhold 3 percent of payments from government contractors would cost the government $11 billion — money that had to come from somewhere.

Mr. Obama and House Republicans eyed a formula in the health care law known as modified adjusted gross income, saying it was out of kilter with how eligibility is calculated in other federal programs for low-income earners, such as food stamps and housing assistance.

Under the old formula for modified adjusted gross income, a couple with an annual income of $64,000 would be able to qualify for Medicaid because not all Social Security benefits were counted as income. That will change under the revised formula, meaning that fewer people will qualify for Medicaid, exchange subsidies and the program for the states subsidizing health insurance for children.

Changing the formula doesn’t affect anyone now because it does not kick in until 2014.

But the modification means that, in time, 500,000 to 1 million fewer Americans will be able to join Medicaid each year beginning in 2014. Most of those no longer eligible instead could qualify for subsidies on the exchanges, according to the Congressional Budget Office. In turn, some people would lose their eligibility for subsidies and be bumped off the exchanges.

Political magnet

In floor debates, Democrats argued that middle-class Americans also need help paying for insurance, while Republicans said the government should focus its resources on the poor. Rep. Diane Black, Tennessee Republican and sponsor of modified adjusted gross income, called the formula an “unintended consequence” of the Affordable Care Act.

“This is unacceptable, and I very strongly believe that it is our duty to ensure that the very scarce Medicaid resources will be there for the most in need,” Mrs. Black said.

Rep. Joseph Crowley, New York Democrat, countered that the original income rule was not a glitch.

“It was written into the law deliberately, and anyone who actually read the bill would have known that,” he said. “This language was deliberately put into the health care law to expand affordable health insurance and will particularly help early retirees between the ages of 62 and 64, as well as Americans on disability.”

He led Democrats in opposing the revision, though the bill passed by a vote of 262-157. While 27 Democrats joined Republicans in voting for the change, all 157 “no” votes came from Democrats.

The formula change eventually was rolled into a broader bill that included the withholding tax repeal and new tax credits for businesses to hire veterans. The broader bill passed unanimously, 95-0 in the Senate and 422-0 in the House.

Democrats who opposed the alteration were reluctant to talk about why their opposition softened.

“I don’t have any comment on that,” said Rep. Henry A. Waxman of California, the ranking Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, when asked by The Washington Times about his votes.

Rep. Daniel Lipinski, an Illinois Democrat who voted for the revision both times, cited the administration’s support and said changing the formula wasn’t likely to affect many Americans.

“That was the pay-for that was offered on the floor,” he said. “I supported it because I think things should be paid for. Some people, it may limit what they get in subsidy, but I think most people agree and the president can agree that it’s not going to have that large of an impact.”

© Copyright 2011 The Washington Times, LLC

MSNBC's Ed Schultz named 3rd 'Least Influential' person alive

GQ thinks Ed Schultz is one of ‘The Least Influential People Alive’
By Chris Ariens on November 25, 2011 10:58 AM

Wow. Is it that time of year all ready?

Well, yes it is. When publishers come up with end of the year lists. Here’s one from the December GQ: the magazine’s list of “The 25 least Influential People Alive” MSNBC’s Ed Schultz comes in at #3. Ouch.

…Then there pundits like Ed Schultz. Do you watch “The Ed Show” on MSNBC? Of course you don’t. No one does. The only reason people watch “The Ed Show” is they’re working out in a hotel gym and they can’t find a staff member to change the channel to ESPN.

Also on the list: Tia and Tamera Mowry (#4). (Tamera married Fox News correspondent Adam Housley over the summer); also Tina Brown (#17), John Boehner (#24) and Pres. Obama (#25). Topping the list former GOP candidate Tim Pawlenty.

Assassinating the Rule of Law

November 25, 2011
Assassinating the Rule of Law

President Obama has carried on where former President George W. Bush left off.
BY Leonard C. Goodman

Of all the promises made by candidate Barack Obama, it was his promise to end the lawlessness of the Bush years by closing Guantanamo, ending torture and restoring the United States’ reputation for justice that got me out in the streets and knocking on doors. And it is President Obama’s failure to keep these promises that makes it impossible for me to support him again.

President Bush’s foreign policy was roundly criticized by most of the world and by candidate Obama. Following 9/11, Bush’s foreign policy was simple: If my administration decides that you are a terrorist or a terrorist supporter, we reserve the right to invade and occupy your country, kill you or send you halfway around the world to a prison camp.

To implement this policy, administration lawyers wrote memos making it all legal for their masters. First, Bush’s lawyers declared that the one-sentence “Authorization for Use of Military Force” enacted by a frightened Congress one week after September 11, 2001, authorized undeclared wars and the mass incarceration of terror suspects.

But Bush’s team wanted still more power—they wanted legal authority to torture suspects. So Bush’s lawyers wrote memos stating that torture under the president’s command would not violate federal law (which proscribes “torture”), or the U.N. Convention Against Torture, as long as the torturer lacks the intent to cause “prolonged mental harm” or “death or organ failure.” One of these memos, authored by Office of Legal Councel attorney Jay Bybee, included a convenient section called “Interpretation to Avoid Constitutional Problems.”

Bush’s lawyers also wrote memos authorizing the incarceration of U.S. citizens suspected of terror links without charge or trial. But here the Supreme Court drew the line. In the case of U.S. citizen Yaser Hamdi, a terror-suspect born in Louisiana, raised in Saudi Arabia, captured in Afghanistan and sent to Guantanamo, government lawyers argued that it would be “constitutionally intolerable” to require the government to submit any evidence to support its claim that Hamdi is a terrorist. The Supreme Court disagreed. While the court permitted the government to strip Hamdi of most of his constitutional rights, it nevertheless ordered the government to give Hamdi a hearing at which it must present some minimal amount of evidence. But because the government had no evidence that Hamdi was a terrorist, it sent him back to Saudi Arabia—on the condition that he renounced his citizenship.

Obama has carried on where Bush left off. Realizing that captured American-born terror suspects must be given a hearing, Obama decided it would be more convenient to kill them. And he asked the lawyers at the Office of Legal Counsel to write memos stating that killing Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born Muslim cleric living in Yemen, would not violate the Constitution or federal statutes banning murder and assassinations. Once again, the lawyers set aside the most fundamental rules of legal ethics to serve their master.

The Obama administration has not released these assassination memos, but it did leak an outline of the memos’ legal reasoning to the New York Times. Their analysis is every bit as shoddy as that found in the torture memos. Obama’s lawyers concluded that the administration could legally kill al-Awlaki so long as the CIA says he is playing an operational role in al-Qaeda and that it was not feasible to capture him. The lawyers don’t actually analyze any of the evidence against al-Awlaki—they just declare that Obama may accept the word of the CIA, which is able to bury evidence so it can never be second-guessed.

Al-Awlaki was killed September 30 by a drone strike in Yemen. Presumably his executioner was a CIA agent rather than a soldier in uniform, but the Obama lawyers said that this would also be lawful. The drone strike also killed a second American named Samir Khan, who had produced a jihadist web magazine titled Inspire. Two weeks after killing al-Awlaki and Khan, the administration used its newfound powers to kill another American: al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki. This strike also killed eight other human beings.

As of this writing, the administration has not come forward with any explanation for the killing of the American juvenile or his companions. Presumably, an unprincipled government lawyer is at work on the justification memo right now.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Quick Links: Life Expectancy, ObamaCare

Friday, November 25, 2011

Avik Roy debunks, "The Myth of Americans' Poor Life Expectancy" (Forbes, 11/23/2011). A few key points:
If you measure outcome based on how well you do after you get sick, the US comes out on top.

Deaths from car accidents and homicides are unrelated to the quality of the US health system, and unfairly skew US statistics.

America doesn't have one health care system, but three.
Jeffery Anderson discusses, "What Else Is Wrong with Obamacare?" (PJMedia, 11/22/2011). It's not just the individual mandate.
Posted by Paul Hsieh, MD at 10:05 AM

Ignore the Absurd European Definitions of “the Right”

Friday, November 25, 2011

posted by Joe @ 18:28

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo Molotov cocktail attack, an attempt is being made to consolidate (or rather discount) the obvious about leftist cheer-led violence with their own sick ideological prejudices, a handful of critics in the benighted continent are attempting to understand.

Binding it up with their other bugaboos, they go on to pointlessly expound about the guilt of their fellow citizens whom they refuse to understand with a centuries-old example, as if the right today was guilty of the imagined horrors that they still use as a straw man.

But the larger picture looks more alarming. Nobody has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but it would not be far-fetched to assume that it is linked to the publication of the special issue published by Charia Hebdo on the day the attack took place. The incident therefore constitutes a radical resurgence of the religious curtailment of free speech - in the midst of one of the very cradles of freedom of expression. It was in Paris that free speech was first established as a fundamental legal fact in the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man - after a protracted and bitter decade-long struggle between the radical Enlightenment on the one hand and the Catholic Church and French Absolutism on the other - a history rife with burning books, which prefigured the burning piles of Charlie Hebdo copies on Tuesday night.

Give them more undeserved attention, and some pregnant silence, and it would become George Bush’s fault or something... anything but the left’s example and educational involvement in the interest of mindless revolutionary violence worldwide... anything.

It is, of course, America’s fault because an American mentioned something useful in this crass campaigning:

On the international scene, the internet versions of many leading European newspapers feature the photograph of Charlie's editor holding up the front page of the magazine with the drawing of the prophet saying "100 lashes, if you do not die from laughter!" before the sooty ruins of its premises. But not a single English or American news media ran the image, as far as a quick net survey shows. At the same time, new threats against Libération are trying to force the daily to stop protecting Charlie. Slowly and steadily, the poison of the extreme religious right is spreading in democratic societies, shrinking the space of free speech and criticism day by day. The strange and unsavoury cocktail of death threats, bombings and arson with whining and whimpering - topped off by defeatist intellectuals talking about "sensibilities" - is slowly eating away at the heart of open societies.

Got that? There are things about this sad, indicative, but minor event that the were supposed to say, and in some specific fashion too.

So somehow these lefty cover artists suddenly forget the interference they ran for virtually anyone willing to murder westerners over the past decade, and in their brilliance FINALLY figured out who’s at fault: the same and only people they can ever find at fault – the domestic political opponents they are so thoroughly obsessed with.

In fact even citing the regrettable stupid piece by Time Magazine’s Bruce Crumley as some sort of negligent disrespect of their divine nature of journalists, so long as they are leftists is another rabbit they’re chasing. Crumly’s motives are patently based in the illiterate chant of the multi-culturalists and founded in the political ritual of trying to heap abuse on the right for taking Islamist religious violence seriously.

Remember the “what did we do to deserve this” crowd heard on September 12th, 2001 ? Well here they are trying to make their fundamental moral ignorance in the interest of their own cultural war the fault of the conventional part of civilization that they live in.

Amazingly, we are somehow, again, supposed to care because they still rebelliously resent their parents. Too bad they can’t keep up the trick long enough to show their hand:

But it is contentious, at very least, to assume that the supposedly Islamist attack is fuelled by the "offense of Muslim sensibilities". A much more obvious reason for fundamentalists to exert religious pressure against the satirical characterisation of their faith is that such joking may, in fact, be detrimental to them by helping to delegitimise their extreme political aims. Satire famously played an important role in the long process through which European societies emancipated themselves from religious dominance over centuries and finally forced Christianity to give in to enlightened principles and liberties

In other words, the bedwetting leftist intelligentia is once again exploiting terror. Much like the leftist Hitler, who saw religion as a barrier to dictatorial power much as the leftist tyrannies of the Soviet sphere did, all is now explained away as “far right extremism”

...simply because that is the only phrase they know.

Obama to Screw Up NYC Tree Lighting By Attending Fundraiser at Same Time

November 25, 2011
By Lonely Conservative 1 comment

Nothing is more important to President Obama than the 2012 election, not even staying away from New York City during the annual tree lighting festival. He will be attending a fundraiser at the same time, causing gridlock for a city that’s already been stressed to the limit by the Occupy Wall Street movement.

President Obama has an unwelcome holiday gift for New Yorkers — he’ll be coming to Midtown the same day the streets will be impossibly clogged by the Rockefeller Plaza tree-lighting ceremony. He has picked Wednesday, one of the busiest gridlock-alert days of the year, to descend on the area with his motorcade for a fund-raiser and party.

While throngs squeeze into the blocks around Rockefeller Center, where teen heartthrob Justin Bieber will be performing, the president and his entourage will be just a few blocks away at the Sheraton New York Hotel.

It’ll be the double whammy of all traffic nightmares. (Read More)

What year did the Democrats take control of both Houses of Congress?

Friday, November 25, 2011
What year did the Democrats take control of both Houses of Congress?

Spending Wars
By Randall Hoven

The ideas that federal spending exploded under George W. Bush, that "Bush's wars" account for our spending explosion, that Reaganism died with Reagan, and that we are on a spending binge that started decades ago are all nonsense.

Our current spending binge is a very recent phenomenon with a very specific starting point: the year Democrats started writing budgets (or continuing resolutions), compounded by Barack Obama's inauguration.

Look at the chart below. If you were to cover up the last four years on the right, 2008-11, would you say spending was getting out of hand? In 2007, total spending was 19.6% of GDP, a level nearly matching that of 1996, and comfortably below the average level of spending from 1960 through 2000: 20.3% of GDP.

Sources: OMB and CBO.

And that relatively low level of spending in 2007 included War-on-Terror spending. Without the WOT, a reaction to being attacked on our soil, federal spending in 2007 was just 18.4% of GDP -- a level not experienced at any time between 1967 and 1999, and nearly matching the post-1966 low of 18.1% in 2001.

There is something else special about 2007. That was the last fiscal year in which the federal budget was written by a Republican=controlled Congress. As you look at the chart above, recall that the U.S. House of Representatives was Republican-controlled corresponding to the budgets of 1996 through 2007 -- the years of the lowest federal spending since Lyndon Baines Johnson was president.

The trend in government spending prior to 1983 was upward. In fact, it was growing 2% of GDP every decade. (I wrote of this previously here.) That upward trend was reversed in 1983, the year Ronald Reagan's tax cuts went into full effect. Reagan's downward trend in spending did not stop with Reagan; it continued through 2001. The 17-year result was to cut federal spending from over 23% of GDP to almost 18%. (Imagine a 230-pound man losing 50 pounds.)

If by "Reaganism" you mean a struggle to keep federal spending below 20% of GDP, it was alive and kicking through 2007.

George Bush's "compassionate conservatism" did not kill Reaganism. See the chart below. Take away WOT spending, itself rather modest, and federal spending barely budged from 2000 to 2007. In 2000 it was 18.2% of GDP; in 2007 it was 18.4%. There was no spending explosion under Bush.

Sources: OMB and CBO.

The "bad" things started happening almost the minute voters turned over both the House and the Senate to Democrats. The FY 2008 budget was written by a Democrat Congress and signed by a weakened, lame-duck President Bush. In 2009, Barack Obama was inaugurated. Within weeks of his inauguration, he and his fellow Democrats increased the baseline FY 2009 budget and passed the $825-billion Stimulus. Look at what happened to spending just from 2007 to 2009.

And the spending never stops under Democrats. The step up in spending was both immediate and permanent. The CBO estimates that spending under President Obama's proposals will remain above 24% of GDP through 2019 and 2020. That is above even the post-World-War peak of 1983! There is nothing "temporary and targeted" about Obama's spending. Democrats are doing everything in their power to make Obama's "stimulus" level of spending the new normal.

Do not buy the lie that federal spending is some kind of inanimate object that must inevitably grow. Federal spending is not a result of the laws of physics, but of laws written by men who are voted into office by you and me. Spending was under control as recently as 2007. It all went south only when today's Democrats took control of budgeting.

(A note on data sources used in the graphs. Total spending numbers came from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), specifically Table 1.3. The most recent OMB data has estimates for FY 2011; all previous years are actual. War-on-Terror (WOT) spending numbers came from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). See Table A-1 from CBO's congressional testimony of October 26, 2011. Calculations to convert CBO's WOT current-year spending numbers to percentages of GDP were done by the author. Also, each 1% of GDP is about $150 billion in today's dollars, in round numbers.)


Friday, November 25, 2011

In his Thanksgiving message this year, Barack Obama reminded us that the economy still sucks and that we are our brother’s keeper.

And once again FAILS TO MENTION GOD!

His “understanding of Christianity” was demonstrated when he used his muslim left hand (used to wipe yourself clean after defecating) to make a parody sign of the cross over two turkeys in a disgraceful national press display.

His muslim mentors must have enjoyed a good chuckle over that insult!

At least he didn't name those turkeys after muslim warriors...not this year anyway.

Yes they wipe their backsides with their left hand, by tradition, that’s why using the left hand in any public function (like dipping into the communal eating platter) is an insult. That’s why they amputate the right hand of a thief - ensures future shunning at group feasts

"We’re also grateful for the Americans who are taking time out of their holiday to serve in soup kitchens and shelters, making sure their neighbors have a hot meal and a place to stay. This sense of mutual responsibility – the idea that I am my brother’s keeper; that I am my sister’s keeper – has always been a part of what makes our country special. And it’s one of the reasons the Thanksgiving tradition has endured…

I know that for many of you, this Thanksgiving is more difficult than most. But no matter how tough things are right now, we still give thanks for that most American of blessings, the chance to determine our own destiny. The problems we face didn’t develop overnight, and we won’t solve them overnight. But we will solve them. All it takes is for each of us to do our part.

With all the partisanship and gridlock here in Washington, it’s easy to wonder if such unity is really possible. But think about what’s happening at this very moment: Americans from all walks of life are coming together as one people, grateful for the blessings of family, community, and country."

Why does Obama continually say that we are our brother’s keeper and sister’s keeper?

I heard him once say that he was attracted to Christianity as an adult, by concepts such as our being our brother’s and sister’s keeper.

But, he is completely misunderstanding and distorting the meaning of the Bible verse in Genesis, in which God asks Cain where his brother is, and Cain responds, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

It’s hard to believe that Obama is any sort of knowledgeable or devout Christian, when he continually cites this as a key tenet of Christianity, and he continually shows that he does not understand the meaning of the Bible verse he’s allegedly inspired by.

Massachusetts taxpayers are the keepers of His illegal aunt and his drunk driving illegal uncle.

Excerpt from the above article from July 2011 (referring to Obama always using the term “brother’s keeper”. The term “keeper” is meant as an overseer, owner, etc.:


Now, if you think that treating your brother like a dumb animal, a clothes collection, a tree, a gate, a vine, or a doorway is charitable, then consider the context — Cain was wise-assing God! Cain wasn’t responsibly pondering, “Am I my brother’s noble defender?” He was saying, “How the hell do I know where he is? It’s not in my job description to keep track of him!”.......

Look, the pages of American Thinker are hardly the place to get into a theological debate about the meaning of obscure biblical phrases, but you need to know that when a die-hard leftist appropriates a wise-ass remark made by the archetypal murderer, he is really showing you more about himself than he would like.

He’s really saying, “It’s my job (because I take it upon myself) to keep these people in line because they are unthinking, inanimate, and helpless objects which are frankly more like property than equals.” If that is what Obama really thinks of the American people, then we can only hope we escape his brotherly affections.

Why does Obama continually say that we are our brother’s keeper and sister’s keeper?

He means the government. Odumbass has no concept of family or charity - except through government. When he uses the pronoun "we" he means himself and other govt. officials. When he uses "they" or, the plural "you", he means everyone else except union members. He considers them quasi-government and are included in his "family". If one were to dig deep enough I would bet he sees unions as a 'family' alongside government entities.

Name one black obama relative who does not live on welfare or in poverty.

I wonder what soup kitchen served Thanskgiving dinner to his aunt zaituni? Or did she use her food stamps to shop and cook at her welfare apartment? Uncle Onyango brought the wine?

His step-Granny and some of her spawn live in “Council Housing”(welfare housing) in Great Britain.

Of course, when Obama reminded us that we are our brother’s keeper, he wasn’t talking about his brother George. High as a kite, George Obama poses outside his foul-smelling Kenyan slum hut with his friends in Huruma estate.

Left to Right : Rastaman, One of the girls in George’s room, George Hussein Obama, Jack, a body guard in the Kenyan slum. (Thaindian)

Barack Obama’s brother George, also a community organizer, was arrested on a charge of marijuana possession in 2009. He was interviewed in his slum in 2008.

In 2010, George Obama, a former gang member, moved to an apartment near the slum in Kenya.

HAT TIP FReepers

Moody's threaten US downgrade

Published: 24 November, 2011, 02:45

From Russia Today:

Could another downgrade of America’s credit rating be on the way? Moody’s Investor Service on Wednesday warned that that might exactly be the case.

The rating agency issued a statement today saying that while the congressional supercommittee’s failure to come to a compromise on the US deficit dilemma won’t necessarily trigger a downgrade, a change to the automatic cuts that are now set to go into play in 2013 will.

Failing to come to a deal before today’s supercommittee deadline, legislation will automatically set up around $1.2 trillion in cuts to America’s Department of Defense and entitlement programs in January 2013. Republicans are quickly scrambling to save the Pentagon from around $600 billion in cuts, though President Barack Obama says he won’t let that happen. Should a change be made to the plan in its current state, however, Moody’s says that they will have to reconsider the United States’ credit rating.

"While a change in the composition of the spending cuts would not be a major rating consideration, a reduction in the total amount that would increase the projected increase in federal debt over the coming decade could have negative rating implications," Wednesday’s statement reads.

"If the supercommittee had managed to "go big" and come up with a plan exceeding its mandate, it would have been a positive for the nation's rating, but 'its failure to do so does not decrease the amount of deficit reduction already legislated,” they add.

Moody’s — one of the top three credit rating agencies along with Standard and Poor’s and Fitch—has been on the verge of a downgrade throughout the debt crisis. Standard & Poor’s was the first (and so far only) agency to make such a downgrade, dropping the US’ credit from a triple-A rating back in August. Following that decision, Bank of America Merrill Lynch economist Ethan Harris wrote in October, "The credit rating agencies have strongly suggested that further rating cuts are likely if Congress does not come up with a credible long-run plan.”

At the time, Harris predicted that a downgrade from at least one credit agency would come before the close of 2011.

Glenn Beck‘s Epic Address at David Horowitz’s ‘Restoration Weekend’

Friday, November 25, 2011

On November 19, Glenn Beck spoke at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s “Restoration Weekend,” where he addressed the current political situation in America, entrepreneurship, Occupy Wall Street, Israel and plenty more.

“I think the question — how much trouble are we in — I’ll address. But the bigger question that I would like to address today is — how much trouble is the Left in?,” Beck said at the beginning of his speech. “Because America is waking up. And there’s only going to be one of us standing in the end. And I have every intention of it being us.”

Later on in the speech he quipped, “My six-year-old could be Ben Bernanke for a day and do a better job.“ And he held little back considering his opinion on the ”99 percent,” saying, “Occupy Wall Street is some of the most dark, evil stuff I’ve ever seen.”

Below, you can watch the first part of his address:

Beck also spoke explicitly about Israel and the potential for another World War:

“Here’s where we’re headed. Possibility — World War III. Because Israel has a right to survive, Israel has a right to live, the Jews have a right to be left alone by the rest of the world — they will defend themselves, as they should. [...]

Guaranteed anti-Semitism not seen since the 1930s. Guaranteed economic — not depression; collapse. Collapse. And civil war. You cannot put this genie back in the bottle.

But there is something else. There’s something that I’d like to focus on here. These things are coming. But so is this. Healing. Healing and profound light, should we choose it. Now.

Watch the second portion of his speech, below:

Beck concluded his address by explaining that the next 18 months will be “unlike anything we’ve seen before.” While darkness can be expected, he said that “as darkness grows, so does the light.”

Read a transcript from the speech here.

Dow, S&P Log Worst Thanksgiving Week Since 1932

Friday, November 25, 2011
Posted by Aurelius at 7:09 PM

From CNBC:

Stocks closed in negative territory in thin, shortened trading Friday as investors were reluctant to go long ahead of the weekend and amid ongoing worries over the euro zone.

The Dow and S&P posted their worst Thanksgiving week since the Great Depression on a percentage basis.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average erased their gains to finish lower, led by H-P [HPQ 25.39 -0.39 (-1.51%) ] and Chevron [CVX 92.29 -1.46 (-1.56%)].

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also ended lower, logging a seventh consecutive decline. Some traders are watching for 1,150 on the S&P as the next key level.

The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, ended above 34.

Among key S&P sectors, consumer staples and utilities led the gainers, while energy and techs lagged.