Thursday, July 16, 2009
Might Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) have some "'splainin' to do" about racial insensitivity?
Both Associated Press editor Michael Giarrusso and Politico's Glenn Thrush raised the question in blog posts filed this morning.
Two months ago, as President Obama was contemplating a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter, many in the media elite — particularly NBC News reporters and anchors — sycophantically touted Obama’s credentials as a constitutional law professor as evidence of his deep experience when it came to the judiciary.
Yesterday, however, Obama’s pick for the Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, explicitly repudiated Obama’s belief that judging should be based on “empathy” or “the heart.” Sotomayor told senators: “I don’t, wouldn’t, approach the issue of judging in the way the President does.”
None of the broadcast networks juxtaposed Sotomayor’s slap at Obama with the President’s supposed brilliance as a constitutional scholar, or explored whether it was credible that Obama’s nominee really disagrees on the role of empathy, what the President previously declared the “essential ingredient” of a good judge...
The New York Times's lead story Sunday was on a C.I.A. program allegedly concealed from Congress by Dick Cheney, and abruptly ended by new C.I.A. director Leon Panetta when he learned of it. The headline to intelligence reporter Scott Shane's story huffed: "Cheney Is Linked To Concealment Of C.I.A. Project." Democrats are of course calling for an investigation.
"The Central Intelligence Agency withheld information about a secret counterterrorism program from Congress for eight years on direct orders from former Vice President Dick Cheney, the agency's director, Leon E. Panetta, has told the Senate and House intelligence committees, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said Saturday."
Sounds serious, yes? But the program that the conniving Cheney hid from Congress turns out to have been not much of a secret after all, as demonstrated but not acknowledged in Tuesday's follow-up story by Shane and Mark Mazzetti: "After 9-11, C.I.A. Had Plan To Kill Al Qaeda's Leaders." (one would hope so)
Here's the front-page headline from the December 15, 2002 Times (hat tip Andrew Breitbart): "Bush Has Widened Authority of C.I.A. to Kill Terrorists." Sound familiar?
The United States has given Israel a six-month deadline to accede to its demand to freeze all construction in West Bank settlements, France's foreign minister told his Lebanese interlocutors during an official visit to Beirut. Israel Radio cited a report which appeared Saturday in the Lebanese daily newspaper an-Nahar.
The U.S. could extend the six-month deadline, though Washington will not provide sponsorship to a renewed peace process if Jerusalem continues settlement construction...
[Good. There can be no peace 'process' when only one side wants peace. Until 'Palestine' is taught that their victim scam has come to an end it will have no real incentive to stop attacking Israel.]
I am just back to Israel from a week long trip to Minneapolis and a day stopover in New York City. What immediately struck me were the huge airport security lines endlessly zigzagging towards the electronic devices that scan your bags, laptop and your person after you had taken the shoes off.
They are trying to find out what is in your bag and pockets whereas Israeli security concentrate on what is in your mind.
I was thinking how these US checkpoints have become accepted as a part of our war with the jihadists. No Amnesty International and NGO protests against the JFK checkpoint or the Twin Cities one. No UN Security Council meetings 'denouncing' the checkpoints at US airports. No State Department requests to show “goodwill gestures” toward the public and ease some of them.
No one makes the connection that Israeli checkpoints serve precisely the same purpose.
Why is it that when it comes to Israel all logic seems to evaporate?
Urumqi, the troubled capital of China’s north-western Xianjiang province, is under lock-down today. It has been the scene of serious civil unrest (Snip) Hundreds of Han Chinese were cheering the men on. Eventually, the police dragged the Uighur away and put him in a vehicle for his protection.
Then, the mob turned on us. They blocked our cameras, not wanting the images of Han Chinese beating a Uighur to get out...
Two headlines caught my eye last week. "Summit Leaders in Climate Deal" read the one on the front page of the Wall Street Journal Europe. Above it was a picture of 10 smiling heads of state -- the leaders of the Group of Eight, plus China and India.
Below was an article that, in contradiction to the cheerful photograph, described how the world's political leaders had failed, once again...
The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will meet in December at Copenhagen to draft a post-Kyoto Protocol treaty. The "roadmap" to this treaty was set at Bali in 2007.
While developed lands like the United States are to have "quantified emission limitation and reduction objectives," the developing states are allowed to temper any such actions within "the context of sustainable development, supported and enabled by technology, financing and capacity-building."
The double standard allows China, India, and others developing nations to provide safe havens for high emission industries, both domestic and those "outsourced" from developed countries which enact uneconomical Green regulations.
In a vain attempt to satisfy the developing nations within the principle of "differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities" the G-8 pledged at L'Aquila to cut their emissions by 80 percent to reach the 50 percent global reduction goal. This means the underdeveloped countries could make cuts well below the average. Yet, the developing nations were having none of it. Their future prosperity and security depends on continued economic progress and they will not endanger it. As a result the efforts of the G-8 made no impact on the position staked out a year ago by the O-5.
The real peril is that President Barack Obama will unilaterally commit the United States to crippling Green standards under cap-and-trade legislation (or EPA regulation), cemented in place by a post-Kyoto UN treaty. He will then try to bring China on board through a policy of "engagement" which Beijing will ignore. The result will be that the Chinese economy will continue to expand while the American economy will stagnate.
Beijing's position is the proper one to take. Washington should worry less about fanciful notions of global climate change and more about the reality of global economic change if America is to have a secure and prosperous future.
[Recommended > ]
Outspoken Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann says she's so worried that information from next year's national census will be abused that she will refuse to fill out anything more than the number of people in her household.
In an interview Wednesday morning with The Washington Times "America's Morning News," Mrs. Bachmann, Minnesota Republican, said the questions have become "very intricate, very personal" and she also fears ACORN, the community organizing group that came under fire for its voter registration efforts last year, will be part of the Census Bureau's door-to-door information collection efforts.
"I know for my family the only question we will be answering is how many people are in our home," she said. "We won't be answering any information beyond that, because the Constitution doesn't require any information beyond that."
[The argument that the many details required of the current long questionnaire are to properly identify potential benefits recipients is questionable, at best (and begs the question, is it healthy for our government to work so hard at giving tax dollars away).
Less arguable to my mind is the usefulness such profiling could have at identify the political ideology of households, which can then be used to fine tune gerrymandering of voting districts such as was so successfully done in California after 2000 and resulted in a virtually permanent state Democrat majority (which explains their overt defiance re: cutting state spending; they're no longer concerned about losing their jobs).]
Obama's corporate tax "reforms" make a bad situation worse
Last spring, partly in response to the anti-bailout tea parties that were sweeping through the country on and around the April 15 tax deadline, the president announced that he plans to simplify the tax code. That sounds like a worthwhile goal, but it turns out that forObama, simplification means taxing previously untaxed income.
The U.S. corporate tax rate is simply too high. When you add state corporate taxes to the 35 percent federal rate, you arrive at a whopping 40 percent average corporate tax burden, the second highest among the 30 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Not only is the U.S. rate too high, but the U.S. government also taxes corporations on their worldwide income. That means profits made by an American-owned computer plant are subject to U.S. tax whether the plant is located in Texas or Ireland. Most other major countries do not tax foreign business income as aggressively. In fact, about half of OECD nations have “territorial” systems that tax firms only on their domestic income.
These differences have important implications for American companies competing in foreign markets. Because of higher tax costs, U.S.-based firms are losing foreign market share, generating lower returns for American shareholders, and hiring fewer skilled workers back home in the United States. Under these conditions, it’s no surprise that American multinational companies that want to sell their goods abroad try to keep as much cash out of the U.S. as they legally can. It’s a matter of survival.
Other countries understand this. Several nations, most recently including Japan and Britain, are moving to a territorial system, taxing only corporate profits earned within their borders. By contrast, Obama is proposing to move in the opposite direction: He wants to make U.S. companies doing business abroad as miserable as U.S. companies doing business at home.
It is a mistake to assume that U.S. domestic firms and U.S. multinationals are primary competitors, engaged in a zero-sum struggle. In fact, the true competitors of U.S-based firms with international operations are mainly foreign-based companies. And in that competition, the existing U.S. corporate tax code puts American firms at a clear disadvantage—one for which the alleged tax 'loopholes' were intended to compensate.
What will happen if the president succeeds? To stay competitive some American companies will change their structures to become foreignowned firms. Firms still pay taxes on all U.S. income, but they no longer pay U.S. tax on foreign income. Companies that can’t afford the costs of inverting would have to reduce operations and/or fire workers.
Is it the president’s goal to destroy jobs? Probably not. So instead of making the corporate tax system worse, why not reform it? Why not avoid old protectionist tricks such as Buy American provisions and instead let U.S. firms compete abroad without the chains of the U.S. tax code.
In a report meant to cover Uncle Sam's release of June's Monthly Treasury Statement, Associated Press reporter Martin Crutsinger went well beyond the wire service's normally lazy, slanted reporting in this area.
In his report's apparent final incarnation early Tuesday morning, the AP writer:
- Told us the amount of June's deficit ($94.3 billion), but didn't disclose the figures for June's receipts ($215.4 billion) or "outlays" ($309.7 billion), or how they compared to June of last year. In doing so, he "succeeded" in concealing the accelerating decline in tax collections.
- Didn't tell us that the past month's deficit is by far the worst June ever.
- "Forgot," as he did in May, to tell readers that the deficit would be hundreds of billions of dollars higher if it weren't for an "accounting change" retroactively put into place by Treasury in April that changed the definition of "outlays."
- Cited the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as contributors to the deficit situation, without identifying any of several other expenditure categories that have been worse offenders by far.
- Found an economist, without dissent, to support the claim that what the Obama administration has done had to be done.
And that doesn't even count Crutsinger's Krugmanesque rewrites of the history of the 1930s Depression era and 1990s Japan (to be covered in Part 2 tomorrow), or the apparatchik-like tone present in a few of his paragraphs.
image toon - 1st mny fnn - Oby tonight show re budget punch line
A spurt of global warming 55 million years ago turned Earth into a hothouse but how this happened remains worryingly unclear, scientists said on Monday.
Previous research into this period, called the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, or PETM, estimates the planet's surface temperature blasted upwards by between five and nine degrees in just a few thousand years.
[But they're certain what the temperature will be 100 years from now and the your SUV is responsible.]
The House of Representatives recently passed the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill. However, it is clear that cap-and-trade is a very expensive method to combat "global warming" and amounts to nothing more than an energy tax in disguise.
After all, when you sweep aside all the complexities of how cap and trade operates, the bottom line is that it raises the cost of energy high enough so that individuals and businesses are forced to use less of it. Inflicting economic pain is what this is all about:
- Contrary to the flawed analyses being advanced by the bill's proponents, Heritage estimates that the direct costs would be an average of $829 per year for a household of four, totaling $20,000 between 2012 and 2035.
- But when considering the total cost as reflected in the cost of allocations and offsets, the average cost to that family unit would be $2,979 annually from 2012 to 2035.
- Adding insult and hypocrisy to injury, the bill would hurt the poor the worst because they would bear a disproportionate burden of the higher energy costs the bill would trigger.
- The bill is also projected to harm the manufacturing sector and cause estimated "net" job losses, averaging about 1.15 million between 2012 and 2030.
- The overall gross domestic product losses would average $393 billion per year from 2012 to 2035, and the cumulative loss in gross domestic product would be $9.4 trillion by 2035.
- The national debt for a family of four would increase by $115,000 by 2035.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that just 19% believe the climate change bill passed by the House on Friday will help the economy. Fifteen percent (15%) say it will have no impact, and 24% are not sure.
A majority of both Republicans (56%) and adults not affiliated with either major political party (52%) think the bill will hurt the economy. Among Democrats, however, 30% say it will help [??] the economy, 23% that it will hurt and 21% say it will have no impact.
Most Americans (52%) say they have been following news reports about the bill at least somewhat closely, with 22% who are following very closely. Eleven percent (11%) are not following at all.
In May, just 24% of voters could correctly identify the “cap-and-trade” plan as something that deals with environmental issues...
The administration’s “Green Jobs” czar [#32 by some counts], Van Jones, has a “very checkered past” deep-rooted in radical politics, including black nationalism, anarchism, and communism.
The broadcast network newscasts have mostly failed to report on Mr. Jones’s past political affiliations which are lock-step with the network’s downplay of coverage regarding President Obama’s associations with the former radical and terrorist William Ayers during the election.
"Jones is somebody who was involved in radical politics in San Francisco, who was self-admittedly “radicalized' in jail and 'found' Communism and anarchism."
Kerpen compares Van Jones’s Communist past with his new quest for environmentalism and the creation of green jobs:
"I think it’s pretty instructive what his past is...it’s the same sort of philosophy, the idea that government ought to be reordering society in accordance with some utopian vision that failed with communism and socialism, and will fail with this green jobs idea."
In an April 12, 2009 World Net Daily article titled “Will a “red” help blacks go green?”Aaron Klein reports that Jones himself stated in a 2005 interview his environmental activism was a means to fight for racial and class “justice,” and that he was a “rowdy black nationalist,” and a “communist.”
Because the administration’s “czars” do not go through congressional confirmation, and are therefore not scrutinized or vetted, many Americans have no idea who they are or where they come from.
Kudos to Fox News for bringing Van Jones’s controversial past and political ideology to light. The following was aired on the July 10 edition of Fox and Friends:
Even as California struggles with a catastrophic fiscal crisis and other states scramble to avoid the same fate, Democrats in Washington are proposing health care measures that would add hundreds of billions of dollars of spending to state budgets, and impose a raft of new regulatory obligations on them all.
Most directly, Democratic plans to extend health care coverage to all Americans are contingent on a massive expansion of Medicaid. The program, which covers about 40 million people now, would gain 15 million to 20 million new beneficiaries if Democrats get their way.
The Congressional Budget Office pegged the cost of such an expansion at $500 billion over 10 years, but the total cost is higher because the estimate only counts the projected burden on the federal government. Under the current arrangement, Washington picks up about 57 percent of the cost of Medicaid - but states pay for 43 percent... [snip]
“There’s an air of unreality here,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander, a member of the HELP committee. “The language is, ‘we’ll shift it back to the states’ as if the states had the money or a printing press. But this isn’t just a little increase. This is a bankrupting increase for most states.” [snip]
In 2006, then-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney signed health care legislation in which the state government forced individuals to obtain coverage and offered them subsidies to purchase government-designed plans on a government-run exchange. The result has been skyrocketing costs and longer waits in doctors’ offices. A Rasmussen poll taken last month found that just 26 percent of voters in the overwhelmingly liberal state said the effort was a success.
Instead of learning from these failed experiments, Democrats in Washington are planning to use federal power to muscle all states into replicating them.
[Recommended > ]
How have Native Americans fared in their single-payer federal health care system
It was all uniformly, bureaucratically, depressing. Inadequate doesn't begin to describe the services offered and criminal doesn't begin to describe the results. I have walked down city streets where I literally had to step over prone and supine, hopefully just sleeping, but in some cases most probably dying, drunk Native Americans, victims of a known genetic predisposition to alcoholism, but somehow beyond the scope of the medical system put in place for them by the same federal government which now wants to assume responsibility for your health care.
At IHS headquarters in Rockville, it was eerily similar, except it was the out-stretched legs (and attitudes) of uncaring bureaucrats that provided the extended barriers to progress. And no, most of those bureaucrats weren't indifferent, racist whites; they were almost exclusively indifferent, brown and black-skinned representatives of the suppressed minority classes.
So think about that when you consider turning over responsibility for your health care to a federal bureaucracy that has been responsible for Indian health care for more than a century. I'll give good odds that Indian Health Service is an example of a nationally-managed health care program that I am sure the Obama Administration would wish you'd never heard of.
[Meanwhile, in our professional media...]
President Obama's healthcare initiative is currently in a lot of trouble on Capitol Hill as legislators grapple with finding money -- amidst staggering budget deficits and a declining economy -- to fund the new program.
As a result, on Wednesday, the news divisions of all three broadcast networks have decided to come to Obama's rescue, and on the very same evening, air interviews with the President concerning this issue.
It's good to be a Democrat president the press are in love with, isn't it?
As reported by TVNewser Tuesday (h/t Stewart Thomas):
The peasants and slum-dwellers of India, Nigeria, Ghana and China have homes without toilets and one bed to a family. The way out of these circumstances, development experts say, is universal public schooling. The World Bank and large philanthropic groups have expended vast resources, increasing the number of public schools in such nations. The facilities they have built rival those in the West, and they have made sure the teachers employed in them have attended education school and been certified.
The problem with these schools is that very little teaching goes on in them, explains James Tooley, an education professor at the University of Newcastle in England:
- About one third of the time, these public school teachers simply don't show up.
- In their unannounced site visits, Tooley and his researchers found teachers who were often drunk, sleeping or just not teaching.
- The power wielded by their unions allows these teachers to neglect students without fear of punishment, let alone dismissal.
- In some slums, private schools enroll somewhere between 35 percent and 60 percent of all students.
- Nonetheless, these schools are often unknown, even to the country's government officials; in the developing world as in the West, people are convinced that private schools are for the rich.
That is at least in part because the mostly uncertified private-school teachers within them are much more likely than their certified public school counterparts actually to be teaching when they are visited unannounced.
America's recent history has been a relentless tilt to the West -- of people, ideas, commerce and even political power. California and Texas, the nation's two biggest states, are the twin poles of the West, but very different ones. For most of the 20th century the home of Silicon Valley and Hollywood has been the trendier of the two: its suburbs and freeways, its fads and foibles, its marvelous miscegenation have spread around the world. But twins can change places. Is that happening now, asks the Economist?
It is easy to find evidence that California is in a funk:
- At the start of this month the once golden state started paying creditors, including those owed tax refunds, business suppliers and students expecting grants, in IOUs.
- California's governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, also said that the gap between projected outgoings and income for the current fiscal year has leapt to a horrible $26 billion.
- California's unemployment rate is running at 11.5 percent, two points ahead of the national average.
- Its roads and schools are crumbling; every year, over 100,000 more Americans leave the state than enter it.
By contrast, Texas appears to be much better off, says the Economist:
- It has coped well with the recession, with an unemployment rate two points below the national average and one of the lowest rates of housing repossession.
- It has no state capital gains or income tax, and a business-friendly attitude.
- It is home to more Fortune 500 companies than any other state -- 64 compared with California's 51 and New York's 56.
[We're being mismanaged to death. Shouldn't we fire the managers?]
Sacramento - Thousands of vendors who do billions of dollars of business with the state of California are scrambling as major banks say they will no longer honor the state's IOUs. Despite pressure from the state treasurer, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., and Wells Fargo & Co. and other major banks planned to stick to their plans and not honor California's warrants after Friday.
Neighborhood wakes up to torched American flags
LAGUNA NIGUEL – Four U.S. flags were found burned in a South County neighborhood this morning, just a few days after neighbors hung them outside their homes for the Fourth of July weekend, authorities said.
The flags were found just after 7 a.m. today, when one of the residents was leaving for work and discovered his flag had been burned, said Jim Amormino, spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department ...
Strong Grassroots Support For Palin’s SarahPAC
The political action committee associated with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin , SarahPAC, reported strong support from small donors in its mid-year report. SarahPAC reported $733,000 in total receipts through June 30, of which $420,000 was “unitemized” or from donors who contributed $200 or less...
[As predicted, the MSM's orchestrated opinion that Sarah's resignation was political suicide isn't selling with those who put their money where their mouths are.
Hamas says Israel dumping aphrodisiac gum on Gaza
GAZA CITY — Hamas suspects that Israeli intelligence services are supplying its Gaza Strip stronghold with chewing gum that boosts the sex drive in order to "corrupt the young," an official said on Tuesday. "We have discovered two types of stimulants that were introduced into the Gaza Strip from Israeli border crossings," Hamas police spokesman Islam Shahwan told AFP...
[Yup, exactly what Israel wants: more Gazans.]
Jesus and the Democrat
A Republican in a wheelchair entered a restaurant one afternoon and asked the waitress for a cup of coffee. The Republican looked across the restaurant and asked, "Is that Jesus sitting over there?"
The waitress nodded "yes," so the Republican requested that she give Jesus a cup of coffee, on him.
The next patron to come in was a Libertarian with a hunched back.He shuffled over to a booth, painfully sat down, and asked the waitress for a cup of hot tea.. He also glanced across the restaurant and asked, "Is that Jesus over there?" The waitress nodded, so the Libertarian asked her to give Jesus a cup of hot tea, "My treat."
The third patron to come into the restaurant was a Democrat on crutches. He hobbled over to a booth, sat down and hollered, "Hey there, honey! How's about gettin' me a cold glass of Miller Light?" He, too, looked
across the restaurant and asked, "Is that God's boy over there?"
The waitress once more nodded, so the Democrat directed her to give Jesus a cold glass of beer. "On my bill," he said.
As Jesus got up to leave, he passed by the Republican, touched him and said, "For your kindness, you are healed." The Republican felt the strength come back into his legs, got up, and danced a jig out the door.
Jesus also passed by the Libertarian, touched him and said, "For your kindness, you are healed." The Libertarian felt his back straightening up, and he raised his hands, praised the Lord and did a series of back flips out the door.
Then, Jesus walked towards the Democrat.
The Democrat jumped up and yelled, "Don't touch me ...
I'm collecting disability."
[ I just post 'em folks.]