Tuesday, April 13, 2010
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Josh Rogin reports: President Obama said Sunday that the United States is still "working on" democracy and a top aide said he has taken "historic steps" to improve democracy in the United States during his time in office.
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Americans are about to finish paying taxes this year. Kind of. Tax Freedom Day came on April 9, but it's an artificial freedom. Massive borrowing this year — the federal deficit is expected to run $1.6trillion — guarantees future tax hikes.
We are devoting more than a third of our lives to working for Uncle Sam, and just wait until the real cost of health care "reform" kicks in...
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Fareed Zakaria used his CNN program Sunday to campaign for a national sales tax.
Zakaria began the most recent installment of "GPS" by first discussing how great a country America is, but "we have big problems."
"[T]he biggest one, by far, the one to worry about is the growing national debt."
Of course, his solution was to raise taxes (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):
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The feds are coming to inspect your home if you want to sell it, according to regulations buried in cap-and-trade legislation and standards decreed by the Secretary of Energy. But there are numerous legal difficulties inherent in DOE "inspections." Here are a few:
First, the regulations purportedly require homeowners to submit to a warrantless search of their property.
The result of this inspection ("looking in") of their home would be to 'condemn' real property (fixtures and things attached to the land are real estate in many states) and/or personal property...
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The Department of Energy announced Thursday that it has finalized the new and higher energy efficiency standards for several classes of appliances which they decided upon last year.
Warning! Keep your seat belts on, this is going to be a bumpy ride. The announcement from DOE Secretary Steven Chu says that these changes will save 164 Million Metric Tons of CO2, from entering the atmosphere due to our use of more efficient electrical appliances.
Damn that's a lot of CO2............. Or is it?
There's a total of roughly 800Gt (Gigatons) (798Gt actually) of CO2 in our atmosphere, of which roughly 27Gt comes from man's activities.
164M (Million) Mt (Metric Tons) over 10 years = 16.4MMt per year = 1.6% of 1Gt = 1.5 billionths of 1% of the atmosphere every year.
And this is going to cost us how many billions of dollars?
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At Newsweek, the global warming crusade remains an important mission. The magazine's latest push came in an interview by CNN contributor Fareed Zakharia of Energy Secretary Steven Chu. Zakaria threw softballs to Chu throughout the article, as Newsweek showed it was simply a matter of when - not if - the administration should continue to pursue a drastic environmental agenda. It was revealing which questions were - and were not - asked of the president's Energy Secretary.
Zakaria made zero reference to ClimateGate,the economic consequences of cap-and-trade and alternative energy, and no mention of the actual validity of climate change now being called into question around the world...
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"We want our money back, and we're going to get it. And that's why I'm proposing a Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee to be imposed on major financial firms until the American people are fully compensated for the extraordinary assistance they provided to Wall Street. If these companies are in good enough shape to afford massive bonuses, they are surely in good enough shape to afford paying back every penny to taxpayers."President Obama, January 14, 2010.
Source: The Heritage Foundation.
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Think governments of countries with a genuine "welfare state" spend more per capita than the United States? Think again, says economist and author, John Lott...
- Our government spends 276 percent more than is spent by the average government of another country around the world; that comes out to about $17,400 per person living in the United States -- almost $70,000 for a family of four.
- Sweden's famous "welfare state" spends only about 8.6 percent more per capita than the United States -- probably a much smaller difference than most would have guessed.
- France spends virtually the same amount as the United States, just 1.6 percent more.
- Meanwhile, Finland spends 6 percent less; countries such as Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom do not even come close to the United States.
- In addition, our neighbor Canada spends 14 percent less per capita than the United States, and Japan spends 32 percent less.
With the new trillion-dollar health law signed by President Obama the United States total spending and rank is guaranteed to go up further...
They may be throwing bad money after worse money, but the European Union has pledged 40 billion Euros (with the IMF expected to kick in 20 billion more) to stabilize the Greek government:
While an impressive sum, one wonders what good it will do unless Greece reforms it's government and economy so that what caused the crisis in the first place will be fixed.
Don't hold your breath. Greek government unions will fiercely resist any effort to reduce their number or perks which means that all other unions will probably resist as well.
Prediction; in 3 years, Greece will be back for more.
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President Barack Obama is putting the U.S. on a course toward resembling the fiscal situation in Greece, one GOP senator charged Monday. Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), the top Republican member of the Senate Finance Committee, said that the president's budget is making the U.S. budget like Greece's. Grassley tweeted Monday: Considering CBO analysis of Obama Budget tripling natl debt the Pres is "Greece-ing" the slide to American mediocracy.
The Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) director, Douglas Elmendorf, said last week that the fiscal policy in the U.S. is "unsustainable"...
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"And when you talk about interest rates, listen, I'm going to keep it simple. You asked me where I thought it would be. I think it's a two-tier issue. I'm assuming the economy is going to be mediocre for many years..."
[If we're going to emulate European socialism, we're going to suffer European unemployment rates.]
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While the President touted the 160,000-plus job gains in February, it should be noted that this year government union workers will exceed private-sector workers in unions.
When the largest union membership represents federal workers, how do you cut the budget?
As America is faced with increased deficits, federal workers are growing in number and getting pay increases...
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California's three largest state-operated, public-employee pension funds -- the California Public Employees' Retirement System, California State Teachers' Retirement System and the University of California Retirement System -- currently face a total shortfall of more than $500 billion, according to a study released Monday by Stanford University.
Gov. Schwarzenegger warned Monday that pension fund shortfalls could lead California, which faces a $20 billion budget gap in the coming fiscal year, to divert more funds from other state programs to cover pension costs...
[Because they're guaranteed by tax payers - how nice.]
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Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California has been the subject of any number of unflattering portrayals by Republican detractors over the past few months: a talkative blimp, an "obnoxious left-wing ideologue," and "bitterly partisan," to name a few.
To reflect polling showing a tightening general election race and California voters' particularly sour mood about the direction of their state...
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A White House official says President Barack Obama will go to Los Angeles on April 19 to raise money for Sen. Barbara Boxer.
Boxer is a three-term senator in a tough re-election climate this year, with California suffering one of the highest unemployment rates in the country...
By CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER
Nuclear doctrine consists of thinking the unthinkable. It involves making threats and promising retaliation that is cruel and destructive beyond imagining. But it has its purpose: to prevent war in the first place.
During the Cold War, we let the Russians know that if they dared use their huge conventional military advantage and invaded Western Europe, they risked massive U.S. nuclear retaliation. Goodbye Moscow. Was this credible? Would we have done it? Who knows? No one's ever been there. A nuclear posture is just that — a declaratory policy designed to make the other guy think twice.
Our policies did. The result was called deterrence. For half a century, it held. The Soviets never invaded. We never used nukes. That's why nuclear doctrine is important... [snip]
Imagine the scenario: Hundreds of thousands are lying dead in the streets of Boston after a massive anthrax or nerve gas attack. The president immediately calls in the lawyers to determine whether the attacking state is in compliance with the NPT. If it turns out that the attacker is up-to-date with its latest IAEA inspections, well, it gets immunity from nuclear retaliation. (Our response is then restricted to bullets, bombs and other conventional munitions.)
This is quite insane. It's like saying that if a terrorist deliberately uses his car to mow down a hundred people waiting at a bus stop, the decision as to whether he gets (a) hanged or (b) 100 hours of community service hinges entirely on whether his car had passed emissions inspections....
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An attacker threw an explosive device over the wall around the U.S. consulate in the border city of Nuevo Laredo, breaking windows and startling employees inside but causing no injuries, the U.S. Embassy said Saturday.
The attack, which took place about 11:30 p.m. Friday, is under investigation, embassy spokesman Claude Young said.
Nuevo Laredo, across the Rio Grande River from Laredo, Texas, and other cities have seen increased violence in recent weeks as powerful Mexican drug cartels battle over control of lucrative trafficking along the border.
U.S. State Department employees in the area had been victimized last month.
That's when gunmen separately chased down and killed an American woman who worked at the U.S. consulate in Ciudad Juarez along with her husband ...
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Thousands of people rallied Saturday in several cities in a bid to urge Congress to act swiftly on immigration reform.
Outside a federal building in Las Vegas, demonstrators cheered Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., who told them they're committed to making immigration reform a top priority.
Demonstrators also cheered Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., who has introduced immigration reform legislation that includes the path to legal status for millions of illegal aliens.
"We're looking forward to the bill being introduced in the Senate and to Sen. Reid to help push it through the Senate,"
Lawmakers failed to agree [were stopped by voter activism*] in 2006 and 2007 when they last tried to overhaul the immigration system.
[*But things are different now: now we've an administration that's demonstrated with Obamacare that its agenda trumps the wishes of us little people, no matter how strongly conveyed by us...]
Ariz. House Approves Concealed Weapons Bill
The Arizona House voted Thursday to make the state the third in the nation to allow people to carry concealed weapons without a permit, sending the governor a bill that would allow Arizonans to forego background checks and classes that are now required.
The legislation, approved by the House 36-19 without discussion, would make it legal for most U.S. citizens 21 or older to carry a concealed weapon in Arizona without the permit now required.
Supporters say gun restrictions only affect people who want to follow the rules because criminals will carry hidden guns regardless of the law. Nearly all adults can carry a weapon openly in Arizona, and they shouldn't face additional restrictions when they want to hide the weapon, supporters argue.
"What's dangerous is when they're in criminals' hands, not citizens' hands,"
ABC Vets Insist Obama Not on Left
On ABC’s This Week, when retired ABC newsman Sam Donaldson recommended that President Barack Obama nominate, to replace Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, someone who “is going to stand up for the principles – on the left, if you will – that he believes in,” Cokie Roberts jumped in:
“I’m not so sure he is so far to the left.”
“Well, I’m not sure either.”