Thursday, September 30, 2010

Just The Tip Of The Iceberg?

McDonald's Corp. has notified federal regulators its health insurance plan for nearly 30,000 hourly restaurant workers isn't compatible with a new requirement of the U.S. health overhaul, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, raising speculation about the fate of those employees' health coverage.


Trade groups representing restaurants and retailers say low-wage employers might halt their coverage if the government doesn't loosen a requirement for "mini-med" plans, which offer limited benefits to some 1.4 million Americans. The requirement concerns the percentage of premiums that must be spent on benefits.

While many restaurants don't offer health coverage, McDonald's provides mini-med plans for workers at 10,500 U.S. locations, most of them franchised. A single worker can pay $14 a week for a plan that caps annual benefits at $2,000, or about $32 a week to get coverage up to $10,000 a year.

Last week, a senior McDonald's official informed the Department of Health and Human Services that the restaurant chain's insurer won't meet a 2011 requirement to spend at least 80 percent to 85 percent of its premium revenue on medical care, the Wall Street Journal reported.

But McDonald's issued a statement Wednesday denying that it planned to drop coverage for its employees and defending its benefit plans.

"We've had the opportunity to speak with regulatory agencies directly to better understand the implications of the law and to share our point of view," Steve Russell, a senior vice president with the company, said in the statement. "Moving forward, we will continue to have an open dialogue with legislators as well as regulators."

McDonald's and trade groups say the percentage is unrealistic for mini-med plans because of high administrative costs owing to frequent worker turnover, combined with relatively low spending on claims.

Is this the tip of the proverbial iceberg I wonder? What happens when more and more employers elect not to cover their employees? The answer of course is the government would have to cover them, which is great for an administration who believes in the nanny state concept, or the idea of big government. But, where do they get the money to pay for covering a majority of the public? If everyone is on the dole, who pays the taxes needed to support a system like this? Have you ever read Atlas Shrugged?

You'd think the current administration would recognize we're already on the brink of national bankruptcy and look to the failed systems of socialized medicine, both past and present, as an example of what NOT to do. But, no one ever claimed these people, currently in the White House, had clue one how this was all supposed to be feasible... except maybe themselves in their own inflated, egotistical dreams of a progressive, socialistic utopia.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Stimulus Bill Finally Explained

After all this time, I had been racking my brain desperately trying to understand Obama's stimulus bill, and I finally found the explanation... from about forty or fifty years ago.

video

Why Is Congress Allowing the Largest Tax Hike in History?

By Ryan Ellis

This week, Congress is probably going to adjourn for the last time before the November elections. There’s a lot Congress hasn’t done this year, but at the top of the list has to be preventing the start of the largest tax hike in American history. In the process, they’ve thrown every American who pays taxes, every small business, and anyone who cares about prosperity and job growth into utter confusion and panic. How did this happen?

Back in 2001, President Bush was moving his tax cut package through a Republican Congress. As modern political analysts know, it takes 60 votes to control the Senate, not a simple majority. Back then, Republicans only had 50 votes to start the year, and 49 to finish it (after Senator Jim Jeffords (R-Vt.) defected. In order to get badly-needed tax relief through the Senate, a process known as “reconciliation” had to be employed. Under this strategy, a tax cut bill only requires 51 votes (50 if the Vice-President is available to break a tie), but there’s a price to pay: the tax cut in question can only last for as long as the budget resolution—in this case, ten years.

The decision was made to use this strategy. In the process, the top marginal tax rate was eventually cut from 39.6 percent to 35 percent. The death tax would be slowly phased out. Pro-family tax cuts were introduced or expanded. In 2003, the reconciliation strategy was again employed to cut the capital gains tax rate from 20 to 15 percent, and the dividends tax rate from ordinary income all the way down to 15 percent.

It’s important to note that the only way this tax relief could pass out of the Senate was to use reconciliation. President Bush and Congressional Republicans would have used regular order (with its resultant permanent tax cuts) if they could. There’s only one reason they could not—Senate Democrats would not side with them in sufficient numbers to get to 60 votes. If they had, the current debate over tax hikes would not even be happening.

The clock has almost finished ticking. If Congress does nothing (as appears increasingly-likely), taxes will rise for every American starting on the next New Year’s Day--January of 2011. The lowest income tax bracket will rise from 10 to 15 percent. The highest tax bracket (the one at which a majority of small business profits pay tax) will rise from 35 to 39.6 percent. The death tax will go from non-existent in 2010 to a sky-high 55 percent top rate in 2011. The capital gains tax will rise from 15 to 20 percent. The dividends tax rate will rise from 15 to 39.6 percent. The marriage penalty will return for all taxpayers. The child tax credit will be cut in half to $500.

That's just the beginning of this decade’s tax hikes. The alternative minimum tax (AMT) has been left un-patched by Congress. That means the number of AMT taxpayers in 2011 will rise from 4 million to 28 million. Obamacare’s two-dozen tax hikes will begin to kick in, which will result in about $500 billion of higher taxes on families, small businesses, and savers. Put it all together, and we’re dealing with the largest tax hikes in history.

Why didn’t Congress prevent these tax hikes from happening? At the very least, why didn’t they do what they frequently promised to do—namely, kill the tax hike for families making less than $250,000? One answer might be that they never intended to hold anyone harmless from the 2011 tax hikes.

Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid took their current positions in January of 2007. They have controlled Congress for four years. President Obama strolled into the White House in January of 2009. He has been the leader of his party for two years. Yet in that time, there has been absolutely no movement on preventing this tax increase from happening, even on families below the un-favored line of $250,000. They had ample opportunity at politically-advantageous times to get this done. The reason they did not has much to do with their views on the size of government.

For the last half-century, federal spending has siphoned off about 21 percent of our nation’s annual output. That number is expected to be at or around 25 percent this year and for the remainder of the decade (according to President Obama’s own Budget and projections by the Congressional Budget Office). Meanwhile, federal tax revenues during this time have eaten up 18 percent of the economy (give or take a percentage point or two depending on the economy at the time). A structural over-spending level (i.e., “deficit”) of 3 percent is acceptable. But what about 6 percent? What about 7 percent? There’s no way even Congressional Democrat liberals could live with deficit spending that high. The rest of the world would stop lending us money, for one thing. The looming over-spending commitments made to the Baby Boomers make this especially-true.

Liberals believe in bigger government, no matter the cost. Economic reality tells them that this must be financed by bigger tax bites, lest the world cut off the credit card. That means much higher taxes on everyone, from Bill Gates to the kid on the corner with the lemonade stand. Congressional Democrats and President Obama want higher taxes on everyone, and their lack of action this fall ensures that they’re going to get it. Of course they have to have pretended to want to carve out families making less than $250,000, but they never had any intention of doing so.

This election is mainly about spending and debt, but closely-related (and, hopefully, hotly-debated) should be the full, conscious, and active participation of Congressional Democrats and President Obama in the largest tax hike of our entire lives

Friday, September 17, 2010

Test Your Knowledge of The Constitution

The U.S. Constitution was signed by its drafters in Philadelphia on September 17th 1787. Most American are woefully uninformed at to its content. For example, surveyed college seniors/graduates received a failing grade when attempting to answer multiple choice questions on the following constitutional topics: federalism (44%), judicial review (42%), congressional powers (29%), women’s suffrage (58%), representative democracy (58%), the establishment clause (48%), The Federalist Papers (50%), and the Anti-Federalists (44%). And they only earned a “D” on these fundamental issues: the three branches of government (64%), the war power (62%), and federal foreign policymaking (68%).

Try your hand at it. Being a student of history, I scored a 90 %. Hope you can do as well or better, or that your lesser grade will motivate you to learn more.


1. What is federalism?



a) A political party at the time of the Founding.

b) A set of essays defending the Constitution.

c) A political system where the national government has ultimate power.

d) A political system where state and national governments share power.

e) The belief that America should be unified with a trans-continental railroad.



2. The power of judicial review was established in:


a) The Constitution.

b) Marbury v. Madison.

c) McCulloch v. Maryland.

d) The Bill of Rights.

e) A presidential executive order



3. The Federalist (or The Federalist Papers) was written to:


a) Support ratification of the U.S. Constitution.

b) Oppose ratification of the U.S. Constitution.

c) Support America’s independence from Britain.

d) Oppose America’s independence from Britain. e) support the Missouri Compromise.

e) Support the Missouri Compromise.




4. The principle of the “separation of powers” suggests that:


a) Legislative, executive, and judicial powers should be dispersed.

b) Government becomes more efficient with division of labor.

c) There should always be at least two global superpowers

d) No single political party should dominate any legislature.

e) Courts should formulate policy during periods of Congressional gridlock.



5. Which of the following is NOT among the official powers of Congress?


a) Declare war.

b) Regulate commerce with foreign nations.

c) Receive ambassadors.

d) Create courts lower than the Supreme Court.

e) Approve treaties with foreign nations.



6. What are the three branches of government?


a) Executive, legislative, judicial.

b) Executive, legislative, military.

c) Bureaucratic, military, industry.

d) Federal, state, local.



7. The United States Electoral College:


a) Trains those aspiring to local office.

b) Was established to supervise the first televised presidential debates.

c) Is otherwise known as the U.S. Congress.

d) Is a constitutionally mandated assembly that elects the president.

e) Was ruled undemocratic by the Supreme Court.



8. What impact did the Anti-Federalists have on the United States Constitution?


a) Their arguments helped lead to the adoption of the Bill of Rights.

b) Their arguments helped lead to the abolition of the slave trade.

c) Their influence ensured that the federal government would maintain a standing army.

d) Their influence ensured that the federal government would have the power to tax.




9. What part of the government has the power to declare war?


a) Congress.

b) The president.

c) The Supreme Court.

d) The Joint Chiefs of Staff.



10. In the area of United States foreign policy, Congress shares power with the:


a) President.

b) Supreme Court.

c) State governments.

d) United Nations.









Thursday, September 16, 2010

Telling It Like It Is

Life is 'Hell' for Michelle Obama

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama reportedly finds life in the White House barely sufferable.


"Don't ask! It's hell. I can't stand it!" Michelle Obama is said to have told French first lady Carla Bruni during a private conversation at the White House during an official visit by French President Nicolas Sarkozy last March.

Well... at least she has a roof over her head... unlike many who have had their homes foreclosed on.

Fear not Michelle, we surely wouldn't want you to suffer needlessly. Let me assure you, all real conservatives - myself included - are doing their utmost to ensure you don't have to 'suffer' any longer than is needed. I expect you will get some form of relief shortly after the end of 2012; January 21, 2013 to be exact.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

First Medal of Honor For a Living Afghan War Vet

DES MOINES, Iowa — A 25-year-old soldier from Iowa who exposed himself to enemy gunfire to try to save two fellow soldiers will become the first living service member from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to receive the Medal of Honor, the White House announced Friday.

President Obama phoned Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, on Thursday at the base in Italy where he's stationed to tell him he'd be receiving the nation's highest military honor, Giunta's father told The Associated Press. He will become the eighth service member to receive the Medal of Honor during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The seven previous medals were awarded posthumously.

"It's bittersweet for us," said Steven Giunta, of Hiawatha. "We're very proud of Sal. We can't mention that enough, but in this event, two other soldiers were killed and that weighs heavy on us. You get very happy and very proud and then you start dealing with the loss as well. You can't have one without the other."

Giunta was serving as a rifle team leader with Company B 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment when an insurgent ambush split his squad into two groups on Oct. 25, 2007, in the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan, the White House said in a news release.

Giunta went above and beyond the call of duty when he exposed himself to enemy fire to pull a fellow soldier back to cover. He engaged the enemy again when he saw two insurgents carrying away another soldier, killing one insurgent and wounding the other before providing aid to the injured soldier, who died of his wounds.

"His courage and leadership while under extreme enemy fire were integral to his platoon's ability to defeat an enemy ambush and recover a fellow American soldier from enemy hands," the White House said.

Giunta, who enlisted in the Army shortly after graduating from Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, is now stationed in Italy with the Battle Company of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. He was in his second tour of duty in Afghanistan at the time of the ambush.

Giunta, who was previously awarded a Bronze Star and Purple Heart, among other medals, called his parents after hearing from the president, his father said.

"He was very honored to talk to the president but he's very reserved about it," Steven Giunta said. "It's not something he's comfortable with, the event or the Medal of Honor.

Steven Giunta said his son is humbled because he believes he was just doing what he was supposed to be doing.

"He mentions every other soldier would have done the same thing. It kind of rocks his world that he's being awarded the Medal of Honor for something each and every one of them would have done. He's very aware of that."

"What a privilege and honor it is and what the men have done over the years to receive it, the feat, the above and beyond portion of it, it's amazing to me," Steven Giunta said.

Giunta will be awarded his medal at a White House ceremony at a date yet to be determined.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SSG Giunta is the first living solider to be awarded the MOH since the Viet Nam War.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Overreacted!?!?

"September 11 was a shock to the American psyche and the American system. As a result, we overreacted."

This is a direct quote from a recent article by Fareed Zakaria which was published in Newsweek. You know, I've read other articles by this genius and every time this fool opens his mouth, a jihadist gets his wings. Here he is again, telling us that Al Qaeda really isn’t THAT bad. Overreacted you say Fareed?

I suppose we overreacted at Concord and Lexington too. Also in 1812 when the British invaded and burned Washington, D.C. How about at the Alamo? What about Pearl Harbour?

You know what Fareed? I think what we need is MORE good old U.S. overreaction when it comes to dealing with radical muslim terrorists, and maybe a little to spare for brain-donors-before-death like you.

Is Obama Feeding the Myth That America Is Islamaphobic?

By Michael Goodwin

Coming nine years into the world created by 9/11, his words are haunting. And timely.

"The problem is not simply the extremism. And I think one of the mistakes is in thinking that if you deal with the extremists, you deal with the problem."

Ideally, such words of wisdom would come from President Obama. But they didn't, because Obama remains stuck in the feel-good myth that the problem is limited to a "tiny minority" of Muslims distorting Islam and that America must prove it is worthy of trust.

We therefore turn to Tony Blair for the clear-eyed view that the problem is larger and more complicated. The former British prime minister, in a TV interview, laid out his realizations about global jihad. His conclusions are a must-read for anyone serious about understanding Public Enemy No. 1.

The false narrative fueling the terror movement, Blair told interviewer Charlie Rose last week, "is basically that Islam is under oppression from the West, that the West is hostile, and that by the leadership of Muslim countries being in alliance with the West, they are somehow complicit in a betrayal of the fundamentals of their religion."

The myth attracts believers well beyond the actual terrorists, Blair said, adding, "That is a narrative that has a broader reach than we think."

The last point is as critical as it is controversial. It helps explain the "X factor" -- why most Muslims around the world, including millions in America, remain silent in the face of the grisly atrocities committed under the banner of their religion.

It also explains how scores of "homegrown" terror cells of young men educated in the West become radicalized and plot to blow up airliners, trains and buildings in Times Square and London.

Blair, summarizing his new memoir, said many Muslims who believe in the Al Qaeda narrative do abhor its violence. But suggesting their divided sympathies and sense of victimization create a fertile ground for terror, he also said: "You would get a worrying proportion of people who subscribe to the view that the West is, in fact, hostile to Islam."

The difference between Blair's view and Obama's is not academic. By his misguided actions and words, including apologizing to foreigners for America's pursuit of its national interests, Obama inadvertently feeds the myth that our nation is Islamophobic.

That myth, as Blair aptly describes it, is the central justification for indiscriminate slaughter against our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and our civilians at home.

"The world had to be remade as a result of September 11th," Blair said, citing a "completely different type of terrorist threat" willing to use nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

"It's not just the 3,000 people that died that day, but the fact that, if it could have been 30,000, they would have killed 30,000 or 300,000," he said.

For that reason, he defends the invasion of Iraq and believes Iran must not get a nuclear weapon, even supporting a military attack to stop it.

By contrast, Obama's misty-eyed mistake started from Day One, with his groveling in Egypt and elsewhere and abject expressions of respect for the thugocracy running Iran. These genuflections serve to confirm the belief among many Muslims that America has wronged Islam and that Obama will correct the error. It is no coincidence that among U.S. religious groups, Muslims are Obama's biggest supporters.

He continued down the wrong road at his news conference Friday, a revealing performance where he removed any doubt he still supports the Ground Zero mosque and a civilian trial for the mastermind of 9/11, citing the need to bolster "our image in the world."

As for the vast majority of New Yorkers and Americans who oppose both, Obama dismissively referred to "political rhetoric" and said people are "fearful."

"At a time when the country is anxious generally and going through a tough time, then fears can surface, suspicions, divisions can surface in a society," he said.

The comments recall his campaign claim that small-town Americans are "bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them." Two years later, he still holds the same elite condescension toward his countrymen. The people continue to disappoint their leader, but, as the polls confirm, the feeling is mutual.

Michael Goodwin is a New York Post columnist.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nine Years After September 11 -- United We Stood, Divided We Now Stand

By Dan Gainor

Nine years and it still seems like we just woke from a nightmare. September 11, 2001, is seared into the national consciousness like Pearl Harbor 60 years before – only worse because we watched it on television as it happened. A nation was transfixed while 3,000 of our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers, our classmates and our family members perished in violence and fire.

They were killed in the Twin Towers, in a field in Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon itself. Police officers and fire fighters fell by the hundreds trying to save as many as they could. All were victims of the kind of terror Americans had grown used to hearing about elsewhere. But not here.

A grieving America turned to images of the Statue of Liberty to find solace. Artists from around the world depicted the statue as sad or proud or a mother defending her child. Our nation rallied under the motto: “United We Stand.”

Now we know we were never all that united. Soon after fire fighters raised a flag in the ruins of New York, the fingerpointing began. George Bush was to blame, though he only recently had taken office. America was to blame because of its longstanding friendship with Israel. Everyone was to blame it seemed, except the monsters driven by hate to harm the innocent.

Not long after the Twin Towers fell, the crazy conspiracies rose in their place. The attack was an inside job we were told as the 9/11 truther industry spread like the plague it is. By 2004, “half (49.3%) of New York City residents and 41% of New York citizens overall say that some of our leaders ‘knew in advance that attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001, and that they consciously failed to act,’” according to a Zogby International poll.

Almost a decade after these attacks, many crazies still believe America was involved or knew they were going to happen. A poll by Angus Reid Public Opinion from March 2010 claims 15 percent “think claims that the collapse of the World Trade Center was the result of a controlled demolition are credible.” Millions around the globe believe this garbage – blaming the U.S. or even Israel for the attacks.

Journalism, the supposed “first draft of history,” has failed in one of the most important events in recent memory. It’s no wonder. Many of today’s talking heads have pushed this hurtful nonsense as a way to bash Bush.

Hollywood’s own Rosie O’Donnell told “The View” that, while she didn’t blame government for the World Trade Center attack, one of the buildings fell in a way that “defies physics.” O’Donnell went on to say “it is impossible for a building to fall the way it fell without explosives being involved.” The same show also devoted some of its airtime to the equally despicable truther fantasies of former Minnesota Gov. and pro wrestler Jesse “The Body” Ventura.

It wasn’t just the news. The FX show “Rescue Me” even included claims that a 9/11 conspiracy was part of of “a massive neo-conservative government effort.” Whether it’s former green jobs czar Van Jones signing a truther petition or loose cannon Florida Rep. Alan Grayson who said Bush “let it happen,” too many fringe elements have capitalized on our national misery.

Just scant days before this year’s 9/11 anniversary, ABC’s “Nightline” profiled a talk radio truther who said the attacks were “an inside job” and “a staged event to launch the Iraq war.”

Some crazies are laughing all the way to the bank. Search Amazon.com for “9/11 truth” and there are more than 200 items from books and DVDs to T-shirts with the slogan “9/11 was an inside job!” and a picture of the buildings burning with Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld laughing nearby.

Far too many on the left and right believe such insanity. Their theories have thousands of their fellow Americans complicit in the evil scheme, because it would have taken a cast of thousands to accomplish such evil. They believe nonetheless.

Others chastise us for responding at all. Newsweek International editor Fareed Zakaria recently blasted America’s response to the attacks. According to Zakaria, who will soon be moving his tripe to Time magazine, “September 11 was a shock to the American psyche and the American system. As a result, we overreacted.”

Somehow I doubt Zakaria overreacted. It’s also unclear what would have satisfied him. Did Minute Men overreact after Lexington and Concord? We certainly could have tried harder to find peace with Britain rather than fight. Should we have forgiven Santa Anna his attack on the Alamo? I doubt those who died there would have wanted that. Did we overreact after Pearl Harbor? Perhaps America should have tried to find peace with Imperial Japan instead of fighting for freedom.

That’s the kind of 20/20 hindsight easy for those in the media who think themselves so above the pain and anguish that they remove flags and patriotism from their broadcasts. This year, journalists will once again try to understand the lingering wound that is 9/11. And once again they will fail.

Meanwhile, the vast majority of Americans want more. Nine years later and we are still seeking justice. Perhaps Bin Laden is already dead or we might never find him. One day he will answer for his crimes. The Bible tells us: “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill.” This 9/11, perhaps that’s all is the comfort we can find.

Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. Gainor can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.

Where's the Outrage?

By Phyllis Chesler

 The double standards and diabolic doublespeak are surreal, unbelievable.

“Offended” (highly choreographed) Muslim mobs rioted after Muslim troublemakers slipped two offensive cartoons into the original, more benign Danish cartoon mix—but most of the Muslim world stands silently by as more radical elements in the faith engage in the gruesome honor murders of Muslim girls and women—by Muslims.

The Muslim world stands silently by as Christians living in the Middle East and south Asia are not allowed to build churches anywhere in the Muslim world. -- In Saudi Arabia, Christians can only pray quietly, inside their own homes; even then, they remain at risk. And yet, when Terry Jones, the minister of a fifty family church in Florida, promises to burn a Koran—all hell breaks loose among the easily “offended.”

Muslims are “offended” when European government leaders propose to ban the burqa—to guarantee female citizens their universal human rights; but, many stand by silenty and fail to utter a peep when more radical Muslims throw acid on the faces of young Muslim girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan whose veils are not up to par.

What is wrong with this picture? Why are so many westerners fooled into believing that Islamic religious and gender apartheid is actually a religious practice as opposed to a highly barbaric form of totalitarian misogny?

Muslims (and their western left-wing supporters) cry “Islamophobia” when Islamist terrorists are arrested for murdering infidels, but are silent about the Muslim genocidal campaign against Jewish Israel, against Christians in Muslim countries. Likewise, only a few Muslims dare condemn the murder of apostates (those Muslims who leave Islam), by Muslims.

And now—amidst a barrage of western mainstream media coverage which is, likewise, “offended” by any challenge to Imam’s Rauf’s mega-mosque near Ground Zero—easily “offended” Muslims are silent over the fate of 43 year-old Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the Iranian woman who has been imprisoned since 2006, (that means tortured consistently), then flogged one hundred times and who now faces death by stoning.

Her crime? Sakineh allegedly committed adultery. This can mean anything from she was raped or dared report it, or that she dared to leave a husband against his will.

The Pope came out against her stoning, Brazil offered her asylum, and the European Parliament voted 658-1 against stoning as barbarism.

President Obama has, so far, remained silent.

Make no mistake: The Iranians are still committed to her execution but, perhaps, given the international outcry, they may now just hang her. The Iranian authorities now say she also conspired in the murder of her husband. This may mean that he would not stop beating her and would not free her to leave him and that she had nowhere to turn. It may also mean that the Iranian government is flat out lying.

Iran’s leaders deny the European Holocaust. They have instigated deadly terrorist attacks against Jews in Argentina and in Israel. (The mastermind of Hezbollah’s Argentinian operation is none other than Iran’s current Minister of Defense!) Iran has its sights set on the Gulf’s oil fields.

They are a clear and present danger to Western civilization and its values—and to all good Muslims who are in their clutches.

I do not think that Minister Jones’ decision was “wise” earlier this week but it was clearly his right to burn the Koran. Many Americans who are now in the Obama administration once proudly burned the American flag on American soil. Rightly or wrongly, our laws protected them.

What do you think is more dangerous: A Florida minister who has had enough of “Offendophobia,” the fear that Muslims will riot, bomb, blow us all up when they are “offended” and who wants to bell the cat, so to speak-- or an Islamic state like Iran with nuclear power?

When are Westerners, especially those in the White House and Congress, going to stand up to a nuclear Iran and take it down?

Phyllis Chesler, Ph.D. is professor emerita of psychology and the author of thirteen books including "Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman" and "The New Anti-Semitism." She has written extensively about Islamic gender apartheid and about honor killings. She once lived in Kabul, Afghanistan. She may be reached through her website: www.phyllis-chesler.com.

President Boo Hoo

By Liz Peek

Finally, we know what President Obama’s initials stand for! He’s the Boo –HooO president! OK, that’s a little cheesy, but seriously, have we ever had a whinier leader of the free world? Most recently, and quite ungrammatically (it was not scripted into the First Teleprompter), he whined that his opponents “talk about me like a dog”. This doesn’t even make much sense, but is consistent with the woe-is-me tone of this president, who has complained about attacks from the right and the left, and couched nearly every major address with an extreme whine about taking over the White House during tough times. Just for the record, he did want the presidency, right?

All this self-pitying no doubt feeds on sinking poll ratings, and the frustration the president now feels with the American people. They just refuse to applaud his many dazzling accomplishments, and most especially remain stubbornly hostile to Obamacare. What is wrong with these people?

Here’s why Americans have fallen out of love with President Obama: they feel snookered. He has not delivered his promised good faith effort to heal a wounded country. He has not brought transparency to government and he has ignored the priorities of the people. Most important, he has not been truthful with Americans, and they know it.

Most recently he has hit the stump, slipping into campaign mode with the ease of someone putting on worn slippers. He has visited cities hard-hit by the recession, and promised to turn around the economy. With the excitement of a life-long celibate discovering sex, he is focused on job creation – just in time for the elections. He’s all for infrastructure investment and lower taxes on the middle class and developing clean industries. But he is not – repeat NOT –in favor of helping out the “special interests.”

One wonders, who are those “special interests”? Obama never really identifies those blackguards, but he does give clues. In Ohio, Obama chastised those who, over the past decade, “cut regulations for special interests,” and in the same speech derides Representative John Boehner for wanting to “cut more rules for corporations”. It’s pretty clear that it is American corporations who are so undeserving of his assistance.

Further proof: Obama says his proposals “will encourage large corporations to get off the sidelines and start putting their profits to work in places like Cleveland and Toledo and Dayton.” See? Big, bad companies are to blame for our sky-high unemployment – not the poor management, blizzard of legislation, record deficits and consequent anxiety inspired by this White House. Obama wants corporations to “live up to their responsibilities to treat consumers fairly and play by the same rules as everyone else.” What rules? The rules governing Congress? Heaven help us!

When Obama told Business Week in February that he’s a “fierce advocate for a thriving, dynamic free market” he means what, exactly? That he’s really, really behind any company that has fewer than maybe 100 workers, and is thus classified as a “small business?” That can’t be right, because he knows full well that his proposed elimination of tax cuts on top earners squarely socks small companies. A study from the American Enterprise Institute, using IRS data, shows that 48% of the “net income of sole proprietorships, partnerships and S corporations reported on tax returns went to households with incomes about $200,000 in 2007”. So, clearly allowing the top tax rate to rise will harm just those companies he is so quick to embrace.

President Obama seems to be a very confused individual. He says “We were handed a $1.3 trillion deficit when we walked through the door”, but actually the deficit in 2008 was only $455 billion. That figure included the first stimulus package of $300 billion. The deficit in 2007 was $163 billion. He says that Bush “cut taxes, especially for millionaires and billionaires”, but in fact Bush removed 5 million low-income families from the tax roles. The bottom tax rate was 15%; Bush reduced that to 10%. The child tax credit was raised from $600 to $1,000.

Another reality check for Mr. Obama: when he says “I believe government should be lean; government should be efficient” – that’s a worthy goal best reached by starting at the top. Hiring dozens of White House czars that are presumably overseeing turf well trod by regulators does not lead to efficiency. (Did you know the president just appointed an Asian Carp czar—you couldn’t make this stuff up!) Writing legislation like the financial overhaul bill that leaves nearly every tough decision to future studies and rule-makers is not efficient. A budget deficit of $1.6 trillion is not lean.

The truth is that these are hard times. We are in a dreadful recession because public policy encouraged heavy lending to non-credit worthy borrowers in order to fulfill a wrong-headed goal of broadening home ownership. This stupidity was compounded by a reckless use of leverage by those on Wall Street who bundled and bought mortgage securities in ways that made them prone to failure. President Obama is right; there are villains aplenty in the narrative of the past few years, and victims galore. He is wrong, though, to channel his community organizer inner self and turn the country against the business community. Small or large, it is companies that will end our unemployment crisis – not the federal government.

Liz Peek is a financial columnist who writes for The Fiscal Times.  For more visit LizPeek.com.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Another Proposal From Obama to Throw Your Money Down the Drain

By John Lott

 After focusing on health care and various regulatory bills for over a year, Democrats are trying to convince voters that they do care about the economy and the high unemployment rate. With the November elections looming (only 55 days away) and Congress set to adjourn on October 8, this is the week for Democrats to push new stimulus proposals. They're doing this although we already have had the $814 billion giant stimulus package last fall and the recent $26 billion in aid for state and local government workers. The various new proposals would increase spending to well over another $200 billion.

The centerpiece of today’s speech in Cleveland is to announce changes in the tax law. President Obama may never have managed a business, but he is sure making up for that lack of experience since becoming president. He is now making lots of business decisions for hapless firms as his new stimulus bills pick what firms should invest in and what product lines will get tax subsidies.

Obama talks tax cuts, but he wants to raise the marginal income taxes that small business owners pay and then give them back some of that money only if they make business decisions that his administration approves of. Large businesses also will get tax cuts, but only if they do what the Obama administration wants them to do.

Economists advise that the best tax systems have low, stable tax rates that let businesses make decisions on how to operate. President Obama violates all these rules, with high marginal rates, temporary tax changes, and very complicated deductions that micromanage how companies operate. Whether a company is even eligible for the deductions depends on how large the company is.

In Cleveland, today Obama will announce that he will fight to make sure that tax rates go up for those making over $200,000, many of them owning small businesses. But his “Small Business Jobs Act,” which will give small businesses $12 billion in loans and "targeted" tax advantages, offers to somewhat offset these higher tax rates.

In addition, the bill creates a “Small Business Lending Fund” that lets the Obama administration make $30 billion in investments in "community banks." You won't be surprised to learnd that the Obama administration has complete discretion over who gets this money.

The president’s speech will also put forward $130 billion for expanded research and development tax credits and a 100 percent temporary business tax deduction for capital investments made before the end of 2011. On Monday, the president proposed another $50 billion in spending on "roads, rails and runways."

The problems with the "Small Business Jobs Act" are revealed in the details: both the loans and the tax cuts micromanage how companies should be run. Take the "bonus depreciation," provision which provides a 50 percent first-year depreciation. Among the lucky assets that are eligible: "Single purpose agricultural (livestock) or horticultural structures," "Storage facilities (except buildings and their structural components) used in connection with distributing petroleum or any primary product of petroleum." "sewage disposal services," and "off-the-self computer software."

The Obama administration officials and Democratic congressional leaders somehow figured out that an agricultural building that serves just one purpose deserves a deduction. But if it does two or more things, it should not be subsidized.

So, a farmer who would have built one building will now build two buildings so that they can get a huge depreciation on both. Why should larger farms, where it may make more sense to have a building that does one function, be the ones who benefit? Of course, this is all nonsensical. And so is the quick write-off for certain types of computer software but not others. And why does "sewage disposal services" deserve such special treatment?

The loans being proposed are no different. The Obama administration and Democrats are picking what type of firms will get loans and what they can get loans for. "Brick and mortar" operations get a loan "to acquire major fixed assets for expansion or modernization." Why are those particular operations singled out in the CDC/504 loan program? Why can't those loans be used to for marketing or product development? And, similarly, if you export certain products, you can get a special loan. It all sounds like pork-projects directed to certain lobbying industries.

Of course, a simple way of getting more loans to firms is for banks to be allowed to make more profits on the loans they make. They could do that by lowering tax rates. But "profits" is a dirty word to Obama and Democrats. And another way is for the government to run less of a deficit. If the government borrows less, there will be more for private firms. Besides, to encourage businesses to invest and for households to have more funds to invest, lower taxes are crucial. This all means less wasteful government spending.

These bills are filled with pork. Does anyone believe that the Obama administration won’t let politics enter into the decisions about which “community banks” will receive the $30 billion in the Small Business Lending Fund?

Alas, the chaos created by politicians rewiring the economy will stay with us. When the gravy train runs out and politically favored companies have to fend for themselves, many of the companies that are growing now will have to retrench. All this is just throwing American's money down the drain.

R. Lott, Jr. is an economist and author of "More Guns, Less Crime."(University of Chicago Press, 2010)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Liberals Are Losing It

By Liz Peek

Liberals have become hysterical. Who can blame them? Just when things were going so well, their beloved leader has done the unthinkable – he has flopped. Not only has President Obama crashed in the polls, but he has managed to anger the right, the left and the center of the country, not an easy feat.

Worse for the U.S., the policies that energized his followers have failed as well. An economy that was sending out “green shoots” and accelerating a year ago has slowed before the anti-business invective and regulation-happy policies of the White House as surely as a race car dragging Mt. Rushmore in its wake.

Even more unsettling to those who still adhere to Obamanomics, the people—those unruly, pesky, ill-informed, racist, uncaring and misguided hordes who so recently embraced the message of unity and hope that swept an inexperienced youngster into office – have rejected policies that are for their own good.

They don’t believe that Obamacare will allow us to cover 31 million people and bring down costs. They don’t believe that the financial overhaul will prevent another recession. They don’t believe that reaching out to anti-U.S. leaders around the world and treating terrorists kindly is the path to peace. Silly people. They have turned against not only Obama, but his party as well. The clock is ticking.

Hence, the shrill noises emanating from the left. Consider recent columns in The New York Times by liberal stalwarts Paul Krugman and Frank Rich. I am actually surprised that The Times editorial board hasn’t attempted some beneficial muting. Like a damper on a tinny piano, a little restraint might keep their audience from fleeing the room with their hands over their ears.

In Monday’s paper, Paul Krugman wrote about the terrible harassment doled out to the Clintons by Republicans, calling it a “witch hunt,” and comparing it with the criticisms now being leveled at President Obama.

I’m not a fan of useless partisan hectoring, but suggesting that Republicans have a lock on this sort of behavior is ridiculous. Was Mr. Krugman absent during the Bush years? Has he ever heard of Sarah Palin? Does he seriously suggest that Democrats were more restrained in their attacks on those two than the GOP was on Bubba? Please, let’s at least keep recent history in perspective. (After all, it was just a couple of weeks ago that Krugman described Republican Congressman Paul Ryan as a flimflam man, and his policy initiatives as the “audacity of dopes.” Not really adding to the civil discourse is Mr. Krugman, I would say.)

Mr. Krugman’s problem is that his favored economic prescriptions for the economy have fallen short, destabilizing his grip on reality. “Where is this rage coming from?” Mr. Krugman wonders.

Well, there are tens of millions out of work, and Mr. Obama has spent his energies and the taxpayers’ money on a laundry list of issues that most Americans don’t like, rather than try to drum up jobs.

Krugman cannot accept that the stimulus, which he championed and of which he advocates still more, has not worked. He is having difficulty adopting to the obvious: the turnaround in the economy has to come from the private sector, which has been so bullied and bloodied by his leader that a nascent recovery has been all but shut down.

He actually gets most worked up that former President George W. Bush has not come out in support of peaceful Muslims, just to back up the beleaguered president.

Is he kidding? After the drubbing the current administration has handed the former president, why in the world would W want to weigh in?

Meanwhile, Frank Rich harkened back to his career as a drama critic over the weekend, portraying the politics of the Koch brothers as something shameful and conspiratorial. Good grief.

Yes, the Kochs and Rupert Murdoch are working towards their “selfish interests” as Mr. Rich says. -- They are trying to undo the damage being done to our country by President Obama and his compadres in Congress.

Unless the United States emerges strong and healthy from this disastrous administration, all of us will be considerably less well off.

Well, I support that selfish interest, because it benefits all of us.

Rich describes Koch’s companies as “spewing” an array of industrial products – implying that things like Dixie cups and Lycra- products used by nearly everyone – are akin to toxic waste. (See what I mean about hysterical?) He is in the camp, unfortunately led by President Obama, that views corporations with utter suspicion. We have seen one industry after another attacked by a White House that is confident the country wants a scapegoat.

They are wrong. The country wants and needs leadership – leadership that can inspire confidence. Consumers and business managers must believe that tomorrow is going to be better than today, that the government will not undercut progress by arbitrarily changing the rules of the game and that efforts undertaken by the White House will benefit all Americans, and not just favored voting blocks.

Today, we do not have that leader. Change and hope is sounding like a better rallying cry than ever.

Liz Peek is a financial columnist  For more visit LizPeek.com

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Style Over Substance In Obama's Iraq Speech

By Martin Sieff

He read his Teleprompter well and without stumbling. He lined up all the used-to-death clich├ęs in an orderly line. And that was all there was to the president’s nationally televised address on Tuesday night.

We haven’t left peace and success behind in Iraq. We’ve left a fiasco of a failure. For more than five months the president and his administration have signally desisted from knocking together the heads of the Iraqi politicians who still haven’t been able to even form the pretense of a new national government. Bombings in Iraq and fatalities from them are accelerating to a level not seen since before Gen. David Petraeus launched the surge strategy in January 2007.

And as for the withdrawal of all combat troops from Iraq that the speech applauded, that was all smoke and mirrors too. In a rare embarrassing fact that he allowed to intrude into his rhetoric, the president admitted that 50,000 Americans are staying in Iraq. He didn’t specify what they will be doing there, but rest assured, they are all now prospective targets for Al Qaeda, the rising Shiite militias and the force to really watch – Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army.

Of course the president nowhere talked about why it made more sense to commit scores of thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, a country without any serious strategic significance or major resources whatsoever, while stripping them from Iraq, which for all the mess he and his predecessors made of it, at least has the second largest reserves of easily accessible, high quality oil on earth.

But facts have never got in the way for Barack Obama before and they didn’t on Tuesday night.

The speech while mercifully much shorter, was otherwise just a random reassembling of all the vacuous phrases about “ better future,” ”historic moment”’ “lasting peace and long-term prosperity.” And all of that was only in the second paragraph. There was less hot gas in the Hindenburg.

One got the eerie impression that the president’s many speechwriters didn’t even write a word of it. They just set a random software program to extract the necessary uplifting phrases from his 2008 campaign rhetoric and run 20 minutes of them together in no apparent order. We’ve heard it all before, and as our domestic economy collapses, and what’s left of security in Iraq and Afghanistan disintegrates, we’ll hear it all again.

But let’s leave the last word to St. Paul in his First Epistle to the Thessalonians. “When they shall say peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them … and they shall not escape.”

Martin Sieff is a former senior foreign correspondent for The Washington Times and the former Managing Editor, International Affairs, for United Press International
 



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