SEALs slam Obama for using them as 'ammunition' in bid to take credit for bin Laden killing during election campaign
By Toby Harnden
PUBLISHED: 18:35 EST, 30 April 2012 | UPDATED: 19:34 EST, 30 April 2012
Serving and former US Navy SEALs have slammed President Barack Obama for taking the credit for killing Osama bin Laden and accused him of using Special Forces operators as ‘ammunition’ for his re-election campaign.
The SEALs spoke out to MailOnline after the Obama campaign released an ad entitled ‘One Chance’. In it President Bill Clinton is featured saying that Mr Obama took ‘the harder and the more honourable path’ in ordering that bin Laden be killed. The words ‘Which path would Mitt Romney have taken?’ are then displayed. Besides the ad, the White House is marking the first anniversary of the SEAL Team Six raid that killed bin Laden inside his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan with a series of briefings and an NBC interview in the Situation Room designed to highlight the ‘gutsy call’ made by the President.
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Mr Obama used a news conference today to trumpet his personal role and imply that his Republican opponent Mr Romney, who in 2008 expressed reservations about the wisdom of sending troops into Pakistan, would have let bin Laden live.
‘I said that I'd go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him, and I did,’ Mr Obama said. ‘If there are others who have said one thing and now suggest they'd do something else, then I'd go ahead and let them explain it.’
Ryan Zinke, a former Commander in the US Navy who spent 23 years as a SEAL and led a SEAL Team 6 assault unit, said: ‘The decision was a no brainer. I applaud him for making it but I would not overly pat myself on the back for making the right call.
‘I think every president would have done the same. He is justified in saying it was his decision but the preparation, the sacrifice - it was a broader team effort.’
Mr Zinke, who is now a Republican state senator in Montana, added that MR Obama was exploiting bin Laden’s death for his re-election bid. ‘The President and his administration are positioning him as a war president using the SEALs as ammunition. It was predictable.’
Mr Obama has faced criticism even from allies about his decision to make a campaign ad about the bin Laden raid. Arianna Huffington, an outspoken liberal who runs the left-leaning Huffington Post website, roundly condemned it.
She told CBS: ‘We should celebrate the fact that they did such a great job. It's one thing to have an NBC special from the Situation Room... all that to me is perfectly legitimate, but to turn it into a campaign ad is one of the most despicable things you can do.’
Campaigning in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Mr Romney responded to a shouted question by a reporter by saying: ‘Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order.’
A serving SEAL Team member said: ‘Obama wasn’t in the field, at risk, carrying a gun. As president, at every turn he should be thanking the guys who put their lives on the line to do this. He does so in his official speeches because he speechwriters are smart.
‘But the more he tries to take the credit for it, the more the ground operators are saying, “Come on, man!” It really didn’t matter who was president. At the end of the day, they were going to go.’
Chris Kyle, a former SEAL sniper with 160 confirmed and another 95 unconfirmed kills to his credit, said: ‘The operation itself was great and the nation felt immense pride. It was great that we did it.
‘But bin Laden was just a figurehead. The war on terror continues. Taking him out didn’t really change anything as far as the war on terror is concerned and using it as a political attack is a cheap shot.
‘In years to come there is going to be information that will come out that Obama was not the man who made the call. He can say he did and the people who really know what happened are inside the Pentagon, are in the military and the military isn’t allowed to speak out against the commander- in-chief so his secret is safe.’
Senior military figures have said that Admiral William McRaven, a former SEAL who was then head of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) made the decision to take bin Laden out. Tactical decisions were delegated even further down the chain of command.
Mr Kyle added: ‘He's trying to say that Romney wouldn't have made the same call? Anyone who is patriotic to this country would have made that exact call, Democrat or Republican. Obama is taking more credit than he is due but it's going to get him some pretty good mileage.’
A former intelligence official who was serving in the US government when bin Laden was killed said that the Obama administration knew about the al-Qaeda leader’s whereabouts in October 2010 but delayed taking action and risked letting him escape.
‘In the end, Obama was forced to make a decision and do it. He knew that if he didn’t do it the political risks in not taking action were huge. Mitt Romney would have made the call but he would have made it earlier – as would George W. Bush.’
Brandon Webb, a former SEAL who spent 13 years on active duty and served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said: ‘Bush should get partial credit for putting the system in place.
‘Obama inherited a very robust package with regards to special ops and the intelligence community. But Obama deserves credit because he got bin Laden – you can’t take that away from him.
‘My friends that work in Special Operations Command (SOCOM) that have been on video teleconferences with Obama on these kill or capture situations say that Obama has no issue whatsoever with making decisions and typically it's kill. He’s hitting the kill button every time. I have a lot of respect for him for that.’
But he said that many SEALs were dismayed about the amount of publicity the Obama administration had generated about SEAL Team Six, the very existence of which is highly classified.
‘The majority of the SEALs I know are really proud of the operation but it does become “OK, enough is enough – we’re ready to get back to work and step out of the limelight.” They don’t want to be continuously paraded around a global audience like a show dog.
‘Obama has a very good relationship with the Special Operations community at large, especially the SEALs, and it’s nice to see. We had the same relationship with George W. Bush when he was president.’
It was ‘stretching a little much’ for Mr Obama to suggest only he would have made the decision. ‘I personally I don't think Romney would have any problem making tough decisions. He got a very accomplished record of making decision as a business professional.
‘He may not have charisma but he clearly has leadership skills. I don’t think he'd have any problem taking that decision.’
Clint Bruce, who gave up the chance of an NFL career to serve as a SEAL officer before retiring as a lieutenant after nine years, said: ‘We were extremely surprised and discouraged by the publicity because it compromises the ability of those guys to operate.
‘It’s a waste of time to speculate about who would and wouldn’t have made that decision. It was a symphony of opportunity and intelligence that allowed this administration to give the green light. We want to acknowledge that they made that decision.
‘Politicians should let the public know where they stand on national security but not in the play-by-play, detailed way that has been done recently. The intricacies of national security should not become part of stump speeches.’
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Monday, April 30, 2012
By Katie Kieffer
Your doctor won’t tell you this when you’re sitting in his office, so I will: He hates Obamacare. It’s time you know why your doctor is concerned about Obamacare.
Doctors already live in constant fear of malpractice lawsuits. The last thing they want to do is stick their necks out and publicly attack Obamacare. Doctors also do not have an effective D.C. lobby group or public advocate.
A 2011 survey by Jackson and Coker reports that most doctors believe the mega-lobbyist group, American Medical Association (AMA), fails to represent docters’ interests on Capitol Hill. Forbes reports: “Much of that dissatisfaction stems from the organization’s support for President Obama’s contentious health care reform package. … [The AMA] has backed a law that would force some physicians to work longer hours for less pay and others to operate in perpetually overcrowded emergency rooms.”
Doctors question how the AMA can represent them in D.C. while cutting back-door deals with the government. Doctors have been effectively forced to fund the AMA by purchasing Medicare and Medicaid billing code books. Dr. Jane Orient, a privately practicing doctor in Arizona, blew the whistle when she discovered that, beginning in 1998, the Health Care Financing Administration gave: “… the AMA the exclusive copyright on the codes…” reports The New American.
Since the AMA does not speak up for doctors, I will try to be a voice for doctors. Here are two primary reasons why your doctor hates Obamacare:
1.) Doctors Need Ownership
Dagny Taggart is the heroine of Ayn Rand’s novel, “Atlas Shrugged.” At one point, Dagny asks a renowned medical doctor named Dr. Hendricks why he left the medical practice. He says: “I quit when medicine was placed under State control … Do you know the kind of skill it demands, and the years of passionate, merciless, excruciating devotion that go to acquiring that skill [performing brain surgery]? …I would not let them [politicians] dictate the purpose for which my years of study had been spent, or the conditions of my work, or my choice of patients, or the amount of my reward. I observed that in all the discussions that preceded the enslavement of medicine, men discussed everything—except the desires of the doctors. … Let them discover the kind of doctors that their system will now produce. Let them discover, in their operating rooms and hospital wards, that it is not safe to place their lives in the hands of a man whose life they have throttled. It is not safe, if he is the sort of man who resents it—and still less safe, if he is the sort who doesn’t.”
Obamacare removes ownership from the medical field. An individual doctor no longer owns his education, career or even day-to-day lifestyle choices. Under Obamacare, he goes from feeling a sense of caring ownership for his patients and his craft to feeling over-worked, under-paid and micro-managed.
Obamacare effectively steals from doctors by confiscating the skills, energy and time they have devoted to medicine. When you steal a man’s life-long passion; his hard-won goal; his lifestyle—do not expect him to be happy or to maintain his conscientious passion for practicing medicine.
2.) Doctors Need Motivation and Compensation
A better name for Obamacare is the “16.7 Percent Paycut,” because that is what it means for doctors. In order to “save” Medicare, Obamacare asks doctors to take a 16.7 percent paycut. And, guess what? Patients will suffer, not just doctors. Patients will suffer because smart and caring young men and women will forfeit their dreams of entering the medical profession and choose alternate careers that promise less stress and higher pay.
A few months ago, I had the opportunity to visit my brother at his medical school and meet some of the other medical students. They were intelligent and hard-working individuals who clearly cared about helping people. I did not get the sense that money was their primary motivation in becoming doctors.
Indeed, 60 percent of doctors are concerned that Obamacare will diminish their ability to care for patients, finds a Feb. 29, 2012 survey completed by The Doctors Company Market Research, America’s largest surgeon and physician medical liability insurer.
Money simply allows smart young Americans, like my brother and his peers, to justify spending an additional four-to-ten years after college holed up in a library just to graduate with $160,000 in debt (the median debt load for medical school grads according to a 2010 Mayo Clinic study).
There are 70 million baby-boomers out there who will be looking for geriatricians soon. But there is only one geriatrician for every 2,600 Americans over the age of 75, according to the American Geriatrics Society. Why is this? Money. Geriatricians made a median salary of $183,523 in 2010, reports the Medical Group Management Association. America desperately needs more geriatricians, but young doctors are choosing to specialize in other areas because they can earn two-to-three times more.
Money is a suitable incentive, especially when you are asking people to give up their youth studying while amassing debt. But Obamacare removes the practical “profit motive” of capitalism and replaces it with the idealistic “poverty motive” of socialism.
A Better Way
I think trying to save something that is hopelessly broken, like Medicare, is a mistake. Ultimately, I think it’s a choice between complete government control over limited medical care resources or a more freedom-based system where prices are lower because competition exists and health insurance is actually insurance (now, insurance covers basic, common care which is ridiculous and causes overall healthcare costs to rise). Insurance should only be involved in major medical care; otherwise, it’s not insurance, it’s maintenance.
When it comes to medicine, you get what you pay for. As patients, I think we should be willing to pay a little more in exchange for the highest quality of care. Sorry, President Obama, but your plan is “JurassicParkCare”—doctors go extinct and their patients go untreated while your buddies in Hollywood cheer.
To read more about ObamaCare, click here.
Posted by Brett at 11:32 PM
By David N. Bass from the May 2012 issue
Social Security won't be there for today's twentysomethings. Yet their piggy banks—and 401(k)s—remain empty.
Former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson described them as "the greediest generation." He was referring to elderly voters keenly opposed to reforms needed to keep Social Security solvent. In typical flamboyant style, the Wyoming Republican also compared the entitlement program to a milk cow "with 310 million tits." Now there is a word picture.
With an estimated 10,000 new baby boomers qualifying for Social Security each day, the milk will soon run out. In the coming years, my generation, the Millennials (born from the 1980s through the mid-1990s), will bankroll a retirement scheme for our elders that we ourselves will never participate in, at least not in the same way. A steadily declining birthrate fed by abortion on demand, a swiftly graying population, an extended average life span, and unsustainable national spending have created a perfect storm for Social Security and set the stage for a titanic generational war.
The armies are equally strong in population. Millennials—also known as Generation Y or echo boomers—are roughly equivalent in number to boomers (born in the post-war years of 1946 to 1964). boomers have paid into Social Security throughout their working careers and feel entitled to the promised benefits. But we Millennials also feel entitled to keep the fruits of our labor and are hesitant to pay into a system that likely won't be around when it's our turn to retire.
Although equal in number, the two generations are far from equal in political power. Millennials are just now entering the political and financial world, while boomers command the top echelons of society. Millennials might determine what's trendy in music and fashion, but boomers pull the strings of power. (Their clout is shared with some members of Generation X, born from the mid-1960s through the 1970s, and the Silent Generation, born during the Roaring Twenties through the Great Depression and World War II.)
As a result, the will to implement meaningful reform of Social Security has been absent. Those who have retired, or are nearing retirement, don't want to see their benefits affected. The end result of inaction is clear: The Social Security Trust Fund will go bankrupt by 2037. Accordingly, Millennials will pay into a system for decades but see no benefits (at worst) or reduced benefits (at best).
The generational fleecing isn't confined to Millennials. Generation X, composed of those currently in their 30s and 40s, will see drastically diminished benefits as well. Thomas Firey, managing editor of the Cato Institute's publication Regulation, made the point in an article published more than a decade ago. While young people now have 12.4 percent of our earnings commandeered by Social Security, boomers who entered the workforce in the late 1960s paid only 6.5 percent of their earnings to the entitlement. Even later, when the payroll tax was raised, Firey estimated that boomers paid around 10 percent during the latter half of their working careers.
"That's the boomers' bargain: They've paid less of their earnings into Social Security than we Gen-X/Yers, yet they'll receive more in benefits than we will and we'll pick up the tab," Firey wrote. "And when we retire, there will be no money saved in Social Security to pay for our retirement, unless we pull the same scam on our children that the boomers are pulling on us."
Given that reality, it's a political wonder that Texas Governor Rick Perry was roundly criticized for calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme. Particularly for young people, that's precisely what it is.
The result for my generation is an even worse financial picture than many have predicted. Millennials' mentality of instant gratification, combined with a poor job market, means that we aren't saving for retirement. Yet we won't have two key retirement benefits—Social Security and pensions—that are available to older generations. In addition, the dearth of jobs means we are losing key earning and saving years that could go a long way toward alleviating the retirement debacle.
The news isn't all gloom and despair. Millennials don't have their collective heads in the sand on Social Security's insolvency. A recent Pew Research Center report found that 72 percent of Millennials don't expect Social Security to be their main source of retirement income, and 42 percent don't think they will get income from the entitlement at all. That's why Generation Y is far more willing to support an overhaul. The same Pew survey found that an overwhelming number of Millennials, 86 percent, support reforms that would allow them to invest their Social Security contributions in a private retirement account.
A clear indicator of their mistrust in government is that young people would rather invest their money in the up-and-down stock market than rely on the government to keep the funds safe and untouched until their golden years. Millennials support choice in Social Security, even as many boomers and members of the Silent Generation consistently resist it. As Generation Y gains more political clout in the coming decades, desire for more substantial reform will accompany it.
But there is plenty of bad news. Although Generation Y might acknowledge Social Security's insolvency, we aren't doing anything about it from a personal responsibility standpoint. Our spending, saving, and general financial habits are abysmal. For those in my generation fortunate enough to be employed, and fortunate enough to have an employer who offers retirement savings benefits, nearly three-fourths do not take full advantage of the matching programs, according to an Aon Hewitt study from 2010. Worse, Hewitt found that 60 percent of workers in their 20s cashed out their 401(k) accounts, and suffered the resulting penalties, when they changed or lost jobs.
On the spending side of the equation, 42 percent of people under the age of 34 have $5,000 or more in non-mortgage personal debt, according to a study published by Demos, a left-of-center think tank based in New York City. Two-thirds of college students graduate with debt, which averages $24,000. Another characteristic of Generation Y—that we delay marriage—also has financial consequences. Married individuals are healthier, happier, and more financially prosperous and stable than their cohabiting or unmarried counterparts.
The perpetually sluggish job market is doing irreparable harm to Millennials' retirement prospects, too. The fundamental rule of compound interest is simple: Save early, safe often. A Millennial who begins planning in his early 20s must save less over time, and will end up with more in the bank at retirement, than a Millennial who waits until his late 30s. In 2011, an analysis by the online investment firm Scottrade found that 55 percent of Millennials have not started to save for retirement; only 21 percent are actively saving for their golden years.
A contributing factor is that Millennials have one of the worst unemployment rates of any age demographic in the United States. That has led many in my generation to hide in graduate school into their late 20s, erasing important earning years and making it more difficult to save for retirement adequately.
On that note, how much will Millennials need to save? Financial experts peg the figure at $2 million. That's double the $1 million figure typically used to describe how much boomers must have to weather their declining years. For average-to-low income Millennials accustomed to a consumerist, debt-loving society, that figure is a pipe dream. Put another way, if boomers haven't adequately saved for retirement, then Millennials certainly won't.
The reasons are clear: boomers, particularly those in the public sector, have had access to pensions in a way that Millennials will never experience, as the shift continues away from a defined-benefit to a defined-contribution model of savings. Pensions also are increasingly moot because so few workers remain with the same employers throughout their careers. Job-hopping is especially the case for Millennials.
Beyond pensions, boomers could rely on the two other legs of the three-legged stool of retirement planning, Social Security and personal savings. For Millennials, only one leg—personal savings—will be left. And it's doubtful that this "me generation," languishing in an extended adolescence, will have the wherewithal to adequately prepare on its own.
Yet if Millennials could keep and save the money they will pay into Social Security, it would go a long way in erasing the troubled future we face. Understood mathematically, losses that Millennials will experience resulting from Social Security are astounding. Even in a private investment making a sub-par return, Millennials would do far better than by continuing to prop up a Social Security system that either won't exist in the future or will look dramatically different.
What are the implications for the future? As a practical matter, we Millennials need to reorient our thinking on retirement. The idea of quitting work at age 65 and spending our golden ears pursuing leisure activities is one exclusive to the 20th century. FDR's New Deal birthed a widespread application of the concept, based on a desire to get old workers out of the market so that young workers could take their place. Due to poor financial planning and declines in home and investment income resulting from the Great Recession, many boomers will have to work past the traditional age of retirement. Millennials will have to do so in even larger numbers.
Free marketeers should take solace in Millennials' practical view of Social Security's bankruptcy. Although liberal on a host of issues, Generation Y takes a more conservative line on the retirement entitlement. Whether Millennials will fall prey to the fallacy of other generations—kicking the can down the road when it is within our power to enact meaningful change—remains to be seen. But the door is at least open.
In the end, Millennials will discover that Social Security was a good deal for those who got in early. It's a raw deal for those getting in late.
To read another article by David N. Bass, click here.
Posted by Brett at 11:23 PM
A concentrated dose of campaign wrongness.
by John Hayward
In a Monday appearance on CBS This Morning, liberal web magnate Arianna Huffington declared a certain campaign ad to be “one of the most despicable things you can do.”
The ad in question is the one where President Obama’s re-election team questions whether Mitt Romney would have authorized the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, pulling a Romney quote out of context to get the smear job done:
The Obama ad has been getting some fairly harsh reviews, although Huffington might be the first big figure on the Left to use the word “despicable” to describe it. The increasingly humorous Left-leaning PolitiFact made a game effort to cover Obama’s backside by writing a long essay that clearly demonstrates the ad is unfair… but then rates it “mostly true,” because at least it quoted Romney more-or-less accurately, in the course of distorting his meaning.
This comes as Time magazine published a memo from Leon Panetta, director of the CIA at the time of the Abbottabad raid, which reads in full:
Received phone call from (National Security Adviser) Tom Donilon who stated that the president made a decision with regard to AC1 [Abbottabad Compound 1]. The decision is to proceed with the assault. The timing, operational decision making and control are in Admiral McRaven's hands. The approval is provided on the risk profile presented to the president. Any additional risks are to be brought back to the president for his consideration. The direction is to go in and get Bin Laden and if he is not there, to get out. Those instructions were conveyed to Admiral McRaven at approximately 10:45 a.m.
That’s not exactly consistent with the way Team Obama is portraying the “gutsy call.” You aren’t going to see any bumper stickers proclaiming, “Vote Obama: Because He Left Timing, Operational Decision Making, and Control in Admiral McRaven’s Hands.”
On the other hand, the Panetta memo doesn’t have to be read as a craven outburst of “CYA” posterior protection. The “risk profile” Panetta referred to was not a projection of how bad Obama would look on the Sunday talk shows if the raid went bad.
The CBS discussion with Arianna Huffington touches upon the raw nerve of the bin Laden kill, and the dangers of aggressively utilizing national security matters in political campaigns. The Left was quite happy to discourse upon those dangers, at great length, in 2004. Now that they’re saddled with the imperative to re-elect a real, honest-to-God cowboy unilateralist, who actually does make end-runs around Congress to launch military strikes, their previous visceral outrage at warrior-Presidents has been tucked into the same safety deposit box that holds their dread of the “unitary executive.” Their “Mother Sheehan” demons have been thoroughly exorcised… for the time being.
The passive employment of an incumbent’s national security resume is acceptable to most voters, although the elder George Bush can join the ghost of Winston Churchill to tell you how quickly military victories reach their sell-by date. It has often been remarked that democracy has an inherent desire to put its victories behind it, while it dwells upon defeat for generations. Elections tend to be forward-looking affairs, and most voters don’t look forward to warfare.
Also, voters have a tendency to recoil from politicians who jump in front of military heroes with unseemly haste. That’s one reason the Left became so very, very, very interested in George Bush’s lack of combat experience when he was running against John Kerry. It’s the emotional basis of the then-popular “chicken hawk” label, which will never be applied to Barack Obama, no matter how many military actions he launches. It’s also why Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” moment was misrepresented and written into America’s political lexicon with such energy. The goal was to make Bush look like a non-soldier blocking our view of the heroic troops.
Team Obama understands this, which is why they stooped to declaring that Mitt Romney wouldn’t have made the same “gutsy call” as Barack the Slayer. The suggestion made to voters is that Obama would make the same call again, while Romney would not. Oddly, they used Bill Clinton to send their message, even though his agents went berserk fighting to suppress the DVD release of a successful ABC documentary that reminded us Clinton himself did not make the “gutsy call” when it was his turn.
Aggressive politics requires more than reminding voters, “We did this.” It’s also essential to assert “they would not have done it.” In matters of national security, the line between aggressive and despicable is very fine.
To read another article by John Hayward, click here.
Posted by Brett at 12:26 PM
by Mark LaRochelle
President Barack Obama has displayed an insatiable appetite for higher taxes, but Americans are wary of trusting him with any more of their money.
He has demonstrated staggering economic incompetence, manifested in his weak “recovery,” a $1.3 trillion deficit, doubling gas prices, and unemployment that remains above 8 percent. For each of his economic failures, Obama has a scapegoat—“speculators,” the “top one percent,” or his favorite, the Bush tax cuts of 2003. At various times, he has blamed these tax cuts for his weak economy, for his deficit, for allowing the rich to avoid paying their “fair share” of taxes, and for harming middle class incomes.
On each of these points, the president’s claims are the exact opposite of the truth, as is shown by his own government’s statistics.(See table)
From the crippling dot-com bust and terrorist attacks of 2001 until the tax cuts of 2003, real gross domestic product growth hobbled along at an average of just 1.8 percent per year. Far from further weakening this performance, the Bush tax cuts increased real GDP growth to 2.78 percent per year through 2007, when the housing bubble burst.
Rather than increasing the deficit by reducing revenues, the Bush tax cuts actually increased revenues, reducing the deficit. Before the tax cuts, federal tax receipts had been falling an average of 4.14 percent per year. The Bush tax cuts reversed this trend: by cutting tax rates, they increased tax revenues by a remarkable average of 9.62 percent per year. As a result the deficit, which had hit $378 billion before the tax cuts, was slashed by more than two-thirds during this period.
Did the Bush tax cuts allow “the rich” to avoid their “fair share” of taxes? On the contrary, the Bush tax cuts actually increased the share of total income taxes paid by the wealthiest Americans. Before the tax cuts, the top one percent paid an average of less than 34 percent of all income taxes each year. The Bush tax cuts increased this to more than 39 percent. The president’s argument that eliminating these tax cuts would make the rich pay their fair share implies that they were paying their fair share before the tax cuts, which implies that their fair share is only 34 percent. Given his Mr. Spock-like “adherence to logic,” one must conclude that Obama secretly believes that, at 39 percent, the rich are now paying more than their fair share.
Nor was this increase in the share of taxes paid by the rich achieved by causing middle class incomes to stagnate or fall. Before the tax cuts, the adjusted gross income of the bottom 75 percent of Americans was growing an average of just 1.44 percent per year. As a result of the Bush tax cuts, the income growth rate of the bottom 75 percent more than doubled, their adjusted gross income per capita increasing an average of 3.24 percent per year.
Nor are the positive results of the Bush tax cuts an aberration. In 1997, President Clinton cut the capital gains tax from 28 to 20 percent. As shown in the table, the results were much like those of the Bush tax cuts.
If President Obama really wants to grow the economy, increase revenues, shrink the deficit, shift more of the tax burden onto the rich, and raise middle-class incomes, he must learn from history. If he really wants what he says, Obama must cut taxes. If he can’t stomach copying George W. Bush, perhaps he could call it the “Clinton Rule.”
Posted by Brett at 12:11 PM
by Steven Greenhut
SACRAMENTO – The new USC study pointing to a much-slower rate of population growth in California has been greeted by demographers and urban planners as good news, in that it supposedly gives our state's leaders a little breathing room to better plan for the future. The rate of growth has slowed to about 1 percent a year, the result of fewer immigrants coming here and many Californians heading to other states.
"The cooling pace means the state, city and county governments and other entities will have more time to prepare for a bigger population than they did in years past, allowing for more effective planning," according to the Los Angeles Times, paraphrasing the study's authors. "That could ensure that new roads and parks, for example, are put in areas where they are most needed and where growth is likely to be sustained, they said."
That's an absurdly optimistic spin. California's elected officials have been doing as little planning as possible, unless one counts planning to spend tens of billions of dollars the state doesn't have on a high-speed rail line that will partially replicate what the airlines already do. Our leaders are battling new water-storage facilities and punishing farmers with absurd water-use restrictions. They impose roadblocks to building new highway systems, and land-use regulations make it nearly impossible to build the homes and businesses necessary to meet the needs of a growing population. You can hardly call that planning.
The state is still growing, but this decline in the rate of growth is a symbolic turning point: The California Dream is over. People don't want to come here even though this is, with little question, the most beautiful state in the union. Americans – even those who like to mock our state – ought to think about what this means for our nation.
California has always been a magnet – a land that has attracted people from across the nation and the world. It's a place that was known for its entrepreneurial spirit and open culture. But it has been turned into a regulatory and tax nightmare, a place where those who already have money can live in their coastal palaces and enjoy the splendor of the landscapes, but where it's unnecessarily difficult to move one's way up the economic ladder. The USC study doesn't reveal anything new as much as it confirms established trends.
Four million more people have left California for other states in the past two decades than have come here from other states, according to demographer Joel Kotkin. The population growth has been coming mainly from immigrants and in-state births, but now the USC study shows that immigrants are going elsewhere. A cynic might say that California's liberal elites have ended the state's contentious battles over illegal immigration by destroying opportunities here.
Kotkin, an old-time liberal, sees troubling trends. "Basically, if you don't own a piece of Facebook or Google, and you haven't robbed a bank and don't have rich parents, then your chances of being able to buy a house or raise a family in the Bay Area or in most of coastal California is pretty weak," he said in a recent Wall Street Journal interview. "The new regime wants to destroy the essential reason why people move to California in order to protect their own lifestyles." He says the state is run for the benefit of the very rich, the very poor and public employees.
This is not a healthy society. And the demographic changes point to an aging population. Far from reducing the burdens on the state government, this will increase them. State officials are not building to meet future needs, but they have been squandering future dollars on excessive pay and pension packages for public employees. Look for a battle between spending to provide services for lower-income Californians and retirement benefits for the most powerful special interest group in the state, public employees.
There's no chance the state's most serious fiscal issues will be solved or even addressed soon. Earlier this month, Democratic Assembly leaders announced that they have no time to deal with the governor's modest pension reform plan. They do have time to deal with hundreds of other bills, most of which range from the silly to the crazy. What's the chance they will handle any of the other issues restricting California's economy?
Gov. Jerry Brown points to economic growth in Silicon Valley as evidence of the success of his policies, but that area is an anomaly. The rest of the state is struggling. The anti-business, anti-growth policies pursued by Brown's party will not make the situation better. People fleeing California are small-business owners, young families and tax-producers. They also tend to be more Republican, which means that, as the exodus grows, so, too, will grow the state's tax and political problems. There will be fewer taxpayers and less political competition.
California's leaders want a slower-growing population. Many Californians, even more conservative ones, will be happy that there will be fewer people and less development. But it's disturbing that California's official policy has been to punish people who want to pursue their dreams here. The state's Draconian land-use policies involve limiting growth, thus inflating the cost of property near the coast and pushing less-affluent people inland and to other states.
"What I find reprehensible beyond belief is that the people pushing [high-density housing] themselves live in single-family homes and often drive very fancy cars, but want everyone else to live like my grandmother did in Brownsville in Brooklyn in the 1920s," Kotkin said, pointing to the "smart-growth" policies that dominate development decisions across California.
California remains a beautiful place, but it no longer is the destination for entrepreneurs, free spirits and dreamers. These are the fruits of modern-day progressive policies. This should be the cause of much sadness.
To read another article from California, click here.
Posted by Brett at 11:51 AM
By Andrew B. Wilson on 4.30.12 @ 6:08AM
By becoming insufferable our president is becoming his own worst enemy.
Mitt Romney is running against a different man than the Pied Piper of "transformational change" who danced and floated to victory against John McCain in the 2008 presidential election. Romney's opponent is that man's clone -- scaled down to one-eighth the size. He's a much smaller and distinctly meaner version of the Barack Obama of four years ago, and he knows how to fight in only one way -- small and dirty.
Instead of promising to heal the earth, cause the oceans to recede, and create "new industries and millions of new jobs that pay well and can't ever be outsourced," President Mini-Me is constantly on the attack -- but only over the most trivial or irrelevant of issues. And there is not bit of truth he won't bend or break.
As the Wall Street Journal commented in its lead editorial on April 26:
One of Mr. Romney's trickiest challenges will be how to handle Mr. Obama's, er, veracity. More than any President we've seen, this incumbent is willing to say things that aren't in the same area code as the truth. He gives himself credit for the natural gas drilling boom, the deficits are still Mr. Bush's fault, Mr. Obama has never raised taxes, and "green jobs" in his dream economy are blooming by the millions.
In fairness to President Mini-Me, one may recall the old legal adage: When the law is on your side, you argue the law; when you have the facts, you argue the facts; and when you have neither, you pound the table.
And so the president goes around the country pounding the table on issues that are totally misleading or grossly overstated. He goes around righting wrongs that exist only within the overwrought imagination of liberals whose minds are permanently stuck in the righteous and indignant mode of thought.
Last week, the president was at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to promise more loan forgiveness to college students -- as if universal free (i.e. government-paid) college education were the next urgently-needed entitlement… and as if the guarantee of spending four years in college at government expense might solve the problem of extraordinarily high unemployment among college graduates and others under the age of 30.
With his habit of pulling "facts" out of the air, the president claimed that the nationalization of the student loan market two years ago had somehow "saved" billions of dollars -- money that might otherwise have gone to privately owned banks in the form of profits. Why should anyone in his right mind think that the worker bees in the Department of Education would do a better job of processing and making loans than their counterparts in the nation's banks?
It's too bad one of the students didn't have the wit to ask the president whether a more profitable bank sector might result in more jobs for graduating students.
A week earlier, President Mimi-Me was pounding the table on another pseudo-issue -- in promising to do battle against unidentified speculators said to be manipulating oil and gas prices.
"So today," he proclaimed in the Rose Garden, "we're announcing new steps to strengthen oversight of energy markets… I call on Congress to pass a package of measures to crack down on illegal activity and hold accountable those who manipulate the market for private gain at the expense of millions of working families."
Is there a staler joke in all of politics than the notion that politicians can drive down prices at the gas pump by going after speculators?
Maybe someone will explain to the president that speculators actually play an important role in stabilizing many markets, including the oil market. It is their willingness to take risk that allows others (including utilities and the millions of working families served by them) to control or avoid risk.
Not that he would listen.
Clearly, this is a president who needs every diversion he can find from running on the record of his first four years in office. And the last thing he wants is to do a 180-degree turn in embracing market-based as opposed to government-directed decision-making.
That is why he and his supporters have conjured up a whole series of diversionary issues over the past few weeks.
First, the administration went out of its way to pick a fight with social and economic conservatives who were sure to be offended by the Department of Health and Human Service edict that employers, including religious organizations, must cover the cost of contraception in their health plans. Apart from any moral objections to the edict, why should the federal government tell employers and employees what their health insurance has to cover? Still more, why would the government intervene to cover such a small cost (contraceptive pills hardly fall under the category of a catastrophic expense requiring insurance protection)?
What the brouhaha over contraception has done is to shift the larger debate over Obamacare and the future of the nation's health care system into a boiling teapot of false accusations to the effect that Republicans and conservatives are waging a "war on women" in opposing a senseless (and, indeed, a mischievous) government edict.
Then there was the rush-to-judgment over the death of Trayvon Martin -- allowing gleeful leftists to call anyone a racist who did not join the lynch mob of those who leapt to the conclusion that his slaying must be and could only be a racially-motivated hate crime.
Finally, there is the "Buffett Rule," which the president mentions at every stop -- as if it would make a huge difference in setting the country on the road to fiscal probity as well as "social justice." The Buffett Rule would oblige those earning more than $1 million to pay at least 30% of their annual income taxes, whether it was earned income (already taxed at a 35 percent marginal rate) or capital gains (now taxed at 15%).
According to the president's White House National Economic Council, this proposal would do little or nothing to bring down the federal deficit. It would raise a mere $4 to $5 billion a year in new revenue.
Worst of all, in doubling the capital gains rate, the "Buffett Rule" would represent a major new tax on investment coming in the midst of what has already proved to be the weakest economic recovery in the past 60 years.
But no matter.
The Buffett Rule does one thing rather well: It allows President Mini-Me to talk about "fairness" and to wage class warfare against top earners while diverting attention from his own record of economic ineptitude and failure.
The Wall Street Journal concluded its editorial by saying:
Mr. Romney can't let the President get away with this, or Mr. Obama will conjure a vision of unreality that enough voters might believe. The challenger has to find a way to mock the mirage of an "economy built to last" without sounding arch or personal. He needs his own vision of Reagan's "there he goes again."
I would say let President Obama pound the table all he wants -- given that he has neither the facts nor any understanding of what it will take to fix an ailing economy on his side. The more the president dissociates himself from the candidate he was four years ago, the better it will be for Romney -- and the country. Mini-Me will be his own worst enemy.
To read another article by Andrew B. Wilson, click here.
Posted by Brett at 11:25 AM
By David Catron on 4.30.12 @ 6:09AM
The GOP's longstanding "war on women" includes such horrors as giving them the vote.
When the Obama reelection staff began developing its general strategy for duping a majority of the electorate into once again supporting the President, they knew they needed to drive a lot of disenchanted female voters back into the Democrat herd. Thus, they concocted the fictional Republican "war on women." And, knowing that our government education system has long since given up teaching history, Obama's minions had little fear that the public would realize that the GOP's support of women's rights goes back to its founding in 1854. Nor were the President's men worried that Democrat front groups like the National Organization for Women, much less the "news" media, would remind female voters that their very ability to cast a ballot was won for them by the Republicans over the vehement objections of the Democrats.
Most educated Americans vaguely remember that the amendment granting women the right to vote was passed by Congress in 1919 and ratified by the states in 1920. But the number of people who know anything about the forty-year legislative war that preceded that victory is smaller than the audience of MSNBC. That war began in 1878, when a California Republican named A.A. Sargent introduced the 19th Amendment only to see it voted down by a Democrat-controlled Congress. It finally ended four decades later, when the Republicans won landslide victories in the House and the Senate, giving them the power to pass the amendment despite continued opposition from most elected Democrats -- including President Woodrow Wilson, to whom the suffragettes frequently referred as "Kaiser Wilson."
One of the most interesting battles in the long congressional war over women's suffrage involved the Mormons of Utah. In 1870, nearly fifty years before Congress passed the 19th Amendment, the territory of Utah granted women the right to vote. This was encouraged by congressional opponents of polygamy, which was practiced by some wealthy Mormons. Their hope was that given the vote, Utah's women would quickly put an end to "the abomination of bigamy." And the women of Utah did indeed prove to have strong opinions regarding this issue. They voted overwhelmingly in favor of it. Congress responded by passing the Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1882, which disfranchised Utah's women while also violating the First Amendment by outlawing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and seizing much of its property.
Meanwhile, the Republicans continued to introduce the 19th Amendment in Congress every year, but the Democrats were able to keep it bottled up in various committees for another decade before allowing either chamber to vote on it. In 1887 it finally reached the floor of the Senate. Once again, however, it was defeated by a vote of 34 to 16. After this setback, advocates of women's suffrage opted to put pressure on Congress by convincing various state legislatures to pass bills giving women the vote. This met with some success. By the turn of the century a variety of Republican-controlled states, including Wyoming, Colorado, and Idaho, had granted women suffrage. During the first ten years of the new century, several other states gave women the vote, including Washington and California.
Congress, however, didn't deign to vote on the issue again until 1914, when it was once again defeated by Senate Democrats. It was subsequently brought up for a vote in January of 1915 in the House, where it went down by a vote of 204 to 174. Nonetheless, the Republicans continued to push even after it was defeated yet again in early 1918. The big break for 19th Amendment came when President Wilson, a true Democrat, violated his most solemn campaign promise. Having pledged to keep the United States out of the European conflict that had been raging since 1914, he decided to enter the war anyway. This set the stage for the 1918 midterm elections in which voter outrage swept the Republicans into power in both the House and the Senate. This finally placed the GOP in a position to pass the amendment despite Democrat opposition.
During the following spring Rep. James R. Mann, a Republican from Illinois, reintroduced the 19th Amendment in the House and it finally passed by an overwhelming majority. Shortly thereafter a now Republican-controlled Senate also passed it, clearing the way for ratification by the states. By this point, President Wilson had also faced the reality that women would inevitably get the vote and abandoned his opposition. But the Democrats' resistance was by no means dead. They did their level best to prevent the amendment from being ratified: "When the Amendment was submitted to the states, 26 of the 36 states that ratified it had Republican legislatures. Of the nine states that voted against ratification, eight were Democratic." Many of these Democrat-controlled states refused to ratify the amendment until the 1970s.
Obviously, the Obama reelection staff is desperately hoping that most women voters don't know this story and are counting on the "news" media and the unions that control our government education system to keep it from being told. They know that, if the voters hear the truth about the roles the two parties have truly played in women's rights, all but a few Obamazombies will see the "war on women" as the red herring that it is. If that happens, they might be faced with the deadly prospect of discussing Obama's abysmal record. And they know that almost certainly means they will lose on November 6.
To read another article by David Catron, click here.
Posted by Brett at 11:04 AM
Lessons Not Learned From Vietnam
By Earl Tilford
After the fall of Saigon on April 29, 1975, military and civilian strategists sought “lessons learned.” Many were tactical or technical, such as the operational effectiveness of precision-guided munitions and the continuing need for guns on jet fighters. At the strategic level, one pundit recommended that the United States never again fight in a former French colony located on the other side of the world with borders contiguous to enemy sources of supply governed by an ally of dubious political legitimacy. After the fall of Saigon 37 years ago, the United States embarked on another unsatisfying war, the result seeming eerily familiar. What was missed in post-Vietnam assessments that might have informed a strategically efficacious approach to the War on Terror?
First, understand the historical context. The Vietnam intervention resulted from a Cold War mindset that assumed the war in South Vietnam was part of a larger “communist plot for world domination.” That made Vietnam more important than it was. The resulting intervention into a local struggle tied U.S. prestige to a dubious cause. Lesson: Look closely at the local situation before commitments become irrevocable.
Second, there are dangers in incrementalism. It is a myth that the United States “blundered” into a Vietnam quagmire. American intervention resulted from a series of small, incremental steps, each seemingly low in risk. By the end of 1965, with over 100,000 American service personnel committed to Vietnam, the U.S. presence was hostage to a faulty policy. The political cost of getting out seemingly outweighed the military cost of staying in.
Third, there are limits to what military power can achieve. In 1961, when the Kennedy administration decided to “draw a line in the sand” in Vietnam, the general military assumption was that U.S. military power, sufficient to defeat Nazi Germany, fascist Italy, and imperial Japan in less than four years, could easily handle an insurgency in South Vietnam supported by an impoverished military power in North Vietnam. Surely a nation reaching toward outer space had little to fear from a country where few people knew how to drive a car.
History shows that small nations and dedicated movements can defeat major powers. England defeated the Spanish Empire in the 16th century. The American Revolution succeeded against the British Empire. Japan defeated Russia in 1905.
In March 2003, with Operation Iraqi Freedom, the assumption was U.S. forces would be in Baghdad within a month. It took three weeks. Then the real war started and U.S. forces languished there for the next eight years.
Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant understood, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog that counts.”
Fourth, know your enemy. From the start of the Vietnam War, the fatal assumption was that Hanoi and the National Liberation Front—the Viet Cong—could be coerced with incrementally applied force. Their goals were not amenable to our logical frames of reference. The North Vietnamese and the Viet Cong were willing to pay an enormous price for victory.
The “War on Terror” suffered from the failure to identify the enemy as Islamist fundamentalist-Jihadists determined to defeat the United States and, ultimately, bring down Judeo-Christian civilization. Knowing yourself corresponds with knowing the enemy.
Fifth, Americans are not patient. In 1946, General of the Army George C. Marshall stated, “America cannot fight a Seven Years’ War.” In 1968, the Tet Offensive occurred almost precisely seven years after the Kennedy administration drew the line in Vietnam. Frustrations grew throughout the subsequent administrations of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, weakening public will.
Sixth, beware of open-ended commitments to regimes of dubious legitimacy. In Vietnam, first the United States committed its power and prestige to the support of Ngo Dinh Diem, a self-described “16th-century Spanish Catholic” who governed like a mandarin in an overwhelmingly Buddhist country struggling to throw off its colonial past. When in late 1963, Diem proved ineffective, the United States acquiesced in a coup resulting in a succession of military dictators.
History’s not so tidy that mistakes in the War on Terror are entirely analogous to those in Vietnam. The current war proceeded with an all-volunteer force, not a conscript-driven force. From October 2001 to the present, American military leadership, at every level, has been outstanding. The Bush administration’s big mistake was not clearly identifying the enemy. The Obama administration’s blunder was to set a deadline for withdrawal.
Wars are the most unpredictable of human endeavors, fraught with the unexpected and quite often, when strategically ill-conceived, much longer and bloodier than anticipated. That’s why over 2,000 years ago, Sun Tzu wrote, “War is a matter of vital importance; the province of life or death; the road to survival or ruin. It is mandatory that it be thoroughly studied.”
To read another article by Earl Tilford, click here.
Posted by Brett at 10:46 AM
By Michael Brown
What do you call an organization whose so-called intelligence reports are sometimes an insult to intelligence, an organization that brands some groups “hate groups” and yet, using its own criteria, should itself be branded a hate group? You call that organization the SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center). The scary thing is that many people still take them seriously.
According to the SPLC website, its quarterly magazine, the Intelligence Report, “provides comprehensive updates to law enforcement agencies, the media and the general public. It is the nation’s preeminent periodical monitoring the radical right in the U.S.”
The radical right? Well, let’s do a fact check on the Spring 2012 edition, Issue Number: 145, entitled, “The Year in Hate and Extremism 2011,” so we can find out just who this “radical right” really is. I’ll focus on the article by Ryan Lenz (with help from Evelyn Schaltter), “NARTH Becomes Main Source for Anti-Gay ‘Junk Science’,” since I spoke at a conference the article describes and since I was able to have the article reviewed by a staff person at NARTH (the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality).
The article starts off with a dramatic (and hardly impartial) description: “PHOENIX: Michael Brown took the dais in a sterile Marriott ballroom last fall, beaming for the 40 or so therapists who form the devout core of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). With a hulking frame packed tightly into a three-button black suit, one of the nation’s most vociferous anti-gay activists began his speech with a dire warning.”
Well, the “hulking frame” description wasn’t too bad, but I didn’t begin the speech with “a dire warning” and there were probably 75-80 (not 40) in attendance. So, not the best start for an investigative report. As for being “one of the nation’s most vociferous anti-gay activists,” I had no idea I had achieved that status.
Moving on, here are some of the most egregious errors in the report. Describing the NARTH conference itself, the article states that, “True to form, the people speaking at that conference were not therapists promising revelations about human sexuality, but rather prominent culture warriors of the religious right, like Brown [and Sharon Slater].”
This is unmitigated nonsense. As noted by my NARTH source (and as I witnessed firsthand), Slater and I were “the only two speakers who were not clinical, research, and academic experts, not to mention the keynote presentation of Dr. Nicholas Cummings, the former President of the American Psychological Association.” Broken down by the hour, “Clinical/Research/Academic presentations = 29.25 hours (21 speakers), Policy presentations = 2.75 hours (2 speakers).”
All Lenz had to do was look at the conference program to get the facts right, but who cares about facts when you’re writing biased articles designed to advance a particular agenda? Why let truth stand in the way when your goal is to discredit people by claiming they belong to the “radical right,” along with skinheads and neo-Nazis and the like?
The article claims that, according to NARTH, “homosexuality is an unnatural deviation from normal sexual development, a form of mental disorder.” Actually, my source notes that “NARTH does not use that term [a form of mental disorder] to label homosexuality.” The best the SPLC could do was cite a 15 year-old quote from a NARTH co-founder, the late Dr. Charles Socarides, but this was simply his personal opinion and is not part of NARTH’s official statements or standards.
The article quotes (and attacks) Dr. Paul Cameron of the Family Research Institute without mentioning that he has nothing to do with NARTH. But why quibble?
The article then approvingly cites gay activist Wayne Besen who claims that, “There’s no other play in the playbook except going back to the fire and brimstone.” Is he kidding? A professional counselor helping a client deal with unwanted same-sex attraction equals “fire and brimstone”? And this is part of an “intelligence report”? (I know. The term is sounding more oxymoronic by the second.)
In 2009, a conservative watchdog group ran this headline: “Prominent homosexual activists lead screaming demonstration, terrorize Boston church sponsoring ex-gay religious event.” And it was none other than Wayne Besen at the helm of this event, shouting through a bullhorn outside the church windows. And he is a trusted source for the SPLC?
Besen is also famous for his over the top, vitriolic rhetoric, yet the groups he attacks, rather than his own organization, make it onto the SPLC’s hate-group list. (To give one of the more amusing examples, in a single article, he described me as a pathological monster, a slick, sick, cynical, diabolical madman with a messiah complex, also accusing me of trying to incite a bunch of “unstable thugs [referring to Christian families in North Carolina] . . . to engage in a violent physical clash with LGBT people.”)
Returning to the SPLC article, it claimed that, in 2007, Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, then the president of NARTH, “came under fire after an essay seeming to justify slavery appeared on NARTH’s website,” as a result of which “Nicolosi stepped down as NARTH president after criticism mounted, but he remains instrumental in the group.” As noted by my NARTH source, this is a “total fabrication. Nicolosi was replaced as President by Dr. Dean Byrd, Byrd by Dr. Julie Hamilton, Hamilton by Dr. Christopher Rosik, all in good order as leadership changes on a regular basis.”
But I’m out of space. What is clear is that this “intelligence report” is riddled with fabrications, falsehoods, and fallacies, which means that either the SPLC is lying through its teeth or its research is so poor that it can’t even figure out how to read a list of conference speakers.
No wonder Townhall columnist and professor of criminology Mike Adams suggested to me that a more accurate name for the Southern Poverty Law Center would be the Intellectual Poverty Law Center.
To read another article by Michael Brown, click here.
Posted by Brett at 10:35 AM
By Demetrius Minor
In the time and age of economic peril, we have seen many people lose hope, faith and trust. Many Americans have seen their investments and their financial security totally collapse. While the government is looking for solutions to combat this economic warfare, I believe the answer is simple: Americans need to decrease their dependence on the government. For far too long, many Americans have had a love affair with the naive thoughts of the government helping to improve their lives.
Americans need to be liberated from the government’s message that it will provide for them and meet all their needs. This is blasphemy. Nothing is free. While the governments is promising health care, economic opportunities for all, redistribution of wealth, etc, Americans need to awake from their slumber and realize that their hard-earned taxpayer money will be used to fund these “free” opportunities.
There are many people that rely on welfare and social services, and the government has compelled them to stay just where they are. These people must liberate themselves from their belief that it’s ok to stay on welfare and live off the expense of other taxpayers. It is time for individual responsibility. Time for people to realize that you do not have to stay in your current predicament, but that you can arise from the ashes of economic bondage and enhance your opportunity, such as home ownership, entrepreneurship, etc.
Americans must liberate themselves from the shackles of government expansion. The government does not have the right to tell you what doctor to go to, what car to drive or how to spend your money. If Americans do not speak up and let their voice be heard, they will continue to live in political Egypt, slaving themsleves only to see the government deepen their economic woes.
My fellow Americans, it is foolish and ignorant for us to sit back and be complacent. You have seen your taxpayer money wasted to bailout CEOS and companies who are not performing, only to see them file for bankruptcy. You have seen the government spend money that it simply does not have, and as a result, it has deepened our national debt. You have seen a government who refuses to behave fiscally. Instead of spending your money wisely, government has wasted it on insurance for honeybees, an airport for Congressman John Murtha, and other wasteful projects. We have seen a Senate who hasn’t passed a budget in 1,090 days and counting.
America–it is time to liberate yourself from the idea that the government will take care of you. The question during the 2008 Presidential Campaign was “Are you better off than you were 8 years ago?” I ask you this: Will you be better off 10 years from now? What will you give to your children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren?
While the government is bankrupting Social Security and Medicaid, manipulating citizens with the Federal Reserve, and expanding its power over the private sector, what will you do? Will we continue to cling to a government that depends on China and Saudi Arabia for oil instead of decreasing our dependency on foreign oil or will we remain silent?
It is time for our minds to be liberated. It is time for us to hold our elected officials accountable. The longer we are silent, the less chance we have of becoming truly liberated.
To read another article by Demetrius Minor, click here.
Posted by Brett at 10:21 AM
Money Man Obama: Fundraises More Than Past Five Presidents...Combined
By Katie Pavlich
If you feel like President Obama is always campaigning, there's a reason why. According to a new book, President Obama has held more re-election fundraisers than all five previous presidents....combined.
The figures, contained a in a new book called The Rise of the President’s Permanent Campaign by Brendan J. Doherty, due to be published by University Press of Kansas in July, give statistical backing to the notion that Obama is more preoccupied with being re-elected than any other commander-in-chief of modern times.
Doherty, who has compiled statistics about presidential travel and fundraising going back to President Jimmy Carter in 1977, found that Obama had held 104 fundraisers by March 6th this year, compared to 94 held by Presidents Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush Snr, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush combined.
Since then, Obama has held another 20 fundraisers, bringing his total to 124. Carter held four re-election fundraisers in the 1980 campaign, Reagan zero in 1984, Bush Snr 19 in 1992, Clinton 14 in 1996 and Bush Jnr 57 in 2004.
The worst part? Obama is doing most of it on the taxpayer dime.
Watch the MSNBC team talking about this subject.
To read another article by Kate Pavlich, click here.
Posted by Brett at 10:13 AM
Monday, April 30, 2012
by Burt Prelutsky
Now that Romney has sewn up the nomination, it’s time we all concentrated on the best way to prevent Obama and his creepy cronies from finally turning America, the shining city on the hill, into a cesspool.
When people wonder how the liberals gained so much influence, I point to the 60s. That was the era when young people first discovered how much power and influence they had so long as they acted in unison. By the time they had gotten through college, they decided the best way to hang on to power and influence was by pursuing careers in law and academics. By the time that Woodward and Bernstein managed to chase Richard Nixon out of the White House, those who didn’t have the requisite brain power to become lawyers, judges and professors, became social workers, public school teachers and journalists.
What these people tend to have in common is the notion that America is an evil, greedy, materialistic, racist, warlike nation, that fails to measure up to places like Cuba, Russia, Iran, China and the West Bank.
They believe that whites, other than themselves, are racists, but that blacks, 97% of whom voted for Barack Obama, who allow people like Al Sharpton, Maxine Waters and Jesse Jackson, to speak for them and whose ministers, more often than not, parrot the same tripe as Jeremiah Wright, are not.
My advice to Romney is to stop telling us he thinks Obama is a nice guy. We’ve had over three years of this guy cozying up to our sworn enemies while insulting our allies; redistributing everybody’s wealth but his own; saddling us with a debt that will bankrupt our grandchildren; and crippling America’s sources of energy. That may be Romney’s idea of a nice guy, but it’s my idea of a schmuck.
We already had John McCain run a campaign that was so separated from reality that he wouldn’t even permit the Party to run an ad that connected Obama to his religious mentor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, because he suffered from the delusion that he was behaving in a statesmanlike way, overlooking the fact that the only time a politician is referred to as a statesman is in his obituary.
I remain convinced that Romney is the best man to unseat Obama, but he will need to start waking up Americans. It’s time for another Paul Revere to warn his countrymen that the enemy is upon us, and that behind the smile, Obama is an anti-American, anti-capitalist, demon.
Unlike most politicians who lie to us during campaign season, Obama was perfectly honest. He said that his energy policy would send our energy costs soaring. And then to help him keep his promise, he appointed Stephen Chu, the man who prayed for our gas prices to hit $10-a-gallon, to be his secretary of energy.
He also said that the problem with both the U.S. Constitution and the Civil Rights Movement was that they didn’t deal with the redistribution of wealth. To ensure that the same could not be said of his administration, he surrounded himself with the likes of Timothy Geithner, Van Jones, Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod.
The one obvious lie Obama told us was that he would be a post-racial president. The truth is just the opposite. He is the president who appointed confirmed racist Eric Holder to be our attorney general. In that role, Holder has gone to war against a number of states for either trying to keep illegal aliens from taking root like leaches, for attempting to ensure that only living American citizens get to vote in our elections and for opposing ObamaCare. He has also overseen Fast and Furious, the sting operation that saw thousands of weapons ending up in the hands of Mexican gangsters, culminating in the death of an American border agent. At the same time, Holder has refused to indict the Black Panthers for either voter intimidation or, more recently, for placing a dead-or-alive bounty on the head of George Zimmerman.
I, personally, don’t hold Holder accountable. Clearly, Holder is merely following orders emanating from what some people have taken to calling the Offal Office.
In fact, when some folks call for Holder’s resignation, I roll my eyes. It’s like people who believe that term limits would finally rid Congress of the likes of Henry Waxman, Maxine Waters and Charley Rangel. It’s a pipe dream to think their constituents would suddenly wake up and elect candidates reminiscent of Paul Ryan or Darrel Issa. These dimwits would simply elect younger, no doubt more attractive, versions of Waxman, Waters and Rangel.
Thanks to Obama’s pussyfooting around when it comes to Iran, I recently suggested that it might be time for a chicken to replace the American eagle as our national symbol. One reader wrote in, suggesting we could compromise with Benjamin Franklin’s original suggestion, the turkey.
But, as I wrote back, isn’t it enough that we already have one roosting in the White House?
To read another article by Burt Prelutsky, click here.
Posted by Brett at 9:55 AM
Sunday, April 29, 2012
By Bruce Bialosky
Many people are ever suspicious of the private sector and fervently believe that government should control certain segments of our economy. This wishful (and delusional) thinking is most prevalent in the health care industry, where the left regrets not having passed a single-payer (government-controlled) system instead of ObamaCare. Having recently undergone a painful interaction with the federal government, I can only wonder what planet these people are from. The experience made me doubt why almost anything would be left in the hands of federal bureaucrats.
This story begins with something the government did that was good; but, as usual, they found a way to turn it into a disaster. As a tax preparer, I was required to put my social security number on tax returns. But in these times of rampant identity theft, I’m sure you can understand that having your social security number floating around on hundreds of documents is not particularly palatable. So in coordination with the community of CPAs and enrolled agents, the IRS implemented a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) to solve the problem. We obtained our PTIN, started using it on tax returns, and life was beautiful. Predictably, however, the government could not leave well enough alone.
Flash forward a few years. For many good reasons, the IRS decided that they needed to register every tax preparer. There were people – generally not CPAs or enrolled agents – who were abusing the tax system, usually by fraudulently claiming an earned income tax credit (EITC). The EITC is known as a “refundable credit,” which means that a low-income worker can get money back from the government even without paying any withholding. Unfortunately, there has been a lot of cheating and abuse, including a large number of claims made by fictitious people.
For some unknown reason, one registration isn’t sufficient. In their infinite wisdom, the IRS decided that anyone holding a PTIN had to register every year, along with payment of a new $63 annual fee (which I’m confident will go up soon). One has to log onto the IRS web site, set up an account, and then make a credit card payment.
Most everyone has bought something online, and my favorite online shopping site is Amazon. It takes me about three minutes to search their web site, purchase what I want, and have it shipped to me. Not so fast with the IRS. Navigating the entire registration process takes a computer expert, and even then you may not achieve your objective. For example, the IRS requires a complicated password that would never be used anywhere else. Of course they claim that this is necessary for security reasons, but that would imply that Amazon, whose password criteria is far less demanding, doesn’t want to protect your account. Last year, I managed to get registered. This year was a nightmare.
I received an IRS email indicating that we could register as early as October 15th. Believing there’s no time like the present, I hopped on it the next day. When I couldn’t remember last year’s password, they sent me a temporary one – much like any other web site. I put it in. I put it in again. I cut and pasted it – all to no avail. I couldn’t get anywhere and (surprise!) no one answered the PTIN hotline. So I called a special number for tax practitioners. They told me to just print a certain form, fill it out, and send the check to the PTIN office in Waterloo, Iowa. That went into the mail October 20th. I should have conjured up my impending results based on the name of the city I was mailing it to.
If I had sent the check to a bank or my cable provider, it would have cleared my account by the end of October. Those companies actually care about collecting their money, but not the IRS. When my bank statement arrived at the end of November and the check hadn’t cleared, I started to get worried, so I got back on the phone to the Practitioners hotline. After a half hour wait, someone came on only to inform me that 40 days was not a long time for the form to be processed and not to be worried. Of course, that’s when I really started to worry.
When the check hadn’t cleared by the end of December, I became extremely concerned because the due date was December 31st. You may be aware that the IRS is big on penalties even if it’s their fault, and, frankly, I had no idea whether they had even received my letter. So back to the phone and being put on hold – again to no avail. This time I tried the PTIN hotline and actually got through. When a lady got on she was quite lovely. It was probably because she was from Waterloo, Iowa, and may have been giddy about all the money the Republicans had just dumped in the state.
She reviewed my records and found that they had received my application. She told me that I should have been notified that my form was not complete. I replied that not only had I not been contacted, but that I was quite sure I had filled out the form in its entirety. That’s when she revealed that the IRS had changed the form in November. Yes, folks, they actually changed the form after the submission period had begun. She then helped me complete my registration and informed me that they would now cash my check. She was very nice, but she never apologized. The IRS never apologizes.
As a longtime professional who regularly deals not only with the IRS, but with a plethora of other governmental agencies, I’m still baffled at the attitude and behavior of government employees and their unwillingness to admit they made a mistake. They are the last people on earth that I’d want to control my health care – and, trust me; you should never want them to do it either.
To read another article by Bruce Bialosky, click here.
Posted by Brett at 10:54 PM
By Thomas Sowell
Around this time of year, I sometimes hear from parents who have been appalled to learn that the child they sent away to college to become educated has instead been indoctrinated with the creed of the left. They often ask if I can suggest something to have their offspring read over the summer, in order to counteract this indoctrination.
This year the answer is a no-brainer. It is a book with the unwieldy title, "No matter what ... they'll call this book Racist" by Harry Stein, a writer for what is arguably America's best magazine, "City Journal." In a little over 200 very readable pages, the author deftly devastates with facts the nonsense about race that dominates much of what is said in the media and in academia.
There is no subject on which lies and half-truths have become so much the norm on ivy-covered campuses than is the subject of race. Moreover, anyone who even questions these lies and half-truths is almost certain to be called a "racist," especially in academic institutions which loudly proclaim a "diversity" that is confined to demographics, and all but forbidden when it comes to a diversity of ideas.
The ultimate irony is that many of those who publicly promote or accept the prevailing party line on race do not themselves accept it privately. A few years ago, when a faculty vote on affirmative action was proposed at the University of California at Berkeley, there was a fierce disagreement as to whether that vote should be taken by secret ballot or at an open faculty meeting.
Both sides understood that many professors would vote one way in secret and the opposite way in public. In short, hypocrisy is the norm in discussions of race -- and not just at Berkeley. Moreover, it is the norm among blacks as well as whites.
Black civil rights attorneys and activists who denounce whites for objecting to the bussing of kids from the ghetto into their neighborhood schools have not hesitated to send their own children to private schools, instead of subjecting them to this kind of "diversity" in the public schools.
As for whites, author Harry Stein says that many white liberals "give blacks a pass on behaviors and attitudes they would regard as unacceptable and even abhorrent in their own kind." This, of course, is no favor to those particular blacks -- especially those among young ghetto blacks whose counterproductive behavior puts them on a path that leads nowhere but to welfare, at best, and behind bars or death in gangland street warfare at worst.
In the introduction to his book, Stein says that his purpose is "to talk honestly about race." He accomplishes that purpose in a fact-filled book that should be a revelation, especially to young people of any race, who have been fed a party line in schools and colleges across America.
He looks behind the highly sanitized picture of Al Sharpton, as a civil rights statesman with his own MSNBC program and his designation as a White House adviser, to the factual reality of a man with a trail of slime that has included inciting mobs, in some cases costing innocent lives.
Positive news also receives its due. Some readers of this book may be surprised to learn that the ban on racial preferences in the University of California system did not lead to a disappearance of blacks from the system, as the supporters of affirmative action claimed would happen.
On the contrary, more blacks graduated from the system after the ban -- for the very common sense reason that they were now admitted to University of California campuses where they qualified, rather than to places like UCLA and Berkeley, where they had often been admitted to fill a quota, and often failed.
Stein's book is also one of the few places where many young people will see the actual words of people like Bill Cosby, Shelby Steele, Pat Moynihan and others who have opposed the fashionable platitudes that confuse racial issues.
Whether those words convince all readers is not the point. The point, especially for young readers in our schools and colleges, is that this may be one of the few times they will ever encounter a fundamentally different set of views on race -- views that they have only heard referred to as coming from "Uncle Toms" or "racists."
To read Part 1 of this article by Thomas Sowell, click here.
Posted by Brett at 9:58 PM
By Mike Adams
Dear President Ransdell:
As a supporter of Hilltoppers for Life, I am deeply concerned at the way its pro-life display was vandalized on April 20, 2012. I am perhaps more concerned with the way Western Kentucky University (WKU) officials have responded to this criminal action. As this story continues to unfold, the facts suggest that at least one WKU official knew in advance this vandalism would occur. Later, several officials did nothing to stop it. This is simply inexcusable in a climate of higher learning.
As you already know, Hilltoppers for Life erected approximately 3,700 crosses in order to commemorate the number of babies aborted every day in the United States. On the morning of April 20th, Elaina Smith, an art student at your university, began placing condoms on each of the crosses. Members of Hilltoppers for Life confronted her peacefully and asked her to stop. She simply refused to do so. This young feminist did not seem to understand that no really means no.
When campus security officers arrived, they did nothing. That bears repeating: The police simply sat there and watched her break the law. That kind of laziness is appalling. It makes me wonder whether your police have tenure. Unbelievably, Ms. Smith told them she was completing an approved art assignment by desecrating the crosses. And the cops actually bought her “my professor made me do it” defense!
Your April 24th statement claims that Ms. Smith’s professor, Kristina Arnold, did not really intend to target the pro-life display. Unfortunately, Dr. Arnold contradicted that when she told WBKO that she did not disapprove of Ms. Smith’s proposed vandalism. She admitted that she knew of it in advance and did nothing whatsoever to stop it. So who is lying? Is it you or Dr. Arnold?
Other comments indicate that Arnold actually condoned Ms. Smith’s acts. For example, she smugly stated, “Learning and debating are not always pretty or polite processes. Critical engagement with ideas can get messy.” But nowhere in her statements did she indicate that “critical engagement” also involves respecting the free speech rights of fellow students. Professors should also know that no means no.
While it is encouraging to hear you say that you and your fellow administrators value free speech, so far WKU’s actions have not demonstrated that it really understands the First Amendment. When student freedoms have been criminally violated, issuing private assurances and holding secret meetings falls short of the mark. You preside over a public university, not a secret society.
I have already seen some of the internal emails in connection with this unfortunate event. The most notable comes from Ms. Smith and contains the following admission: “During the week of April 16th, the Hilltoppers for Life’s pro-life display remained un-interrupted. The student body tolerated this intrusion without major incident. The voice of the pro-life community was heard. On the last day of this event, I attempted to add to the visual dialogue with my own voice and was met with strong resistance.”
The very idea that one of your university students deems others’ speech as an “intrusion” and the desecration of other people’s property as an attempt “to add to the visual dialogue” is simply dumbfounding. This makes perfectly clear the need for immediate action in order to correct her fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between vandalism and free speech.
Accordingly, I suggest that Dr. Arnold’s art students be sent on a series of assignments – for full academic credit – that will help them better appreciate the difference between protected speech and unprotected violations of the Kentucky criminal code. The following assignments should teach them that their actions are not always protected – even when they are in possession of 3700 condoms:
*Go find Elaina Smith’s Prius in the WKU parking lot. Adorn it with 3700 “Abortion is Murder” bumper stickers. Then ask whether she thinks the stickers “add to the visual dialogue” on the abortion debate.
*Go find Dr. Arnold’s office on the campus of WKU. Adorn her door with 3700 pictures of aborted babies. Then ask whether she thinks the pictures “add to the visual dialogue” on the abortion debate.
*Photo-shop a picture of Jessie Jackson holding a condom saying “Don’t be like me. Suit up and avoid an unexpected love child.” Tape the picture on the door of the African American Center. See whether this visual creates a better dialogue.
*Next, photo shop a picture of the prophet Mohammad with a condom over his head. Tape the picture on the door of the Muslim Student Association office. See whether you can get the NEA to defer your costs.
*Next, go to the campus Gay and Lesbian Center. Burn a rainbow flag just like the hippies who burn the American flag. And make sure it’s their rainbow flag. Remember to tell them you are just trying to expand the visual dialogue – even after the room is filled with smoke!
I can imagine no better way to promote equality and learn about the First Amendment all at once. Just have your students insult everyone while trespassing on their personal property. If people get angry, that’s their problem. Learning is not always pretty and polite. And critical engagement can sometimes get messy.
To read another article by Mike Adams, click here.
Posted by Brett at 9:53 PM