If you support our national security issues, you may love and appreciate the United States of America, our Constitution with its’ freedoms, and our American flag.
If you support and practice our fiscal issues, you may value worldly possessions.
If you support and value our social issues, you may love Judeo-Christian values.
If you support and practice all these values, that is all good; an insignia of “Wisdom” . - Oscar Y. Harward
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Friday, February 26, 2010
Promoting "God's Holy Values and American Freedoms"!
"Men talk as if victory were something fortunate. Work is victory." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Your life changes the moment you make a new, congruent and committed decision. -- Anthony Robbins
"To bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in a while." -- Josh Billings
"Daily Devotions" (KJV and/or NLT)
O Sovereign LORD! You have made the heavens and earth by Your great power. Nothing is too hard for You! (Jeremiah 32:17)
With a single utterance, God spoke the universe into being---a universe that astronomers estimate contains more than 100 billion galaxies. But all the power contained with this universe does not equal even a fraction of God's almighty power. He is not restrained or inhibited by any of His created beings. People and nations are powerless when confronted by His might.
For some people, the idea that God is all-powerful is little comfort, because they are skeptical about His willingness to get intimately involved in their affairs. They assume we must live by luck or by good breaks produced by our own hard work and cleverness.
However, when we look at the universe, we see order and design. Everything has its place, its purpose. God's Word confirms that He has a design for this world and for every person in it. That includes you!
Your View of God Really Matters …
What is the most recent event in which you recognized God's power at work?
"The Patriot Post"
"[T]he first transactions of a nation, like those of an individual upon his first entrance into life make the deepest impression, and are to form the leading traits in its character." --George Washington, letter to John Armstrong, 1788
"Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust must be men of unexceptionable characters." --Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren, 1775
"No nation was ever ruined by trade, even seemingly the most disadvantageous." --Benjamin Franklin and George Whaley, Principles of Trade, 1774
Income Redistribution: The TARP Slush Fund
Apparently Barack Obama found a Chuck E. Cheese game token in his pocket. What else can explain his "Whac-A-Mole" economic policy? Obama called for Congress to provide $30 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds allocated for small business loan funding via community banks with $10 billion or less in assets. Obviously, he thinks (or "feels," since it's obvious that he hasn't engaged in cognition) that banks are just hoarding the money instead of lending to cash-strapped businesses.
Banks lend money on the basis of ability and willingness to repay. At present, small businesses are finding it difficult to determine what they can repay. In fact, Obama's 2008 presidential campaign has also found it hard to repay things, reportedly still owing Springfield, Illinois, a chunk of change.
Furthermore, businesses create jobs to capitalize on economic growth. Public policy can increase or decrease the cost of job creation, but without the base element of economic growth, most jobs will be simply transferred as older workers retire and younger workers enter the workforce.
Another reason we take issue with Obama's plan is that, as we and others warned in 2008, TARP has become a political slush fund. Larger banks were forced to take the money, and they have now repaid it with interest. Of course, this doesn't include Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or GM or Chrysler -- that money is simply lost. Now, instead of returning these repaid taxpayer dollars to their rightful place, Obama plans to pass out more unconstitutional goodies.
As the Heritage Foundation's Andrew Grossman points out, "The administration lacks legal authority" to use TARP fund for anything outside the bill's specific intent. "If the authority is as broad as the administration and some lawmakers say, then it is unconstitutional. Congress cannot pass the buck and give unlimited power to the executive." Investor's Business Daily concludes, "The administration seems to have discovered a new universal law of perpetual motion -- that money once extracted from the taxpayers or borrowed from others can never be returned whence it came. As for the Constitution, we don't need no stinking Constitution."
Culture & Policy - Climate Change This Week: Bin Laden Goes Green
In his latest audiotape message, Osama bin Laden deviated from his typical holy-war rant to offer a different reason to join his jihad: global warming. Yes, the chief terrorist-in-hiding is trying a big-tent approach to destroy the West -- i.e., you may not want to blow yourself up for 72 virgins, but killing the American economy to prevent climate change could be an appealing alternative.
"All of the industrialized countries, and especially the large ones, bear the responsibility for the crisis of the greenhouse effect," bin Laden declared. "Most of them, though, rallied around the Kyoto accords, and agreed to limits on emissions of harmful gases. However, Bush Jr.., and Congress before him, rejected this accord in order to please the large corporations." Isn't it amazing how closely bin Laden continues to echo Democrat talking points? Maybe he's a closet member of the DNC.
Calling the U.S. and its policies the "true terrorists," bin Laden urged the "[p]eople of the world" to "[b]oycott them [the United States] to save yourselves and your possessions and your children from climate change and to live proud and free." Great advice coming from a guy living in a cave.
In other news, hackers in Europe succeeded in stealing some 250,000 carbon credit permits worth more than $4 million from six companies in an e-mail phishing scheme. The wheels just keep coming off the Global Warming Express.
Judicial Benchmarks: Hate Crimes Law Challenged
The Michigan-based Thomas More Law Center is challenging the constitutionality of the federal Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, which was attached to defense authorization legislation last fall. The bill adds gender disorientation or identity to the list of protected minorities, which in turn means stiffer penalties for crimes committed against these "special" classes of victims. The plaintiffs are three pastors and the president of the American Family Association of Michigan, who "take a strong public stand against the homosexual agenda, which seeks to normalize disordered sexual behavior that is contrary to Biblical teaching," the Law Center said in a news release.
According to CNS News, "The lawsuit alleges that the new law violates the plaintiffs' rights to freedom of speech, expressive association, and free exercise of religion protected by the First Amendment, and it violates the equal protection guarantee of the Fifth Amendment. The lawsuit also alleges that Congress lacked authority to enact the legislation under the Tenth Amendment and the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution."
Village Academic Curriculum: 'No Child Left Behind' Overhaul
The Obama administration is planning a major revamping of the No Child Left Behind education policy. The New York Times article that attacked NCLB, which became law under President George W. Bush, neglected to mention that the author of this law was the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. That's natural because, while this law, which lays out the interaction between the federal government and the states concerning education, was championed by congressional Republicans and Democrats alike, the blame for its failure is being laid firmly and exclusively at the former president's feet.
The proposed changes are aimed at several aspects of the law which have been criticized by "educators" for years. They begin with the elimination of the 2014 deadline, at which time all children would have been "academically proficient," replacing it with a goal of all children being "college or career ready" at high school graduation. In addition, the doling of federal funds will be based not on student population size, as is the case now, but on academic progress. This is designed to address the perceived lack of motivation for failing schools to improve. In this way, it's similar to the administration's "Race to the Top" program, in which states compete for $4 billion in education monies pulled from the stimulus bill.
The merits of the new program, which will be created with input from Congress, have yet to be determined. One thing is certain, however: It will cost yet more money. Obama is calling for a 9 percent increase in educational spending in his new budget.
Faith and Family: Say, Abstinence Does Work
A new study has many people eating their words, including a few journalists. Just days after The Washington Post's Rob Stein wrote a derogatory article about abstinence-only programs, a new study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine shows that such programs can in fact delay the onset of sexual activity in teens. Stein then scrambled to write a second article stating that these programs "may work."
The University of Pennsylvania studied 662 students from four public middle schools between 2001 and 2004. Students were randomly selected to attend one of the following eight-hour classes: a) abstinence only; b) safe-sex; c) a combination of the two, or d) a class with a concentration in general healthy living. The results were shocking to the liberal elites who had long disparaged abstinence. Only 33 percent of the students who had taken the abstinence-only class had engaged in sexual activity within the next two years, as opposed to the 52 percent who had attended the safe-sex class.
For its part, the Obama administration cut $170 million in abstinence education funding, while spending $114 million on other forms of pregnancy prevention education; he wants to increase that amount to $183 million. Of course, if the point is to prevent either pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease, abstinence works every time it's tried.
To Keep and Bear Arms
A homeowner in Brevard County, Florida, took on four intruders last Sunday in a shootout at his home. He may have been prepared for it, however, as his house was burglarized the night before. After seeing the four men jump over the fence, the homeowner began shooting. Barbara Matthews of the Cocoa Police Department said, "He challenged them. He told them to get off his property. They continued toward him and shots were fired." All five victims of the incident were reportedly taken to a hospital listed in serious condition. The homeowner also suffered a gunshot wound. According to police, the two cases do appear to be related.
Researcher Lorianne Updike Toler stumbled on a surprise while working at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania: a draft of the U.S. Constitution scribbled by Founder James Wilson in 1787. "This was the kind of moment historians dream about," said Toler, a lawyer and founding president of the Constitutional Sources Project, a Washington-based nonprofit organization that promotes an understanding of and access to U.S. Constitution documents. Toler actually paid tribute to our founding document, saying, "This was national scripture, a piece of our Constitution's history." But given the current penchant for a "living constitution" in Washington, she might fare better by putting the dead-white-guy relic up for sale on eBay.
The Obama Administration and Congressional leaders are doing everything they can, using any means possible, to throw a disastrous health care program your way ... a bill that allows massive federal funding of abortion.
Most Americans have repeatedly said they DO NOT WANT FEDERAL DOLLARS TO BE USED TO FUND ABORTIONS.
But the facts are clear: The plan put forth by President Obama embraces much of what the Senate-approved, citizen-rejected, health care plan does- including an INCREASE in federal funding for abortion- from $7 billion to a monstrous $11 billion.
Most Americans understand that health care reform should not be jammed through Congress with a legislative scheme called 'reconciliation'- a budget maneuver that was never designed to be used on such a massive legislative package like health care reform.
But Congressional leaders have vowed to utilize this one-sided, partisan-controlled legislative maneuver to get the votes they so desperately need.
We've launched an urgently important nationwide petition campaign to make sure your voice is heard by the President and Congress. We're working with Congressional Members on Capitol Hill to start over on health care -
We need your financial support to defeat reconciliation, oppose this exorbitant health care measure, and protect life.
God bless you for your support!
Media Defend Obama's 'Revamped' Health Care Takeover Plan
By Julia A. Seymour
President Obama released his own plan for health care reform Feb. 22, just days ahead of his Feb. 25 "bipartisan" summit about health care reform. NBC's Chuck Todd was thrilled the president "finally" weighed in.
Republican leadership quickly condemned the plan, which relies heavily on the current Senate bill, as the same government takeover that had already been proposed. House GOP Leader John Boehner said the plan "crippled the credibility" of the upcoming summit.
In more than thirty stories the cable and network news media reacted by defending the White House against Boehner's claim by saying the plan was merely an "opening bid," consulting liberal politicians and outside groups like Brookings Institution, The Nation and Huffington Post, and by pushing Republicans to compromise and accept a bipartisan solution.
MSNBC invited Ryan Grim of the liberal blog Huffington Post to comment on the president's plan Feb. 22. He told Tamron Hall and Savannah Guthrie that Republicans "almost have to show up" to the summit in order to avoid looking like obstructionists.
CNN's Rick Sanchez was confused by Republican criticism of the summit which he categorized as "fear of a trap." "I don't understand the argument, period," Sanchez declared.
CNN's Dan Lothian offered the analogy of Democrats being on the on the 100th floor of a building and Republicans on the ground floor. Sanchez called for a compromise: "I think somehow they all need to get to the 50th floor."
Several reports uncritically repeated White House claims about the cost of Obama's plan ($950 billion) and The Nation's Chris Hayes, a liberal MSNBC guest, wrongly claimed that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says the bill is paid for. No one on "Morning Joe" with Hayes called him out for his inaccurate assertion.
The fact is that the CBO "cannot provide a cost estimate for the proposal without additional detail." A mere two cable reports admitted that the CBO is unable to score this particular plan yet. No network reports mentioned this important detail.
Since Feb. 22 conservatives have criticized Obama's plan for violating his tax pledge, for doing nothing to control rising costs of health care and for ignoring the consequences of price controls. But the network and cable news programs have done a terrible job of representing those concerns.
Journalists often ignored public opposition to overreaching health care reforms and defended the administration in the rare cases it was mentioned. NBC's Chuck Todd and David Shuster downplayed opposition to the plan Feb. 22 blaming it on a "communications" problem. MSNBC and CNN segments also argued that the American public favors a public option and interviewed guests who supported passing a bill with public option using reconciliation procedure.
Misreporting and Underreporting the Facts
The cable and network cheerleading wasn't the only flaw in health care reform stories Feb. 22 and 23. In some cases, the news media actually managed to misreport the facts.
Reporters relied on the use of White House cost estimates that had not been confirmed by the CBO due to the lack of detail in Obama's plan. In one case, an MSNBC guest said the CBO had done the math and his inaccuracy went unchallenged.
But NBC's "Today," MSNBC's "Morning Joe" and "Countdown with Keith Olbermann," CNN "Newsroom" and other programs also misreported the removal of the special Medicaid deal with Nebraska.
In December the media reported that Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., had worked out a "sweet deal" in exchange for his support of the Senate health care reform bill. According to Politico, the deal was to have the federal government pay most of the bill for Nebraska's new Medicaid recipients forever.
NBC's "Today" reported that Obama's plan "scraps" the Nebraska deal. ABC's "Good Morning America" used the word removal and other broadcasts also incorrectly said the deal was "gone."
But according to The Heritage Foundation, the president's plan doesn't eliminate the "cornhusker kickback" that infuriated people on both sides of the aisle -- instead it extended it to all 50 states.
"Now all new Medicaid spending through 2017 and 90 percent after 2020 will be picked up by the feds," Heritage's Conn Carroll wrote.
Borrowing from the White House playbook, ABC's George Stephanopoulos portrayed Republicans as a "do-nothing" party in an interview with Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., on Feb. 23.
Stephanopoulos parroted the White House question (which Robert Gibbs and other administration officials pushed on Feb. 22 and 23): "Will the Republicans post their health care plan and when?" and followed up "so will you take them up on that?"
Cantor told Stephanopoulos that the House GOP "had a plan posted since the vote in July." The ABC host argued back saying Republicans don't have a "comprehensive bill." Cantor said they did.
Heritage Foundation called that White House "gamesmanship," but supported Cantor's position saying "Not only do House Republicans already have their own health care plan, not only is it already available online, but the White House's own website already links to it!"
Ignoring Conservative Worries
While many network and cable reports about Obama's health care plan noted Republican opposition to the plan, journalists rarely delved into specific economic concerns from conservatives.
MSNBC's Hall seemed to agree with Obama's plan to block insurance premium hikes saying, "Many are saying that's the insurance reform that was needed, perhaps in the very beginning, to make sure that people were not spending so much money, so much of their income just trying to keep up with their insurance premiums."
Neither Hall nor Guthrie explored the potential impact of such price controls on insurance premiums.
Just one day after Obama introduced a plan that would include a board of overseers who could block "extreme" rate hikes, ABC's Diane Sawyer saw a need for limiting insurance premiums on Feb. 23. She introduced an attack on private insurers by asking "will Republicans or will Democrats keep insurance companies from jacking up premiums while making huge profits?"
Cato Institute's director of health policy studies Michael F. Cannon, wrote about the price controls that "helped kill the Clinton health plan" in the 1990s and criticized Obama's intent to do the same thing.
"Artificially limiting premium growth allows the government to curtail spending while leaving the dirty work of withholding medical care to private insurers," Cannon explained.
Cannon also quoted a 1994 paper by Progressive Policy Institute's David Kendall that examined the effects of health care price controls. Kendall wrote that "government price regulation will always fail because it does not change the underlying economic forces driving up prices. If we are serious about slowing the growth of health care costs, we have to change the ways we consume and provide medical care."
CNN's Ali Velshi was one of the few reporters who admitted that Obama's plan "doesn't bring down the cost" of health care."
Another conservative group, Americans for Tax Reform, found that the bill would raise taxes by $748 billion over the next 10 years. ATR's Ryan Ellis, director of policy, also pointed out in detail the ways in which Obama's plan violates his pledge not to tax any families making less than $250,000 a year.
Ellis concluded that the plan raises taxes on such families by $136 billion.
Neither conservative group was represented in network or cable broadcasts following Obama's announcement, but representatives from liberal think tank Brookings, progressive publication The Nation and liberal blog Huffington Post along with socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vt., were all interviewed about the plan.
—Julia A. Seymour is an assistant editor for the Business & Media Institute.
Morning Bell: A Sham of a Summit for a Sham of a Bill
Today’s White House-sponsored health care summit is an insult to the intelligence of every honest American. President Barack Obama’s communications minions are still trying sell his plan as an “opening bid” in the health care debate. But as Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus asks: “With whom is he bidding? The public dance is with Republicans, but this is hardly serious. The White House does not enter Thursday’s summit expecting Republicans to make a deal.” In fact, the President’s recently-unveiled plan is specifically designed to be passed without a single Republican vote. That is why the Washington Post reports this morning:
Although Obama is billing the White House gathering as an opportunity for Republicans to air their ideas for reform, Democrats do not expect it to reveal much common ground and are showing little willingness to abandon the basic outline of legislation that the House and Senate have approved.
The real target of today’s summit are the 38 Democrats in the House who voted against Obamacare the first time. While Obamacare passed the House 220-215, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told reporters yesterday she is not sure if she has the votes this time around. The passing of Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) and the retirements of Reps. Robert Wexler (D-FL) and Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) have cost her three votes, and the inclusion of taxpayer-funded abortions in the Senate and White House plans will cost the vote of the only Republican to vote for the plan the first time around, Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA), as well as Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) and 15 to 20 additional pro-life Democrats.
That means the White House must convince a sizeable chunk of conservative Democrats to switch their votes. Brown University political scientist James Monroe says that is the true purpose of today’s event: “House Democrats have told Obama, ‘Move the needle on public opinion,’ and that’s what this is about.” So how does President Obama plan to “move the needle” on the public’s view of his plan? By pushing the same old tired talking points he has been trying to sell them for over a year now. But the public’s opinion of President Obama’s plan has steadily declined as they have learned more about it. That’s for good reason: they intuitively know his claims cannot be true. Specifically, the President says his plan will “make insurance more affordable,” “set up a new competitive health insurance market,” and “put our budget and economy on a more stable path by reducing the deficit.”
But as Heritage fellow Bob Moffit amply details, each of these claims are demonstrably false. The Senate bill actually increases health insurance premiums and raises taxes on the middle class by $629 billion over ten years. It destroys what little there is left of a real competitive health insurance marketplace by instituting new price controls and standard benefit packages that will turn health insurance companies into public utilities. And the plan is so riddled with deceptive budget gimmicks that the White House’s non-CBO scored $950 billion price tag actually comes to $2.5 trillion once an honest accounting has been applied.
The stakes for today’s summit are high. According to a new Gallup poll, if President Obama fails to win any conservative support, Americans by a 49% to 42% margin will oppose rather than support Congress passing a health care bill. And what if President Obama decides to go it alone and pass major social welfare legislation with a bare majority? By an even larger 52% to 39% margin, Americans oppose passage of Obamacare with only 50 Senators in support (Vice President Joe Biden casting the 51st vote). And those opposed are more likely to feel strongly about their opinion than those in favor, 25% to 11%.
Back in 2005, then- Sen. Barack Obama said: “You know, the Founders designed this system, as frustrating it is, to make sure that there’s a broad consensus before the country moves forward.” Let’s hope the President heeds his own advice, and after today’s summit fails, he starts over.
Obama Administration Using Accounting Gimmicks That Would Make Enron ‘Blush,’ Republican Lawmaker Says
By Christopher Neefus
Headquarters of the federally chartered mortgage giant, Freddie Mac, in McLean, Va. (AP photo)
(CNSNews.com) – Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) says the Obama administration is using an accounting “gimmick” in its budget by not including the debt owed by mortgage firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
“The accounting gimmicks that are used today would make an Enron and WorldCom accountant blush,” Hensarling told reporters. “The American people know that under the policies of this administration—under the policies of this Congress—we are drowning in a sea of red ink.”
Hensarling, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, joined a group of House Republicans Tuesday in announcing the introduction of a bill that would require President Obama’s Office of Management and Budget to include the liabilities of Fannie and Freddie in the national debt calculation.
The two companies are defined as government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) whose portfolios include trillions of dollars in American mortgages, many of which are now “under water.” The federal government took control of the mortgage giants in 2008, as they neared financial collapse.
Billions of taxpayer dollars ($61 billion for Fannie Mae and $51 billion for Freddie Mac) has been spent so far to keep the GSEs solvent. Just this week, Freddie Mac reported a $7.8 billion loss in the final three months of 2009, but said it will not require another taxpayer infusion at this time.
Hensarling on Tuesday suggested that the administration is under-reporting the nation’s debt by failing to account for the potential liability incurred if Fannie and Freddie go deeper into the red.
The potential liabilities incurred by Fannie and Freddie, Hensarling said, would amount to “the mother of all bailouts.”
Fannie Mae headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Wikimedia Commons photo)
“When the final chapter is written on the history of our financial debacle, it will show that the cause was the government policies that cajoled, incented (sic) and mandated financial institutions to lend money to people to buy homes that, ultimately, they could not afford,” Hensarling said. “At the epicenter of those federal policies was Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and before all the dust settles in the final accounting, they will prove to be the mother of all bailouts.”
Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, estimated that the unfunded liabilities of Fannie and Freddie could exceed $5 trillion.
Under Republican’s proposed bill, the White House Office of Management and Budget would have to treat the GSEs’ estimated liabilities as part of the federal debt, and those liabilities along with the rest of the debt would have to remain under the debt ceiling.
Congress recently voted to raise the debt ceiling above $14 trillion dollars for the first time to accommodate other spending.
“The president has often spoken about accountability and transparency,” Hensarling said. “This is an opportunity to engage in the deed as opposed to words to actually achieve that, and I would hope…that this legislation wouldn’t be necessary—that the president would direct the Office of Management and Budget to have honest accounting for the American people about the amount of debt that is attached to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”
The bill – the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Accountability and Transparency for Taxpayers Act of 2010 -- specifically directs the inspector general of the Federal Housing Finance Agency to submit quarterly reports to Congress during the conservatorship of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac).
Each report would have to include the dollar amount of the GSEs’ total liabilities, with “a detailed breakdown of the potential level of risk to the Federal Government” and an explanation of how the risk to the federal government has changed from the previous reporting period.
The report also would have to include an explanation of all compensation and bonuses paid to Fannie and Freddie executive officers, among other items.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told the House Budget Committee on Wednesday there’s no need for such reporting requirements: "We do not think it is necessary to consolidate the full obligations of Fannie and Freddie onto the nation's budget,” Geithner said.
In addition to comparing the administration’s budget to the manipulated Enron balance sheet, Hensarling said the United States was heading down the same path as Greece, which now needs financial assistance from other European Union members.
“In fact, if you look at the rules of the E.U., when you look at our debt-to-GDP ratio—our deficit-to-GDP ratio, using our honest accounting, we couldn’t even get into the E.U. Now why are E.U. countries getting into trouble? Because of accounting gimmicks that they used to trick their people.”
H.R. 4581, the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Accountability and Transparency for Taxpayers Act, has been referred to the House Committee on Financial Services. In a Democrat-controlled House, it is not expected to advance.
Myrick has U.S. Muslims wary
ROBERT GIROUX - MCT
U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick, a Republican from Charlotte, speaks to Iranian-American community leaders Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol. She contends extremists are infiltrating U.S. Muslim communities.
BY BARBARA BARRETT - Washington Correspondent
WASHINGTON -- A year ago, U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick was appointed to the House Intelligence Committee, a prestigious post she had long sought.
There, top-secret briefings unveiled truths about homegrown terrorism she had only suspected. And won't reveal.
"I can't tell you. I'm not being coy," Myrick said in an interview. "There's a threat out there to our security. ... It's worse than I thought."
Myrick, a Charlotte Republican and former mayor of the city, contends that extremists are working their way into U.S. Muslim communities, infiltrating government institutions and influencing American citizens to attack their own country. Her activism earns plaudits from some conservatives - but criticism from Muslim constituents who fear that her tone endangers a community 3 million strong and deeply imbedded in the nation's fabric. Tonight, months after pledging to do so, Myrick will meet with Charlotte's Muslim community.
Since 9/11, Myrick has worried that the dangers of terrorism on U.S. soil were underestimated and has proposed a multi-pronged approach to fighting Islamic radicalization called "Wake Up America."
It suggested cutting off exchange programs and munitions sales with Saudi Arabia, passing legislation that would make calls for death to American citizens a form of treason, and investigating the selection of Arabic translators working for the Pentagon and FBI. In recent months, Myrick has taken on the Muslim law known as Shariah, suggested universities are being influenced by the austere brand of Islam common to Saudi Arabia known as Wahhabism and warned that Muslims have infiltrated political and military circles.
She also has accused the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, of planting spies by trying to get Muslim interns hired in congressional offices.
Accusation of 'McCarthyism'
The allegations damaged already sore relations with the Muslim community, said Larry Shaw of Fayetteville, national chairman for CAIR and a North Carolina state senator.
"It's looking like she's taking on a tinge of McCarthyism," Shaw said. "She's becoming a hatemonger."
U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, Congress' only Muslim member, said he hopes tonight's meeting opens a dialogue.
"Some of the things that Rep. Myrick has said are deeply offensive and upsetting," said Ellison, a Democrat from Minnesota.
In 2003, she angered Muslims with a comment during a Heritage Foundation forum about danger within the country.
"You know, and this can be misconstrued, but honest to goodness Ed and I for years, for 20 years, have been saying, 'You know, look at who runs all the convenience stores across the country,'" she said, mentioning her husband. "Every little town you go into, you know?"
Last fall, she wrote the foreword to "Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That's Seeking to Islamize America." The book accuses CAIR of supporting international jihad.
Most Muslims consider CAIR, which has been around since 1994, a respected civil rights group. The day of the book's release, Myrick and three colleagues accused CAIR of infiltrating congressional offices by attempting to place Muslim interns.
U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo of California, the top Democrat on Myrick's Intelligence subcommittee, said broad attacks on Muslims hurt American intelligence efforts.
Myrick cites Fort Hood
Myrick has said her fears about infiltration were realized in November, when Maj. Nidal Hasan killed 13 people at the Fort Hood in Texas. The FBI had been monitoring contact between Hasan and a radical Yemeni-American cleric.
After the shooting, Myrick told Front Page, a conservative Web site:
"We are fighting against radical Islamists who are using political Islam to advance their agenda to create a Caliphate, an Islamic state, and jihadists who use violent means to do the same."
Steven Emerson, author of "Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the U.S.," praised Myrick.
"Anyone who says that it's fear-mongering or that it's not serious is living on a different planet," Emerson said.
Some experts, though, disagree.
A study released last month by Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill researchers found 139 Muslim Americans involved in alleged or confirmed terrorism since 9/11. That compares with a national Muslim American population of more than 3million, said David Schanzer, lead author of the study and director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security.
"You have to look at the credibility of the individuals making those allegations, their motivations," Schanzer said, though he would not criticize Myrick individually.
U.S. Rep. David Price, a Chapel Hill Democrat and chairman of the spending subcommittee that funds the Department of Homeland Security, said that any member of Congress with details about a legitimate threat should take it to the FBI.
"I'm convinced we can do that without profiling, without stigmatizing whole groups," Price said.
Ebrahim Moosa, a Duke University professor of Islamic studies, said many of Myrick's concerns follow similar ignorance about Islam in America and the realistic threats of domestic terrorism.
"These manifestations are linked to more complex sets of issues, which is one thing politicians don't want to hear about," Moosa said. "She needs to make judgments on the facts and not on fictions. Without any evidence, this is just creating anxiety."
First of many meetings?
Myrick said she wants constituents to understand that her fears aren't about religion. "We live in the United States of America, where we have freedom of religion for everybody," she said.
She paused when asked whether she would have changed anything about her tone in the past year.
"I don't know," she said. "There's always times when you can choose your words better."
"We've got to talk about this," she said. "We can't just have two sides to an issue and not want to talk about it. It's too important to our country."
Obama Administration Did Not Consult Its Own Homeland Security Secretary Before Deciding to Try KSM in NYC
By Penny Starr, Senior Staff Writer
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a Senate Homeland Security committee hearing on Wednesday that she has not been consulted and has not met with Obama administration officials about trying terror suspects on U.S. soil. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)
(CNSNews.com) – At a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said she was not consulted before the decision was made to try 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other terror suspects in U.S. federal court in New York City.
She also said she has not taken part in discussions since that decision was made, including any that may have taken place to discuss whether the trials should be moved to another location.
“Were you consulted about homeland security risks or costs of providing security for the 9/11 terrorist in New York City before the attorney general made that decision?” Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the committee, asked Napolitano.
“Mr. Chairman, we were not consulted before but we have been part of a process to give cost estimates of what the security costs would be after the decision,” said Napolitano, who heads the department that was created after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 to protect the United States from future harm.
“In recent weeks – at least the last couple of weeks – there have been some statements and some rumors that the administration is reconsidering the question of trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other 9/11 conspirators in New York City,” Lieberman said. He then asked if she had been involved in discussions about homeland security issues as they relate to trying terrorists on U.S. soil.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the committee, asked Napolitano about her involvement in the decision to try 9/11 suspect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York City. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)
“I have not personally participated in any discussions,” Napolitano said.
Napolitano made the remarks at a hearing to discuss the proposed $56.3 billion budget for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for fiscal year 2011. The budget includes $200 million for security for trying Sheikh Mohammed in New York City.
When asked by ranking minority leader Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) why the DHS budget spends money on securing the trials of terrorists in the U.S. while cutting funding for U.S. Coast Guard, Napolitano defended the Obama administration’s stance on the matter.
“Decommissioning part of the Coast Guard’s 13th elite maritime security safety teams that protect waterfront cities makes absolutely no sense given the threats to our ports,” said Collins, adding that she believed the Senate would not fund security for terror trials in the U.S.
“We are going to have terrorist trials in the United States,” Napolitano said. “There will be security costs that accompany those trials.”
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), ranking member on the committee, said she was shocked that the Obama administration's budget for the Department of Homeland Security for fiscal year 2011 cuts funding for the U.S. Coast Guard while asking for $200 million for security for the Sheikh Mohammed trial.
Napolitano failed to show up at a Jan. 27 House Homeland Security hearing focusing on the Christmas Day bombing attempt of a U.S. airliner over Detroit by an Nigerian native trained by al Qaeda. Napolitano met privately on Feb. 4 with Democratic members of the committee and later with ranking Republican member Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.)
After she met with King, CNSNews.com twice asked Napolitano if she had spoken with President Barack Obama on
Christmas Day about the attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253 that day. She initially answered that she would not discuss her conversations with the presient. The second time she was asked the quesion, she answered that "we" were in contact with "the president's office."
“Yes, we were in contact with the president’s office,” Napolitano said.
A Feb. 3 report by CNSNews.com pointed out that FBI Director Robert Mueller, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair and Napolitano all told congressional committees following the Dec. 25 attack that they were not consulted about the decision to Mirandize bombing suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
In her prepared remarks on the DHS budget, Napolitano said DHS has five main missions – to prevent terrorism and enhance security, secure and manage U.S. borders, “enforcing and administrating” immigration laws, “safeguarding and securing cyberspace,” and disaster preparedness and response.
"The e-mail Bag"
Our planet is populated with plenty of bizarre and astonishing creatures. Here are three from the Bat Family ..... without the need for resorting to fiction.
Red-Winged Fruit Bat
Left-Winged Ding Bat
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Promoting "God's Holy Values and American Freedoms"!
Remember The Values In Life!
To realize the value of a SISTER, ask someone who doesnt have one.
To realize the value of a TEN Years, ask newly Divorced couple.
To realize the value of a FOUR years, ask a graduate.
To realize the value of a One year, ask a student who has failed a final exam.
To realize the value of a NINE months, ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.
To realize the value of a Week, ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.
To realize the value of One hour, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.
To realize the value of One minute, ask a person who has missed the train, bus or plane.
To realize the value of One second, ask a person who survived an accident.
To realize the value of milli second, ask the person who has won a silver medal in olympics time waits for no one.
Treasure every moment you have you will treasure it even more when you can share it with someone special.
To realize the value of a friend, Lose one.
Do what experts since the dawn of recorded history have told you you must do: pay the price by becoming the person you want to become. It's not nearly as difficult as living unsuccessfully. -- Earl Nightingale
"If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime,educate people." -- Chinese proverb
"Happiness cannot come from without. It must come from within. It is not what we see and touch or that which thers do for us which makes us happy; it is that which we think and feel and do, first for the other fellow and then for ourselves." -- Helen Keller
The Strangest Secret
"Daily Devotions" (KJV and/or NLT)
All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on Him the guilt and sins of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)
The fact is that when we sin, we will never be excused from the penalty. Because of God's holiness, sin must always be punished. Any claims that we were tricked into sin or that we did not know our action was sin gets us nowhere with God.
If that sounds cruel and unfair, here is the good news! Jesus provided a dramatic reprieve from our sentence and punishment. Jesus was beaten, tortured, and hung on a cross to die in our place to satisfy God's demand for justice. The unbending holy Judge became our gracious Savior!
Peter explains, "[Jesus] personally carried away our sins in his own body on the cross so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. You have been healed by his wounds" (1 Peter 2:24). When Jesus came, His blood was spilled so we could experience God's mercy. Jesus' sacrifice is the ultimate expression of God's mercy.
Jesus Christ's sacrifice on the cross satisfied God's just nature. God, the divine judge, showed mercy for us guilty sinners. It is the mercy of God that sees man weighed down by sin and therefore in a sorry and pitiful condition, needing divine help.
At the cross, God's attributes of both justice and mercy found complete fulfillment---simultaneously! Is that not amazing?
Your View of God Really Matters …
Try to think of one other religion that unites perfect justice and perfect mercy without compromising either one even slightly. Can you think of any other way to perfectly balance them without compromising either one? Today, thank God for His perfection.
"The Patriot Post"
"No compact among men ... can be pronounced everlasting and inviolable, and if I may so express myself, that no Wall of words, that no mound of parchment can be so formed as to stand against the sweeping torrent of boundless ambition on the one side, aided by the sapping current of corrupted morals on the other." --George Washington, draft of first Inaugural Address, 1789
"Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual -- or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country." --Samuel Adams, in the Boston Gazette, 1781
From the Left: Nice Work, if You Can Get It
Ah, the joys of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's life: air travel and junkets paid for by those peons, the taxpayers. While her status as second in line to presidential succession mandates that her travel be more secure than simply flying coach next to some guy with exploding underwear, documents obtained by the watchdog group Judicial Watch reveal that San Fran Nan wasn't exactly frugal in her manner of flying. In just two years, she has led 103 congressional delegations to far-flung corners of the nation and world -- about one per week -- racking up a bill of $2.1 million. Members of her family tagged along on 31 of these trips.
It wasn't just the air travel, either. We the People paid for luxury hotel rooms, bar tabs and fine dining at numerous stops on Pelosi's world tour. It wouldn't do for members of Congress and their staff to eat at Denny's and stay at the Holiday Inn, would it? One three-day trip to the Gulf Coast, supposedly to check out Katrina damage, included 22 Democrat members of Congress and associated staffers and cost more than $65,000.. The tab at Galatoire's five-star restaurant in New Orleans alone was more than $10,000.
The Pelosi revelations are neither as shocking nor surprising as they may have been a few years ago when she was disingenuously decrying the Republican "culture of corruption," but given the $3.8 trillion Barack Obama wants to blow in the coming fiscal year, our spendthrift "representatives" are at least leading by example.
O'Keefe Case Update
A couple of interesting allegations have surfaced in the federal case against ACORN-buster James O'Keefe and the incident in which he and three other men were accused of unlawful interference with the telephone system at Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu's New Orleans office. Read more here.
National Security - Department of Military Readiness: The Definition of Insanity
Responding to The One's latest budget proposal, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) commented from the House floor, "[W]hen I look at the president's budget for fiscal year 2011 [FY11], I think about what Albert Einstein said one time. He said that 'doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result' is the very definition of insanity." Congressman Pence went on to note how Obama's budget fits squarely within that definition, including the defense portion of that budget.
While Department of Defense (DoD) and administration staff juggle numbers at the fringes -- witness the ongoing discussions over canceling the C17 Globemaster III production line and killing an alternative engine for the F-35 Lightning II -- the reality is that both DoD and the administration are happy to continue the status quo.
The evidence? Despite the rhetoric-du-jour, the rubber meets the road with dollars, and notwithstanding pervasive hope 'n' change speechifying, virtually nothing has changed with respect to the U.S. defense budget. In this budget submission, for example, military outlays remain virtually unchanged, save a slight increase (less than two percent) over inflation.
Also, the president apparently has included supplemental budget items as an integral part of his FY11 proposal. Translation: The commercial sector's interfacing with DoD might actually be able to depend on the budget for once rather than having to wait for end-of-year fallout money or congressional plus-ups to end the year in the black. That predictability should mean lower overall costs, rendering savings for national defense..
On the down side, however, we note that neither a new National Security Strategy (NSS) nor National Military Strategy (NMS) -- the key "vision" pieces to national security -- has been published since 2006. This demonstrates that despite all the hype about "change," at least with respect to defense, not much is different -- save, perhaps, a burning (dare we say, "flaming") desire to appease the far left by eliminating DoD's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Therein lies the rub: We have no real vision for tomorrow's defense, but we face very real military budget tradeoffs today.
Budgets involve choices. What should we buy? What programs should we kill? What should we merely sustain? But these types of questions can't be answered cogently without an overarching set of objectives. For national defense, those objectives should be articulated in both the NSS and the NMS.
The real issue for the president is determining our focus with respect to national security. Is it fighting a peer/near-peer nation? Is it conducting so-called "overseas contingency operations"? Is it some combination of both? Or is it something else? Unfortunately, the vehicle that should have answered these questions -- the Quadrennial Defense Review -- has become little more than a political football and/or shill for the service-of-the-hour. What is needed is an objective, disinterested look at the nation's true national security requirements from an outsider's perspective. Ultimately, this will lead to rational decision-making when it comes time to draft a viable national defense budget.
Fortunately, the president isn't cutting the military to the bone, but this fact stands in contrast to the Left's objectives, so expect considerable push-back on this portion when the budget arrives on House and Senate floors for review.
Obama Cuts NASA Funding
Barack Obama's 2011 NASA budget will effectively terminate America's manned space flight program, leaving space exploration leadership to the Chinese and the Russians. Read more here.
Obama Calls Navy Corpsman a 'Corpse-man'
At the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday, the commander in chief not only got a sailor's name wrong, but couldn't figure out how to pronounce "corpsman." Yes, he said "corpse-man."
Watch the video.
From the 'Non Compos Mentis' File
Last Friday in London, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton really ratcheted up the tough talk. "Iran has provided a continuous stream of threats to intensify its violation of international nuclear norms," Clinton said. "Iran's approach leaves us with little choice than to work with our partners to apply greater pressure in the hope that it will cause Iran to reconsider its rejection of diplomatic efforts."
Translation: We're going to use diplomats to force Iran to listen to our diplomats.
This nonsense was not lost on the Iranians. Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki replied -- and we're not making this up -- "We advise Mrs. Clinton not to use repetitive and fruitless rhetoric in her tone." Good luck with that, Manuchehr. We've been telling her that for years.
Profiles of Valor: U.S. Army Major Brent Clemmer
On Jan. 28, 2007, while commanding the Charger Company of 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, United States Army Major Brent Clemmer received notice that a helicopter had been shot down near Najaf, Iraq. Responding coalition forces were under heavy gun and mortar fire. Clemmer moved his company approximately 60 miles to connect with a Special Forces team to establish a perimeter between the downed chopper and the enemy. From there, he directed the recovery of the wreckage and the bodies of the two pilots killed in the crash. Clemmer's unit fought off numerous enemy attacks and prepared for a full assault on the town where the insurgents were entrenched.
At dawn the following morning, however, wounded women and children began coming from the town, signaling the jihadis' surrender and turning the would-be assault into a humanitarian mission. All told, Clemmer and his soldiers killed about 250 insurgents and captured more than 400. In addition, they recovered stockpiles of ammunition and weapons. Upon receiving the Silver Star for his actions, Clemmer said the award was a reflection on the performance of the nearly 170 soldiers in his company.
Business & Economy - Liars Figure and Figures Lie
Last week, the Obama administration trumpeted a 5.7 percent growth in the fourth quarter gross domestic product as evidence that its economic plan has resuscitated the economy, all thanks to the massive government stimulus program. But as Mark Twain famously quipped, "There are lies, there are damned lies, and then there are statistics." When the bigger the lie is the more believable it is, why stop short of using statistics?
Due to the inventory reductions brought on by corporate bloodletting, fully 3.5 percent of that 5.7 percent is only a one-shot depletion of inventory that won't be replaced until demand resumes. Alarmingly, the remaining 2.2 percent growth rate is 0.8 percent below the neutral minimum job creation threshold. This continuing negative growth condition explains why businesses shed 735,000 jobs over the last six months of 2009. Other indicators reveal a 0.1 percent year-to-year growth rate, a 14.6 percent drop in businesses future output investments, and stagnant or shrinking wages from a year ago.
Most revealing is the fact that since Democrats seized control of Congress in 2006, the private sector has lost almost eight million jobs while the unemployment rate soared past 10 percent. Democrat policies have helped created some jobs, though -- those in the federal government, which will hit 2.15 million employees this year, the highest since Bill Clinton declared that "the era of big government is over."
PTC hopes to keep Stern off 'Idol'
Allie Martin - OneNewsNow
The Parents Television Council (PTC) is asking the Fox Television Network to publicly state that shock-jock Howard Stern is not going to have a role on American Idol.
Major media outlets have recently reported that Stern is being considered for a judging spot on the popular television show, American Idol. The PTC was quick to ask Fox executives to squelch the rumor, but so far, network brass has not commented, so now the PTC is spearheading a petition titled, "Keep Stern Off American Idol."
Melissa Henson with the PTC believes the network would be making a colossal mistake to feature Stern on the show.
"I've heard a lot of people say, 'Well, he couldn't do the same thing he does on his radio show if he's on TV. He's bound by FCC and so forth.' But let's not forget that before Howard Stern went to Sirius, he was on broadcast airwaves for 20-something years -- and during that time, he was constantly waging war with the FCC, trying to see what he could get away with," Henson recalls. "I wouldn't put it past him to continue to test the limits of what he could get away with, even on broadcast TV."
Since its first episode in 2002, American Idol has become one of the most popular shows in the history of American television. Current judges include Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and Ellen DeGeneres; singer Paula Abdul recently left her spot among the judges over a contract dispute.
SCHOOLS: Prayer is constitutional at IR board meetings, judge says
Sean O'Sullivan • The News Journal
DOVER — A federal judge in Delaware ruled Monday that it is constitutional for the Indian River School Board to open its meetings with Christian prayers, a ruling that could broaden what's allowed at school board meetings throughout the state.
In a 57-page opinion dated Sunday but not made public until late Monday, District Judge Joseph J. Farnan Jr. threw out a lawsuit brought by "Jane and John Doe" against the Sussex County school district that charged the board's practice violated the constitutional separation of church and state.
Farnan found that the elected school board is closer to a legislative body than a school, and therefore a prayer is permissible.
"Although reasonable people can differ as to whether the board's policy is wise, could be more inclusive or is actually necessary to solemnize board meetings, 'too much judicial fine-tuning of legislative prayer policies risks unwarranted interference in [a legislative body],' " Farnan wrote.
The judge concluded that the Indian River School Board did not use its prayer policy "to proselytize or advance religion," so he believed that the court "may not demand anything further" of the board.
Attorney Thomas J. Allingham II, who represents the Doe plaintiffs, said his clients were disappointed by this long-awaited ruling. "But we fully expect to appeal the decision to the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, and we continue to believe in the merits of our challenges to the board's prayer practices."
Indian River School Board member Reginald Helms and the district's attorney see the ruling as vindication.
"It was a long time coming. I guess in these types of cases, they take their time," Helms said. "It is good news for the district and, I guess, for public bodies everywhere."
House Republicans Gave Obama Their Health Care Proposals Weeks Ahead of Thursday’s Summit
By Penny Starr, Senior Staff Writer
President Barack Obama shakes hands with House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio as House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Va., looks on at right, after Obama took questions from Republican lawmakers at the GOP House Issues Conference in Baltimore, Friday, Jan. 29, 2010. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
(CNSNews.com) – Weeks ahead of Thursday's “bipartisan” meeting on health care reform, House Republicans offered their ideas to President Barack Obama in a booklet presented to the president during his visit to the Republican Party retreat in Baltimore on Jan. 29.
The 27-page booklet includes proposals on health care as well as six other issues Republicans consider vital to America’s continued prosperity: jobs, fiscal responsibility, open government and transparency, energy, savings, national security and fiscal reform.
The booklet, entitled “Better Solutions, a Compilation of GOP Alternatives,” was prepared by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio). It includes legislation proposed by the House over the last year and several letters written to the president on these issues over the same time period.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.)
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said as much when the president called on her at the retreat.
“Thank you, Mr. President,” Blackburn said. “And thank you for acknowledging that we have ideas on health care. Because, indeed, we do have ideas. We have plans. We have over 50 bills. We have lots of amendments that would bring health care ideas to the forefront.
“We've got plans to lower cost, to change purchasing models, address medical liability, insurance accountability, chronic and preexisting conditions, and access to affordable care for those with those conditions, insurance portability, expanded access, but not doing it with creating more government, more bureaucracy and more cost for the American taxpayer,” Blackburn said.
“And we look forward to sharing those ideas with you,” she said. “We want to work with you on health reform and making certain that we do it in an affordable, cost-effective way that is going to reduce bureaucracy, reduce government interference and reduce costs to individuals and to taxpayers.
“And if those good ideas aren't making it to you, maybe it's the House Democrat leadership that is an impediment instead of a conduit,” Blackburn said.
Like the health care proposal posted by the Obama administration on Monday, the GOP compilation was posted online and in a Web video on Boehner’s congressional Web site on Feb. 3, where the Republican House leader encouraged people to download the PDF to review the GOP’s ideas.
House Republicans sent letters to the White House detailing their plans for job creation and helping small businesses on Oct. 7, 2009 and Dec. 9, 2009. An alternative to the Democrats’ stimulus plan also is included in the Boehner report.
The compilation details the House GOP plan for health care it put forth in HR 4038, which was introduced in the House on Nov. 6, 2009.
It includes tort reform, access to affordable health insurance for people with pre-existing conditions and limiting insurance companies from cancelling policies, allowing Americans to buy insurance across state lines and dependents to remain on their parents’ policies until age 25. The health care bill is accompanied by a letter sent to the president on May 13, 2009.
In a detailed table, a plan for reducing the federal deficit and increasing personal savings is presented, including the consolidation and “refocus” of numerous federal programs that would save hundreds of millions of dollars over five years.
The table also includes a long list of programs that should be terminated, including the funding for “unnecessary international organizations” ($417.5 million), eliminating federal transportation funding for landscaping museums and other transportation “enhancements” ($4.1 billion), and terminating ineffective federal education programs ($2.8 billion).
The signatures of 222 economists are included in the booklet following a statement on the way to create jobs and rein in federal spending.
“The country’s economic future depends on Congress’ ability to rein in the growth of federal spending,” the statement says. “Failing to restrict spending growth will further balloon the national debt, impede economic growth, and threaten the long-term economic health of our Nation. Controlling spending growth to reverse our dangerous debt accumulation can be done without endangering the near-term economic recovery, and will prove beneficial over the longer horizon.
“The 2009 near-term “stimulus” has proven to be an inefficient spur to job creation and does not merit repeating,” reads the statement. “Any further policy efforts should be focused on opening borders to free trade, cutting burdensome regulations, and providing necessary tax relief to employers and employees.”
The portion of the report that addresses “open government and transparency” notes HR 554, which would require bills to be posted online for 72 hours before they come to a vote. Other legislation on transparency would require that all health care negotiations be made publicly, and cameras would be allowed to cover the Rules Committee, which now meets behind closed doors to decide when a bill will come to a vote.
At the Republican retreat in January, Obama said he has listened to ideas from the other side of the aisle and will continue to do so, as long as both sides are willing to get something done for the American people.
“I was not elected by Democrats or Republicans, but by the American people,” Obama said. “That's especially true because the fastest-growing group of Americans are independents. That should tell us both something.
“I'm ready and eager to work with anyone who is willing to proceed in the spirit of goodwill,” Obama said. “But understand, if we can't break free from partisan gridlock, if we can't move past the politics of ‘no,’ if resistance supplants constructive debate, I still have to meet my responsibilities as president.
“I've got to act for the greater good, because that, too, is a commitment that I have made,” Obama said. “And that, too, is what the American people sent me to Washington to do.”
The health care summit is set to being at 10 a.m. on Thursday.
White House Urges Repeal of Insurers’ Antitrust Exemption
By PETER BAKER
President Obama called on Tuesday for repealing the health insurance industry’s exemption from federal antitrust laws, escalating his attack on insurers as he tries to revive his stalled effort to overhaul the nation’s health care system.
The White House sent Congress a statement throwing its weight behind a House bill to overturn parts of the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945, which granted insurance companies broad protection from federal monopoly oversight and left regulation of the industry largely to state governments.
The president’s move came a day after he proposed a new effort to crack down on insurers that are raising premium rates dramatically, part of a comprehensive health care plan that he posted on the White House Web site before a bipartisan summit meeting on Thursday. But the antitrust repeal was not included in Mr. Obama’s overall plan on Monday; it was instead left to the separate House legislation.
“Removing this exemption will allow appropriate enforcement and examination of potential policies that might prove uncompetitive, might stifle competition,” said Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary. “And we think this better promotes affordability and innovation through greater choice and less market concentration.”
The proposed repeal has strong support among House Democrats, who included a version of it in the broader health care bill passed by the House last year. But the fate of the repeal remains uncertain in the Senate, where Democrats did not incorporate it into their health care legislation. Critics noted that mergers and some business practices were already subject to federal oversight and said that repealing McCarran-Ferguson provisions would do nothing to lower health care costs.
“The rhetoric surrounding repeal of McCarran-Ferguson does not match the reality of the situation,” said Karen Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, an industry group. “Health insurance is one of the most regulated industries in America at both the federal and the state levels.”
Mr. Obama signaled last October that he was interested in the issue when he said in a weekend radio and Internet address that Congress was right to study a possible repeal. At the time, he complained that insurers were gouging customers and executives were “earning these profits and bonuses while enjoying a privileged exemption from our antitrust laws.”
His statement on Tuesday represented the first time he had taken a formal position. Mr. Gibbs said the idea was not put into the overall health care plan posted on Monday because strategists believed there could be a bipartisan majority for repealing the exemption, separate from the main legislation.
The standalone repeal bill was devised as the first salvo in a dual-track strategy by Representative Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat and House speaker, to advance elements of a health care overhaul one by one in case the comprehensive effort ultimately does not go forward.
Ms. Pelosi and Representative Louise M. Slaughter, Democrat of New York, pressed Mr. Obama for support during a private meeting last month, according to Congressional aides. “This industry has enjoyed a big giveaway for far too long,” Ms. Slaughter said in a statement after the president’s announcement Tuesday, “and it’s about time that it plays by the same rules as everyone else.”
The Democratic leadership allowed the latest version of the bill to be introduced on Monday by Representatives Tom Perriello of Virginia and Betsy Markey of Colorado, two freshman Democrats who voted on opposite sides on the larger health care legislation last year. Under the bill, health insurers would no longer be protected from liability for price-fixing, bid-rigging or dividing up market territories, according to the sponsors.
But after industry lobbying, the new version would not affect medical malpractice insurers.
About 95 percent of health insurance markets in the nation are “highly concentrated,” meaning that customers have only one or a few insurers to pick from. Proponents of repealing the antitrust exemption argue that such concentration has created an anticompetitive situation permitting huge premium increases.
But the Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan agency, reported in October that repealing the antitrust exemption for health insurers would not make a huge difference in premiums, in part because state laws generally already barred the activities prohibited by the federal bill. In terms of premiums, the report said, “the magnitude of the effects is likely to be quite small.”
Moreover, a Congressional Research Service report last month said that repealing the exemption could open the door to a flood of lawsuits challenging various insurer practices and could harm smaller insurers that share data because they do not have large pools of information of their own. If the result is that small insurers can no longer share information, the report said, “further consolidation in the insurance industry” would be “a likely, albeit ironic, possibility.”
Morning Bell: President Obama’s “Pro-Business” Policies Are Killing the Free Market
Last night President Barack Obama held a behind-closed-door dinner with 17 chief executive officers from major U.S. corporations including Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase, Verizon Communications’ Ivan Seidenberg, and General Electric’s Jeffrey Immelt. According to Bloomberg, the President made the case to his select guests that his administration is “fundamentally business-friendly.” This comes almost two weeks after the President told BusinessWeek: “[T]he irony is, is that on the left we are perceived as being in the pockets of Big Business. And then on the business side, we are perceived as being anti-business.”
What the President fails to understand is that there is no irony here. It is entirely consistent for big government policies that favor select and politically connected big corporations to hurt the economy as a whole. In fact, almost all well-intentioned government interventions in the market place do exactly that. In a July 2009 interview with BusinessWeek, President Obama spoke of an earlier behind-closed-door meeting he had with top corporate executives:
The last lunch that I had, I guess we had the CEOs of Xerox (XRX), AT&T (T), Honeywell (HON), and Coke (KO). We talked about the fact that, in the 1980s, when everybody was afraid Japan was going to eat our lunch, a lot of companies did a 180 in terms of quality improvement, efficiency, increasing productivity. There was a change in corporate culture that significantly boosted corporate productivity for a long time and helped create the boom of the ’90s. What they pointed out was, there were a couple of sectors that were resistant to that: health care, education, energy, and government.
[What we're saying] matches up almost perfectly with what those CEOs were saying: Can we introduce the same sort of productivity in the health-care industry, which we know is going to be a growing sector because of the aging population? Can we use the need to transition our energy economy in such a way that it ends up being a huge engine for economic growth? Can we revamp our education system so that it’s producing the kind of workers we need? … we need to get beyond this notion that somehow government is always just the problem.
But as others have pointed out, the reason the health care, education, and energy sectors all failed to improve quality, efficiency, and productivity in the 80s is because those sectors were, and continue to be, the sectors most dominated by government intervention: our education system is a near total government monopoly; the federal government controls the majority of health care spending in this country, and our environmental laws make new energy development in this country virtually impossible. But President Obama seems completely oblivious to these facts. He is supremely confident that his government “pro-business” interventions will be ahistorically successful. And so he confidently tells BusinessWeek: “You would be hard-pressed to identify a piece of legislation that we have proposed out there that, net, is not good for businesses.”
Never mind that President Obama’s cap and trade proposal would be worth billions to select power companies but cost the U.S. economy as a whole trillions of dollars. Never mind that his health care plan would turn health insurance companies into public-utility like monopolies at tremendous cost to small businesses. Never mind that the President’s big labor-friendly tax hikes would cripple American competitiveness. President Obama’s “pro-business” TARP related actions helped lower the United States rank in the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom, from “free” to “mostly free.” The President must stop having behind-closed-door meetings with his favorite CEOs and start pursuing an economic agenda that helps everyone.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Don't know if anyone has seen this so I apologize if this has already been posted, but my Aunt, who lives in the DC area sent me these pics.
Not all of DC was shut down during the heavy snowstorms...These are the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Old Guard keeping watch regardless of the conditions!
The media had reported the honor guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier never left their posts during any of the snow storms DC had. It makes you proud to be an American!
"The e-mail Bag"
'It's just too hot to wear clothes today,' Jack says as he stepped out of the shower, 'honey, what do you think the neighbors would think if I mowed the lawn like this?' *
'Probably that I married you for your money,' she replied.
Q: What do you call an intelligent, good looking, sensitive man?
A: A rumor
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Promoting "God's Holy Values and American Freedoms"!
"The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance - it is the illusion of knowledge." -- Daniel J. Boorstin
Learning how to "connect" with people remotely and get results from a distance is your key to virtual leadership success. -- Debra A. Dinnocenzo
"A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book." -- Irish Proverb
"Daily Devotions" (KJV and/or NLT)
I want you to be merciful. (Matthew 9:13)
Many years ago in Korea, Dr. Joon Gon Kim and his family were enjoying an evening together. Suddenly, an angry band of Communist guerrillas invaded their village, killing everyone in their path. In their trail of blood, the guerrillas left behind the dead bodies of Dr. Kim's wife and father. Dr. Kim was beaten and left for dead. In the cool rain of the night, he revived and fled for safety with his young daughter to the mountains. They were the sole survivors.
Dr. Kim knew from Scripture that he must love his enemies and pray for those who persecuted him. The Spirit of God impressed upon him to seek out the Communist chief who led the guerrilla attack, and tell him that he loved him. Then he was to tell him about God's love.
Dr. Kim obeyed. When he met the Communist chief, the man was dumbfounded because he had believed that the guerrillas had killed him. He knelt and committed his life to Christ. Within a short time, more Communists came to Christ, and Dr. Kim helped build a church for them. He was a living demonstration of God's mercy.
As I walk in the Spirit and grow in appreciation for the mercy of God to me, I find that mercy overflows from my life into the lives of others. And if I plant the seeds of God's mercy in the hearts and minds of others, they produce a harvest of love for God and repentance of sin.
Your View of God Really Matters …
Do you love mercy? Ask the Lord to make you a person who loves mercy, and who extends mercy to others as Dr. Kim did. Is there someone who needs you to extend God's mercy to them today?
"The Patriot Post"
"Nothing is more certain than that a general profligacy and corruption of manners make a people ripe for destruction. A good form of government may hold the rotten materials together for some time, but beyond a certain pitch, even the best constitution will be ineffectual, and slavery must ensue." --John Witherspoon, The Dominion of Providence Over the Passions of Men, 1776
"No man can well doubt the propriety of placing a president of the United States under the most solemn obligations to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution." --Joseph Story
"Your love of liberty -- your respect for the laws -- your habits of industry -- and your practice of the moral and religious obligations, are the strongest claims to national and individual happiness." --George Washington, letter to the residents of Boston, 1789
"[A] wise and frugal government ... shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government." --Thomas Jefferson
Government & Politics
The Leftist Vision for Government
The Obama deficit will weigh the nation downAs we noted last week, Barack Obama is now paying lip service to fiscal conservatism by calling for a "freeze" on federal spending in the face of huge deficits. Yet the freeze would apply to only a small fraction of spending and save a measly $15 billion -- and not until 2011. With Monday's budget release, in which outlays will reach $3.72 trillion for fiscal 2010 and $3.83 trillion in 2011, this political posturing becomes all the more disingenuous.
While the projected deficit will hit a record $1.56 trillion this year and a cumulative $5.08 trillion over the next five years, spending will reach 25.4 percent of GDP this year, a post-World War II record. The phony freeze simply sets a new floor for government largesse -- a floor that's nearly 30 percent higher than in 2008.
The Wall Street Journal reports, "Despite talk of 'tough choices' in [Monday's] document, the Administration wants $25 billion in new spending for states for Medicaid, $100 billion for yet another jobs 'stimulus,' big boosts in spending for low-income family programs, for health research, heating assistance and education." Additionally, the budget moves Pell Grants out of the "discretionary" spending column and into the permanent entitlement one at a cost of $307 billion over 10 years.
To finance this growth in government, including the assumption that ObamaCare and cap-n-tax become law, the budget includes nearly $2 trillion in tax increases over the next decade. Yet Obama had the gall in his SOTU to declare, "Now, let me repeat: We cut taxes." Characteristically, the budget drops one of these cuts after 2012 -- the $400 payroll tax credit.
When Congress repeals the Bush tax cuts and returns the top rate from 35 percent to 39.6 percent, Obama's budget will increase taxes by $1 trillion for individuals earning more than $200,000 a year and couples earning $250,000. The 33 percent rate would also rise to 36 percent. Capital gains and dividends would be taxed at 20 percent, up from 15 percent now. Some deductions for higher wage earners would also be reduced. Yet the Obama budget would extend the Bush tax cuts for singles and couples under the $200,000/$250,000 threshold. With this, we suppose, would come a grudging admission that the Bush tax cuts benefited everyone.
Obama's class warfare and targeted tax increases are outrageous, to say the least. Many of those so-called "wealthy" people who he thinks can spare a dime are small business owners and entrepreneurs who will now be unable to hire that additional employee because of higher taxes.
These are just a few examples of the appalling items in the new budget. Our primary objections, however, are rooted not in numbers but in the nation's founding ideals. Most of the present federal budget is extraconstitutional. Provisions for Medicaid, jobs, family programs, health research, heating assistance and education -- all items mentioned above -- are nowhere to be found in the Constitution.
For someone like Obama, for whom everything begins and ends with government, the Constitution is little more than parchment under glass. He repeatedly asserts "that Washington is the answer to everything," writes columnist and former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan. In his SOTU, she adds, "The people are good but need guidance -- from Washington. The middle class is anxious, and its fears can be soothed -- by Washington. Washington can 'make sure consumers ... have the information they need to make financial decisions.' Washington must 'make investments,' 'create' jobs, increase 'production' and 'efficiency.'"
While he was California Governor, Ronald Reagan said, "This is the issue [at hand]: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves."
The budget is further proof that Obama and the Democrats think that they can spend your money and plan your life better than you can. That's the antithesis of liberty.
Hope 'n' Change: Obama Crashes GOP Retreat
On the campaign trail, Barack Obama promised to change the culture in Washington. But this "change" has been little more than trying to force people to support his socialist views, then labeling them as obstructionist when they don't. That plan was on full display as Obama paid a visit to the House GOP conference retreat. He spent a lot of camera time explaining what the Democrats were trying to do with health care, and he hammered Republicans for being "obstructionist."
At the same time, he slyly confessed that he hasn't kept those campaign promises, one of which is that people could keep the health insurance they have after ObamaCare mauls the market. "There's some stray cats and dogs that got in there that we were eliminating, we were in the process of eliminating," the president said of various White House pets, such as bribing Sens. Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu, that made it into the health care bill. Furthermore, the "we" symbolizes the fact that the Democrats completely rejected any input from Republicans in crafting health care legislation -- and they have no one to blame but themselves for the public's rejection of their plan.
Speaking of public backlash, Republican Scott Brown of Massachusetts was finally sworn in Thursday, meaning Senate Democrats no longer enjoy a 60-seat super majority in the upper chamber. Losing what the media continue to call "Ted Kennedy's seat" in last month's special election was a severe blow to Democrats and is, we think, a harbinger of things to come in November.
Obama isn't deterred, however. He told Senate Democrats, "All that's changed in the last two weeks is that our party has gone from having the largest Senate majority in a generation to the second largest Senate majority in a generation." Doesn't sound like he's learned anything.
Meanwhile, lawmakers in 34 states have expressed their concern over the potential for federal meddling in health care by filing or proposing amendments to their state constitutions that would reject broad health insurance mandates by Washington. The plan, which is widespread but not necessarily coordinated across state lines, calls for creating a legal barrier that would prevent the federal government from forcing people to purchase health insurance and prevent businesses from being compelled to provide certain coverage standards.
This Week's 'Alpha Jackass' Award
"A little bit of time and quiet could help. Maybe over time, people will have a chance to understand what is in the legislation." --Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), whom the LA Times describes as a "conservative Democrat," but who received a 4 out of 100 rating from the American Conservative Union last year
Memo to Mark: Maybe people already do understand what's in the legislation, and maybe that's precisely why it's dead in the minds of most Americans. Leave it that way.
Dallas Tea Party Invites the White People of MSNBC
CBO to White House: We can’t score your health care crap sandwich
By Michelle Malkin Ok, they didn’t say “crap sandwich.”
But the message is clear on the CBO Director’s blog:
“This morning the Obama Administration released a description of its health care proposal, and CBO has already received several requests to provide a cost estimate for that proposal. We had not previously received the proposal, and we have just begun the process of reviewing it—a process that will take some time, given the complexity of the issues involved. Although the proposal reflects many elements that were included in the health care bills passed by the House and the Senate last year, it modifies many of those elements and also includes new ones. Moreover, preparing a cost estimate requires very detailed specifications of numerous provisions, and the materials that were released this morning do not provide sufficient detail on all of the provisions. Therefore, CBO cannot provide a cost estimate for the proposal without additional detail, and, even if such detail were provided, analyzing the proposal would be a time-consuming process that could not be completed this week.”
Long live transparency and the deliberative process!
Reading the President's Personal Mail
I normally don't send on chain emails, but this one is too good. It also has the advantage of being true.
Pictured to the right is a young physician by the name of Dr. Roger Starner Jones. His short open letter to the White House first appeared in the "letter to the editor" column of a Jackson, MS newspaper and accurately puts the blame on a "Culture Crisis" instead of a "Health Care Crisis".
Notice that Dr. Jones is not trying to take his patient's right to live her life the way she has. He is objecting to the rest of the nation having to pay for it and go bankrupt in the process. He is spot on. The nations "health care crisis" is really a crisis of cultural values. Until we solve the latter, we will never solve the former.
Note to Christians: The way to solve the latter, the cultural crisis, is the preaching of the gospel. Starting loving people enough to tell them the truth.
Dear Mr. President:
During my shift in the Emergency Room last night, I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient whose smile revealed an expensive shiny gold tooth, whose body was adorned with a wide assortment of elaborate and costly tattoos, who wore a very expensive brand of tennis shoes and who chatted on a new cellular telephone equipped with a popular R&B ringtone.
While glancing over her patient chart, I happened to notice that her payer status was listed as "Medicaid"! During my examination of her, the patient informed me that she smokes more than one costly pack of cigarettes every day and somehow still has money to buy pretzels and beer. And, you and our Congress expect me to pay for this woman's health care? I contend that our Nation's' "health care crisis" is not the result of a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses.
Rather, it is the result of a "crisis of culture", a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on luxuries and vices while refusing to take care of one's self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance. It is a culture based in the irresponsible credo that "I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me".
Once you fix this "culture crisis" that rewards irresponsibility and dependency, you'll be amazed at how quickly our nation's health care difficulties will disappear.
STARNER JONES, MD
Obama's healthcare plan - 'more of the same'
Bill Bumpas - OneNewsNow
The nation's largest faith-based association of physicians is weighing in on President Obama's nearly $1-trillion healthcare proposal.
Dr. David Stevens, CEO of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), is concerned that Obama's healthcare overhaul, which many thought was dead, appears to have been resurrected. "The question," he says, "is whether it's still dead and people just are pretending it's alive."
Stevens says the president's plan is "essentially more of the same -- a tweaking of the Senate Bill and grabbing a few things out of the House bill." He says the focus of reform needs to be on costs. "Including preventing runaway malpractice suits; allowing more competition across state lines; allowing lower premiums to encourage healthy lifestyles; [and giving] a tax credit to people who don't have insurance if they go out and buy it themselves," he suggests.
The CEO says he and most members of his organization are concerned that there is nothing in this latest proposal on healthcare reform about discrimination against medical practitioners based on their religious or moral beliefs. They are worried, he notes, that the Obama plan will essentially replace healthcare right-of-conscience protections with something much weaker.
"All it does is provide protection for doctors who are not willing to do abortions that they won't have to do them. It doesn't provide [protection] for any other healthcare professionals - nurses, pharmacists, or whatever," he explains. "It doesn't prevent you from being forced to refer for an abortion, which makes you morally complicit in that act."
The Christian physician argues that inadequate protections could drive believers out of the medical field. "We did a survey of 2,800 faith-based healthcare professionals -- physicians, nurses, and pharmacists -- [and] 95 percent of them said they would quit medicine before they violated their conscience," he tells Associated Press.
Stevens says even as it is now, faith-based healthcare professionals face discrimination for their views on abortion and other issues.
Morning Bell: Can They Make Obamacare Worse? Yes They Can!
Flacking for President Barack Obama’s “new” health care plan, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters assembled for yesterday’s press briefing: “The president posted ideas of his on the White House website today. We hope Republicans will post their ideas either on their website, or we’d be happy to post them on ours, so that the American people could come to one location and find out the parameters of what will largely be discussed on Thursday.” And this might have been a small bit of successful Obama administration gamesmanship on health care and transparency in government except for one small problem: reality. Not only do House Republicans already have their own health care plan, not only is it already available online, but the White House’s own website already links to it!
And speaking of the President’s behind-closed-doors plan, don’t believe any of those headlines showing a $950 billion price tag. That is an Obama administration-created number that should not be afforded any more credibility than Gibbs’ grasp of the contents of his own website. In fact, the independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published this about the President’s new plan yesterday:
Preparing a cost estimate requires very detailed specifications of numerous provisions, and the materials that were released this morning do not provide sufficient detail on all of the provisions. Therefore, CBO cannot provide a cost estimate for the proposal without additional detail, and, even if such detail were provided, analyzing the proposal would be a time-consuming process that could not be completed this week.
In other words, even with over a year to prepare for the moment they would finally release their own plan, the White House could only manage to obtain an “incomplete” grade from the official budget scorekeeper in Washington. So every time you hear the President say “my plan is paid for” or “my plan reduces the deficit,” just remember you are going to have to take his word for it.
And where the President’s plan is more firm than fuzzy, it only makes the scheme worse:
Cornhusker Kickback for All: Instead of just eliminating the Cornhusker Kickback, the White House chose to solve their Medicaid problem by extending the deal to all 50 states. Now all new Medicaid spending through 2017 and 90% after 2020 will be picked up by the feds.
Weakens and Delays Cost Control: The White House’s proposal is silent on whether all collective bargaining agreements will be exempt from Obamacare’s new health insurance tax, but the new plan does go ahead and weaken what was the only thing in the entire bill that even liberal health care experts thought had a chance of containing health care costs. The plan delays implementation of the new tax until 2018 (when President Obama is well out of office) and raises the threshold for taxation to $27,000.
Steals More Money from Medicare: To pay for Cornhusker Kickbacks for all, increased subsidies for health insurance, and the health insurance tax delay, the White House raises the Medicare payroll tax and extends it for the first time ever to investment income. The least they could have done is slate this new $120 billion in taxes to help plug Medicare’s existing $38 trillion unfunded liability, not fund a brand new entitlement.
Creates New Price Control Authority: The President’s plan also creates a new Federal Health Insurance Rate Authority, which would provide federal “assistance and oversight” to the states conducting reviews of “ unreasonable rate increases” and “unfair practices” of health insurance plans. This, of course, establishes for the first time a legislative basis for the imposition of price controls on health insurance. If government can control both health benefits and health care pricing, that’s the proverbial ball game. Private health care is private in name only.
Providing an overview for the President’s new plan, the Associated Press reports: “Starting over on health care, President Barack Obama knows his chances aren’t looking much more promising. A year after he called for a far-reaching overhaul, Obama unveiled his most detailed plan yet on Monday. Realistically, he’s just hoping to win a big enough slice to silence the talk of a failing presidency.” The problem is, the plan the President released yesterday is not a “start over” … it is just a continuation and expansion of the same Washington-centric policies that the American people have clearly rejected over the past year. There still is a chance for Obama to save his presidency, but yesterday’s plan will not do it.
Earth to Paul Krugman
Posted by Sean Trende
And the deficit came. True, more than half of this year's budget deficit is the result of the Great Recession, which has both depressed revenues and required a temporary surge in spending to contain the damage. But even when the crisis is over, the budget will remain deeply in the red, largely as a result of Bush-era tax cuts (and Bush-era unfunded wars). And the combination of an aging population and rising medical costs will, unless something is done, lead to explosive debt growth after 2020.
So many things wrong with this paragraph. The reference to the "temporary surge" in spending is the first error. Here, you can check the summary tables of the President's latest budget proposal. In 2009, fiscal outlays are estimated at $3.5 trillion. In 2010 they are $3.7 trillion. In 2011 they are $3.8 trillion. And so they go, until 2020, when they are $5.7 trillion. There's a slight dip in 2012 to $3.7 trillion, but the fact that Obama's spending never drops below 2010 levels, and drops below 2011 levels only once, gives the lie to the argument that the spending surge is "temporary."
Let's also be clear that an awful lot of this spending is Obama's spending, not Bush's. The summary tables for Bush's last budget (FY09) can be found here. Bush wasn't doing ten-year budgeting, but his outlays for 2011 were $3.1 trillion, for 2012 were $3.2 trillion and for 2013 were $3.3 trillion. That represents a $700 billion, $600 billion, and $600 billion increase over the baseline for spending that President Bush was anticipating. Even generously allocating $200 billion for putting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan back in the budget (where they should have been in the first place) and $200 billion for increased interest on the debt from 2008 and 2009 for TARP/stimuli, that's a pretty significant delta in the final Bush baseline and the initial Obama baseline, and it occurs well after the "temporary surge" in spending has supposedly wound down. And while Obama can argue that spending declines from 25.4% of GDP in 2010 to 22.8% of GDP in 2013 (before beginning an inexorable rise), that is still substantially higher than the 18.6% peak that President Bush foresaw.
Furthermore, and this bears repeating again and again -- the Bush tax cuts expire in 2010. After that, they have zero impact on the budget, except for the interest on the debt that they created. After that, those cuts that survive are Obama's tax cuts, something for which I imagine he will gladly take credit. Obama campaigned on maintaining the Bush tax cuts for a very large chunk of the country -- including plenty of affluent taxpayers -- and moreover campaigned on cutting them even further (95% of taxpayers will receive a tax cut).
You won't count me among those who would defend Bush's overall approach to fiscal policies; individually many of them are defensible, but taken together they were a needless debacle. But let's be honest here, Obama is proposing massive budget increases that will significantly increase the yearly budget deficit – and they have nothing to do with George W. Bush.
Election 2010: Florida Republican Primary for Senate
Florida GOP Senate: Rubio 54%, Crist 36%
Former state House Speaker Marco Rubio continues to lengthen his lead over Governor Charlie Crist in the contest for Florida’s Republican Senate nomination.
A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely Republican Primary voters finds Rubio leading Crist by 18 points, 54% to 36%. Four percent (4%) prefer some other candidate, and seven percent are undecided.
Those figures reflect a five point increase in support for Rubio compared to a month ago. Support for Crist has changed little over the past month.
In December, the two GOP hopefuls were tied at 43% apiece. The new findings mark Rubio’s best showing to date and Crist’s worst. The good news for Crist is that Florida Republicans don’t pick their nominee until an August 24 primary.
"The e-mail Bag"
Irish College Entrance Exam
Here are the answers: