About That Buffett Rule…

Pat Robertson on the 700 Club revealed some numbers his research people came up with regarding the taxes of Warren Buffett and Warren Buffett’s secretary. They are as follows:

Warren Buffett’s 2010 Taxes:

Adjusted Gross Income              $62.9 million

Taxable Income                          $39.8 million

Income Taxes                             $6.9 million

Warren Buffett’s secretary in 2010

Forbes Magazine estimated her income at somewhere around $200,000

Her estimated tax burden was approximately $70,000 or slightly higher

A significant amount of Mr. Buffett’s income came from sources that the government had already taxes at 35% (corporate taxes). There is no reason to tax that money again. Mr. Buffett’s secretary did not pay more in taxes than he did. That is a lie.




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An Example Of A Successful Reform Of Government

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After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, one of the problems with the families who returned to the city quickly was how to educate their children. Many of the families who returned after being evacuated came home to destroyed schools and a limited number of teachers. The city had no choice but to reform the school system.

The Wall Street Journal reports today (sorry, subscribers only) that:

Post-Katrina New Orleans is already the nation’s leading charter-school zone, with 80% of city students enrolled, academic performance improving dramatically, and plans to go all-charter by 2013. To spread the model statewide, the Governor would create new regional boards for authorizing charters and offer fast-track authorization to high-performing operators such as KIPP. He’d also give charters the same access to public facilities as traditional public schools.

Needless to say, the Louisiana Association of Educators is opposed to Governor Jindal’s plans to go all-charter by 2013. Governor Jindal has also stated that he would only grant tenure to teachers who are rated “highly effective” five years in a row–the top 10% of performers. Tenure would not be a lifetime thing–any tenured teacher who rates in the bottom 10% would return to probationary status. The “last in, first out” policy would also be banned. This sort of reform improves the schools, but I suspect the unions will be working hard against the Governor in his next campaign for governor.

This is the kind of government reform we need in all states. It is unfortunate that it took a devastating hurricane to reform the system. I wish Governor Jindal total success in implementing his plans–they will make a big difference to the children of Louisiana.


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After They Are Done Destroying The Family, The Government Is Going To Destroy The Family Farm

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I did not grow up on a farm. I am not sure I have ever been on one (other than school trips and a friend who has a barn and various animals). However, I am aware that the food in the grocery store comes from farms–many of them family-owned. The attack on the family farm through the estate tax is obvious–many family farms are land-rich, but do not have the liquid assets to pay off estate taxes–many of those families have to sell the family farm to pay the estate taxes. Now there is a new attack on the family farm and the culture and work ethic it represents.

Townhall.com reports that a new sweeping set of rules proposed by Hilda Solis, Secretary of Labor, will change the dynamic on the family farm.

The article reports the proposed changes:

  • Prohibit children under 16 who are being paid from operating most power-driven equipment, including tractors and combines. Some student-learners would be exempted from the ban on operating tractors and other farm implements, but only if the equipment has rollover protection and seat belts.
  • Bar those under 18 from working at grain elevators, silos, feedlots and livestock auctions and from transporting raw farm materials.
  • Prevent youths 15 and younger from cultivating, curing and harvesting tobacco to prevent exposure to green tobacco sickness, which is caused by exposure to wet tobacco plants.
  • Prohibit youths from using electronic devices such as cellphones while operating power-driven equipment.

Solis believes that some farm work is “too hazardous for children to be engaged in.”  How she knows this is anyone’s guess since she apparently has never lived or worked on a farm, nor do we find any evidence that she has children of her own. 

My experience is that the children who grow up on farms learn a lot of things other than how to drive a tractor. They learn to contribute to a family business. They learn the value and satisfaction of a job well done. They learn a work ethic. Many of the jobs this law would prohibit those under 18 from doing are the jobs those children do to earn money to go to college. Parents are the best judge of what equipment their children are able to operate–not the government.


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An Unintended Consequence Of Raising Taxes

I think most of us would agree that the U. S. Tax Code has gotten a little bit out of hand. In 2005, the Tax Code was more than 9,097,000 words (according to a website called freedomworks the Bible contains 774,746 words). How did we get here?

The Tax Code is a tribute to the power of lobbying. Some of the intricacies have valid purposes–the mortgage interest deduction encourages home ownership, a stabilizing force in our society). Some of the intricacies have negative impacts on the values of our society–the marriage penalty for example. The Tax Code is a monstrosity that requires a professional to sort through for many Americans. Our current Tax Code written down weighs more than most toddlers!

Yesterday Big Government posted an article about an academic study showing that as tax rates were raised, tax evasion increases. They spent money to figure that out?

The article reports:

 Macroeconomic and microeconomic modeling studies based on data for several countries suggest that the major driving forces behind the size and growth of the shadow economy are an increasing burden of tax and social security payments… The bigger the difference between the total cost of labor in the official economy and the after-tax earnings from work, the greater the incentive for employers and employees to avoid this difference and participate in the shadow economy. …Several studies have found strong evidence that the tax regime influences the shadow economy.

The article also states:

Indeed, it’s worth noting that international studies find that the jurisdictions with the highest rates of tax compliance are the ones with reasonable tax systems, such as Hong Kong, Switzerland, and Singapore.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. This is an obvious truth, but changing the Tax Code in America would result in something of a loss of power to those in Congress. Somehow, I don’t think that will happen until we change Congress, and even then I am not sure we have the leadership to do what is right.

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Free Speech Under Attack

William G. Boykin

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Frank Gaffney,Jr., at the Center for Security Policy posted an article today about General Boykin cancelling his speech at a West Point Military Academy prayer breakfast due to pressure from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and leftwing political groups.

The article reports:

This proposition is bizarre on multiple levels.  For one, General Boykin, who is a friend and greatly admired colleague of mine, is one of the United States’ most accomplished and decorated military heroes.  He served in and led our most elite special forces units for decades, including in many of our most dangerous recent combat operations.  He also held a number of senior positions in the intelligence community, including as the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence.

For another, Jerry Boykin is also an ordained minister.  And the sorts of events CAIR has lately insisted he must not address include prayer sessions convened by the mayor of Ocean City, Maryland and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Because he has been honest about the threat of radical Islam to America, CAIR is labeling him Islamophobic and blocking his right to speak.

The article cites other examples of CAIR interfering with free speech in America:

For example, another colleague, former Congressman Fred Grandy, was removed from his position as one of Washington’s most popular talk radio show hosts when he refused to allow Muslim critics to dictate who could appear on his program and what they could say.

Last fall, Stephen Coughlin – one of the nation’s foremost non-Muslim experts on shariah – was similarly subjected to a CAIR-led effort to deny his ability to speak.  In that case, he was denied by the Obama administration the opportunity to provide training to Central Intelligence Agency personnel about what impels our enemies to engage in murderous and stealthy forms of jihad, namely shariah.

More recently, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has been subjected to a campaign of vilification by CAIR and its friends.  His offense?  Mr. Kelly gave an interview to the makers of a superb documentary, “The Third Jihad,” and allowed that film to be used in training his officers.

I have seen the movie “The Third Jihad.” It is narrated by Zuhdi Jasser, a Muslim who wants to see Islam actually become a religion of peace. It is a very informative movie that reminds us what the potential impact of radical Islam will be on America.

The article concludes:

Of particular concern is the fact that the U.S. government is now effectively encouraging what amounts to free speech for some – and abetting it.  Team Obama has begun according Islamophobia the status of a serious problem.  Worse yet, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has joined forces with the OIC in trying to find ways to suppress this fictitious problem by treating instances of what should be protected free speech as prosecutable “incitement.”   

To paraphrase the famous German pastor, Martin Niemöller, first they are coming for the “Islamophobes” and for Muslims who oppose shariah’s political agenda.  How soon will they decide that you have no right to speak freely, either?

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If Investors Ran Their Portfolios Like The Government Runs Theirs…

Today’s Detroit News reported today that the government has revised the estimated losses from the auto bailout up $170 million.

The article reports:

In the government’s latest report to Congress this month, the Treasury upped its estimate to $23.77 billion, up from $23.6 billion.

Last fall, the government dramatically boosted its forecast of losses on the rescues of General Motors Co., Chrysler Group LLC and their finance units from $14 billion to $23.6 billion.

Much of the increase in losses is due to the sharp decline of GM’s stock price over the last six months.

Three solar companies the government invested in went bankrupt or laid off workers last week. The losses in the bailout of the auto companies were considerably more than what was initially projected. Have we learned yet that the government should not be investing taxpayer money in private businesses? Government interference in the free market has done nothing but take large amounts of money out of taxpapayers’ pockets and increase the national debt. Someone is needed in Washington who can put a stop to the overspending and misuse of taxpayers’ money.

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The Catholic Church Stands Up For Its Rights

On Sunday the Business Insider posted a copy that was read Sunday in almost every Catholic Church in America.

This is the letter:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

 I write to you concerning an alarming and serious matter that negatively impacts the Church in the United States directly, and that strikes at the fundamental right to religious liberty for all citizens of any faith. The federal government, which claims to be “of, by, and for the people,” has just been dealt a heavy blow to almost a quarter of those people — the Catholic population — and to the millions more who are served by the Catholic faithful.

 The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that almost all employers,

including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees’ health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. Almost all health insurers will be forced to include those “services” in the health policies they write. And almost all individuals will be forced to buy that coverage as a part of their policies.

 In so ruling, the Obama Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty. And as a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled to either violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so). The Obama Administration’s sole concession was to give our institutions one year to comply.

 We cannot—we will not—comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second class citizens. We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom. Our parents and grandparents did not come to these shores to help build America’s cities and towns, its infrastructure and institutions, its enterprise and culture,

only to have their posterity stripped of their God given rights. In generations past, the Church has always been able to count on the faithful to stand up and protect her sacred rights and duties. I hope and trust she can count on this generation of Catholics to do the same. Our children and grandchildren deserve nothing less.

 And therefore, I would ask of you two things. First, as a community of faith we must commit ourselves to prayer and fasting that wisdom and justice may prevail, and religious liberty may be restored. Without God, we can do nothing; with God, nothing is impossible. Second, I would also recommend visiting www.usccb.org/conscience,to learn more about this severe assault on religious liberty, and how to contact Congress in support of legislation that would reverse the Obama Administration’s decision.

 Sincerely yours in Christ,

+Alexander K. Sample                                                                                                         Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample                                                                                 Bishop of Marquette

If you are not a member of the Catholic Church you may be wondering how this matters to you. It does! First of all, this provision to require the Catholic Church to provide medical care that violates its conscience is not the result of an actual law that was passed through Congress–this was enacted by the Department of Health of Human Services–unelected people not accountable to the voters. That alone is unconstitutional. Secondly, the law violates the right of the Catholic Church to freely practice their faith. The Catholic Church provides adoption services (now eliminated in some states due to being forced to allow homosexual couples to adopt children–against the Catholic faith), hospitals and many other charities. All the employees of those organizations will be included in this law.

The attack on the Catholic Church by the Obama Administration will spread to people of other faiths who believe in the Bible. If you are one of those people, it’s time to pay attention–your right to practice your religion is about to be violated.



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Justice Is Done In Shafia Trial

On January 13, I posted an article (rightwinggranny.com) about the Shafia family in Ontario, Canada. Mohammad Shafia, his wife Tooba Mohammad Yahya and their son, Hamed were charged with murdering three of Mr. Shafia’s daughters and Mr. Shafia’s first wife. Today’s Edmonton Sun reported that Mr. Shafia, his current wife and thier son were each found guilty of four counts of first-degree murder.

The article in the newspaper quotes the judge in the case.

“It’s difficult to conceive of a more heinous, more despicable, more honourless crime,” said the judge.

“The apparent reason behind these cold-blooded, shameful murders was that the four completely innocent victims offended your twisted notion of honour, a notion of honour founded upon the domination and control of women. A sick notion of honour that has no place in any civilized society.”

I would like to point out one of the problems with a religion that embraces the concept of honor killing. We as people are not perfect and our judgements are not always objective. How convenient for a second wife to find a way to end any tension between herself and her husband’s first wife by simply killing the first wife and claiming that it was done in obedience to god. That is just sad. I don’t think I trust that god.


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Another One Bites The Dust

A website called GlobalWarming.org reported on Friday that the Las Vegas Sun reports that Amonix, Inc., a manufacturer of solar panels that received $5.9 million from the Porkulus, will cut two-thirds of its workforce, about 200 employees, only seven months after opening a factory in Nevada. Earlier last week, Ener1, a manufacturer of batteries for electric vehicles and recipient of Stimulus largesse, filed for bankruptcy.  Evergreen Energy , also a recipient of stimulus money, has also declared bankruptcy. These companies are not even viable when the government is writing them enormous checks! When you consider the amount of stimulus money spent on pet projects of President Obama, it is scary. He could have simply given each taxpayer $100,000. I suspect that would have truly stimulated the economy!

The interesting part of the article linked above is the comments. There are definitely some people out there who are paying attention and who are angry that taxpayer money is being spent in this way.


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It’s Getting Hard To Sort The Truth From The Spin

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The Republican primary race seems to have come down to a contest between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. I am totally willing to admit, political junkie that I am, that I haven’t made up my mind yet. I am willing to admit that I think that both leading candidates have totally forgotten President Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment.

There are a few things I am watching in deciding who will get my support–who is supporting each candidate and who is opposing each candidate. It was obvious at the start of the campaign that the Obama campaign was preparing for Mitt Romney as their opponent. Romney was ‘the next in line’ which, unfortunately, seems to be the way the Republicans choose their candidates. It doesn’t work very well, but they keep doing it. The Occupy Wall Street movement was the perfect prelude to a campaign against Mitt Romney–the man is obviously wealthy–he has worked hard and accomplished many things to obtain that wealth, but an opposing campaign could overlook that and just characterize him as the ‘evil rich.’ Governor Romney seems to be the choice of the Republican ‘establishment.’ Newt Gingrich is the rebel candidate. He has been knocked down twice already and just seems to bounce back up. He seems to be the Tea Party candidate (although I seriously doubt he was their first choice). Newt is a bit of a loose cannon, but seems to have an ability to explain things so that ordinary people can understand them and to get things done (although he steps on peoples’ feet in the process). As I have posted earlier, the ethics charges against him in the mid 1990’s were later proven to be completely false by the IRS. I believe he was run out of the House of Representatives on a rail (so to speak) because he was a threat to both the Republican and Democrat Washington establishment. If he can make that case to the public, he will win the nomination and the election.

On Friday, January 27, Newsmax.com posted a short article discussing some of the attacks on Newt Gingrich. Ronald Reagan’s eldest son Mike Reagan has issued a statement regarding the claim that Newt Gingrich did not support Ronald Reagan.

The article posted the statement:

I am deeply disturbed that supporters of Mitt Romney are claiming that Newt Gingrich is not a true Reaganite and are even claiming that Newt was a strong critic of my father.

“Recently I endorsed Newt Gingrich for president because I believe that Newt is the only Republican candidate who has both consistently backed the conservative policies that my father championed and the only Republican that will continue to implement his vision.

“It surprises me that Mitt Romney and his supporters would raise this issue — when Mitt by his own admission said he opposed my father in the 1980s claiming he was an ‘independent,’ and later supported liberal Democrat Paul Tsongas for president.

“As governor of Massachusetts, Romney’s achievement was the most socialistic healthcare plan in the nation up until that time.

“Say what you want about Newt Gingrich but when he was Speaker of the House he surrounded himself with Reagan conservatives and implemented a Ronald Reagan program of low taxes and restrained federal spending.

“Newt’s conservative program created a huge economic boom and balanced the budget for the first time in more than a generation.”

Mike Reagan concluded: “I would take Newt Gingrich’s record any day over Mitt Romney’s.”

Beware of the spin! Listen to the people who are closest to the events and have nothing to gain or lose by telling the truth.


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I Honestly Have No Idea What To Think Of This

Before I post this article, I would like to say that I think the whole thing is moot. The only reason I am posting it is that no one in the news is talking about it. Is that because it is silly or is there something there? I have no idea, but here is the information.

On Thursday, a website called The National Patriot posted the testimony from a trial going on in Georgia to settle the question of whether President Obama is eligible to be on the Georgia presidential ballot. Yes, you read that right.

Some excerpts from the article:

The case revolved around the Natural Born clause of the Constitution and whether or not Obama qualifies under it to serve. More to the point, if found ineligible, Obama’s name would not appear on the 2012 ballot in Georgia.

…Immigration Services documents entered into evidence regarding Obama Sr.

June 27th, 1962, is the date on those documents. Obama’s father’s status shown as a non citizen of the United States. Documents were gotten through the Freedom of Information Act.

Testimony regarding the definition of Natural Born Citizen is given citing Minor vs Happersett opinion from a Supreme Court written opinion from 1875. The attorney points out the difference between “citizen” and “Natural Born Citizen” using charts and copies of the Minor vs Happersett opinion.

It is also pointed out that the 14th Amendment does not alter the definition or supersede the meaning of Natural Born. It is pointed out that lower court rulings do not conflict with the Supreme Court opinion nor do they over rule the Supreme Court Minor vs Happersett opinion.

…Enters into evidence a portion of letter received from attorney showing a renewal form from Obama’s mother for her passport listing Obama’s last name something other than Obama.

State Licensed PI takes the stand.

She was hired to look into Obama’s background and found a Social Security number for him from 1977. Professional opinion given that this number was fraudulent. The number used or attached to Obama in 1977, shows that the true owner of the number was born in the 1890. This shows that the number was originally assigned to someone else who was indeed born in 1890 and should never have been used by Obama.

Same SS number came up with addresses in IL, D.C. and MA.

…Expert in document imaging and scanners for 18 years.

Mr. Vogt testifies that the birth certificate, posted online by Obama, is suspicious. States white lines around all the type face is caused by “unsharp mask” in Photoshop. Testifies that any document showing this, is considered to be a fraud.

States this is a product of layering.

Mr. Vogt testifies that a straight scan of an original document would not show such layering.

Also testifies that the date stamps shown on Obama documents should not be in exact same place on various documents as they are hand stamped. Obama’s documents are all even, straight and exactly the same indicating they were NOT hand stamped by layered into the document by computer.

Next witness, Mr. Sampson a former police officer and former immigration officer specializing in immigration fraud.

Ran Obama’s SS number through database and found that the number was issued to Obama in 1977 in the state of Connecticut . Obama never resided in that state. At the time of issue, Obama was living in Hawaii.

Serial number on birth certificate is out of sequence with others issued at that hospital. Also certification is different than others and different than twins born 24 hours ahead of Obama.

Please follow the link to the article to read the entire testimony and draw your own conclusions. I have no idea what to think.

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The Role Of Internet News Sites


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The Weekly Standard posted an article yesterday about the role of an Internet blogger in bringing to light the errors in a very negative Reuters story about Florida Senator Marco Rubio. Matt Lewis, a blogger for the Daily Caller, pointed out the errors in the story, forcing Reuters to correct five of the items listed in the story. Reuters has admitted that the story is regrettable.

The article at The Weekly Standard reports:

It was so bad, in fact, that the editors and writer involved have been asked not to talk about it. (I reached out to editors David Lindsey and Eric Walsh, but have not heard back.)

The article, by David Adams, had intended to detail why Rubio was an unlikely pick for Vice President: “Rubio may not be as coveted as Gingrich or Romney would have it appear as they press for votes in Florida, where more than 450,000 Hispanics identify themselves as Republicans,” Reuters David Adams wrote. “Despite his reputation as a watchdog over federal spending, Rubio, 40, has had significant financial problems that could keep him from passing any vetting process as a potential vice presidential choice, Republican and Democratic strategists say.”

But after pressure from the Rubio staff, Reuters was forced to issue corrections that quickly became a larger talking point than the article itself.

Without the work of Matt Lewis, this story would have been allowed to go unchallenged, and a good man would have been smeared in the press. That is the reason why we need the Internet and Internet news sources!

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What The Republican Debates Should Really Be About

This chart is from the website of the House Ways and Means Committee

America Before President Obama Took Office and Now

  Before Now Change
Number of Unemployed1 12.0 Million 13.1 Million +9%
Long-Term Unemployed2 2.7 Million 5.6 Million +107%
Unemployment Rate3 7.8% 8.5% +9%
“High Unemployment” States4 22 43 +95%
Misery Index5 7.83 11.46 +46%
Price of Gas6 $1.85 $3.39 +83%
“Typical” Monthly Family Food Cost7 $974 $1,013 +4%
Median Value of Single-Family Home8 $196,600 $169,100 -14%
Rate of Mortgage Delinquencies9 6.62% 10.23% +55%
U.S. National Debt10 $10.6 Trillion $15.2 Trillion +43%

1 Number of unemployed in January 2009 and December 2011. http://www.bls.gov/data/#unemployment.
2 “Long-term unemployed” means for over 26 weeks; data for January 2009 and December 2011. http://www.bls.gov/data/#unemployment.
3 Unemployment rates in January 2009 and December 2011. http://www.bls.gov/data/#unemployment.
4 “High unemployment” means having a 3-month average unemployment rate of 6% or higher.  From the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ “Extended Benefits Trigger Notice” for January 18, 2009 and January 22, 2012. http://www.ows.doleta.gov/unemploy/trigger/2009/trig_011809.html and http://ows.doleta.gov/unemploy/euc_trigger/2012/euc_012212.html.
5 The “Misery Index” equals unemployment plus inflation.  For January 2009 and December 2012.  http://www.miseryindex.us/indexbymonth.asp.
6 Average retail price per gallon, January 2009 week 3 and January 2012 week 4. http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=EMM_EPMR_PTE_NUS_DPG&f=W.
7 U.S. Department of Agriculture, values represent monthly “moderate” cost per family of four for January 2009 and November 2011. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/USDAFoodCost-Home.htm.
8 U.S. median sales price of existing single-family homes for metropolitan areas for 2008 and 2011 Q3. http://www.realtor.org/research/research/metroprice.
9 Residential mortgage delinquencies (real estate loans) for 2008 Q4 and 2011 Q3. http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/chargeoff/default.htm.
10 Values for January 21, 2009 and January 23, 2012.  http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/BPDLogin?application=np

This is where the focus of the debates should be.


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Who Gets Rich In The Obama Economy

Today’s Daily Caller posted an article about President Obama’s speech in Las Vegas calling for a plan to boost the American use of natural gas. I’m sure it is only a coincidence that George Soros will benefit greatly if the plan is put into action.

The Daily Caller reports:

Westport Innovations, a recent purchase by Soros, would benefit from the windfall of policies that pursue the use of natural gas for transportation. The company, whose shares have been projected to explode if Congress were to approve the Natural Gas Act, makes natural gas engines for heavy-duty trucks.

“Soros’s investment funds have pumped about $122 million into WPST, and he’s added to his control as recently as December and March, when he picked up over a million shares, bringing his total to 5.5 million shares,” reported BigGovernment.

“If Westport reaps the predicted windfall, one of the chief beneficiaries will be George Soros, a major Obama donor and supporter. Soros’s hedge fund holds.

There have been a lot of investments in ‘green energy’ by political leaders who felt that they could put policies in place that would reward them rather than be in the best interests of America. We need to remember that specific legislation was passed before Solyndra declared bankruptcy that put the American taxpayer on the hook for the loss rather than the investors in the company. We also need to remember that in the bankruptcy of Chrysler, the interests of the unions were protected over the interests of the Preferred Stockholders, which is against bankruptcy law.

Crony capitalism seems to be one of the strongest traits of the Obama Administration. When November comes, we need to end both crony capitalism and the Obama Administration.


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Another Foreign Policy Blunder

Hot Air posted an article today about the status of the oil exploration that the Obama Administration loaned Brazil’s oil company Petrobras $2 billion to support.

President Obama stated at the time the money was given to Brazil:

“We want to work with you. We want to help with technology and support to develop these oil reserves safely, and, when you’re ready to start selling, we want to be one of your best customers.”

At the same time the President was giving the $2 billion for Brazilian oil exploration, he was drastically slowing down leasing and permitting in the US and whining about “subsides” to US oil corporations. It was okay to subsidize Brazilian companies doing oil exploration, but for some reason it was not okay to subsidize American oil companies.

The article points out:

The country’s state-controlled oil company, Petrobras, expects to pump 4.9 million barrels a day from the country’s oil fields by 2020, with 40 percent of that coming from the seabed. One and a half million barrels will be bound for export markets.

The United States wants it, but China is getting it.

Less than a month after President Obama visited Brazil in March to make a pitch for oil, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was off to Beijing to sign oil contracts with two huge state-owned Chinese companies.

This is not good news. When America has a weak President, bad things happen.

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Facts Are Such Inconvenient Things

One of the highlights of the President’s State of the Union speech was his stating a plan to open 38 million acres for oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico and a contest for natural gas technology.

Erik Milito, upstream director for the American Petroleum Institute (API), was not particularly impressed by the plan.

An article posted today at UPI.com:

Milito noted the lease sale outlined by the Obama administration was originally included in a program that became effective in 2007. Obama’s critics said the White House was in essence trying to generate political capital based on decisions made by the previous administration.

The API said Obama’s lease announcements left more than 85 percent of offshore areas off limits to energy explorers.

This is another reason voters have to pay close attention to anything said by any politician running for office this year. There will be a lot of misinformation floating out over the airwaves and in print in your local and national newspapers. It’s up to us to be our own fact-checkers!


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Remembering A Great Comedy Series

Admittedly the role models were questionable at best, but Welcome Back Kotter was one of my children’s favorite shows when they were growing up. It was a fun show and the actors on it were extremely talented and always seemed to enjoy what they were doing.

NJ.com reported today that Robert Hegyes, who played Juan Epstein on the show, died this morning in Metuchen,, New Jersey. He was 60.

The article reports:

He graduated from Rowan University (then Glassboro State College) with a bachelor’s degree in speech/theater and secondary education — Rowan spokesman Joe Cardona called him a “great friend” of the school, noting that he sported a Rowan shirt while co-starring as Det. Esposito on “Cagney and Lacey” — and quickly found work in New York, co-starring Off-Broadway in “Naomi Court” and in the Broadway drama “Don’t Call Back.” He was then cast as Epstein, a role he played for “Kotter”‘s four-season run on ABC.

Mr. Hegyes was part of a cast of characters that gave us a lot of laughs during the four-season run of Welcome Back Kotter. He represents a type of free-flowing comedy that we don’t seem to have on television at the present time. He will be missed.

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One More Short Note On The State Of The Union Speech

We all heard about the excessive tax burden of Warren Buffett’s Secretary (who makes more than $200,000 per year), but my sympathy for this lady is running a little thin. I am glad she makes what she makes, but the fact that she is overtaxed has nothing to do with what Mr. Buffett pays in taxes–it has to do with the fact that the government is overspent.

Yesterday The Smoking Gun pointed out that this poor overtaxed lady just bought  a second home in Arizona, complete with a swimming pool and a “professional PGA putting green,” according to real estate records.

The article reports:

The principal Bosanek residence is in Bellevue, Nebraska, several miles from Buffett’s corporate headquarters in Omaha. The couple’s 2568-square-foot home, built in 2000, also has four bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths. But the modest property, which Sarpy County assessors last year valued at $217,716, offers no outdoor amenities for swimmers or golfers.

All  of us are overtaxed. Mr. Buffett is not undertaxed. The government is overspent.


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Something That Wasn’t Mentioned In The State Of The Union Speech

I haven’t written anything about the State of the Union speech because I thought it was a political exercise. This is the ‘silly season’ and truth is a rare commodity in political speeches right now (not that it is always there in other times). However, the Wall Street Journal posted an editorial today that makes some very good points.

This is the chart from the editorial:1buffettrule

As you can see, the federal tax rate on long-term capital gains has varied a lot over the years. The article points out the fallacy of the “Buffett Rule” that President Obama is proposing which would make wealthy Americans give more of their money to the government. The Congressional Budget Office reports that the effective income tax rate of the richest 1% is actually about 29.5%. That is the rate you come up with when you include all federal taxes–such as the distribution of corporate taxes. That is about twice the 15.1% rate paid by middle-class families.

Investment income has already been taxed once. There is no reason to tax it again unless you are trying to redistribute wealth.

The article points out:

As the nearby chart shows, the rate has never since risen above 28%, and the last time it moved that high was in 1986 as part of the Reagan-Rostenkowski tax reform that also cut the top marginal income tax rate to 28% from 50%. With income-tax rates so low, a differential was arguably less necessary—though it’s worth noting that capital gains revenues fell dramatically after that rate increase.

A decade later Bill Clinton agreed to cut the rate back to 20% as part of the balanced-budget deal with Newt Gingrich. Capital gains revenues soared, helping to balance the federal budget. Nearly every study estimates that the revenue-maximizing tax rate from the capital gains tax is between 15% and 28%. Doug Holtz-Eakin, the former director of the Congressional Budget Office, says that a 30% tax rate “is almost surely above the rate that maximizes tax revenues.” So it’s likely the Buffett trick would lose revenue for the government.

So if we are in a time of federal deficits, why would you change the tax code in a way that would lose revenue for the government? Unless you are using the tax code to redistribute wealth, it makes no sense.


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It’s Getting Hard To Figure Out Who Is Playing Fair

Sometimes I get very frustrated when I look at news stories and try to figure out who is telling the truth. During the ‘silly season’ which we are currently in, it is sometimes difficult to sort out truth from fiction.

Today’s Daily Caller reported that Media Matters for America (MMFA), a supposedly non-partisan organization which is tax-exempt, is lobbying Congress for support in opposing the Keystone Pipeline.

The article reports:

In an email distributed to the offices of both Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer and Republican Sen. James Inhofe on Wednesday — and obtained by The Daily Caller — Media Matters employee Emilee Pierce sought to “flag” a liberal study by the organization released Thursday in an effort to manipulate coverage of the Keystone pipeline.

The email, addressed to Boxer staffer Mary Kerr and Inhofe staffer Matt Dempsey, sought to “flag that MMFA will be putting out a major, quantitative report on media coverage of KXL tomorrow [Thursday] morning.”

“The study will be similar to our [Environmental Protection Agency] counting study (http://mediamatters.org/research/201106070010) — and will drill home the point the media bought right into Big Oil’s desired frame on KXL,” the email reads, “focusing largely on the (inflated) number of jobs that could be created, without paying due attention to the many other important issues at stake. (Ranchers’ land, spills, climate change, etc.)”

“We are hoping for a big media splash,  but — more importantly — we’re hoping that allies will be able to leverage it to gain favorable coverage,” Pierce continued.

Media Matters for America on its website describes itself as:

Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.

This is not correcting conservative misinformation–this is putting out their own misinformation in concert with members of Congress who should know better. Their tax-exempt status should be investigated.


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A Letter From Iran

Michael Yon is one of my favorite reporters. His website is MichaelYon-online.

This is a brief summary of some of his work:

I first traveled to Iraq in December 2004, but the prime impetus to go occurred almost nine months earlier, after two friends were killed in two days in Iraq–one in Falluja, the other in Samara. In April, 2004, I attended both their funerals, also days apart, one in Colorado, the other in Florida. I met many veterans of the war on terror, some of whom encouraged me to go to Iraq or Afghanistan, and write the truth.

One childhood friend in particular—Rodney Morris—regularly called and emailed me, asking me to come over to Iraq, where he was then known as Lieutenant Colonel Morris. My initial reaction was, “Are you crazy!? I am a writer, not a war correspondent.” I thought there was nothing I could offer, and being intimately familiar with the effects of bombs and bullets, and having no wish to be burned alive or shot down, I repeatedly declined. But those two funerals, coming so close upon each other, got me thinking.

In a decision that entailed shelving serious investments in labor and time, I put current projects on hold and packed off for Iraq. When 2004 turned into 2005, I was in Baquba, near Baghdad. At that time, heading into Iraq’s historical first elections, there was daily fighting in Baquba. It was definitely newsworthy, but I was not sponsored by or affiliated with any media organizations. In fact, I had barely heard of the word “Blog,” when about three weeks into January 2005, I blogged my own first dispatch from Baquba.

Today Michael posted the following letter from a young woman in Iran. This is his dispatch:

A young Iranian woman has written to me off and on for a couple of years.  Yesterday she sent a note.

I responded in part with a few questions:

What do young Iranians think about our government and about the Iranian government?  Also, do you think there will be war?

She replied immediately.  I corrected some minor grammar:

“To make the long story short people in Iran, not just youth, hate the government and want to move out of the country as soon as they can.  My sister [deleted] is moving to [deleted] with her husband this July and then when my mother gets retired, me, my younger sister [deleted] and my parents will sell our house and move to live with them.  My father isn’t convinced yet but all he needs is time, I’m sure he will choose to come with us.

“I am a patriot and I will remain one no matter where I am, but lets face it. Things are bad and getting worse as every day goes by. I have plans for my future and do not want to stay in a country where my skills and capabilities are most likely going to waste.

“The Iranians do not hate you nor do they hate ur government.  This is all the media.  The people have nothing to do with the media Michael.  No one is against you here except for those on the government’s side.  Unfortunately they’re not few, they’re actually many, but they won’t last forever. Someday this is all gonna turn upside down.  Sometimes I ask myself do I wanna be here for the next revolution?  I dunno …

We need to remember that although Iran is currently ruled by evil people, the people of the country are not all evil. My heart goes out to this lady and my sympathy goes out to her for what she has been through. The best answer for Iran would be for the people of overthrow the current government, but I suspect the government has done away with anyone with the potential to lead such a revolution. The country is not evil–the government of the country is.

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Some Further Information To Add To The Pile

November 8: Republicans gain control of Congre...

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As I have stated, I am not supporting any particular Republican candidate right now. I am, however, concerned about the circular firing squad the Republican candidates seem to be forming. The debates seem to be saving the Democrats a lot of time and effort when it comes to future opposition research.

On February 9, 1999, Brent Bozell posted a column at Creators Syndicate about the charges against Newt Gingrich.

The column states:

The judgment is in. After three and a half years of investigation, the IRS has cleared Newt Gingrich and his allied nonprofit groups of any violation of the tax laws in the controversy over his television history course “Renewing American Civilization.”

So after having run countless news reports highlighting the accusations that ultimately forced Gingrich to pay a $300,000 fine, did the media correct the record with a decent airing of the decision? Are you ready? ABC, CBS, and NBC devoted exactly zero seconds to Newt Gingrich’s vindication. Only CNN’s Brooks Jackson filed a decent TV report, on the early-evening show “Inside Politics.”

No wonder no one knows that he was cleared of the charges. It seems to me that if the truth ever comes out, those who are still claiming that Newt is guilty of something will look worse than Newt!

The column goes on to detail some of the press coverage of the events and contrasts them with other situations involving Democrats. The bias is obvious. We need to understand that the press is no longer maintaining any semblance of impartial reporting. When the facts get in the way, they simply fail to report them.


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Cheers For The Second Amendment

First Model M&P shipped 1900

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The Daytona Beach News-Journal posted a story today about a 64-year-old grandmother who stopped a car thief in his tracks. Karen Granville stated that she was up late because her cat woke her up. She was watching the Bravo channel when she heard a police helicopter hovering over her house. She saw the suspect, Roderick Willis, run into her backyard and attempt to climb over her fence. The quick-thinking lady grabbed her .38 Special revolver and followed him.

The article quotes her statement:

“My adrenaline was just flowing at 100 mph,” she said. “I just said, ‘Stop right there (expletive), or you’re going to be dead where you stand.”

Granville held the man at gunpoint until police arrived.

This is my kind of grandmother!

The article further reports:

This is the second time in less than two weeks older city residents have armed themselves to stop would-be criminals.

Charles Robbins, 82, shot and killed 24-year-old Tyler Orshoski after the man apparently tried to break into his home Jan. 11.

Police Chief Mike Chitwood said he doesn’t encourage vigilante justice but said people have the right to protect themselves or their property.

Part of the problem might be found in another part of the article:

Willis was charged with fleeing and eluding law enforcement, driving with a suspended license, use of a vehicle to commit a felony, possession of marijuana, possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute. He was booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail on Tuesday and released after posting $7,500 bail.

Willis, who could not reached by phone Tuesday night, spent time in jail last year for fleeing officers, court records show.

Volusia County sheriff’s officials say the Dodge Charger belonged to Hertz Rental Car Co. and was turned over to the company. Willis was not charged with vehicle theft.

One does wonder why he was not charged with vehicle theft and why the bail was so low. No wonder the citizens are arming themselves.


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Another Inconvenient Truth

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Yesterday Real Clear Politics posted an article containing a quote from Nancy Pelosi regarding Newt Gingrich:

“There is something I know. The Republicans, if they choose to nominate him that’s their prerogative. I don’t even think that’s going to happen.”

Aside from the blackmail and veiled threat aspect of this statement, there are a few other aspects that need to be examined.

Newt has responded to Ms. Pelosi before:

“First of all, I want to thank Speaker Pelosi for what I regard as an early Christmas gift,” he said at a press conference in New York.

“Well, if she suggested that she’s going to use material that she developed when she was on the ethics committee, that is a fundamental violation of the rules of the House and I would hope that members would immediately file charges against her the second she does it,” he continued. “I think it shows you how capriciously political that committee was when she was on it.”

Byron York posted an article at the Washington Examiner yesterday detailing what happened in the House investigation of Newt Gingrich in the 1990’s. Please follow the link to the article and read the details. The bottom line is that this was a political witch hunt driven by a man who had lost an election to Newt Gingrich (Ben Jones) and had a bone to pick. I also think that part of the problem was that Newt was a threat to both the Republican and Democrat establishment and neither one liked the changes he was making. I have not yet made up my mind who I am supporting in the Republican Primaries, but the fact that Newt is a threat to the Washington establishment works for him rather than against him in my book.

This is a quote from the Byron York article that describes the events that led to the end of Newt’s term as Speaker of the House:

Two days before Election Day 1994, with defeat in sight, Jones hand-delivered a complaint to the House ethics committee (the complaint was printed on “Ben Jones for Congress” stationery). Jones asked the committee to investigate the college course, alleging that Gingrich “fabricated a ‘college course’ intended, in fact, to meet certain political, not educational, objectives.” Three weeks later, Jones sent the committee 450 pages of supporting documents obtained through the Georgia Open Records Act.

That was the beginning of the investigation. Stunned by their loss of control of the House — a loss engineered by Gingrich — House Democrats began pushing a variety of ethics complaints against the new Speaker. Jones’ complaint was just what they were looking for.

At some point Americans have to grow up and do their own research. To accept blindly the charges being leveled at Newt Gingrich is naive at best and dangerous to the electoral process at worst. In recent years, the media has been working in concert with the Democrat Party on the politics of personal destruction. They have been very successful. If we the public continue to allow that to happen, a lot of good candidates will decide not to run for office. We need to remember that when President Obama won his election for the Senator from Illinois he did it by exposing highly personal irrelevant information on his major opponents in order to drive them out of the race. That has been his strategy in the past, we need to prevent him from using that strategy in the future. It is our job as voters to be careful what we believe and to refuse to accept blindly what we are told is the truth.,

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