What Have They Done ?

Yesterday the United Nations posted an announcement:

The General Assembly today voted to grant Palestine non-member observer State status at the United Nations, while expressing the urgent need for the resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians leading to a permanent two-State solution.

The resolution on the status of Palestine in the UN was adopted by a vote of 138 in favour to nine against with 41 abstentions by the 193-member Assembly.

“We did not come here seeking to delegitimize a State established years ago, and that is Israel; rather we came to affirm the legitimacy of the State that must now achieve its independence, and that is Palestine,” the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, told the Assembly before the vote.

Mr. Abbas noted that the world was being asked today to undertake a significant step in the process of rectifying the “unprecedented historical injustice” inflicted on the Palestinian people since 1948.

This statement works only if you don’t know your history.  In 1919 a formal agreement was signed in London regarding the Jewish homeland. The agreement was signed by His Royal Highness the Emir Feisal ibn-Hussein, representing and acting on behalf of the Arab Kingdom of Hedjaz, and Chaim Weitzman, representing and acting on behalf of the Zionist Organization. A Jewish state was to be established as soon as Jewish immigration and development was sufficient in the wilderness known as Palestine. The boundaries of the nation were codified and approved unanimously by the League of Nations. The land included in this agreement included what is now Jordan and much of the land won back by Israel in the 1967 war.  In 1921, 75 percent of the land given to Israel was taken away from her by the British and given to Abdullah, the brother of Feisal ibn-Hussein. Abdulah was a Hashemite. The Hashemite tribe had just been driven out of Mecca and Medina by the Wahabi Muslims, so the Hasemites took over what was to be the Palestinian homeland (Jordan). So as you can see, the historical injustice against the Palestinians took place in 1921 and was perpetrated by the Wahabi Muslims–not the Jews. But facts are so inconvenient.

Israel responded to the vote:

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, said his delegation could not accept today’s resolution. “Because this resolution is so one-sided, it doesn’t advance peace, it pushes it backwards,” he stated, adding that peace could only be achieved through negotiations.

“There’s only one route to Palestinian statehood and that route does not run through this chamber in New York. That route runs through direct negotiations between Jerusalem and Ramallah that will lead to a secure and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” he added. “There are no shortcuts. No quick fixes. No instant solutions.”

As I have said before, until the Palestinians begin to build the infrastructure of an ordered society and stop teaching their children to hate, they should not be given a state. Creating a Palestinian state in its current form would simply be creating a base for terrorism against Israel.

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Voting With Your Feet

CBN News is reporting today that when the British government changed the tax rate on millionaires to 50 percent, wealth left the country. Wow! What a surprise.

The article reports:

The London Telegraph reports that 16,000 British citizens declared an annual income of more than a million pounds in the 2009-2010 tax year.

That number fell to just 6,000 after the government introduced the new top tax rate of 50 percent.

Analysts believe many Brits simply moved out of the country to avoid the high taxes. Others found ways to cut their taxable income.

The article further reports:

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, a member of the new Conservative Party majority, announced the top tax rate will be reduced to 45 percent next year for those with annual incomes of 150,000 pounds.

Since that announcement, the number of people making a million pounds a year has gone back up.

Tax revenue in the United States generally averages between 18 and 20 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. When you increase the taxes on the rich, tax revenue in the United States generally averages between 18 and 20 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. There is a lesson here. Attempting to ‘punish’ the rich for their success does not work. Aside from the fact that envy is not a particularly desirable trait in anyone, it does not make good economic policy. Our budget problems in America are not the result of low revenue–they are the result of high spending. Traditionally government spending has averaged between 18 and 20 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Under President Obama it has averaged closer to 25 percent. That has created a problem. The solution to the problem is less spending–not more taxes.

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More Legal Action On ObamaCare

Today’s Daily Caller is reporting that on Wednesday a federal appeals court blocked the implementation of the HHS mandate requiring employers to provide health care plans that include coverage for contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.

The article reports:

Missouri business owner Frank O’Brien, who employs 87 people at O’Brien Industrial Holdings, alleged in the lawsuit that led to the injunction that the mandate unconstitutionally infringes on his religious beliefs.

…The order by the three-judge panel on the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals prohibits HHS from forcing O’Brien to comply with the mandate, until the court issues a substantive ruling on the matter. The injunction order is not a final determination on the merits of O’Brien’s case or the constitutionality of the mandate.

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) also reported on this case yesterday:

In October, a federal district court judge granted the Obama Administration’s Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit. The ACLJ immediately filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. In an order issued today, the appeals court granted the ACLJ motion requesting an injunction pending an appeal.

The lawsuit, which was filed in March 2012, marked the first legal challenge to the HHS mandate from a private business owner and his company. Until the suit was filed, only religious organizations or institutions brought lawsuits challenging the mandate.

…In addition to the O’Brien case, the ACLJ has filed two other direct challenges to the HHS mandate and filed amicus briefs backing other challenges in more than a dozen cases.

I believe that it is unconstitutional for the government to require Americans to buy health insurance, much less tell employers what health insurance has to include. I hope one of these cases makes it to the Supreme Court and this time the Supreme Court makes the correct decision–I think the Supreme Court’s last decision on Obamacare was incorrect.

Rhetoric Vs. Facts

We’re hearing a lot lately about solving our nation’s fiscal problems by ‘taxing the rich.’ It sounds good, but the facts just don’t agree with the talking points.

Breitbart.com posted an article yesterday that crunched some of the numbers involved.

Breitbart.com reported:

“The president’s plan to increase taxes on the upper two percent covers the spending by this federal government not for eight years, not for eight months, not for eight weeks but for eight days. Eight days only,” said Mr. Price (Rep. Tom Price (R-GA)). “It’s not a real solution. So, again, I’m puzzled by an administration that seems to be more interested in raising tax rates than in gaining economic vitality.”

So what is going on?

The article cites a comment by Warren Buffett that may explain things:

Indeed, even Mr. Buffett seems to concede that he and the president’s “soak the rich” proposals are more an act of political theater designed to generate an emotional response than serious solutions: Mr. Buffett told Matt Lauer he believes his proposal would boost the “morale of the middle class.” 

This is not about fiscal responsibility. This is called class warfare, and unfortunately, a lot of Americans have bought into the idea that punishing success is better than formulating policies that will help more people achieve success.

There is one important thing to remember as we approach the fiscal cliff. The Republicans control only one-half of one branch of government. Whatever happens, if it is not successful, the media will blame the Republicans. The Republicans might as well stick to their guns about not raising taxes and at least get blamed for something they did right. The idea of raising taxes now and dealing with spending cuts later is laughable. The Democrats have made that promise before, and the spending cuts never happened.

The problem is on both sides of the aisle–bigger government means more power concentrated in Washington. Congressmen like power. Until we elect people who put the welfare of the country before their own personal ambitions, nothing will change.

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A Broken Promise

I seem to remember both Republicans and Democrats saying that they did not want to raise taxes on the Middle Class. Then how come, even if a deal is reached to avoid the fiscal cliff, taxes on the Middle Class are going up in January?

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today explaining what is about to happen:

Employee payroll taxes are scheduled to rise nearly 50 percent in 2013 absent action by lawmakers, and there is a growing sense that both parties might be willing to let that happen.

Party leaders have about five weeks to resolve a host of budget issues to avoid going over the “fiscal cliff,” the term used to describe more than $600 billion in automatic spending cuts and tax increases scheduled to occur on Jan. 1, 2013.

The discussion thus far has focused on the Bush-era tax cuts, with very little discussion of what to do with the temporary cuts on employee payroll taxes that has been in effect for the past two years. The employee payroll tax cut affects roughly 160 million Americans and saves the typical middle class family $1,000 per year.

U. S. News posted an article in January 2012 which listed five facts about the employee payroll tax cut. One of these is very interesting:

Even though workers are paying less tax into the Social Security system, they do not suffer any reduction in the benefits that will ultimately be collected. The federal government promises to pay the benefit that would otherwise have been received. The benefits are figured on the basis of earnings (up to the wage base limit for the year) and not on the taxes paid.

So Congress took a program (Social Security) that has been teetering on bankruptcy for a number of years and reduced the amount of money paid into it without reducing the benefits being paid out. What a business plan!

The article at the Washington Free Beacon concludes:

There is some concern among Republicans that Democrats might disregard policy considerations in order use the payroll tax cut as a political wedge issue. Democrats did this in February when House Republicans arguably lost a showdown with the White House.

It remains to be seen whether or not lawmakers can strike a deal to avoid going over the fiscal cliff.

Either way, though, the payroll tax cut appears unlikely to survive.

Obamacare increases taxes on the Middle Class in January. It is likely that even if a deal is reached to avoid the fiscal cliff, other taxes on the Middle Class will be increased in January also. As Americans, we need to tell Washington–THE PROBLEM IS NOT A LACK OF REVENUE–IT IS TOO MUCH SPENDING!!! Until Congress and the President get that message, the American taxpayer will continue to be seen as a never ending source of money, and at some point the American taxpayer will run out of money.

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The Statement Released After The Meeting

Yesterday Breitbart.com posted the statement released by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John McCain (R-AZ), and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) after their meeting with UN Ambassador Susan Rice.

This is the statement:

We respectfully disagree with the White House’s statement today that ‘there are no unanswered questions’ about Ambassador Rice’s September 16 Sunday show appearances and the talking points she used. 

Around 10:00 this morning in a meeting requested by Ambassador Rice, accompanied by acting CIA Director Mike Morell, we asked Mr. Morell who changed the unclassified talking points to remove references to al-Qaeda.  In response, Mr. Morell said the FBI removed the references and did so to prevent compromising an ongoing criminal investigation.  We were surprised by this revelation and the reasoning behind it.

However, at approximately 4:00 this afternoon, CIA officials contacted us and indicated that Acting Director Morell misspoke in our earlier meeting. The CIA now says that it deleted the al-Qaeda references, not the FBI.  They were unable to give a reason as to why.

We are disturbed by the Administration’s continued inability to answer even the most basic questions about the Benghazi attack and the Administration’s response. 

Beyond Ambassador Rice’s misstatements, we continue to have questions about what happened in Benghazi before, during, and after the attack on our consulate – as well as the President’s statements regarding the attack.

Perhaps most important, we also need to understand why the U.S. military was unable to respond within seven hours to save American lives in Benghazi and why our consulate was left so unsecure despite a series of previous attacks. 

In more than a dozen letters, we and other Senators have repeatedly requested that the Administration provide answers to our questions.  Yet, today most of them remain unanswered.  We eagerly await their response.

It does seem from this statement that answers to even basic questions about Benghazi are nearly impossible to come by.  At least someone should know who actually changed the talking points or why no help was available to the Americans in Benghazi. At the rate we are going, we might have some of these answers after the 2016 election.

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When It Doesn’t Pay To Work

John HInderaker at Power Line posted the following chart yesterday:

The chart was originally from the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.

The Congressional Budget Office has a similar chart:

The article at Power Line includes another chart from the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare:

Before you believe the lie that federal spending cannot be cut, please study these charts.

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This Is Not Going To Win Any Friends, But It’s A Great Idea

Like the rest of the country, Massachusetts is looking at tax increases in the coming year. Today’s Attleboro Sun Chronicle reported a suggestion from Representative Dan Winslow.

I am not sure how serious a suggestion this is, but I love it. The Sun Chronicle reports:

Winslow says the solution to the tax talk is simple — make politicians dig into their own pockets first.

 Winslow, R-Norfolk, is proposing a 25 percent tax on leftover campaign money at the end of each election cycle be poured into state coffers.

“There is more than 20 million dollars sitting in war chests after campaign season,” he said. “Why not tap into that?”

Winslow said that if politicians were taxed on their campaign treasuries, $5 million would be subtracted from the additional amount individual taxpayers might be hit with.

“On Beacon Hill, there has been talk from the Democrats that there will be an increase in retail revenue and that we will be charged a penny for mileage along the Mass state highway,” he said.

The reason for potential tax increases is desperation and poor leadership, Winslow said.

What a great idea–tax the politicians first!

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This Story Has Been Around For A While–I Don’t Know If It Is True

World Net Daily has been reporting on this story for about two years. I have no doubt that the policy they have been reporting on is something that the Obama Administration would like to do, I am just not sure that they will try it.

Here is the story:

Two years ago, as WND reported, the Obama administration was proceeding with a novel way to finance trillion-dollar budget deficits by forcing IRA and 401(k) holders to buy Treasury bonds by mandating the placement of government-structured annuities in their retirement accounts.

Remarkably, those financial professionals specializing in private retirement savings and the U.S. citizens investing in private retirement plans now face the possibility the Obama administration and its allies on the political left will impose rules and regulations that effectively abolish the private retirement savings and investment markets.

This would definitely redistribute wealth–it would take it away from everyone.

The article further reports:

With the issuance of the White House 256-page Budget Proposal for Fiscal Year 2013, the Obama administration endorsed “Automatic IRAs,” a plan introduced into Congress in 2010 by Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass, and Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., in which private companies would be automatically enrolled into government-mandated IRAs, forcing those businesses to contribute on behalf of their employees a “default amount” equal to 3 percent of an employees pay, unless an employee specifically opts out of the plan.

The FY 2013 Budget proposal notes that currently 78 million working Americans, roughly half of the work force, lack employer-based retirement plans.

Argentina has already taken over private retirement plans. This plan has not been successful in solving Argentina’s problems:

Writing in the London Telegraph in October 2008, business and economics editor Ambrose Evans-Pritchard warned that G7 nations, including the United States, may begin following the path of Argentina in forcing privately managed pension funds to be invested in government-issued debt.

In 2008, Argentine sovereign debt was trading at 29 cents on the dollar, reflecting the devalued state of the Argentine peso, with the result that private pensioners holding government debt in their retirement accounts could not be assured those bonds would have any meaningful value at maturity

What the government is planning here is called stealing. Privately managed pension funds are not government property.  Meanwhile, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is moving to require the government to create government-mandated worker retirement accounts as an entitlement program, with the possibility that a portion of all private retirement funds could be forced into U.S. Treasury debt. I am not against encouraging companies to set up some sort of retirement savings programs for their employees, but these programs need to be private programs designed in a way that does not put undue burdens on private companies. At the rate Congress makes decisions, Social Security will not be there for today’s workers, and even a Christmas-Club type savings plan (remember Christmas Clubs ?) would be a step in the right direction. However, a government takeover is never a good idea.

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Welfare Spending In America

The Heritage Foundation posted the following chart in October in an article about Paul Ryan‘s plan to reform welfare:

The article reports:

Tragically, this massive welfare state has been a driver of dependency. Today, 100 million Americans—roughly one-third of the U.S. population—receive aid from a government welfare program (not including Social Security, Medicare, or unemployment insurance).

As Ryan noted, in the 1990s Congress passed the historic welfare reform law, inserting work requirements into the largest federal cash assistance program. This was a huge success.

“[W]e saw welfare enrollment drop dramatically, as millions of our fellow citizens gained new lives of independence,” Ryan said. “We saw child poverty rates fall over 20 percent in four years—and we saw employment for single mothers rise.”

But these reforms are at risk. In July of this year, the Obama Administration announced it would remove work requirements from welfare reform—the very element that made the law such a success.

At what point will this kind of institutionalized dependency result in the loss of America as we know it?

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It Is Possible To Balance The Budget Without Raising Taxes

On Saturday the Washington Examiner posted an editorial about balancing the American budget. The editorial reminds us that everyone–rich or poor–will pay more in taxes after January 1.

The editorial states:

Liberal columnists love to point out that the top marginal rate on personal income was 91 percent in the 1950s and in the early 1960s. But the tax code back then was also chock-full of loopholes and benefits that let top earners escape such stifling tax burdens. As high as top marginal rates were, taxes as a percentage of GDP never rose above 19 percent, and in fact fell as low as 14.5 percent.

In fact, since World War II, federal taxes as a percentage of GDP have never risen above 20.6 percent and have averaged just under 18 percent. This has been consistent, regardless of changes to tax rates.

This fact is also confirmed in the Laffer Curve. There is a point at which tax increases actually result in less revenue. We need to keep this fact in mind as we discuss what to do about the ‘fiscal cliff.’

There are two think tanks that represent the two ways of thinking about solutions to the ‘fiscal cliff’:

Obama’s favorite think tank, the Center for American Progress, submitted a plan that calls for the federal government to eat up more than 20 percent of the American economy through taxation every year, in perpetuity. Being the liberals that they are, CAP calls for even higher levels of spending — above 22 percent of GDP by 2022 alone.

Contrast CAP’s plan with that of the Heritage Foundation. It returns taxation to just above the historical U.S. average at 18.5 percent of GDP. By cutting spending to pre-Great Society levels, the Heritage plan not only balances the budget but actually begins to lower our cumulative national debt.

Taking money from people who earn it and giving it to people who don’t earn it is not a solution to anything. Until Washington stops using American taxpayers as vehicles to get re-elected, nothing will be accomplished.

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Behind The Policies Of President Obama’s Second Term

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article yesterday which asked the question, “Does this mean it’s now okay to say that Obama is a redistributionist?”  The question was based on a Washington Post article posted on Friday by . Mr. Goldfarb is the Post economics reporter and posted an article about the underlying principles of President Obama’s second term as President.

The Washington Post reports:

Obama’s actions as president provide a glimpse of how he views legislation as a means to his end. His health-care reform law, aimed at covering as many of the uninsured as possible, takes a shot at addressing income inequality by imposing new taxes on the wealthiest Americans. Beginning next year, upper-income earners will pay new surcharges that will result in an average additional tax bill of $20,000 for the top 1 percent. The money will help finance insurance subsidies and other coverage in 2014 for people in the lower middle class and below. A recent study by Cornell University’s Richard Burkhauser estimates that “Obamacare” will add $400 to $800 in disposable income annually for these Americans.

The Post further reports:

Every president talks about education, but Obama’s rhetoric reflects an acute awareness of recent research. The data show that rising inequality is largely the result of a changing economy that handsomely rewards people with better skills or credentials — a college education — and leaves people with a basic education at a disadvantage.

Think about this for a minute. People with better skills or credentials are being rewarded, resulting in more income inequality. Good Grief! Translated loosely that means that people who work hard, go to school, and learn are being rewarded. Why else would they work hard and go to school?

Many (not all) of the basic income inequalities in America are moral and cultural. Studies show that young people who finish school. get married, and have children in that order generally do not wind up in poverty. A year of college will not hurt anyone who applies himself during that year, but without the desire to work hard at getting a college education and the desire to work hard afterward, success will not magically appear.

America is not a third-world country. The poor in America have cars, air conditioners, flat-screen televisions, and the latest cell phone gadgetry. Taking money from the people who actually earn it makes all of us poorer in the long run because it erodes the work ethic of those receiving the money.

President Obama has been re-elected, but it is up to Congress and Americans to protect the opportunity that has historically been America. Being in the welfare system is not an opportunity. If we begin to encourage people to work rather than simply take money from those that do work, income inequality will begin to correct itself. However, we will always have income inequality as long as some of us would rather let someone else work to support us.

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The Kickoff Question For 2016

It is too early to be talking about the election of 2016, but evidently it is not too early for the press to begin demonizing the Republican contenders.

In January 2012, George Stephanopoulos asked Mitt Romney the following question at the Republican presidential primary debate (Newsbusters):

Governor Romney, do you believe that states have the right to ban contraception? Or is that trumped by a constitutional right to privacy?”

The question really made no sense–it was not related to any current issue, and some pundits on the right wondered why Stephanopoulos asked it. It became obvious later on that part of the Democrat strategy in the 2012 election was to accuse the Republicans of waging a ‘war on women’ and saying that Republicans would take away a woman’s right to birth control. The question was a preemptive strike to begin debate on a subject that was not really important, but had possible political value when dealing with an uninformed electorate.

The preemptive strike has now been aimed at Florida Senator Marco Rubio. GQ asked the Senator, “How old do you think the earth is?” What in the world does that question have to do with anything?

Shawn Mitchell at Townhall.com points out:

First is the premeditated bad faith of an upscale publication. The random question is untethered  from public policy, from issues in the US Senate, or measures Rubio might pursue. It arose from a singular goal unrelated to reporting current events: GQ wanted to conjure a killer question, something that might damage a popular potential GOP presidential candidate.  It’s easy to imagine the query came from a group brainstorm over lunch: “Think, people…how can we trip him?!”

Second on the list is the poisonous effect of unresting, perpetual attack machinery.  Scarcely had the interview hit GQ’s website and newsstands when it ricocheted across the blogosphere and commentariat, with sneers from the left and defenses from the right. Barack Obama is two months shy of putting his hand on the Bible for a second term. Yet, already an anticipated candidate for 2016 is under manufactured attack for how he might read that book’s teachings.

This is disgusting, and until America’s electorate becomes informed enough to make attacks like this ineffective, these attacks will continue. The media will not police themselves, but when Americans begin to ignore stories like this and stop buying the newspapers and magazines that publish this trash, the trash will end. It is truly up to us.


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Exactly What Is Fair ?

On Thursday the Washington Examiner posted an editorial with the title, “If top 5% paid 40% of taxes, what is their ‘fair’ share?”. That is a very reasonable question.

The current Democrat talking points are stated in the editorial:

Obama said in his postelection news conference earlier this month, “want to make sure that middle-class folks aren’t bearing the entire burden and sacrifice when it comes to some of these big challenges. They expect that folks at the top are doing their fair share as well.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., echoed this point in a fundraising pitch sent out on Monday: “Voters sent a clear message to Republicans in the election: we must stand up for the middle class and ensure the wealthy pay their fair share.”

What does the amount of taxes the wealthy pay have to do with standing up for the middle class?

The editorial reminds us:

As matters stand, the top 1 percent of American households paid 39 percent of income taxes in 2009, according to the most recent data compiled by the Congressional Budget Office, and the top 5 percent of taxpayers paid 64 percent.

But income taxes, taken in isolation, do not tell the whole story, because lower-income Americans do pay payroll taxes. But even taking into account all forms of taxation, the top 1 percent still paid 22 percent of federal taxes while earning just 13.4 percent of household income. The top 5 percent paid 40 percent of all federal taxes, despite earning only 26 percent of all income. No matter how you slice the numbers, it’s hard to understand why anyone would think the wealthy aren’t already shouldering a burden commensurate with their blessings.

It seems to me as if the wealthy are already paying more than their fair share. And if raising taxes on anyone is going to slow down an already struggling economy, why in the world would you want to raise taxes on anyone?

In March of this year I posted the following (rightwinggranny.com):

Fox News has a video posted showing President Obama stating in April of 2008 that, despite evidence it doesn’t increase revenue, he’d raise the capital gains tax on America’s richest Americans. Then-candidate Obama used one of his favorite words by saying it would be the “fair” thing to do! So it’s not really about revenue–it’s about redistributing wealth–taking money away from people who have earned it and giving it to people who have not earned it. How does that make our society better?

The purpose of being President (or House Minority Leader) is not to carry out your own personal vendetta upon those you resent because they are successful. It’s time to grow up and get past the idea that it is up to you as President or Congressmen to punish those who are successful.

We will all be seeing tax increases in January due to Obamacare. The question is how much additional taxation will we stand for. I personally feel taxed enough already–I think it’s time for the Tea Party to get back to their roots and begin to make noise again.


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Some Of Us Have Just Realized That We Really Are All In The Same Boat

Howie Carr posted a wonderful article at the Boston Herald today detailing some of the consequences of the re-election of President Obama. The focus of the article is the fact that the people who voted for him will suffer the same consequences of his victory that the rest of us have to deal with.

The article lists some of those consequences:

Take the instructors at Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh.

Their hours are being cut back so the college can get around Obamacare. All you teachers, hope you enjoy being adjunct professors, because you ain’t getting tenure anytime soon. Wonder who they all voted for on Nov. 6?

One story had a quote from a CCAC English instructor who had a “vague hope” that his health care insurance costs would be going down under Obamacare.

…Fortunately, all the “womyn’s studies” instructors at CCAC can pick up their insurance by getting jobs at, say, Olive Garden. But wait, I forgot — many fast-food and supermarket chains are also cutting back to work weeks of 29 A hours maximum.

(Employers have to provide health insurance to anyone who works at least 30 hours.)

“Part time is the new full time,” Michelle Malkin wrote.

Now, not only is he not going to be eligible for full insurance, he’s taking a $600 a month pay cut because of his reduced hours.

Howie Carr also lists the financial decisions made as a result of the election:

You know, like George Lucas. Only thing is, he just sold his Star Wars studio to Disney for $4.05 billion to beat the Jan. 1 tax Armageddon. By some accounts, Han Solo’s real father will be saving more than $200 million.

…How about the Walton family, the owners of Wal-Mart.

Their scheme is to pay out this quarter’s dividends on Dec. 27 instead of Jan. 2. That’ll save ’em a cool $180 million. The rich get richer and the poor get … part-time jobs.

The problem with raising taxes on the rich is that most of the rich are rich because of hard work and smart decision-making. Does anyone believe that ‘the rich’ don’t have the brains (or the accountants) to avoid many of the confiscatory taxes the Obama Administration has in store for them? Taxing the rich will not bring in more money (google the “Laffer Curve”), it will simply change the shape of the job market and result in American money leaving the country.  But, as I said, we will all face the consequences of this election.


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One Election Does Not Make A Democracy

Fox News is reporting today that Egyptian President Morsi’s recent changes to Egyptian law are being criticized by the top judicial body in Egypt.

The article reports:

In a statement carried on MENA Saturday, the Supreme Judicial Council says they regret the declarations President Mohammed Morsi issued Thursday.

The council is packed with judges appointed by former President Hosni Mubarak. It regulates judicial promotions and is chaired by the head of the Court of Cassation.

Meanwhile, thousands of people gathered Saturday to protest in central Cairo, where supporters and opponents of Morsi clashed the day before in the worst violence since he took office.

The Times Union of Albany, New York, reports:

Morsi and the Brotherhood contend that supporters of the old regime are holding up progress toward democracy. They have focused on the judiciary, which many Egyptians see as too much under the sway of Mubarak-era judges and prosecutors and which has shaken up the political process several times with its rulings, including by dissolving the lower house of parliament, which the Brotherhood led.

His edicts effectively shut down the judiciary’s ability to do so again. At the same time, the courts were the only civilian branch of government with a degree of independence: Morsi already holds not only executive power but also legislative authority, since there is no parliament.

The timing of this is important. On Wednesday, Morsi brokered a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, and on Thursday, the new edicts were issued. The Obama Administration had just praised Morsi for his work on the cease-fire and was put in a position where it would have been awkward to criticize him. We have been snookered again.

Don’t look for democracy in Egypt. Sharia Law will be in effect shortly, and it is incompatible with democracy.

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I Have Very Mixed Emotions On This

I don’t smoke. I have never smoked, but I grew up in a blue haze caused by two parents who were heavy smokers. I also lost those two parents to lung problems long before I was ready to give them up. That is why I have very mixed emotions on the story I am about the report.

CNS News reported this week that eighteen California cites and counties have banned smoking in multi-unit housing–condominiums, apartments, etc. So the city, state, or county is now telling you what you are permitted to do in your own home, which you may actually own. What about smokers’ rights as property owners?

The article reports:

Calling it “the next frontier in California’s ongoing efforts to protect its citizens from secondhand smoke,” the American Lung Association’s Center for Tobacco Policy and Organizing compiled a 2011 report on smoke-free housing policies and provided an update that shows 18 cities and counties in the state have banned smoking in multi-unit housing, including apartments and condominiums.

I hate the smell of cigarette smoke, but I really wonder if this isn’t going too far.

The article further reports:

Some other details in the report include a provision in the city of Belmont’s smoking ban: “For current tenants who smoke, there is a 14 month grace period during which time they are still allowed to smoke in their unit.”

If you have every watched anyone struggle to quit smoking, you know how difficult this will be for many of the current tenants.

Smoking is out of fashion right now. It has been moving in that direction for about twenty years. There was a time when smokers didn’t have to huddle in office or restaurant doorways in order to have a smoke. Again, I hate the smell of cigarette smoke, but this is totally creeping government. If we sit by and watch this happen because we don’t smoke or don’t like the smell of smoke, what will the next target be?

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Why Was Hamas Firing Rockets At Israel ?

Yesterday Charles Krauthammer posted an article in the Washington Postasking the obvious question, “Why was there a war in Gaza?” Hamas claims that the firing of rockets on Israel was part of the resistance to the occupation. What occupation? That is an interesting question.

The article reports:

What occupation? Seven years ago, in front of the world, Israel pulled out of Gaza. It dismantled every settlement, withdrew every soldier, evacuated every Jew, leaving nothing and no one behind. Except for the greenhouses in which the settlers had grown fruit and flowers for export. These were left intact to help Gaza’s economy — only to be trashed when the Palestinians took over.

Israel then declared its border with Gaza to be an international frontier, meaning that it renounced any claim to the territory and considered it an independent entity.

In effect, Israel had created the first Palestinian state ever, something never granted by fellow Muslims — neither the Ottoman Turks nor the Egyptians who brutally occupied Gaza for two decades before being driven out by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.

So what is the problem? If Israel is not occupying Gaza, why are the rockets being fired?

The article further states:

Interrupted by the occasional truce, to be sure. But for Hamas a truce — hudna — is simply a tactic for building strength for the next round. It is never meant to be enduring, never meant to offer peace.

But why, given that there is no occupation of Gaza anymore? Because Hamas considers all of Israel occupied, illegitimate, a cancer, a crime against humanity, to quote the leaders of Iran, Hamas’s chief patron and arms supplier. Hamas’s objective, openly declared, is to “liberate” — i.e., destroy — Tel Aviv and the rest of pre-1967 Israel. Indeed, it is Hamas’s raison d’etre.

There will be no peace for Israel as long as Hamas holds power in Gaza and their charter calls for the destruction of Israel. If the western countries of the world truly want peace in the Middle East, they need to take that fact into consideration. Israel has survived another attempt to destroy it, but, unfortunately, this will not be the last attempt.

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Are We Still There ?

America Was Founded on Our Servitude and Gratitude to God: The Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, by Continental Congress – November 1,1777
Forasmuch as it is the indispensable duty of all men to adore the superintending providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with gratitude their obligation to him for benefits received, and to implore such farther blessings as they stand in need of; and it having pleased him in his abundant mercy not only to continue to us the innumerable bounties of his common providence, but also smile upon us in the prosecution of a just and necessary war, for the defense and establishment of our unalienable rights and liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased in so great a measure to prosper the means used for the support of our troops and to crown our arms with most signal success:

It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive powers of these United States, to set apart Thursday, the 18th day of December next, for solemn thanksgiving and praise; that with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts, and consecrate themselves to the service of their divine benefactor; and that together with their sincere acknowledgments and offerings, they may join the penitent confession of their manifold sins, whereby they had forfeited every favor, and their humble and earnest supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance; that it may please him graciously to afford his blessings on the governments of these states respectively, and prosper the public council of the whole; to inspire our commanders both by land and sea, and all under them, with that wisdom and fortitude which may render them fit instruments, under the providence of Almighty God, to secure for these United States the greatest of all blessings, independence and peace; that it may please him to prosper the trade and manufactures of the people and the labor of the husbandman, that our land may yield its increase; to take schools and seminaries of education, so necessary for cultivating the principles of true liberty, virtue and piety, under his nurturing hand, and to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.

And it is further recommended, that servile labor, and such recreation as, though at other times innocent, may be unbecoming the purpose of this appointment, be omitted on so solemn an occasion.

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What Was Gained By The Middle East Cease Fire ?

Obviously, one of the main things gained by last night’s cease-fire between Israel and Hamas is that at least for the moment no one is getting attacked by rockets or suicide bombers. That is a good thing, but what is the price of this cease-fire?

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article yesterday listing the pros and cons of the agreement.

Some of the pros:

First, the agreement puts an end, at least for now, to the bombardment of Israel.

...Second, the agreement means that Israel will not undertake, at least for now, an invasion of Gaza. Such an invasion would have been bloody. Now, that bloodshed is avoided.

A third advantage exists to the extent that the U.S. made secret promises to Israel in exchange for its agreement to the cease fire (one hopes that Israel demanded some). Abstract promises and guarantees from Obama regarding Israel’s security are meaningless. But let’s hope that Israel received concrete promises pertaining to weaponry and the like.

Mr. Mirengoff points out that Hamas might have made the agreement because it was running out of rockets.

Unfortunately, there are also some problems with the cease-fire.

The article reports:

First, Hamas won. Why? Because it bombarded Israel and was not crushed for it.

…Second, because Hamas wins, Israel loses. There is no such thing as a win-win deal with an enemy whose goal is your destruction.

…A third disadvantage is that Israel reportedly has agreed to cease the targeting of terrorists like Ahmed al-Jabari, who was killed by an Israeli air strike at the outset of this conflict. This means that Hamas operatives can kill Israelis, or cause them to be killed, and then walk the streets of Gaza without fear of Israeli retaliation.

The article also notes some of the effect this conflict and truce will have on Iran‘s view of America‘s role in the Middle East. It appears that America acted as a neutral party rather than a supporter of Israel. We have told Israel that they could not target terrorists as we ourselves are targeting terrorist with drone strikes.

The article reaches some troubling conclusions:

More broadly, the fact that Hamas came out ahead — a bombing campaign against Israel produced Israeli concessions — will strengthen Israel’s many enemies. It will confirm their view that the Arab spring has turned the tide against Israel, and that history is on their side. The importance of this kind of cosmic confidence cannot be overstated.

The fact that Egypt is credited with brokering the deal will be part of the narrative. For one thing, of course, the radical Islamist government that brokered the deal is a creation — indeed, the flower — of the Arab Spring. For another, the fact (or even the perception) that Israel needed a radical Islamist government to bail it out of conflict it didn’t win militarily is a huge victory for the Muslim Brotherhood and, by extension, to Israel’s Islamist enemies everywhere.

This bring us to Iran. What will the mullahs think of this saga? One takeaway is that Israel did not defeat the weakest of its enemies. This follows Israel’s failure to defeat Hezbollah in the last Lebanon war. Iran will believe that, increasingly, Israel is a paper tiger that has lost the will to fight. This, in turn, will embolden Iran and its allies/puppets.

Stay tuned.

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The Concept Of Hudna

According to Wikipedia, hudna is an Arabic term meaning a temporary “truce” or “armistice” as well as “calm” or “quiet”, coming from a verbal root meaning “calm”. It is sometimes translated as “cease-fire“. Historically, a hudna has been used by Islamists as a time to re-arm for the next battle. I am afraid that the cease fire that happened between Israel and Hamas last night may fall into the category of a pause for the purpose of re-arming.

Jennifer Griffin posted an article at Fox News last night about the cease fire.

The article points out:

In fact, Hamas spokesmen had leaked to the press that the cease-fire would begin at 9 p.m. local time on Tuesday, but that was before Clinton had landed in Jerusalem. It would take another 24 hours for the deal to be finalized. In the meantime, just hours before the cease-fire was formally announced, a Palestinian placed a bomb on a Tel Aviv bus, injuring more than 24 Israelis. It was the first terror attack in Tel Aviv since 2006. Hamas praised the bombing, but did not take responsibility. Israel did not respond, a break from its usual belief that a strong response to terrorism provides deterrence.

 How do you make peace with people who celebrate a terrorist attack on innocent people?

The article points out two important points:

“The President said that he was committed to seeking additional funding for Iron Dome and other U.S.-Israel missile defense programs,” according to Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Finally, when she shuttled to Ramallah, Clinton did not receive assurances from President Mahmoud Abbas that the Palestinians would no longer go to the U.N. General Assembly and request observer status on November 29 — one way that the Palestinians would get their aspiration to statehood recognized. After all, this issue of Palestinian recognition is the issue that serves as the backdrop to the current escalation of violence.

I suspect we will be hearing much more from the Middle East in the coming days.

I Don’t Know Why This Makes Me Crazy, But It Does

Military.com reported last Thursday that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has asked the Joint Chiefs of Staff to review ethics training and to brainstorm on ways to steer officers away from trouble. This is the same Leon Panetta that was President Bill Clinton‘s White House Chief of Staff from 1994 to 1997. One wonders if he every made a similar recommendation for ethics training for Presidents.

The article reports:

Panetta told Dempsey to work with the chiefs of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps to review ethics training for officers to determine whether they are adequate, and to provide views on “how to better foster a culture of value-based decision-making and stewardship” among senior officers and their staffs. That is another way of saying Panetta wants a game plan for ending the string of bad behavior.

He said the initial results of the chiefs’ review, along with their recommendations, should be ready in time for Panetta to report to President Barack Obama by Dec. 1. The text of the Panetta memo, which he signed on Wednesday, was provided Thursday to reporters traveling with the Pentagon chief, who was in Bangkok for talks with senior Thai government officials in advance of Obama’s visit here this weekend.

I probably need to apologize for my cynicism, but how come the Defense Secretary, the State Department, and the CIA can’t get a report on Benghazi on the President’s desk by December 1? It would seem to me that Benghazi would have a higher priority?

The article further points out:

Panetta also told reporters he could not rule out the possibility that the Taliban in Afghanistan would try to use Petraeus’ admission of an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, for propaganda purposes. Petraeus, who resigned Friday from his post as CIA director, was Allen’s predecessor as top commander in Afghanistan, leaving in summer 2011.

I am sorry that General Petraeus and General Allen did not behave appropriately while they were in Afghanistan. However, I need someone to explain to me why the head of the CIA had to resign over an extra-marital affair and the President of America (Bill Clinton) remained in office after an extra-marital affair. I am more than a little confused.

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A Whole New Meaning To Thanksgiving Turkey

Breitbart.com reported yesterday that the Los Angeleslabor unions have decided to hold a protest at Lost Angeles Airport on Wednesday, the biggest travel day of the year. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is leading the charge.

The article reports:

What exactly is SEIU protesting for? They say that an airport contract is breaking the city law on living wages – which, of course, is nonsense, since that would be prosecutable. They also say that the contractor has eliminated “affordable healthcare” for over 400 workers. Which is, again, bull. After all, can’t the SEIU just rely on Obamacare?

Sometimes I truly wonder what the SEIU actually wants.

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