Today Investors.com posted a story stating that:
President Obama says the Occupy Wall Street protests show a “broad-based frustration” among Americans with the financial sector, which continues to kick against regulatory reforms three years after the financial crisis.
“You’re seeing some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly trying to fight efforts to crack down on the abusive practices that got us into this in the first place,” he complained earlier this month.
The article asks, “But what if government encouraged, even invented, those “abusive practices”?
Well, they did. In December of 2008, I (rightwinggranny.com) posted an article linking to a youtube video entitled “Burning Down The House.” The story told in that video may be finally getting out. I strongly suggest you follow the link and watch the video.
Investors.com is reporting on a document from 1994 that sought to make sure that there was no discrimination in the lending industry. A great idea, but it overlooked the fact that banks needed to discriminate against those people seeking loans that they were unable to pay back.
The article reports:
At President Clinton’s direction, no fewer than 10 federal agencies issued a chilling ultimatum to banks and mortgage lenders to ease credit for lower-income minorities or face investigations for lending discrimination and suffer the related adverse publicity. They also were threatened with denial of access to the all-important secondary mortgage market and stiff fines, along with other penalties.
The threat was codified in a 20-page “Policy Statement on Discrimination in Lending” and entered into the Federal Register on April 15, 1994, by the Interagency Task Force on Fair Lending. Clinton set up the little-known body to coordinate an unprecedented crackdown on alleged bank redlining.
The edict — completely overlooked by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission and the mainstream media — was signed by then-HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, Attorney General Janet Reno, Comptroller of the Currency Eugene Ludwig and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, along with the heads of six other financial regulatory agencies.
“The agencies will not tolerate lending discrimination in any form,” the document warned financial institutions.
This is the root of the housing crisis. Someone much wiser than I once said, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” This is an example of that statement.
We haven’t learned our lesson yet. The article reports:
Tom Perez, assistant attorney general for civil rights, recently testified that his division “continues to participate in the federal Interagency Fair Lending Task Force.” And he and the task force are working with the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to “enhance fair-lending enforcement.”
The fair-lending task force’s original policy paper undercuts the notion the financial crisis was all about banker “greed,” though it certainly played a role after the fact. Rather, it offers compelling evidence that the crisis evolved chiefly from government mandates and threats to increase lending to applicants who could not afford them.
This is the story about our current financial woes that needs to be told.
Yesterday the Los Angeles Times posted a story with the headline, “Election laws tightening in GOP-run states.” Interesting headline. Why are election laws being strengthened in Republican rather than Democrat states? There are two ways to look at this–the Democrats would have you believe that the Republicans are trying to hinder minority voters, the Republicans would have you believe that they are combating voter fraud. Which is closer to the truth?
The article reports:
But Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, said the GOP drive was triggered by “the infamous example of ACORN,” the collection of community organizations which, he said, submitted 400,000 fraudulent registrations in 2008. He called the new laws “common-sense proposals” to “preserve the sanctity of our elections by ensuring that only eligible voters vote.”
The results of the election of 2008 would not have been changed had voter fraud not existed, but in a close election, voter fraud can change the results. It s an accepted fact that Mayor Daley stole the election in 1960 for John F. Kennedy.
Wikipedia (not my favorite source) reports:
Known for shrewd party politics, Daley was a stereotypical machine politician, and his Chicago Democratic Machine, based on control of thousands of patronage positions, was instrumental in bringing a narrow 8,000 vote victory in Illinois for John F. Kennedy in 1960. A PBS documentary entitled “Daley” explained that Mayor Daley and JFK potentially stole the 1960 election by stuffing ballot boxes and rigging the vote in Chicago. In addition, it reveals, Daley withheld many votes from certain wards when the race seemed close.
I have no problem with requiring voter identification. Identification is required to do many things in our society that are considerably less important than voting–rent a video, board an airplane, cash a check, buy cigarettes, buy alcohol, and receive any sort of federal assistance. Voting is at least as important as any of these.The election of 2012 may be close. I would prefer that whatever the result is, it represents the rule “one man, one vote.”
This graph is from an article by Ed Morrissey posted at Hot Air:
It exposes the lie in the controversial data collected by the East Anglia Project, NASA, and other organizations that have acted as advocates for action based on anthropogenic global warming (AGW).
The article points out:
But then look what happens in the past 11 years in the bottom chart. Despite the fact that the world’s nations continue to spew CO2 with no significant decline (except perhaps in the Great Recession period of 2008-9), the temperature record is remarkably stable. In fact, it looks similar to the period between 1945 and 1970 on the top chart. If global temperature increases really correlated directly to CO2 emissions, we wouldn’t see this at all; we’d see ever-escalating rates of increase in global temperatures, which is exactly what the AGW climate models predicted at the turn of the century. They were proven wrong.
Mr. Morrissey concludes:
Even perfect correlation doesn’t prove causation, and this is far from being perfect correlation. AGW scientists have still failed to prove that CO2 is responsible for the moderate rise in temperatures, nor have they proven their hypothesis that the rise is irreversible, or even bad. As I pointed out to my friend, Greenland hosted a farming community for over 200 years before getting swallowed in ice in a global-cooling period that helped spread disease, death, and starvation throughout Europe. If Greenland once again becomes farmland, then we might be entering a somewhat more remarkable climate period in human history, but until then this is more properly referred to as weather.
The global warming movement is based on two things–many high-powered politicians in countries around the world (including America) are highly invested in ‘green energy’ and if they can convince the world to switch to green energy, they will make a bundle of money. Secondly, if you look at the Kyoto treaties and other global warming solutions, you will see that they are aimed at taking money away from countries with strong economies and giving it to countries with corruption, graft and weak economies. The major polluters of the world (India and China) are not bound by these treaties.
We all need to take care of our environment, but we need to balance taking care of the earth and taking care of the people on the earth.
We have lost power at our house due to the recent snowstorm. Posts may be sporatic until the power is restored.
Yesterday Hot Air posted a story that should remind us what our real priorities should be. This is a picture from that article:
The picture is of Boaz Reigstad, a five-year old who will shortly turn six. This picture has appeared on Facebook.
The article reminds us:
Reigstad also happens to have Down Syndrome. That, too, is visible in his picture — but it takes a back seat to the joy and warmth of his expression. Sadly, the apparently cheerful child is the exception to a startling rule: About 90 percent of pregnant mothers who learn their babies have Down Syndrome choose to abort. As The Blaze puts it, “That means [just] 10 percent of children are brought to term after the mother learns of the condition.”
Raising a child with a disability is an incredibly difficult job. Over the years I have known people who are raising children with serious problems. I have watched the struggles and the special love between these children and their parents. It is a sad commentary on our society that only 10 percent of children with Down Syndrome are allowed to live.
Herman Cain is black. You might have noticed, but in case you didn’t, I would like to bring that to your attention. Now that you know, we can get back to things that are important. In a nutshell, I think that is how most Republicans (and probably Independents, and maybe some Democrats) feel about the fact that Herman Cain is black–it is obvious, but not particularly important.
However, there seems to be an element of the liberal media that is seriously hung up on the fact that not only is Herman Cain black–he is a Republican! Goodness gracious!
Yesterday the Weekly Standard posted a story about some comments made on MSNBC about Herman Cain. The article reports:
“One of the things about Herman Cain is, I think that he makes that white Republican base of the party feel okay, feel like they are not racist because they can like this guy,” (Karen) Finney said. “I think he giving that base a free pass. And I think they like him because they think he’s a black man who knows his place. I know that’s harsh, but that’s how it sure seems to me.”
“Thank you for spelling that out,” Bashir responded.
The article further reports:
Liberal comedienne Janeane Garafalo told Current TV host Keith Olbermann earlier this month that Cain is popular with Republicans because it “hides the racist element” of the party. Watch that video here.
This is simply out of bounds. I probably won’t vote for Herman Cain in the Republican primary. (Actually, because I live in Massachusetts, the whole thing will probably be decided before I get to vote!) This is his first run for the presidency, and I think he needs a little more practice before he gets the nomination. He is a businessman–not experienced in the nuances of politics, and I believe that is a problem for his campaign. That said, if he gets the nomination, I will vote for him because I feel that he is quite capable of putting together an awesome group of people to run the country.
While I am ranting, I would like to say that I feel that the series of Republican debates is a mistake. It has devolved into a tag-team wrestling event that has lost its focus. If the candidates continue to pick a person of the week to target, all they will succeed in doing is provide campaign commercials for the Obama campaign. Remember, the Obama campaign is not known for its uprightness–we have to win this election by a lot so that illegal votes don’t count. It is possible that Mickey Mouse may again vote in Orlando.
Big Government reported yesterday that Federal judge Paul Friedman has given final approval to a $1.2 billion government settlement with black farmers who claim they were unfairly denied loans and other assistance from the Agriculture Department over many years.
This is the second round of settlements in the 1999 Pigford case. As previously reported at rightwinggranny.com:
When some black farmers sued, claiming discrimination, the USDA agreed to pay $50,000 to every black person who was discriminated against.
According to the census, there were 18,000 black farmers in the country when the lawsuit was filed. But 97,000 black ‘farmers” have applied for the money.
Black farmer Jimmy Dismuke says its fraud. He said lawyers went to black churches and told people who had never farmed to file for the money.
”People say well, how do I qualify?” Dismuke told us. “And then [the lawyers] started talking about potted plants. They said if you had a potted plant, you can be a farmer. And if you have a yard and you fertilize it, you’re a farmer.”
Just about anyone can say that they “attempted to farm.” And the USDA–which did not keep all its loan records–has no way to refute that. So the taxpayers pay, and pay.
If you follow the articles on the Pigford settlement previously posted at biggovernment.com, you learn that there is no standard of proof required for the payments. It is unfortunate that our government discriminated against black farmers, but I don’t believe that taxpayers should be required to pay reparations at a time when the country is spending itself into bankruptcy.
Yesterday John Podhoretz posted an article at the New York Post detailing what President Obama’s proposed changes in how college loans are financed would mean to the average student.
Mr. Podhoretz points out that the federal loan programs have resulted in out of control tuition costs at colleges. He states:
The staggering inflation in the cost of higher education since the federal government got involved in lending money to Americans for college in 1965 beggars description. One federal study found that between 1982 and 2007, tuition costs rose 432 percent while family income rose only 147 percent.
So say you’re an average student carrying a $27,000 debt. Your monthly payment is about $208. With the reforms Obama is instituting, and assuming an interest rate of 6 percent, your monthly payment will drop $9 a month to $199. Staggering.
The article also points out that under the proposed changes, the government would be entirely responsible for college loans. Students would borrow directly from the government and pay the government back. What happens when students default? The taxpayers pick up the tab. Aside from the fact that the benefits to the students of this program are minuscule, we need less government in all aspects of our lives–not more.
This is the link to the YouTube video of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talking about the death of Libyan leader Muammar Al-Qaddafi. I understand that it is possible to be happy about the death of a tyrant, but her statement is totally out of bounds. She could have commented on Qaddafi’s death in a much more graceful way.
Andrew McCarthy (a senior fellow at the National Review Institute) posted an article at National Review Online today with his comments on the death of Gaddafi. Mr. McCarthy was the Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York who prosecuted the ‘Blind Sheik’ after the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. In prosecuting that case, Mr. McCarthy studied the Koran and the Islamist culture in order to get a better picture of the root causes of the attack. In National Review Online, he reminds us that the removal of Qaddafi as the ruler of Libya may not have the result America is looking for.
Mr. McCarthy reminds us that the Arab Spring has some ugly aspects:
The most obviously ugly of these is that a throng of seething Islamists stripped, beat, paraded, and finally shot Qaddafi execution-style, all the while screaming the signature “Allahu Akbar!” battle cry with a fervor that would have made Mohamed Atta blush. They then shoved the despot’s corpse into a refrigerator — to maintain it for further triumphant display before thousands of gawking spectators. Too bad there was no official from the Obama administration’s Islamic Thought Police on hand to remind the mob of the Koran’s oft-quoted (but oftener ignored) teaching that to slay a single person is to slay all of mankind.
Mr. McCarthy concludes:
Qaddafi’s escape from his last holdout was thus cut off by NATO airstrikes. Trapped and hidden in a sewer, he was dragged out and brutalized — not for intelligence, but for sport. There is video here if you can stomach it. What NATO abetted was not a military capture. It was an assassination. We will be worse off that it happened. And the way it happened should sicken us.
No one will argue that Qaddafi was a brutal dictator. However, in recent years he had greatly limited his terrorist activities and was no longer a threat to the west. As the new government immediately declared Sharia Law when they took over Libya, it is a pretty safe bet that they will be a threat to the west. Terrorism from Libya may again become an everyday thing. The way Qaddafi died is upsetting. Secretary of State Clinton’s comments on Qaddafi’s death are even more upsetting. I think we have backed the wrong people in the Arab Spring. The only way that freedom and democracy will come the the Middle East and North Africa is the have a revolution in Iran. That was the revolution we refused to support after the last fixed election. The Obama administration seems to have a definite gift for backing the wrong horse.
A website called Klein Online posted an article on October 15th about some of the reasons for America’s involvement in Uganda.
The article reports:
An influential “crisis management organization” that boasts billionaire George Soros as a member of its executive board recently recommended the U.S. deploy a special advisory military team to Uganda to help with operations and run an intelligence platform.
The president-emeritus of that organization, the International Crisis Group, is the principal author of Responsibility to Protect, the military doctrine used by Obama to justify the U.S.-led NATO campaign in Libya.
Soros’ own Open Society Institute is one of only three nongovernmental funders of the Global Centre for Responsibility to Protect, a doctrine that has been cited many times by activists urging intervention in Uganda.
As we prepare to leave Iraq to Iran and prepare to leave Afghanistan to the Taliban, we are protecting the financial interests of George Soros, a man who has stated that he has no love for America.
Max Fisher recently wrote in The Atlantic that he could not see how the Lord’s Resistance Army was a threat to America.
The article at Klein Online further reports:
Also in 2008, the Africa Institute for Energy Governance, a grantee of the Soros-funded Revenue Watch, helped established the Publish What You Pay Coalition of Uganda, or PWYP, which was purportedly launched to coordinate and streamline the efforts of the government in promoting transparency and accountability in the oil sector.
Also, a steering committee was formed for PWYP Uganda to develop an agenda for implementing the oil advocacy initiatives and a constitution to guide PWYP’s oil work.
PWYP has since 2006 hosted a number of training workshops in Uganda purportedly to promote contract transparency in Uganda’s oil sector.
PWYP is directly funded by Soros’ Open Society as well as the Soros-funded Revenue Watch Institute. PWYP international is actually hosted by the Open Society Foundation in London.
The billionaire’s Open Society Institute, meanwhile, runs numerous offices in Uganda. It maintains a country manager in Uganda, as well as the Open Society Initiative for East Africa, which supports work in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.
A stable society in Uganda is a good thing for everyone. However, it is a particularly good thing for George Soros. It’s nice that the United States military is willing to protect the finances of a man who is attempting to use those finances to destroy the United States.
A chart that says it all. Borrowed from a facebook friend.
On October 25 I posted an article at rightwinggranny.com about the plan by the Marines to cut tuition assistance to Marines taking college courses. One Marine who is taking courses sent an email stating that he had written his Senators and Representative about the matter. Well, on Wednesday the Marine Corps announced that they had significantly modified their plan.
The Marine Corps Times reported yesterday that an administrative message had been sent out stating that tuition reimbursement levels had been restored to their 2011 levels. The message stated:
“There has been no commensurate increase to tuition assistance funding allocated for FY-12. Therefore, all Marines are encouraged to wisely utilize tuition assistance to maximize Marine Corps financial resources. … Even with prudent utilization measures in place it is likely that FY-12 tuition assistance funds will be exhausted well before the end of FY-12.”
In true government fashion:
Marine Corps spokeswoman Maj. Shawn Haney said the return to the 2011 policy was ordered by the Defense Department, but said the Marine Corps 2012 TA budget is still expected to be only $28 million, or just over half the 2011 budget.
Under some circumstances, this might be okay–sometimes government agencies feel obligated to spend all of the money allocated them so that they will receive more funds the following year. That concept is called baseline budgeting and means that all government budgets increase at a certain amount every year. If the budget for a department stays the same rather than increasing, it is considered a cut. That is why despite Congressional claims of budget cuts, the amount of federal spending never goes down. The information not given in the article is exactly what the amount of the Marine Corps budget for tuition assistance was last year and what the amount of that budget will be this year.
It is interesting to me that as President Obama is making all sorts of promises to college students about their student loans, his administration seeks to curtail spending on tuition assistance on military personnel taking college courses.
The Muslim Brotherhood has been called ‘moderate Muslims’ by American national security people. That might have something to do with the fact that there are people with links to the Muslim Brotherhood in the highest levels of our government. Meanwhile, CBN News reported on Tuesday that a Norwegian television documentary, called “Freedom, Equality and the Muslim Brotherhood,” is unmasking the Muslim Brotherhood’s plans for world domination.
The article reports:
Kamil al-Najjar, one of the film’s subjects, left the Muslim Brotherhood and consequently is under threat of death.
“They’re trying to deceive the people,” al-Najjar tells al-Kubaisi in the film. “They have managed to deceive a lot of Western politicians into believing them.”
“Their only aim is to control the world with Islam,” he said. “They know they cannot use force to convert the West, so they use deceit.”
However, Muslim Brotherhood leaders are quite open about their intentions with those like al-Kubaisi, who traveled to the Middle East and speaks fluent Arabic.
“The Muslim Brotherhood’s dream is to form a total Islamic state,” Muhammed Mahdi Akef, who was the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood until 2010, told al-Kubaisi.
Gamal al-Banna, the brother of Hassan al-Banna, the man who founded of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928, was interviewed for the movie. He stated, “They (the Muslim Brotherhood) do not believe in freedom at all. There is no Islamic authority that respects freedom or democracy.”
The article further reports:
But one of the Muslim Brotherhood’s key spiritual leaders, Sheik Yusef al-Qaradawi, said on Arabic TV that “defeating Rome, Italy and Europe means that Islam will come back to Europe.”
“Must this victory necessarily be won by war? No,” the leader said. “I believe Islam will conquer Europe without using violence.”
“The Muslim Brotherhood, it’s not like, ‘We will take over the world and the power,” Al-Kubaisi told CBN News.
“No, no, it’s not like this,” he explained. “They don’t speak about power at all. No, they say, ‘Now, we want only this, and then this, and then this’…and then they start to work to gain more power.
Please follow the link to the CBN News article to see the short video behind this report.
I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s parade, but sometime in the next year there will be a war in the Middle East which will probably involve Israel. As soon as the United States begins to limit its presence in the area, the Muslim Brotherhood (a group charged with expanding the caliphate through democratic means) will consolidate its gains in Egypt, Libya, and Turkey, attempt to increase its power in Iraq and Afghanistan, and begin to make things very uncomfortable for Israel. I am not sure what form any of this will take, but it is fairly easy to see it coming.
Meanwhile, Israel is quietly getting prisoners back from Muslim countries as it prepares for the inevitable. Yesterday Haaretz reported that:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet approved on Tuesday a prisoner exchange deal with Egypt to release suspected Israeli spy Ilan Grapel in exchange for 25 Egyptian prisoners.
The article further reports:
Grapel was originally charged with espionage, although the charges were later changed to incitement, insurrection, and damaging a public building during the uprising that took place in Egypt earlier this year. The U.S. has been especially active in trying to secure Grapel’s release during the last two months.
I do wonder why the United States was so interested in getting Grapel released. As usual, Israel had to engage in an uneven swap to get its citizen back.
I see this as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s effort to bring home all the Israeli prisoners held in Muslim countries he can before any hostilities begin. There may be more of these deals in the near future.
Yesterday the Wall Street Journal posted an op-ed in its Review and Outlook column entitled “The Post-Global Warming World.” I’m not linking to the article as it is subscribers only.
The article reminds us that the United Nations annual climate-change conference will meet in November in Durban, South Africa (Do you ever notice that these conferences never take place in the low-rent district? When was the last time they had a conference in Newark?) The 1997 Kyoto Protocol is set to expire, and they are looking for the next step forward. There are, however, a few problems. India and China were not covered by the first pact to limit carbon emissions and now the United States, Russia and Japan have said that they will not agree to a new binding pact.
The article reports:
…Last week, EU Climate Action Director General Jos Delbeke told reporters that “in reality what may happen is that the Europeans will pronounce themselves politically in favor of the Kyoto Protocol” but won’t lock themselves into any new anticarbon pacts unless “other parties join the club.”
The problem with going green is that as of yet the technology is not there. All that has been accomplished in countries that have attempted to go green is that they have seriously taxed their economies. Some of the facts that have emerged on green energy–wind mills need up to 90 percent of their capacity backed up (usually with coal or gas plants) in order to prevent blackouts , and wind mills kill birds. Solar power involves lead batteries which release lead pollution. We simply did not have economical, successful green energy yet. We may have it in the future, but we don’t have it yet, and no amount of carbon restrictions or government subsidies is going to change that.
The article concludes:
The science on climate change and man’s influence on it is far from settled. The question today is whether it makes sense to combat a potential climate threat by imposing economically destructive regulations and sinking billions into failure-prone technologies that have their own environmental costs. The earnest people going to Durban next month may think so. The rest of the world is wearier and wiser.
It will be interesting to see what happens in Durban.
Anyone who is a parent has probably tried to instill in their children a sense of honesty, fairness, and some amount of trust in authority. Many of our colleges try to erase those qualities. One of my daughters took a college course where the underlying message in the course was, “If your ancestors arrived in America early, they took over the country and made all the laws to benefit themselves.” I was fortunate in that the daughter involved did not buy into that message. However, sometimes things happen which cause me to worry if that is closer to the truth today than I care to admit.
Roll Call reported yesterday that according to newly released FBI documents, Representative John Murtha was involved in funneling money to sham companies and nonprofits to benefit the lawmaker’s friends and former staffers.
The article reports:
The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a Freedom of Information Act request for Justice Department files on Murtha and other Members of Congress. Its requests have been denied for the living Members on the grounds that they have a right to privacy, CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said last week. Murtha’s death eliminated the privacy exemption, and the Justice Department handed over a heavily redacted bunch of files to CREW on Oct. 14.
I understand the right to privacy, but where there is criminal activity involved, shouldn’t exposure of that criminal activity trump the privacy right?
The article at Roll Call lists a number of questionable transactions that Representative Murtha was involved in. The article then concludes:
The FBI investigation also suggested that a staff member in Murtha’s office may have failed to disclose thousands of dollars in income and assets on her annual financial disclosure forms; that money from Murtha’s campaign fund may have been used to buy guns for the personal use of another Murtha staffer; that Murtha may have steered contracts and earmarks to other family members; that staff members may have violated the one-year ban on lobbying Murtha’s office after leaving his employ; and that KSA may have run a fraudulent political action committee.
There is no evidence in the released documents that the FBI pursed any of these cases.
Sloan of CREW said the FBI files prove a long-sought point: “It was as bad as we said it was. It wasn’t nothing; it wasn’t OK.”
A thorough investigation of John Murtha while he was alive could have saved taxpayers some serious money. This is the kind of spending cuts we need to begin with. It is sad that the FBI allowed these activities to continue without thoroughly investigating them, and it is a shame that John Murtha had so little respect for the office of Representative and the people he was supposed to represent that he engaged in this sort of behavior.
Yesterday the Daily Caller posted an article about former Alabama congressman Artur Davis, an African-American Democrat, who has recently changed his position on voter identification laws.
The article reports:
“I’ve changed my mind on voter ID laws — I think Alabama did the right thing in passing one — and I wish I had gotten it right when I was in political office,” Davis wrote in an October 17 op-ed published in the Montgomery Advertiser.
“The truth is that the most aggressive contemporary voter suppression in the African American community, at least in Alabama, is the wholesale manufacture of ballots, at the polls and absentee, in parts of the Black Belt.”
Every person in America has probably heard a story from a friend or relative that they went to vote in an election and were told that they had already voted. Laws that require voters to show identification will greatly reduce that kind of voter fraud.
The article further reports:
Democratic activists say the new laws aren’t needed, and the the ID requirements will make it harder for poor people, Hispanics or African-Americans to vote. In Alabama, the new law “is about suppression, not protection,” Democratic Rep. Terri Sewell said in September.
“There’s really no evidence of reduced voter turnout,” said Republican Scott Gessler, Colorado’s Secretary of State, in an interview with The Daily Caller. “But that does really stop the left screaming about it because, in part, it is a wedge issue they use to get people to vote.”
Hopefully the American people have figured this out!
The only ‘peaceful’ solution to Iran’s nuclear program is the end of Iranian rule by the Mullahs. Since that is not likely–protesters have been simply shot in the streets in the past–we are in need of a better solution.
In September 2006 there was a mysterious Israeli airstrike on Syria. Gradually the news came out that there was radiation at the site, and it became obvious that this was not just some innocent desert location. The strike was expertly carried out, and the threat of Syria as a nuclear power was ended by Israel. In his memoir Decision Points, President George W. Bush relates the story behind Israel’s attack. The President states that Prime Minister Olmert requested that America bomb the site in Syria, but President Bush refused, suggesting to the Prime Minister that they pursue diplomatic action backed up by force. President Bush stated that since his administration could not prove that the site was part of a Syrian nuclear weapons program, he could not justify attacking it. The Israelis attacked the site unilaterally. President Bush comments that Prime Minister Olmert had acted alone to do what he thought was better for Israel.
We are at that place again–only with Iran. On October 4, the Jerusalem Post reported:
Warning that Israel is becoming growingly isolated in the Middle East, US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta hinted on Monday he expected Israel to refrain from taking unilateral action against Iran and instead needs to work together with the US and other countries in the region.
I have a few problems with that statement. When Wikileaks released a bunch of cables regarding Middle East politics recently, it became obvious that most of the countries in the Middle East were much more worried about Iran than Israel. Now as the ‘Arab Spring’ progresses, we will see Iran begin to increase its influence in countries that have previously not aligned with it, and logically Israel will become isolated. This has much more to do with the actions of Iran than the actions of Israel.
The Obama administration (and unfortunately previous administrations) have not dealt effectively with Iran’s nuclear program. That program is the biggest international threat to the world today. In the Arab Spring, Iran is expanding its sphere of influence, and the possession of a nuclear weapon will put Iran in charge in the Middle East. Israel may again find itself in a position where it is the only country with the courage to prevent an international catastrophe. Admittedly, they would be acting in their own interest, but the world would benefit from their actions.
I understand that the country is in financial crisis. I understand that we need to cut spending. However, we really do need to look at our priorities.
The federal student loan program is out of control. Tuition costs have risen faster than inflation. It is not unusual for a private college to charge $40,000 a year in tuition. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York says students and parents took out a record $100 billion last year, and owe more on student loans — more than $1 trillion is outstanding — than credit cards. But if you want to hear howling, suggest to Congress that the government get out of the student loan program. Don’t look for major budget cuts in the area of student loans by the government.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch. A website called GIBIll.com reported on October 19th that the Marines are cutting back tuition assistance by 80 percent. This changes the maximum tuition assistance from $4,500 to $875 per year.
The article reports:
Although these changes to the military’s tuition assistance program were anticipated, it’s still unclear how many students will be affected and to what extent, Stephanie Styll, a spokeswoman for University of Maryland University College Asia at Yokota Air Base in mainland Japan, told Stars and Stripes newspaper. Some analysts believe other aid such as Pell Grants and GI Bill benefits can help make up the difference for many Marines.
In addition to the cuts, new eligibility rules are being adopted by the Marine Corps, and include requiring Marines receiving tuition assistance to have at least one year of service. Despite the cuts in tuition assistance, the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post-9/11 GI Bill remain unaffected.
Does anyone see the irony in this? The Marines are cutting tuition assistance and hoping that government Pell Grants will make up some of the difference. The money will still come from the government, just a different department. Not only will this not be a savings, it is just unfair. Our military is made up entirely of volunteers. Anyone who has volunteered in the last ten years probably knew that he (or she) would be involved in a war either in Iraq or Afghanistan. Military pay is awful. Now we are going to take away some of their benefits. Marines are doing something for their country. Their tuition assistance should not be cut unless the government programs that grant money to students are also cut by the same amount. This is just simply wrong.
On Saturday, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has won re-election as governor in a landslide.
The article reports:
His margin was so overwhelming that Jindal was able to deliver his victory speech a little more than 45 minutes after polls closed at 8 p.m., arriving on stage at the Baton Rouge Renaissance hotel in the company of LSU football coach Les Miles, whose team had just defeated Auburn, 45-10.
I love Louisiana–they have their priorities in order!
The Baton Rouge Business Report had endorsed Bobby Jindal, saying:
Four years ago there was much promise as Bobby Jindal was elected. Four years has passed quickly but much has been accomplished, despite some tough times, and our state’s image—and business rankings—have dramatically improved. Now, Jindal deserves re-election for his performance, though the next four years hold even more promise for a better Louisiana.
Our LSU football team isn’t the only one with a No. 1 ranking. Louisiana’s economic development efforts now lead the nation. And we have a governor who is admired and respected as a national leader, instead of providing material for jokes by late-night comedians. And Jindal has done things in education reform I never thought I would live to see. The number of government employees is at a 20-year low, and taxes are lower, too.
Besides being a bright leader, he is a man of character and a good father to his children—as well as a really nice guy. I respect that.
Our state has momentum and our in-migration has been growing for the last three years. There is still much work to be done, but I am optimistic about the next four years with Jindal still at the helm.
I have a personal story about Bobby Jindal to relate. My military children were stationed in New Orleans for a few years. They still own a house there because they hope to retire there. I was visiting them the Halloween after Hurricane Katrina and was at the ‘Scarium at the Aquarium’ with my daughter and her children. We were getting ready to get into the elevator (her youngest child was still in a stroller) when a nice-looking young man pushing a stroller stepped out of the elevator. My daughter recognized him as Bobby Jindal and immediately said hello. He stopped to say hello and thank her for her support when he ran for Congress (he lost) and was very gracious. I told him then that as a person who lives in Massachusetts and can’t vote for him in Louisiana, I hope to be able to vote for him on a national ticket some day. I still feel that way. Bobby Jindal has truly been a blessing to Louisiana.
On Friday The Cable posted an article discussing some of the behind the scenes discussions and issues that went into the plan to withdraw all American troops from Iraq by the end of this year.
The article reminds us:
Deputy National Security Advisors Denis McDonough and Tony Blinken said in a White House briefing that this was always the plan.
…But what about the extensive negotiations the administration has been engaged in for months, regarding U.S. offers to leave thousands of uniformed soldiers in Iraq past the deadline? It has been well reported that those negotiations, led by U.S. Ambassador James Jeffrey, Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and White House official Brett McGurk, had been stalled over the U.S. demand that the remaining troops receive immunity from Iraqi courts.
The article points out that there are ways to get around the immunity issue:
Administration sources and Hill staffers also tell The Cable that the demand that the troop immunity go through the Council of Representatives was a decision made by the State Department lawyers and there were other options available to the administration, such as putting the remaining troops on the embassy’s diplomatic rolls, which would automatically give them immunity.
The bottom line here is simple. President Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki were both more concerned with politics that with the security of Iraq. Al-Maliki is very aware of the fragile coalition that holds his government together. President Obama wants to be re-elected. No one is thinking ahead regarding Iraq.
Ed Morrissey at Hot Airposted a story today about two high-ranking union officials who took advantage of a legal loophole in the Illinois pension law to collect a $100,000 per year pension for teaching one day in school. A bill was passed recently that:
…enabled union officials to get into the state teachers pension fund and count their previous years as union employees after quickly obtaining teaching certificates and working in a classroom. They just had to do it before the bill was signed into law.
The article at Hot Air Reports:
Although the bill received bipartisan support, the benefit to union officials was sponsored by Springfield Democrats showered by IFT campaign contributions during the 2006 elections.
“The people that are on the inside and understand the process are going to be able to make the system work for their advantage,” said Kent Redfield, who teaches political science at the University of Illinois Springfield. “That this legislation got a hearing and got considered and passed is a reflection of that close relationship between the IFT and the Democratic leadership.
“It feeds into the cynicism about all the deals, that it’s an insider’s game and that the system is rigged.”
Meanwhile, Illinois residents have been hit with tax increases because the spending by the state is out of control. Overspending by government is both a local and national problem. Until the unions and the democrat politicians stop working toward taking as much money as possible from working people while blaming the rich for the state of the economy, our country’s financial problems will continue.