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Monday, December 12, 2011

Jon Huntsman - Newt Gingrich Debate

The Jon Huntsman - Newt Gingrich Debate took place today and the reports I've seen highly recommend watching the debate. You can read Hot Air's analysis here.

I hope to find the time to watch this sometime this week. - Reggie

Arizona’s Immigration Law Gets to the Supremes

In a decision that should cheer those who believe in the rule of law and want to see our federal immigration laws enforced (despite all of the efforts of the Obama Administration to prevent that from happening), the Supreme Court today accepted Arizona’s petition for certiorari in the lawsuit filed against the state’s immigration law by the Justice Department. That means that the Supreme Court will make the final decision on whether Arizona’s law (SB 1070) is constitutional.

SB 1070, which has served as a model for other states such as Alabama and South Carolina, has a number of provisions that attempt to help the federal government enforce immigration requirements. The most controversial, at least from the standpoint of the Obama Administration, is a provision that requires police officers to check on the immigration status of individuals they have arrested or detained for some other violation, if the officers have a reasonable suspicion the individuals are in the country illegally. Race and ethnicity cannot be a consideration in that determination.

In a badly reasoned decision, a federal judge in Arizona issued an injunction against that requirement. The judge essentially ignored a provision of federal law that specifically requires the federal government to respond to all inquiries from federal, state, or local officials about the immigration status of any individual and the fact that Congress funds a “Law Enforcement Support Center” administered by the Department of Homeland Security to provide alien status determinations to state and local law enforcement officials 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is even another provision in federal law that encourages states “to cooperate with the Attorney General in the identification, apprehension, detention, or removal of aliens not lawfully present in the United States.”

New Ron Paul Ad: Newt Gingrich: Selling Access

Newt Gingrich Wants the Constitution to Die

This guy is scary!

- Michael

Newt Gingrich wants the Constitution to die. This is not hyperbole and I’m not kidding.
In 1995, Gingrich wrote the foreword to the book Creating a New Civilization: The Politics of the Third Wave by authors Alvin and Heidi Toffler. Gingrich “urged all Americans to read” this book. See for yourself on the back cover:

Read More>>

Ron Paul is striking chords with Iowa GOP voters

 I hope everyone takes a second look at Ron Paul!

- Michael

Iowa Republican voters are taking Ron Paul very seriously.
So seriously, in fact, that few would be surprised if he finished a strong second - or even won - the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses.
The 76-year-old Texas congressman's potential is evident in recent statewide polls that show him in or near second place, trailing former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich and in a virtual tie with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Paul's strength is also apparent anecdotally - he draws big, diverse crowds, like one recently in this small northeastern Iowa town.
People in the audience at the community library last week shoehorned themselves into the meeting room, listening intently to the libertarian Republican presidential candidate, as have people in meeting halls and college auditoriums all over the state.
They were sympathetic to his no-frills message of dramatically smaller government and a scaled-back foreign policy - a message he's long preached, but one that now has wide mainstream appeal. And they appreciate how he's engaging Gingrich, accusing the front-runner of "serial hypocrisy."
Paul draws no big cheers; his audiences are serious and polite. They applauded in Waverly when he told them that the U.S. government can't possibly continue spending at its current pace because the world economy is on the brink of chaos.

Sarah Palin Pitching New Reality Show

This is very disappointing because I was hoping Palin would re-enter the political arena and run for office in the near future. However, it has become increasingly clear that she no longer has the desire for a life in politics. Of course, it is her life, her family and her decision and I wish her the best. - Reggie

Sarah Palin Pitching New Reality Show About Husband Todd's Snowmobile Adventures (Exclusive)

But TLC, A&E have passed on an "Alaska" sequel.

Sarah Palin announced in October that she would not run for president, leaving her free to focus on her media career. But the GOP kingmaker and Fox News contributor is having some trouble selling a follow up to the Mark Burnett-produced Sarah Palin's Alaska, her TLC show that bowed in November 2010 to a record-breaking 5 million viewers.

The Hollywood Reporter has learned that Palin and Burnett are pitching another reality series, this one more focused on Palin’s husband Todd and his career as a championship snowmobile racer. But for now, TLC owner Discovery Communications has passed, say sources. And A&E Networks, which entered into a bidding war with Discovery for Sarah Palin's Alaska, also is not interested.

Allen West Talks about 'Authorization for Use of Military Force' Bill

I think we are on a slippery slope to tyranny and we are traveling at light speed. - Reggie

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tim Tebow: God's Quarterback

Tim Tebow on sidelines
He has led the Denver Broncos to one improbable victory after another—defying his critics and revealing the deep-seated anxieties in American society about the intertwining of religion and sports.

On a brisk Thursday evening in mid-November, I sat high in the stands at a Denver Broncos home game, covering the ears of my 4-year-old son as the fans around us launched f-bombs at Tim Tebow, the Broncos' struggling second-year quarterback. Mr. Tebow was ineffective and off-target for most of the game, and one of his more voluble and obnoxious critics was standing right in front of us.

But the heckler's friend wasn't joining in. "Just wait until the end of the fourth quarter," he said. "That's Tebow time."

And so it was. In the waning moments against the New York Jets, Mr. Tebow manufactured a 95-yard game-winning drive, punctuated by his own 20-yard touchdown dash. He brought the Broncos back from imminent defeat, just as he had done in previous weeks against the Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs.

And when the shouting was over, Mr. Tebow did what he always does—he pointed skyward and took a knee in prayer. In postgame interviews, the young quarterback often starts by saying, "First, I'd like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" and ends with "God bless." He stresses that football is just a game and that God doesn't care who wins or loses.

This combination of candid piety and improbable success on the field has made Mr. Tebow the most-discussed phenomenon of the National Football League season. Most expert analysts still consider him poor material for a pro quarterback. An inexperienced passer with awkward throwing mechanics and the build of a fullback, he likes to run over defensive players, which is a no-no in the NFL, whose starting quarterbacks are expensive and hard to come by.

But onward he and the Broncos have marched, winning six of their last seven games and now tied for the lead in their division as they face the Chicago Bears this Sunday. Mr. Tebow continues to defy his critics—and to embody the anxieties over religion that are dividing today's sports world and embroiling players and fans alike.

Sports culture is among the most fervently religious sectors of American life. If you turn on ESPN's "SportsCenter" almost any night, you will see baseball players who point to heaven after a clutch hit and basketball players like the Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard, who once intimated that a playoff series victory against the Boston Celtics was proof of God's presence with his team.

These claims by athletes—"God helped me do that" or "I thank God that I was able to do that"—are so commonplace that they usually draw little notice. Most sports fans seem to think that such religious talk doesn't really affect how the games are played or credit it with a powerful placebo effect. So what if Adrian Gonzalez of the Boston Red Sox has a Bible verse inscribed on his bat? Fine—whatever helps him to hit the long ball.

But Mr. Tebow has never been content to leave his evangelical faith on the field. Well before he became the starting quarterback for Denver, he was a lightning rod in America's intermittent culture war of believers vs. secularists.

Read the full article at The Wall Street Journal.

UPDATE by Reggie: Earlier today Tim Tebow led his team against Chicago to another overtime victory. Denver is 7-1 with Tebow as their starter and they are now the number one team in their division. The NFL Network will re-air today's game on Wednesday night at 8pm ET.

Tim Tebow rejoices!

'Throw Them All Out'

Heritage Foundation description: Peter Schweizer delves into the full story of the inside game in Washington and shows how the permanent political class enriches itself at the expense of the rest of us. Insider trading is illegal on Wall Street, yet it is routine among members of Congress. Normal individuals cannot get in on IPOs at the asking price, but politicians do so routinely. By funneling hundreds of millions of dollars to supporters, even more campaign donations are ensured. An entire class of investors now makes all of its profits based on influence and access in Washington. Having researched mountains of financial records, Schweizer tracks complicated deals and stock trades back to the timing of briefings, votes on bills, and every other point of leverage for politicians in Washington. His conclusion: the permanent political class must go. 

Peter Schweizer is a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. From 2008-9 he served as a consultant to the White House Office of Presidential Speechwriting, and he is a former consultant to NBC News. He has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, National Review, Foreign Affairs, and elsewhere. His books include The Bushes, Reagan's War, and Do as I Say, Not as I Do.

Police employ Predator drone spy planes on home front

The United States of America is quickly becoming a full fledged Police State! - Reggie

Unmanned aircraft from an Air Force base in North Dakota help local police with surveillance, raising questions that trouble privacy advocates.

Reporting from Washington — Armed with a search warrant, Nelson County Sheriff Kelly Janke went looking for six missing cows on the Brossart family farm in the early evening of June 23. Three men brandishing rifles chased him off, he said.

Janke knew the gunmen could be anywhere on the 3,000-acre spread in eastern North Dakota. Fearful of an armed standoff, he called in reinforcements from the state Highway Patrol, a regional SWAT team, a bomb squad, ambulances and deputy sheriffs from three other counties.

He also called in a Predator B drone.

As the unmanned aircraft circled 2 miles overhead the next morning, sophisticated sensors under the nose helped pinpoint the three suspects and showed they were unarmed. Police rushed in and made the first known arrests of U.S. citizens with help from a Predator, the spy drone that has helped revolutionize modern warfare.

But that was just the start. Local police say they have used two unarmed Predators based at Grand Forks Air Force Base to fly at least two dozen surveillance flights since June. The FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration have used Predators for other domestic investigations, officials said.

"We don't use [drones] on every call out," said Bill Macki, head of the police SWAT team in Grand Forks. "If we have something in town like an apartment complex, we don't call them."

The drones belong to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which operates eight Predators on the country's northern and southwestern borders to search for illegal immigrants and smugglers. The previously unreported use of its drones to assist local, state and federal law enforcement has occurred without any public acknowledgment or debate.

Congress first authorized Customs and Border Protection to buy unarmed Predators in 2005. Officials in charge of the fleet cite broad authority to work with police from budget requests to Congress that cite "interior law enforcement support" as part of their mission.

In an interview, Michael C. Kostelnik, a retired Air Force general who heads the office that supervises the drones, said Predators are flown "in many areas around the country, not only for federal operators, but also for state and local law enforcement and emergency responders in times of crisis."

But former Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice), who sat on the House homeland security intelligence subcommittee at the time and served as its chairwoman from 2007 until early this year, said no one ever discussed using Predators to help local police serve warrants or do other basic work.

Using Predators for routine law enforcement without public debate or clear legal authority is a mistake, Harman said.

"There is no question that this could become something that people will regret," said Harman, who resigned from the House in February and now heads the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a Washington think tank.

In 2008 and 2010, Harman helped beat back efforts by Homeland Security officials to use imagery from military satellites to help domestic terrorism investigations. Congress blocked the proposal on grounds it would violate the Posse Comitatus Act, which bars the military from taking a police role on U.S. soil.

Proponents say the high-resolution cameras, heat sensors and sophisticated radar on the border protection drones can help track criminal activity in the United States, just as the CIA uses Predators and other drones to spy on militants in Pakistan, nuclear sites in Iran and other targets around the globe.

For decades, U.S. courts have allowed law enforcement to conduct aerial surveillance without a warrant. They have ruled that what a person does in the open, even behind a backyard fence, can be seen from a passing airplane and is not protected by privacy laws.

Advocates say Predators are simply more effective than other planes. Flying out of earshot and out of sight, a Predator B can watch a target for 20 hours nonstop, far longer than any police helicopter or manned aircraft.

"I am for the use of drones," said Howard Safir, former head of operations for the U.S. Marshals Service and former New York City police commissioner. He said drones could help police in manhunts, hostage situations and other difficult cases.

But privacy advocates say drones help police snoop on citizens in ways that push current law to the breaking point.

"Any time you have a tool like that in the hands of law enforcement that makes it easier to do surveillance, they will do more of it," said Ryan Calo, director for privacy and robotics at the Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society.

Read the rest of the article

Why is the Left Wing Media Writing Puff Pieces on Fox Anchors?

This is very curious. In the past few days The New York Times and Politico have written puff pieces on two of the top anchors of the Fox News Channel. It is this sort of thing that makes me wonder what these leftists have up their sleeves. I just do not trust them. - Reggie

Baier grew up in Atlanta and was the sports editor of his high school paper. | John Shinkle/POLITICO

Megyn Kelly, the anchor of “America Live” on Fox News, prepares for a broadcast.

ABC/Yahoo Republican Debate

Complete video of GOP debate via bluesc11

from December 10, 2011

SNL Skewers Al Sharpton and His MSNBC Show

Saturday Night Live mocked Al Sharpton and his “Politics Nation” MSNBC show, with cast member Keenan Thompson channeling several of Sharpton’s more outrageous moments and his verbose — and not altogether accurate — speaking style.

Read the rest of the post on The Blaze.

Repairing Washington’s Broken Budget Process

A Comprehensive Approach to Strengthen Spending Controls, Enhance Accountability, and Increase Transparency in the Federal Budget Process

Legislative text proposed by Rep. Diane Black of Tennessee

Read the rest of the 10 point plan and watch the videos here.

Independent Study: ObamaCare Health Insurance Exchanges Get a Grade of ‘F’

The independent Mercatus Center at George Mason University has given a grade of “F” to the ObamaCare Health Insurance Exchanges regulation. The center studies the anticipated results and economic effects of proposed regulations. In other words, their researchers evaluate whether regulations are likely to accomplish what their supporters say they will.

The Mercatus center delivered its “Regulatory Report Card” on the Health Insurance Exchanges, the set of rules that states will use to set up online health insurance marketplaces. These virtual marketplaces will allow individuals and small employers to compare available private health insurance options on the basis of price, quality, and other factors. The Exchanges, which are scheduled to be in effect by January 1, 2014, are, next to the individual mandate upon which ObamaCare is based, crucial to the law’s ability to achieve its stated goal of expanding access to health insurance to the currently uninsured. Ultimately, they will be used to distribute $460 billion in federal health subsidies, through the year 2019.

The Health Insurance Exchanges regulation received only 42% of potential points (25 out of 60) on the Mercatus “Report Card.” The score of 25 points is the second lowest score the Mercatus Center has issued for 2011 regulations. The Exchanges were measured according to 12 criteria covering three broad categories: Openness, Analysis and Use. For each criterion, the researchers assign a score ranging from 0 to 5, with “5″ being the highest score on any given criterion. Some of the highlights are below:

In the Openness category, ObamaCare’s Exchanges received the lowest score of “2″ on the ease with which someone could find the regulation online. Verifiability of the assumptions used in the regulation’s analysis and the data used to support it were both given scores of “3,” with comments that the regulation relies heavily upon analyses performed by agencies such as the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The regulation received a score of “4″ on its ability to be understood by an informed layperson. Interestingly, the researchers comment that the Health Insurance Exchanges regulation is “light reading” for someone who is “informed,” but due, in part, to the fact that there is little detail provided. However, as we have come to discover in ObamaCare, the devil is, indeed, in the details.

When Did the EPA Jump the Shark?

A cautionary tale about bureaucracy and mission creep.

Iron Eyes Cody cried at the sight of polluted waters and skies in a famous public service announcement, first aired in 1971. Old Iron Eyes may have been a faux-Indian, but his message resonated with people. The Crying Indian PSA was one of the most successful ever.

It resonated because it was true. In the early ’70s, the environment was a mess. Urban skies were noticeably tinged in sepia/grey. Rivers and streams were often clogged with discarded debris and fouled with chemical sludge.

April 1970 saw the first Earth Day. In December of the same year, the Environmental Protection Agency was born.

The Clean Air Act was passed in 1970, with the Clean Water Act to follow in 1972. 1973 brought the Endangered Species Act. [Note: see comments. The Fish & Wildlife Service & NOAA are the lead ESA agencies, with EPA in a support role. I stand corrected. Ed.]
Gradually, the environment improved. The bald eagle and the American alligator came back from the brink of extinction. Air quality improved, there was less litter, and the phosphate foam disappeared from streams.

And, rightly or wrongly, EPA got the credit. As the hippies of my generation greyed, they remembered their Earth Day Groove-In fondly.

Fast forward to 2011: the EPA has become a stifling, job-killing bureaucracy. What happened? When did the EPA jump the shark?

Romney's Desperate Hours

New Hampshire Union Leader Publisher

Mitt Romney has thought himself so close, for so long, to finally grabbing a presidential nomination that he is now desperate as his “front-runner” status slips away. Desperate men do desperate things.

Enter John Sununu, former White House chief of staff to George H.W. Bush. As revealed last week, Sununu has been nursing a 20-year-old grudge against Newt Gingrich.

Why? Gingrich refused to go along with Sununu and others who engineered Bush's infamous breaking of his “read my lips, no new taxes” pledge. Breaking that pledge caused Bush to lose the White House to Bill Clinton.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Look Familiar?

Proposed South Korean Towers Resemble Exploding World Trade Center

Weekly GOP Address

The Speaker of the House doesn't usually give the GOP weekly address but because of the President's push for the payroll tax cut extension (the only way Social Security is funded) and his decision to virtually kill the Keystone pipeline (thousands of jobs thrown away), Boehner must have concluded the highest elected Republican should answer the highest elected Democrat this week. - Reggie

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH)

Glenn Beck on Freedom Watch

Beck is definitely not a fan of Newt Gingrich but I really think he does the Tea Party a disservice calling them racist if they vote for Gingrich. Newt Gingrich is not my ideal candidate but if he is the nominee, I will vote for him in order to get Obama out of the White House. I'm not a racist but neither am I a Marxist. I know Obama is a Marxist and I also know that Glenn gets a little hyperbolic now and again.

The Right Scoop has said he will "discontinue watching Beck in any format, forever." That's what I call drawing a line in the sand! As for me, I will continue to watch and listen to Glenn Beck but I will also continue to discern what he says and keep the good as I discard the bad. - Reggie

And there is this...


New Rick Perry ad.

Inequality in Perspective

Liberal thinking is all we need to know about life's fundamental unfairness.

Mother Jones contributor Kevin Drum says that "The heart and soul of liberalism is economic egalitarianism." From what I've observed Drum has it right. Merriam Webster's defines egalitarianism as "a social philosophy advocating the removal of inequalities among people." The Occupy Wall Street's 99 percent mantra is fundamentally about economic inequality. On the class warfare battlefield, the classes are defined according to wealth and income. Inequality was the underlying theme of President Obama's much-discussed Osawatomie speech.

What is it about equality that makes it the foremost policy objective of liberals? Why do they apparently have the belief that equality is synonymous with justice and fairness?

There are a number of problems with making equality a policy objective. Foremost perhaps is it's a whole lot more complicated than its proponents might believe. Liberals seem never to take the effort to analyze or diagnose the sources of what they see as problems. Their concern rarely penetrates the surface. Those who are the most upset about inequality never seem to reflect on why there is economic inequality in the first place or what other societal goals we would have to sacrifice in order to achieve it.

The kind of equality liberals focus on is economic equality. Why do they fixate on that one dimension? There are, of course, several explanations. Liberals see income leveling as a cash cow. The government needs money, wealthy people have money, ergo, go get 'em!

Other reasons include the fact that liberals believe that money can buy happiness. It also demonstrates how much they are ruled by envy.

Liberals believe that wealth causes poverty. Whether or not they realize it, they are Marxists. Marxism is an ideology based on the belief that owners unfairly expropriate wealth that should be going to labor. Marx would be proud of the Occupy Wall Street protesters. Marx's "labor theory of value" is not so much a theory as a lame attempt to sell the exploitation myth.

A well-known quote from The Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels is "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle." That is a gross distortion of history, but it is a perfect synopsis of the bedrock philosophy of liberalism. The left perceives the world as a battle between the oppressed and the oppressors.

The equality crusaders rely on what could be called a "quantity theory of good and evil." The enemy has been quantitatively defined, rather than the usual qualitative approach. It consists of ranking the population from top to bottom as measured by income or wealth. The degree of evil corresponds to the percentiles. Those in the hundredth percentile, the so-called "one percent," are especially evil. The quantitative method excuses them from actually having to think about the flesh and blood individuals in the one percent. It provides an easy way for simple-minded people to know who to hate.

This way of defining villainy makes it a renewable resource for class warriors. If the current population of the top one percent got fed up and moved to Australia, there would be a brand new top one percent to demonize.

If equality is a prerequisite for happiness, we will never be happy. Even if it were possible to achieve economic equality, numerous other kinds of inequality would still exist -- beauty, IQ, athletic ability, health (physical and mental), creativity, and talent, to name just a few.

Obviously, equality is unattainable. Making it a precondition for happiness is an extremely bad idea. It makes as much sense as saying you can't be happy unless the planet stops rotating -- "I simply must have daylight 24 hours a day!" Liberals would have a much higher likelihood of being happy if they accepted inequality as a fact of life rather than something to be battled against. If we can't have fairness and justice without equality, then we will never have fairness and justice. As is the case with the rest of liberalism, equality is a utopian fantasy.

For the sake of argument, let's grant that less inequality would be a good thing. As is true of all objectives, more equality can only be achieved at a cost in terms of other objectives. If we insist on cutting the economic pie into equally sized pieces, we will end up with a smaller pie since it would eliminate any economic incentive to produce.

Most people who earn high incomes have made significant sacrifices to do so. They typically have stayed in school longer than most people, studied harder, worked longer hours, and taken more risks. Do we not feel they ought to be rewarded for these sacrifices? Isn't being rewarded for such behaviors itself an important aspect of fairness? There is simply no way to distribute income that is "fair" in every way.

The left's obsession with equality is the primary reason they despise the market. A market economy generates unequal wealth and incomes. That bothers them so much they are willing to forego all the advantages of a market economy.

In regard to many of life's most important dimensions we are, in fact, equal. Most important is the fact that "death is the great equalizer." Sooner or later we all die. No one, no matter how wealthy, lives forever. Rich or poor, if you eat too much you're probably going to gain weight. If you act like a jerk you will have no real friends. In many ways, life treats us all the same. The same basic rules apply to us all.

Statist Delusions

Mark Steyn
The bill for cradle-to-grave welfare has come due.

The president of the United States came to Osawatomie, Kan., last week to deliver a speech of such fascinating awfulness archeologists of the future sifting through the rubble of our civilization will surely doubt whether it could really have been delivered by the chief executive of the global superpower in the year 2011.

“This isn’t about class warfare,” declared President Obama. Really? As his fellow Democrat Dale Bumpers testified at the Clinton impeachment trial, “When you hear somebody say, ‘This is not about sex,’ it’s about sex.” The president understands that “Wall Street,” “banks,” “fat cats,” etc. remain the most inviting target and he figures that he can ride the twin steeds of Resentment and Envy to reelection and four more years of even bigger Big Government. His opponents, he told us, “want to return to the same practices that got us into this mess . . . . And their philosophy is simple: We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules . . . . It doesn’t work. It has never worked.” He blamed our present fix on “this brand of ‘you’re on your own’ economics.”

This is a deliciously perverse analysis of the situation confronting America and a fin de civilisation West. In what area of life are Americans now “on their own”? By 2008, Fannie and Freddie had a piece of over half the mortgages in this country; the “subprime” mortgage was an invention of government. America’s collective trillion dollars of college debt has been ramped up by government distortion of the student-loan market. Likewise, health care, where Americans labor under the misapprehension that they have a “private” system rather than one whose inflationary pressures and byzantine bureaucracy are both driven largely by remorseless incremental government annexation. Americans are ever less “on their own” in housing, education, health, and most other areas of life — and the present moribund slough is the direct consequence.

It would be truer to say that the present situation reflects the total failure of “you’re not on your own” economics — the delusion of statists that government can insulate millions of people from the vicissitudes of life. Europeans have assured their citizens of cradle-to-grave welfare since the end of the Second World War. This may or may not be an admirable notion, but, both economically and demographically, the bill has come due. Greece is being bailed out by Germany in order to save the eurozone but to do so requires the help of the IMF, which is principally funded by the United States. The entire Western world resembles the English parlor game “Pass the Parcel,” in which a gift wrapped in multiple layers of gaudy paper is passed around until the music stops and a lucky child removes the final wrapping from the shrunken gift to discover his small gift. Except that, in this case, underneath all the bulky layers, there is no there there: Broke nations are being bailed out by a broke transnational organization bankrolled by a broke superpower in order to save a broke currency. Good luck with that.

The political class looted the future to bribe the present, confident that tomorrow could be endlessly postponed. Hey, why not? “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day,” says Macbeth. “To borrow, and to borrow, and to borrow,” said the political class, like Macbeth with a heavy cold (to reprise a rare joke from Mrs. Thatcher). And they failed to anticipate that the petty pace would accelerate and overwhelm them. On Thursday, Jon Corzine, former United States senator, former governor of New Jersey, former Goldman Sachs golden boy, and the man who embodies the malign nexus between Big Government and a financial-services sector tap-dancing on derivatives of derivatives, came to Congress to try to explain how the now-bankrupt entity he ran, MF Global, had managed to misplace $1.2 billion. The man once tipped to be Obama’s Treasury secretary and whom Vice President Biden described as the fellow who’s always “the smartest guy in the room” explained his affairs thus: “I simply do not know where the money is.” Does that apply only to his private business or to his years in the Senate, too?

Lies, Damned Lies, and ‘Fact Checking’

The liberal media’s latest attempt to control the discourse.

If you’ve ever found yourself engaged in a futile, one-sided argument with a politician on your TV screen, you’re hardly alone in your frustration. However, if you’re inclined to jot down such intemperate outbursts, and have the chutzpah to charge people for your services​—​you might have what it takes to join the ranks of one of journalism’s most popular and elite new breeds.

They call themselves “fact checkers,” and with the name comes a veneer of objectivity doubling as a license to go after any remark by a public figure they find disagreeable for any reason. Just look at the Associated Press to understand how the scheme works. The venerable wire service’s recent “fact check” of statements made at the November 12 GOP presidential candidates’ foreign policy debate was a doozy. Throwing no less than seven reporters at the effort, the piece came up with some unusual examples of what it means to correct verifiable truths.

On Iran, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney suggested that the U.S. government should make it “very clear that the United States of America is willing, in the final analysis, if necessary, to take military action to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon.”

Little did Romney realize that the AP is the final arbiter of America’s tactical military capabilities and can say with certainty that a military attack on Iran’s nuclear program should not be attempted. “The U.S. certainly has military force readily at hand to destroy Iran’s known nuclear development sites in short order. This is highly unlikely, however, because of the strategic calculation that an attack would be counterproductive and ultimately ineffective, spawning retaliation against U.S. allies and forces in the region, and merely delaying eventual nuclear weapons development.”

Also fortunate for the savvy news consumer, the AP apparently has a better grasp of what America’s intelligence agencies do and do not know than Newt Gingrich, a man who used to be third in line for the presidency and has received countless classified intelligence briefings.

At the debate, Gingrich suggested that there was room for improvement at America’s intelligence agencies, and noted in particular that we don’t have a reliable intelligence operation in Pakistan. The AP sprang to the defense of the CIA:

“The U.S. killing of a succession of al Qaeda figures in Pakistan, none more prized by America than Osama bin Laden, demonstrates that the United States indeed gets vital and reliable intelligence out of Pakistan. While it may have been true when Gingrich left government in 1999 that the CIA’s spy network was limited, since 2001 the agency has dramatically expanded its on-the-ground operations worldwide,” the AP “fact check” concluded.

The fact that bin Laden, the most wanted man on the planet, was living in a compound in Pakistan possibly for years may seem like a sign that our intelligence sources in the country leave something to be desired​—​but guess again, Newt.

If these examples are laughably transparent attempts by the AP to weigh in with its own opinions against the opinions of the GOP candidates​—​thinly disguised as “fact checking”​—​they’re not unusual. And the rare occasions where fact checkers deign to deal with actual facts and figures inspire little more confidence.

Media fact checking endeavors have never been more popular and influential than they are now, largely thanks to the success of the St. Petersburg Times feature called “PolitiFact.” Launched in 2007, PolitiFact purports to judge the factual accuracy of statements from politicians and other prominent national figures.

A statement is presented in bold type at the top of the page, usually accompanied by a picture of the speaker. Off to the side is a “Truth-O-Meter” graphic depicting an old-school instrument gauge. The Truth-O-Meter displays a red, yellow, or green light depending on whether the statement is rated “true,” “mostly true,” “half true,” “mostly false,” “false,” or “pants on fire!” (To drive the point home, on the website the “pants on fire!” rating is accompanied by animated flames.) Below the Truth-O-Meter is a short explanation from PolitiFact’s editors justifying their rating.

The feature quickly gained popularity, and in 2009 the St. Petersburg Times won a Pulitzer Prize for PolitiFact, endowing the innovation with a great deal of credibility. “According to the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact .  .  . ” has now become a kind of Beltway Tourette syndrome, a phrase sputtered by journalists and politicians alike in an attempt to buttress their arguments.

If the stated goal seems simple enough​—​providing an impartial referee to help readers sort out acrimonious and hyperbolic political disputes​—​in practice PolitiFact does nothing of the sort.

Cure for Cancer Near? FDA Needs to Approve Human Testing

This is extraordinary! Those of you that have family members or friends with cancer have undoubtedly heard of MD Anderson Center (formerly known as MD Anderson Cancer Center).

America, call your Congressman and Senators demanding they pressure the FDA into allowing this new treatment to be tried on humans as soon as possible. Thousands or millions of lives could be saved. What's the worst that could happen? People will die of their cancer. The FDA needs to have a huge fire put under them in order to get them to act - now!

The first video, below, is from Glenn Beck's radio show yesterday morning. The second video is from his TV show Thursday night, December 8th. - Reggie

And there is this from 2007! ...

MD Anderson Center: Radio Waves Fire Up Nanotubes Embedded in Tumors, Destroying Liver Cancer

"Putin Out," Russian protesters chant

CNN: "Putin Out," Russian protesters chant

Obama's Obsession to Destroy the Rich Will Destroy America

Michael Ramirez Cartoon
click image for larger view

Kagan Was Brought Into Loop on Mark Levin’s Obamacare Complaint

( - Internal Justice Department email communications made just days before the House of Representatives passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act show that then-Solicitor General Elena Kagan was brought into the loop as DOJ began preparing to respond to an anticipated legal complaint that Mark Levin and the Landmark Legal Foundation were planning to file against the act if the House used a procedural rule to “deem” the bill passed even if members never directly voted on it.

In another internal DOJ email communication that same week, Kagan alerted the chief of DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel to the constitutional argument that a former U.S. Appeals Court judge was making against the use of this rule.

Then, during Kagan’s Supreme Court confirmation process four months later, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee asked her in writing if she had “ever been asked about your opinion” or “offered any view or comments” on the “the underlying legal or constitutional issues related to any proposed health care legislation, including but not limited to Pub. L. No. 111-148 [PPACA], or the underlying legal or constitutional issues related to potential litigation resulting from such legislation?"

Kagan answered both questions: “No.”

The DOJ emails from the week before the health-care bill passed--which were released as the result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Media Research Center (’s parent organization) and Judicial Watch--raise additional questions about whether Kagan should recuse herself from judging the case against PPACA when the court considers it early next year.

A federal law—28 U.S.C 455—says that a Supreme Court justice must recuse from “any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned” or if he “expressed an opinion concerning the merits of the particular case in controversy” while he “served in governmental employment.”

In the days leading up to the March 21, 2010 House vote on the health-care bill, one underlying constitutional issue that became part of the national debate was whether the House could approve the Senate version of the bill without ever directly voting on it by using a procedural rule crafted by then-House Rules Chairman Louise Slaughter (D.-N.Y.)

On March 10, 2010, National Journal’s Congress Daily published a brief story under the headline, “Slaughter Preps Rule to Avoid Direct Vote on Senate Bill.”

The next morning, Washington Examiner Editorial Page Editor Mark Tapscott posted a blog entry citing the Congress Daily report. “In the Slaughter Solution,” Tapscott wrote, “the rule would declare that the House ‘deems’ the Senate version of Obamacare to have passed the House. House members would still have to vote on whether to accept the rule, but they would then be able to say they only voted for the rule, not the bill itself.”

That night on his nationally syndicated radio show, Landmark Legal Foundation President Mark Levin, who served as chief of staff to Attorney General Ed Meese in the Reagan Justice Department, gave a seven-minute presentation on the Slaughter rule. Levin explained why, in his view, use of the rule would violate Article 1, Section 7, Clause 2 of the Constitution which requires both houses of Congress to vote on a bill before it can be presented to the president for his signature.

Levin concluded his discussion by vowing to file a lawsuit against the health-care bill if House Democrats used the Slaughter rule to send it to the president without a direct vote.

“I can tell you, if they pursue this process and try to impose this kind of a law without actually passing a statute, that I will be in a race with scores of others to the courthouse to stop this,” said Levin. “I can’t think of a more blatant violation of the United States Constitution than this.”

(Click below to listen to Mark Levin's March 11, 2010 explanation of why he believed the Slaughter rule was unconstitutional and his plan to file suit against the administration if it was used on the health-care legislation:)

Friday, December 9, 2011

FDR's Class Warfare: A Tutorial For Obama

Not that he needs any further lessons from the master of confiscatory taxation.

"It's only right that we ask everyone to pay their fair share," President Obama has declared, while calling for higher taxes on the group he refers to as "millionaires and billionaires." Redistribution is the key concept--President Obama again and again demands that the U.S. redistribute wealth from one group of Americans to another.

Where does this emphasis on redistribution come from? Not from the Founders. The Constitution mandates that "all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States." The Declaration of Independence entrenches the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all citizens. And once slavery was abolished, the 14th Amendment required that no state deny "equal protection of the laws" to "any person."

In fact, the Founders, and the American leaders of the 1800s, disdained the income tax. In 1872, President Grant rid the nation of the Civil War income tax; two decades later, the Supreme Court struck down another attempt at an income tax. If we must have taxes, the Founders urged, let them be consumption taxes--a luxury tax on imports, for example, or a vice tax on whiskey. As Alexander Hamilton said in Federalist 21 of such taxes: "The amount to be contributed by each citizen will in a degree be at his own option, and can be regulated by an attention to his resources." He added, "If duties are too high, they lessen the consumption; the collection is eluded; and the product in the treasury is not so great.…This forms a complete barrier against any material oppression of the citizens by taxes of this class, and is itself a natural limitation of the power of imposing them."

In other words, if the government taxes whiskey, tobacco, or imported French wine at too high a rate, people will drink less and smoke less--and revenue will go down. That is "a natural limitation" on the greed of politicians. Thus, a system of tariffs and excise taxes formed the basis of U.S. revenue collection from Presidents Washington to Teddy Roosevelt.

In the early 1900s, the progressives argued that more power needed to be centralized in the executive branch, and more money should be spent by government to attack social problems. But where could the money be found to pay for such huge government bureaucracies? Progressives had a solution: tax the rich and regulate their income. On August 31, 1910, Teddy Roosevelt, who became a key progressive spokesman, announced: "The really big fortune, the swollen fortune, by the mere fact of its size, acquires qualities which differentiate it in kind as well as in degree from what is possessed by men of relatively small means. Therefore, I believe in a graduated income tax on big fortunes." In other words, uniform taxes, equal protection of the laws, and full property rights do not apply to those people with fortunes that are swollen. "A graduated income tax on big fortunes" is needed, Roosevelt insisted, as part of society's right to "regulate the use of wealth in the public interest."

But who is to determine how much money constitutes a swollen fortune? And what will the proper tax on it be? Under an income tax, politicians are the ones who judge ability to pay, and they choose the rates they think rich people can afford. And here, unlike with a consumption tax, there is no real check on the greed of politicians. If politicians choose rates too high they may lose the support of the rich, but they may gain support of those larger groups receiving subsidies from the redistributed swollen fortunes.

The income tax became law in 1913 through constitutional amendment, and immediately politicians enacted a progressive tax and began the arbitrary process of setting rates. Over time, politicians discovered incentives to increase taxes on the small group of rich people and redistribute their wealth to the larger group of voters. In 1913, for example, the original top tax rate was 7 percent on all income over $500,000. Three years later the top rate was 15 percent. During the 1920s, the top rate became 25 percent on all income over $100,000, but in 1932, during the Great Depression, it was hiked to 63 percent on incomes over $1,000,000. In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt raised the top rate to 79 percent on multimillionaires. Thus, even before the income tax was 22 years old, politicians had steadily jacked up the top rate from 7 to 79 percent. FDR had no experience running a profitable business, but his cries for the rich to pay their "fair share" profited his political career.

FDR USED THE CRISIS of World War II to do three things: first, to tax the rich even more; second, to begin taxing the majority of Americans; and third, to introduce "withholding" to get cash immediately and guarantee a regular flow of revenue into the federal treasury. These three changes were dramatic events in U.S. history, and few historians have studied them. Rows of books have been written on the bombing of Pearl Harbor and on the dropping of the atomic bomb, but little is known of how 39 million Americans suddenly had to pay income taxes and why the cash was withheld from their monthly pay envelopes. In our new history FDR Goes to War, we tell the story of these three dramatic changes.

On the first point, FDR hiked tax rates even further on the rich because he wanted more of their money to fight the world war. In the 1940s, he gradually boosted marginal rates on top incomes to 94 percent on all income over $200,000. But even at those high rates, he ran out of rich people before he ran out of places to spend the money. As Senator Tom Connally complained, "We cannot get much more from the very high brackets, because as to them we have already reached the point of unproductiveness."

FDR's solution was to convert the income tax from a class tax to a mass tax. Before World War II, fewer than 5 percent of Americans paid income taxes. "Too many people," Roosevelt lamented, "are earning money and not contributing to the government." When a Treasury official suggested lowering personal exemptions, Roosevelt was delighted. "Of course I want that. I have been trying to get it for years but nobody will help me do it." From 1939 to 1944, with Roosevelt's blessing, the amount of money families could earn before they had to pay income taxes declined from $2,500 to $1,000 for married couples. That meant that from 1940 to 1942, the number of Americans paying income taxes jumped almost tenfold, from 4 million to 39 million. Furthermore, the starting tax rate skyrocketed from 4 percent to almost 24 percent. The government used the wartime emergency as a tool to encourage tax payments. "Taxes to Beat the Axis" became the slogan of the day. Songs on the radio, speeches by movie stars, and even Walt Disney cartoons in movie theaters urged all Americans to pay their income taxes.

Just as 1942 was the year of the first mass tax in U.S. history, 1943 would be the year of withholding taxes at the source. The case for withholding was simple: the war was expensive, and FDR wanted to get more revenue more quickly from the tens of millions of new taxpayers. To sell the idea of withholding to Americans, the government called the practice "pay as you go," which made higher taxes sound more like payments on layaway merchandise in a store. "Pay as you go" also subtly implied that everyone was paying a debt that they owed, when in reality, most Americans had never paid an income tax before. But if employers could be forced to extract pay from their workers' wages each week or month, and then send that cash to Washington, the government could secure a steady flow of revenue--not only for the rest of the war, but for generations to come.

The campaign for withholding, however, hit a snag: Tax payments in the United States were not on a current basis. The 1942 tax bill, for example, was not due until 1943, and there was no system of withholding. That system of earning revenue in one year and paying nothing until the next year started with the first income tax law passed in 1913. Congress did not pass that tax until October and, to extract instant cash from wealthy people, made the tax retroactive. To ease the pain, Congress allowed taxpayers to pay their 1913 tax in 1914, and that practice had continued for the next 30 years. Thus, the more than 30 million new taxpayers in 1942 could delay their payments to Uncle Sam until 1943. But since FDR wanted withholding immediately in 1943, that meant most taxpayers would be subject to "double taxation," in 1943--they would be paying withholding tax immediately, and they would still owe their 1942 taxes on top of that.

Some observers favored the government forgiving people of their 1942 taxes in return for withholding, but FDR insisted on "double taxation" even if it meant that rich people owed more than 100 percent of their 1943 income to pay both years' taxes all at once. The Current Tax Payment Act of 1943, passed on June 9, forced millionaires to pay some double taxation--one-fourth of their 1942 tax bill was due in 1943, and they also had to pay withholding on 1943 income immediately. Married people with no dependents who annually earned $500,000, for example, would have to pay a 98.7 percent tax rate in both 1944 and 1945. Those who earned $1 million each year of the war would owe a whopping $1,006,750 in both 1944 and 1945. When asked how some people, admittedly a small minority, could pay more than they earned in taxes, Senator Allen Ellender (D-LA) responded, "I submit that the [rich] taxpayer is likely to have accumulated sufficient assets with which to make the necessary income payments."

THE PROGRESSIVE IDEA that income should be limited by law raised profound questions for American society. Do rights, such as the right to property, come in a natural way from God--as stated in the Declaration of Independence--or do they come from government? If Americans have a natural right to life, liberty, and property, then high progressive taxes violate that right. If, instead, rights come from government, then the leaders of government have the legitimate authority to confiscate wealth, or redistribute it from one group to another. In time of war, Roosevelt argued, and perhaps afterward, government had the right to most, if not all, income of wealthy citizens in the national interest.

For the first time in U.S. history, the redistributionists dominated political life. For example, on the Senate floor on May 14, 1943, Senator Happy Chandler (D-KY) said, "All of us owe the government; we owe it for everything we have--and that is the basis of obligation--and the government can take everything we have if the government needs it." Chandler wanted to be clear on this point. "The government," he added, "can assert its right to have all the taxes it needs for any purpose, either now or at any time in the future." Chandler, however, did not redistribute much of his own income. Already investigated in 1942 for accepting large gifts from war contractors--including a 60-foot in-ground swimming pool--Chandler had a history of securing government contracts for friends and donors, and then reaping rewards for himself.