Thursday, December 30, 2010

She Told Us So

This article addresses a complex issue. I don't want the federal government paying doctors to advise patients to end their lives, but I DO want to be able to go to a doctor (under restrictions that serve to guarantee that I have both a terminal condition and am in sound state of mind) and request a prescription that will end my agony. Sarah Palin has been ridiculed for using the term, "death panels", but that they are part of Obamacare becomes clearer every day.

She Told Us So

By Cal Thomas 12/30/2010 Townhall

Sarah Palin deserves an apology. When she said that the new health-care law would lead to "death panels" deciding who gets life-saving treatment and who does not, she was roundly denounced and ridiculed.

Now we learn, courtesy of one of the ridiculers -- The New York Times -- that she was right. Under a new policy not included in the law for fear the administration's real end-of-life game would be exposed, a rule issued by the recess-appointed Dr. Donald M. Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, calls for the government to pay doctors to advise patients on options for ending their lives. These could include directives to forgo aggressive treatment that could extend their lives.

This rule will inevitably lead to bureaucrats deciding who is "fit" to live and who is not. The effect this might have on public opinion, which by a solid majority opposes Obamacare, is clear from an e-mail obtained by the Times. It is from Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), who sent it to people working with him on the issue.

Oregon and Washington are the only states with assisted-suicide laws, a preview of what is to come at the federal level if this new regulation is allowed to stand. Blumenauer wrote in his November e-mail: "While we are very happy with the result, we won't be shouting it from the rooftops because we aren't out of the woods yet. This regulation could be modified or reversed, especially if Republican leaders try to use this small provision to perpetuate the 'death panel' myth."

Ah, but it's not a myth, and that's where Palin nailed it. All inhumanities begin with small steps; otherwise the public might rebel against a policy that went straight to the "final solution." All human life was once regarded as having value, because even government saw it as "endowed by our Creator." This doctrine separates us from plants, microorganisms and animals.

Doctors once swore an oath, which reads in part: "I will not give a lethal drug to anyone if I am asked, nor will I advise such a plan; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion." Did Dr. Berwick, a fan of rationed care and the British National Health Service, ever take that oath? If he did, it appears he no longer believes it.

Do you see where this leads? First the prohibition against abortion is removed and "doctors" now perform them. Then the assault on the infirm and elderly begins.

Once the definition of human life changes, all human lives become potentially expendable if they don't measure up to constantly "evolving" government standards.

It will all be dressed up with the best possible motives behind it and sold to the public as the ultimate benefit. The killings, uh, terminations, will take place out of sight so as not to disturb the masses who might have a few embers of a past morality still burning in their souls. People will sign documents testifying to their desire to die, and the government will see it as a means of "reducing the surplus population," to quote Charles Dickens.

When life is seen as having ultimate value, individuals and their doctors can make decisions about treatment that are in the best interests of patients. But when government is looking to cut costs as the highest good and offers to pay doctors to tell patients during their annual visits that they can choose to end their lives rather than continue treatment, that is more than the proverbial camel's nose under the tent. That is the next step on the way to physician-assisted suicide and, if not stopped, government-mandated euthanasia.

It can't happen here? Based on what standard? Yes it can happen in America, and it will if the new Republican class in Congress doesn't stop it.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Why Obama Surrendered the Missile Shield

Those who are resisting the new START Treaty are not just 'playing politics'. Many of us just do not trust Obama on national security issues, given his cancellation of the Eastern Europe missile-defense line. This START Treaty is a huge mistake given our need to perfect a missile-defense sheild.

Why Obama Surrendered the Missile Shield

By Zbigniew Mazurak December 21, 2010 American Thinker

Documents from the State Department published by WikiLeaks show that the Obama administration surrendered the missile shield previously planned by the Bush administration to Europe because of Russian demands, not because of any supposed intel reports.

The original missile defense scheme was devised by the Bush administration, which persuaded Poland and the Czech Republic to authorize missile defense systems (ten unarmed interceptors and a radar) to be deployed on their soil. In April 2008, Bush outmaneuvered Vladimir Putin by obtaining an endorsement of this scheme from all NATO allies before the Russian leader reached Bucharest for the NATO-Russia summit.

Russia has always opposed this scheme, putatively because the scheme would undermine Russia's nuclear deterrent (which it wouldn't -- ten unarmed interceptors can't undermine an arsenal of hundreds of ICBMs and SLBMs as well as 113 strategic bombers). Really, Russia is in the middle of selling a nuclear reactor and tons of nuclear fuel to Iran, and the Kremlin doesn't want the West to be able to defend itself against the incipient Iranian nuclear threat. Russia is also eager to claw Central Europe back into its sphere of influence.

Bush wisely chose not to succumb to Moscow, but he was replaced in 2009 by Barack Obama.

The leaked documents indicate that Obama's first eight months as president boiled over with Russian threats not to cooperate with the U.S. on any issue whatsoever (be it Iran, North Korea, space exploration, START negotiations, or anything else) barring cancelation of U.S. missile defense plans. During meetings with American officials, the Russians would repeatedly interrupt American diplomats who tried to discuss anything but missile defense.

The Kremlin's message was this: you must capitulate on missile defense (and strategic arms), or else we won't even discuss (let alone cooperate on) other issues. Eager to appease Russia, the Obama Administration naïvely surrendered missile defense plans on September 17, 2009.

Administration officials, including Obama and Bob Gates , are now falsely claiming that their surrender had nothing to do with Russia and was instead dictated by claimed new intel . Supposedly , Iran's priority is now the development of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles rather than IRBMs and ICBMs (against which the Bush missile shield was designed to be effective).

But the leaked documents, reproduced by the NYT , show that the Iranians still prioritize the development and acquisition of long-range ballistic missiles.

The documents say that before Obama made his decision, Iran acquired BM25 (Rodong) IRBMs from North Korea. These can reach Western Europe and Moscow. Other publicly available intel reports say that Iran aims by 2015 to acquire ICBMs meant to reach the U.S. Iran also has R-27 Zyb SLBMs bought from North Korea (with a range of 3,000 kilometers; Rodong missiles were derived from them) and is reportedly now developing Shahab-4 IRBMs and Koussar missiles that could fly as far as 5,000 kilometers. And Iran possesses missiles that can deliver satellites into the Earth's orbit -- missiles that can reach Europe just as easily. Iran's Fajr-3 and Sajjil missiles can fly as far as 2,500 kilometers. So the Iranian long-range-missile threat is growing , not declining.

Moreover, thanks to geography, long-range ballistic missiles are the only ones which could ever reach Western Europe. Iran is too far away from Western Europe for its SRBMs and MRBMs to reach the Old Continent, let alone the U.S. Its Shahab-3 MRBMs can fly no farther than 2,000 km, meaning it can reach only Eastern Europe (Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, etc.).

Whoever wants to protect Europe and the U.S. should first and foremost provide defenses against long-range ballistic missiles.

Obama's putative replacement for the Bush missile defense plan (which, for the record , was based on a proven technology designed against a real threat) is a fantasy scheme partially based on technology that doesn't even exist. Obama plans to first deploy Burke- and Ticonderoga-class BMD-capable warships to Europe. The problem is that the Navy has only 24 BMD-capable combatants. The deployment would strain the BMD ship fleet (which must also defend Gulf states and eastern Asian countries) and would be more expensive than the deployment of ten interceptors and a radar on land.

The second and third phases, Obama says, would be to deploy a ground version of the SM-3 interceptor missile (which doesn't exist) in Romania and later Poland, plus "enhanced sensors" that will be inferior to the radar Bush planned to deploy.

In the fourth phase, Obama says, SM-3s will be upgraded to become able to intercept long-range missiles, and such interceptors might be deployed to Europe. Of course, that would be contingent on the Congress and whatever government succeeds the Obama administration (assuming he will even be reelected in 2012) providing the necessary funding. Moreover, it would emerge five years after Iran is projected to acquire ICBMs. This means that even if such an interceptor was ever developed, produced, and deployed in Europe by 2020, the U.S.* and Europe would totally lack any defense against Iranian LRBMs for five years! And even if Iran does not acquire ICBMs by 2015, it will still have much time to construct them before any defensive systems go up in Europe.

The Heritage Foundation and the nonpartisan CBO say that the deployment of ten interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic would be only half as expensive as the deployment of Aegis-type warships to Europe. And these Bush-planned defensive systems would protect Europe much better against Iranian missiles than the systems Obama has offered.

Nor has Obama's concession to Russia been reciprocated. Russia has not stopped backing Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, and Syria. It has not allowed any serious sanctions to be approved by the UNSC. Putin hasn't even toned down his comments about the U.S.

In short, Obama has succumbed to Moscow for nothing. Now he is advertising a pseudo-missile-defense scheme which is decisively inferior to the Bush plan. It is time for the Congress and GOP presidential candidates to review this issue.

*Even the U.S. is unprotected against Iranian missiles. The interceptors stationed in California and Alaska can protect only against missiles flying over the Pacific Ocean, e.g. from North Korea or China. They cannot protect the U.S. against missiles from over the Atlantic Ocean

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Why the Tax Compromise Won't Work

The deal Rep. Boehner and Sen. McConnell negotiated with President Obama reminds one of the deal that Stalin negotiated with Hitler at the start of World War II. They were snookered. There was no way that Obama could be re-elected in 2012 if he let the Bush tax cuts expire. Boehner and McConnell gave away a huge expansion of unemployment payments and pork that will be financed with more billions of borrowed money - in return for giving Obama something he wanted anyway! And, as the following article points out, they placed labels on this tax-cut extension that will return to bite Republicans regardless. With friends like this, who needs enemies?

Why the Tax Compromise Won't Work

By Paul B. Matthews December 19, 2010 American Thinker

Many on the right, and particularly those who do not truly understand supply-side economics, are propagating the idea that the extension of the Bush tax cuts will bolster investment by business and will trigger a wave of economic activity, thereby helping to pull the U.S. out of its worst economic malaise since Jimmy Carter. This conclusion is wrong.

Moreover, by propagating this pseudo-supply side position, proponents have needlessly made Republicans vulnerable to flanking maneuvers by America's left -- maneuvers that could lead to disastrous consequences for the 2012 elections.

If the Bush tax cuts are extended, the average American will see no change in the size of his paycheck in January. Indeed, the tax cut extension (ceteris paribus) will do nothing but allow the individual's paycheck to remain the same.

Accordingly, without an increase in take-home pay, the individual's propensity to consume will remain largely unchanged. As such, a substantive increase in U.S. retail sales, which still account for nearly 70% of total U.S. GPD, is unlikely to occur until the nation's unemployment situation (now at 9.8%) improves.

Other proponents of the extension have suggested that it will provide small businesses with better clarity about future tax rates -- at least for two years. In turn, this window will promote short-term investments by small business, and this too should bolster U.S. economic activity. Although this argument may seem logical, it fails to consider why firms choose to make investments in the first place.

When an entrepreneur is evaluating whether or not to employ capital into a new project, he is concerned about the free cash flow the project will create. If tax rates increase, by definition, the free cash flows generated by the project are reduced. Consequently, the number of projects the entrepreneur is willing to invest in diminishes.

Any decision to open a new store, to increase a plant's manufacturing capacity, or to expand into a new geographic area typically involves an investment time horizon of much greater than two years. In fact, most of the value implicit in any investment decision stems from a project's terminal value, or the value assigned to the long-term residual cash flows associated with the expansion. As such, when businessmen face prospects for higher taxes and reduced long-term free cash flows, they will shelve marginal projects since mathematically, these projects simply cannot be profitable.

So what are the tax prospects for America's burgeoning entrepreneurs? Not good. In fact, if the Bush cuts are indeed extended, small business owners will face a potential 24% jump in their top marginal tax rate on January 1, 2013, when such rates could jump from 35% to 43.4%.

Of course, this assumes that top marginal rates revert back to the Clinton-era level of 39.6%. And that number leaves out the 3.8% additional Medicare tax imposed on all investment income over $200,000 (individual) or $250,000 (couple), a part of the Obama's health care plan adopted earlier this year. (Apparently, many pundits have forgotten about this gem, since almost no one in the media has been talking about it.)

Given such an onerous tax outlook combined with the immense uncertainty surrounding a plethora of as yet undefined new regulatory burdens from health care, financial regulation, and other federal agency edicts, the environment to start or expand a business is not promising for America's entrepreneurs.

But although an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts will likely not generate increased economic growth, this does not mean a tax cut extension is unwarranted.

In fact, a failure to extend the tax cuts would have deleterious effects on the prospects for U.S. economic growth. In particular, more than half of American households (those who still pay federal income taxes) would experience a decline in their take-home pay simply from the increase in marginal tax rates. Moreover, a failure to extend the Bush tax cuts would significantly reduce the child tax credit (from $1,000 to $500 per child) and would restore the marriage tax penalty . Under such a scenario, already anemic U.S. GDP growth would likely decline between 0.9% and 3.0% . This would certainly set the stage for a double-dip recession.

Given such scenarios, by foolishly suggesting that an extension of the tax cuts is an economic panacea, some Republicans have needlessly cornered themselves: heads, President Obama wins; tails, President Obama wins.

In the event that my analysis is dead wrong and America's economy swarms back to a high rate of GDP growth, President Obama will claim that his actions brought America back from the brink. Of course, many Americans will accept this view without question. In such an environment, it will be difficult to prevent another four years of an Obama regime.

On the other hand, if economic growth remains anemic (as it likely will), Obama will certainly claim, as he has said repeatedly since announcing his candidacy in 2007, that the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy did nothing to improve the economy and that it only added to the deficit.

If, by the summer of 2012, U.S. GDP growth remains below 2%, if U.S. unemployment remains above 9.0%, and if the federal budget deficit stands at somewhere near $16 or $17 trillion, such claims will be nearly impossible to dismiss. Obama's pincer move on Republican tax-cutters will be nearly complete, and any Republican hope of recapturing the presidency may face checkmate.

By agreeing to the current tax deal on the table -- a deal that does not permanently maintain the marginal tax rates established by the Bush administration -- Republicans may very well have sown the seeds for their own defeat in 2012.

Paul B. Matthews is a Texas-Licensed CPA and a former hedge fund manager.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Who Can You Trust?

Of course, it's not over until it's over, but the disgusting frenzy going on in Congress right now, after the American people spoke loudly and clearly, is making me crazy. What has become very clear is two things: the Democrats want to undo the results of the election, and RINO Republicans didn't get the message at all.

Senator Jim De Mint, a conservative Republican from South Carolina and a hero of mine, wanted to have the Seanate read the Start Treaty from beginning to end, thus limiting the time the Democrats would have to inflict maximum damage on tax-paying citizens; then Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (a RINO) says we can't have that. Stay tuned and pray for your country. We need a Continuing Resolution to keep the government funded for a month or two, and defeats or delays of the new budget, of the so-called tax compromise, and of the ridiculous START Treaty.

Senator Brown has joined the RINOs, and the only politician I completely trust right now is Sarah Palin.

DC feeding frenzy

By DANIEL J. MITCHELL December 15, 2010 New York Post

The weeks since Election Day have provided nauseating confirmation of Mark Twain's observation: "There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress."
Exhibit A is the "omnibus" spending bill Harry Reid is trying to push through the Senate. This monstrosity contains about 6,500 earmarks -- special provisions inserted on behalf of lobbyists to benefit special interests. The lobbyists get big fees, the interest groups get handouts and the politicians get rewarded with contributions from both.

It's a win-win-win for everyone -- except the taxpayers who finance this carousel of corruption.

Defenders of earmarks and other forms of pork-barrel spending argue that this behavior can't possibly be corrupt because it's legal. But not everything that's immoral is illegal and not everything that's illegal is immoral -- and earmarks definitely belong in the first category. Normal people would call it bribery, but it's business as usual on Capitol Hill.

Equally troubling, earmarks and pork-barrel spending are the gateway drug that turns good legislators into big spenders. The new members may not take office until next month, but most are in Washington, and they're seeing how this process works. One hopes that they are shocked by this unseemly behavior -- but how long will it take before they get jaded and decide to play the game?

The bill's backers call it "fiscally responsible" because it increases spending by "only" 2 percent compared to last year -- but that's no sign of austerity when spending for these programs jumped by 20 percent in the last two years, as the national debt soared by about $3 trillion in the same period.

If politicians were serious about fiscal responsibility, they'd impose across-the-board cuts to bring spending back down to 2008 levels -- and then cut more from that new baseline.

And Reid's bill is just the spending for the parts of the budget that are funded by "appropriations." Entitlement spending, which is the lion's share of the federal budget, continues on auto-pilot -- and the auto-pilot's on course to turn the United States into Greece.

Exhibit B is the tax deal. This Congress has been in session for almost two years, with every single member fully aware that a failure to act would result in a huge tax increase next month. Yet the politicians apparently didn't care that a lengthy delay would create uncertainty and discourage much-needed investment and entrepreneurship.

The delay did make it harder for the Democrats to raise tax rates on investors, entrepreneurs, small business owners and other so-called rich taxpayers. But that doesn't mean the wait-until-the-last-moment tax bill isn't ugly. Regardless of what you think of its core elements, it's also packed with provisions -- known as "extenders" -- that reek of corruption and special-interest deal making.

Extenders are the tax version of pork-barrel spending: special tax breaks put in the law by powerful politicians in exchange for campaign cash and other support.

The biggest extender is the ethanol credit, a boondoggle that distorts agriculture markets and causes considerable economic and environmental damage, but is popular with politicians because big agribusinesses recycle some of their undeserved profits back to Washington in the form of contributions.

The dozens of other extenders include special loopholes for solar and wind power, education spending, bonds for Louisiana and NASCAR racing

There are strong policy arguments against these kinds of special tax breaks, especially since we could use the revenue to finance lower tax rates -- but most people are even more upset by the dead-of-night process used to put these goodies into the tax bill.

The behavior on Capitol Hill reminds me of the movie classic, "Animal House": After their fraternity has been placed on "double-secret probation," John Belushi and the rest of guys at the Delta House decide to go out in a blaze of glory with a toga party.

Likewise, the politicians on Capitol Hill just got placed on the equivalent of probation by a Tea Party uprising. Yet rather than mend their crooked ways, they're throwing a massive party with our money.

Daniel J. Mitchell is a Cato Institute senior fellow.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

How to Save Medicare – A Radical Plan

When seniors learned that Obamacare was to be funded by diverting billions of dollars from Medicare, they knew instinctively that either Obamacare would fail or that Medicare would be destroyed, and they revolted. Right now Congress is getting ready to restore some of the Medicare cuts, diverting funds from Obamacare, and Obamacare is going down the drain even sooner than predicted.

However, Obamacare is only one of the problems facing Medicare, a program that has been doomed from the start; whenever there is unlimited demand for something in short supply, i.e. medical services, costs (prices) go out of sight. Every year Social Security recipients pay more for Medicare, deductibles go up and up, while at the same time, more and more doctors refuse Medicare patients because they can’t afford to treat them.

I’ve been on Medicare for several years now, and I have witnessed what one of the underlying problems is, and it is related to the unlimited demand: when you have supplementary insurance, or you live in a state that outlaws balance-billing, there is usually no cost whatever for Medicare-funded services. Many seniors, therefore, then run to their doctor or to emergency rooms at the slightest sign of a sniffle or arthritic pain, and the system becomes further overwhelmed. Many seniors seem to make a career out of doctor visits and doctor shopping, some with only imaginary ills.

One way to reduce demand on Medicare-funded services is to require some kind of out-of-pocket, cash payment for the service provided. This can be a minimum co-payment, but it cannot be covered by supplementary insurance, or the discipline enforced by the co-payment is lost. In fact, what I am suggesting is that supplementary insurance policies for Medicare be made illegal, and all medical costs not covered by Medicare be billed to and paid-for by the beneficiary of the service.

This is drastic action I know, but drastic action must be taken to save Medicare and convert it to a program that is entirely supported by premiums and by cash payments. We already crossed a huge line when higher income recipients began to be charged higher Medicare premiums than lower income recipients – thus making Medicare a welfare program. Let’s make it self-supporting and also return it to a program where everyone pays the same premiums.

Our country is on its knees largely because of the existence and misuse of entitlement programs and the whole notion of ‘bringing home the bacon’. Social Security and Welfare also need drastic reforms. Lets us as seniors show the way by making some sacrifices for the common good and for our grandchildren.


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Thursday, December 09, 2010

Top Ten Government Follies of 2010

Stella Paul's Top Ten Government Follies of 2010

By Stella Paul December 09, 2010 American Thinker

For American lovers of governmental idiocy, fraud, cowardice and tyranny, 2010 was a year to be cherished -- ending with promises of even more exciting idiocies to come. All for your own good, of course!

Behold the Top 10 Highlights of the Great Government Grope of 2010. Don't you just swell with pride, seeing your tax dollars at play? (Careful you don't swell too much. TSA agents are already complaining how yucky it is to strip-search "fatties.")

Folly One: The Federal government sued Arizona for the ultimate crime: enforcing federal law!

It takes special genius -- make that Obama genius -- to claim it's illegal to uphold the law. But, apparently, no logic is too preposterous for our beloved president. When the good people of Arizona got fed up with Mexican drug cartels killing ranchers, attacking border agents, and turning Phoenix into the "kidnapping capital of America," they knew Washington wouldn't help.

So they passed a law that carefully mirrored federal law, enabling police to ask a crime suspect about his legal status. That means next time "Mad Dog" Gonzalez is caught dismembering his latest victim, an Arizona police officer can say, "Your papers, sir."

Not so fast, said our president! Swatting away the law's staggering popularity (70% of Arizonans and 64% of Americans support it), Obama directed his Justice Department to sue Arizona, declaring SB 1070 unconstitutional.

But even that wasn't enough! Oh, no! Craving approval from the international set, Obama ratted out Arizona to the viperous UN, deploring the Grand Canyon State's "human rights violations" to the likes of North Korea and Iran. To top it off, his minions confessed Arizona's sins to the Chinese, who took time off from harvesting organs of political dissenters to applaud our self-abasement.

It's really quite stunning, isn't it, what exertions our government will make on behalf of criminal aliens and machine-gunning, drug-dealing Mexican gangs? What tender mercies our government bestows upon "Sick Freak" Lopez! How delicate the kid gloves with which our government strokes "Ten Bullets" Rodriguez!

Yet, meanwhile...

Folly Two: The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) roughly gropes 3-year-old autistic children, old men with urine bags and crippled women with artificial knees, just to avoid the liberal taboo of profiling.

"Just the looks on their faces, some of them, the fear," said a TSA agent, about the senior citizens who are the most frequent targets of full-bore gropefests. These highly dangerous Garden Club presidents and Korean War vets have artificial knees, hips and pace-makers that set off metal detectors and unleash the official full monty.

Naturally, mothers with breast milk are particularly dangerous hellcats who should be public humiliated and forced to miss their flights. And that goes double for menstruating women, cancer survivors with breast prostheses and 80-year-old nuns in wheelchairs - how dare they, says the TSA!

As we adjust to our new national motto - Live Free or Fly - airports have become 21st century dystopias: vast, air-conditioned gulags, where dead-eyed strangers stretch out rubber hands at our children's privates and we stare off blankly into the distance, helpless to protect them.

Well, dear reader, next time you're groped, you'll only have yourself to blame. None of this would have happened if you hadn't insisted on going to your niece's wedding in Minneapolis!

And, besides, you could have sailed right through if you'd just worn a burka. Yes, CAIR has already demanded that Muslim women be allowed to pat down themselves, and, so far, Big Sis hasn't said no. Care to place your bets now?

Folly Three: Because your government cares so dang much about your every wart and sniffle, Obamacare was rammed through to destroy the best medical system in history.

Skyrocketing insurance premiums...children's coverage dropped...seniors coverage dropped...hospitals shuttered...222 waivers for "special situations"... What's not to like about Obamacare?

Just take comfort as you wait six excruciating months for that urgent cardiology appointment, it's all because your government loves you so very, very much.


Folly Four: TSA agents are spreading infectious diseases to thousands of travelers, and those naked body scanners are cancer-incubators gone amuck.

It's called spreadin' the glove, since TSA agents wear rubber gloves for their protection, not yours. Many travelers have noticed that TSA agents don't change gloves between passengers, even though they're groping, fondling and rubbing in the most intimate, unsanitary of places.

Would you go to a doctor who wore the same gloves for 50 patients? Here's what doctors are warning you may contract from all that TSA glovin': syphilis, lice, gonorrhea, ringworm, chlamydia, staph, strep, noro and papilloma viruses, and an encyclopedia of tropical diseases. Enjoy the flight!

But, hey, when your 11-year-old daughter comes down with syphilis, at least she can share something special with Grandpa and Aunt Betty, who stood next to her in line.

And occasionally, passengers do get revenge, which explains that sudden outbreak in Boston of TSA agents with scabies.

Of course, if you don't want ringworm with your grope, you can always opt for cancer. Four experts on cancer, biophysics and X-ray imaging at the University of California San Francisco have written an open letter to Obama's Science Advisor, decrying the lack of any independent testing of the machines:

"There is good reason to believe that these scanners will increase the risk of cancer to children and other vulnerable populations. We are unanimous in believing that the potential health consequences need to be rigorously studied before these scanners are adopted. Modifications that reduce radiation exposure need to be explored as soon as possible.

"In summary we urge you to empower an impartial panel of experts to reevaluate the potential health issues we have raised before there are irrevocable long-term consequences to the health of our country. These negative effects may on balance far outweigh the potential benefit of increased detection of terrorists."

Those experts are pretty funny guys, thinking anybody in government is going to pay attention to them! Who in ObamaLand is going to make a scientific fact-based decision that breaks a liberal taboo?

Big Sis has big plans for you, and a little cancer isn't going to get in her way. She's busy rolling out the grope-and-cancerize routine to your local bus, train, boat and subway. In fact, in Tampa, it's already here. Thanks, TSA!

You can take comfort in knowing your daily cancer-blast is enriching your senators, government bureaucrats and good old George Soros. A totally coincidental side effect, of course!

Folly Five: The government twiddled its thumbs, whistled Lady Gaga tunes and downloaded episodes of "Lost," instead of shutting down WikiLeaks, or Al Qaeda's English language magazine, or thousands of crazy jihad sites and YouTube videos.

Indict Julian Assange? Extradite him from Sweden? Get Amazon to stop hosting Wikileaks? Bo-ring, says your government.

Yeah, sure, when thousands of diplomatic cables are released that embarrass Obama and Clinton, the feds may write a strong letter of concern.

But till then, the Department of Homeland Security has got much more important things to do.

Such as...

Folly Six: The Department of Homeland Security shut down 82 counterfeit goods and music sites overnight, without warning or due process.

WikiLeaks may dump 250,000 damaging documents, but at least that knockoff Burberry scarf won't be sold for one more day. The Department of Homeland Security has priorities!

Due process? They don't need no stinking due process.

Folly Seven: The president of the United States turned the world's attention to America's most bitter enemy: The Chamber of Commerce.

Nothing says evil like organizations that promote local business. Who could possibly negotiate with the Chamber of Commerce? Those blood-curdling maniacs actually want to increase jobs!

No, our government has far more reasonable organizations to reach out to. For example...

Folly Eight: The government "negotiated" with Taliban imposters and gave them "lots of money."

Behold your Nobel Peace Laureate and assorted State Department geniuses at work! Feel that Harvard brain power in action!

What a relief we don't have that ridiculous Sarah Palin in charge. With her lousy state college education, she might ask stupid questions like: Why are we negotiating with the Taliban at all? Does "negotiate" have to mean "shower with money? And who's the real imposter in this pathetic situation?

Folly Nine: 70% of Oklahoma voters voted to ban Shariah law, but Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange said no.

Judge Vicki says, "You're going to get a theocratic legal system that mandates killing of apostates, hanging of gays, and honor killings of women, because I say so. Now eat your Shariah and like it, Oklahoma!"

And speaking of eating...

Folly Ten: The Senate voted to nationalize the food supply, and set up crime units to hunt down wayward tomatoes. You can't be trusted with zucchini, America!

After all, the EU regulated the curvature of a banana. Well, be thankful the government is incompetent at legislating, too. A technical oversight has sent S.510 into temporary cold storage. So, for now, George Soros's mega-profits from his Monsanto investments will have to wait. The backyard tomato lives on!

My fellow Americans, 2010 ends with government of the people, by the people, for the people, in a lethal coma, kept alive only by intravenous infusions of Tea. Feel free to add your examples below. Onwards to 2011!

Stella Paul can be reached at

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Lady Gaga and Private Manning

The Catholic Church is almost out of business due to its adherence to a policy of pretending that homosexuals do no harm in an all-male society. The Obama administration, in its 'we are smarter than anyone else mode', is about to destroy the American military, which is virtually all-male in its combat units. American combat troops publicly oppose the repeal, as does any normal person who has ever lived in a barracks or shared a foxhole.

Basic Cable

By George Neumayr on 12.2.10 American Spectator

According to the New York Times, Private Bradley Manning lip-synched to "Lady Gaga as he copied hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables." That's a fitting image for an America in decline under Barack Obama.

Obama said again this week that the introduction of an openly homosexual culture into the military poses no threat to its discipline, even as his administration reeled from a blatant instance of it. Manning, a homosexual resentful of the military's constraints, is the source for the WikiLeaks scandal. Naturally, the media is downplaying that aspect of the story, lest it complicate the left's relentless propaganda in favor of abolishing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

One might have thought an administration massively compromised by a homosexual soldier would have chosen another week to rev up its gays-in-the-military agenda. But, no, that is a vital priority of this administration during the lame-duck session, according to Obama's press secretary Robert Gibbs. Who knows, perhaps the Obama administration will even end up citing Manning's conduct in its convoluted case for abolishing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

The New York Times' August profile of Manning rehearsed that argument:

He spent part of his childhood with his father in the arid plains of central Oklahoma, where classmates made fun of him for being a geek. He spent another part with his mother in a small, remote corner of southwest Wales, where classmates made fun of him for being gay.

Then he joined the Army, where, friends said, his social life was defined by the need to conceal his sexuality under "don't ask, don't tell" and he wasted brainpower fetching coffee for officers.

The line of reasoning that the military "forces gays to live a lie" has been picked up by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. "We spend a lot of time in the military talking about integrity and honor and values," he said on Tuesday. "One of the things that is most important to me is personal integrity, and a policy or a law that in effect requires people to lie gives me a problem."

This debate is confusing, since the "conservative" position now is to defend Bill Clinton's policy, which principled conservatives at the time opposed as a foolish relaxation of military entrance standards. They predicted that that crack in the door would lead to it being kicked wide open, and in the meantime would result in time-wasting, morale-sapping ambiguities for a military that should be wholly focused on winning wars.

But in Washington the Solomonic solution to any bad policy is to make it even worse. It is never to go back to the original policy that shouldn't have been changed in the first place. Supporting the original policy is deemed too unrealistic and quixotic to be included within the media-determined parameters of the debate. That's why in the tiresome trajectory of this issue Bill Clinton's compromise has now somehow become the "bigoted" view and all the problems associated with the compromise are assigned to the very conservatives who warned of them.

That the Obama administration at a time of terrorism and in the wake of its electoral debacle continues to beat this drum is more evidence of its radicalism, which makes the WikiLeaks scandal a very unkind cut. The Obama administration still doesn't understand why a Bill Ayers-style anarchist, Julian Assange, and a homosexual soldier would have been gunning for it. Why, the attitude of some baffled liberals seems to be, couldn't they have waited for a Republican administration? In a different era, under a different president, Assange would be a hero to them. One could even imagine Obama writing a favorable blurb for a book of his on free speech.

And where were the free-speech liberals this week during the controversy at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.? It turns out that American taxpayers have been financing a very important contribution to the arts called "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture," which is billed as the first exploration of "same-sex" portraits ever at a national museum. One of the exhibit's works showed a crucified Jesus Christ covered in ants. John Boehner drew attention to this peculiar Christmas season display and it was quickly taken down without much protest from Democrats or members of the administration. They were evidently too busy hiding Manning and seeking Assange to care.

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Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Presidency that Saved America

This is most probably a case of wishful thinking:

The Presidency that Saved America

By Peter Heck December 04, 2010 American Thinker

In fifty years I have little doubt that we will regard the administration of Barack Obama as the presidency that saved America. No, not in the sense that Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, and all the other media John the Baptists foretold as they proclaimed the coming of our political messiah just over two years ago. Rather, the history of our time will show that it was the radical nature of Obama's dogged devotion to a liberal progressive philosophy far out of the American mainstream that jolted awake a generation of apathetic and passive citizens just in time to save the republic.

Though that apathy has always been inexcusable, it was at least understandable. Our politics had become more theater than substance. In fact, voters reasonably began to view their choices at the ballot box as something akin to picking between airline food and hospital food: bland, insipid, uninspiring.

For all their posturing and crowing, the two parties had largely become mere reflections of one another. Seriously, how different was Bill Clinton's "triangulation" and George W. Bush's "compassionate conservatism?" Candidates of either party who showed convictions contrary to the Washington establishment and challenged that establishment's control were labeled radical, and every attempt was made to marginalize them.

But Barack Obama changed all of that. For the last two years, the President has unleashed the most aggressively left-wing agenda he could muster. When the electorate began a backlash against his revolutionary designs at town halls and tea parties, he ignored them. And when they rejected his ideology by throwing his party out of power by historic proportions in the midterm elections, he pretended not to notice, or that he was misunderstood.

All this makes little sense to those attempting to view Obama's presidency through the conventional prism of political leadership. But Obama is not a conventional politician. He is a radical ideologue. Obama is not a leader. He is a bitter partisan. And as odd as it sounds, that is exactly what this country needed.

It has been generations since Americans have been exposed to a more vivid depiction of the significant differences between the left's and the right's views of this country and its future. The delineation between conservative and liberal had grown hopelessly blurred to a majority of citizens. But Obama and his leftist cabal have been successful not only in demonstrating the frightening vision progressive liberals have of making America into a European-style socialist state, but they have also managed to animate a vast conservative majority that has laid painfully dormant since the mid 1980s.

The distinction is glaring, and even for those who normally avoid politics, impossible to miss.

While Americans watch conservative Republicans like Eric Cantor explain that raising taxes on any citizens in the midst of a recession (particularly those who are being relied upon to invest and expand businesses to create jobs) is foolish, they see President Obama proclaim that "we can't afford" not to raise taxes on a group of citizens he determines are too wealthy.

Besides the glaring proof this offers of the left's obsession with using divisive class warfare to gain power, it also reveals a notable difference in philosophy. While conservatives like Cantor believe money belongs first to the citizen and is confiscated by government, leftists like Obama believe money belongs first to the government. That government then lets select citizens keep some of it...if and only if government "can afford" to be so generous.

Further, when Americans open their newspapers, they are greeted with the wise counsel of Obamabots like Tom Friedman and Paul Krugman. Friedman's recent piece in the New York Times called the Tea Party movement "narrow and uninspired" while touting that, "We need to raise gasoline and carbon taxes to discourage their use and drive the creation of a new clean energy industry." Krugman, meanwhile, laments that the waste of nearly one trillion taxpayer dollars on a government spending bill meant to stimulate a still stagnant economy wasn't enough, and should be followed up with an even bigger second stimulus.

Everywhere they turn, Americans see that the left is offering higher taxes, less freedom, more debt and regulation. They simultaneously see the right offering lower taxes, freer markets and fiscal sanity.

Voters' first opportunity to choose between those two visions occurred in the 2010 midterms. Their preference was unmistakable -- to everyone, that is, except Barack Obama. His recent pronouncement that, "It would be unwise to assume [the voters] prefer one way of thinking over another," reconfirmed that the president and his cohorts have no desire whatsoever to alter course, and instead will spend the next two years butting heads with the newly elected conservative majority. This conflict is sure to make the distinction between the left and the right all the more clear to an engaged American public.

And with a 2012 election cycle that already sees Democrats poised to face even more devastating Congressional losses (they are defending far more Senate seats than Republicans, and could lose upward of 30 House seats due to redistricting), Obama's persistent, unapologetic left-wing crusade is shaping up to be the political equivalent to Pickett's Charge.

In the end, the era of Obama will do more damage to the progressive left than any Republican presidency could have ever done. For that, posterity will owe him a debt of gratitude.

Peter is a public high school government teacher and radio talk show host in central Indiana. Email or visit


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Friday, December 03, 2010

Caught at Three A.M. With the Secretary

Caught at Three A.M. With the Secretary

By Jay D. Homnick on 12.3.10 American Spectator

First she was Miss, then Ms., and eventually Missus. Now the correct honorific might be Myth Hillary Clinton. If honorific is the word I want.

Readers of this journal knew this termagant well even before her terms in the Senate. They did not need Harry Reasoner and Dan Rather to identify this harridan. They recognized her vulgarity, her venality, her pettiness, her pettifoggery, her vindictiveness, her shrillness and such other virtues as she might bring to the fore for special occasions.

This was the woman who as a young lawyer for the Democrat members of the Watergate Committee wrote a brief arguing that Richard Nixon was not entitled to an attorney in an impeachment proceeding. This was the woman tasked with improving the Arkansas education system who drove it down to 49th place among the 50 states. This was the woman who campaigned for Senate using the Presidential airplane and blatantly bought both votes and campaign cash with Presidential pardons.

Whence sprang the myth of the super-competent Wonder Woman who strides confidently through the corridors of power dispensing wisdom and judiciousness in equal parts? It was invented by her own campaign staff, in an ad suggesting that lonely heads of state could find relief by calling her, toll-free, at three o'clock in the morning. She would whisper sweet nothings into their ears and they would emerge from their crises with a new, fresh outlook on life.

She never made it to Pennsylvania Avenue but she benefited from this time spent on Madison Avenue. Like Josephine with Comet or Rosie with Bounty, people believed she could scour and mop up the trouble spots without raising a sweat. This image hypnotized even Republican types whose critiques have locked into the disagree-but-admire mode for quite some time. All I could do was save up pejorative adjectives in an old pickle jar, knowing they would come in handy before very long. For now, she had become apotheosized into an international stateswoman.

To which it is time for us to assert, with the help of Julian Assange: baloney. Adding a D for Democrat after "shrew" does not equal shrewd. The woman is a know-nothing know-it-all; this front she put on is an effrontery. She comes from two states (Illinois, Arkansas) which end in silence but she just keeps getting noisier.

Let us review in brief some of the revelations about Madame Secretary in the recently publicized diplomatic cables she authored. She ordered espionage by her diplomats against high-ranking UN officials, including gathering fingerprints and DNA. She asked diplomatic staff in Argentina how President Fernandez was "managing her nerves and anxiety." She called (or allowed her people to call) Sarkozy thin-skinned and authoritarian; Merkel risk averse and rarely creative; Berlusconi feckless and vain. The list goes on. When word of this leaked, her response was unequivocal: "This is an attack on America."

She is right about that last, indisputably so. It attacks America as a place which promotes shallow people because their backers have deep pockets. It attacks America as a place which promotes hollow people who are full only of themselves. It attacks America as a place which promotes on the basis of glitz and hype and spin and façade and veneer and gab and patter and spiel and, ultimately, mythology.

This woman has no business being in high office, whether elected or appointed. She is small and defined by her smallness. The only person who should call her at three o'clock in the morning is the Mayflower man to move her portfolio out of Foggy Bottom. If we made her great, if we made her the face of this country, we have no right to protest when that face is covered in egg.

May I offer a solution? She was named after Sir Edmund Hillary, as she famously lied, later blaming her mother for telling her the lie. She could be our permanent ambassador to Mount Everest. Now that is a much more romantic backdrop for a myth


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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Care and Feeding of Liberal Trolls

I noted in this morning's paper the passing of Stephen Solarz from esophageal cancer. It occurred to me that Solarz was a liberal with whom I had had many disagreements, but that I had never wished that he would die or have a terrible disease; I was sorry to hear of his (probably painful) death. I have strongly disliked many liberals (particularly Senator Kennedy and his idiot-son, Patrick), but, again, the thought never entered my mind to wish on them a painful death or a terrible disease.

What is it with liberals that so many of them do wish on conservatives painful deaths? For example, Wanda Sykes publicly wishing that Rush Limbaugh would die a painful death from kidney disease, or Whoopi Goldberg wishing a painful death on President Bush - both to liberal audiences that loudly cheered their disgusting remarks. I don't even want to mention the horrible things wished on Sarah Palin and on her family by the likes of people like Alan Colmes (I turn off O'Reilly whenever he appears, he disgusts me so).

I bring this up this morning because of something else that's going on: the tendency of liberal readers to troll conservative blogs and then try to disable them, or leave gibberish comments or set up repeated spamming attacks. My readers may have noticed recently that I have had to set up an anti-spam ID procedure for my little blog. This is due to the juvenile behavior of liberals who, instead of engaging in a discussion of issues, try to destroy the opposition - and I am not alone, as the following article so clearly explains:

The Care and Feeding of Progressives

By Robin of Berkeley December 01, 2010 American Thinker

I've had to ask readers of my blog to register in order to post comments. There are three reasons why:
(By the way, I often tell clients that there are three rules for dealing with the character disordered: "Boundaries, Boundaries, and Boundaries." Not surprisingly, the same can be said about extreme progressives.)

When I started my little blog, it didn't occur to me that trolls would come out in droves. Why would leftists expend their energies on me? And why would they subject themselves to scrutiny by a licensed psychotherapist?

But apparently, numerous trolls have been drawn to me, like venomous bees to honey. These trolls use the same weaponry of other extreme progressives: shame and degradation. They try to use ridicule as sort of stun gun, immobilizing the other. (Another interesting tidbit: People with character disorders do the very same thing. Coincidence?)

As a psychotherapist, I can see right through them to who they are and how they operate. Nonetheless, I still remain curious about these creepy crawlers, whom I have dubbed "My Friends, the Enemy." (This is my generally futile attempt to be magnanimous like the Dalai Lama, who uses the phrase to describe the Chinese.)

I wonder to myself: Where do these trolls come from? Where do they live and breed?

Do they write in dank basement rooms while their bedraggled girlfriends (or moms) pick up their dirty shorts? Do they intermix trolling with downloading internet porn? (I'm not being snarky here; I'd bet good money that violent smut gives them endless inspiration.)

Are these cyber-stalkers getting paid from a Soros organization? If so, why can't they find more respectable employment? (Hmm...I suppose the answer to that question is rather obvious.)

The creepy thing is that in the minds of trolls, and other extreme Progressives, their behavior is as normal as apple pie. This is because their worldview is amoral and asocial. Therefore, the merit of hurling insults at a complete stranger is a no-brainer.

Many leftists are positively clueless about how to conduct themselves in a civilized manner. Believe me, I have tried over and over to engage some -- any -- in a respectful discussion.

Although I rarely give up on people, I have had to conclude that many extreme progressives are not simply choosing to be vicious. They do not know how to restrain themselves.

For instance, a progressive e-mailed me with the following, "Man, you're really messed up." I replied, scolding her, explaining that her remark was inappropriate.

She responded this way, sounding genuinely confused and shocked: "I was trying to be sympathetic! I really didn't mean to hurt your feelings." And in this case, I actually believed her!

The most hardcore of the leftists seem almost feral, wild, and undomesticated. Many lack even the most rudimentary of social skills; some people may very well be diagnosable on the autism spectrum.

Many militants are devoid of an essential ingredient of being human: empathy. While they exude endless compassion for an endangered snail, they are contemptuous of living, feeling human beings. This is why they can cavalierly imagine snuffing out Granny, a late-term fetus, or, in fact, anyone who gets in their way.

With the progressives in charge, we now live in "interesting times," to quote the Chinese curse. There's a breakdown in the basic rule of law that keeps a society knitted together. Without the moral fiber to stitch us, it's survival of the fittest -- every man and woman for themselves.

It's no coincidence that God has also been shunned, because God is the thread that weaves together the rich tapestry of life. With Judeo-Christian values missing in action, the left engages in a manic free-fall-all. They afford themselves free rein to act out their basest of impulses.

The more extreme progressives have no impulse control whatsoever. They act more primitively than a wild beast as they beat up opponents and sexually degrade conservative women.

These progressives are engineering a New World Order, which is dark and devolved and completely unlivable. Their actions remind me of a famous quote by Gandhi about Western civilization.

When asked what he thought about Western civilization, Gandhi replied, "Western civilization? I think it would be a good idea." One could say the same thing about progressives' civilized behavior.

I hope the newly elected conservatives will have the courage and intestinal fortitude to create some order out of the chaos. If they can break up this manic (Democratic) party, there's hope for this country yet.

A frequent American Thinker contributor, Robin is a recovering liberal and a licensed psychotherapist in Berkeley. You can reach Robin through her blog: The above information is intended for educational and informational purposes, not to offer definitive diagnoses.


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