Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Polish Death Camps? Puh-lease

How many of you remember when President Ford was lambasted and ridiculed for weeks for saying, in a debate, that eastern Europe was not under the control of Soviet Russia? To say that Nazi death camps were Polish death camps shows a comparable ignorance by President Obama. How long do you think the mainstream press will ridicule Obama for this?

The Worst Thing Obama Has Ever Said
by Michael Tomasky May 30, 2012 Daily Beast

I have to say I'm in wholehearted agreement with David Frum on this one. For Obama to refer to a "Polish death camp" is just ghastly. How in the world could that happen? Some callow kid in the speechwriting office didn't know the difference? His or her boss also didn't know?

And what of Obama? I will assume that he does know better. But he said the words. Assuming he knew it was wrong when it was coming out of his mouth, why didn't he just stop and say: "You know, Mr. Karski, it says here 'Polish death camp,' so that's what I said, but I want to correct that. We all know that these were German camps."

That's all. Easy peasy. He really should have just taken charge of the moment there and shown some honesty and candor. This probably won't matter much politically--I'm not sure how many Polish-Americans are Obama voters (although maybe in Chicago there's a fair number, just on the basis of going for the hometown kid; but of course they all live in a state he's carrying by 20 points anyhow).

But it's important and it's embarrassing. Yes--it's the first time he's ever embarrassed me as president. He came kinda-sorta close when he called the Cambridge police "stupid," but that was more of a political thing, not a sin against history.

This was just shameful; a shameful thing for a president to say. If you don't know why, read Frum's essay. If anyone in the big O's orbit reads these scribblings, I would beseech you people to encouarge the boss to correct this record. To take a moment to say at an upcoming event, "You know, I said something really terribly wrong last week, and I want to correct it." And go on to explain why it's important that he do so. That would actually play very well politically--for people to see a politician admit to an error, in public like that! But that is not why I propose it. I propose it because it's right.


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Monday, May 28, 2012

MSNBC Celebrates Memorial Day

No comment required.


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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Liar or Spendthrift, How About Both?

This morning I’m writing this blog from the Emerson Lodge at Mt. Tremper in the Catskill mountans.

We have a most interesting election phenomenon going on this season. If you criticize Obama for undermining capitalism, he replies that Bain was a miserable failure, Bain, a highly successful investment firm that saved hundreds of companies and thousands of jobs; if you criticize him for letting Iran pull the wool over his eyes, he leaks Israeli war plans; if you criticize him for a terrible economy and high unemployment, he says, “blame Bush”; and if you criticize him for his disastrous spending and the first lowering of our credit rating in history, he says,”who me?, not me”.

The History Boys
      May 25, 2012 Wall St Journal
Obama's fiscal blowout that never happened, according to Obama.

Riffing on the re-election trail, President Obama often tells crowds that "We've got to move forward to the future we imagined in 2008." An imaginary future from the past—got it. Then there's the imaginary history of the past that Mr. Obama has been recounting lately, when his first-term spending and debt boom never happened.

Mitt Romney "warned about a 'prairie fire of debt.' That's what he said," Mr. Obama said on the Des Moines fairgrounds on Thursday, as if he couldn't believe it either. "He left out some facts. His speech was more like a cow pie of distortion," Mr. Obama continued, with the finely shaded eloquence for which he is known. "What my opponent didn't tell you was that federal spending since I took office has risen at the slowest pace of any President in almost 60 years."

Making this a new White House theme, press secretary Jay Carney chimed in to "make the point, as an editor might say" to White House reporters that they should not "buy into the B.S. that you hear about spending and fiscal constraint with regard to this Administration. I think doing so is a sign of sloth and laziness."

Mr. Carney, the media critic, deeply sourced his view to someone named Rex Nutting, who wrote an 856-word column for MarketWatch that argued "There has been no huge increase in spending under the current President, despite what you hear."

Mr. Nutting claims that spending is rising at 1.4% annually, versus 8.1% for George W. Bush's second term. How did he manage to suss out the insights that have eluded every other human being who has spent time with the historical budget tables? His accounting methods are, er, unusual.

Mr. Nutting claims that Mr. Obama is only responsible for $140 billion worth of spending in his hyperactivist first year in office because . . . the fiscal year technically begins on October 1, 2009. Therefore he says Mr. Obama had no control over the budget, though in February 2009 he did famously manage to pass an $800 billion stimulus that was supposed to be a one-time deal. Mr. Nutting then measures Mr. Obama's spending growth rate against an inflated 2009 baseline that includes the spending Mr. Obama caused but which he attributes to Mr. Bush.

This is like an alcoholic claiming that his rate of drinking has slowed because he had only 22 beers today and 25 beers yesterday. To extend the analogy, let's stipulate that Mr. Bush was no fiscal teetotaler, though that's even more an indictment of Mr. Obama.

Mr. Nutting also has some fun toggling among Congressional Budget Office estimates, CBO baselines, White House budget proposals and actual spending to make the Obama record look better. To anyone who really knows the numbers, Mr. Obama's spending has increased by closer to 5% a year. Comparing apples to apples, CBO says total federal spending was $2.98 trillion in 2008 and has risen every year to reach $3.72 trillion in Mr. Obama's fiscal 2013 budget.

The larger conceptual error of the Nutting-Obama-Carney troika is neglecting to compare the budget to the size of the economy. The best perspective on how outlays, tax receipts and deficits change over time is as a share of GDP. Those data reveal historical trends because they account for different inflation rates and include changes over society as a whole like population growth.

Prior to Mr. Obama, the U.S. had not spent more than 23.5% of GDP—that was in 1983, amid the Reagan defense buildup—since the end of World War II. Yet Mr. Obama has managed to exceed that four years in a row: 25.2% in 2009, 24.1% in 2010 and 2011, and an estimated 24.3% in 2012, up from a range between 18%-21% from 1994-2008.

Democrats try to explain this away by saying that the economy is lousy, so spending's share of GDP looks larger than it would be with faster growth. But that is hardly an endorsement of Mr. Obama's economic policies, and in any case the recession officially ended nearly three years ago, in mid-2009.

The economy has since been growing but spending has been growing too even from the stimulus-inflated baselines. Every time House Republicans have tried to cut more spending since 2010, Mr. Obama has fought them tooth and claw.

As for that prairie fire of debt, Mr. Obama can fairly blame $1 trillion or so of the $5 trillion debt increase of the last four years on Mr. Bush. But what about the other $4 trillion? Debt held by the public now stands at 74.2% of the economy, up from 40.5% at the end of 2008—and rising rapidly.

In Des Moines, Mr. Obama's reading of U.S. fiscal history—"what generally happens"—was that "Republicans run up the tab" and then blame Democrats for the bill. Meanwhile, Mr. Nutting floated and Mr. Carney cited the "fact" that even Herbert Hoover spent more than Mr. Obama. Oh great. That means the President may stop blaming George W. Bush for the problems he inherited and instead start blaming Bush, Bush, Reagan, Ford, Nixon, Eisenhower and Hoover.


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Friday, May 25, 2012

A Different Memorial Day Message

I am going out to the Catskills this Memorial Day weekend to see my younger son get married, something I never thought I would see, and I am overjoyed. For this Memorial Day weekend, I wanted to write something about our service men and women who fight and die for us to preserve our freedoms and our Constitution, but then one of my best e-mail friends, named John, sent me this. It says it all on this special occasion:

“I cannot believe I am still alive. There is no logical explanation The only explanation is that God has kept me alive for His own reasons.I have pretty much gone everywhere and done everything.

 Few would call my life "safe." I was a risk taker.

 It is a wonder my call sign wasn't "Reckless Abandon."

And all around me people are gone. Yet at the same time: all around me I am blessed to find survivors just like me. My wife survived what communist Vietnam had to offer after the fall of Saigon in 1975.

She survived eight years in a refugee camp.

She survived more than three weeks at sea without much water or food. Four others in her group died before her very eyes. A few gave up and got into the water and swam into the after life.

Some of her friends and relatives did not make it here alive. Some were tortured. Some raped by pirates.

I spoke to me wife last night about Memorial Day and some of the missing military men who are still unaccounted for.

My wife has a brother who was just a Vietnamese civilian teenager when the communists took over in 1975. He was picked up and taken to communist prison and never came home.

Mom went to visit him in prison one Sunday. The next Sunday the prison staff told her "He is no longer here."

They had no requirement to say or do more. They are not held accountable by the people as we are in a democracy. They hold the people accountable to them and they are unchecked.

Our Mom knows the same anguish the Mom of a man Missing In Action (MIA) in wartime knows. Her son went into a communist prison and never came out. Like hundreds of thousands and probably millions of others he just disappeared.

There is no commission to find them. No Senate Select Committee. No friendly "ear" in government. No free press to help. No church groups protected by law.

I am grateful on Memorial Day to be alive. I am grateful on Memorial Day to be an American. And I am grateful for America despite her flaws.

The first time my wife voted, she came out of the voting booth with her arms raised like Rocky after his boxing triumph. She only said a few words: in fact she shouted them. "AMERICA! THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!"

*************************** Democracy is the worst form of government. Except all the others. ---Winston Churchill ************************

I am very grateful that my Higher Power has given me a second chance to live a worthwhile life. I am alive and I have been restored to sanity. The promises are being fulfilled in my life.

I am grateful to be free from slavery. I am grateful for peace of mind and the opportunity to grow, but my gratitude should go forward rather than backward. I cannot stay grateful on memories alone; I need to put my gratitude into action today. Without action, my gratitude is just a pleasant emotion. I need to put it into action by working for others in love as Our Saviour Commanded.

By carrying the message and practicing the principles in all my affairs. I am grateful for the chance to carry the message today!

*********************** "If you're not a liberal when you are young you have no heart. If you're not a conservative when you are older you have no brain." ----Winston Churchill”

Thanks to John and to everyone who appreciates our precious country and tries to keep it from unravelling.
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Monday, May 21, 2012

If You Like Good Political Videos

Our friend, Bill Whittle, discusses the Obama Administration and their disastrous results.

Here is a parody on the foolish attempt by Democrats to brand Republicans as waging a War on Women.

The facts about Obamacare.

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Condo Cranks and Democrat Lies

Helping to manage the condominium complex I live in while in Florida has helped me to understand politics. Specifically it has helped me to understand why so many people cannot see through the distortions and lies Democrat politicians tell about every aspect of their programs and about their opponents.

Democrat lies seem so obvious that I never could figure out why anyone would believe them. For example, President Obama stopped all drilling in the Gulf and has greatly reduced drilling in many areas of the United States, but because President Bush advanced policies and made decisions that have led to more drilling and more oil production, the production of oil has increased recently. Now whenever you look at television you see Obama or one of his supporters taking credit for the increase in oil production. This is dishonest, but very typical.

The lies that Obama has told about reducing the debt and about his Obamacare plan have been obvious and outrageous, yet Democrat talking heads are on television every day to deny them, and the mainstream press defends them.

You have to be brain-dead or a committed leftist to believe or ignore the lies and deceits of the Democrats. It’s like managing a condo where some of the residents are totally divorced from reality. We are now going through the shocks of the housing market meltdown, and some condo owners have walked away from their units leaving the remaining owners to finance the operations. Some of these remaining owners seem to believe that this is a nefarious scheme on the part of Board members to relieve them of their money. I never would have believed that so many people in one place could have such delusions and be so divorced from reality.

It’s like Democrat voters – divorced from reality on 1. the causes of the housing crash, 2. the necessity for reducing entitlements before the USA goes broke, 3. the eventual effect of all the borrowing Obama is doing, 4. the reasons for the spike in oil prices, 5. the loss of freedoms we are all suffering by Obama’s attacks on the Constitution and the thousands of new regulations he has imposed, etc., etc., etc.

Two of these condo cranks have even begun an email campaign to try to discredit the current Board by making false charges and accusations. They are also demanding proof of foreclosures when there have not yet been any actual foreclosures. This course of action was triggered by the Board’s decision to impose a $200 special assessment, payable in two installments, in order to make up for the unpaid fees from the owners of the empty units in order that the association have the cash to pay its bills. These cranks don’t believe that THEY should have to pay anything to keep the condo association solvent.

My answer to all this is that I should fight the lies and disinformation with truth, just as Republicans like Paul Ryan are doing to try to save Medicare and Social Security with a dose of the truth. I have started sending out e-mails and letters explaining the state of the housing market and of the foreclosure situation for condos in Florida, and the legal limits on the actions that a condo board can take, given walkaways by owners who are way under water with their units.

Hopefully, the truth will prevail; so far, unfortunately, the truth hasn’t seemed to prevail in national politics.


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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Where We Stand on Intelligent Design

I’m in good company with Ben Stein, whom I love. Like him I was taught Darwinism in school, and, like him, it made less and less sense to me as I grew older, and as instruments like electron microscopes became more and more sophisticated, revealing complexities Darwin could never have even imagined. Also like Ben Stein, whenever I write an article like this, I will expect to receive snotty comments from members of the established orthodoxy who feel it necessary to defend the foundation of atheism by insulting me and my intelligence. I won’t go into details of ID in this article, but I am always heartened to remember the comment of the former atheist, Dr. Francis Collins, whose team was the first to chart the human genome, and who famously said, “I have looked into the mind of God”.

To read some of the many articles that I have posted here concerning ID, just type the words ‘intelligent design’ in the search box in the upper left corner of this blog. The following article summarized the extent to which intelligent design is starting to make inroads among established scientists and in peer-reviewed scientific journals:

Intelligent Design at the University Club

By Tom Bethell from the May 2012 issue American Spectator

Good things are happening beneath the media radar. Stephen Meyer, the director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, spoke the other evening at a forum called “Socrates in the City.” Normally it’s in New York City, but tonight it was at the University Club in Washington, D.C. The founder, Eric Metaxas, gave a great introduction. He’s someone who doesn’t follow the intellectual herd. The author of an influential book, Signature in the Cell, Meyer addressed the question, “Is there a scientific controversy about the theory of evolution?” He made a strong case that there is.

 A few days later, I also interviewed him about the prospects for intelligent design. In his talk, inquiring how life first appeared from simpler pre-existing chemicals, Meyer emphasized the concept of biological information, which is embedded in DNA. Think of it as analogous to software code.
Bill Gates said that “DNA is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software ever created.” Software contains instructions that direct computers to accomplish various functions. Likewise, DNA contains instructions for the assembly of tiny machines called proteins, which perform vital functions within every cell. In the 19th century the cell was thought to be simple. Darwin and his contemporaries had no way of knowing just how complex it is. Today it is compared to a high-tech factory. (Except it’s much more complex than that—factories can’t replicate themselves.) So how did the information get into the DNA in the first place? Without it, the first cell wouldn’t have been constructed, and life would not have begun. In Expelled, when Ben Stein asked Richard Dawkins how life began, he said he had no idea.

 We still don’t. Nucleotide bases along the spine of the DNA molecule—in effect the characters in the genetic text—direct the cell’s molecular machinery to link specific amino acids into proteins.

 If the sequence is incorrectly arranged the protein doesn’t get assembled. Watson and Crick described the double helical structure of DNA. But no one has yet explained the origin of the information it contains. “So that’s a huge stumbling block for evolutionary explanations of the origin of life,” Meyer said. Just as computer code comes from programmers, so functional information comes from intelligence—from mind. Intelligence, or conscious activity, is the only known cause of the kind of sequence-specific, information-rich code that we see in biology. We infer that the ultimate origin of biological information is an intelligent agent, or agents. All other proposed explanations have failed. Some think natural selection can get the job done. But as Meyer said, processes such as natural selection can’t take place until life is already up and running.

 Until we have a living and self-replicating cell, natural selection doesn’t enter the picture. Thus, it does nothing to explain how life first evolved from non-living chemicals. Meyer also argued that biological evolutionary theory, which “attempts to explain how new forms of life evolved from simpler pre-existing forms,” faces formidable difficulties. In particular, the modern version of Darwin’s theory, neo-Darwinism, also has an information problem. Mutations, or copying errors in the DNA, are analogous to copying errors in digital code, and they supposedly provide the grist for natural selection.

 But, Meyer said: “What we know from all codes and languages is that when specificity of sequence is a condition of function, random changes degrade function much faster than they come up with something new.” He mentioned the Cambrian explosion—the geologically sudden appearance of most major animal forms. It’s a dramatic event in the history of life. Animals with new body plans—arthropods, brachiopods, chordates—appeared suddenly about 530 million years ago.

 Nothing resembling a precursor appears in the strata below the Cambrian. So the same problem arises: What would it take to build one of those new body plans? You’d need a big instruction set, just for one body part. The trilobite had a compound, lens-focusing eye. “Each new cell for each new tissue had dedicated proteins,” Meyer said. “The proteins in turn need instructions to be built.”

 The problem is comparable to opening a big combination lock. He asked the audience to imagine a bike lock with ten dials and ten digits per dial. Such a lock would have 10 billion possibilities with only one that works. But the protein alphabet has 20 possibilities at each site, and the average protein has about 300 amino acids in sequence. A colleague of Meyer’s, Douglas Axe, formerly a researcher at Cambridge University and now with the Biologic Institute in Seattle, found that the ratio of functional to all possible sequences for a protein 150 amino acids in length is absurdly small (1 in 10 to the power of 74.

 “That search space is larger than the number of atoms in the Milky Way galaxy,” Meyer said. “It’s not remotely plausible that mutation and natural selection could produce one functional protein during the entire history of life on earth.” Remember: Not just any old jumble of amino acids makes a protein. Chimps typing at keyboards will have to type for a very long time before they get an error-free, meaningful sentence of 150 characters. “We have a small needle in a huge haystack.”

 Neo-Darwinism has not solved this problem, Meyer said. “There’s a mathematical rigor to this which has not been a part of the so-called evolution-creation debate.” IN AN INTERVIEW, Meyer told me that good things are happening beneath the media radar. If it’s not in a court or a legislature, the press pays little or no attention. Academic articles, especially if mathematical, are ignored. Mainstream journals have begun publishing peer-reviewed articles promoting intelligent design. In 2004 Rick Sternberg, as editor of the Proceedings for the Biological Society of Washington, got into trouble for publishing an article by Meyer. That was the first peer-reviewed ID article. Last fall the 50th was published.

 “One reason they went after Sternberg was to make an example of him,” Meyer said. “Now the dam has broken.”

 Internationally, ID is also growing. There’s a new Centre for Intelligent Design in London (C4ID). Affiliated with it is Norman Nevin, one of the leading geneticists in the UK. A number of full professors of science within the British system are also affiliated.

 The Centre has teamed up with Discovery Institute for various events. In addition, “leading U.S. biologists, including evolutionary biologists, are saying we need a new theory of evolution,” Meyer said. Many increasingly criticize Darwinism, even if they don’t accept design. One is the cell biologist James Shapiro of the University of Chicago. His new book is Evolution: A View From the 21st Century. He’s “looking for a new evolutionary theory.” David Depew (Iowa) and Bruce Weber (Cal State) recently wrote in Biological Theory that Darwinism “can no longer serve as a general framework for evolutionary theory.” Such criticisms have mounted in the technical literature.

 At the same time, most draw the line at accepting intelligent design. They insist it is “not science,” maybe a “science stopper.” Science, they believe, can operate only by invoking material causes. But as Meyer has written, scientists earlier felt no such constraint. Newton argued that the arrangements of the planets and the stability of their orbits could only have arisen as the result of “an intelligent and powerful Being.” Robert Boyle, the 17th century chemist, invoked the activity of a “most intelligent and designing agent.”

 There are plenty of reasons for thinking that ID is scientific, among them its ability to make predictions that contrast sharply with those of Darwinism. One addresses the question of whether most DNA is “junk,” randomly accumulated throughout evolution’s history of trial and error. Because it seems to lack function, official science a few years ago proclaimed 98 percent of DNA to be junk. But if it is designed we would not expect that. Now more and more of the DNA is turning out to be functional—not junk at all.

 Official science, it seems to me, wants to say that everything we see in the world can be explained without any reference to God. Darwinism is overwhelmingly an atheistic project, and has been from the beginning. That’s why any scientific opposition to that agenda stirs up such resentment.


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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Same Sex Marriage? No Way

I guess that I am an old fart because I have always felt that the idea of same-sex marriage was both ludicrous and harmful. Marriage is the most civilizing institution that mankind has ever created. It changed men from rampaging marauders into husbands and fathers. Perhaps today’s women see no need for protection, but I think those who think that way are deluding themselves. Women still need protection and support, and, especially, children need a mother and a father to nurture and guide them. All you have to do is to look at the extent of criminal and disruptive behavior that defines fatherless children.

The basic problem with same-sex marriage is that it trivializes and weakens traditional marriage – which needs all the help and support it can get these days. The record shows that whatever government approves, government then encourages. This is true of welfare, abortion, disability claims and tax-payer funded contraception, among other issues, and it will be true of same-sex marriage if we don’t stop it in its tracks.

If Same Sex Marriage Is a Civil Rights Issue...

By Grant Dossetto May 13, 2012 American Thinker (Excerpt)
"The passing of Amendment One in North Carolina, making the Tar Heel State the 32nd state in the country to enshrine in their constitution that marriage is between one man and one woman, created the predictable flurry of outrage among gay rights supporters. Shrill complaints of bigotry and homophobia with an added dose of backwardness filled up airwaves, internet forums, and Facebook statuses all intended to smear the 88% of states and over 90% of Americans who now live where same sex-marriage is illegal as the worst kind of bigot and homophobe.

Many in the gay rights community cloak their cause in grandiose terms. It is not simply another front in the culture war, a values vote issue. To supporters, gay rights have taken on more importance. If a state will not allow two members of the same sex to marry, then it is committing a violation of those people's inalienable human rights. These supporters' actions indicate something entirely different. In fact, there is a good case to be made that if you view same-sex marriage as a human rights violation, the worst offender is the same-sex marriage supporter himself.
National polling outlets such as Pew and Gallup put support for same-sex marriage at around 50%. If the country were truly nationally split, then it would seem impossible for traditional marriage to have the support that is has enjoyed in this century. Traditional marriage is now 32 for 32 on state constitutional ballots, enacted in centrist or outright liberal states such as Maine and California in direct response to legislative statutes recognizing same-sex marriage, as well as plenty of traditional Democratic strongholds such as Minnesota and Michigan by overwhelming majorities.
It passed in North Carolina, while garnering national attention, with over 60% of the vote. Traditional marriage support is truly a bipartisan platform which attracts people across race and income as well as political affiliation. Can this majority coalition truly be at its core nasty and bigoted? Conceding that point actually makes same-sex marriage supporters look worse.

There are many theories why same-sex marriage polls better than it performs at the ballot box. Some, such as Public Policy Polling tweeted on Tuesday, suggest a Bradley effect on the issue -- i.e., that the average voter will say to a pollster that he supports same-sex marriage to avoid being viewed as a bigot but vote differently at the polls.
Another explanation appears more plausible, though, and that is that same-sex marriage is particularly popular among voting blocs who do not turn out to the polls in high numbers. Voting is not a difficult task though, and even cynicism or disbelief in the political structure in your local capital or Washington, D.C., the usual excuse for not voting, rings awfully hollow when you have a chance to right a great -- many say the great -- moral wrong of our age.
How can one claim that an issue as a human right and then refuse to make any sacrifice to vote on the issue? Gay rights, according to its supporters, are more than a school board election or art museum millage. It is modern slavery, modern Jim Crow, and the response to that is indifference and apathy? That is bigotry.
A failure to vote is not the only anti-gay behavior that occurs among the same-sex marriage crowd. Whom the same-sex marriage supporter votes for also exposes a terrible homophobia. This week, Barack Obama came out for same-sex marriage. His support was in no way unconditional, though; he carefully parsed that he personally supports the practice but that states have the right to decide.

How many other issues has Obama determined were purely states' rights issues? Not health care, or border enforcement, or abortion, or even coal plant emissions, to name but a few issues that should fall below an innate human right. As Bruce Carroll, the creator of, wrote this week, replacing same-sex marriage with slavery in Obama's quotation sounds like something President James Buchanan would've said circa 1860." American Thinker


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Sunday, May 13, 2012

President Obama’s Historic Firsts

If any reader wishes to dispute any of the following "firsts", just say so in a comment, and I will provide the source or explain the event.
If you thought you knew everything about Barack Obama's record as president, consider the following article:

President Barack Obama's Complete List of Historic Firsts

May 10, 2012 Doug Ross Journal

Yes, he's historic, alright.
• First President to Preside Over a Cut to the Credit Rating of the United States Government
• First President to Violate the War Powers Act
• First President to Orchestrate the Sale of Murder Weapons to Mexican Drug Cartels
• First President to issue an unlawful "recess-appointment" while the U.S. Senate remained in session (against the advice of his own Justice Department).
• First President to be Held in Contempt of Court for Illegally Obstructing Oil Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico
• First president to intentionally disable credit card security measures in order to allow over-the-limit donations, foreign contributions and other illegal fundraising measures.
• First President to Defy a Federal Judge's Court Order to Cease Implementing the 'Health Care Reform' Law
• First President to halt deportations of illegal aliens and grant them work permits, a form of stealth amnesty roughly equivalent to "The DREAM Act", which could not pass Congress
• First President to Sign a Law Requiring All Americans to Purchase a Product From a Third Party
• First President to Spend a Trillion Dollars on 'Shovel-Ready' Jobs -- and Later Admit There Was No Such Thing as Shovel-Ready Jobs
• First President to sue states for requiring valid IDs to vote, even though the same administration requires valid IDs to travel by air
• First President to Abrogate Bankruptcy Law to Turn Over Control of Companies to His Union Supporters
• First President to sign into law a bill that permits the government to "hold anyone suspected of being associated with terrorism indefinitely, without any form of due process. No indictment. No judge or jury. No evidence. No trial. Just an indefinite jail sentence."
• First President to Bypass Congress and Implement the DREAM Act Through Executive Fiat
• First President to Threaten Insurance Companies After They Publicly Spoke out on How Obamacare Helped Cause their Rate Increases
• First President to Openly Defy a Congressional Order Not To Share Sensitive Nuclear Defense Secrets With the Russian Government
• First President to Threaten an Auto Company (Ford) After It Publicly Mocked Bailouts of GM and Chrysler
• First President to "Order a Secret Amnesty Program that Stopped the Deportations of Illegal Immigrants Across the U.S., Including Those With Criminal Convictions"
• First President to Demand a Company Hand Over $20 Billion to One of His Political Appointees
• First President to Terminate America's Ability to Put a Man into Space.
• First President to Encourage Racial Discrimination and Intimidation at Polling Places
• First President to Have a Law Signed By an 'Auto-pen' Without Being "Present"
• First President to send $200 million to a terrorist organization (Hamas) after Congress had explicitly frozen the money for fear it would fund attacks against civilians.
• First President to Arbitrarily Declare an Existing Law Unconstitutional and Refuse to Enforce It
• First President to Tell a Major Manufacturing Company In Which State They Are Allowed to Locate a Factory
• First President to refuse to comply with a House Oversight Committee subpoena.
• First President to File Lawsuits Against the States He Swore an Oath to Protect (AZ, WI, OH, IN, etc.)
• First President to Withdraw an Existing Coal Permit That Had Been Properly Issued Years Ago
• First President to Fire an Inspector General of Americorps for Catching One of His Friends in a Corruption Case
• First President to Propose an Executive Order Demanding Companies Disclose Their Political Contributions to Bid on Government Contracts
• First President to Preside Over America's Loss of Its Status as the World's Largest Economy (Source: Peterson Institute)
• First President to Have His Administration Fund an Organization Tied to the Cop-Killing Weather Underground
• First President to allow Mexican police to conduct law enforcement activities on American soil
• First president to propose budgets so unreasonable that not a single representative from either party would cast a vote in favor ("Senate unanimously rejected President Obama's budget last year in 0-97 vote", Politico, "House Votes 414-0 to Reject Obama’s Budget Plan", Blaze)
• First President to press for a "treaty giving a U.N. body veto power over the use of our territorial waters and rights to half of all offshore oil revenue" (The Law Of The Sea Treaty)
• First President to Golf 90 or More Times in His First Three Years in Office
But remember: he will not rest until all Americans have jobs, affordable homes, green-energy vehicles, and the environment is repaired, etc., etc., etc.


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Friday, May 04, 2012

Just Today - Biggest Obama Outrage of All

The Obama Administration has committed a series of daily outrages – so many it has been impossible to understand and to follow them all and keep them straight, but this outrage is so monumental that all seniors should see it for what it is – a deliberate attempt to pressure the Supreme Court and scare seniors over the overturning of Obamacare by saying such a decision would disrupt Medicare payments – OUTRAGEOUS!

Medicare disruptions seen if health law is struck
By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR Associated Press – May 3, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — Medicare's payment system, the unseen but vital network that handles 100 million monthly claims, could freeze up if President Barack Obama's health care law is summarily overturned, the administration has quietly informed the courts.

Although Obama's overhaul made significant cuts to providers and improved prescription and preventive benefits, Medicare was overlooked in Supreme Court arguments that focused on the law's controversial requirement that individuals carry health insurance.

Yet havoc for Medicare could have repercussions as both parties avidly court seniors in this election year and as hospitals and doctors increasingly complain the program doesn't pay enough.

In papers filed with the Supreme Court, administration lawyers have warned of "extraordinary disruption" if Medicare is forced to unwind countless transactions that are based on payment changes required by more than 20 separate sections of the Affordable Care Act.

Opponents say the whole law must go. The administration counters that even if it strikes down the insurance mandate, the court should preserve most of the rest of the legislation. That would leave in place its changes to Medicare as well as a major expansion of Medicaid coverage.

Last year, in a lower court filing on the case, Justice Department lawyers said reversing the Medicare payment changes "would impose staggering administrative burdens" on the government and "could cause major delays and errors" in claims payment.

Former program administrators disagree on the potential for major disruptions, while some private industry executives predict an avalanche of litigation unless Congress intervenes.

AARP says it's concerned. If doctors became embroiled in a legal battle over payments, then "a general concern would be that physicians would cease to take on new Medicare patients, as well as potentially have issues seeing their current patients," said Ariel Gonzalez, top health care lobbyist for the organization.

Medicare payment policies are set through a time-consuming process that begins with legislation passed by Congress. Even if the law were completely overturned, the government still would have authority under previous legislation to pay hospitals, doctors, insurance plans, nursing homes and other providers.

"There is an independent legal basis to pay providers if the Supreme Court strikes down the entire law," said Thomas Barker, a former Health and Human Services general counsel in the George W. Bush administration.

But reversing the new law's payment changes from one day to the next would be a huge legal and logistical challenge, raising many questions. How would Medicare treat payments made over the last two years, when the overhaul has been the law of the land? Would providers who have received cuts subsequently have a right to refunds?

"Medicare cannot turn on a dime," said former administrator Don Berwick, Obama's first Medicare chief. "I would not be surprised if there are delays and problems with payment flow. Medicare has dealt with sudden changes in payment before, but it is not easy."

It's not just reimbursement levels that would get scrambled, Berwick said. The law's new philosophy of paying hospitals and doctors for quality results, rather than for sheer volume of tests and procedures, has been incorporated in some payment policies.

Tom Scully, who ran Medicare during former President George W. Bush's first term, does not foresee major problems, although he acknowledges it would be a "nightmare" for agency bureaucrats.

"It is highly unlikely in the short term that any health plan or provider would suffer," said Scully. "They're probably likely to get paid more going forward. If you look at the way the law was (financed), it was a combination of higher taxes and lower (Medicare) payments. That's what you would be rolling back."

The White House declined to comment.

Administration officials say they are confident the entire law will be upheld by the Supreme Court, and there's no contingency planning to address whether all or parts of it are struck down. Sharp questioning by the court's conservative justices during public arguments has led many to speculate that at least some parts of the law will be struck down.

Opponents of the law argue that Congress overstepped its constitutional authority by requiring most Americans to have health insurance, starting in 2014. The administration says the mandate is permissible because it serves to regulate interstate commerce, underpinning another provision of the law that requires insurance companies to accept people in poor health. A decision is expected by early summer.

Former officials say it's likely that some form of high-level assessment and planning is going on within the administration. It has happened in the recent past.

Last year, when the GOP-led House threatened to block funding for carrying out Obama's law, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote to Congress outlining potential consequences. She said the administration might have to suspend payments to Medicare Advantage plans, popular private insurance alternatives that cover about one-fourth of all beneficiaries. That would have sent millions of seniors back into traditional Medicare, scrambling to find new doctors and coping with higher out-of-pocket costs.

Scully dismissed the notion that private Medicare plans would be jeopardized if the Supreme Court throws out the law.

"The idea that Medicare Advantage plans would shut down and patients would be thrown into the street is just people making up arguments to stir the pot," he said.

Repeal of the law would also mean that seniors would lose some new benefits, including the closing of the prescription coverage gap called the "doughnut hole," and no-charge preventive services such as an annual wellness physical.

"There is no doubt that striking down (the) Medicare provisions would be enormously disruptive for patients, physicians, hospitals and countless other providers and suppliers," said Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees the program.


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Thursday, May 03, 2012

The Tinder-Box Society

The article below that I am citing here was written by Robert Reich and published by the Huffington Post. My regular readers must think I am out of my mind; I usually disagree completely with Reich’s and Huffington’s views. In this case, however, I think that there is some real truth in the main point he is making. On points of disagreement I have made some editorial comments in red.

Whoever succeeds Barack Obama as president has to be careful not to make too many cuts too fast; we must shrink government and reduce spending, but drastic cuts could well turn a serious recession into a serious depression.

Also, my college law professor used to tell us Business Management students that all business regulation was the result of the excesses of businessmen. I have never forgotten that. One area that needs regulation is the rapidly widening gap between factory wages and CEO remuneration. This gap has become obscene.

The Tinder-Box Society

Robert Reich May 3, 2012 Huffington Post

The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit 13,338 Tuesday, its highest since December, 2007. The S&P 500 added 16 points. Wall Street will remember May 1 as a great day.

But most of these gains are going to the richest 10 percent of Americans who own 90 percent of the shares traded on Wall Street. And the lion's share of the gains are going to the wealthiest 1 percent.

Shares are up because corporate profits are up, and profits are up largely because companies have figured out how to do more with less.

Payrolls used to account for almost 70 percent of the typical company's costs. But one of the most striking legacies of the Great Recession has been the decline of full-time employment -- as companies have substituted software or outsourced jobs abroad (courtesy of the Internet, making outsourcing more efficient than ever), or shifted them to contract workers also linked via Internet and software.

That's why most of the gains from the productivity revolution are going to the owners of capital, while typical workers are either unemployed or underemployed, or else getting wages and benefits whose real value continues to drop. The portion of total income going to capital rather than labor is the highest since the 1920s.

Increasingly, the world belongs to those collecting capital gains.

They're the ones who demanded and got massive tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, on the false promise that the gains would "trickle down" to everyone else in the form of more jobs and better wages.

NOTE: Not a false promise. During the Bush Presidency unemployment averaged less than 5%.

They're now advocating austerity economics, on the false basis that cuts in public spending -- including education, infrastructure, and safety nets -- will generate more "confidence" and "certainty" among lenders and investors, and also lead to more jobs and better wages.

None of this is sustainable, economically or socially.

It's not sustainable economically because it has resulted in chronically inadequate demand for goods and services. That's meant anemic growth punctuated by recessions. Without a larger share of the economic gains, the vast middle class doesn't have the purchasing power to buy the goods and services an ever-more productive economy can generate.

It's not sustainable socially because it has resulted in rising frustration over the inability of most people to get ahead.

NOTE: The main cause of middle class losses is excessive government interference and overregulation of our manufacturing and energy sectors – regulations mostly put in place by Democrats. The result has been an inability to compete with foreign manufacturers..

Austerity economics in Europe is fanning the flames, as public budgets are slashed on the false crucible of fiscal responsibility. In the United States, an anemic recovery and plunging home prices are taking a toll: a large portion of the public believes the game is rigged, and no longer trusts that the major institutions of society -- big business, Wall Street, or government -- are on their side. In Europe and America, 30 to 50 percent of recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed.

Inequality is also widening in China, where the scandal surrounding Bo Xilai and his family is serving as a public morality tale about great wealth and official corruption. Students in Chile are in revolt over soaring tuition and other perceived social injustices.

It's a combustible concoction wherever it occurs: increasing productivity, widening inequality, and rising unemployment create tinder-box societies.

Public anger and frustration can ignite in two very different ways. One is toward reforms that more broadly share the productivity gains.

The other is toward demagogues that turn people against one another.

Demagogues use fear and frustration to advance themselves and their own narrow political agendas -- scapegoating immigrants, foreigners, ethnic minorities, labor unions, government workers, the poor, the rich, and "enemies within" such as communists, terrorists, or other conspirators.

NOTE: The worst demagogue and biggest divider we have ever seen is Barack Obama.

Be warned. The demagogues already are on the loose. In Europe, fringe parties on the right and left are gaining ground. In America, politics has turned especially caustic and polarized. (The right is even accusing people it doesn't like of being communists.) No one knows where China is heading, but reformers and ideologues are battling some of it out in public.

May 1 may be a good day for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, but the future depends on the job prospects and wages of the average worker.

Robert Reich, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at Berkeley and former Secretary of Labor, is the author of Beyond Outrage.

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