November 29, 2009
I don’t get it.
In Buzz Patterson’s book, Dereliction of Duty, An Eyewitness Account of How Bill Clinton Compromised America’s National Security, describes how “Clinton stalled and lost the opportunity to launch a direct strike on Osama bin Laden at a confirmed location.”
An F-14 Tomcat (left) launches from the waist catapult as four F/A-18 Hornets wait to launch from the bow catapults of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65)
While Clinton was agonizing over a televised golf tournament, advisers were telling him to his face about Osama bin Laden’s location and that a strike force was ready for launch on an aircraft carrier to take him out. It was a time-critical situation and Clinton treated the opportunity as if it was a foul intrusion upon his right to enjoy a golf telecast. By the time Clinton’s attention could be pealed away from the television so that he could devote his full attention to the matter, enough time had slipped by to render the target stale. Osama bin Laden had slipped away and the opportunity was lost.
Then we have Secretary of Defense Donald H.Rumsfeld and General Franks who decide there were not enough troops on the ground to pursue OBL. On top of that our tropps would have had to cross Pakistan borders without Pakistan’s permission to continue the pursuit.
One gets a pass while the other gets a full Senate report.
I don’t get it.
November 27, 2009
The Internal Revenue Service will be your Health Care Enforcer
H.R. 3962, the “Affordable Health Care for America Act” contains thirteen new tax hikes. They are listed here for your enjoyment.
Employer Mandate Excise Tax (Page 275): If an employer does not pay 72.5 percent of a single employee’s health premium (65 percent of a family employee), the employer must pay an excise tax equal to 8 percent of average wages. Small employers (measured by payroll size) have smaller payroll tax rates of 0 percent (<$500,000), 2 percent ($500,000-$585,000), 4 percent ($585,000-$670,000), and 6 percent ($670,000-$750,000).
Individual Mandate Surtax (Page 296): If an individual fails to obtain qualifying coverage, he must pay an income surtax equal to the lesser of 2.5 percent of modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) or the average premium. MAGI adds back in the foreign earned income exclusion and municipal bond interest.
Medicine Cabinet Tax (Page 324): Non-prescription medications would no longer be able to be purchased from health savings accounts (HSAs), flexible spending accounts (FSAs), or health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs). Insulin excepted.
Cap on FSAs (Page 325): FSAs would face an annual cap of $2500 (currently uncapped).
Increased Additional Tax on Non-Qualified HSA Distributions (Page 326): Non-qualified distributions from HSAs would face an additional tax of 20 percent (current law is 10 percent). This disadvantages HSAs relative to other tax-free accounts (e.g. IRAs, 401(k)s, 529 plans, etc.)
Denial of Tax Deduction for Employer Health Plans Coordinating with Medicare Part D (Page 327): This would further erode private sector participation in delivery of Medicare services.
Surtax on Individuals and Small Businesses (Page 336): Imposes an income surtax of 5.4 percent on MAGI over $500,000 ($1 million married filing jointly). MAGI adds back in the itemized deduction for margin loan interest. This would raise the top marginal tax rate in 2011 from 39.6 percent under current law to 45 percent—a new effective top rate.
Excise Tax on Medical Devices (Page 339): Imposes a new excise tax on medical device manufacturers equal to 2.5 percent of the wholesale price. It excludes retail sales and unspecified medical devices sold to the general public.
Corporate 1099-MISC Information Reporting (Page 344): Requires that 1099-MISC forms be issued to corporations as well as persons for trade or business payments. Current law limits to just persons for small business compliance complexity reasons. Also expands reporting to exchanges of property.
Delay in Worldwide Allocation of Interest (Page 345): Delays for nine years the worldwide allocation of interest, a corporate tax relief provision from the American Jobs Creation Act
Limitation on Tax Treaty Benefits for Certain Payments (Page 346): Increases taxes on U.S. employers with overseas operations looking to avoid double taxation of earnings.
Codification of the “Economic Substance Doctrine” (Page 349): Empowers the IRS to disallow a perfectly legal tax deduction or other tax relief merely because the IRS deems that the motive of the taxpayer was not primarily business-related.
Application of “More Likely Than Not” Rule (Page 357): Publicly-traded partnerships and corporations with annual gross receipts in excess of $100 million have raised standards on penalties. If there is a tax underpayment by these taxpayers, they must be able to prove that the estimated tax paid would have more likely than not been sufficient to cover final tax liability.
November 25, 2009
Obama Shatters Spending Record for First-Year Presidents
The federal government spent $3.5 trillion during President Obama’s first year in office. This far exceeds the spending for any other first-year president.
For a first-year president, Obama is in a class all by himself. By any measure, Obama’s spending is nothing short of extraordinary.
Obama’s first year spending spree is nearly double that of his predecessor and far exceeds the spending of any first year president in the country’s history.
Dwight Eisenhower brought government spending down to $556 billion in his first year, 1953.
Gerald Ford’s budget for 1975 was $982 billion.
Clinton’s spending added up to $13.5 trillion over his two full terms.
After adjusting for inflation, based on 2000 dollars, Bush spent $1.8 trillion in 2001.
Bush spent $16.8 trillion from 2001-2008.
Obama’s 2009 budget is near 21 percent of that for Clinton’s eight years in office.
His spending for fiscal 2009 hits $3.52 trillion ($2.8 trillion in 2000 dollars). That fiscal year covered the last three-and-a-half months of George W. Bush’s term and the first eight-and-a-half months of Obama’s.
Obama’s spending pushed the federal deficit to $1.42 trillion, nearly $1 trillion more than last year. The overall budget was about a half-trillion more than Bush’s for 2008, his final full fiscal year in office.
What the Interest on US debt could buy
For fiscal year 2009 federal government paid $202 billion in interest. Total interest on the debt includes intragovernmental holdings of $383.3 billion. This number is equal to the gross domestic product of Malaysia or Belgium.
Breakdown of the national debt:
Debt held by the public : $7.6 trillion
Intragovernmental holdings : $4.4 trillion
Total public debt outstanding : $12 trillion
A subject near and dear to liberals is the amount spent on national defense. They rant and rave over military budgets, but have no problem with Obama’s record-breaking spending. They will no doubt choke on the following.
The total $383 billion in interest on the federal debt would pay for slightly more than half of the Defense department’s budget ($674.7 billion in FY2008). It would pay for just shy of half the annual budgets of Treasury ($751.2 billion) and Health and Human Services ($721.7 billion).
The $383 billion would cover the budget for the Dept. of Energy about 15 times over.
And how many government agency budgets could you pay for with $383 billion?
The $383 billion would pay for all on-budget costs of the following agencies (FY 2008), with about $12 billion in change left over.
|Agency||FY 2008 on-budget|
|Executive Office of the President||$289 M|
|General Services Administration||$340 M|
|Small Business Administration||$1.3 B|
|Legislative Branch||$4.5 B|
|National Science Foundation||$6.3 B|
|The Judiciary||$6.5 B|
|Environmental Protection Agency||$7.4 B|
|Corps of Engineers ||$9.1 B|
|National Aeronautics and Space Administration||$17.2 B|
|Homeland Security||$50.6 B|
|Housing and Urban Development||$50.9 B|
And $383 billion would cover all federal government expenditures on the following areas (with about $13 billion left over):
|Category||FY 2008 expenditures|
|Natural resources & the environment||$37.2 B|
|Veteran benefits & services||$88.3 B|
|Administration of justice (law enforce. & courts)||$49.1 B|
|TOTAL:|| $369.9 B|
November 19, 2009
Homeland Security Illegal Alien Czar Janet Napolitano
Last week, Obama ran off to China, leaving Attorney General Eric Holder back home to fade the heat for his decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – the 9/11 mastermind – in Federal court.
Some are saying the trip and Holder’s controversy has been a carefully planned ruse to draw attention away from the up-coming health care debate in the U.S. Senate this coming Saturday. If true, that’s not all it did.
Few noticed last Friday’s announcement by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano that the administration will seek to overhaul the immigration system early next year. She wants a tighter law to punish illegal immigrants and the employers who hire them, improved measures to encourage migrants to choose the legal route, and a “tough but fair” pathway for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in this country to legalize their status.
The last time such a feat was attempted, in 2007, President George W. Bush was abandoned by his party and suffered a crushing defeat in the Senate. There’s no assurance President Barack Obama will fare any better, despite his party’s Capitol Hill majority. Bipartisan cooperation in writing the new bill also is no guarantee of success.
To fend off conservative attacks that this measure would amount to nothing more than amnesty, Obama must put strong emphasis on the toughness of his proposed legalization procedures. Napolitano says that the legalization process could take years to complete and would involve rigorous procedures to verify that an applicant has no criminal background, has learned English and has fully paid back taxes and substantial fines for entering the country illegally.
Since illegal immigrants come here looking for work, she says, the bill will seek stiffer punishments for employers who hire them. Napolitano also promises tighter border enforcement, even though illegal crossings already have dropped significantly. The Border Patrol has grown by 20,000 officers, and more than 600 miles of border fencing has been installed, fulfilling two key benchmarks set by Congress in 2007.
Here they come...
Having supported the Bush plan, this newspaper believes that the Obama administration is on the right track, particularly with its decision to press the issue sooner rather than wait until after next November’s elections. The timing here shows admirable political guts.
There are upsides. Approval could generate support from an increasingly important Hispanic electorate. By drawing illegal immigrants out of the shadows, the new law promises to add workers to the tax rolls and increase American blue-collar labor’s competitiveness by ensuring that they won’t be undercut by cheaper illegal workers. If illegal immigrants don’t want to comply, their room to maneuver in the job market would diminish while their incentives to go home would jump dramatically.
The nation’s immigration system has limped along, broken for far too long, but there should be no illusions that fixing it will be easy. As Capitol Hill bouts go, this fight looks to be a bruiser.
November 19, 2009
Peter DeFazio, a Democrat from Oregon and one of the chairs of the Populist Caucus in the House, just called for the firing of Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers, saying that Barack Obama’s economic team is failing him. He said that there’s a “growing sense” in the caucus that a new economic team committed to jobs and American workers is needed to replace the one primarily concerned with Wall Street.
DeFazio said that “boos” accompany Geithner and Summers’ names in the Populist Caucus meetings. Earlier this month, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) openly wondered why Geithner still has a job, but DeFazio took it a step further by saying,
“We may have to sacrifice two more jobs to get millions more for Americans.”
This comes at a time when Timothy Geithner is pushing Congress to move quickly in overhauling badly flawed U.S. financial rules, which he says is essential for the health of the economy.
Both the House and Senate are making progress toward revamping the current regulations, but Geithner said a rapid conclusion is needed to keep the economic recovery on track.
“To ensure the vitality, the strength and the stability of our economy going forward, we must bring our system of financial regulation into the 21st century,” Geithner said in remarks prepared for an appearance Thursday before the Joint Economic Committee.
Both the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee are working on their own versions of sweeping overhaul plans. But the two panels are taking sharply divergent approaches in some areas.
Both proposals also face sharp opposition from major sectors in the financial industry, casting doubt on how quickly Congress will be able to reach agreement and send a finished bill to the White House.
November 19, 2009
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder released the following statement relating to President Obama’s historic speech in Cairo, Egypt:
“The President’s pledge for a new beginning between the United States and the Muslim community takes root here in the Justice Department where we are committed to using criminal and civil rights laws to protect Muslim Americans. A top priority of this Justice Department is a return to robust civil rights enforcement and outreach in defending religious freedoms and other fundamental rights of all of our fellow citizens in the workplace, in the housing market, in our schools and in the voting booth.
“There are those who will continue to want to divide by fear – to pit our national security against our civil liberties – but that is a false choice. We have a solemn responsibility to protect our people while we also protect our principles.”
On November 18, 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder, in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, defended his decision to bring five 9-11 conspirators – including the alleged mastermind — to New York to stand trial in federal civilian court.
During his testimony, Eric Holder reminded us we are at war when he said,
“I know that we are at war with a vicious enemy who targets our soldiers on the battlefield in Afghanistan and our civilians on the streets here at home. I have personally witnessed that somber fact in the faces of the families who have lost loved ones abroad, and I have seen it in the daily intelligence stream I review each day. Those who suggest otherwise are simply wrong.”
Eric Holder is confused.
It is obvious this man is incompetent for the job of Attorney General and is over his head on this issue. As it has been pointed out, he is setting “bad history”. The implication is that when we catch bin Laden, we’re going to have to also read him his Miranda Rights.
I accuse the Obama Administration of stating “we are at war” versus “it’s a law enforcement problem” as it suits them.
In this case, Eric Holder is bringing this case to Federal court to the benefit of Covington & Burling. Remember, Eric Holder was a senior partner with Covington & Burling, a prestigious Washington, D.C. law firm, which represents 17 Yemenis currently held at Gitmo. During 2007 alone, Covington contributed more than 3,000 hours of free, top-flight legal assistance to our enemy detainees.
In March 2007, after four years in captivity, including six months of detention at Guantanamo Bay, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — as it was claimed by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal Hearing in Guantanamo Bay — confessed to masterminding the September 11, 2001, attacks, the Richard Reid shoe bombing attempt to blow up an airliner over the Atlantic Ocean, the Bali nightclub bombing in Indonesia, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and various foiled attacks.
In spite of this, Attorney General Eric Holder wants to try KSM in federal court.
The Patriot Act is rendered toothless thanks to him.
In my mind, Eric Holder is following Barack Obama’s vision, an enemy of the state and a friend of radical Islam.
November 16, 2009
What could be more nuttier and dumber than liberals voting for Obama? For the left, that would be the right voting Palin for President of the United States. Yet, the left cannot begin to quantify the reasons why. All they know is something is wrong with it, while Obama and his definitive and destructive policies get a pass.
How the Ding-bats on the left view Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin’s Accomplishments
Since 1992, Sarah Palin has served on Wasilla’s city council, was elected as Mayor of Wasilla and served 2 terms. In 2006 she was elected Governor of Alaska.
On July 3, 2009, Palin announced at a press conference that she would not run for reelection in the 2010 Alaska gubernatorial election and would resign before the end of July. Palin gave a speech offering reasons for her departure. She argued that both she and the state have been expending an “insane” amount of time and money to address “frivolous” ethics complaints filed against her. She also said that her decision not to seek reelection would make her a lame duck governor. Palin did not take questions at the press conference. A Palin aide was quoted as saying Palin was “no longer able to do the job she had been elected to do. Essentially, the taxpayers were paying for Sarah to go to work every day and defend herself.”
A quick review of Obama’s Background and First Year in Office.
Obama was hired as director of the Developing Communities Project (DCP), a church-based community organization originally comprising eight Catholic parishes in Greater Roseland and worked there as a community organizer from June 1985 to May 1988.
Obama entered Harvard Law School in late 1988. After graduating with a Juris Doctor (J.D.) magna cum laude from Harvard in 1991, he returned to Chicago.
From April to October 1992, Obama directed Illinois’s Project Vote, a voter registration drive with a staff of ten and 700 volunteers; it achieved its goal of registering 150,000 of 400,000 unregistered African Americans in the state.
For 12 years, Obama was a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago Law School. In 1993 he joined Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, a law firm of 12 attorneys that specialized in civil rights litigation and neighborhood economic development, where he was an associate for three years from 1993 to 1996, then of counsel from 1996 to 2004, with his law license becoming inactive in 2002.
Obama was a founding member of the board of directors of Public Allies in 1992. Obama served on the board of directors of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge from 1995 to 2002, as founding president and chairman of the board of directors from 1995 to 1999. He also served on the board of directors of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, and the Lugenia Burns Hope Center.
Obama was elected to the Illinois Senate in 1996 and reelected to the Illinois Senate in 1998 and was reelected again in 2002. In January 2003, Obama became chairman of the Illinois Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee.
Obama was sworn in as a senator on January 4, 2005. The National Journal ranked him as the “most liberal” senator based on an assessment of selected votes during 2007; in 2005 he was ranked sixteenth most liberal, and in 2006 he was ranked tenth.
Raised as a Muslim and with over 20 years of attendance at a Chicago church with a pastor’s anti-Semite and anti-American preachings, Obama today nurtures embedded socialist values and has carefully surrounded himself with radical leftist thinkers, many of them now appointed as “Czars” in his administration.
Obama’s thinking and vision for America embodies just about every value America has fought against for over 230 years. Many Americans have sacrificed their lives to preserve the way of life which Obama seems bent upon changing.
Thanks to Obama’s keen and well honed community organizing skills, Amercia faces generations of overwhelming and alarming debt. With the bailouts and handouts of his socialist policies and with the specter of HR3962 and Crap and Trade, it appears there is no end in sight.
A typical left-wing voter?
Where’s the Concern?
With all of the adverse and self-inflicted effects of Obama’s policies you would think liberals would share in the rest of America’s concern for her future. But alas, it appears liberals only have the vacant head to worry about and focus upon Sarah Palin. That’s it. Palin. We have unemployment rates which the country has not seen in over 25 years and an economy falling down around us brought upon us through decades of Democrat’s inept and arrogant mismanagement of flawed socialist programs and Palin is their target of worry. It’s clear liberals aren’t mentally fit to operate a toothbrush without supervision, much less America’s economy.
In a November 17, 2009, article about Associated Press dedicating 11 reporters to “Fact Check” her new book, “Going Rogue”, Palin eloquently makes the point about misplaced concerns.
The AP claims Palin misstated her record with regard to travel expenses and taxpayer-funded bailouts, using statements widely reported elsewhere. But it also speculated into Palin’s motives for writing “Going Rogue: An American Life,” stating as fact that the book “has all the characteristics of a pre-campaign manifesto.”
Palin quickly hit back on a Facebook post titled “Really? Still Making Things Up?”
“Imagine that,” the post read. “11 AP reporters dedicating time and resources to tearing up the book, instead of using the time and resources to ‘fact check’ what’s going on with Sheik Mohammed’s trial, Pelosi’s health care takeover costs, Hasan’s associations, etc. Amazing.”
The attraction to Palin doesn’t appear to be partisan, since AP didn’t fact-check recent political tomes by Republicans Rudy Giuliani or Newt Gingrich.
President Barack Obama has repeatedly claimed that his budget would cut the deficit by half by the end of his term. But as Heritage analyst Brian Riedl has pointed out, given that Obama has already helped quadruple the deficit with his stimulus package, pledging to halve it by 2013 is hardly ambitious. The Washington Post has a great graphic which helps put President Obama’s budget deficits in context of President Bush’s.
For the challenged who declare we don't know what we're talking about, the short lines mean less, the long lines (in red) mean more. Which side of the graph would any thinking American prefer? (Studies show times required to answer that question may vary if a liberal.)
What’s driving Obama’s unprecedented massive deficits? Spending
. Say it slowly, now … S-p-e-n-d-i-n-g.
- President Bush expanded the federal budget by a historic $700 billion through 2008. President Obama would add another $1 trillion. (Psst. That makes it a new historic number which eclipses Bush’s. Yep. It would.)
- President Bush began a string of expensive financial bailouts. President Obama is accelerating that course.
- President Bush created a Medicare drug entitlement that will cost an estimated $800 billion in its first decade. President Obama has proposed a $634 billion down payment on a new government health care fund.
- President Bush increased federal education spending 58 percent faster than inflation. President Obama would double it.
- President Bush became the first President to spend 3 percent of GDP on federal antipoverty programs. President Obama has already increased this spending by 20 percent.
- President Bush tilted the income tax burden more toward upper-income taxpayers. President Obama would continue that trend.
- President Bush presided over a $2.5 trillion increase in the public debt through 2008. Setting aside 2009 (for which Presidents Bush and Obama share responsibility for an additional $2.6 trillion in public debt), President Obama’s budget would add $4.9 trillion in public debt from the beginning of 2010 through 2016.
Those figures, in case you’re wondering, include spending on Iraq and Afghanistan during the Bush years. While Bush did fund the wars through emergency supplementals (not the regular budget process), that spending did not simply vanish. It is included in the numbers above.
Presidents Bush and Obama share responsibility for the FY 2009 budget deficit that overlaps their administrations, before President Obama assumes full budgetary responsibility beginning in FY 2010. Overall, President Obama’s budget would add twice as much debt as President Bush over the same number of years.
Conservatives Need to Wake Up To The Idiotic and Infantile Policies of The Left.
This country cannot afford one more day of the policies of Barack Obama and Democratic Party. They are literally destroying America’s way of life, her stature among the world community, the dollar and her future.
I have often said conservatives get what they deserve if they don’t get off their collective butts and vote. With the polls showing conservatives outnumbering liberals 2 to 1, it would appear many conservatives chose to stay home, setting the stage for that Obamanation we have sitting in the White House today.
Maybe the silent and apathetic will wake up. Maybe the liberal and radical left tide can be turned in 2010 and 2012. But it will take more than 4 years to fix the damage already done.
Next Page »