theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Low Information Voters? Low Information President?

By Bruce Johnson

There is a real possibility, a strong likelihood, that President Obama knows nothing of the nuts and bolts, the details and realities of the positions he promotes. He rides the Starship Air Force One, thrills adolescent crowds and frames himself with federal employees while orating vapid clichés dowsed in demagoguery.
He drives the fancy car but needs help filling it with gas and couldn't point to the air filter if you popped the hood. Imagery sans leadership. Celebrity is the accomplishment here, and adoration is the metric. Polls demonstrate people approve more of him and less of his execution of the responsibilities of office. This Presidency is therefore wrapped in a managed personal imagery that supersedes the measure of ability.
He speaks yet says nothing. He exists before the camera scripted to generalities and clichés. Once this is understood, we can sense there is no more. True leadership and real understanding of the issues just aren't there. Recall a few instances.
There was the Paul Ryan Obamacare summit in which Ryan began to peel back the skin on the Affordable Care Act. Ryan began reading from the bill itself, and as he did Obama's eyes glazed over. When Ryan was finished, Obama had nothing of substance to say. Dismissive and aloof, he pushed out a short narrative of banalities and bromides.
Did Obama know enough to defend his own program?
There was also the Univision interview in which Obama declared that George W. Bush began Fast and Furious back in 2007. This is inherently false. There was a similar program, granted. But, the program had ended and, by the way, the program attempted to capture gun runners. Two glaring differences. But did Obama know these facts? At first one thinks there is a twisting of the truth by the President. But, there is a strong possibility that indeed he believed what he said based on what he had been told.
Dr. Benjamin Carson revealed his version of the world and the shortfalls of Obamacare standing a few feet from the President himself. Obama's body language, as he was forced to bear witness, spoke volumes. This was the closest to an exchange between Obama and a critic of his beloved health insurance initiative to date. But there was no exchange. There was no defense. There was no telepromptered pre-authored clichéd speech to deliver.
Regarding the Benghazi incident, Obama suggested that for him to dig in and learn the details and facts of that 9/11 day would be to somehow interfere with an FBI investigation, an investigation that to date has provided nil. Wouldn't, shouldn't a President's attitude be more in the vein of "I will find out what happened and I will report back to the nation."?
He declares that he has cut over a trillion dollars, somewhere. He has been told this and it seems he believes it.
He will not engage a critic and nor defend his positions in detail. He can not apparently even engage a questioning reporter nor engage his congressional opposition. In my opinion, he couldn't last 5 minutes in a fact-driven analysis of that which he promotes. The President doesn't meet with the political opposition to initiate compromise because he simply couldn't keep up his end of the argument. His game is to broadcast insipid generalities wrapped in demagoguery and reliant on an arrangement that disallows honest questioning. Can we recall anytime that Mr. Obama had control and knowledge of the facts of an issue?
I maintain that Obama really believes that George Bush started Fast and Furious.
I maintain that Paul Ryan has read more of the Obama Care bill than the President.
I think he actually believes he has trimmed over 1 Trillion dollars from the budget and that the sequestration is a "real" cut rather than merely a trimming of the rate of increase in federal spending.
The president operates only on the information he is given. That is understandable. But does he sense that perhaps his information is flawed? Does he care? Not likely.
Obama's non-engagement and aversion to compromise is actually seated in his complete lack of knowledge, and therefore inability to defend his agenda or even forge a compromise. He is inactive in leadership and compromise because he simply lacks the ability and issue knowledge to lead and compromise.
It is becoming apparent that the President is purposely kept in a bubble by his handlers, protected by the aegis of screened questioning. He is merely a one trick pony with the trick being nothing but media-enabled and unrebutted declarative demagoguery delivered to fawning audiences and broadcast to the clinically under informed.

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Competing sequester bills fail in Senate

Melina Mara/The Washington Post - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, left, and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) discuss the sequester deadlock at a news conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday.

By ,
The measures had been expected to fail — they were largely intended to allow each party to demonstrate that their political opponents were resisting reasonable ideas that could lessen the impact of the $85 billion across-the-board cuts.A Republican proposal would have left the budget cuts intact but provided new flexibility to President Obama to decide where the cuts would fall. It was rejected on a 38 to 62 vote — as all but two Democrats opposed it, along with nine Republicans who feared it would afford Obama too much power. Sixty votes were needed to advance the measure.
Likewise, a bill from Democrats that embodied Obama’s call to replace the across-the-board budget reduction with a mixture of other cuts and higher tax revenues was also blocked, on a 51 to 49 vote. Several Democrats facing 2014 elections voted against the measure.
With that, the Senate completed legislative action for the week. The House completed its final vote in the morning and has also left Washington, with lawmakers resigned that the budget cuts will take effect on schedule.
Bipartisan congressional leaders are scheduled to attend a meeting Friday at the White House with Obama, but there is little expectation the last minute face-to-face talk will result in a sequestration deal.
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters Thursday that he plans to tell Obama what he has said many times in public: House Republicans have twice passed bills to replace the cuts with what he calls more targeted reductions and that they should not have to adopt a third one before the Senate acts.
“Listen, we’ve laid our cards on the table,” he said.
Democrats say the House GOP bills were unacceptable because they merely shifted cuts in defense spending to domestic programs.
Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid said in a speech on the floor of the Senate on Thursday that it is still “not too late” to stop the cuts — provided Republicans agree with Obama’s call to include higher taxes as part of the solution.
Reid (D-Nev.) accused Republicans of being “completely inflexible” by refusing to countenance revenue increases, including cutting subsidies and closing tax loopholes, as part of a solution to avoid steep automatic spending cuts known the sequester.
In the Friday meeting, Obama is expected to push Republican congressional leaders to accept higher tax revenue to avoid the cuts, and the Republicans are expected to reply that they compromised at the beginning of the year when they agreed to more than $600 billion in new taxes, according to officials in both camps.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Thursday that the meeting would address both the sequester and the nation’s broader fiscal challenges.
“The president believes we need to come together and deal with the sequester,” Carney said. “And the sequester is just, you know, one piece of the broader challenge here, which is reducing our deficit in a balanced way.”

The Second Civil War?


   Is this nation in for a rude awaking by a president and administration that has the intent to do harm to our way of life. What if we are in the 5th year of fundamentally changing this nation as Obama has promised to do.
   Since the 1960's when our "Brilliant Boomers: decided multi-culturalism was Politically Correct and began trampling on the rights of some to accommodate others, who were either
lacking socialization skills, or could not speak English, or have illegally invaded our nation by breaking Federal Immigration Laws, and last the illiterate.
   The last 5 decades have given this nation a false hope that lowering the bar would be a successful way to not assimilate, but to give others an easy pass to be part of the greatest nation in human history.
   History has proven that the greatest nations from antiquity fell from arrogance, the break down of social order, and absolute power. From all that has taken place in the last 4 1/2 years historians could surmise that the United States is on the brink of what occurred to the Soviet Union not so long ago.     
   We have a president who through Executive Fiat has taken the Legislative Branch out of its responsibility to write laws, enact taxes, and disburse the public wealth for the greater good of these United States.
This government is garnering resources, like 1.6 billion bullets, not for our military, but for government agencies now headed by left wing socialists. A Senate controlled by men and women who act with malice against the stability of our financial and social Institutions.
   These men and women who divide our nation with hatred and class warfare against anyone who disagrees with their ideology. Where is the 1st Amendment when elected officials can not have an open dialog to fix our nations problems.
  Beware of the coming storm, be prepared the winds of Civil War are brewing to create a Marshall Law State controlled by Obama and the quackery of friends old and new!

theodore miraldi

Voting Rights Law Draws Skepticism From Justices

Supreme Court must decide whether a provision in VRA is ignoring States Rights to change voter laws to protect against rampant voter fraud in 9 Southern States. Another step towards valid elections!
theodore miraldi

Voting Procedures: A lawyer for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund talks about arguing in favor of the Voting Rights Act at the Supreme Court.


WASHINGTON — A central provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 may be in peril, judging from tough questioning on Wednesday from the Supreme Court’s more conservative members.
If the court overturns the provision, nine states, mostly in the South, would become free to change voting procedures without first getting permission from federal officials.
In a vivid argument in which the lawyers and justices drew varying lessons from the legacies of slavery, the Civil War and the civil rights movement, the court’s conservative wing suggested that the modern South had outgrown its troubled past and that the legal burdens on the nine states were no longer justified.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. asked skeptically whether “the citizens in the South are more racist than citizens in the North.” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, whose vote is probably crucial, asked whether Alabama today is an “independent sovereign” or whether it must live “under the trusteeship of the United States government.”
Justice Antonin Scalia
That remark created the sharpest exchange of the morning, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor on the other end. “Do you think that the right to vote is a racial entitlement?” she later asked a lawyer challenging the law, with an edge in her voice that left little doubt she was responding to Justice Scalia’s statement. “Do you think that racial discrimination in voting has ended, that there is none anywhere?”
The outcome of the case will most likely remain in doubt until the end of the court’s current term, in June. Many legal observers predicted that the justices would overturn part of the voting law in 2009, when the court had the same conservative-leaning majority, only to be proven wrong.
One important change, however, is that Chief Justice Roberts suggested in the 2009 ruling that Congress update its formula to determine which parts of the country should remain subject to the law. Congress has not done so.
The question at the heart of Wednesday’s argument was whether Congress, in reauthorizing the provision for 25 years in 2006, was entitled to use a formula based on historic practices and voting data from elections held decades ago.
Should the court strike down the law’s central provision, it would be easier for lawmakers in the nine states to enact the kind of laws Republicans in several states have recently advocated, including tighter identification standards. It would also give those states more flexibility to move polling places and redraw legislative districts.
The four members of the court’s liberal wing, citing data and history, argued that Congress remained entitled to make the judgment that the provision was still needed in the covered jurisdictions. The law passed the Senate unanimously and House overwhelmingly, by a vote of 390 to 33 in 2006.
“It’s an old disease,” Justice Stephen G. Breyer said of efforts to thwart minority voting. “It’s gotten a lot better. A lot better. But it’s still there.”
Justice Kennedy said that history taught a different lesson, referring to the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. “The Marshall Plan was very good, too,” he said. “But times change.”
Justice Breyer looked to a different conflict.
“What do you think the Civil War was about?” he asked. “Of course it was aimed at treating some states differently than others.” He also said that the nation lived through 200 years of slavery and 80 years of racial segregation.
Debo P. Adegbile, a lawyer with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which joined the government in defending the law, echoed that point. “This statute is in part about our march through history to keep promises that our Constitution says for too long were unmet,” he said.
The law was challenged by Shelby County, Ala., which said that its federal preclearance requirement, in Section 5 of the law, had outlived its usefulness and that it imposed an unwarranted badge of shame on the affected jurisdictions.
The county’s lawyer, Bert W. Rein, said that “the problem to which the Voting Rights Act was addressed is solved.”

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Obama's release of illegals 'impeachable offense'

'This is action being taken against the country'


byJoe Kovacs

The Obama administration’s release of hundreds and potentially thousands of illegal-alien criminals from U.S. detention centers in connection with possible budget cuts is being called “an impeachable offense” by the nation’s highest-rated radio talk-show host.
“In what used to be considered – if we can remember this far back – normal, sane times, this is an impeachable offense,” broadcaster Rush Limbaugh said Wednesday. “This is action being taken against the country. … It is sheer madness to be doing this. It is petulant, it is childish.”
“This is in direct violation of the oath of office,” he continued. “Defend and protect the Constitution of the United States, and the people. We’re just opening the doors of prisons before the sequester has even happened. Before there have even been any budget cuts. This is so childish, except the consequences are real for people that live nearby these detention centers. This is on-the-ground, hard, cold reality.
“This is exacting harm on the country and it’s entirely unnecessary. None of these so-called budget cuts are necessary. None of this panic is necessary. It is not even going to be felt, in reality, if the sequester actually does happen.”
Sign the petition urging Congress to impeach Obama.
Limbaugh likened the president’s action to what happened in Iraq just before the U.S. invaded in the 1990s.
“That’s the kind of thing that [former Iraqi dictator] Saddam Hussein did,” he explained. “He just opened the doors to his jails and he let every reprobate that he was holding loose. He created total panic and havoc in Baghdad and throughout the country. That’s the kind of thing Obama’s done here.”
Limbaugh said the release of illegals was “clearly not in the best interests of anybody.”
“For the record, these illegals being released really are criminals; otherwise, they would never have been detained,” Limbaugh said. “It was the [Obama] regime that detained them in the first place. These are not Bush’s prisoners. These are Obama’s prisoners. They were detained and imprisoned by the regime in the first place. And let’s not forget, thanks to Obama’s executive orders, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), the immigration people, no longer detain any illegal aliens unless they’ve been convicted of a serious crime. That’s who we’re talking about here. You have to commit a serious crime before we detain you if you’re illegal. This isn’t just a bunch of discriminated-against freedom fighters that have been wrongly jailed finally seeing freedom.”
In Arizona, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu told Fox News the move was a “mass budget pardon” and suggested the administration was going to unnecessary lengths to demonstrate the impact of the so-called sequester.
“President Obama would never release 500 criminal illegals to the streets of his hometown, yet he has no problem with releasing them in Arizona. The safety of the public is threatened and the rule of law discarded as a political tactic in this sequester battle,” Babeu said.
“Clearly, serious criminals are being released to the streets of our local communities by this mass budget pardon. These are illegals that even President Obama wants to deport. This is insane that public safety is sacrificed when it should be the budget priority that’s safeguarded,” he added.
ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christiansen told the Los Angeles Times, “All of these individuals remain in removal proceedings. Priority for detention remains on serious criminal offenders and other individuals who pose a significant threat to public safety.”


Few words, major impact on Obama by M. Angelou

Maya Obama

Obama to meet with congressional leaders Friday on sequester

   Don't be fooled this is just Obama trying to save his ass meeting with leaders after the Sequester has begun. My question is, where has the president been prior to friday.
   His scorched earth policy looks like a B-movie at this point. This is Obama's last chance to, not agree with Congress, and announce that the cuts are their fault because he tried to avert the cuts even after they have taken effect. Congress has passed several bills prior to the charade to avert the cuts that Obama has said no to!
   This is just another canard by our lying leader!

theodore miraldi

President Obama will meet with congressional leaders Friday at the White House to discuss a way to avoid the fallout of deep spending cuts – after they have technically begun, said a White House and a congressional official.
Weeks of finger pointing on both sides have not led to an agreement to avoid the cuts, known as the sequester. The meeting will be the first between Obama and congressional leaders on the issue.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are expected to attend.
Obama has said the $85 billion in cuts to domestic and defense spending would have a devastating impact on the government and harm the economy. Republican leaders agree that an alternative to the sequester is necessary.
But the two sides have clashed over whether new tax revenue should be part of the solution. Senate Democrats and Republicans are expected to advance dueling proposals to resolve the sequester on Thursday, but neither is expected to get the votes necessary to pass.
The sequester technically begins Friday, but the effects won’t be felt for several weeks, as they are implemented. Federal furlough notices are likely to be among the first steps the government takes.
Both sides are hoping to resolve the battle by late March, when a stopgap measure funding the government expires.
“If the President is serious about stopping the sequester, why did he schedule a meeting on Tuesday for Friday when the sequester hits at midnight on Thursday?” said a congressional Republican aide who declined to be quoted by name ahead of the meeting. “Either someone needs to buy the White House a calendar, or this is just a belated farce. They ought to at least pretend to try.”

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Senate sitting on 290 bills already passed by House

By J. Taylor Rushing

Exasperated House Democratic leaders have compiled a list showing that they have passed 290 bills that have stalled in the Senate.
The list is the latest sign that Democrats in the lower chamber are frustrated with their Senate counterparts.

“The Speaker believes that the filibuster has its place, but clearly Senate Republicans are taking what was once a rare procedural move and abusing it to the detriment of progress for America’s working families,” said Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill.
But some House Democrats and their aides have shown no reticence in blaming Senate Democrats, who enjoyed a supermajority until Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) was sworn in earlier this month.

In January, House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) suggested the Senate was out of touch with Americans, and did not differentiate between the two parties.
“[Senators] tend to see themselves as a House of Lords and they don’t seem to understand that those of us that go out there every two years stay in touch with the American people,” Clyburn said in an interview with Fox News Radio. “We tend to respond to them a little better.”
Earlier this month in an MSNBC interview, House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (Conn.) said, “There’s a host of things that we’ve passed already, and there needs to be action in the Senate, and people are tired of it,” adding that he was “glad the president cited the House” for making more progress than the Senate in his State of the Union address.
The list of stalled bills includes both major and minor legislation: healthcare reform; climate change; food safety; financial aid for the U.S. Postal Service; a job security act for wounded veterans; a Civil War battlefield preservation act; vision care for children; the naming of a federal courthouse in Iowa after former Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa); a National Historic Park named for President Jimmy Carter; a bill to improve absentee ballot voting; a bill to improve cybersecurity; and the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
Hammill said Pelosi’s office also compiled a second list in December of 90 pieces of legislation that have passed the House, more than 60 of them with at least 50 Republican votes.
“There’s a perception that the House is really partisan these days, but the actual numbers show otherwise,” Hammill said.
Reid, like Pelosi, blames Republicans for the legislative logjam. In a speech late Monday on the Senate floor, he took the GOP to task for opposing a job-growth bill pending before the chamber, and said Republicans are abusing the filibuster.

“We had to file cloture some 70 times last year,” Reid said. “Seventy times. That’s remarkably bad. Let’s change that.”

This month, a group of Democratic aides and strategists told The Hill that the party risks losing its majorities if it doesn’t stop internall squabbling.
Simon Rosenberg, founder of the NDN and a former candidate for Democratic National Committee chairman, said congressional Democrats are “frustrated” but “need to look inward.”
“They have to find a way to work more effectively to do the people’s business. There’s going to have to be much tighter coordination on major legislation among the White House, Senate and House,” Rosenberg said.

A list of the House-passed bills that have stalled in the Senate can be viewed here.

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Obama's transparent lies

   The democrats are digging their own grave with the compounded lies from every sector of this administration.
   This is what happens when the truth catches up with the misdirection of priorities.
Cutting 2% from a 3 1/2 trillion dollar budget, and truth to power NO BUDGET by Democrats for
4 years, what could these stupid people in the Senate be thinking.
   Americans now know this is an effort to take away the right of the American Public to choose its own future. The Democrats truly think the entire population is stupid, and who could blame them for feeling that way when most government workers aren't the sharpest knives in the drawer.
   Get ready for your horse meat burgers, and rancid food that won't be inspected. And the newest threat is to let all the illegals in detainment out of jail. Obama is no more than a resurrection of tribal warfare cutting this nation into numerous factors who will never agree on anything.

theodore miraldi

Kerry: 'In America you have a right to be stupid'


In a speech to students in Berlin, the secretary of state defended Americans' rights to be what they want to be.
BERLIN — Secretary of State John Kerry offered a defense of freedom of speech, religion and thought in the United States on Tuesday, telling German students that in America "you have a right to be stupid if you want to be."
"As a country, as a society, we live and breathe the idea of religious freedom and religious tolerance, whatever the religion, and political freedom and political tolerance, whatever the point of view," Kerry told the students in Berlin, the second stop on his inaugural trip as secretary of state.
"People have sometimes wondered about why our Supreme Court allows one group or another to march in a parade even though it's the most provocative thing in the world and they carry signs that are an insult to one group or another," he added.
"The reason is, that's freedom, freedom of speech. In America you have a right to be stupid — if you want to be," he said, prompting laughter. "And you have a right to be disconnected to somebody else if you want to be.
"And we tolerate it. We somehow make it through that. Now, I think that's a virtue. I think that's something worth fighting for," he added. "The important thing is to have the tolerance to say, you know, you can have a different point of view."
Kerry made the comments on his first foreign trip since becoming secretary of state on Feb. 1. After one-night stops in London and Berlin, he visits Paris, Rome, Ankara, Cairo, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Doha before returning to Washington on March 6.
While speaking to the students and earlier to U.S. diplomats, Kerry reminisced about the time he spent in Berlin in the 1950s as the intrepid son of an American diplomat and retold a story of sneaking across to East Berlin with his bike.
"I used to have great adventures. My bicycle and I were best friends. And I biked all around this city. I remember biking down Kurfuerstendamm and seeing nothing but rubble. This was in 1954 ... the war was very much still on people's minds," he told the diplomats, referring to West Berlin's main shopping avenue.
"One day, using my diplomatic passport, I biked through the checkpoint right into the east sector and noticed very quickly how dark and unpopulated (it was) and sort of unhappy people looked," he added, saying it left an impression "that hit this 12-year-old kid."
"I kind of felt a foreboding about it and I didn't spend much time. I kind of skedaddled and got back out of there and went home and proudly announced to my parents what I had done and was promptly grounded and had my passport pulled," he added.
"As a 12-year-old, I saw the difference between East and West," he later told the students. "I never made another trip like that. But I have never forgotten it. And now, it's vanished, vanished."
Reporting by Arshad Mohammed

Eliminating the Deficit, Liberal Style

By R.B.A. Di Muccio

A wise man told me once that when any tax-levying entity operates at a deficit, the possible causes number precisely two: Either it is taxing too little for how much it wants to spend, or it is spending too much for how much it wants to tax. It has either a revenue problem or a spending problem.
In all of its parsimonious glory, this dichotomy lies at the center of the current debate between Democrats and Republicans on the matter of what needs to be done about the gaping U.S. federal budget deficit. Republicans focus their rhetoric on spending, while Democrats fixate on the tax or revenue side.
Part of the rhetorical problem for Republicans is that the most recent Republican president presided over massive increases in spending and the conversion of a budget surplus to a large deficit. According to Office of Management and Budget data, total federal revenue in 2000 (Bill Clinton's last year in office) was just under $2 trillion, while total spending was just about $1.8 trillion-a $200 billion budget surplus. When the books were closed on Bush's last year in office (2008), there was a budget deficit of $500 billion. Why? Although revenue increased 25 percent over Bush's eight years, spending increased 67 percent and settled in at about 18 percent of gross domestic product.
What about Barack Obama? In four years, the deficit has settled in at about $1.3 trillion, a 160 percent increase over George Bush's last deficit. OMB estimates for 2012 show that while annual revenue has increased about 17 percent since Obama took office, annual spending has increased 27 percent, settling in at about 24 percent of GDP.
So, do we have a revenue problem or a spending problem? The data above seem to make the answer obvious because spending growth always outpaces revenue growth. If revenue stays the same or declines while "needs" that only federal spending can solve continue to grow, we arguably have a revenue problem. But revenue has grown -- a lot. It's just that spending has grown a lot faster and now sits at 5-6 percentage points or about 25 percent higher than peacetime historical averages in relation to GDP.
Nevertheless, this argument is a hard sell at best to Democratic Party leaders and liberal pundits. Nancy Pelosi doesn't believe we have a spending problem, nor does Tom Harkin, to provide just two recent examples. As for pundits, count The Daily Kos, Mother Jones, and the omnipresent Paul Krugman as just a few examples of "spending problem deniers."
Alas, this appears to be just another topic on which left and right are hopelessly divided. But I have an idea: Republicans should just concede the point. Let's agree that we have revenue problem. That is, let's erase the deficit using new taxes/revenues alone!
To accomplish this, we have to make some assumptions: First, we have to assume that a $1 increase in tax rate or a tax loophole closure worth $1 actually will yield a $1 increase in tax revenue. Second, we have to assume that large increases in tax rates or big changes in tax policies regarding deductibility, etc., will not adversely affect economic output in general, thus hurting the economy and indirectly reducing tax revenues. Third, we have to assume that the amount of deficit that needs to be captured with new taxes will stay the same; that spending growth will somehow stop dramatically outpacing revenue growth once we've erased the deficit once and for all. Finally, let's assume that new tax revenue from corporations will be increased proportionally to account for their average annual federal tax share of 15 percent of the total (even though the United States already has the highest statutory corporate tax rate in the world); new individual income taxes will have to plug 85 percent of the deficit, or only $1.1 trillion in the first year.
So, what does a $1.1 trillion dollar tax increase look like in practice? One simple way to skin this cat is to look at the distribution of households by income bracket and then distribute across those brackets the new taxes that will be required to eliminate the deficit.
For example we could eliminate the deficit "by getting millionaires and billionaires to pay a little bit more." There are approximately 250,000 households (less than 0.5 percent of all households) in America with annual incomes of $1 million or higher. Most of these households are near the bottom of this bracket and frequently move over and below the $1 million line over time. Be that as it may, asking them to eliminate the deficit would add $4.4 million in new annual taxes per household.
Okay, maybe we can't realistically erase the deficit by asking tens of thousands of Americans to pay (in new, incremental taxes) an amount that is quadruple their total income. But if we expand the definition of "millionaires and billionaires" to households with incomes over $200,000, we now have 4.2 percent of U.S. households to work with. If we reduce the new tax burden on the $1 million plus bucket to about $1 million, we get about a 23/77 percent split between the upper 0.2 percent and the next 4 percent of households. In this scenario, households in the $200,000-$1 million bracket will only have to pay $151,000 in new taxes. However, if we further reduce the new burden on the upper 0.2 percent to $500,000 per household (so they get to keep a few bucks every year to live on between their current and proposed incremental taxes), the additional per household tax bill on those making more than $200,000 goes up to ... just over $200,000.
And remember, the U.S. tax code is already among the most progressive in the world by the government's own analysis. According to the CBO, the top 1 percent of households represents about 17 percent of the income, but bears almost 40 percent of the tax burden. The upper 10 percent represents 43 percent of the income, but about 70 percent of the tax burden. The lower 47 percent are held essentially held harmless in terms of federal income tax burden; a tax policy quirk that you don't see in any other advanced economies.
So, given the hugely imbalanced nature of the current tax system, perhaps the new debt-eliminating tax burden should be shared equally by all households. This would add only about $9,600 in new taxes for every U.S. household, including those in the $0-$25,000 and $25,000-$50,000 brackets (which together make up 47 percent of all households). In other words, their federal income taxes would go from 0 percent (or even below 0 percent in some cases) of income to 20 percent for those at the very top of these brackets and to much higher percentages for everyone else.
You say you want to continue to hold the bottom 47 percent harmless in terms of new income tax burden? Fine. If we equally distribute the deficit-busting new taxes among the remaining six brackets, new taxes for a $1 million household would be $1.1 million; $56,000 for a $200,000 household; $14,000 for a $100,000 household; and $7,800 for a $50,000 household. If we let the millionaire households keep a few bucks to live on and only ask them for around $500,000 each in new taxes, burdens for the remaining brackets go up to $65,000; $16,000; and 9,000 respectively.
The first point of all of this is that there is not one of these scenarios or any other revenue-only deficit-elimination scenario that is remotely feasible by any definition of the term. Even Democrats understand that you can't confiscate all or most of the income of the wealthy. Neither do Democrats (nor Republicans for that matter) have any intention of asking the lower 47 percent of households to begin putting skin in the game with new income taxes, much less 20 percent, 30 percent, 50 percent or more of their incomes. The middle-ground approach described above, while still preposterously confiscatory on millionaires, raises marginal federal income tax rates alone on a $200,000 household to over 50 percent.
The second and more fundamental point is that the Democrats' rhetoric on this topic is desperately cynical and patently dishonest. There is a lot of talk from Democrats about a "balanced approach." But reactions to the possibility of "sequestration" in early 2013 tell the truth of the matter. Best estimates on the "cuts" show they will amount to $85 billion, barely a drop in the bucket. And the truth of the matter is that overall federal spending will still increase over last year and will increase in every category with the possible exception of defense. But even this is being resisted and demagogued to death by Democrats, proving that there is no actual spending cut that is acceptable to them.
If you're not willing to reduce spending, and you accept that there's no practical way to eliminate the deficit through tax increases alone, you are left in an endless, farcical loop that points inexorably to one conclusion: you don't actually care one iota about the deficit, or the resulting debt, or the economic crash that is sure to result from this whole absurd mess.

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Crossed Paths: Chicago’s Jacksons and Obamas

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press
President Obama embracing Jesse L. Jackson Jr. at a Ford auto plant in Chicago in 2010

Obama's DRAMA!

   As Obama pulls out all the tricks in his magic political hat, from Janet Napolitano, to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood spewing that disaster will rain down on the American Public because of a policy that came straight from the lips of, you know who... BHO.
   This charlatan of a president has turned up the scare level and stoops to conquer just because he can. This most arrogant cynicism continues to lead us down the path of financial disaster.
   Anyone examining the data could only believe Obama has a plan to ruin this country for generations, therefore opening our Founders Ideologies to revisions that will turn this nation into a second rate socialist nation.
   In every debate Obama demonizes the opposition with a vengeance only seen by the likes of men like Stalin, Castro and the numerous despots who have faded into history as total failures.
    Obama is destined to fail. The American public doesn't scare easily when it comes to financial fantasies by disingenuous leaders.
   Examine the facts and figures, and the truth will be revealed.

theodore miraldi

Barack Obama’s 100 City Santa Claus Tour

by may

The Obama Administration has begun a tour of 100 cities in order to promote opportunities for cities to cash in on Federal government largess and politically motivated giveaways.
It seems that Obama has lost any residual sense of reality, because Obama has been whining excessively at every opportunity that the $85 billion in scheduled Sequester cuts will destroy our nation. If Obama were speaking the truth about the devastation that would be created by the Sequester cuts, why would Obama be pushing to grow the size of our Federal government and to continue to increase the magnitude of our Federal government using taxpayer money to play Santa Claus?
There is only one apparent answer. Barack Obama is really a Marxist intent on destroying economic freedom and prosperity in the United States of America.
Senator Tom Coburn sent a letter on Thursday to Obama’s White House Office of Management and Budget demanding a stop to this 100 city giveaway tour. Coburn’s letter began,
Much is being made about the possible impact of sequestration on government programs for the poor and middle class, food safety, and the defense of our nation. It is somewhat surprising, therefore, for the White House to be headlining a 100 city government spending tour, transporting representatives from multiple departments and various agencies around the country to promote federal largess. If Washington is truly cutting spending on missions many consider vital, how can we at the same time promise and promote more financial assistance, much less afford this mammoth 100 city cross country tour?
Obama’s popularity remains concentrated in Obama’s ability to give taxpayer money to states, to cities and other municipalities, and to the people. People like free stuff for which someone else appears to be paying the bill.
The American people voted for Barack Obama because Obama promised them money and services for which they did not have to work to receive. Obama won the 2012 General Election with gifts of birth control, free abortions, and free cell phones.
Mitt Romney promised the American people the opportunity to work hard and take risks with less interference from government. The people who voted for Obama did not want to work, so they voted for Obama thinking he is the real Santa Claus.
Increasingly, the American people want someone else to do the work, and they simply want the benefits of the work. When those who work resist and suggest the recipients should work for their own support, the nonproductive call the productive “greedy” and even call for their execution.

Limbaugh: Supreme irony for Obamas at Oscars

'If you want to look for a conspiracy in any of this, you focus on that'

First Lady Michelle Obama announces the best picture award for "Argo" during the 85th Academy Awards.

Talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh says there was supreme irony and a possible “conspiracy” in having first lady Michelle Obama present the award for best picture Sunday night at the 85th annual Academy Awards.
“There was some real irony last night that zipped by and blew by a lot of people,” Limbaugh noted, saying it was the first time in a decade he had watched the entire broadcast from start to finish.
“The best picture award last night went to a movie named ‘Argo,’ which was about what? The rescue of embassy personnel under attack in Iran. The wife of the commander in chief who failed to rescue four Americans at an embassy/consulate in Benghazi presented it, and talked about how important it was, and how necessary it is and how great it was and all that.
“This administration FAILED in rescuing Americans under attack, and the wife of the president who failed presented the Oscar to the movie who won the best picture award about a successful rescue of embassy personnel from Iran in 1979, thereby maybe claiming credit.”
“I can’t get over it,” he continued.
Talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh says there was supreme irony and a possible “conspiracy” in having first lady Michelle Obama present the award for best picture Sunday night at the 85th annual Academy Awards.
“There was some real irony last night that zipped by and blew by a lot of people,” Limbaugh noted, saying it was the first time in a decade he had watched the entire broadcast from start to finish.
“The best picture award last night went to a movie named ‘Argo,’ which was about what? The rescue of embassy personnel under attack in Iran. The wife of the commander in chief who failed to rescue four Americans at an embassy/consulate in Benghazi presented it, and talked about how important it was, and how necessary it is and how great it was and all that.
“This administration FAILED in rescuing Americans under attack, and the wife of the president who failed presented the Oscar to the movie who won the best picture award about a successful rescue of embassy personnel from Iran in 1979, thereby maybe claiming credit.”
“I can’t get over it,” he continued.
Actor/director Ben Affleck in a scene from "Argo," which won the best picture Oscar at the 85th Academy Awards.
“‘Argo.’ Rescue of six embassy personnel, Iran 1979. Obama: failure to rescue four embassy personnel. Michelle Obama presents award for best movie to ‘Argo.’ If you want to look for a conspiracy in any of this, you focus on that. You talk about irony. This regime still hasn’t come clean on what happened at Benghazi. They’ve tried to paper that over and cover that up, blame that all on a video. There hasn’t been anything courageous in one aspect of Benghazi, and certainly not from the standpoint of the [Obama] regime. But ‘Argo’ is a movie about the rescue of six embassy/CIA personnel from Iran in 1979, right under the watchful eyes of the Ayatollah Khomeini. And there’s Michelle Obama presenting the award. Best movie, Argo. And her husband didn’t do didley squat saving embassy personnel in Benghazi.”
Limbaugh said “Argo’s” victory for best picture was a no-brainer, as the powers-that-be in Hollywood were, in effect, congratulating themselves for getting involved in the 1979 rescue, since the movie focused on a phony movie being made in Iran as a ruse to enable the rescue.
He also said when it comes to the Academy Awards, “The bottom line here is that the Obamas have been snubbed. They still haven’t won an Oscar. They’ve won everything else. They’ve won Grammys. They have won a Nobel Prize. The Obamas have won lifetime-achievement awards … the Obamas have won awards that haven’t even been created. But they haven’t won an Oscar. And there were two chances for them last night: the campaign ad, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ and semi-autobiography, ‘Lincoln.’ Snubbed. So Michelle shows up, presenting the award.”
Limbaugh also had praise for the talent of “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane, the host of the awards broadcast, despite the fact MacFarlane is a strong advocate of left-leaning political views, while Limbaugh is a champion for the political right.
“There are a lot of characterizations about how he uses it and what direction he takes it, but there’s no denying his talent, and he’s a profoundly hard worker,” Limbaugh said of MacFarlane. “I sent him an attaboy note yesterday morning. I sent him a wish-you-well kind of note. He wrote back and said, ‘You know what? I kind of understand how you conservatives feel about the media now.’ Because they were already proclaiming him the worst host ever before the show had even aired. I mean, 12 hours before the show.”



Why we need the sequester

by Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake

Most Americans are living on “Fantasy Island” when it comes to federal spending.
We’re not debating the relative merits of the $1.2 trillion in spending cuts set to go into effect on Friday if Congress does nothing (and rest assured they will do nothing.) Partisans agree on almost nothing, but the idea of a non-discriminate, across-the-board cut is almost universally acknowledged as something short of a good idea.
Instead, we are disputing the concept that the total failure of our politicians to even sit down and negotiate in hopes of averting what was once-considered a doomsday scenario is such a bad thing. In short: just because the sequester is a manufactured crisis doesn’t mean it can’t have the same effect as a non-manufactured crisis in waking up the body politic to the “have cake/eat it too” mentality that dominates not just Washington but the public at large.
A Pew Research Center poll conducted earlier this month makes clear the country’s “both/and” nature and why it is so hard for politicians to thread that needle.
While there is widespread support for trimming federal spending, when it comes to the specifics of what should be cut, clarity disappears. In not one of the 19 (!) specific areas did a majority of the sample express support for a diminishing of federal spending. (The closest was the 48 percent who favored cutting “aid to the world’s needy.” So, that happened.) Somewhat amazingly, of the 19 areas Pew asked people about cutting, Americans favored increasing spending over decreasing spending in 16 of them.
What those numbers make clear is that most people live in a fantasy world where overall federal spending decreases even as spending on virtually every federal program increases. Given that “reality”, it’s uniquely possible that only through crisis — manufactured or not — will people come to grips with the fundamental paradox at the center of their thinking of what the federal government should or shouldn’t do.
Make no mistake: People aren’t paying much (really, any) attention to the sequester. And, it’s possible that even after it goes into effect later this week and the consequences begin to be felt, most people still won’t pay attention (or care).
But, it’s also possible that the size of the cuts — a trillion dollars is a ton of money even spread out over the next decade — and the heat of the rhetoric coming from the two parties causes the sort of crisis that forces a decent number of people to pay attention and begin to re-examine (or, more likely examine) the way they think about spending. And, if enough people start paying attention, their politicians — forever a reactive species — could well be emboldened or intimidated into doing something big(ger).
The most basic truth of modern politics is that action happens only in response to crisis. (That may not be the politics we want, but it’s definitely the politics we have.) The sequester may not be that crisis — maybe it’s the debt ceiling fight to come later this summer — but if it is, that’s probably a good thing for people who want things to change in some meaningful way. Short of a crisis, the sort of kick-the-can-ism that has dominated the last decade or more in politics will continue ad infinitum.

Father of U.S. slavery was a black man

Exclusive: Ben Kinchlow reveals true history of legal human bondage

Ben Kinchlow is a minister, broadcaster, author and businessman. He was the long-time co-host of CBN's "The 700 Club" television program and host of the international edition of the show, seen in more than 80 countries. He is the founder of Americans for Israel and the African American Political Awareness Coalition, and the author of several books.

February has been officially designated, recognized by many and even celebrated by some as Black History Month or National African-American History Month. While it is acknowledged in some other countries (most notably Canada and the U.K.), it is primarily devoted to the achievements of African-Americans in the U.S. It will, henceforth, include the historical fact that Barack Hussein Obama became the first African-American president of the United States.
However, early American history also reveals another dramatic first involving a black American.
In truth, it should be considered a joint celebration. We are, in actuality, acknowledging the achievements of both blacks and America. Since we are celebrating the achievements of both, it may be appropriate to begin at the beginning.
Black History remembrance began as Negro History Week in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, a son of former slaves. The second week of February was chosen in honor of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln (both born in that week), and in 1976 the entire month was declared Black History Month.
Now to the beginning. It is well known that the first colonials arrived on these shores following the settlement of Jamestown by the Virginia Company in 1607. Perhaps what is not so well known is the fact that following the Thirty Years’ War, the European economy was extremely depressed. Consequently, many skilled and unskilled laborers there were without work, and the New World offered hope and a chance for a new future.
According to some reports, one-half to two-thirds of the immigrants who came to the American colonies arrived as indentured servants, and this included some Africans, who arrived in Jamestown in 1619. This distinction is critical; indentured servants were not slaves.
The first blacks to arrive in America were not slaves but indentured servants.
In 1619, all indentured servants (white or black)had specified periods of servitude ranging from four to seven yearsand received precisely the same treatment and rewards. At the conclusion of their respective periods of servitude, each was entitled to freedom, citizenship and a land grant of 25 to 50 acres. Throughout the early colonial period when all land was held in trust for the king, the basis of land disposition were grants, dispensed by the local government in accordance with the king’s wishes.
Land grants in Virginia were issued in accordance with a particular system. Under this system, every person who paid his own way to Virginia would be entitled to 50 acres of land, known as a “headright.” There was no stigma attached, and all families, black or white, subsequently enjoyed all the rights and privileges of other citizens in the community. A father could indenture a family of four, and since each family member was entitled to 50 acres at the conclusion of the period of servitude, they were given their freedom and the family would qualify for a parcel of 200 acres.
Using this method, one colonist, Anthony Johnson, by indenturing his own family members, was able to secure 250 acres of land. His sons, utilizing the same strategy, gained an additional 650 acres. The Johnsons settled on “Pungoteague Creek” on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and thrived for almost 40 years.
For the indentureds, there were both economic and civic benefits associated with this practice: British law protected the rights of the individual, the master’s power over his indentured servants was limited, and a specific skill must have been taught.
The Virginia Company, however, changed the rules. They would now allow anyone to pay a person’s transportation to the colony in exchange for a period of indentured servitude, subject to certain caveats. Under the new rules, knowledge of a skill of any kind was not included in this contract and whoever paid the cost of passage would receive the 50 acres of land for each passage purchased. Indentured servants would now get nothing but a trip and often found themselves without rights or freedom. As one white indentured servant, Thomas Best, wrote from Virginia in 1623, “My master Atkins hath sold me for 150 pounds sterling like a damned slave.”
Indentured servants, especially whites, could (and often did) slip away, become part of another settlement and simply disappear. A permanent, economically beneficial solution for the elites was sought and implemented.
Note: The Bible points out a common failing and path to social injustice: “The love of money is the root of all evil.” Nothing against money per se, but the love of same precipitates activities that generate misery; not a high endorsement for a concept it is supposed to propagate and undergird. (As an aside, the overwhelming majority thinks the Bible is a religious book designed to promote religion. In actuality, there are seven references to religious/religion in the Bible, and six of them are negative.)
Here, history takes a bizarre turn. When I came upon this one particularly astonishing bit of information, I was flabbergasted.
Part of the problem with facts is they can cause discomfort when they do not conform to our preconceived notions. Not once had I ever heard so much as a whisper of this, and it flew in the face of everything I knew – everybody knew – about the origins of slavery in the English colonies. Talk about political incorrectness!
Remember the aforementioned Anthony Johnson? He raised livestock, prospered and as was customary with prosperous landowners, indenturing one black and several white servants. Johnson had sued in court and won several cases, but one case in particular would set the stage for a dramatic shift in the workforce. There are several reports as to the origin of this landmark case, which would indelibly change the American cultural landscape and impact relationships between blacks and whites for centuries.
One report says John Casor, a black indentured servant, “swindled” Johnson out of the remainder of his servitude. Another says the family convinced Johnson to free Casor. Still another says Casor “convinced” a white neighbor, Robert Parker, that he was being illegally detained. Whatever the reason, Johnson was not satisfied with the status quo and took Casor and Parker to court, alleging that Casor had not been obtained as a servant, but as a slave.
Understand the true significance of this case. Johnson was not suing to have John Casor fulfill some measure of a debt of servitude. Instead, he insisted the court grant his petition that “he had ye Negro for his life.” He was claiming the services of John Casor for the remainder of Casor’s natural life. To my knowledge, there is no earlier record of judicial support given to slavery in Virginia except as a punishment for crime. Anthony Johnson was asking the court to award him John Casor (who had committed no crime) as a slave.
Parker and one other influential landowner, both white, sided with Casor. However, the court ruled for Johnson. In the original language taken from the original documents is the decision of the county court:
“Court of Northampton; Eight Mar, Anno1654:
Whereas complaint was this daye made to ye court by ye humble peticion of Anth. Johnson Negro ag[ains]t Mr. Robert Parker…”
I needed to read it slowly and in modern English:
“Whereas complaint was this day made to the court by the humble petition of Anthony Johnson, Negro, against Mr. Robert Parker that he detains one John Casor, a Negro, the plaintiff’s servant under pretense that the said John Casor is a freeman. The court seriously considering and maturely weighing the premises do find that the said Mr. Robert Parker most unrightly keeps the said Negro John Casor from his rightful master Anthony Johnson, as it appears by the Deposition of Capt. Samuel Goldsmith and many probable circumstances. Be it therefore the Judgment of the court and ordered that said John Casor, Negro, shall forthwith be turned into the service of his said master, Anthony Johnson, and that the said Mr. Robert Parker make payment of all charges in the suit and execution. (Eighth March, Year 1654)”
This is apparently the first legal sanction of slavery (not for a crime) in the New World.
Johnson – who had himself been captured in Angola and brought to America as an indentured servant – was a black man.
From evidence found in the earliest legal documents, Anthony Johnson must be recognized as the nation’s first official legal slaveholder.
The father of legalized slavery in America was a black man.
Do we celebrate that as part of Black History Month?


America’s worst enemies: Kerry wrong again My resonse NYPOST

The Issue: Secretary of State John Kerry’s claim that Congress is the biggest challenge to US foreign affairs.

(“Kerry vs. America [the Sequel],” Editorial, Feb. 22).

John Kerry

My response: 2/24/2013

   Given another opportunity to trash American policy, John Kerry has darkened the stain on his character that he created during and after the Vietnam War.
   A traitor to his Swift Boat comrades, Kerry’s comments reveal that he has never changed his unpatriotic stance.
   He’s a modern-day Benedict Arnold.

theodore miraldi