Monday, August 13, 2012

List of Foreign Countries Receiving BILLIONS in Obama Stimulus Funds, American Jobs!

Maggie's Notebook ^ | 8-13-12 | Maggie@MaggiesNotebook

If you are not aware that Obama's obscene $787 BILLION stimulus program now stands at $1.2 TRILLION and growing, please read that story here, but not before taking a look at the foreign companies receiving your tax money from the ever growing Obama Stimulus. Let your friends know the BILLIONS intended to stimulate the American economy, stimulated the rest of the world, and in the tsunami that resulted, thousands of Americans lost their jobs: A record of a President's stimulus failure goes round the world:

AUSTRALIA: $162,000 for Melanoma Tumor Samples to be sent to the National Cancer Institute
CHINA: Outsourced jobs to China.
● $30 MILLION to an American LED manufacturer to open plants. It did, and half of the company's employees are now located in China.
● $337 MILLION for an Arizona solar plant - the panels will be supplied by a Chinese solar panel manufacturer.
● GE cancelled a contract with an American manufacturer of parts for Wind Turbines, and then ordered from China. The company, ATI, offered to match the price from China. GE refused the order and the American company laid off 302 workers.
● GE has used Chinese-made Wind Towers over American Towers at Stimulus funded Shepherds Flat Wind Farm in Oregon.
● A solar power company received $5.4 MILLION in grant monies, then laid off America workers based on an increased reliance on imports from China.
● $51.6 MILLION in Obama Stimulus Grants to build factories in the US. Layoff of 180 US workers have been announce,
● and possibly another 1,600 by the end of 2012. $218 MILLION Stimulus grant for wind turbines for the US assembled in Denmark.
● $25 MILLION for the construction of a "Demonstration Scale Biorefinery."
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Obama Stimulus funds for Renewable Energy Call Center (could have been a US project).
EL SALVADOR: Stimulus funds used to hire hundreds of workers in El Salvador and the Dominican Republic to administer Renewable Energy Appliance Rebate Program (could have been a US project).
FRANCE: Obama Stimulus funds for foreign-made Wind Turbines. $69 MILLION in cash grants
FINLAND: $100,000 to build luxury electric sports cars
● $440 MILLION for Wind Farms before Stimulus was passed. Turbines for US used were manufactured in Germany.
● Another $100 MILLION to Spain in grant monies for Wind Farms. In September 2011, the company announced the would lay-off 10% of their American workforce.
● $39 MILLION in Obama Stimulus funds to build electric delivery trucks.
● Another British private equity firm received $40+ MILLION in Obama Stimulus Funds by buying an American company days before the Stimulus funds were designated.
INDIA: Stimulus funds for Wind Turbines manufactured in India for the US use. $69 MILLION in cash grants.
INDONESIA: $1.5 MILLION to reduce pollution in Jakarta, one of Obama's home cities
● Obama Stimulus funds for foreign-made Wind Turbines. Italian company, Brevini Wind was given a $12.75 MILLION Tax Credit to manufacture gearboxes in Indiana. The company promised to hire 450 Americans. So far, only 70 jobs have evolved and the facility will not be in operation until late 2013.
● Other Italian Wind Turbine manufacturers received of $84 Million in CASH GRANTS throug Obama's Stimulus
JAPAN: Before the Obama Stimulus was passed, we sent money to Japan to build a Wind Farm. $91.4 MILLION in grants - 180 Turbines manufactured in Japan by Mitsubishi.
LUXEMBOURG: $31.5 MILLION in Obama Stimulus funds for a Waste Heat Recovery Unit
● Obama Stimulus funds for Mexico. Mexico's SunPower says some of the solar panels for the $1.3 BILLION stimulus-backed California Solar Valley Ranch will be manufactured in Mexico - not California.
● Another $16 MILLION to create green manufacturing jobs in Mexico, while the US company laid off workers here and sent work to Mexico.
NEW ZEALAND: Stimulus funds go to NZ contractor - work that could have been done by a US contractor. $817,000 awarded to Connexionz to install bus monitors for the city of Santa Clarita.
RUSSIA: We funded a company in Russia. It went bankrupt. Russian investors bought it. $118 MILLION from Obama's stimulus to produce vehicle batteries. The Russian investor's company may do work for the US Military!
SPAIN: Obama Stimulus funds for foreign-made Wind Turbines. $1.5 BILLION in loans and grants. The company claimed it had created over 15,000 American jobs but the company has only 850 US-based employees.
SWITZERLAND: A Swiss-based company received $50+ MILLION in Stimulus contracts for Smart Grid Meters. Cathy Zoi, a former Obama Energy Department Official held over $250,000 in stock in the company. Zoi has previously served as an Executive Director with the company before joining the Obama administration.
THAILAND: $200 BILLION for General Motors plant in Thailand - after GM took a taxpayer-funded bailout they build the Thailand lant to build diesel engines for the Chevy Colorado Pickup truck.
VIETNAM: GE builds Wind Turbine plant. GM's Jeffery Immelt chairs the President's Job Council and GM received over $1.2 BILLION in Obama Stimulus funds.
● Obama Stimulus funded America jobs used to hire foreign nationals. $300 MILLION to manufacturer electric vehicle batteries after building plants in Michigan. Unions are balking and saying foreign nationals are being brought in to fill jobs for Americans.
● The Department of Energy admits that 11 of 18 contractors are Asian firms. $179 MILLION for parts from South Korea.

Remove the Media from the Debates

PJ Media ^ | 8/13/12 | Roger L Simon

I was appalled, although not surprised, to read the just announced list of moderators for the forthcoming presidential debates: Jim Lehrer of PBS, Candy Crowley of CNN, Bob Schieffer of CBS, and Martha Raddatz of ABC (VP debate).

All liberals from liberal news organizations. Not even a token representative from Fox or the Wall Street Journal – not in the moderator seat anyway.

Don’t we live in a democracy? Or is this Syria or Egypt where its new Islamist president just wrested power from the military?
But there is something we can do about it even at this late date: protest and protest loudly. In this manner, we highlight the bogus quality of the debates. Even if our candidates perform better than the opposition, continue the protest. They can talk about the economy. We can still protest the bias.

Demand the moderators be removed even if they are not. As Churchill told us, never, ever give up. Someone might even be listening. And that someone is the American people.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Shocker: NBC's Lauer Uses Obama's Own Words to Knock Down Attacks on Ryan ^ | August 13, 2012 | Kyle Drennan

On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer actually used the President's own past statements about Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan to grill deputy Obama campaign manager Stephanie Cutter: "President Obama said this of Paul Ryan, that he was 'absolutely sincere about wanting to reduce the deficit'...gave him 'credit for at least being willing to put out there some very tough choices.' Does he still feel that way?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Cutter attempted to rely on the usual Democratic fearmongering, accusing Ryan of a plan "that balances the budget on the backs of the middle class." Lauer called her out for that tactic, again citing Obama's own words: "...he said this, quote, 'We're not going to be able to do anything about these entitlements if what we do characterize whatever proposal's are put out there as well, you know, that's the other party being irresponsible...the other party trying to hurt our senior citizens.' Which sounds exactly what – like what you just said."
NBC's Lauer Uses Obama's Own Words to Knock Down Attacks on Ryan
In response, Cutter doubled down on the line of attack her boss once denounced: "Well, no, Matt, I disagree. It doesn't sound just like what I just said. The facts are about Mr. Ryan's budget is that it really does balance the budgets on the backs of the middle class and the needy."
Lauer rounded out his tough questioning by wondering: "Paul Ryan is a seven-term congressman from that state. Every time he ran he won with I think a majority of over 60%. Do you worry that he brings Wisconsin in play and that he helps in other rust-belt states?"
Prior to Lauer's interview with Cutter, fellow co-host Savannah Guthrie talked to Romney campaign senior advisor Kevin Madden and suggested the pick of Ryan was a sign of Romney losing: "Governor Romney's been getting a lot of credit for making a bold, game-changing choice here. It strikes me that you don't make a choice like that if you think you are winning the campaign. Is this a tacit acknowledgment the strategy Romney had before, just running against the Obama economy, is not working?"
Guthrie went on to claim that "this pick of Congressman Ryan has delighted both conservatives and liberals, and for one reason, because of the Ryan budget." She also fretted: "The hallmark of Romney's argument to be president is that he's a Washington outsider who has primarily private sector expertise. In Congressman Ryan you have somebody who has spent his entire life in Washington and has zero private sector experience. How do you square that?"
Here is a full transcript of Lauer's August 13 exchange with Cutter:

7:10AM ET
MATT LAUER: Stephanie Cutter is President Obama's deputy campaign manager. Stephanie, good morning to you.
LAUER: A couple of years ago, President Obama said this of Paul Ryan, that he was "absolutely sincere about wanting to reduce the deficit." He called Ryan's plan "a legitimate proposal" and added that he gave him "credit for at least being willing to put out there some very tough choices." Does he still feel that way?
CUTTER: Well, you know, you – the President said it last night. That he knows Paul Ryan, he thinks Paul Ryan is a good and decent man, he definitely has some very serious ideas. The President just fundamentally disagrees with him. And you know, this pick, I heard the opening talking about how this pick was a courageous and bold pick. It's not courageous to put a Republican budget on the table that doesn't ask for shared sacrifice. It's not courageous to put a Republican budget on the table that balances the budget on the backs of the middle class and doesn't ask anything from the very wealthy. You know, being courageous means you have to buck your own party and Mr. Ryan has never done that.

LAUER: Well when you say that, Stephanie, you know, President Obama addressed Paul Ryan at a GOP retreat in 2010 and he said this, quote, "We're not going to be able to do anything about these entitlements if what we do characterize whatever proposal's are put out there as 'well, you know, that's the other party being irresponsible...the other party trying to hurt our senior citizens.'" Which sounds exactly what – like what you just said.
CUTTER: Well, no, Matt, I disagree. It doesn't sound just like what I just said. The facts are about Mr. Ryan's budget is that it really does balance the budgets on the backs of the middle class and the needy. And that's not a pro-growth policy. And don't take it from me. Take it from independent economists who have studied this budget and said that if we enacted the drastic cuts that Paul Ryan wants to put in place and Mitt Romney wants to put in place, because this is his budget now, too, that it would actually contract the economy. It could mean up to a million jobs, that we would lose. So don't take it from me, take it from independent economists, this is not a pro-growth document. This is an ideological document.
LAUER: Let's talk about Wisconsin. It hasn't voted for a Republican nominee since, I think, 1984. Paul Ryan is a seven-term congressman from that state. Every time he ran he won with I think a majority of over 60%. Do you worry that he brings Wisconsin in play and that he helps in other rust-belt states?
CUTTER: Well, I think we have to see how this plays out. We feel pretty confident on our standing in Wisconsin. I think not just because of the President's popularity but because of what the President believes in. I think the people of Wisconsin, they do want to do something about Medicare to ensure it's there for them and their children, but they don't want to put policies in place that actually end – will mean the beginning of the end of Medicare. They want to make sure that we can keep costs down, not add costs to seniors. They want to make sure that we can balance our budget in a way that's responsible, that protects the investments that we need to grow, like education, like clean energy, like innovation. All of these things that mean good jobs, competitiveness, America, the economy coming back. And that's not what the Ryan budget or the Romney budget does.
LAUER: Alright. We've got a lot of weeks to sort through this. Stephanie Cutter, it's nice of you to spend time with us this morning, I appreciate it.
CUTTER: Thank you for having me. 

What If...

Gas Prices Set to Rise for Rest of 2012!

CNBC ^ | August 7,2012 | Sharon Epperson

Gasoline and oil futures surged Tuesday to the highest prices since May, as traders predicted the damage from a fire at California's third largest refinery could take months to repair.
The lowest retail gasoline prices of the year may already be behind us, some traders say, especially in light of this incident as well as refinery issues around the U.S. and across the Atlantic in the North Sea.
September RBOB gasoline futures briefly topped $3 a gallon Tuesday, and settled just shy of that mark, near a 3-month high. The more than 2 percent gain in gasoline futures sparked big gains in the oil market, where London-based Brent crude prices jumped over $2 to more than $112 a barrel and WTI oil futures topped $94 a barrel in New York, then settled up more than $1 at $93.67 a barrel.
The fire at the 240,000 barrel per day Chevron refinery in the San Francisco Bay area started around 6:15 pm local time Monday and blazed through the night before being extinguished early Tuesday. Chevron's Richmond refinery produces about 15 percent of the gasoline used by California drivers, says energy analyst Andy Lipow.
Operations at the refinery are expected to be hampered for some time. Analysts say it could take months before the crude distillation unit where the fire broke out is back to normal operations.
The local gasoline market in California saw a swift, steep price surge-far greater than at the New York Mercantile Exchange. Spot gasoline prices soared in San Francisco, spiking over 35 cents to $3.32 a gallon, skyrocketing 12 percent. Prices could climb at least 40 cents in the wake of this incident, says OPIS analyst Tom Kloza.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

The Fly

I was visiting my daughter last night when I asked if I could see her newspaper. 'This is the 21st century,' she said. 'I don't waste money on newspapers. Here, you can use my iPad.'

I can tell you this for sure...that damned fly never knew what hit him.

The rest of the story…

Michael A. Crowley, PE is the owner of Crowley & Associates, Inc. and was President and an owner of Crowley, Crisp & Associates, Inc. and Michael A. Crowley, PC. As President of Crowley & Associates, Inc., Mike is a lead designer of water supply, treatment and storage projects, regional sewage lift station design, and residential and commercial site development projects and is responsible for the management of the firm. Mike’s industry background includes over 20 years experience in the civil engineering field inclusive of executive level responsibilities in Marketing and Project Management. Prior to founding Michael A. Crowley, PC, Mike held positions with several engineering firms in North Carolina and Maine . Mike holds a B.S. Degree in Civil Engineering from University of Maine and a Master of Business Administration from Boston College . Mike is a member of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and holds professional registrations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Arkansas, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Indiana, Maine, Tennessee, Australia, and Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies. Mike is a native of Norridgewock , Maine . The Crowley family resides in Wake Forest .

To All My Valued Employees,

There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of this company, and more specifically, your job. As you know, the economy has changed for the worse and presents many challenges. However, the good news is this: The economy doesn't pose a threat to your job.

What does threaten your job however, is the changing political landscape in this country. Of course, as your employer, I am forbidden to tell you whom to vote for - it is against the law to discriminate based on political affiliation, race, creed, religion, etc.

Please vote for who you think will serve your interests the best. However, let me tell you some little tidbits of fact which might help you decide what is in your best interest. First, while it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is a back story.

This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see and hear. Sure, you see me park my Mercedes outside. You saw my big home at last year’s Christmas party. I'm sure all these flashy icons of luxury conjure up some idealized thoughts about my life. However, what you don't see is the back story.

I started this company 12 years ago. At that time, I lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment for 3 years. My entire living space was converted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you.

My diet consisted of Ramen Pride noodles because every dollar I spent went back into this company. I drove a rusty Toyota Corolla with a defective transmission. I didn't have time to date. Often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. In fact, I was married to my business -- hard work, discipline, and sacrifice.

Meanwhile, my friends got jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made a modest $50K a year and spent every dime they earned. They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes. Instead of hitting Nordstrom's for the latest hot fashion item, I was trolling through the Goodwill store extracting any clothing item that didn't look like it was birthed in the 70's.

My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury. I, however, did not. I put my time, my money, and my life into a business --- with a vision that eventually, some day, I too, will be able to afford these luxuries my friends supposedly had.

So, while you physically arrive at the office at 9 am, mentally check in at about noon, and then leave at 5 pm, I don't. There is no "off" button for me. When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have the freedom. I eat, ****, and breathe this company every minute of the day. There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour. Every day this business is attached to me like a 1 day old baby.

You, of course, only see the fruits of that garden -- the nice house, the Mercedes, the vacations... You never realize the back story and the sacrifices I've made.. Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy that made all the right decisions and saved his money, have to bail out all the people who didn't.

The people that overspent their paychecks suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed a decade of my life for. Yes, business ownership has its benefits but the price I've paid is steep and not without wounds. Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit and let me tell you why:

I am being taxed to death and the government thinks I don't pay enough. I have state taxes. Federal taxes. Property taxes. Sales and use taxes. Payroll taxes. Workers compensation taxes. Unemployment taxes. Taxes on taxes. I have to hire a tax man to manage all these taxes and then guess what? I have to pay taxes for employing him. Government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with it, now occupy most of my time. On Oct 15th, I wrote a check to the US Treasury for $288,000 for quarterly taxes. You know what my "stimulus" check was? Zero. Nada. Zilch.

The question I have is this: Who is stimulating the economy? Me, the guy who has provided 14 people good paying jobs and serves over 2,200,000 people per year with a flourishing business? Or, the single mother sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare check?

Obviously, government feels the latter is the economic stimulus of this country. The fact is, if I deducted (Read: Stole) 50% of your paycheck you'd quit and you wouldn't work here. I mean, why should you? That's nuts. Who wants to get rewarded only 50% of their hard work? Well, I agree which is why your job is in jeopardy. Here is what many of you don't understand .. to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy. Had suddenly government mandated to me that I didn't need to pay taxes, guess what? Instead of depositing that $288,000 into the Washington black-hole, I would have spent it, hired more employees, and generated substantial economic growth. My employees would have enjoyed the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But you can forget it now.

When you have a comatose man on the verge of death, you don't defibrillate and shock his thumb thinking that will bring him back to life, do you? Or, do you defibrillate his heart? Business is at the heart of America and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate it, not kill it. Suddenly, the power brokers in Washington believe the mud of America are the essential drivers of the American economic engine.

Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of change you can keep. So where am I going with all this? It's quite simple. If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple. I fire you. I fire your co-workers. You can then plead with the government to pay for your mortgage, your SUV, and your child's future. Frankly, it isn't my problem anymore. Then, I will close this company down, move to another country, and retire.

You see, I'm done. I'm done with a country that penalizes the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed, and with it, will be my citizenship.

While tax cuts to 95% of America sounds great on paper, don't forget the back story: If there is no job, there is no income to tax. A tax cut on zero dollars is zero. So, when you make decision to vote, ask yourself, who understands the economics of business ownership and who doesn't? Whose policies will endanger your job? Answer those questions and you should know who might be the one capable of saving your job. While the media wants to tell you "It's the economy Stupid" I'm telling you it isn't.

If you lose your job, it won't be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country, steamrolled the Constitution, and will have changed its landscape forever. If that happens, you can find me in the South Caribbean sitting on a beach, retired, and with no employees to worry about.

Your boss, Michael A. Crowley, PE
Crowley, Crisp & Associates, Inc.

Professional Engineers
1906 South Main Street, Suite 122
Wake Forest , NC 27587
Phone: 919.562.8860 x22
Fax: 919.562.8872
Location: This is a real letter

States with Highest Unemployment Likely to Vote for Obama! (duh)

Semi-News/Semi-Satire ^ | 10 Aug 2012 | John Semmens

Polling data shows that voters in the states with the most unemployment are leaning toward Obama. States with the lowest unemployment are leaning toward Romney.

“These results only seem counter intuitive if you’re one of those who’s bought the GOP line that everyone wants to work,” Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod chortled. “I don’t know anyone who’s happy about getting out of bed and going to work everyday. The notion that this is something a person ought to do is pure propaganda. It might suit the corporate exploiters who hope to get cheap labor, but it doesn’t speak to the President’s constituency.”
“The real downside of unemployment is the lack of a stable source of income,” Axelrod explained. “Once voters realize that the President is the one they can trust to break the link between work and pay they’ll rally to his cause. It is in the states where larger numbers have appreciated his moves to extend unemployment benefits, eliminate the work requirement for receiving welfare, and remove restrictions on how food stamp money can be spent that the President enjoys the biggest margins over his opponent.”
“There are now over 100 million on this country’s welfare rolls,” Axelrod boasted. “Of course, not all of them are voting age. But if we can get a significant fraction of those who are to go out and vote for the Democratic Party we’ll have a solid, and I think permanent, majority from here on out.”
In related news, the Government of Massachusetts spent $300,000 on a mailer to nearly half a million welfare recipients encouraging them to register to vote. “We need these people to understand how critical it is for them to vote,” said Governor Deval Patrick (D). “If they let the election be decided by people with jobs we want them to know that there is no guarantee that their interests can be protected. People with jobs may be indifferent or even hostile to being taxed to support those not working. But when 100% of your income comes from the government you ought to do all you can to see that the flow isn’t cut off.”
if you missed any of this week's other semi-news posts you can find them at...

Paul Ryan: Another Tea Party Victory, or Take That OWS

Shout Bits Blog ^

Gov. Mitt Romney's V.P. pick, Rep. Paul Ryan, is being hailed as a bold move by the media in that Ryan is considered a reliable conservative, but there is more to it. Ryan is far from the typical politician at the national level; he is a detail oriented policy wonk. Compare that to the lovable buffoonery of the spray tanned, hair plugged, backslapping V.P. Joe Biden. Conventional wisdom is that voters do not want to hear the ugly details of a fiscal plan; details are cannon fodder for the enemy (e.g. "we have to pass the health care bill so that you can find out what is in it"). Why, then, did Romney picky Ryan when politics 101 says no?

Romney is a RINO through and through. Consider his five point economic plan: More 'investment' in 'green' energy, more federal 'investment' in education, trade restrictions against China, lowering deficits rather than cutting spending, and old fashioned lip service to small business are all hallmarks of a progressive trying to be as centrist as he can. Ryan's budget plan is less aggressive than Rep. Ron Paul's, but it is a concrete plan to address Washington's serious problems. Ryan does not touch the third rail of entitlement politics, he lives there. Romney and Ryan are not naturally compatible. Why, then, did Romney pick Ryan?
Ryan is the VP pick because Romney understands and fears the Tea Party. Contrary to the Old Time Media spin, the Tea Party is not a wing of the GOP – the Tea Party is a revolution threatening the GOP establishment. The Tea Party is a true grass roots movement because nobody in the GOP establishment / corporate complex wants anything to do with their ideas. The Tea Party attacks progressive Republicans, not Dems, because they would rather lose an election than elect RINOs. The Tea Party lost at least 3 Senate races in 2010 by refusing to nominate spineless career politicians in winnable states. Now wiser and mellower, the Tea Party is focusing its efforts on ousting RINOS in winnable states (the long time strategy of The Club for Growth). Karl Rove might hate losing, but the message is clear: progressive Republicans need not apply.
Romney is exactly the kind of weather vane politician the Tea Party hates. Romneycare is too similar to Obamacare to ignore. While entrepreneurship is the highest calling, Romney is, to be honest, a fat cat with innumerable beltway connections. Romney rightly fears that his record as a progressive could keep the Tea Party home November 6, hence the Ryan pick. Ryan is everything the Tea Party loves. He is too young to have become fully corrupted. His straight arrow record points solely to fiscal sanity. Best of all, he is knowledgeable and specific about his policies; the Tea Party indifferent to platitudes absent action.
Romney did not want to pick Ryan, as his policies rule out bob-and-weave politics. Romney was forced to pick Ryan by the Tea Party's power, a contrast to the failure of Occupy Wall Street and their Saul Alinsky tactics.
Occupy is the brain child of a couple of Canadian communists who work under the title Adbusters. They, a few washed out college hippies, and lots of union money created quite a flash in the pan. While Occupy seemed to have no message, it actually followed the script of revolution written by mid-century communist and union organizer Saul Alinsky. His book Rules for Radicals outlines tactics whereby mob rule can destabilize the establishment. Alinsky taught revolutionaries to not focus on policy or goals, but to simply agitate. He said not to promote people, but to isolate a token minority (i.e. the 1%) and make them pariahs. The goal, to Alinsky, is not to push specific change, but to destabilize the established order so that chaos will open the door to radicals whom the public would never normally embrace.
True to Alinsky's tactics, Occupy worked with all manner of low-life criminals, and revolutionary communists. Consider the communist-anarchist Michael Corey Donahue of Denver, CO. Arrested 11 times, but only three directly related to Occupy. Occupy posted bail for Donahue even after he was arrested for assaulting a police officer and separately for sexual assault on a news reporter. Mix in Occupy's national tolerance for rape, fatal drug overdoses, and even scabies, and it is no surprise that its support and funding evaporated.
Today, Occupy is nowhere, having accomplished nothing. By contrast, the Tea Party continues to press its clout by electing candidates serious about addressing Washington's mounting problems. While Alinsky tactics might have worked in 1917 Russia, they did not work in a nation with an independent press to expose Occupy's underbelly of greed, violence, and communism.
The lesson of Romney's pick is that motivated people who are focused on core issues can change the political landscape. The Tea Party fought with tough language, but also with peaceful protest. They focused on issues rather than the Alinsky tactics of obfuscation, misdirection, and xenophobia. The traditional tactics of free speech and open debate won, and the gutter tactics of radicals lost. Do not thank Romney for picking Ryan, thank the Tea Party.
Shout Bits is available on Facebook:!/ShoutBits

Hermosa Beach (CA) Police Chief Defends $100,000 Union Meter Maids ^ | August 13, 2012 | Mike Schedlock

No price of labor is too high if you are a supporter of public unions. Here is a case in point: In Hermosa Beach California, Police Chief Steve Johnson and Councilman Howard Fishman defended $100,000 meter maid positions on the grounds “When you outsource, you take away union jobs.”

Note that meter maid positions do not require much more than the ability to drive a standard transmission car and have a high school diploma.

Please consider Hermosa Beach Meter Maids Make Nearly $100K

When contemplating the many reasons cities in California and elsewhere are venturing closer to bankruptcy, look no further than the relatively lucrative and often-unjustifiable salaries bestowed on municipal employees – and the lofty pension benefits attached to the high pay.

One of the latest examples comes from the California coastal city of Hermosa Beach, where some community service staffers who collect money from parking meters and manage their operations – positions once widely known as “meter maids” – are making nearly $100,000 a year in total compensation, according to city documents.

There are 10 parking enforcement employees for the 1.3-square-mile beach city southwest of downtown Los Angeles, and they pull down some disproportionate compensation, considering their job functions. In fact, the two highest-earning employees for fiscal year 2011-12 are estimated to have made more than $92,000 and $93,000, respectively, according to city documents provided by Patrick “Kit” Bobko, one of five council members and who also serves as mayor pro tem. Those two have supervisory roles. The other eight parking-enforcement employees make from $67,367 to $84,267 in total compensation.

Bobko also wrote in a memo that the retirement costs for these 10 employees “from [fiscal year 2011-12] through their retirement age at 62 was nearly $1.6 million, and the medical costs for these employees from this fiscal year to their retirement at age 62 would be $1,353,827.” Excluding salaries, the [retirement] contributions and medical costs for the 10 employees performing parking enforcement will cost, on average, nearly $300,000 apiece.”

Aside from the personnel costs, there has been criticism from Hermosa Beach Treasurer David Cohn that parking meter operations have been mismanaged. Cohn cited nonfunctioning parking meters, a backlog in disputed parking tickets and problems with the accounting for revenue.

Bobko is pushing a plan to outsource the city’s parking enforcement operations, which he says will save money, reduce maintenance costs, relieve the city of accounting functions related to parking enforcement, increase efficiency and, perhaps most importantly, increase revenue and “reduce the city’s pension and salary obligations.”

There has been opposition to the outsourcing proposal from Hermosa Beach’s Police Chief Steve Johnson and Councilman Howard Fishman. Both expressed concerns about letting go full-time city staff. Bobko accurately characterized the resistance: “When you outsource, you take away union jobs.”
As I have said repeatedly, the goal of public unions is to little or no work for enormous sums of money at taxpayer expense.

In these trying times, one might think that public union supporters would back off of ludicrous demands, at least a tiny bit.

However, statements by union nutcase supporters like Police Chief Steve Johnson and Councilman Howard Fishman show the only solution is the complete elimination of public unions.

If that sounds harsh, please note that even FDR would agree.

Message From FDR

Inquiring minds are reading snips from a Letter from FDR Regarding Collective Bargaining of Public Unions written August 16, 1937.
All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations.

Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees.

A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable.
Musical Tribute to Meter Maids

In "honor" of the asinine position of Police Chief Steve Johnson, who deserves to have his entire staff outsourced as happened in Camden (see Camden NJ, Population 77,344 Fires Entire Police Force, 270 Officers; Why Cities are Going Bankrupt), I offer this musical tribute by the Beatles.

The Beatles -Lovely Rita

Dem demagoguery on Ryan reveals Left's shallowness!

Washington Examiner ^ | 08/14/2012 | Timothy P. Carney

Liberals and Democrats these days like to believe that the Right and the Republican Party can be safely ignored. Obama and his allies argue that balance in media can be responsibly eschewed, because conservatives are inherently closed-minded, and the GOP, unlike the Democratic Party, is thoroughly unserious and dishonest.

I wonder if even the most strident and self-satisfied of these liberals -- to wit, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman -- can maintain this self-serving posture when Joe Biden debates Paul Ryan this fall.

When Mitt Romney chose Ryan this weekend as his running mate, the liberal freakout was telling. Attacking the budgets Ryan authored, they have trotted out the hoary line that Ryan would "eliminate Medicare," and push grannie off a cliff.
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina wrote that Ryan's "plan also would end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher system, shifting thousands of dollars in health care costs to seniors."
The "end Medicare as we know it" mantra highlights two ways in which it is the Democratic Party that is deeply unserious.
First, it echoes Obama's mendacity. Second, it reflects the party's irresponsible insistence on looking the other way while driving our government full speed toward the cliff of insolvency.
Ryan's budget would not change anything about Medicare for people over age 54 or anyone younger who wants to go onto traditional Medicare. Ryan's plan, crafted with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden -- who earns gushing praise from self-styled wonks on the Left as a serious legislator (which he is) -- merely allows some people to opt instead for a voucherized version of Medicare.
So Democrats assert that Ryan-Wyden would "end Medicare as we know it," because any modification of any existing policy would "end" that policy "as we know it."
This slippery charge is Team Obama's standard rhetorical tack: Say something clearly misleading, but with one potential interpretation that could be construed as not a lie.
The Democratic alternative to Ryan's Medicare reform, meanwhile is, well, nothing.
Medicare has spent more than it has taken in for the past four years, and this gap will only grow. Not only will the beneficiary-to-worker ratio increase every year thanks to the aging population, but the cost of each beneficiary will also increase faster than GDP, according to Medicare's trustees.
By 2024, the Medicare trust fund (the sum of past surpluses) will be depleted. By 2045, payroll taxes will cover only two-thirds of expected Medicare costs.
Ryan has hammered out a bipartisan proposal to deal with this inevitable insolvency. Democrats have responded with dishonest demagoguery.
Ryan has steered two budgets through the GOP-controlled House. The Democrat-controlled Senate hasn't passed a budget in more than three years.
Democratic idea men like Wyden are ignored, while policy is handed over to pure political hacks like Rahm Emanuel or industry conduits like Max Baucus. Republicans also play politics and special-interest policymaking, but Romney has now put the GOP's idea-man out front.
Which party is the serious one?
For the best description of Democrats' approach to entitlements, switch out one word of the liberals' favorite modern texts: Norm Ornstein's and Thomas Mann's argument that Republicans are the root of all of Washington's problems.
Ornstein and Mann, to pitch their book on the topic, wrote a Washington Post Op-Ed asserting: "The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition."
Change "GOP" to "Democratic Party," and you can understand the assault on Ryan and Republican budgets.
"Ideologically extreme"? Government is spending a peacetime record of 24 percent of GDP (the average since 1947 is less than 20 percent) and Democrats insist on spending more.
"Scornful of compromise"? Again, consider Ryan-Wyden -- a compromise from Ryan's previous budget -- and watch the Left's unadulterated scorn this week.
"Unmoved by conventional understanding of fact, evidence and science"? Mention the Medicare trustees' report to Democrats, and they start accusing you of pushing grannie off the cliff. Math is kryptonite to these people.
"Dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition"? Read anything written by the Keynesian economics guru Krugman and you've got the Left's standard posture today.
Medicare's insolvency is a hard problem. It's politically perilous territory. Paul Ryan has entered this territory with a difficult compromise proposal. Democrats have stood back and lobbed an artillery barrage of demagoguery, because that's all they have.
Well, that and Joe Biden.
-- Timothy P.Carney is the Examiner's senior political columnist

Obama Just Took His First Big Direct Shot At Paul Ryan With A New Line Of Attack (The Farm Bill)

Business Insider ^ | 08/14/2012 | Brett LoGiuratto

At a campaign stop in Council Bluffs, Iowa, President Barack Obama hammered newly minted Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan for "blocking" a farm bill that Obama says would "provide relief and certainty to U.S. farmers and ranchers" during the worst drought in more than 50 years. (more spending)

The drought is a new line of attack from Obama on the campaign trail on a day when both he and Ryan are campaigning in the crucial Midwest battleground state.

And it comes just two days after Ryan was introduced as Mitt Romney's running mate.
Here are some excerpts from Obama's speech, per his campaign:
“Right now folks here in Iowa and across the heartland are suffering from one of the worst droughts in 50 years. Farmers and ranchers depend on good crop season to pay the bills and put a roof over their heads, and I know that things are tough right now.
“The best way to help these states is for leaders in Congress to pass a farm bill that not only helps farmers and ranchers respond to natural disasters, but also makes necessary reforms and gives them some long-term certainty. But right now, too many members of Congress are blocking that bill from becoming law. Now, I’m told Governor Romney’s new running mate might be around Iowa these next few days. And he’s one of those leaders of Congress standing in the way. So if you happen to see Congressman Ryan, tell him how important this farm bill is to Iowa and our rural communities. It’s time to put politics aside and pass it right away."
During a press gaggle on Air Force One, campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki also hit Ryan for not moving the farm bill forward. She put some of the blame directly on Ryan when asked directly.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Dirty Harry’s Clean Energy Cronyism (Pushes Chinese Solar Company)

Free Beacon ^ | August 13, 2012 | Andrew Stiles

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) has been working to secure sweetheart deals for Chinese green energy firms, according to reports.

Reid, who last week hosted the fifth annual National Clean Energy Summit at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, has been “pulling strings behind the scenes” for months on behalf of ENN Mojave Energy, a Nevada subsidiary of the Chinese-owned ENN Group.

After more than two years of secret negotiations beginning in 2009, lawmakers in Clark County, Nevada, unanimously agreed to sell 9,000 acres of public land to ENN for the bargain price of just $4.5 million ($500 per acre) in December 2011.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal questioned the “steep discount” ENN received for the land, which had been previously appraised for between $30 million and $39 million. The arrangement also included a bundle of tax incentives for ENN.
Reid, who reportedly helped secure a series of state and federal waivers as part of the deal, was actively involved in the negotiations with ENN. In April 2011, he led a delegation of senators to China, where the lawmakers met with senior Chinese officials and toured a number of green energy facilities, including the ENN headquarters in Langfang, China.
Upon his return, Reid called on the United States to pursue “new opportunities to collaborate on and advance clean-energy deployment here and abroad.”
Several months later, ENN chairman Wang Yusuo spoke at Reid’s clean energy summit, calling for a “more open and comprehensive” partnership between China and the United States on green energy.
ENN hired Richard Bryan, a Democrat who served with Reid in the U.S. Senate from 1989 to 2001, to represent the company in negotiations with state and federal officials. Reid’s son Rory is a partner at Bryan’s law firm.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Paul Ryan Pick Energizes the Campaign: We'll Win or Lose This Election on Ideas! ^ | August 13, 2012 | Rush Limbaugh

RUSH: No, no, I was not surprised. I actually wasn't surprised by this. Folks, I gotta tell you something. I've been trying to think, honestly, objectively think the whole weekend. And I'm gonna ask you. Maybe I'm forgetting something. I don't recall a vice presidential pick which has so energized the party. I don't remember a vice presidential pick that has so energized a campaign as this choice of Paul Ryan.

These crowds, these standing-room-only crowds, the enthusiasm at these rallies, something about this, just a gut feeling I have. I don't want to attach too much to it because it was gonna happen anyway, a vice presidential pick, but I've been thinking about this all weekend long. I go back and forth, the positives, the negatives, the strict political science analysis of it. Then you compare that with just the gut feel, and you come away with... at least I have come away with the following conclusion. This is it. This election, we've said it before and others have said it, but this is ball game.
If Barack Obama gets four more years, I really don't think that the American people have any idea what's in store for them. I don't think, particularly a lot of Obama supporters, I don't think they have any idea what's in store. I don't think they have any idea what's in store for this country if Obama gets another four years. In fact, I think there are probably a lot of Republican voters who don't really understand. They're closer to understanding it than, say, Democrat voters and people that are not paying much attention. I think that's one of the reasons for all the enthusiasm.
Mitt Romney VP Announcement with Rep. Paul Ryan (C-SPAN)
So we're gonna face this head on. I was praying -- you know, you've been listening -- I was praying that at some point this campaign becomes one of ideology, one of ideas, one of principles, not just policy analysis, not just Electoral College analysis, but principles and ideas. I think they work. I think they have the ability, properly articulated, to be persuasive. And we have perhaps the best Republican to do that in Paul Ryan. I think the pick signals that the decision was made somewhere that we're going to go head first up against. We're not gonna skirt it with a traditional campaign. We're gonna take it straight to them and we're gonna win or we're gonna lose articulating exactly who we are and exactly what we believe and exactly what our vision for America is. Ryan can do that, and I don't know how much you paid attention over the weekend, but the presence of Paul Ryan on a stage with Romney has elevated Romney. It has energized Romney.
Romney's a new guy. Romney is a different guy. Ryan, with Romney, I watched 60 Minutes last night, Ryan chomping at the bit to answer every question. Ryan wanted in 'cause he's got the answer. He had the answer for everything Bob Schieffer threw. He's got the answer for every objection the Obama team is going to make. All the lies, all the distortions, all the smears, Ryan has the answers. Ryan knows how to react to those things, because he is an ideological conservative. He is from the camp-of-Ronaldus Magnus.
I've read all this analysis, too. "Well, you know, Rush..." I've had people e-mailing me. You can't believe amount of e-mail I've had from members of the media wanting to know what I thought about it; and, of course, I didn't say anything to anybody, saving it for now. I tried not to expose myself to a whole lot of it, 'cause I knew what I'm gonna get from the Democrats and the media, but nevertheless I pulled the trigger, did it anyway. For example, "You know, this pick ends it for Romney. It's over. Romney's admitting he can't win, and he wants the reason for his loss shoveled off to the conservative, wanted conservatives to be blamed again for the defeat. That's why he picked Ryan. His internal polling is so bad, he knows he can't win. So rather than him taking the blame, it'll be the fact that he put some extreme right-winger on the ticket." Conservatives are writing this stuff. Some conservative bloggers are writing.
Others are saying, "Well, that's it for Florida. You know, putting Ryan on the ticket, that's it for Florida. Bye-bye Florida because of Ryan's Medicare proposal." We have a chance to get the truth about all this stuff out now, someone who knows how to tell the truth. And the whole discussion about Florida being in trouble is of course the demagoguery over Ryan's Medicare proposal in his budget. Ryan saves Medicare. Medicare is on the way to being destroyed. Ryan's budget, Ryan's Medicare proposal saves it, and it has all kinds of options in it for people, if they're over 55, to not even have to play ball in it. They can keep what they've got and forget it. So we know that the Democrats are gonna lie and demagogue and smear, and we've got a guy who can bear up under it all and respond to it substantively, accurately, and correctly.
You know where I first met Paul Ryan? Way, way back, this has to be in the early nineties. I forget the year, but I'm thinking it's gotta be before 1995. And there was some celebratory thing happening at Bill Bennett's house. It might have been one of his birthdays, I'm not sure, in Washington, on a Saturday. I flew up there for it, and I landed at Dulles at the same time that Bennett was arriving on a United flight from California. So I got in my car and I went over to the United terminal, and I picked Bennett up, and we drove into town, and he said, "I need to stop at Empower America first."
Now, Empower America was a thing set up by Steve Forbes. It was a miniature conservative think tank. It was a place where Bennett and Jack Kemp hung around and thought things, and they wrote things, and then they did things based on what they thought and what they wrote. It was a Saturday afternoon. I'll never forget. We walked into Empower America and I was introduced to this young, energetic go-getter. He looked like somebody who spent 24/7 at the place.
It was Paul Ryan.
He was there doing work at Empower America for Bill Bennett and Jack Kemp. He was also there with a guy named Pete Wehner. Pete worked for Karl Rove in the Bush 43 White House. The people that came out of Empower America had a profound conservative pedigree, a profound conservative indoctrination. Ryan, as it turns out, didn't need it. He was born into it and had it when he arrived there, but he learned a tremendous amount.
I remember talking to Ryan. He called here and we were discussing something within the last couple of years and he reminded me of our meeting. He said, "Do you remember when I first met you? Yeah, you came in with Bill Bennett one Saturday afternoon at Empower America. It was a big day. I couldn't believe I had a chance to meet you." I look at the Democrats trying to tar and feather this guy as they're going to. Have you noticed, for example, that in three days we already know more about Paul Ryan's life than we've learned about Obama's and Biden's in more than four years?
And Ryan hasn't even written two biographies! Ryan hadn't even written one biography. We know more about Paul Ryan and his wife and his kids than we know today about Barack Obama. And I have to laugh. It's as predictable as the sun coming up in the morning. The news media, carrying the Obama campaign's water, immediately labeling Ryan "radical-extreme." There was Andrea Mitchell on Saturday afternoon saying, "This is a horrible pick for women."
This is the kind of stuff that needs to be defeated with a big-time thumping.
And I am just of the belief that Ryan can do it, and I think Romney has been energized by this. I'm looking at the crowds. There's a story here in the Orlando Sentinel: "Hundreds Turned Away From Romney Event -- Hundreds of people were turned away Monday morning at a St. Augustine campaign stop featuring ... Romney, who defended [Paul Ryan]'s Medicare proposal. The people were not admitted to the event after security screeners couldn't clear them fast enough."

Ryan wasn't even there. This was people showing up to see Romney. This wouldn'ta happened last week. There's an energy, there's an expectation, there's a... I don't quite know how characterize it. There's a feeling of excitement that's resulted from this pick. I, frankly, was surprised when I saw it on Saturday afternoon. Then after I thought about it, it all made sense. The Tea Party. It's finally acknowledging that one of us is now part of the campaign and is gonna be an important part of the campaign, is gonna be an important part of governance.
But, I mean, here you had Barack Obama who was a street agitator. He was a Saul Alinsky disciple, a man who called Jeremiah Wright his "spiritual mentor." He was never called "radical" or "extreme" by the news media, but Paul Ryan -- who may well be the last Boy Scout! (chuckles) A guy who may well be the last Boy Scout, Paul Ryan, is called radical and extreme and anathema to women? Well, do women only care about contraception and abortion? And every woman thinks the same on those issues?
Well, we know this is all a crock. I've also heard the theory, "Well, you know, this is a problem. The pick of Ryan now turns the focus of the campaign to Ryan's Medicare proposal and takes the focus off Obama's record." Wrong! It's the exact opposite! This pick turns the focus right on Obama's record. It puts it right on Obama. Obama is now gonna have to discuss substance. We've got ideology in the campaign now. We've got ideas in the campaign. That means substance is in the campaign.
This has the chance, if these guys do it right, to force the Obama camp's record to the fore, rather than the smears and the other things that they want to spend time talking about. There's a lot of great potential here. I don't want to overdo this, but I think that there's a tremendous opportunity and great potential here. You know me and conventional wisdom. So many people inside the Beltway are saying the same thing: "Well, this is gonna hurt Romney in Florida. Well, it's gonna take the focus off Obama's record."
I think that's exactly wrong. Even Snerdley is frowning. What are you frowning at? (interruption) Snerdley's asking me, "You better explain how they're not gonna talk about this Medicare plan." I want them to talk about Medicare! It's Obama that's cut $700 billion from Medicare, not Ryan! We have a guy who knows the truth, here. Paul Ryan doesn't cut Medicare; he saves it. It's Obama that's destroying Medicare. That's gotta come out now. That has the chance of coming out.

It's Obama that's cut $700 billion from Medicare with Obamacare, it's not Ryan. Obama's budget, how many votes has he gotten for it? Zero! Ryan got over 200 votes for his budget. You want to start comparing budgets? Obama hasn't gotten a single vote for any budget he's ever presented. In Realville, this is a golden opportunity. The guy who's run up more debt than all previous presidents combined in less than four years, and who has bypassed Congress constantly, is not called "radical" or "extreme."
But a guy who wants fiscal responsibility and a more limited government, he's called "radical" and "extreme."
This is all the Democrats have.
We know their playbook.
We've got a guy on the ticket now who knows how to deal with that playbook. We have a guy on the ticket now who knows how to answer the playbook ideologically. This is why I'm a little jazzed by this. There is a conservative on the ticket -- a proud, bold, unashamed, unapologetic conservative. And not just a "fiscal" conservative, a small-government conservative. Not all fiscal conservatives equal small-government conservatives. This guy is a small government conservative.

Palin Vows to Protect Ryan From What Happened to her in 2008! ^

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin says she's "all in" for Romney-Ryan and promises to help make sure this time the vice presidential nominee's reputation "won't be thrashed."

Palin told Fox News she believes Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., will certainly be scrutinized and vetted. But the 2008 vice presidential candidate says she "will be darned" if the same thing happens to him that happened to her in 2008, when the McCain campaign did not protect her from the "lame-stream media."

Palin says that there are a lot of people like her who will have Ryan's back. "We will call out the media for their lies and distortions as they try to thrash his reputation and his record," she said..

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Ambitious Diplomacy, Fading Firepower

National Review Online ^ | August 13, 2012 | Henry R. Nau

President Obama combines a very ambitious diplomacy with declining U.S. military and economic firepower. The result: Other countries gain influence outside negotiations while Obama works patiently to reach agreements in negotiations.
In his first days in office, Obama launched multiple diplomatic initiatives: to reset our relationship with Russia, engage China, jump-start Middle East negotiations, extend an open hand to Iran, and create AfPak (a unified policy for dealing with Afghanistan and Pakistan). He dispatched a bevy of special envoys to trouble spots around the world. At the same time, he announced a cut in defense outlays by $500 billion over the next ten years — to be followed by another $500 billion if sequestration occurs in January 2013 — and superintended the weakest recovery of the U.S. economy since the Great Depression. He negotiates more and more objectives with fewer and fewer resources.
The purpose of negotiations is either to achieve shared interests or to bargain over conflicting interests. Obama emphasizes the first approach. In Obama’s view, the biggest obstacle to agreement on a wide range of problems is U.S. policy. All countries, he believes, share interests in matters such as nonproliferation, climate change, and economic recovery; and if they are brought together in the right manner — meaning multilaterally and deferentially — they will reach agreement. Under his predecessor, George W. Bush, the United States acted unilaterally and disrespectfully. Change that behavior, and other countries will come around. Declining U.S. military and economic resources are not particularly relevant and may even help to ease the image of American arrogance.
But what if negotiations are not over shared interests but over conflicting ones? What if countries like to live in a world in which their own power expands and their values prevail? Moscow seeks a sphere of privileged interests in the former Soviet zone and feels uncomfortable with democracy in Ukraine, Poland, and Russia itself. Beijing opposes U.S. dominance of Asian sea lanes and fears democracy in Taiwan and political reforms in North Korea. In cases like these, agreement depends on bargaining, and bargaining depends on military and economic resources.
Military and economic capabilities provide three types of leverage: leverage to set the agenda for negotiations, leverage to conclude trade-offs once negotiations are under way, and, most important, leverage to deny negotiating partners their objectives while negotiations are taking place. Ronald Reagan used all three types in his successful bid to end Communism in the Soviet Union. He revved up the U.S. economy and initiated an arms race to negotiate with Moscow from a position of strength. He deployed intermediate-range ballistic missiles in Europe to have something to trade off against Soviet SS-20 missiles. And he supported freedom fighters in Afghanistan, Central America, and southern Africa to deny Soviet forces the opportunity to expand Moscow’s influence outside negotiations.
Obama operates with none of these sources of leverage. He has cut defense expenditures and oversees a stalled economy; he gives away rather than cultivates bargaining chips to trade off within negotiations; and he merely watches as negotiating partners advance their objectives outside negotiations.
Here are some examples:
To reset our relationship with Russia, Obama gave away his leverage before negotiations started. Because Russia objected, he canceled missile-defense facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic, which could have intercepted intermediate-range missiles, in favor of installations in Romania, Turkey, and at sea, which could intercept short-range missiles only. Then Obama concluded New START, which cut U.S. strategic warheads but left Russian totals unchanged. A few hundred warheads — no big deal, right? Besides, New START revived verification inspections, which is a common interest. Yes, but Russia got everything it wanted and changed none of its policies. And those policies continue to work steadily against Western interests, muzzling democratic forces in Russia, backing a pro-Russian government in Ukraine, stationing Russian troops in Georgia and keeping Georgia out of NATO, and providing unyielding support for Israel’s foes Iran and Syria. Most recently, Russia demanded once again that the United States scale back missile-defense plans before talks begin on tactical nuclear warheads. Moscow has learned how to negotiate with Obama.
Obama engaged with China to persuade it to cooperate on climate change, nonproliferation, and economic recovery. China feigned cooperation on all three fronts but concluded no significant agreements on any of them. Meanwhile, despite Obama’s focus on common problems, China pursued its own agenda. It abandoned a policy of “peaceful rise” in Asia to assert more aggressive territorial claims to disputed islands and resources in the East and South China Seas. It sheltered an increasingly aggressive North Korean regime that sank a South Korean military vessel, attacked civilian installations on South Korean islands, and conducted further nuclear and missile tests — the last right after the United States had concluded an agreement with North Korea presumably precluding further missile tests. And China cracked down on domestic dissidents even as the Obama administration muffled its criticism of the state of human rights in China. What’s not to like about negotiations from China’s point of view? It pretends cooperation within negotiations and makes progress toward its objectives outside negotiations.
Perhaps most telling are Obama’s negotiations with Iran. He deliberately refrained from intervening in the green revolution in Tehran in June 2009 because he wanted to negotiate with the government to end Iran’s nuclear program. It is now three years later, and so far those negotiations have yielded no results, despite the tightening of multilateral sanctions by the U.S. and its principal allies. But why should Iran give up anything in negotiations if it can achieve its objectives outside negotiations? Not only does it continue its nuclear program, it extends its influence throughout the Middle East, meddling in Iraq, backing Assad in Syria, fomenting unrest in the Gulf oil-producing states, and aiding terrorists in Lebanon, Gaza, and the West Bank.
While negotiations proceed, Obama does nothing to push back. He withdraws U.S. troops entirely from Iraq, even though a residual U.S. force in that country might have done more to draw the line on Iran’s nuclear-based foreign-policy ambitions than sanctions and negotiations can. He intervenes in Libya, where Iran has minimal influence, but dithers over Syria, which is Iran’s key ally both in supporting terrorism in the region and in the effort to eventually bring Iraq back into the rejectionist front against Israel. Despite Obama’s goodwill, Russia and China steadfastly refuse to support crippling Iranian sanctions, not least because they have a stake in Syrian and Iranian influence in the Middle East — Russia in naval bases in Syria, China in access to Iranian oil.
Obama’s diplomacy suffers from similar weaknesses in Southwest Asia. He is on course to withdraw all regular American forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. Our allies are jumping ship even sooner. Whose influence will fill the vacuum? Obama ordered the troop surge in 2009 to disrupt the Taliban because it attacked America. Now he supports negotiations to bring the Taliban back into the government. Simultaneously, America’s special-forces raids and drone attacks kill Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda terrorists but weaken Pakistan. AfPak emerges not as a zone of wider regional stability but as an arena of intensified conflict in which the Taliban, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, and India all compete to replace the United States.
The unchecked ambition and material weakness of Obama’s diplomacy have opened up still wider breaches in U.S. defense policies. Obama announced belatedly, in January 2012, strategic defense guidance that no longer supports two wars simultaneously in the Middle East and Asia. He then ordered a “pivot” of American military forces to Asia — which will eventually deploy 60 percent of American ships to the Pacific — at the very moment his administration was ratcheting up sanctions and positioning additional naval forces against Iran in the Persian Gulf. The implausibility of cutting and increasing forces at the same time escapes no one. Obama has to protest that “reductions in U.S. defense spending will not — I repeat, will not — come at the expense of the Asia Pacific.” And he restates his determination to defend Israel by adding, “I don’t bluff,” as if someone doing the counting might wonder how he will defend Israel and pivot to Asia at the same time.
Obama’s foreign policy hinges on the thin hope that countries share interests and do not compete for military and economic power. If he is right, America’s declining military and economic capabilities do not matter much. If he is wrong, America begins to appear as a paper tiger. Then–Secretary of Defense Robert Gates denied the charge in 2010: “I don’t think anybody believes the United States is a paper tiger.” When you have to deny something, it is a sure sign it’s beginning to stick.
Obama’s foreign policy is recklessly ambitious and dangerously disarmed. Either his diplomacy will succeed without power because countries share interests, or the next president will have to substantially increase America’s military and economic power in order to assert and defend America’s interests with negotiating rivals.
Henry R. Nau is professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs and National Fellow at the Hoover Institution in 2011-12. He is author, most recently, of “The Jigsaw Puzzle and Chess Board,” (Commentary, May 2012) and the forthcoming Conservative Internationalism: Integrating Force and Diplomacy under Jefferson, Polk, Truman and Reagan.

Conservatives sue to force Obama compliance on Fast and Furious

The Washington Times ^ | August 13, 2012 | Stephen Dinan

House Conservative Republicans on Monday asked the federal courts to intervene and force the Obama administration to turn over documents from the botched Fast and Furious gun-walking operation, escalating what had been a simmering constitutional crisis.

House Speaker John A. Boehner said President Obama and his team were ignoring a congressional subpoena — something the courts have long recognized as valid — and said lawmakers were left with no choice but to ask the third branch to referee.
“By stonewalling Congress and ignoring a contempt order, the Justice Department has left the House no choice but to take legal action so we can get to the bottom of the Fast and Furious operation that cost border agent Brian Terry his life,” Mr. Boehner said.
Terry was killed in December 2010 in a gun fight with bandits who had crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. Two of the weapons recovered at the scene were part of Fast and Furious, an Obama administration operation that was supposed to try to track guns being sold to Mexican cartels, but which lost track of the weapons, allowing thousands to stream across the border.
But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, rallied to the administration’s defense, saying the GOP push was misplaced.
“This partisan lawsuit wastes taxpayer dollars and resources, and is a distraction from the urgent business before Congress: acting to create jobs and grow our economy,” she said.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Paul Ryan Medicare Plan Clearly Explained by the Stunning Michelle Fields

Reaganite Republican ^ | August 13, 2012 | Reaganite Republican

Forget all the demagoguery out there on the Left and check this out...

"No changes go into effect until 2028."

"Nobody over the age of 55 will be affected by this plan"

"Individuals will have the ability to look at a list of coverage plans -which also includes the traditional Medicare option- and they can decide for themselves what best fits their needs"

"It empowers the individual, but also forces the businesses to compete for customers... when you have competition,

price goes down/quality goes up."

"Medicare right now is failing, it's going to be falling apart- something needs to be done, and Ryan's actually putting-forth a plan -and actually has a governing blueprint- that nobody else in Washington DC has offered the American people"

"If anything, this is energizing the Republican base and conservatives: if you look at 24 hrs after Romney announced Paul Ryan as VP, 3.5M dollars were raised."

"There's tons of choice... and that's what America's all about"

Video/more at Reaganite Republican

Michelle Fields at The Daily Caller On Facebook And on Twitter

Rep raises alarm after murders by illegals blocked from deportation by home countries! ^ | August 13, 2012 | William La Jeunesse

Long after they were ordered out of the country, thousands of criminal aliens from places like China, Cuba, Vietnam and Pakistan remain free in the United States to commit new crimes because their home countries refuse to take them back.

For years, this unique problem percolated under the political radar. But recent crimes by immigrant felons have lawmakers scrambling to punish nations that refuse to repatriate their own citizens. The Obama administration and many Democrats in Congress, however, are blocking punitive legislation, preferring to let the State Department handle the issue diplomatically.
Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, is leading the charge in Congress to change the law, pushing to withhold visas to nations that refuse to take back their own.
"I don't know why the State Department seems to take the side of foreign countries over our own American interest in the United States," Poe said, urging the U.S. to tell those countries: "Look, you take these people back or the consequence is going to be no visas for your nation."
Under a 2001 Supreme Court decision, U.S. immigration officials are only permitted to hold someone for six months after their incarceration. So when a home nation refuses to take back their national, the U.S. is required to release them -- no matter what they've done.
The issue recently came to Poe's attention after three especially heinous crimes were committed by men ordered deported years ago.
In June, a judge sentenced 22-year-old Shafiqul Islam, a Bangladeshi national, for the murder of 73-year-old Lois Decker.
"This man was a dangerous criminal," said Hudson New York District Attorney Paul Czajka. "He should not have been in the United States. At the very least, he should have been in detention."
Islam murdered Decker after serving a year for sexually assaulting a child. After his...
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Romney-Ryan would target federal workers

CNN Money ^ | August 13, 2012 | By Jennifer Liberto (Obama MediaPAC)

(CNNMoney) -- Federal workers' jobs will be under fire if Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan win November's election.

Both Romney and Ryan have made it clear that they think federal workers are one reason the nation's deficit is too high, and have talked about shrinking payrolls and cutting benefits.

Unions, in particular, say they're concerned about Ryan, saying he has a record of "undermining" federal workers.

Federal workers' pay has been frozen at 2010 levels, a move President Obama supported to save $60 billion from deficits over ten years. If Obama wins in November, the pay freeze is expected to ease.
In a Romney administration, three different cuts could be pushed targeting federal workers or their benefits, as suggested by the Ryan budget plan.
-- Federal pay freeze extended five years.
-- Cuts to 10% of the federal work force through attrition and a hiring freeze enacted, limiting agencies to hiring only one new employee for every three federal workers who retire.
-- Requiring federal workers to pay for as much as half of their defined retirement benefit they receive at retirement.
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The Counterpunch [ObamaCare's Senior Swindle]

The Weekly Standard ^ | August 13, 2012 | Jeffrey H. Anderson

In the single most important test of his leadership prior to November 6, Mitt Romney chose the ideal running mate in Paul Ryan, who will now help Romney in a myriad of ways. Some on the left, however, appear giddy at the thought of running against Ryan’s proposed Medicare reforms, which would keep Medicare — and the nation — solvent by giving future (not current) seniors more freedom, more choice, and more opportunity to pursue value. Such liberals seem unaware that, in demagoguing Ryan’s exceptionally well-conceived plan, Obama will open himself up to two powerful counterpunches — both involving Obamacare.
The first is this: While Obama has shown appallingly little seriousness in dealing with our runaway deficit spending or the runaway entitlement spending that drives it, he does have his own plan to reduce Medicare costs. It relies upon the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a creation of Obamacare.
The IPAB is a board of 15 unelected and largely unaccountable bureaucrats who would be empowered to cut payments to Medicare providers. In Ryan’s own words, “Obamacare … puts a new rationing board in charge of Medicare next year to start price-controlling Medicare to deny access to current seniors.” (Amazingly, Obamacare says that Congress wouldn’t even be allowed to overrule the IPAB’s decisions with a majority vote, thereby also making the IPAB quite constitutionally dubious.)
Under Obamacare and the IPAB — according to the Medicare chief actuary — Medicare providers would be paid less than Medicaid providers by the end of this decade. Good luck getting in to see medical professionals when they wouldn’t even get paid as much to see you as they’d get paid for seeing Medicaid patients.
Moreover, Obama has doubled-down on the IPAB. Not content with the largely unchecked powers that Obamacare grants it, he has subsequently called for strengthening it.
The second counterpunch, to follow immediately upon the first, is this: Any money that the IPAB or other parts of Obamacare would wring out of Medicare wouldn’t go to making Medicare, or the country, more solvent — or to extending the life of Medicare. It would go to Obamacare. That’s right: Obama’s centerpiece legislation would use Medicare as a piggybank — which (given Medicare’s dire financial straits) makes about as much sense as using Greece as a piggybank.
Indeed, the most politically brazen feature of Obamacare has always been its looting of Medicare. About half of Obamacare’s funding would come from siphoning money out of Medicare, while the other half would come from raising taxes on Americans and on American businesses. In fact, Obama is aware enough of this vulnerability that he recently initiated the $8.35 billion Senior Swindle — an unscrupulous and probably illegal ploy to attempt to hide the effects of Medicare Advantage cuts from seniors until after his “last election.”
In short, the more Obama seeks to demagogue Ryan’s proposed Medicare reforms, the more Romney and Ryan will respond by hitting Obama hard on Obamacare. And the more this election centers on Obamacare, the less likely Obama is to win.

Poll Shows Strong Support for Voter ID

Eagleye Blog ^ | August 13, 2012 | Bethany Stotts

According to a recent Washington Post poll, there is broad national support for Voter ID legislation despite concerns about voter suppression. “Almost three-quarters of all Americans support the idea that people should have to show photo identification to vote, even though they are nearly as concerned about voter suppression as they are about fraud in presidential elections…” reports the Post on August 11. “A controversy over voter ID laws is a prominent backdrop to this year’s election, with courtroom showdowns in Pennsylvania, Texas and elsewhere over voting rights and otherwise mundane election procedures.”
“About half of those polled see voter fraud — people voting who are not eligible to do so or voters casting multiple ballots — as a ‘major problem’ in presidential elections,” it states.
The same day the Washington Post ran an article under the title “Election Day impersonation, an impetus for voter ID laws, a rarity, data show” which heavily insinuates that because voter impersonation is rare voter ID laws are unnecessary. Although published the same day, this latter article does not refer to the Washington Post’s poll and bears striking similarities to an August 2 article posted by the authors at News21.
“The analysis of 2,068 reported fraud cases by News21, a Carnegie-Knight investigative reporting project, found 10 cases of alleged in-person voter impersonation since 2000, write authors Natasha Khan and Corbin Carson for the Washington Post on August 11. “With 146 million registered voters in the United States, those represent about one for every 15 million prospective voters.” Carson is a student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, which runs the News21 project, according to Khan “was an Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation Fellow this summer at News21,” also according to the website.
However, the study may be biased against identifying voter fraud cases. “A key distinction is between voter fraud and election fraud,” states the website.
“News21 started with the definitions offered by Lorraine Minnite, a Rutgers University professor and author of ‘The Myth of Voter Fraud’: ‘Voter fraud is the intentional deceitful corruption of the election process by voters. All other forms of corruption of the electoral process and corruption committed by elected or election officials, candidates, party organizations, advocacy groups or campaign workers falls under the wider definition of election fraud.’ (emphasis added).
Citizens in favor of Voter ID laws may be concerned about election fraud, as defined by News21, as well as election fraud.
The organization parses down voter fraud further into even more minute categories, differentiating between “casting an ineligible vote,” felons casting ineligible votes, non-citizens casting ineligible votes, and double voting. These were not included in the “Election Day impersonation” voter fraud category cited in Khan and Carson’s Washington Post article, which had only 10 results.
You can access their database here.
“Civil rights and voting rights activists condemn the ID laws as a way of disenfranchising minorities, students, senior citizens and the disabled,” write Khan and Carson. They quote Eddie Hailes, managing director and general counsel of the Advancement Project as saying “It’s simply a new big burden on the backs of people who just want to have their voices heard during elections.”
The Advancement Project’s mission stated mission is “To develop, encourage, and widely disseminate innovative ideas, and pioneer models that inspire and mobilize a broad national racial justice movement to achieve universal opportunity and a just democracy!”
However, according to the Washington Post poll, “big majorities of those whom critics see as bearing the brunt of the laws are supportive of them, including about three-quarters of seniors and those with household incomes under $50,000 and two-thirds of non-whites” (emphasis added). In other words, the majority of lower-income households, minorities and seniors surveyed supported Voter ID legislation.

Iran’s Ahmadinejad Endorsed Obama!

Conservative Byte ^ | August 11, 2012 | Staff

Now the reporters are harassing Romney. They’re trying to create gaffes. They’re working on behalf of Barack Obama. They are attempting to carry forth the meme that Romney’s foreign trip is a disaster, that it’s one gaffe after another. They’re trying to do this in the mainstream. And the fact of the matter is Romney is having a home run of a trip. He is having a grand slam. He is doing such a good job that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad actually came out, and for all intents and purposes, endorsed Obama yesterday. Romney’s over in Israel and he makes an obvious truthful statement. He’s been doing that a lot on this trip. Talked about the Palestinians versus the Israelis. Palestinian economy, Israeli economy.

(paraphrasing) “Well, there’s a cultural difference here. There’s a clear reason why the Israeli economy is vastly superior. It’s cultural.”

All hell broke loose. A spokesman for the Palestinians: “That’s racism. That is out and out racism.” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad joins in, criticizing Romney. Didn’t mention his name, but there was nobody else he could have been talking about. So effectively, the grand pooh-bah of Iran, working with the permission of the mullahs, has come out against Obama’s opponent, Mitt Romney. So effectively a Barack Obama endorsement, which is nothing new. This all happened during 2008, all these foreign dictators supporting Obama, ripping into McCain and so forth. I mean, you couldn’t tell the difference. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would criticize America. You listened to a Democrat criticize America. It sounded the same, word-for-word.
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You didn't build that, Mr. President ^ | 08/15/2012 | Scott Walter

Those Eagle Scouts, Mr. President, built those benches, supplied those homeless shelters, restored those wetlands, and created that artificial reef. Yes, they traveled on roads paid for by tax dollars, but they didn’t wait for any bureaucrat to design their project, or any pol to authorize an appropriation.

True, the Scouts didn’t do it simply by their individual selves, either. They did it in, through, and with something to which the President seems blind: the civil society that exists between the Leviathan federal state and the atomized individual.

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Dear Florida Seniors: You Should Be THRILLED By Paul Ryan!

Business Insider ^ | 08/14/2012 | Joe Weisenthal

Paul Ryan is committed to radically changing Medicare into a voucher program, and Democrats are hoping that they can turn this fact into an issue that destroys Romney's chances in Florida, a state filled with entitlement-happy seniors that is a must win for the Republican.

But if Florida seniors were thinking rationally and self-interestedly, this Democratic attack would flop.
Paul Ryan is proposing no changes to Medicare for another 10 years, so anyone currently 55 or older wouldn't be affected at all.
And if you assume that the law won't get passed for a couple years, you can safely assume this issue is 100% irrelevant to anyone 53 or older.
The distinguishing characteristic of Florida is old people, but if the law doesn't even affect anyone who is older than their early 50s, it really shouldn't be a problem in Florida at all.
But wait! There's more!
In addition to not touching Medicare for years, Paul Ryan is an anti-inflation, pro-austerity, hard money hawk.
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President Obama Alters (Lies About) Middle Class Tax Promise

ATR ^ | 2012-08-10 | John Kartch

President Barack Obama has altered his 2008 “firm pledge” that no family making less than $250,000 per year would see “any form of tax increase.” Obama has now limited the pledge to merely “income taxes” – and only for “next year.”

On Sept. 12, 2008, speaking in Dover, New Hampshire, candidate Obama said:

“I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”

But this Wednesday, August 8, speaking in Grand Junction, Colorado, President Obama said:

“So if your family makes under $250,000 -- which, by the way, 98 percent of Americans do -- 97 percent of small businesses do, you will not see your income taxes increase by a single dime next year. That’s my plan.”

Why the abrupt shift? It may have something to do with the fact that President Obama has already broken his “firm pledge” to the American people on two occasions:

On Feb. 4, 2009, just sixteen days into his presidency, President Obama signed into law a 156 percent increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco – a hike of 62 cents per pack. The median income of smokers was just over $36,000 at the time of the bill signing.

When the tax increase took effect on April 1, 2009, the Associated Press rightly called out Obama for the broken promise, in an article titled PROMISES, PROMISES: Obama Tax Pledge Up In Smoke.
In the article, White House spokesman Reid Cherlin tried to pull a fast one on AP reporter Calvin Woodward. Cherlin falsely claimed President Obama’s tax pledge applied only to “income or payroll taxes”. Cherlin said:
"The president's position throughout the campaign was that he would not raise income or payroll taxes on families making less than $250,000, and that's a promise he has kept."
The AP noted the sudden shift from “any form of tax increase” to just “income or payroll taxes” and pointed out that Obama’s 2008 campaign used the $250,000 promise to defend against Republican allegations that Obama would raise taxes on electricity and home heating oil. From the AP article:
The Democratic campaign used such statements to counter Republican assertions that Obama would raise taxes in a multitude of direct and indirect ways, recalled Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.
"I think a reasonable person would have concluded that Senator Obama had made a 'no new taxes' pledge to every couple or family making less than $250,000," she said. Jamieson noted GOP ads that claimed Obama would raise taxes on electricity and home heating oil. "They rebutted both with the $250,000 claim," she said of the Obama campaign, "so they did extend the rebuttal beyond income and payroll."
President Obama’s tax increases on families making less than $250,000 didn’t stop with tobacco. The “any form of tax increase” promise was broken a second time when President Obama signed the healthcare bill into law, which contains at least seven new or higher taxes that hit families making less than $250,000 per year. On April 15, 2009, when the healthcare push was getting underway, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs was asked if Obama’s “firm pledge” applied to the health care bill. Gibbs replied:
“The statement didn’t come with caveats.” [Transcript] [Video]
But the President’s March 23, 2010 signature on Obamacare made possible the following new or higher taxes – none of which exempts families making less than $250,000:
1. The Obamacare Individual Mandate Tax: Starting in 2014, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance – as defined by Obama-appointed bureaucrats -- must pay an income surtax according to the higher of the following:
1 Adult 2 Adults 3+ Adults
2014 1% AGI/$95 1% AGI/$190 1% AGI/$285
2015 2% AGI/$325 2% AGI/$650 2% AGI/$975
2016 + 2.5% AGI/$695 2.5% AGI/$1390 2.5% AGI/$2085

2. The Obamacare Medicine Cabinet Tax: This tax took effect in January 2011 and prevents Americans from being able to use their health savings account (HSA),flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin).
3. The Obamacare Flexible Spending Account Cap – aka “Special Needs Kids Tax”: Starting in January 2013, Obamacare imposes a cap on FSAs of $2500 (now unlimited under federal law). There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children. There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education.
4. The Obamacare "Haircut" to the Medical Itemized Deduction from 7.5% to 10% of AGI: Currently, those facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction for medical expenses to the extent that those expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI). Beginning in January 2013, this new Obamacare provision imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI.
5. The Obamacare HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike: This provision, which took effect in January 2011, increases the tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent. 6. The Obamacare Tax on Indoor Tanning Services: Since July of 2010, Americans using indoor tanning salons face a new 10 percent excise tax.
7. Obamacare Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans: Starting in 2018, this provision imposes a new 40 percent excise tax on “Cadillac” health insurance plans ($10,200 single/$27,500 family). Higher thresholds exists for early retirees and those in high-risk professions.
On Wednesday, President Obama also added a curious time conditional to his revised promise, saying he would not raise income taxes “next year” on families making less than $250,000.
Taxpayers may be asking themselves what other tax increases await them if President Obama is given a second term.
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