Thursday, November 15, 2012

Reid: Social Security really isn’t part of the problem, you know!

 by Erika Johnsen

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop myself from wondering how it is that this particular gentleman came to be the majority leader, of the Senate, of the United States of America. …The mind reels. From the WashTimes:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday that he will not allow changes in Social Security to be part of the negotiations to avoid a federal budget fiscal cliff, further narrowing the opportunities for savings that could be tapped to close the deficit.
Republicans have insisted that big entitlement programs such as Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid be part of the end-of-year negotiations to head off tax-rate increases and the $110 billion in automatic spending cuts. …
“Social Security is not part of the problem, That’s one of the myths the Republicans have tried to create,” he said. “Social Security is sound for the next many years. But we want to make sure that in the outer years people are protected also, but it’s not going to be part of the budget talks, as far as I’m concerned.” …
“I’m giving you my personal feelings about where we need to go. Take care of the middle class and have the richest of the rich contribute a little bit to helping our economy,” he said.
Let me repeat that. “Social Security is not part of the problem.” Er, actually, these gigantic and growing entitlement programs are the main drivers of our ever-increasing $16 trillion national debt, and Social Security is not a crisis waiting to happen. It’s a crisis that is happening, right now, everyday — and it’s not like ‘nobody could have seen this coming’ or anything. We’ve utterly failed to reform Social Security up until now, and we’re expected to put aside this death spiral because we’ve got a few debt-accumulating years to go before it collapses? Nevermind that I and my peers are paying gobs into a system that will absolutely not be there for us, nor that taxing the “richest of the rich” amounts to less than a drop in the bucket of achieving fiscal sustainability.
Ugh, those vexing Republicans. Always trying to make actual problems the target of the solutions, or whatever.
If we’re being real, it’s true that, most unfortunately, real long-term solutions to our problems will likely not constitute a chunk of whatever fiscal-cliff agreement does or does not go down — but good grief, does he have to be so flippant about it? Or is ‘denial’ not just a river in Egypt?
And, just for good measure, I’ll throw in this recent gem: “[Scott Brown] is one of the most partisan people that ever served here.” …Says the most bipartisan Senate leader, evah. (And yes, he was referring to this Scott Brown.) Dan Doherty’s got the facts on that one.

Jindal: End “dumbed-down” conservatism!

 by Ed Morrissey

The question that every Republican — and every pundit — will ponder until the end of the year is this: what ails the GOP? That question and its answers isn’t limited to the grassroots or the commentariat. The next generation of Republican leaders know that they’d better have an answer if they have any hope of winning national elections in the near or long-term future.
One member of the GOP bench offered an answer in an interview today with Politico:
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Monday called on Republicans to “stop being the stupid party” and make a concerted effort to reach a broader swath of voters with an inclusive economic message that pre-empts efforts to caricature the GOP as the party of the rich. …
“We’ve got to make sure that we are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, big anything,” Jindal told POLITICO in a 45-minute telephone interview. “We cannot be, we must not be, the party that simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys.”
He was just as blunt on how the GOP should speak to voters, criticizing his party for offending and speaking down to much of the electorate.
“It is no secret we had a number of Republicans damage our brand this year with offensive, bizarre comments — enough of that,” Jindal said. “It’s not going to be the last time anyone says something stupid within our party, but it can’t be tolerated within our party. We’ve also had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism. We need to stop being simplistic, we need to trust the intelligence of the American people and we need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters.”
Jindal also said that “Simply being the anti-Obama party didn’t work. You can’t beat something with nothing.” That certainly proved to be the case last week. Many Republicans figured that the economic malaise and the lack of any vision of a second term from Obama would doom him with voters, but we ended up getting stuck in our own blind spot where Obama is concerned.
As I wrote after the election, we can’t allow ourselves to fall into the trap of being mainly an oppositional party — being defined by what we’re against rather than what we’re for. We have to have a clear, positive agenda aimed at communicating specific policies that will improve the lives of voters in demonstrable ways. Too often, we offer philosophical slogans about economic policies without offering nuts-and-bolts solutions to back them up. That requires going into hostile political ground — especially in urban areas, where we fare the worst in national elections — and offer specific free-market-based policies to solve real problems for people whom Democrats can take for granted now. That is the most direct route to defusing the claim that the GOP is nothing but the party of the rich.
Where our values demand a firm stance, we need to maintain it — but we need to get better at communicating those values, too. Todd Akin derailed the GOP’s pro-life message, and so did Richard Mourdock to a lesser extent. We need candidates who can communicate better and make sure that campaigns remain focused on those core values and specific policy agendas that will improve the lives of all voters.
If the Republican Party is to have a renaissance, it will have to be led by Jindal and the other Republicans of his rank in the next few years. Hopefully, the message will resonate within the party.

Census: U.S. Poverty Rate Spikes, Nearly 50 Million Americans Affected

CBSDC/AP ^ | November 15, 2012

WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) – As President Barack Obama is set to begin his second term, new statistics on America’s poverty rate indicate that nearly 50 million Americans, more than 16 percent of the population, are struggling to survive.

New figures released by the Census Bureau this week found a spike in poverty numbers last year, going from 49 million in 2010 to 49.7 million last year. The numbers may come as a surprise to Congress, which estimated in September that the poverty rate would drop to 46.2 million. One of the most startling findings showed that almost 20 percent of American children continue to live in poverty.

The Associated Press reports that the new figures are based on an updated formula devised by the Census Bureau to help give the government a better understanding for how to use safety-net programs.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Obama Begins Push for New National Retirement System

A recent hearing sponsored by the Treasury and Labor Departments marked the beginning of the Obama Administration’s effort to nationalize the nation’s pension system and to eliminate private retirement accounts including IRA’s and 401k plans, NSC is warning.
The hearing, held in the Labor Department’s main auditorium, was monitored by NSC staff and featured a line up of left-wing activists including one representative of the AFL-CIO who advocated for more government regulation over private retirement accounts and even the establishment of government-sponsored annuities that would take the place of 401k plans.
"This hearing was set up to explore why Americans are not saving as much for their retirement as they could," explains National Seniors Council National Director Robert Crone, "However, it is clear that this is the first step towards a government takeover. It feels just like the beginning of the debate over health care and we all know how that ended up."
A representative of the liberal Pension Rights Center, Rebecca Davis, testified that the government needs to get involved because 401k plans and IRAs are unfair to poor people. She demanded the Obama administration set up a "government-sponsored program administered by the PBGC (the governments’ Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation)." She proclaimed that even "private annuities are problematic."
Such "reforms" would effectively end private retirement accounts in America, Crone warns. "These people want the government to require that ultimately all Americans buy these government annuities instead of saving or investing on their own. The Government could then take these trillions of dollars and redistribute it through this new national retirement system."
Deputy Treasury Secretary J. Mark Iwry, who presided over the hearing, is a long-time critic of 401k plans because he believes they benefit the rich. He also appears to be one of the Administration’s point man on this issue.
"This whole issue is moving forward very quickly," warns Crone. "Already there is a bill requiring all businesses to automatically enroll their employees in IRA plans in which part of every employee’s paycheck would be automatically deducted and deposited into this account. If this passes, the government will be just one step away from being able to confiscate all these retirement accounts."
NSC has taken the lead in warning the nation about this new government onslaught and is plotting ways to stop it.
"This effort ultimately is designed to grab the retirement nest eggs of America’s senior citizens. This new government annuity scheme, even if it is at first optional, will turn into a giant effort to redistribute the wealth of America’s older citizens," explains Crone. "This scheme mirrors what I expect the President will try to do with Social Security. He wants to turn that program into a welfare program, too."
NSC will likely unveil a new grassroots campaign effort later this year or early in January to coincide with the seating of the new Congress.

Outrage grows over official corruption in Allen West recount!

Coach is Right ^ | 11/15/2012 | Suzanne Eovaldi

An overnight firestorm of cyber messaging is asking that volunteers come to Florida’s St. Lucie County and serve as observers for Allen West’s recount challenge! Fears and allegations of massive voter fraud are spilling out across the web immediately following a sham recount in the West-Murphy battle for US Congress even as local media play this down.
I received a late night blog post out of New York called CONSTITUTIONAL EMERGENCY, begging people to show up on Florida’s Treasure Coast to help America’s retired colonel get an honest recount from longtime Democrat machine Election Supervisor Gertrude Walker. (1)
Meanwhile, out of California, a Michael Savage Facebook page referenced by LDotter reveals that at the Harbor Ridge Clubhouse polling place in Port St. Lucie, 850 registered voters cast 1,550 cards, making for a...
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

22 Signs That Voter Fraud Is Wildly Out Of Control And The Election Was A Sham!

The American Dream ^ | November 13th, 2012 | Michael

After what we have seen this November, how is any American ever supposed to trust the integrity of our elections ever again? There were over 70,000 reports of voting problems on election day, and there are numerous eyewitnesses that claim that they saw voting machines change votes for one candidate to another candidate right in front of their eyes. In several of the swing states there were counties where the number of registered voters exceeded the total voting age population by a very wide margin. How in the world does that happen? Some of the vote totals that were reported in some of the most important swing states were completely and totally absurd, and yet we are just supposed to accept them on blind faith without ever being able to ask any questions. Of course the Romney campaign has already totally given up, so it isn’t as if there is any chance that the results of the presidential election could be overturned anyhow. But if massive election fraud did take place and nobody is held accountable, what kind of message will that send for the future? Will we ever be able to have faith in the integrity of our elections ever again?

The following are 22 signs that voter fraud is wildly out of control and the election was a sham:

#1 According to the Election Protection Coalition, voters across the United States reported more than 70,000 voting problems by 5 PM Eastern time on election day.
#2 There were 59 voting divisions in the city of Philadelphia where Mitt Romney did not receive a single vote. In those voting divisions, the combined vote total was 19,605 for Barack Obama and 0 for Mitt Romney.
#3 The overall voter turnout rate in Philadelphia was only about 60 percent. But in the areas of Philadelphia where Republican poll watchers were illegally removed, the voter turnout rate was over 90% and Obama received over 99% of the vote. Officials in Philadelphia have already ruled out an investigation.
#4 According to WND, one poll watcher in Pennsylvania actually claims that he witnessed voting machine software repeatedly switch votes from Mitt Romney to Barack Obama…
It was in Upper Macungie Township, near Allentown, Pa., where an auditor, Robert Ashcroft, was dispatched by Republicans to monitor the vote on Election Day. He said the software he observed would “change the selection back to default – to Obama.”
He said that happened in about 5 percent to 10 percent of the votes.
He said the changes appeared to have been made by a software program.
Ashcroft said the format for computer programming has a default status, and in this case it appeared to be designating a vote for Obama each time it went to default.
#5 Somehow Mitt Romney won 55 out of the 67 counties in the state of Pennsylvania and still managed to lose the entire state by a wide margin because of the absurd vote totals that Obama ran up in the urban areas.
#6 Barack Obama received more than 98 percent of the vote in 10 out of the 50 wards in the city of Chicago.
#7 Prior to the election, voters in the states of Nevada, North Carolina, Texas and Ohio all reported that voting machines were switching their votes for Romney over to Obama.
#8 There were more than 50 precincts in Cuyahoga County, Ohio where Mitt Romney received 2 votes or less.
#9 There were more than 100 precincts in Cuyahoga County, Ohio where Barack Obama received more than 99 times the votes that Mitt Romney did.
#10 Barack Obama also received more than 99% of the vote in a number of very important precincts down in Broward County, Florida.
#11 Wood County, Ohio (which Obama won) has a voting age population of 98,213, but somehow 106,258 voters were registered to vote on election day.
#12 Ten counties in the swing state of Colorado have a voter registration rate of more than 100%.
#13 Barack Obama did not win in a single state that absolutely requires a photo I.D. in order to vote.
#14 In Ohio, two election judges were caught allowing unregistered voters to cast ballots.
#15 Many Ohio voters that showed up at the polls on election day were surprised when they were informed that they had already voted.
#16 In fact, there were reports all over the nation of people being unable to vote because records showed that they had already voted.
#17 According to U.S. Representative Allen West, there were numerous “voting irregularities” in St. Lucie County, Florida on election day…
“The thing that spurred our curiosity in our race was the fact that at 1 o’clock in the morning on Election Night, all of a sudden there was a 4,000-vote swing that took me from being ahead to put the lead into my opponent’s hands.”
#18 In Wisconsin, there were allegations that Obama voters were actually being bussed in from out of state…
The Democrats stationed a self described “BIG Chicago pro bono attorney” as one of their two observers at this small polling place. He remained at the polling place from 7:00 a.m. until well after 8:p.m. …..A high priced CHICAGO attorney, sitting in a Sheboygan WISCONSIN polling place, observing wards comprised of 1500 voters? …. WHY??? Why would someone from Chicago be observing in Sheboygan Wisconsin? And WHY at such a small polling place? Finally, isn’t it interesting that this would occur at the VERY polling place in which all of the above described events ALSO occurred? AGAIN WHY WOULD A CHICAGO ATTORNEY BE OBSERVING AN ELECTION POLLING PLACE WITH FEWER THAN 1500 VOTERS IN IT, IN SHEBOYGAN WISCONSIN? Of all the places where there has been suspected voting irregularities, and OUTRIGHT FRAUD throughout the ENTIRE United States, WHY HERE? WHY SHEBOYGAN? WHY THIS SMALL WARD?
This lawyer spent the day running in and out making, and taking calls, which coincidentally then coincided with influxes of groups of individuals by the van and bus loads, coming in to register, AND VOTE, using what appeared to be copied Allient energy bills. These individuals often did not have photo I.D.’s, could not remember their own addresses without looking at the paper, and became easily tripped, confused and annoyed when questioned.
Many of these same individuals, just so happened to be dressed in/wearing CHICAGO BEARS apparel, and whom openly discussed “catching busses back to Chicago” with each other, with poll workers, via their cell phones in the lobby area just outside the polling place, as well as in the parking lot, both before and AFTER registering and voting.
One woman was dressed head to toe in CHICAGO BEARS apparel including perfectly manicured BEARS fake fingernails!
She complained because registering was taking too long and she had to hurry up to catch her bus back to Chicago.
We have photos of these people in vehicles with plates from different states, photos of them leaving the polls, and other irregularities.
#19 Prior to election day, an Obama for America staffer was caught on video trying to help someone register to vote in more than one state.
#20 It is being alleged that unions in Nevada have been registering illegal immigrants and pressuring them to vote.
#21 According to, there was a systematic effort by the Obama campaign to suppress the military vote because they knew that most military votes would go against Obama…
Aiding Obama’s win was a devious suppression of the conservative vote. The conservative-leaning military vote has decreased drastically since 2010 due to the so-called Military Voter Protection Act that was enacted into law the year before. It has made it so difficult for overseas military personnel to obtain absentee ballots that in Virginia and Ohio there has been a 70% decrease in requests for ballots since 2008. In Virginia, almost 30,000 fewer overseas military voters requested ballots than in 2008. In Ohio, more than 20,000 fewer overseas military voters requested ballots. This is significant considering Obama won in both states by a little over 100,000 votes.
#22 According to the Naval Enlisted Reserve Association, it appears that thousands of military votes from this election will never be counted at all.
So what do you think about all of this?
Do you still believe that elections in America are fair and honest?

19,605 to zero is statistical proof of outright vote fraud in 2012 presidential election!

Natural ^ | November 14, 2012 | J. D. Heyes

(NaturalNews) In the weeks leading up to the Nov. 6 election, there were scattered concerns from across the political spectrum that vote fraud could occur in some sections of the country. While many of those fears did not come to fruition, based on final vote tallies in some polling districts, it's hard to fathom that some form of fraud did not occur.

Take Philadelphia, for instance - the "city of Brotherly Love" - where, once again, New Black Panther Party members were seen at some of the same polling places they were at in 2008, when charges of voter intimidation were leveled against them. In 59 districts around the city, GOP presidential challenger Mitt Romney got zero votes.

Zip. Nada. None.

Granted, in heavily Democratic urban districts in the city, it's not unusual for that party's candidate - in this case, President Obama - to win a heavy proportion of the vote. But all of them?
Sure, say analysts. It's not unusual at all. Nothing to see here.
Saddam Hussein always got nearly 100 percent of the vote too
"We have always had these dense urban corridors that are extremely Democratic," Jonathan Rodden, a political science professor at Stanford University, told, a joint website of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News newspapers.
"It's kind of an urban fact, and you are looking at the extreme end of it in Philadelphia," he said.
That's because most large cities are 75-80 percent Democrats, making them practically politically homogenous and much easier to organize than, say, rural areas where folks live far apart, said Sasha Issenberg, author of The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns.
"One reason Democrats can maximize votes in Philadelphia is that it's very easy to knock on every door," she said.
But isn't it just as easy to knock on doors in Republican strongholds, even if they are farther apart? And that's another issue - if we are to believe there are Democratic "corridors," doesn't it follow that there are Republican "corridors" as well?
Some GOP officials are asking these very same questions, especially after learning that, in 59 Philadelphia voting districts Obama out-polled Romney by a stunning 19,605 to zero. Even in heavily Democratic Philly, are we to believe that in nearly 60 polling districts there is not a single dissenting voter? The last political candidate in recent member to poll that overwhelmingly was Iraq's Saddam Hussein.
Those districts were concentrated in overwhelmingly black sectors of the city. But again - not a single Romney supporter? Not even one?
That's a huge stretch, to say the least, says Steve Miskin, a spokesman for Republicans in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
"We believe we need to continue ensuring the integrity of the ballot," he said, referencing his party's voter ID initiative that, perhaps not surprisingly, was held off the state ballot for this election.
No such thing as a 100 percent Republican voting precinct
University of Virginia political scientist Dr. Larry Sabato, who has studied voting in African American-dominated precincts, told he had occasionally seen instances where 100 percent of the vote went to the Democratic candidate, citing precincts in Chicago and Atlanta which recorded no votes for the GOP's candidate, Sen. John McCain, in 2008.
"I'd be surprised if there weren't a handful of precincts that didn't cast a vote for Romney," he said.
Still, the high number of zero precincts in Philadelphia deserves examination, he added.
"Not a single vote for Romney or even an error? That's worth looking into," he said.
In a city with 1,687 of the ward subsets known as divisions, each with hundreds of voters, 59 is about 3.5 percent of the total, reported.
Not much has been made about this voting phenomenon by the mainstream media, but we suspect the outrage and uproar would have been loud and boisterous, to say the least, if there were wide swaths of voting districts where not a single Democratic vote was cast.
Learn more:

Dems Can't guarantee 2014 budget (none since 2009)

The Hill ^ | Nov. 15, 2012 | Erik Wasson

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) confirmed Thursday that she will seek the chairmanship of the Senate Budget Committee next year but told The Hill that she cannot commit to doing a budget.

This opens up the possibility that Senate Democrats will avoiding passing a budget resolution for the fourth year in a row.

The last time the Senate passed a standalone budget resolution was in 2009.

This past year, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said a budget was not necessary because the top-line spending number for appropriations was set in the August 2011 debt-ceiling deal.

Murray said that an agreement to avoid the "fiscal cliff," the looming $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts set to strike in January, could preclude having to pass a Senate budget next year.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

If the GOPe Were Smart They Would Let Gov. Palin Back Into the Room

Conservatives4Palin ^ | November 15 2012 | Stacy Drake

But this is the “party of stupid” we’re talking about, so I won’t hold my breath.
In the wake of the disastrous 2012 election results, there has been a lot of discussion on the right regarding the GOP’s apparent “message” problem. Much of the conversations has focused on immigration issues as a way to bring in new voters. Recently, Charles Krauthammer wrote:
I’ve always been of the “enforcement first” school, with the subsequent promise of legalization. I still think it’s the better policy. But many Hispanics fear that there will be nothing beyond enforcement. So, promise amnesty right up front. Secure the border with guaranteed legalization to follow on the day the four border-state governors affirm that illegal immigration has slowed to a trickle.
Imagine Marco Rubio advancing such a policy on the road to 2016. It would transform the landscape. He’d win the Hispanic vote. Yes, win it. A problem fixable with a single policy initiative is not structural. It is solvable.
It’s going to take much more than that to solve the current issues the GOP has with voters. You can’t pander to one racial demographic and think that will solve all of your problems. The predicament that they find themselves in goes much deeper than a single issue, and it’s based primarily on trust. According to an election night survey released by Breitbart News, Judicial Watch, and Public Opinion Strategies:
Voters’ responses suggest that the American public agrees with conservative policies–but does not trust the Republican Party to implement them.
For example, voters dislike big government, with 71% agreeing (and 49% strongly agreeing) that: “The larger the size of government the more opportunities it creates for possible corruption.” In addition, 85% of voters said they were concerned about corruption in Washington, and 53% described themselves as “very concerned.”
Yet voters do not trust Republicans more than Democrats to deal with corruption. Only 34% said Republicans would do a better job of cleaning up corruption; 37% said Democrats would. That is an indictment of the permanent political class, regardless of party. And despite the President’s talk of cleaning up Washington, his party is not viewed as better able to do so.
So, the Democrats share much of the same issue with voters regarding corruption, but they’re able to squeak enough votes each cycle because they have more credibility on other matters. Here’s a thought. How about for starters, the GOP stop selling out their principles and try to gain some trust back with that 71% who dislike big government? And how does either party address the 85% of voters who are concerned about corruption in Washington, when both of them are compromised in that area? Considering all of the money wasted in Washington on cronies and corruption, these concerns by the vast majority are extremely legitimate.
As I watched the debate go back and forth on the GOP’s message problem after the election, an article written by Anand Giridharadas back in 2011 titled “Some of Sarah Palin’s Ideas Cross the Political Divide” came to mind. In it, he wrote:
[S]omething curious happened when Ms. Palin strode onto the stage last weekend at a Tea Party event in Indianola, Iowa…
She made three interlocking points. First, that the United States is now governed by a “permanent political class,” drawn from both parties, that is increasingly cut off from the concerns of regular people. Second, that these Republicans and Democrats have allied with big business to mutual advantage to create what she called “corporate crony capitalism.” Third, that the real political divide in the United States may no longer be between friends and foes of Big Government, but between friends and foes of vast, remote, unaccountable institutions (both public and private).
In supporting her first point, about the permanent political class, she attacked both parties’ tendency to talk of spending cuts while spending more and more; to stoke public anxiety about a credit downgrade, but take a vacation anyway; to arrive in Washington of modest means and then somehow ride the gravy train to fabulous wealth. She observed that 7 of the 10 wealthiest counties in the United States happen to be suburbs of the nation’s capital.
Her second point, about money in politics, helped to explain the first. The permanent class stays in power because it positions itself between two deep troughs: the money spent by the government and the money spent by big companies to secure decisions from government that help them make more money.
“Do you want to know why nothing ever really gets done?” she said, referring to politicians. “It’s because there’s nothing in it for them. They’ve got a lot of mouths to feed — a lot of corporate lobbyists and a lot of special interests that are counting on them to keep the good times and the money rolling along.”
Because her party has agitated for the wholesale deregulation of money in politics and the unshackling of lobbyists, these will be heard in some quarters as sacrilegious words.
Ms. Palin’s third point was more striking still: in contrast to the sweeping paeans to capitalism and the free market delivered by the Republican presidential candidates whose ranks she has yet to join, she sought to make a distinction between good capitalists and bad ones. The good ones, in her telling, are those small businesses that take risks
and sink and swim in the churning market; the bad ones are well-connected megacorporations that live off bailouts, dodge taxes and profit terrifically while creating no jobs...
“This is not the capitalism of free men and free markets, of innovation and hard work and ethics, of sacrifice and of risk,” she said of the crony variety. She added: “It’s the collusion of big government and big business and big finance to the detriment of all the rest — to the little guys. It’s a slap in the face to our small business owners — the true entrepreneurs, the job creators accounting for 70 percent of the jobs in America.”
Keep in mind that Sarah Palin was told to “leave the room” by none other than Charles Krauthammer, back in 2009. Yet now he tells the Republican Party that in order for it to save it’s hide, they must reward lawbreakers and anoint a man as leader who has engaged in illegally soliciting foreign donations, just as President Obama has also done.
That is not the answer. The answer for the GOP is to clean up its own act and address the real concerns of the majority of Americans, regardless of political affiliation. They can start by not shunning the members of their own party who have the credibility to speak on such matters. Reform in Washington is a winning message and has the potential to bring in voters from nearly every racial, gender, and economic demographic in the country. It isn’t too late for the Republican Party to jump on board, but time is ticking. American voters need a true opposition party to the big-government, tax and spend, corruption plagued Democrats. The GOP establishment would do themselves and the country a favor by allowing people into the room who can credibly push for reform, and by ceasing their own practices of big-government corruption.

Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

President Obama Is Why Investors Aren’t Buying Stocks: Schoenberger

Yahoo Finance ^ | November 15, 2012 | Jeff Macke

"President Obama; that's why people aren't buying stocks," says Todd Schoenberger, managing principal at The BlackBay Group.
1. Companies aren't going to hire with the increased expenses associated with Obamacare
2. People aren't going to have money for discretionary spending when taxes going up for the 1%
3. Small business owners won't expand
4. Higher tax rates for individuals making over $250,000 a year will result in a general lack of ambition.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

New Book Highlights Dangers of Government Employee Unions (Good article on unions)

National Legal & Policy Center ^ | November 15, 2012 | Carl Horowitz

Shadowbosses cover
"The unbridled growth of crony unionism and government corruption will destroy the United States as we know it." This statement may strike many as sheer hyperbole. But its author, Mallory Factor, a political scientist at The Citadel, knows whereof he writes. His new book, "Shadowbosses: Government Unions Control America and Rob Taxpayers Blind" (New York: Center Street), makes a credible case, and a well-sourced one, that our country may be in the early stages of a ruinous dystopia, courtesy of public-sector unions. In pursuing their interests, argues the author, these labor organizations hold taxpaying citizens hostage to unsustainable wage/salary, pension, health care and other contractual commitments. Bankruptcy filings this year by the Cities of San Bernardino and Stockton, Calif. may be a mere taste of things to come.
Some context here would be useful. America, with relatively little fanfare, passed a milestone during 2009. For the first time in our nation's history, public-sector union membership, as an absolute number, surpassed private-sector membership. The respective figures at year's end were 7.9 million and 7.4 million. Though they dropped two years later to 7.6 million and 7.2 million, this shift hasn't diminished the economic and political grip of government employee unions, especially given the figures for union membership as a percentage of the total work force, commonly known as "union density." Government employee union density in 2011 was 37 percent; in the private sector it was 7 percent. This represents a remarkable turnabout from the Fifties and early Sixties. Back then, government employee unions were in their germination stage, while about a third of the nonfarm private-sector work force was unionized.
This reversal of fortune, in retrospect, isn't really startling. Unions in the private sector, like those in the public, grew as a result of monopoly privileges. But government unions, on top of privilege, feed off political brinksmanship and favoritism. In the private sector, union officials, however reluctantly, recognize that the employers with whom they negotiate may respond to unfavorable business conditions by cutting payrolls, closing plants, or even going out of business. Hence, union negotiators, as a strategy, hold back on demands. This restraining mechanism, for all intents and purposes, doesn't exist in the public sector, where employers can shift higher labor costs onto the general public and where opportunities for privatization remain limited. Elected officials, fearing public wrath will come down hardest upon them in a worst-case scenario, lean on agency heads to acquiesce. Governments, unlike enterprises, don't have the option of hanging a "closed" sign over their doors. The growth of public-sector unions is both a cause and effect of the growth of government.
Mallory Factor , aided extensively throughout the book by his wife, attorney Elizabeth Factor, understands the symbiotic relationship between government employees and their employers - and why it threatens the nation's long-run stability. Amplifying the well-established critique of Rutgers University labor economist Leo Troy, the authors note that public-sector unions, by nature, operate in a manner different from unions in the private sector. Government employee unions, though private organizations and not public agencies, notwithstanding, negotiate with representatives of public agencies, and indirectly, with elected officials who secure funding for the agencies. As a result, the verities about "public service," whether or not they truly described traditional motivations of government employees, have lost their cache.
Through aggressive organizing and representation, public-sector employees thus have become receivers more than givers, concerned mainly with maximizing their interests. The authors observe: "And through their incessant focus on extracting more from the employer, unions have encouraged government workers to consider their jobs as an entitlement, not a privilege." Delivering value to those who consume government services and thus pay their salaries has been relegated to secondary importance. Employers don't have to bear the economic cost. For them, ruin doesn't mean bankruptcy; it means their own employers don't win re-election. And nothing ruins re-election prospects than becoming a scapegoat for a public employee strike or slowdown.
But citizens aren't just voters. They also are taxpayers. And as taxpayers, they pay a high price to obtain temporary labor peace. Citing various sources, the authors note that in 2010, federal employees averaged $126,141 in combined salary and benefits. Indeed, more than 450,000 federal civil service workers - more than one in five - made over $100,000 in salary alone. Controlling for age, race, education level and other factors, federal workers now receive 22 percent more in salary than comparable employees in the private sector. State and local government employees on average make about a third more in salary and 70 percent more in benefits than comparable private-sector workers. The back end of employee tenure has become particularly expensive. Government workers generally now can retire at age 55 and receive often lavish pensions. This is especially true with contracts allowing them to claim excessive overtime during their final three years of service, the period upon which pension accruals typically are calculated. It is no small wonder that attrition and termination rates are minimal in the public sector. Who would want to leave? As for involuntary departure, union contracts, especially for teacher unions, give employees elaborate opportunities to delay or block a firing.
In the face of this, government employee unions have learned to think politically, not only in the way they conduct business but in larger causes they advocate. Their leaders and members, as a principle, support enlarged government - and candidates for elected office who will deliver. More government intervention in the economy means more public-sector hiring and hence more workers to organize. Coalition-building becomes paramount. And public-sector unions are natural builders. As the authors note, "(G)overnment employee unions have been able to unite all net tax receivers into a huge special interest group that is focused on growing the government."
The point hardly can be overemphasized: Public-sector unions have become huge political combines. The AFL-CIO-affiliated American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the now heavily public-sector Service Employees International Union (SEIU), along with the two main teacher unions, the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), have formidable political operations. The goal is an expansion of government. And quite naturally, they align themselves to the Democratic Party, which rarely stray froma course of expansion. Go to any AFL-CIO convention - I managed to get into the labor federation's 50th anniversary confab in Chicago in July 2005 - and the experience will be virtually identical to any recent Democratic National Convention, right down to the parade of union and party speakers bellowing stock populist-Left phrases such as "working families," "right-wing politicians" "corporate special interests," and "the people vs. Wall Street." AFSCME President Gerald McEntee and AFL-CIO chieftain Richard Trumka might as well be ghostwriters for Nancy Pelosi and Jesse Jackson.
There is little new about public-sector unions and the Democratic Party reinforcing each other's fortunes. Back in the Fifties, AFSCME President Jerry Wurf, an unapologetic practitioner of the sharp-elbows school of union organizing, backed Robert Wagner Jr. for New York City mayor. And once elected, Wagner, knowing his future depended on Wurf's continued support, gave the union leader what he wanted: monopoly bargaining representation of municipal service workers. The City of New York has been paying highly inflated labor costs ever since. The same can be said for cities and counties across the nation. Government employee union officials know the value of a bought politician. Elected officials who receive donations but don't come through can expect serious union blowback. As one SEIU official in California quoted by Factor put it: "We helped getchu into office, and we gotta good memory. Come November, if you don't back our program, we'll getchu out of office." Whether at the federal, state or local levels, reciprocation is the name of the game, and taxpayers are the odd men out. Unions raise money for candidates, who, if elected, make it easier for unions to generate revenue, which in turn further expands the pot of re-election campaign contributions. Whether campaign contributions come from union political action committees, special dues assessments or volunteers working the phone banks or mailings, it's a self-perpetuating process.
The ultimate political prize, of course, has been the election, and now the re-election, of Barack Obama as U.S. president. On the campaign trail in 2008, Obama remarked before an AFL-CIO gathering: "I know the AFL-CIO is tired of playing defense. We're ready to play some offense...We're ready to play offense for organized labor." And speaking to the National Education Association, he announced the rudiments of a plan to "recruit an army of well-trained, well-qualified teachers." Unions, recognizing him as one of their own, responded with anywhere from $300 million to $450 million in campaign contributions. Then-SEIU President Andrew Stern candidly admitted after the election that his union spent $60.7 million to put Obama in the White House.
From the start, the Obama presidency has been a sound investment for organized labor. Obama thus far has: secured Senate approval for a highly partisan union advocate, former Rep. Hilda Solis, D-Calif., as Secretary of Labor; persuaded Congress to pass a massive stimulus package, part of which has routed grants to unions or to agencies in heavily unionized states; issued an executive order "encouraging" federal agencies to enter union-driven Project Labor Agreements on projects exceeding $25 million; and weakened Civil Service restrictions on monopoly bargaining as they pertain to national security employees. That, of course, doesn't include the two biggest prizes: the forced bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler that gave the United Auto Workers a large equity stake in each company; and a national health care law that represents the largest social welfare program since the creation of Medicare nearly 50 years ago, a law that will create enormous opportunities for organizing.
The book devotes two chapters to the fiscal time bombs tucked away in union contracts. One focuses on the teacher unions; the other deals with the impact of public-sector unions as a whole on state budgets. The NEA, the AFT and their state/local affiliates, which now collect a combined roughly $2 billion a year in member dues and fees, deserve special treatment. The authors, while acknowledging there are outstanding teachers who happen to be union members, note that it's union representatives ("schoolhouse shadowbosses") who control the show, and to the detriment of pupils. Even most states with Right to Work laws authorize, if not necessarily mandate, monopoly representation and forced dues collections. The tenure process; compensation packages based more on seniority than merit; "rubber rooms" for teachers awaiting a disciplinary hearing; "last in, first out" layoff policies - these and other contractual features are outcomes of highly aggressive and coordinated union negotiations. Unions also set the much of the tone in classroom pedagogy and selection of instructional materials, including the use of children's books with thinly-disguised pro-union messages.
As for the fiscal crisis of state governments, the book likewise is unsparing in its assessment of union motives and activity - and with good reason. States, even more than localities, really are locked into union-negotiated contracts. Trillions of dollars in long-term unfunded liabilities, most of all for pensions and retiree health care, pose a potential fiscal meltdown, especially in heavily unionized states such as California, Connecticut, Illinois and New Jersey. The authors write:
(A)s states spend more money on salaries and benefits for current government workers and pension costs for retired workers, these states have less and less left in their budgets for essential services. But currently there is no way for states to get out from under crushing compensation and pension arrangements that were negotiated with the government employee unions. States are not permitted to declare bankruptcy and seek protection against their creditors, although cities are.
When state officials can't pay their bills, their logical response is to turn to Washington for help. This process already is well underway. Over the last decade, note the authors, the share of state spending covered by the federal government rose from 25.7 percent to 34.1 percent. With more federal funding comes more federal control. Eventually, this "too big to fail" policy will run out of money. The result may resemble that of today's Greece, desperately in need of money and yet resentful of austerity measures demanded by the European Union. This in turn may induce large numbers of citizens of the most dependent states to run out of patience and join secession movements. The past week's secession campaigns in various states in response to Obama's reelection provide dark hints of a possible future.
Public employee union officials are aware they're not exactly the most popular bunch. Even NBC's "Saturday Night Live" lampooned them in a skit a couple years back. But they've got a battle plan to counteract the opposition. They're not about to let a lack of popularity get in the way of growing their membership, dues collections or political influence. Their current favored strategy, which the Factors call "Government Employee Unions 2.0," involves organizing workers seemingly beyond the pale of membership. Honed most of all by Andrew Stern, head of the SEIU until the spring of 2010, this strategy has focused on unskilled, heavily immigrant workers whose jobs depend on government funding - especially home health care workers - and persuading employers to join the union team. Becoming co-lobbyists with unions keeps government funds flowing. When the new health care law takes full effect in 2014, organizing opportunities will expand dramatically. Currently, only about a seventh of the health care industry is unionized. That easily could double or triple. Moreover, there is ample reason to believe that the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), with some 40 million members, could morph into a union. The National Education Association, which served as a teacher interest group for many decades, went this very route around 50 years ago.
All this suggests a grim set of alternative scenarios. But the Factors offer hope, and not just some Mona Lisa smile. The main sources of potential resistance to these union-driven centralizing tendencies, they argue, are the states. Legislatures and reform-minded governors, most of all, Wisconsin's Scott Walker, whom the authors liken to the "Star Wars" character, Luke Skywalker, by intention or default, are leaders of the insurrection. Far from being a rigid ideologue, Walker was willing to negotiate with the public-sector unions. The latter, however, refused to budge in the face of a two-year, $3.6 billion budget deficit. Beginning with their highly illegal seizure of the State Capitol Building in Madison in mid-February 2011 to the present, the unions have tried every method of their disposal to immobilize Walker, including removing him from office via recall election, and the budget reform law he persuaded the legislature last year to pass. None worked. Their latest gambit, however, might. This September a state circuit court gutted the new budget law as it pertained to municipal, county and school district employees (State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen filed an appeal almost immediately afterward). Whatever the outcome, it's crucial to note that the skies over Wisconsin haven't fallen. Far from devastating the state economy, the curbs on public-sector union power enacted last year, which include higher employee benefit contributions, has moved the state toward solvency - and, for all intents and purposes, without work force or service cuts.
The authors are optimistic that the tide will turn in against the unions because the American people have the final say. "It's not merely a question of fiscal responsibility," they write. "It's a question of freedom." Eventually, if belatedly, most Americans will come to understand that public-sector unionism has corrupted the political process and weakened our traditions of liberty and rule of law. The battle is less about party or ideological loyalty than it is about a growing recognition that public-sector union interests aren't the same thing as the public interest. In Michigan, public-sector unions, in reaction to the Wisconsin situation, placed on the November ballot an initiative to give unions the ability to invalidate existing and new laws purportedly violating collective bargaining agreements; voters wisely rejected the measure by 58 to 42 percent. Disenchantment with union power is being felt at the local level as well. This past June, voters in San Diego and San Jose each approved, and by wide margins, ballot initiatives to rein in soaring municipal pension costs. San Diego has a Republican mayor (Jerry Sanders); San Jose has a Democratic mayor (Chuck Reed). But each came to recognize that unions had locked their cities into unsustainable commitments - and that voters held the key could unlock them.
"Shadowbosses" is a polemic written for a Right-leaning general audience. Sometimes its tone is too over the top; the language of its subtitle (possibly at the publisher's request) is evidence enough of that. Yet unions and their allies never have been models of restraint when pressing their case. During the heat of the Wisconsin showdown, for example, one Republican state senator received the following e-mail: "We will hunt you down. We will slit your throats. We will drink your blood. I will have your decapitated head on a pike in the Madison town square." "Over the top" isn't quite the term for this. "Psychotic" would be more like it. As long as public-sector union officials turn a blind eye from such behavior, if not overtly encourage it, there will be a need to fight fire with fire with a gutsy and informed populism. Mallory and Elizabeth Factor have proven themselves more than up to the job.
Michigan Voters Reject Proposal 2; Thwart Public-Sector Union Power Grab
Michigan Initiative Would Give Public Employee Unions Veto Power Over Legislation
Wisconsin Recall Vote Exposes Vulnerability of Public-Sector Unions
AFL-CIO Endorses Obama; Gears Up Campaign Volunteer Army
The Big Labor Stranglehold: Killing Jobs & Hurting America
Union-Backed Bill Would Force Monopoly Bargaining on Public Safety Employees 

The FHA is Blowing Up: Bad News for the Housing Market! ^ | 11/15/2012 | Michael Krieger

A very important article came out from the Wall Street Journal yesterday titled “FHA Nears Need for Taxpayer Funds,” and it outlines the serious financial problems facing the Federal Housing Administration. For those that are unaware or need a refresher, the FHA has been the key element to the phony “housing recovery” the government has been trying to create. In the wake of the collapse of 2008, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac blew up and what was left to pick up the pieces was the FHA. No private player would issue loans with down payments of 3%, but this was no problem for the FHA!
Interestingly enough, a lot of the subprime borrowers that blew up the housing market the last time became the primary customers of the FHA. Let’s see, 3% down and subprime borrowers…what could possibly go wrong?! From the WSJ:

The Federal Housing Administration is expected to report this week it could exhaust its reserves because of rising mortgage delinquencies, according to people familiar with the agency’s finances, a development that could result in the agency needing to draw on taxpayer funding for the first time in its 78-year history. Together with Fannie and Freddie, federal agencies are backing nearly nine in 10 new mortgages.
The FHA accounted for one third of loans used to purchase homes last year among owner occupants.
Though the agency guarantees fewer mortgages than either Fannie or Freddie, it now has more seriously delinquent loans than either of the mortgage-finance giants. Overall, the FHA insured nearly 739,000 loans that were 90 days or more past due or in foreclosure at the end of September, an increase of more than 100,000 loans from a year ago. That represents about 9.6% of its $1.08 trillion in mortgages guaranteed.
This is a big deal. The FHA is already in trouble despite a miraculous “housing recovery” and we haven’t even hit a severe cyclical economic slowdown yet, which is almost certain to occur in 2013. What shambles do you think the housing market will be in once that happens and the last backstop to housing is broke? You can kiss this “housing recovery” goodbye. I think home prices nationally could fall 25%+ from here. For more detailed thoughts on housing read my piece from April titled Thought of the Day – House Flipping in Colorado.

Oh, We Forgot to Tell You... ^ | 11/15/2012 | Victor Davis Hanson

The second-term curse goes like this: A president (e.g., Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, etc.) wins re-election, but then his presidency implodes over the next four years -- mired in scandals or disasters such as Watergate, Iran-Contra, Monica Lewinsky, the Iraqi insurgency and Hurricane Katrina.

Apparently, like tragic Greek heroes, administrations grow arrogant after their re-election wins. They believe that they are invincible and that heir public approval is permanent rather than fickle.
The result is that Nemesis zeroes in on their fatal conceit and with a boom corrects their hubris. Or is the problem in some instances simply that embarrassments and scandals, hushed up in fear that they might cost an administration an election, explode with a fury in the second term?

Coincidentally, right after the election we heard that Iran had attacked a U.S. drone in international waters.
Coincidentally, we just learned that new food stamp numbers were "delayed" and that millions more became new recipients in the months before the election.
Coincidentally, we now gather that the federal relief effort following Hurricane Sandy was not so smooth, even as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Barack Obama high-fived it. Instead, in Katrina-like fashion, tens of thousands are still without power or shelter two weeks after the storm.
Coincidentally, we now learn that Obama's plan of letting tax rates increase for the "fat cat" 2 percent who make over $250,000 a year would not even add enough new revenue to cover 10 percent of the annual deficit. How he would get the other 90 percent in cuts, we are never told.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Is Obama hiding the truth about Benghazi because the truth would impeach him?

- Judi McLeod 

Nixon, Obama, impeach, CFP Photoshop by Brian Thompson

Even with his own reelection soundly in the bag, President Barack Obama is keeping the truth about the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi as secret as his own locked-from-public-knowledge credentials.
With four more years in his pocket to complete his destructive Fundamental Transformation of America, Obama is refusing outright to inform Americans why calls for help from American Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans to save their lives were ignored until their own violent deaths silenced them.
This was Obama’s non-answer to Fox News reporter Ed Henry’s simple question at the White House yesterday:
“I wanted to ask about the families of these four Americans who were killed. Sean Smith’s father Ray said he believes his son basically called 911 for help and they didn’t get it. And I know you said you grieve for these four Americans, that it is being investigated, but the families have been waiting for more than two months. So I would like for you to address the families, if you can. On 9/11, as Commander-in-Chief, did you issue any orders to try to protect their lives?”
“Ed, I’ll address the families not through the press. I’ll address the families directly, as I already have,” Obama replied. “And we will provide all the information that is available about what happened on that day. That’s what the investigation is for.”
“Without providing a yes or no answer, the president went after his critics who question whether the U.S. government did everything it could to save the Americans under attack in Benghazi. (Fox News, Nov. 14, 2012).
“If people don’t think that we did everything we can to make sure that we saved the lives of folks who I sent there, and who were carrying out missions on behalf of the United States, then you don’t know how our Defense Department thinks or our State Department thinks or our CIA thinks,” Obama said. “Their number one priority is obviously to protect American lives.”
“As Henry raised his hand to follow up, Obama interrupted him and continued with his answer.
“I can can tell you that immediately upon finding out that our folks were in danger, that my orders to my national security team were do whatever we need to do to make sure they’re safe. And that’s the same order I would give any time that I see Americans are in danger — whether they’re civilian or military — because that’s our number one priority.”
But even in the outrageous coverup and the smokescreen set up to shroud it, the truth of Benghazi can be seen through the shadows.
As 50% of the American voting population were recoiling in bitter disappointment with the news of Obama’s reelection on Nov. 6, a soap opera-like smokescreen had already been been put in place to cover up a coming post-election Benghazi investigation. While the Obama Election Team was gleefully counting up votes, the investigation was heading down a tawdry road cheapened by a sex scandal ruining the careers of America’s Obama’s appointed CIA director and the US Commander of Forces in Afghanistan.
During the presidential election campaign, Benghazi had gone buxom bosom with a media feeding frenzy chasing down soap opera players that include Petraeus ‘spy’ mistress Paula Broadwell and Tampa self-made socialite Jill Kelley.
Giddy with the sex angle that jumps down bosoms, the mainstream media won’t be back from play anytime soon.
Former CIA Director David Petraeus, who has already blamed Benghazi on an obscure YouTube in September 13 testimony before a Congressional Hearing, and who has agreed to testify before a House Committee again on Friday, was already under FBI investigation for his alleged affair with Broadwell when he testified back in September.
Susan Rice, erroneously identified by Obama yesterday as UN Ambassador rather than U.S. Ambassador to the UN (Mark Levin) had been sent pre-presidential election to five television networks to spread the disinformation that a YouTube was to blame for the death of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans—a message approved even yesterday by Obama.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defence Secretary Leon Panetta were dispatched to Australia for an “annual” Security Summit in Australia.
That leaves only Petraeus, whose testimony is not likely to change on Friday and whose character remains in tatters, as the left man standing.

Barack Hussein Obama, who now has four years as an executive order-wielding dictator, has no reason not to tell the truth to the loved ones of the slain Americans in Benghazi and to America at large, other than this one: the truth would impeach him.

Time to Let the Country Crash?

American Thinker ^ | 11/14/12 | Ebben Raves

"Let it crash!" "Give them what they want and they'll see what happens!" "Surely, once the left's programs are implemented and the economy crashes, people will come to their senses."

Since the election, many on the right have echoed this meme. They are convinced that widespread poverty and lack of opportunity will bring a resurgence of the America many of them knew growing up. Grandma and Grandpa's America.
Perhaps these people forget that Roosevelt was re-elected three times during a depression that he helped prolong -- a depression that featured soup lines and starvation in a population that actually wanted to work for a living and went on relief only as a last resort, and then with a sense of shame.
Thanks to food stamps, EBT cards, and other entitlements, Barack Obama actually had an easier time. He just had to threaten that the evil rich would take away flat-screens and "crazy money" to get enough votes. Imagine if people were really hungry.
Roosevelt and the Great Depression is only a mild example of what happens during severe economic stress. Think about Germany during the Weimar Republic hyperinflation. What did that give the world? Look at Argentina, at one time in the twentieth century more prosperous than the United States. Cristina Fernandez easily won re-election after she nationalized retirement accounts. Do you really think that no one views your 401(k) as unfair? What could be fairer than making sure it is kept protected from the greedy Wall Street bankers? Look at what is happening in Greece, with a quazi-Nazi party gaining ground. Look at France, who elected a socialist government to solve problems caused by socialism.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Obama Tax Hikes On Rich Would Shrink Economy, Jobs

IBD ^ | 11/15/2012

President Obama's proposed tax hike on the top 2% of incomes will do next to nothing to close our chronic budget deficits, now running more than $1 trillion a year.

But it will have a major impact on one struggling part of our economy: small business.
In his Wednesday press conference, just before meeting with representatives of the nation's largest businesses, the president again claimed his plan to reduce the deficit and avoid the fiscal cliff would mean that "97% of small businesses are not going to see their taxes go up."
But this is, to put it politely, deceptive. By jacking up taxes on the most successful 3% of small businesses, Obama will destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs, shrink U.S. output and force companies to raise prices. As usual, the data tell the story.
America has some 34.8 million small businesses, according to a recent Treasury Department study. Sounds like a lot, until you consider that 30 million of them employ no one other than the owner.
Of the remaining 4.8 million that do employ workers, 1.2 million have incomes above $200,000 — where Obama's tax hikes kick in.
Here's the rub: Those 1.2 million small businesses that will be hit by Obama's small-business tax are the nation's most prolific job creators, accounting for 54% of all private-sector positions — or 77.6 million in all.
And while they make up just 3% of all small businesses, they earn 91% — or $341 billion — of all profits reported by the small businesses with workers. "They are the most successful and therefore the biggest job creators," as the Heritage Foundation recently pointed out.
They also pay 44% of all federal business taxes.
Yet, the president's talking point about his tax increases affecting only "the rich"
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Why Mitt Romney Deserved To Lose The Election

Forbes ^ | 11/15/2012

In an article published in 2001, Jude Wanniski, the author of The Way the World Works, noted that since 1896, only Republican presidential candidates running on “pro-growth” platforms have won. Republicans advocating “austerity” have invariably lost. With the defeat of Mitt Romney, the election of 2012 continued this pattern, with one addition. Republican presidential candidates offering clueless confusion also lose.
Democracies tend to evolve two political parties, a party of economic growth and a party of income redistribution. If a credible plan for economic growth is offered, the people will vote for it, provided that it does not involve crushing the poorest and weakest members of society. If not, they will vote for income redistribution, in an effort to assure that everyone survives so that they can enjoy the fruits of economic growth, if and when political leaders emerge who understand how to produce it.
If the American electorate decides that income redistribution is the best that is available during an election season, they will vote Democrat. The Democrats long ago nailed down the redistribution (a.k.a., “fairness”) position. This leaves the Republicans the choice between being pro-growth (while also being non-threatening), or losing. In 2012, Mitt Romney and many, many other Republican candidates collapsed into clueless confusion and lost.
Mitt Romney became the Republican nominee because Herman Cain, the only true pro-growth candidate in the primary race that was actually competent to do the job of president, self-destructed over personal issues. However, once Romney had sewed up the nomination, supply-siders started projecting their hopes onto him, and ignoring what he was actually saying and doing.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

The Obamacare Debacle. It's Certain Failure is all too Predictable.

National Review ^ | 11/15/2012 | Michael Tanner

If one wanted to sum up the consequences of the entire 2012 election in a single issue, look no farther than Obamacare.

The new health-care law is generally regarded as the signature achievement of the president’s first term. It’s certainly emblematic of Obama’s entire approach to government and what we can expect from his second-term initiatives.
The president promised a great deal of benefits from health-care reform: lower premiums, better care, universal coverage. He reassured Americans: If you had health insurance, and you liked it, you could keep it. The bill’s gross ten-year cost would be less than $1 trillion, and the legislation would actually reduce the deficit in the long run. The rich and some big businesses might have to pay a bit more in taxes, but the middle class would be better off.
But as with so many other policies of this administration, the results never matched the rhetoric. The pretty promises turned out to be “just words.”
Rather than work across the aisle, President Obama pushed his bill through on a purely partisan basis, using dubious parliamentary maneuvers and refusing to consider Republican alternatives. Nor was the president deterred by public opinion. Polls consistently showed that Americans opposed the president’s plan — they still do — but the president insisted on doing it his way.
The president who always prefers government to markets unsurprisingly produced a costly new entitlement program, financed by both new taxes and massive debt, that relies on top-down planning. The $1 trillion price tag has been left far behind. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bill will now cost at least $1.8 trillion through 2022, and other estimates suggest it could cost as much as $2.2 trillion over that period if all costs are taken into account, adding more than $823 billion to the deficit over ten years.
Even the government’s own actuaries expect it to drive up insurance premiums. The most recent report by the Department of Health and Human Services estimates that in the future premiums will rise at 7.9 percent annually, double the rate they would have risen if Obamacare had not been passed.
Many of Obamacare’s taxes fall not just on the rich, but on the middle class and small businesses. In fact, the mandate “tax” in particular will hit 11 million middle-class taxpayers to the tune of $6 billion. Moreover, the law’s costly new mandates and regulations are widely seen as a small-business job killer.
And, while Obamacare doesn’t directly ration care, it puts in place structures that will almost inevitably lead to rationing. Notably, beginning in 2017, a board of 15 unelected bureaucrats, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), will have the authority to impose drastic cuts to physician reimbursements under Medicare. If abused, this authority could allow the government to refuse to pay for some treatments or providers, effectively rationing care. Even under the best of scenarios, the already-planned cuts will force as many as 15 percent of hospitals to close and cause many doctors to stop seeing Medicare patients. Given Medicare’s enormous unfunded liabilities, some reduction in benefits is inevitable, but it is typical of the Obama administration to prefer that bureaucrats rather than individual consumers decide how that reduction takes place.
In addition, millions of Americans are discovering that they will not be able to keep their current health-care plans. This includes seniors who will lose their Medicare Advantage plans, and businesses and individuals who find their plans non-compliant with Obamacare’s required benefits (such as Catholic charities and schools that are now required to offer birth control, including abortifacients). Surveys suggest that 10 to 30 percent of employers could drop their coverage, dumping their workers into plans offered on the government-run exchanges.
Yet, for all this, Obamacare falls far short of its goal of universal coverage. Nearly 20 million Americans will still be uninsured after the bill is fully implemented. Millions more will simply be dumped into Medicaid.
A President Romney could have used waivers, executive orders, and his power over budgets to delay or cut back on parts of the law.
Thus, on health care, as on so many other issues, last Tuesday’s election left us with a president whose belief in big government and centralized control has been and will only continue to be a disaster. The 2012 election has delivered us a devil we know all too well.
— Michael Tanner is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and author of Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservatism Brought Down the Republican Revolution.

Obama's 'balanced' deficit reduction plan is anything but ( tax increases at 73% of the budget)

American Thinker ^ | 11/15/2012 | Rick Moran

James Pethokoukis writing at the AEI Enterprise blog, examines the president's "balanced" plan to cut $4.4 trillion from the budget over the next decade. James points out that the plan is "reheating of his 80-page deficit reduction package from September 2011 which, on paper, showed $2 in spending cuts for every $1 in taxes raised.
Not so fast:
Once you begin to dig into the numbers, the plan doesn't look balanced at all. As the bipartisan Committee for Responsible Federal Budget noted back then:
The Administration claims that the plan would save about $4.4 trillion in total (including interest savings, war savings, and the costs of the jobs proposals). However ... counting the war savings is counting a policy that is already in place and is thus a gimmick to be avoided. Taking out the war savings and savings from the discretionary cuts in the Budget Control Act leads to total savings of less than $2 trillion.
Of the supposed savings, then, $1.6 trillion comes from tax hikes and $577 billion comes from spending cuts, not counting saved interest. So 73% of the savings comes from taxes, 27% from spending cuts. That's $3 of tax hikes for every $1 of spending cuts.
Even if you include interest savings, 60% of the debt reduction comes from tax hikes. Obama is making the exact mistake Europe is making by employing a tax-hike heavy version of fiscal austerity. Indeed, a 2010 analysis by AEI scholars found that successful fiscal consolidations are heavy on spending cuts, light on tax hikes. Even Bill Clinton's debt reduction plan was 2-1 in favor of spending cuts. The Obama plan is dangerously unbalanced, especially given the weak economic recovery.
The president just concluded a pep rally at the White House with his far left liberal base.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

As Denny’s franchisee preps Obamacare surcharge, liberals promise another boycott!

Twitchy ^ | Nov 14, 2012 | twitchy staff

If you’re in Florida and planning to join in on the Papa John’s “buycott” scheduled for this Friday, you might want to save some room for dessert and hit Denny’s afterward. A West Palm Beach restaurant owner is the latest target of a boycott campaign after floating the idea of adding a 5 percent “Obamacare surcharge” to customer checks starting in 2014.

Franchisor John Metz told the Huffington Post that “although it may sound terrible that I’m doing this, it’s the only alternative. I’ve got to pass the cost on to the consumer.”

In August, Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter was among the first to come under fire for suggesting that implementing Obamacare would entail costs that would have to be passed on to customers.

Applebee’s has also been targeted for a boycott, although the company was quick to point out via a Twitter post that comments about a possible hiring freeze were made by an independent franchisee..

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Obama takes action on 'unreliable' power grid – in Pakistan!

WND ^ | Nov. 14, 2012 | Steve Peacock

Less than a week after Hurricane Sandy plunged much of the mid-Atlantic region into darkness, the Obama administration unveiled a new initiative aimed at mitigating the impact of “unreliable grid power.”

Not across ravaged coastal New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, but in Pakistan’s Punjab province.
The direct beneficiary of the administration’s generosity is a publicly traded Pakistani cement and concrete producer, according to a planning document that WND located via routine database research.

The Lahore-based Pioneer Cement Limited, or PCL, requested a grant from the U.S. Trade & Development Agency, or USTDA – an independent White House entity – to fund a feasibility study of its modernization plans.

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Obama vs. the Brass: Benghazi Cover-up, Agenda to Gut Military?

The New American ^ | 14 November 2012 | William F. Jasper

The New American
14 November 2012

Is it just a coincidence that several four-star generals and a two-star admiral get the axe or resign in disgrace within the space of less than a month?

Related Articles:
Petraeus Resignation Suggests Possible White House Cover-Up
The Other Petraeus Scandal: Accelerated Militarization of the CIA
Benghazi Backfire: Was Obama Arming Jihadists?
Did Obama Watch in “Real Time” as Benghazi Attack Unfolded?
The Trouble With Leon Panetta
Leon Panetta and the Institute for Policy Studies
Book Review: Barack Obama and the Enemies Within

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‘It’s a crisis for Québec women’ (socialized medicine fails)

Montréal Gazette ^ | November 13, 2012 | Charlie Fidelman

Surgery wait times for deadly ovarian, cervical and breast cancers in Québec are three times longer than government benchmarks, leading some desperate patients to shop around for an operating room. But that’s a waste of time, doctors say, since the problem is spread across Québec hospitals. And doctors are refusing to accept new patients quickly because they can’t treat them, health advocates say.

The worst cases are gynecological cancers, experts say, because usually such a cancer has already spread by the time it is detected. Instead of four weeks from diagnosis to surgery, patients are waiting as long as three months to have cancerous growths removed.

“It’s a crisis for Québec women,” said Lucy Gilbert, director of gynecological oncology and the gynecologic cancer multi-disciplinary team at the McGill University Health Center. Her team has had access to operating rooms only two days a week for the past year, with dozens of patients having surgeries postponed week after week. …

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Doctor Shortage Could Cause Health Care Crash!

ABC News ^ | November 13, 2012 | Nisha Nathan

The United States will require at least 52,000 more family doctors in the year 2025 to keep up with the growing and increasingly older U.S. population, a new study found.
The predictions also reflect the passage of the Affordable Care Act — a change that will expand health insurance coverage to an additional 38 million Americans.
"The health care consumer that values the relationship with a personal physician, particularly in areas already struggling with access to primary care physicians should be aware of potential access challenges that they may face in the future if the production of primary care physicians does not increase," said Dr. Andrew Bazemore, director of the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Primary Care and co-author of the study published Monday in the Annals of Family Medicine.
Stephen Petterson, senior health policy researcher at the Robert Graham Center, said the government should take steps — and quickly — to address the problem before it gets out of hand.
"There needs to be more primary care incentive programs that give a bonus to physicians who treat Medicaid patients in effort to reduce the compensation gap between specialists and primary care physicians," said Petterson, who co-authored the study with Bazemore.
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Green added that he believes this is because currently primary care specialties are not well paid, well treated or respected as compared to subspecialists.
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Perhaps the best known example of this approach has been Massachusetts, which since 2006 has mandated that every resident obtain health insurance and those that are below the federal poverty level gain free access to health care. But although the state has the second-highest ratio of primary care physicians to population of any state, they are struggling with access to primary care physicians.
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