Thursday, November 29, 2012

Republicans must walk away from any deal with Obama and the Democrats on the fiscal cliff!

The Right Scoop ^ | 11-29-2012 | The Right Scoop

Yesterday Charles Krauthammer said that Republicans have leverage right now with the president on this fiscal cliff deal because if tax rates go up on all Americans, Obama’s second term will begin in a recession as the higher tax rates will slow growth even more, and Krauthammer contends that Obama doesn’t want that.

But Rush passionately disagrees noting that analysis disregards Obama’s entire first term. Rush believes that Obama doesn’t care about having a successful economy in his second term, that it’s all part of his push to transform this country into a welfare state because that’s what is fair in his eyes and that’s the only legacy he cares about.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

No Virginia, the RNC CANNOT Monitor Polls for Ballot Security!

PJMedia ^ | 11-29-12 | J. Christian Adams

Much of the conservative world seems shocked that the RNC is constrained from doing anything about voter fraud. The left wing blogosphere is laughing at everyone who didn’t know this already. To me, it’s old old news – sort of like the abolition of poll taxes. In fact, the abolition of poll taxes in 1964 is closer in time to the consent decree that the RNC entered with the DNC in 1982 than we are today distant from that same 1982 consent decree.
Simply, under the terms of the order, the RNC cannot engage in ballot security efforts to combat voter fraud.
This is part of the larger pattern of conservatives simply not understanding the way the left has manipulated the Machine. Read my piece at Front Page for more warnings about the state of play.
To the RNC’s credit, they’ve tried to get out of it. So it is up to private citizens to make sure our polls are free from criminal conduct.

Does Boehner and the Republican leadership in the House even have a clue?

Word is slowly seeping out for Washington about a grand bargain being worked out between Barack Obama and John Boehner.

As we hear about the negotiations, the obvious question to be asked is, does Boehner and the Republican leadership in the House even have a clue?

What is going on that is so dangerous?

The Republicans are going to surrender on taxes. According to published reports a deal is going to be made. It is your typical Republican deal. The GOP will agree to a trillion in new taxes and there will be spending cuts in the future.

When will the Republican Party learn that tomorrow never comes?

The Republicans have made these kinds of deals before. In 1986, Ronald Reagan agreed to Amnesty for an estimated three million illegal aliens. The deal was amnesty today and a sealed border tomorrow.

Twenty-six years later the border is still not sealed.

Now the Republicans want to make the same kind of deal.

Wait, didn’t they do that last year?

Yes. Yes they did.

Anyone remember the debt ceiling crisis of August 2011?

Anyone remember John Boehner’s great stroke of genius?

He would give Obama $2 trillion more to borrow in exchange for a promise of spending cuts. Either the Democrats would agree to spending cuts or automatic spending cuts would kick in. These spending cuts disproportionately hurt national defense and other programs that Republicans allegedly believe in.

What about the programs of the Nanny State? Their growth would be slowed only a little.

That was last year.

Now that day has come and what is the GOP doing? It is running around like Chicken Little screaming the sky is falling and asking Obama for his terms of surrender. Obama has already gone through that $2 trillion and is going to be asking for more. John Boehner is ready to surrender on taxes that will not reduce the deficit but will only fuel additional government spending.

Does anyone in the Republican Party bother to looks at history? George H.W. Bush broke his infamous “read my lips” pledge. He went from 90% approval a little more than a year before the election to being soundly defeated by Bill Clinton.

Breaking his “read my lips” pledge was one of the main reasons he lost.

On November 6, John Boehner showed up at the Republican Victory Party in Washington DC. He was ecstatic. He would have another two years as House Speaker. He said the Republicans were the party of less government, less spending and lower taxes.


Under John Boehner, we could say the Republicans are the party of gullible fools.

We know what the plan to raise taxes will do to the economy. For Obama and the Democrats, this is like winning the lottery.

They knew raising taxes was such a bad idea they did not want to do it before Obama ran for reelection. Now the circumstances are perfect. John Boehner and the Republicans will go along with the Obama-Boehner Tax Hike. It will give the Democrats perfect cover.

When the economy tanks even worse than it is already tanking, and Republicans want to run against the Great Obama Depression, the Democrats will be able to say not so fast. You own this depression as much as we do. Minutes after Obama and Boehner shake hands over the deal that video footage will be in the archives of the DNC to be used as ammo in attack ads against any Republican who challenges the Democrats on the economy.

Even worse for Republicans, this deal with destroy the base.

As reports come out that John Boehner and the House leadership are considering a grand bargain with Democrats, many rank and file Republicans are now openly talking about leaving the Party.

Christmas is coming early for the Democrats. 2014 is the Republican’s best chance for taking control of the Senate in the next two or three election cycles. Yet the GOP is doing everything possible to depress its base and possibly shatter the party.

Meanwhile, the Obama, Pelosi, Reid axis of fiscal evil is laughing all the way towards a permanent Democrat Majority in government. 

Protein's destructive journey in brain may cause Parkinson's!

ScienceNews ^ | November 16, 2012 | Laura Sanders

Clumps of alpha-synuclein move through dopamine-producing cells, mouse study finds
The insidious spread of an abnormal protein may be behind Parkinson’s disease, a study in mice suggests. A harmful version of the protein crawls through the brains of healthy mice, killing brain cells and damaging the animals’ balance and coordination, researchers report in the Nov. 16 Science.
If a similar process happens in humans, the results could eventually point to ways to stop Parkinson’s destruction in the brain. “I really think that this model will increase our ability to come up with Parkinson’s disease therapies,” says study coauthor Virginia Lee of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia.
The new study targets a hallmark of Parkinson’s disease — clumps of a protein called alpha-synuclein. The clumps, called Lewy bodies, pile up inside nerve cells in the brain and cause trouble, particularly in cells that make dopamine, a chemical messenger that helps control movement. Death of these dopamine-producing cells leads to the characteristic tremors and muscle rigidity seen in people with Parkinson’s.
Lee and her team injected alpha-synuclein into the brains of healthy mice. After 30 days, the protein had spread to connected brain regions, suggesting that rogue alpha-synuclein moves from cell to cell, the scientists found. Months later, the spreading was even more extensive.
Alpha-synuclein appeared to colonize several areas of the otherwise...
Scientists don’t know whether such cell-to-cell transmission happens in people, because it’s impossible to do similar studies on humans. But some clues come from the brain of a woman with Parkinson’s who received stem cell transplants in an effort to replenish her missing neurons. Fourteen years after the procedure, Lewy bodies were found in these previously healthy transplanted cells, raising the possibility that alpha-synuclein had spread there from the rest of the brain....
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Immigrant Welfare: The New Colossus. Do the huddled masses yearn to breathe free or eat for free?

National Review ^ | 11/29/2012 | Jillian Kay Melchior

Here’s a perplexing pair of statistics: Compared with native-born Americans, immigrants are more likely to start a business — and they’re also more likely to depend on welfare.

These dissonant data are even more irksome considering the state of the U.S. economy. Government social-aid programs consume an ever-growing portion of the federal budget, surpassing a trillion dollars even before Medicare and Social Security are factored in. And entrepreneurial activity is slowing. Census Bureau statistics show that start-ups accounted for 12 percent of American businesses in 1980 but less than 8 percent today. And earlier this fall, the Hudson Institute found that under the Obama administration, we’ve averaged 7.8 start-up jobs per 1,000 people. During the Bush years, it was 10.8, and during Clinton’s years in office, it was 11.2.
The question then becomes how to devise an immigration policy that encourages entrepreneurship and discourages government dependency.
First, the facts. Already, immigrants make a significant contribution to the American economy. Earlier this year, a study by the Fiscal Policy Institute found that immigrants account for 18 percent of all small-business owners, even though they make up only 13 percent of the overall population. These immigrant-owned businesses provide around 4.7 million jobs. And the Department of Labor reported that, last year, foreign-born workers (including both legal and illegal immigrants) had higher labor-force participation than native-born Americans, especially among men.
But despite their entrepreneurial vigor, immigrants are disproportionately dependent on welfare. Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), crunched numbers from the Department of Agriculture and found that the number of non-citizens on food stamps has risen to 1.634 million, roughly quadrupling since 2001. Moreover, in August, the Center for Immigration Studies found that 36 percent of immigrant-headed households received at least one major welfare benefit. Food assistance and Medicaid have become especially popular among immigrants.
Two policy trends are driving the problem. First, the United States has promoted broader welfare use in recent years, also leading campaigns that market social aid specifically to immigrants. And second, our immigration rules are not crafted to weed out would-be freeloaders and give preference to highly skilled, highly educated applicants.
Welfare use is becoming more common among all American households, immigrant or not. Census Bureau data revealed that in the early months of 2011, 49.1 percent of Americans lived in a household where at least one person drew a government benefit. Last year, 54 million people were on Medicaid, according to the Senate Budget Committee. And 46.7 million people — more than one in seven Americans — received food stamps in 2011, according to the Department of Agriculture.
But the deliberate expansion of welfare has been particularly targeted at immigrants, and that represents a major cultural shift. The United States has long preached that opportunity and liberty together constitute a sufficient guarantor of success, for immigrants and non-immigrants alike. That’s been one of America’s big selling points. But government marketing has shifted, and any number of “outreach” programs, both public and private, now seek to persuade immigrants to utilize the benefits newly available to them. Legal immigrants are potentially eligible for dozens of welfare programs, and even illegal immigrants can benefit indirectly, provided at least one member of their household is here legally. prominently features information on how new immigrants can obtain benefits, including cash assistance, food stamps, and Medicaid. Furthermore, a program established in 2004 ensures that Mexican consulates on U.S. soil promote food-stamp benefits to immigrants. And earlier this year, the Department of Agriculture created a Spanish-language “novela” ad promoting the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. It featured a character who is initially reluctant to go on food stamps because her husband brought home a sufficient income. Finally, bending to pressure from her peers, she enters the program and learns to love it.
The United States’ increasingly prolific provision of welfare is egregious regardless of the national origin of the beneficiaries — but when it comes to immigrants, it’s also potentially unlawful. Federal law states that the U.S. should not admit immigrants who are likely to become a “public charge.” Yet the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State examine only the Supplemental Security Income and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families programs when making this assessment. That ignores more than 75 other federal-assistance programs. Even so, State Department data show that only 0.068 percent of visa applications were denied in fiscal year 2011 because a prospective immigrant was at risk for becoming welfare-dependent.
The federal government also largely ignores educational attainment, which is probably the biggest indication of whether an immigrant will become a lifelong welfare recipient. While 58.8 percent of immigrants without a high school-education rely on welfare, only 16.3 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree or higher do. The National Research Council once found that on average, college-educated immigrants contribute $198,000 more in taxes than they receive in benefits. However, immigrants without a high school-education draw $3 in benefits for every $1 they add to the public purse, and those who hold a diploma but not a college degree aren’t much better, says Robert Rector, an expert on the U.S. welfare system and immigration at the Heritage Foundation.
Such uneducated, unskilled immigrants “are just a huge drain on society, basically from the moment they cross the border,” Rector said. “The real factor is the education level. An immigrant with a college degree is not going to be dependent on welfare. An immigrant with a high school education or less is going to be highly dependent on welfare throughout his life.”
Yet a college education — or even a high-school education, for that matter — is almost never a criterion when the federal government considers whether to allow prospective immigrants to enter the country. Different immigration routes have different admissions criteria, but only about one in ten immigrants are required to have educational attainment beyond high school. And the Pew Research Center has reported that two-thirds of recently arrived immigrants lack a college degree.
When we keep this in mind, immigrant reliance on welfare suddenly looks less a function of national origin or work ethic, says Steven Camarota, director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies. “If you’re unskilled — native-born or immigrant — you’re going to have a hell of the time in the U.S.,” he explained. “[But] our system is certainly not designed to bring in highly skilled people. That’s for sure.”
This problem becomes especially acute as elected officials grapple with the growing debt. The Senate Budget Committee reported that in 2011, state and federal government spending on 83 means-tested welfare programs, not including Social Security or Medicare, cost $1.03 trillion. And these expenditures are burgeoning. The Congressional Research Service found that between 2008 and 2011, federal spending on welfare programs increased by 32 percent. The Heritage Foundation has reported that over the next ten years, the U.S. will spend twice as much on welfare as national defense.
That comes at a high economic cost. More social spending inevitably means more taxes. Those taxes are often levied on small businesses and successful entrepreneurs, a fact that hasn’t escaped ambitious prospective immigrants. Hong Kong is brimming with foreign-born entrepreneurs who won’t consider starting businesses in the U.S. because of the growing tax burden. Some even say they’d prefer the economic freedom of Hong Kong to the political freedom of the United States. Yet those are precisely the sort of immigrants the United States should be welcoming.
Instead, we’re expanding welfare among native-born and immigrant Americans alike, and we’re pursuing an immigration policy that doesn’t draw the best and brightest. It would be tragic indeed if the United States went from being the land of opportunity to the land of alms.
— Jillian Kay Melchior is a Thomas L. Rhodes Fellow for the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity

Socialist vs Capitalist

Socialist vs Capitalist

Socialist vs Capitalist
This recalls a brilliant quote by Lady Margaret Thatcher:
"People think that at the top there isn't much room.
They tend to think of it as an Everest.
My message is that there is TONS of room at the top..."

Obama’s “Tell” In Fiscal Cliff Negotiations (sucker bet)

Conservative HQ ^ | 11/12/2012 | George Rasley

Experienced negotiators, and poker players, always look for the opponent’s “tell” -- that one little blink or tic that helps them see through the opponent’s deception to reveal what the opponent is really thinking or what cards he really holds.

For those Republicans who thought Obama was actually serious about avoiding the government’s “fiscal cliff,” he just blinked and revealed his cards – and they show a hand that Democrats have held before and know how to play to entice Republicans into making a sucker bet.

What Obama said to reveal his hand was that Congress should pass his tax increase plan now and hold-off on making any decisions on spending cuts until next year.

To Capitol Hill’s establishment Republican politicians, never eager in the first place to make the hard choices involved in reducing spending, this sounded like manna from Heaven: an opportunity to pass a tax increase they see as inevitable, while looking reasonable and kicking the can down the road on cutting spending.

This is a sucker bet that got Republicans skunked when they raised taxes and President George H.W. Bush went back on his “read my lips, no new taxes” pledge.

And it is a sucker bet that even President Ronald Reagan, with all his political skill, took to his regret.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Households that earn at most $13,000 a year spend 9 percent of their money on lottery tickets!

The Week ^ | November 28, 2012 | Ryu Spaeth

With the Powerball lottery jackpot reaching a record $500 million, people from around the country are flocking to local convenience stores to try their luck. The majority of those standing in line for tickets and joining office pools are likely not habitual lottery devotees, but rather casual players who decided to get in on the fun once the media reported the unprecedented size of the pot. However, the everyday lottery business is a much grimmer affair, relying overwhelmingly on "poverty, habit, and desperation," says Natasha Lennard at Salon:
Studies of lottery ticket sales in North Carolina, South Carolina, California, Texas and Connecticut found that per capita lottery sales are consistently higher in the poorest counties and tickets are more likely to be purchased by unemployed individuals.
Statistics from South Carolina highlight the lottery’s reliance on low earners: people in households earning under $40,000 made up 54 percent of frequent players, while constituting only 28 percent of the state’s population. Meanwhile, a PBS report earlier this year showed that, for America’s very poorest, the lottery is a heavy expenditure: Households that earn at most $13,000 a year spend 9 percent of their money on lottery tickets.
“Lotteries set off a vicious cycle that not only exploits low-income individuals’ desires to escape poverty but also directly prevents them from improving upon their financial situations,” a 2008 study by Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business noted. The study, aligning with national statistics, found that people who felt poor were found to buy double the number of lottery tickets.
One of the main justifications behind lotteries is that the government — at both the state and federal levels — pockets a portion of the jackpot to finance education programs and the like. Consequently, the lottery has often been compared to a regressive tax, one that costs the poor more proportionately than it does the rich. The obvious counterpoint is that, unlike a tax, the decision to buy a lottery ticket is entirely voluntary — no one is holding a gun to your head. Still, critics say, the lottery is undeniably in large part funded by the poor, who are more susceptible to the jackpot's promise of lavish riches.

When Work Is Punished: The Tragedy Of America's Welfare State

Tyler Durden's picture

Exactly two years ago, some of the more politically biased progressive media outlets (who are quite adept at creating and taking down their own strawmen arguments, if not quite as adept at using an abacus, let alone a calculator) took offense at our article "In Entitlement America, The Head Of A Household Of Four Making Minimum Wage Has More Disposable Income Than A Family Making $60,000 A Year." In it we merely explained what has become the painful reality in America: for increasingly more it is now more lucrative - in the form of actual disposable income - to sit, do nothing, and collect various welfare entitlements, than to work. This is graphically, and very painfully confirmed, in the below chart from Gary Alexander, Secretary of Public Welfare, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (a state best known for its broke capital Harrisburg). As quantitied, and explained by Alexander, "the single mom is better off earnings gross income of $29,000 with $57,327 in net income & benefits than to earn gross income of $69,000 with net income and benefits of $57,045."

We realize that this is a painful topic in a country in which the issue of welfare benefits, and cutting (or not) the spending side of the fiscal cliff, have become the two most sensitive social topics. Alas, none of that changes the matrix of incentives for most Americans who find themselves in a comparable situation: either being on the left side of minimum US wage, and relying on benefits, or move to the right side at far greater personal investment of work, and energy, and... have the same disposable income at the end of the day.
Naturally, the topic of wealth redistribution is paramount one now that America is entering the terminal phase of its out of control spending, and whose response to hike taxes in a globalized, easily fungible world, will merely force more of the uber-wealthy to find offshore tax jurisdictions, avoid US taxation altogether, and thus result to even lower budget revenues for the US. It explains why the cluelessly incompetent but supposedly impartial Congressional Budget Office just released a key paper titled "Share of Returns Filed by Low- and Moderate-Income Workers, by Marginal Tax Rate, Under 2012 Law" which carries a chart of disposable income by net income comparable to the one above.

But perhaps the scariest chart in the entire presentation is the following summarizing the unsustainable welfare burden on current taxpayers:
  • For every 1.65 employed persons in the private sector, 1 person receives welfare assistance
  • For every 1.25 employed persons in the private sector, 1 person receives welfare assistance or works for the government.

The punchline: 110 million privately employed workers; 88 million welfare recipients and government workers and rising rapidly.
And since nothing has changed in the past two years, and in fact the situation has gotten progressively (pardon the pun) worse, here is our conclusion on this topic from two years ago:
We have been writing for over a year, how the very top of America's social order steals from the middle class each and every day. Now we finally know that the very bottom of the entitlement food chain also makes out like a bandit compared to that idiot American who actually works and pays their taxes. One can only also hope that in addition to seeing their disposable income be eaten away by a kleptocratic entitlement state, that the disappearing middle class is also selling off its weaponry. Because if it isn't, and if it finally decides it has had enough, the outcome will not be surprising at all: it will be the same old that has occurred in virtually every revolution in the history of the world to date.
But for now, just stick head in sand, and pretend all is good. Self-deception is now the only thing left for the entire insolvent entitlement-addicted world.

2012's Worst Paying College Degrees ^ | November 29, 2012 | Political Calculations analyzed the data in its online salary database and has revealed the college degrees that go along with the jobs that have the lowest median pay for their respective career professionals in its 2012-13 College Salary Report. Note - these figures represent the typical annual combination of pay, bonuses, commissions and profit sharing earned by people who have been successful in working in these fields for at least 10 years and were willing to participate in's survey, which means the reported median incomes will likely be inflated above each field's actual median incomes....
College Degree
Median Annual Salary
Child and Family Studies
Social Work
Elementary Education
Human Development
Special Education
Culinary Arts
Athletic Training

So what possesses people to take out big student loans to go into professions like these that offer such little compensation? offers the following insight:
"According to our research, people in these majors typically believe their work makes the world a better place," says PayScale’s lead analyst Katie Bardaro.
Another Graduate Goes Begging for a Job - Source: GlobalElites
To translate, the people in these majors are perhaps so disconnected from reality that they do not recognize that the reason their trades provide so little return on their educational investment is because they really do not require unique ability, which is why society does not reward them with greater compensation.
These people are then exploited by the higher education establishment, which really does know better, but can't help noticing that these same people are willing to pay nearly the same amount of money for their college degrees as do people in careers that society values a lot more.
And let's not forget the role of the U.S. federal government in guaranteeing and issuing student loans, which has its own ulterior motives for pushing higher education that offers little real benefit to society.

Elsewhere on the Web

Say what you will about the careers that go with the degrees above, but at least many of the people who pursue these degrees might actually get jobs in their fields of study, if only low paying ones. Kiplinger's Caitlin Dewey takes things several steps further and identifies the college degrees in's database that combine low pay with high rates of unemployment for their graduates!
Also, this isn't just an American phenomenon. Don't miss this perspective by a recent PhD graduate in Britain who complains that the "real world" doesn't understand or appreciate their skills.
Image Source: Global Elites.

The Republicans, The Democrats And Grover ^ | November 29, 2012 | Emmett Tyrrell

Washington -- What is a Republican elected official? A Republican elected official is one who says, "I won't raise my constituents' taxes." Asked to elaborate, the Republican elected official explains, "I will keep taxes down to allow the economy to grow and to throw off ever more tax revenue." The Republican believes that the way to pay for government is to let the economy roar ... and to keep spending reasonable.
What is a Democratic elected official? Back in the early 1960s a Democratic elected official, at least when it came to growing the economy, was not much different from a Republican. President John F. Kennedy called for a tax cut to fire up the economy. Things are different now. A Democratic elected official today is a crafty pol whose economic theories are, at best, muzzy-headed. The Democrats have supposedly embraced the middle class. That is, as the mathematician Senator Patty Murray of Washington said on National Public Radio the other day, "98 percent" of the American people. The Democrats promise not to raise taxes on this middle class. They will only raise them on the top two percent, who are mostly scoundrels anyway, and the economy will grow, and all will be well.
One trillion dollars in budget deficits will continue for the next four years, but everyone will be happy. Medicare will continue to pay out. Medicaid and Social Security will continue to pay out. All the lesser entitlement programs will flourish. If we need more money, the Democrats will hit the upper two percent even harder. You wondered where the goose that laid the golden egg might be? Well, for Democrats it is to be found among that two percent. They really believe that all America is with them, save for this fat and lazy two percent.
Back in the days when such geniuses as President Barack Obama held such hope for the Occupy movement -- those days were not long ago -- the members of that movement and their supporters spoke of the 98 percent of Americans that were supposedly full of hope for the movement. Patty Murray was not the only one to speak of the opulent two percent and the nearly desperate 98 percent. Much of the Democratic Party did also as they embraced us, us 98 percent of Americans who are middle class -- not working class, not upper-middle class, not working poor, or the poor. We are all middle class, except that dratted two percent, and we shall never have a tax increase brought down on us by the Democrats. They promise! Yippee! And if you believe the two percent can pay off the Prophet Obama's twenty-trillion-dollar national debt when he leaves office, you are an ignoramus.
Now comes upon this happy scene of Republicans holding the line on raising taxes and of Democrats talking gibberish about their preposterous 98 percent of Americans all luxuriating in trillion-dollar budgetary overruns, one Grover Norquist. He is a pleasant barbigerous man of sunny disposition given to homespun truths such as "You can either reform government so that it spends less and works better, or you can raise taxes to keep doing all the things we have been doing that haven't worked very well." Conservatives adore him and many independents do too. There are many reasons to adore Grover. He is optimistic, commonsensical, a friend to all Americans who love their freedoms as secured for them in the Constitution. Moreover, he is adamantly opposed to tax increases. He is the author of the tax pledge that, 20 years ago, his organization, Americans for Tax Reform, began asking Capitol Hill politicians to sign. Most Republicans have and by doing so they have distinguished themselves from the Democrats of whom only one has signed the pledge.
Once again -- remember attack dog Joe Biden's assault on him in the vice presidential debate -- Grover is being made out to be a monster, a tyrant forcing congressional Republicans to stand by their pledge not to raise taxes. Actually he has said in his homespun vernacular, "If you want to go to your voters and say I promised you this, and I'm breaking my promise, you can have that conversation," but "You're not having an argument with me. You've made a commitment to your voters." My guess is that most Republicans will stand by their pledge. They know opposition to tax increases is one of the things that makes them Republicans and that in two more years will continue the Republicans' domination of government.

Barack Obama: From Beginning to End

American Spectator ^ | 11/27/2012 | Quin Hillyer

Intelligent people across the country are asking out loud whether another presidential term for Barack Obama actually will be as bad as we expect it to be.
Unfortunately, it probably will be.
Because he was as horrible, as disdainful of the Constitution and of decency, fair play and good judgment, as he was in the first four years, imagine what he can do now that he needs not worry about re-election. A look back serves as a reminder of how bad he has been already, so that good Americans can start figuring how to counter the worse Obama still to come. Herewith, then, lines from either opening or closing paragraphs of my prior columns on the Occupier in Chief, to remind us, as if we needed it, what we're dealing with.
Sept. 18, 2008: "Rhetoric aside, Obama is about as much in step with the majority of Americans as Britney Spears would be if she were trying to foxtrot with Fred Astaire.… Strip away Obama's deep-timbred voice and his puffball platitudes, and what remains is nothing more than an academic radical using Chicago machine politics to grab a power base and using smoke-and-mirrors to project a pleasing image."
Feb. 3, 2012: "By ineptness and, worse, by deliberate design, Barack Obama daily makes this nation weaker abroad, less free (and more authoritarian) at home, economically more feeble, and in the civic realm more bitterly divided than ever. Meanwhile, ominous developments crowd the world stage. In short, we're in a big heap of trouble. The recent litany of Obama's odiousness begins with his growing, unambiguous war against traditional Christianity…."
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

A Step Toward a Universal Cancer Blood Test

ScienceNOW ^ | 28 November 2012 | Jocelyn Kaiser

Tumor signal. A new cancer blood test looks for abnormal chromosomes, such as the rearrangements in these breast cancer cells (different colors on the same chromosome).
Credit: Mira Grigorova and Paul Edwards/University of Cambridge

People usually find out that they have cancer after developing symptoms or through a screening test such as a mammogram—signs that may appear only after the cancer has grown or spread so much that it can't be cured. But what if you could find out from a simple, highly accurate blood test that you had an incipient tumor? By sequencing the abnormal DNA that a tumor releases into a person's bloodstream, researchers are now one step closer to a universal cancer test. Although the technique is now only sensitive enough to detect advanced cancers, that may be a matter of money: As sequencing costs decrease, the developers of the method say, the test could eventually pick up early tumors as well.
The new work is part of a wave of research on using either cells shed into the blood by tumors or free-floating tumor DNA in blood to track the growth and spread of tumors and tailor treatments. The free tumor DNA tests generally rely on looking for known alterations in cancer genes to distinguish cancerous DNA from normal DNA. Seeking a way to detect tumor DNA without knowing its genetic makeup beforehand, postdoctoral researcher Rebecca Leary and others in the labs of Victor Velculescu and Luis Diaz at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, and collaborators at other institutions took advantage of an observation they and others have made: No matter the type of cancer, tumor cells almost invariably have substantially altered chromosomes, such as swapped pieces and extra copies of certain genes. This suggests that a test that could detect any chromosomal abnormalities in a person's blood could serve as a general test for cancer.
Now, the researchers have shown that their idea has promise. First, they isolated the free DNA in blood samples from 10 people with advanced colon or breast cancer. Then, using next-generation DNA sequencing methods, they read the entire genome of the DNA in the blood. (The approach was similar to a new test that can detect Down syndrome in a fetus from a pregnant woman's blood sample by looking for just an extra copy of chromosome 21.) The cancer patients all had DNA with chromosomal alterations in their blood, whereas none of 10 healthy controls tested positive, according to the team's report today in Science Translational Medicine.
"There are multiple uses of this approach," Velculescu says. His group initially hopes to track whether a patient's tumor is responding to treatment or regrows after surgery. The test could also be used to decide what drug a patient should get without biopsying her tumor—in some patients, the Hopkins team detected extra copies of two genes known to drive cancer, ERBB2 and CDK6, which can be targeted with existing drugs.
The test isn't that cheap or quick at the moment: Each of the 10 patients' tests in the study cost several thousand dollars just for sequencing and took a month, including the time for analysis. And early detection is still a ways off. The technique has to sift through large amounts of DNA from normal cells that is also floating in blood to find tumor-associated sequences; the portion of DNA in the cancer patients' blood that came from tumors ranged from 47.9% to as low as 1.4%. The test might have to work on blood samples with less than 0.1% tumor DNA to detect small, curable tumors, the researchers suggest. But that is just a matter of doing more sequencing, Velculescu says. And as sequencing costs continue to drop, "in the very near future, this could end up being extremely cheap," he adds.
"The approach has tremendous promise and, should the sequencing strategy become economical, it could have important applications in early cancer detection," says Daniel Haber of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston who works on using circulating tumor cells to detect and monitor cancer.
Carlos Caldas of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute, who, like the Hopkins group, is working on sequencing free tumor DNA in blood, says the new study is the latest showing "that circulating tumor DNA is going to have a great future in all aspects of cancer management. … This is an exploding field." He thinks such tests could reach the clinic within 5 to 10 years.

Truth On Fiscal Cliff Negotiations

Flopping Aces ^ | 11-29-12 | James Raider

We apprehensively advance through this nail biting moment in history as a great Nation floats, uncertain, caught in a holding pattern, hoping its leadership will find wisdom enough to avert the so called Fiscal Cliff, even if most of us don’t fully comprehend what such a cliff entails, or even if such a thing exists. We’re too busy struggling, hanging on to whatever we have, hoping for stability, and hoping that tomorrow brings some relief to our stress.
So let’s look for a little insight into what astute and gifted minds are really doing deep in the core of the negotiations apparently so critical to the very future of the Nation. Let’s dig for a sign of prescient coherence determining the very nature of our future.
Here is a discussion/interview which John Mauldin recently conducted with Rob Lehman and David Krone, the chiefs of staff for Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), and of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), respectively. Lehman and Krone are two very key individuals in the current budget negotiations. Mauldin, who writes on economics and investments, usually refrains from using an ideologically tempered pen. Late in the somewhat non-descript forty minute discussion, a head snapper gets dropped by Lehman, who works on the Republican side of the negotiating table.
At minute 37:00 of the linked video Lehman (R) makes a statement about spending. “We’re talking about reductions in the growth of spending.” He confirms that there will be no reduction in spending. Krone (D), sitting next to him, is drooling out of camera shot. Washington does not spend less year-to-year. Ever. Is that clear? Negotiators are only negotiating amounts of spending increases and areas of such increases in spending. That’s it. Don’t believe anyone standing at a podium performing waffling prevarications in Washington while making claims of imminent spending cuts.
(excerpt)

Tomb of Unknown Soldier Reunion

Tomb Sentinel Reunion
Former Tomb Sentinels lay roses at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, Va., Nov. 18. Sentinels, past and present, gathered for the reunion to commemorate the special bond and brotherhood only Sentinels share. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Megan Garcia)
Since 1948, The Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Identification Badge, has been awarded to a small percentage of Soldiers who exemplified selfless service while guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier [TUS] in Arlington National Cemetery, Va. On Nov.17, they gathered to reflect on this special duty and the unique bond that exist within it.
"We are a part of a strong brotherhood of dedicated men and women that have worn this badge over the years," said Sgt. Brian Gougler, Sentinel, TUS, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard). "No matter what generation they served in, [badge holders] all live by the same creed."
Gougler said he looked forward to his first Tomb reunion because of the understanding he hoped to gain from the experience.
"This is how we continue to pass the torch of knowledge to the next generation," said Gougler. "I'm able to talk with badge holders who served 40 or 50 years ago to gain a deeper understanding of how things used to be. They're major differences because time has certainly changed, but the mission has remained the same. There is only one standard and that is perfection in everything we do."
During the reunion, Sentinels, past and present, reflected on their honorable duty.
"We talked about how each Sentinel spent many late nights preparing a perfect uniform to walk the mat," said Gougler. "Sentinels today are allowed to wear head gear that wasn't allowed back then, and that's ok. Some things do separate us, but we all did our missions no matter what."
Gougler added how great it was to see this time of bonding with those who have earned the badge.
Timothy F. Gerard, Sentinel Badge # 328, Society of the Honor Guard, TUS, agreed.
"It really means a lot to the older guys to talk with some of these younger guys," said Gerard. "It is both refreshing and rewarding because some badge holders who served many years ago still wish they could still get back out there and guard the Tomb."
Gougler shared the same sentiments.
"It is amazing to see the younger guys and some of these gentlemen talk and share what is a special time that only a very few have experienced or even know about," said Gougler. "I found that many guys enjoyed the night hours. They were the best times in my life."
It can take anywhere between six months to more than a year to earn the badge, the second least awarded badge in the Army after the Astronaut Badge. Gerard said this rarity helps keep the group even closer.
"There aren't that many of us, so everyone knows everyone," said Gerard.
Although the years have come and gone along with the duties of those who once served, one thing remains unchanged about the responsibility of a Tomb Sentinel.
"The job of guarding the Tomb is still being done every day. It doesn't matter the time of day or weather condition," said Gougler. "This is the best job in the Army because each one of us has given our best to provide the Unknowns the proper dignity and respect they deserve. Each generation of Sentinels is tied to one another and it provides a direct link to the history of the job I love." 

Federal jobless benefits could vanish!

San Francisco Chronicle ^ | November 28, 2012 | Kathleen Pender

Talk about a hard landing: About 2 million Americans, including 400,000 in California, will abruptly lose their unemployment benefits after December unless Congress votes to continue federal funding for extended benefits.
....About 2.1 million of the 5 million Americans receiving jobless benefits are on a federal extension that will end after Dec. 29, even if they have weeks remaining in their federal claim, according to Maurice Emsellem of the National Employment Law Project.
"It's a hard cutoff," he said. "There is no phaseout,"....
Congress has renewed extended benefits 10 times since the current round started in June 2008. At its peak, the program provided up to 73 weeks of benefits (99 weeks if you include state benefits), but now it provides only 14 to 47 weeks, depending on the state's unemployment rate. In California, the maximum is 47 (73 including state benefits).
..............Gary Larson, 48, a beverage marketing executive with an MBA from UCLA who has been out of work - for the first time in his career - since February. "I'm a white, middle-class guy who grew up in Pleasanton. There are people like me who seem to have the finest pedigrees who are not finding work," said Larson, now living in West Hollywood.
Larson thinks age may be a factor in his inability to land a job, but so is his profession. Marketing is the last place companies hire when their business picks up, he said. "It's seen as a variable expense you can easily shut off or turn on. The results are intangible."
Asked if federal benefits have allowed him to be more picky about a new job, he said, "It could be true for some people. I'm very, very motivated to get off unemployment. It's not enough money for anything but the basics."
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Make the Democrats Own the Obama Economy ^ | November 28, 2012 | Ann Coulter

One bright spot of Barack Obama's re-election was knowing that unemployment rates were about to soar for the precise groups that voted for him -- young people, unskilled workers and single women with degrees in gender studies. But now the Democrats are sullying my silver lining by forcing Republicans to block an utterly pointless tax-raising scheme in order to blame the coming economic Armageddon on them.
Democrats are proposing to reinstate the Bush tax cuts for everyone ... except "the rich." (Why do only tax cuts come with an expiration date? Why not tax increases? Why not Obamacare? How about New York City's "temporary" rent control measures intended for veterans returning from World War II?)
Raising taxes only on the top 2 percent of income earners will do nothing to reduce the deficit. There's not enough money there -- even assuming, contrary to all known history, that the top 2 percent won't find ways to reduce their taxable income or that the imaginary increased government revenue would be applied to deficit reduction, anyway.
Apart from Obamacare, it's difficult to think of a more effective method of destroying jobs than raising taxes on "the rich." This isn't a wealth tax on useless gigolos like John Kerry -- it's an income tax on people who are currently engaged in some profitable enterprise. Their business profits, which could have been used to hire more employees, will instead be used to pay the government.
But Republicans are over a barrel. Unless Republicans and Democrats reach an agreement, the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of the year. By pushing to extend the tax cuts for everyone except "the rich," Democrats get to look like champions of middle class tax cuts and Republicans can be portrayed as caring only about the rich.
And when the economy tanks, the Non-Fox Media will blame Republicans.
The economy will tank because, as you will recall, Obama is still president. Government rules, regulations, restrictions, forms and inspections are about to drown the productive sector. Obamacare is descending on job creators like a fly swatter on a gnat. Obama has already managed to produce the only "recovery" that is worse than the preceding recession since the Great Depression. And he says, "You ain't seen nothing yet."
The coming economic collapse is written in the stars, but if Republicans "obstruct" the Democrats by blocking tax hikes on top income earners, they're going to take 100 percent of the blame for the Obama economy.
You think not? The Non-Fox Media managed to persuade a majority of voters that the last four years of jobless misery was George W. Bush's fault, having nothing whatsoever to do with Obama.
The media have also managed to brand Republicans as the party of the rich, even as eight of the 10 richest counties voted for Obama. And that doesn't include pockets of vast wealth in cities -- Nob Hill in San Francisco, the North Shore of Chicago, the Upper East Side of Manhattan and the Back Bay of Boston -- whose residents invariably vote like welfare recipients. Seven of the 10 richest senators are Democrats. The very richest is the useless gigolo.
Republicans have a PR problem, not an economic theory problem. That doesn't mean they should cave on everything, but seeming to fight for "tax cuts for the rich" is a little close to the bone, no matter how tremendously counterproductive such taxes are.
Yes, conservatives can try harder to get the truth out, but as UCLA political science professor Tim Groseclose has shown, media bias already costs Republicans about 8 to 10 points in elections. Try arguing a year from now that Republicans' refusal to agree to tax hikes on the top 2 percent of income earners -- resulting in an expiration of all the Bush tax cuts -- had nothing to do with the inevitable economic disaster.
Republicans have got to make Obama own the economy.
They should spend from now until the end of the congressional calendar reading aloud from Thomas Sowell, Richard Epstein, John Lott and Milton Friedman and explaining why Obama's high tax, massive regulation agenda spells doom for the nation.
Then some Republicans can say: We think this is a bad idea, but Obama won the election and the media are poised to blame us for whatever happens next, so let's give his plan a whirl and see how the country likes it.
Republicans need to get absolute, 100 percent intellectual clarity on who bears responsibility for the next big recession. It is more important to win back the Senate in two years than it is to save the Democrats from their own idiotic tax plan. Unless Republicans give them an out, Democrats won't be able to hide from what they've done.
Even Democrats might back away from that deal.


Old White Men


2067 years

Blaming extension



The Rich!

Palestine Quiz

You are not poor!


Building Blocks



Half-Baked Rice


The Grinch

2 and a half Men


Why is Obama getting away with the Susan Rice distraction?

 by reaganator

A sitting President of the United States not only failed to attempt a rescue of four Americans who were tortured, sodomized and murdered in Benghazi, Lybia he did nothing even though the military was staged and ready to act.

 Here's the plan; "We'll send UN Ambassador Susan Rice out to promote the false fact that this attack on America occurred because of a spontaneous demonstration, we have an election to win and we've been touting our success and the defeat of our enemies. When the true facts come out later, we'll leak that we are considering nominating Susan Rice for Secretary of State. The news talk will then be all about this and not about the impeachable offense of the intentional nondefense of an American Ambassador and 3 other Americans.

We specifically picked Susan Rice for this because she is black and a woman so we can play up the "attacking a black woman" theme, this will keep them talking for a long time about Susan Rice and not about Obama's nonaction in Lybia in defense of Americans."

Buffettitis -- Is There a Cure? ^ | November 29, 2012 | Larry Elder

Once again, billionaire investor Warren Buffett urges his fellow high-on-the-hoggers to pay more in taxes. "Only in Grover Norquist's imagination," says Buffett, do taxes make much of a difference in how people invest. "So let's forget about the rich and ultra-rich going on strike and stuffing their ample funds under their mattresses if -- gasp -- capital gains rates and ordinary income rates are increased. The ultra-rich, including me, will forever pursue investment opportunities. ...
"We need Congress, right now, to enact a minimum tax on high incomes. I would suggest 30 percent of taxable income between $1 million and $10 million, and 35 percent on amounts above that."
So taxes, says Buffett, do not deter the ultra-rich "from pursuing investment opportunities." Really?
The Weekly Standard's Adam J. White writes about how tax considerations affect investment decisions by Buffett despite his assertion that tax considerations don't much matter when it comes to investment decisions. White gives examples from Buffett's biography "The Snowball," written by Alice Schroeder:
"Early in his career, Buffett invested heavily -- almost one-third of his early fund's capital -- in Sanborn Map, a company that mapped utility lines and such. ... Buffett amassed more and more stock, and with control of the company finally in hand, he pressed the board of directors to split the company in two. ...
"Finally, the board capitulated. But with victory finally at hand, Buffett nearly scuttled the deal because of ... taxes. As Schroeder recounts, quoting Buffett, one director proposed that the company just cleanly break the company, despite the tax consequences -- 'let's just swallow the tax,' he suggested. To which Buffett replied (as he recounted to Schroeder): 'And I said, 'Wait a minute. Let's -- 'Let's' is a contraction. It means 'let us.' But who is this us? If everyone around the table wants to do it per capita, that's fine, but if you want to do it in a ratio of shares owned, and you get 10 shares' worth of tax and I get 24,000 shares' worth, forget it. ...'
"Later in the book, (Schroeder) recounts how Buffett chose to structure his investments under Berkshire Hathaway's corporate umbrella, rather than as part of his hedge fund's general portfolio, precisely because of the tax advantages (emphasis added)."
White quotes Buffett's 1986 letter to his investors, where Buffett warned about the consequences of the1986 tax reform act: "If Berkshire, for example, were to be liquidated -- which it most certainly won't be -- shareholders would, under the new law, receive far less from the sales of our properties than they would have if the properties had been sold in the past, assuming identical prices in each sale. Though this outcome is theoretical in our case, the change in the law will very materially affect many companies. Therefore, it also affects our evaluations of prospective investments. ... My impression is that this important change in the law has not yet been fully comprehended by either investors or managers (emphasis added)."
Taxes matter -- to Buffett.
Harvard's Economic Department chairman, Greg Mankiw, writes that "Mr. Buffett never mentions doing anything to eliminate the tax-avoidance strategies that he uses most aggressively. In particular:
"1. His company, Berkshire Hathaway, never pays a dividend but instead retains all earnings. So the return on this investment is entirely in the form of capital gains. By not paying dividends, he saves his investors (including himself) from having to immediately pay income tax on this income.
"2. Mr. Buffett is a long-term investor, so he rarely sells and realizes a capital gain. His unrealized capital gains are untaxed.
"3. He is giving away much of his wealth to charity. He gets a deduction at the full market value of the stock he donates, most of which is unrealized (and therefore untaxed) capital gains.
"4. When he dies, his heirs will get a stepped-up basis. The income tax will never collect any revenue from the substantial unrealized capital gains he has been accumulating.
"To be sure, there are pros and cons of changing the provisions of the tax code of which Mr. Buffett takes advantage. Tax policy always involves difficult tradeoffs. But it seems odd to me that whenever Mr. Buffett talks about taxing the rich more, the 'loopholes' that he uses never seem to enter into the conversation."
Guess who else thinks Buffett should pay more in taxes: the IRS.
Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has been fighting the IRS over the $1 billion in taxes the government claims it is owed, dating as far back as 2002. Last year, one of Berkshire Hathaway's companies, NetJets, sued the IRS, demanding that the feds return $642.7 million in already paid taxes. And this year, the IRS sued NetJets, claiming it is owed $366.3 million in unpaid taxes.
Meanwhile, scientists at the National Institutes of Health are working feverishly to develop a cure, vaccine or treatment for this disease -- that appears to afflict guilty/super-wealthy liberals -- known in medical circles as "Buffettitis." It's early, and one risks being premature. But NIH just may have produced a workable solution: "Mr. Buffett, whip out your checkbook, and cut the U.S. Treasury a check. Given the state of the economy, let's hope it doesn't bounce."

Bankrupt State University ^ | November 29, 2012 | Mike Adams

Many of my friends and readers are disheartened by recent cultural and political trends. Many blame our universities and wonder whether we can ever restore sanity in our nation, given that the enemy seems to control the modern university. They see no chance to win in the war of ideas as long as they are forced to support the public university and, therefore, forced to fund a war against their own cherished values.

But I know something they don't know. The public university that has declined so steadily in recent years will cease to exist in just a few short decades. The moral bankruptcy we have seen over the last twenty years is about to be followed by another sort of bankruptcy. Before long, many of the universities that have betrayed taxpayers and alumni will be forced out of business.

It will happen for the following reasons:

1. Federal funding reductions. LBJ got us deeply entrenched in the business of federal funding for institutions of higher education. When he did, tuition began to skyrocket. More recently, the federal government has gotten us deeply entrenched in the business of individual student loans. This has had the same effect. When a lot of people are able to borrow a lot of money to purchase goods or services, the effect on the price of those goods and services is dramatic. Supply and demand is not a rule; it is a law.

State university administrators seized upon the increased demand for higher education by raising tuition. This was done for three reasons: a) because they could, b) because they wanted to give themselves raises, and c) because they wanted to hire associate and assistant administrators to do their work for them.

Now, the federal deficit is spinning out of control. As a result, the federal government will soon have to cut aid to state universities. This will confront administrators with this important decision: will they a) cut administrative spending, or b) raise tuition? The answer will be "b."

2. Student loan bubble. People are easily enticed into taking the bait when offered unlimited funds to pursue education. This applies to those who are not qualified to attend college at all. (Think about the housing bubble for just a moment). As tuition continues to rise, many more students who enroll will figure out that they have been duped long before they graduate. The universities have lied to them during recruitment. Departments in the social sciences and other disciplines have betrayed them by exaggerating the pay scale and availability of jobs they could likely expect upon graduation. These realizations will result in a massive upswing in the dropout rate over the next few years. These dropouts are many times more likely to default on their college loans than students who graduate.

When the whole college loan industry collapses, people will actually have to pay for school as they go. That will result in many empty seats in many college classrooms. Universities will have to make up the difference by turning to alumni donors.

3. Declining donations. Consider the following scenario: just two weeks ago, a fraternity of 80 men was ejected from a public university campus. They were investigated for hazing but then exonerated. They were also investigated for an alcohol violation that was so minor that police declined to arrest anyone. They were found to be guilty of only one offense, which was dubbed "failure to cooperate with the investigation." This was another way of saying the university thought but could not prove they were guilty because they refused to confess. At the end of the day, the 80-man fraternity was banned from campus for three years.

This real life incident will have two real life repercussions: a) the administrator who led the investigation will be promoted for expelling a politically incorrect fraternity (one of their flags has a Confederate symbol embedded within it). b) 80 future alumni will respond to the administrative overreach by refusing to donate for the rest of their adult lives.

This issue is serious. As the university administration has grown, it has assumed more control over the lives of students. In recent years, students have been prosecuted with increasing frequency for increasingly petty offenses with drastically decreasing respect for their due process rights. This includes petty prosecutions for speech code violations that amount to stripping students of the right to participate in the free exchange of ideas - the very reason many came to college in the first place. Is anyone foolish enough to believe this will have no effect on their willingness to donate?

The army of administrators that grew in the 1990s as a result of generous federal funding and the explosion in student loans will soon have to beg in order to retain their positions. Alumni will wisely apply the norm of reciprocity by exercising their power over these overpaid and underworked administrators who once practiced authoritarianism on them. They will wisely withhold donations and instead focus on paying their entirely-too-high student loan payments.

For all of these reasons, the public universities will eventually go bankrupt. And that is good news for a nation that is going morally bankrupt in the shadow of the ivory tower. They had a good thing going but the party is close to being over. The hangover will soon begin.

5 Dirty Little Secrets About the Bush Tax Cuts

Investor's Business Daily ^ | 11/29/2012 | John Merline

It´s been more than 10 years since President Bush signed his first round of tax cuts into law. And in the years since, those cuts have been the source of constant attacks. [snip] But a decade of debate and discussion has managed to shed little light on what the Bush tax cuts actually did. So as the debate heats up once again as part of the "fiscal cliff" negotiations, it´s worth taking the time to highlight some of the things most people never knew about the Bush-era tax cuts.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...