Thursday, December 13, 2012

Michigan Right to Work law partially defunds Planned Parenthood, gay activists! ^ | 12-13-12 | by Kirsten Andersen

Despite the fact that their membership is about evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, major Michigan unions spend nearly 100 percent of their political cash on the campaigns of some of the nation’s most pro-abortion Democratic politicians.
They also support Planned Parenthood and same-sex “marriage” campaigns.
“Planned Parenthood and the UAW [United Auto Workers] share a planned vision for this country,” said Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards at the National Community Action Program (CAP) Legislative Conference in Washington.
Elise Hilton of the Acton Institute, a Michigan-based think tank focused on religious liberty, said the new law would “absolutely” help defund the progressive agenda.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

This Graph Says it All: “Spending is the Problem” ^ | December 13, 2012 | Daniel Doherty

Anyone who believes that the president’s proposed tax hikes on “the rich” will save our country from insolvency is grossly mistaken, and should begin to educate themselves by examining the graph below. Whoa:
This isn’t the least bit surprising, of course. We’ve seen this coming for a very long time. Barring major cuts to entitlement spending the country will go bankrupt. It’s not a possibility -- it’s an absolute certainty. Which is why I find all the “negotiations” surrounding raising taxes on “the rich” so reprehensible. The revenue generated from such a proposal -- as the graph above demonstrates -- will do virtually nothing to reduce the deficit, let alone balance the budget, and would only fund the government for about eight days. Put simply, the day of reckoning is nearly upon us (despite the actions of a certain leader which might suggest otherwise) and every freedom-loving American should be concerned.

Cal Thomas: A society without entitlements

The Washington Examiner ^ | December 12, 2012 | Cal Thomas

SINGAPORE -- While the U.S. unemployment rate "dropped" to 7.7 percent last month -- a figure even the Washington Post acknowledged was due "in large part because the labor force fell by 350,000" -- here in this modern and prosperous city-state of slightly more than 5 million people, unemployment is practically nonexistent at 1.9 percent.
In part, this is due to a work ethic that seems to be in the genes here. But there is something else at work that should astound Washington politicians struggling with expensive "entitlement" programs and with those who receive them.
The Economist wrote about it in a 2010 article. What contributes to Singapore's prosperity and a vibrant economy that includes a stable currency and a rising stock market, it said, is this: "The state's attitude can be simply put: being poor here is your own fault. Citizens are obliged to save for the future, rely on their families and not expect any handouts from the government unless they hit rock bottom."
As a parent, this is my favorite part of the article: "The emphasis on family extends into old age: Retired parents can sue children who fail to support them. In government circles, 'welfare' remains a dirty word."
Things may be starting to change, at least in other parts of Asia...
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

America Still The Shining City On A Hill: GOP Must Not Abandon Its Principles!

The Washington Times ^ | December 13, 2012 | Igor Birman

What possibly could inspire someone to leave behind the comfort and familiarity of home and the warmth of friends and relatives to seek the unknown alone in a foreign land?
It’s a question Republicans should ask as a panicked posse presses us to leave behind our principles in order to appeal to the growing immigrant vote. Here’s a hint: The motivation is not a longing for big government.
I arrived in the United States as a refugee from Russia in 1994 with my family, a few bags and a dream of life in liberty.
After Russian police had torn apart my family’s tiny apartment in Moscow to intimidate us, my mother looked my scared little brother in the eyes and told him: “Don’t be afraid. In just a few days, we go to America. This will never happen there.”
She had never been to the United States, but that didn’t matter. She instinctively knew the meaning of freedom.
Every immigrant family, no matter its origins in Moscow, Macau or Mexico City, has such a story.
Igor Birman is chief of staff to Rep. Tom McClintock, California Republican.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Taxman to Middle Class: 'Bend Over'! ^ | December 13, 2012 | Larry Elder

President Barack Obama in 2008, and again during the 2012 election, promised absolutely, positively no tax hikes on the middle class. The rich, however, must pay more: "It's not me being stubborn, it's not me being partisan -- it's just a matter of math."

How does Obama intend to pay for our cradle-to-grave welfare state? Why, by charging the dastardly "millionaires and billionaires" who "can afford to pay a little bit more." No more extending the Bush-era tax rates for the rich. To do so, Obama tells us, would "cost" $700 billion -- over 10 years. So this "break" for the rich "costs" $70 billion a year -- or a mere 6 percent of the trillion dollar annual deficits that Obama has rung up since he became president.

This leaves us short about $930 billion per year -- just for the annual deficit, never mind paring down the ever-growing national debt. From where is the shortfall to be made up?
Lots of deluded Obama voters no doubt truly believe "the mess we're in" is due to "two unpaid for wars and irresponsible tax cuts for the rich." End the wars and slap the rich with Clinton-era tax rates, and voila, watch the deficit and debt go poof! But with Obama safely re-elected, some Democrats now speak the truth: The middle class, contrary to Obama's promise, will see substantial tax increases in order to pay for the welfare state the voters once again signed on to by re-electing Obama.
Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, appearing on MSNBC, said: "The only problem is -- and this is, a little, initially going to seem like heresy from a progressive -- the truth is everybody needs to pay more taxes, not just the rich. That's a good start. But we're not going to get out of this deficit problem unless we raise taxes across the board -- to go back to what Bill Clinton had and his taxes. And if we don't do that, the problem is the pressure is going to be on spending even more."
Obama, however, still insists that any budget deal include tax rate hikes on the top 2 percent -- a violation of the anti-tax-increase pledge most Capital Hill Republicans signed. He's winning the argument. Several Republicans now repudiate the pledge.
The "controversial" pledge states that the signer promises to his/her constituents and the American people to: "ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates."
But with post-election polls showing that Americans support raising taxes on the rich, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, now places "revenue on the table" -- meaning the GOP accepts the election returns as a referendum for a "balanced approach" to dealing with our deficits and debt. By "revenue," Boehner means closing "loopholes" and "capping deductions" used by "the rich" to pay less in taxes. And more recently, fiscal conservative Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., now says he would accept a hike in tax rates, provided the Democrats present a plan to reform entitlements.
Polls show that if Congress and the President fail to come to a deal to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff," Republicans will be blamed. And as the Democrats pin blame, expect their friends in the media to assist with joy and enthusiasm.
The Media Research Center tells us that ABC, NBC and CBS have a distorted view of the term "balance." After the election, those networks spent way more time on the issue of tax hikes than on the issue of spending cuts. ABC, says MRC, was the worst: "In the three weeks following President Obama's re-election, 'World News' devoted more than 10 minutes, 18 seconds to talk of tax hikes and just 35 seconds to spending cuts (a 17-to-1 margin)." So much for the balanced approach.
But the problem remains how to get rich people to pay for all the things voters want: insurance companies that are forbidden from turning away people with pre-existing illnesses; federal disaster relief; the placing of millions of uninsured on Medicaid; "world-class education"; "investments" in "green jobs of the future"; regulations to combat "climate change"; extending unemployment benefits again; etc.
In 1900, government spending at all three levels -- local, state and federal -- amounted to about 10 percent of national income. Government spending today amounts to 40 percent -- or 50 percent, if one places a dollar value on the unfunded mandates imposed on states and businesses by Washington. The voters re-elected a President who increased the national debt faster and by a greater amount than any previous administration. And there are simply not enough rich folks to pay for it.
Obama, on Nov. 6, won the political argument to continue to expand government. But the election did nothing to change "the math." Memo to the middle class: Get ready, you're next.

New Army Manual Orders Soldiers Not To Criticize Taliban!

Judicial Watch ^ | December 11, 2012 | Judicial Watch

Here is a strong indicator that the Obama Administration’s crusade to appease Islam has gone too far; a new U.S. military handbook for troops deployed to the Middle East orders soldiers not to make derogatory comments about the Taliban or criticize pedophilia, among other outrageous things.
It gets better; the new manual, which is around 75 pages, suggests that Western ignorance of Afghan culture— not Taliban infiltration—is responsible for the increase in deadly attacks by Afghan soldiers against the coalition forces.

The soon-to-be-released Army handbook is still being drafted, but a mainstream newspaper got a sneak preview and published an article that should infuriate the American taxpayers funding the never-ending war on terror. The manual is being created because someone with authority bought the theory that cultural insensitivity is driving insider attacks on U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

More than three dozen insider attacks have killed 63 members of the U.S.-led coalition this year, according to the article, and some blame “American cultural ignorance.” The bottom line is that troops may experience social-cultural shock and/or discomfort when interacting with Afghan security forces, the new military handbook says. “Better situational awareness/understanding of Afghan culture will help better prepare [troops] to more effectively partner and to avoid cultural conflict that can lead toward green-on-blue violence.”

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Concealed Weapon Permits To Hit 1 Million Next Week In Florida

Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg Times) ^ | Dec. 13, 2012 | Michael Van Sickler

Sometime next week in Florida, somebody will become the state's 1 millionth holder of a concealed weapons permit, solidifying the state's No. 1 standing in the nation in that category.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam deemed that was worthy of a news conference Wednesday, flanked by U.S. and state flags.
"I've been asked about our licensing responsibilities as much as any other topic," Putnam said when asked why he touted the 1 million mark.
No doubt, it proves the popularity of a program begun in 1987 at the urging of the NRA, when Florida became the first state to adopt a permit process that at the time was very lenient.
No longer did applicants need to belong to certain professions to own a concealed handgun permit. They had to meet a few requirements, such as being at least 21, a U.S. citizen not to have committed a felony.
Under the leadership of its longtime Florida lobbyist, Marion Hammer, who got the first permit, the NRA has pushed to remove obstacles in getting them. In 1992, for instance, lawmakers removed a requirement that permit holders had to live in Florida.
The easing of barriers didn't come only through legislation. Policies in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which began oversight of the program in 2003, have made it easier and faster.
Putnam said it takes applicants about 35 days to get approved now. Before he took office in 2011, it took about 12 weeks.
Since the program was created 25 years ago, only 34,759 applications have been rejected, a rate of 0.015 percent. Voters casting their ballots by absentee or provisional ballots got rejected at a higher rate.
Putnam called the low rejection rate proof of a sound application process, which he said is so rigorous that it discourages those who wouldn't be eligible.
But earlier this year, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that for people whose fingerprints were illegible, the agency did not complete background checks (now it does).
And because the state agriculture office is not a law enforcement agency, it lacks access to the FBI crime database. That means the state approves applications despite not reviewing data on drug addicts, people with mental health issues, military personnel with dishonorable discharges and undocumented workers.
Putnam said "we have closed the gap" when asked if the department was now reviewing the FBI data.
Grea Bevis, the department's director of licensing, said after the news conference that the agency still does not have access to the FBI information.
"The gap is not completely shut yet," Bevis said.
He said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is allowed to look at the data and will work with Putnam's agency to make sure that happens early next year.
FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey said his agency processed more background checks for firearms on the Black Friday shopping day after Thanksgiving than on any single day in the agency's history.
Putnam did not mention permit holders such as George Zimmerman, who was arrested in the Feb. 26 shooting of Trayvon Martin, or Michael Dunn, who was arrested for the Nov. 23 shooting of Jordan Davis, a Jacksonville teen. He stressed the state's low revocation rate of 0.3 percent and defended a 2006 law that keeps secret the names of permit holders.
"The Legislature made the decision to protect gun owners and we should respect that," Putnam said.
One person who cheered the upcoming milestone was the NRA's Hammer.
"It's great news," she said. "When the number of license holders increase, crime decreases. We have a record number of license holders now, and crime is the lowest it's been in 40 years."
Gun control groups said there's nothing to celebrate.
"Florida's concealed weapons permitting allowed George Zimmerman to carry a concealed weapon in public, and he had a history of violence," said Brian Malte, a spokesman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "If more guns made us a safer society, then we'd be the safest society on earth. We're not. We're the most lethal."
Licenses per county: The top 10
1. Miami-Dade: 87,959
2. Broward: 77,155
3. Palm Beach: 62,460
4. Hillsborough: 49,582
5. Orange: 45,910
6. Duval: 45,288
7. Pinellas: 39,422
8. Lee: 32,990
9. Brevard: 31,695
10. Volusia: 27,442

Worth repeating: "When the number of license holders increase, crime decreases. We have a record number of license holders now, and crime is the lowest it's been in 40 years."

The Republicans Should Just Let Obama Take America Off Of the Cliff!

Forbes ^ | 12/13/2012 | Louis Woodhill

For the good of the country and the survival of the Republican Party, the GOP must allow President Obama to take America off the so-called “fiscal cliff” on January 1.

Given the intransigent position that Obama has taken on raising marginal tax rates, any deal that the Republicans in the House of Representatives could conceivably make with him before the end of the year would be counterproductive. It would impede economic growth, and thereby actually reduce the present value of future federal revenues. Such a deal would also further damage the Republican “brand”, which has been trashed by the “clueless conservatism” of practically every Republican leader since Ronald Reagan.

But wait! Doesn’t Obama have a mandate to raise taxes? No, he does not.
In the recent election, the electorate was perfectly capable of giving the Democrats control of the House of Representatives if this is what they wanted. They did so as recently as 2008. When the voters gave the House back to the Republicans in 2010, and left it with them in November, they did so for a reason.
The electorate, as a whole, understands economics. It therefore understands that what matters is the present value of future federal revenues. It is the present value of tax revenues, not the tax revenues in the current fiscal year or tax rates, that the financial markets care about. If raising tax rates could solve the financial problems of governments, Greece and Spain would be thriving right now.
Anyone with a copy of Microsoft Excel can demonstrate that America’s rate of economic growth has infinitely more impact on the present value of future government revenues that does the share of GDP that the tax system captures.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

The $10,000 Degree: Instead of increasing financial aid, two states are decreasing college tuition.

National Review ^ | 12/13/2012 | Katrina Trinko

As college costs rise rapidly in most places, Texas and Florida are trying to implement something that has become a radical notion: a degree that costs only $10,000.
Texas governor Rick Perry announced this goal for his state last year. (Perry was inspired by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who had remarked that online learning ought to make it possible for students to pay just $2,000 per year for college.) In November, Florida governor Rick Scott announced that he, too, wanted to see state colleges offer bachelor’s degrees for $10,000 or less. In Texas, ten colleges have signed on (some of them working together in a partnership), while in Florida, twelve colleges — nearly half of the 23 four-year colleges in the Florida community-college system, which includes both two-year and four-year institutions — either have developed proposals or are in the process of doing so.
Considering that the nation’s public colleges cost $13,000 per year on average for tuition, room, and board, while private colleges cost an average of $32,000 a year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics’ 2010–11 academic-year numbers, Texas and Florida colleges have their work cut out for them. But there is plenty of demand for cheaper degrees: Some 57 percent of Americans think students are not getting enough value for the money they spend, according to a May Pew Research Center survey.
“People have been worried about higher-ed affordability for a long time now,” says Thomas Lindsay, director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Higher Education. “But what that’s always led to is calls on two fronts: one, to make it possible for students to pay for higher tuitions by extending them ever-greater easy money through federally subsidized loans, or two, for taxpayers to pay more money through greater support of higher ed at the state level.” However, the $10,000-degree effort means that “for the first time, we’re [addressing] the affordability issue by actually lowering tuition.”
Richard Vedder, director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity and a professor at Ohio University, points to a variety of tools that colleges could use to reduce costs — including online education, reduction of administrative staff, and requiring professors to teach more hours. “There’s no reason a public-school education can’t be offered for $10,000 a student,” he remarks.
When Perry first announced the push for $10,000 degrees, he wasn’t greeted with cheers. “When the governor issued this challenge two years ago, during his ‘state of higher education’ address in 2011, there was almost universal panning of the idea, [based on a belief] that there’s no way we can do it,” says Dominic Chavez, a spokesman for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The attitude toward Perry’s challenge, he continues, was, “You’re going to necessarily reduce rigor if you’re going to do this, because you’re basically going to be printing diplomas, and there’s no way we can offer it at that price, etc., etc.”
Of course, current colleges (at current rates!) are not necessarily delivering much bang for the buck either: According to Richard Arum and Josipha Roksa, authors of the 2011 book Academically Adrift, 36 percent of college students fail to “show any significant improvement over four years” as measured by the Collegiate Learning Assessment.
“So it’s not just that a college degree is unaffordable,” Lindsay remarks. “It’s also very, very low-quality in all too many cases. The higher-ed establishment is an industry that is ripe for disruptive innovation, and that’s what’s happening.”
Texas colleges are trying different ways to reach the $10,000 goal. In a September report for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Lindsay outlined the various approaches. For instance, Texas A&M University–San Antonio is offering a program under which students first take college-level classes in high school, then attend community college for a year, and finally complete their degrees by attending A&M–San Antonio for the last year. University of Texas of the Permian Basin has launched a program that will cost $10,000 with all courses being taught at the university.
One significant limitation is that so far, the $10,000 programs cover only a few majors. The A&M–San Antonio program offers only a major in information technology, while UTPB has five majors available for $10,000: math, chemistry, geology, computer science, and information systems.
Through the Affordable Baccalaureate Degree Program — which is run by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Texas A&M University–Commerce, and South Texas College — the Lone Star State is looking at additional ways to reduce costs, such as online courses. Another change that looks promising is letting students test out of classes whose subjects they can master on their own.
A cheaper degree does not necessarily mean a degree that is worth less. “Our colleges will not be developing programs where the academic quality is diminished,” says Randy Hanna, chancellor of the Florida college system. Already, Florida’s colleges have gained acclaim: In 2011, Valencia College won the award for top community college in the country from the Aspen Institute (an “educational and policy studies organization”), while Broward College and Santa Fe College made the Institute’s list of ten finalists for the 2013 award.
Florida, like Texas, is looking at greater use of online courses. Already, says Hanna, “Florida is a big provider of online education. Between 20 and 25 percent of all of our students in the Florida college system take one or more online courses.”
Still, it remains to be proven that colleges can actually reduce the price to $10,000. Neither Florida nor Texas is giving additional subsidies to schools that offer the $10,000 degrees, but schools can draw on the resources (including government funds) they already have to finance the programs.
“It’s not going to be a silver bullet,” admits Chavez. But he thinks Texas could gain in the long term. “We’re working on a number of cost-efficiency recommendations for higher education that, combined with this particular tool, we think will, over the long term, start to bend that cost curve, or at least start to control costs and the inflation that we’ve seen in the last decade or so.”
Vedder thinks it’s important to view $10,000 degrees as an option for those already planning to go to college, not as a technique to attract more students. Vedder says he sees too many students with college degrees working jobs — such as being bartenders or janitors — that they are overqualified for.
But regardless of how these degrees are ultimately utilized, if Texas and Florida succeed, it’s likely that more states will look to introduce similar programs.
“Now that parents and students have begun to hear that there is a $10,000 degree out there,” Lindsay says, “I think what you are going to see [is that] this is going to spread like wildfire.”
— Katrina Trinko is an NRO reporter.

We Have a Problem -- A Real Problem

Townhall ^ | 12/13/2012 | Neal Boortz

No .. I’m not talking about the fiscal cliff, nor am I talking about the almost $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities we face as a nation. Iran and a nuke? Yeah .. that’s serious all right, but I’m told that we are messin’ with Iran right now in ways that you couldn’t even imagine – ways that could derail their nuclear plans for some time to come. Is the real problem our sagging economy? An oncoming second recession? The growth of government dependency? Sure … all of those are problems and all are difficult to deal with … but they pale in insignificance to the problem I’m bringing up here.
I think that it is truly time for us – those of us capable of thinking clearly and, perhaps, just a bit outside the box – to consider the possibility that somehow we have found ourselves with a president who is not all there.

Yes...a real problem. It was as plain as the nose on your face when he was running for President. His past was a big problem even though the media would not talk about it...Ex-ACLU lawyer-problem, Chicago style politics-problem, Member of church whose preacher spewed hatred of America-problem, Friend of radicals who wanted to overthrow the government-problem, trashes Constitution-problem, bails out companies with taxpayer dollars who in turn fund his agenda-problem, Runs up highest debt in U.S. history-problem, Supports fraudulent election practices-problem...just to name a few so called "problems" with Obama.

No Founder guaranteed a rational electorate. We are faced with the worst president in the history of the republic who was known as such when he was re-elected. The solutions fall into two categories. Endure him, hope the damage is repairable and wait him out or insurrection, rebellion and revolution. I have no advice. By that I mean I am not advising caution or patience.

The racial slurs the MSM doesn’t want to cover

Legal Insurrection ^ | 12/13/2012 | William Jacobson

Union protesters called hot dog vendor “Uncle Tom” and “N*gger” but you won’t hear about it in the mainstream media

I have posted numerous times about the union violence in Lansing, including punches thrown at Steven Crowder and the tearing down of the Americans for Prosperity tent even as bystanders screamed that there were people inside.

You may also have heard the story of the hot dog vendor whose equipment and supplies were deliberately destroyed by the union protesters.

But unless you read conservative blogs and websites, you have not heard that the union protesters shouted racial slurs at the man, including the N-word.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

When the MSM reports honestly about racism, this may happen:

Democrats Find Out What's in ObamaCare and Don't Like It! ^ | December 13, 2012 | Katie Pavlich

Senate Democrats who helped pass ObamaCare are finally seeing what is in it and aren't really so sure the massive tax increases mandated in the legislation will be good for their constituents, especially when it comes to the medical device tax which is set to further increase on January 1.
With some of their most influential constituent groups facing onerous tax increases that are slated to help fund the law’s mandates and regulations, Senators like Al Franken (D-MN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), John Kerry (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and others -- all of whom voted in favor of the law -- are aiming to delay or outright repeal parts of ObamaCare.
More from Tim Carney:
First, Democrats killed the ill-conceived long-term-care-insurance measure, known as the CLASS Act. This provision, which provided government insurance for long-term care, was, amazingly, booked as reducing the deficit. This was ridiculous, and after the bill passed, Democrats realized it was a disaster, and they repealed the provision.

Another reason the bill was supposed to “reduce the deficit” was an unusually onerous tax hike on small businesses. The provision, known as the “1099 provision” would have forced small businesses to file all sorts of new paperwork for all sorts of transactions (sell a digital camera, file a 1099), in the hope of picking up transactions that are taxable. Congress also repealed that provision.

And now the health-care-industry lobbies that supported this subsidy-and-mandate-laden bill are lobbying to kill the cost-controls that offset the costs of its subsidies. All sorts of providers are lobbying to kill the Independent Payment Advisory Board. And the medical-device industry has convinced two Democratic Obamacare-backing Senators to try to kill the medical device tax.

A top Senate staffer explained (after ObamaCare passed), “This is a coverage bill, not a cost reduction bill.” David Bowen, who helped to craft the legislation, said that Senate Democrats had planned to follow in the path of Massachusetts’ RomneyCare plan by providing insurance coverage first, “knowing that that would bring on a cost battle second.”

In fact, RomneyCare’s mandates and subsidies caused health care costs to dramatically increase in the Bay state, leading the current governor and state legislature to exert never-before-seen controls on insurers and health care providers as they also raised taxes.

Not surprisingly, as Senate Democrats have gotten a look at what exactly is in ObamaCare, the parts of the law that were intended to control costs have gradually been stripped from the legislation.
As I've written before, one of the most devasting taxes long-term is the medical device tax. Medical device development requires highly specialized education and an expensive degree in bio-medical engineering. Now that medical device companies are already cutting jobs because of ObamaCare costs, many students will no longer find it worth spending money on an expensive education only to have their investment not pay off. In the future, this will cause a shortage of medical device engineers which will further snowball into an overall decay of medical device innovation, leaving Americans and the world will have fewer life saving devices.
A bipartisan outcry has been raised over the device tax, and for good reason. The tax was enacted to help fund the $1.76 trillion in new spending authorized under Obamacare, and it will actively undermine production of and improvement on medical devices which are crucial to patient outcomes.

The device tax is a tax on gross receipts (sales, essentially) instead of a tax on profits, so the tax will be imposed even if a company sells its products at a loss. This one detail ensures that the 2.3% tax is deceptively large: the medical device industry’s tax burden is expected to double because of the Taxmageddon increase; some companies (such as Zoll, which manufactures defibrillators) will see their profit margins shaved by up to 40%.

A recent study found that investment in medical research and development will fall by $2 billion per year because of the device tax—and that is a cautious estimate. R&D dollars drive innovation and innovation lowers costs, so the tax’s adverse effect on investment will keep expensive medical devices from becoming affordable and widely available in the future.

More immediately, the device tax will gouge health consumers for essential products. Taxes on companies often end up hitting consumers as higher prices, and the device tax is no different. The actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services made it plain that Obamacare’s “fees and the [device] tax would generally be passed through to health consumers in the form of higher drug and device prices and higher insurance premiums.” In other words, patients – many in dire need of care – may find crucial medical products out of their reach as a result of the 2.3% tax.

Whatever costs cannot be passed along to patients will be absorbed by the medical device companies, which will lead businesses to cut jobs as they tread water to stay afloat. One study found that, depending on the elasticity of the tax, the medical device industry will be forced to fire between 14,500 and 47,100 workers—up to 10% of the workforce.
Now, Democrats wanting to repeal the medical device tax is great but it doesn't change the fact that ObamaCare has to be paid for somehow if the legislation is going to stand as the law of the land.

Left-Wing Ideology Now Rules Supreme In America! ^ | December 13, 2012 | Douglas MacKinnon

News flash for conservatives, Christians, libertarians or anyone in America who embraces traditional values, the rule of law, common sense, basic math, a more secure nation or politicians who put you and your family first: You have lost or are losing across the board. Period.
With the re-election of Barack Obama — and he and his campaign should be congratulated for not only running a winning campaign but, more importantly, for also exploiting the weaknesses created by the nanny-state — there is now no more mystery or doubt. Liberal ideology rules supreme in our country and to say otherwise, is to deny the facts.
This winning liberal ideology — or theology to many on the far left — has been aided, abetted, guided and shaped by many in the mainstream media who now openly turn their backs on ethics, professionalism and character in favor of evangelizing for their new faith.
Be it the major networks, the cable networks or most of the top newspapers in the country, all now have highly influential personnel who have deliberately cast aside morality for liberal victory at any price.
Unfortunately, much worse than that, many of these same media personalities and outlets have added character assassination of conservatives or conservative viewpoints to their rhetorical arsenals.
The most egregious and recent example of this being when the editorial writers for the Washington Post gleefully smeared almost 100 Republican House members with the charge of racism. In their jumping-the-shark attack titled, "The GOP's Bizarre Attack On Susan Rice," the Washington Post wondered:
"Could it be, as members of the Congressional Black Caucus are charging, that the signatories of the letter are targeting Ms. Rice because she is an African-American woman? The signatories deny that, and we can't know their hearts.
"What we do know is that more than 80 of the signatories are white males, and nearly half are from states of the former Confederacy. You'd think that before launching their broadside, members of Congress would have taken care not to propagate any falsehoods of their own."
Right Surrenders
Amazingly, the Republican leadership just took this false and obscene charge on the chin. Rather than taking to the airwaves to demand an apology from the Post and rounding up a good legal team to sue for defamation, the GOP leaders went silent.
Of course, this would be the same leadership that threatens the few conservatives in the House with expulsion from committee assignments if they don't tow the "water down our principles" line, so their ducking an issue of integrity may be understandable.
In and of itself, that's yet another glaring example of why the liberals now control the megaphone of America and rule supreme. All too often, conservatives, Christians and anyone who espouses traditional values will simply wring their hands and say "what are we to do" when their beliefs are attacked or eradicated.
The polar-opposite of that being the reaction from the far left when they feel threatened. Be it gay marriage, the unsustainable and economy-destroying benefits for public-employees, "global warming," ObamaCare, extending unemployment benefits to infinity, open borders, legalizing drugs or a host of other issues, many on the far left will fight tooth and nail to defend that which is dear to them.
They will march, they will boycott, they will harass, they will cyber-attack, they will be relentless. And finally, they will intimidate many politicians and corporations into complete capitulation.
As to why those who believe in traditional values and the rule of law don't fight back, it's because everywhere they turn, they see the battle lost.
The media? The far left controls it. Entertainment? The far left controls it. Education from pre-school to post-graduate? The far left controls it. Music? The far left controls it. Pulitzer and Nobel prizes? The far left controls them. The unions? The far left controls them. Historians? The far left are the historians.
The "message" of America? The far-left dictates it.
Somewhere along the way, conservatives and all who believe in traditional values ceded every single bully-pulpit to the far left. The evidence is clear:
The far left has won, and its power grab and influence continues unabated. Now what?

Michele Bachmann says Obama wants to 'lift up the Islamists' and allow Sharia law in America!

Daily Mail ^ | December 13, 2012 | Toby Harnden

Representative Michele Bachmann has claimed that Barack Obama is determined 'to lift up the Islamists' and bow to their 'ultimate demand' of imposing Sharia law on America.
In an extraordinary interview at the weekend, the woman who once had high hopes of being the Republican candidate in this year's presidential election, said that Americans should study Islamist texts just as those worried about fascism pored over Adolf Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' in the 1930s and 1940s.
In an extended on-air conversation with conservative radio hosts Jan Markell and Eric Barger, Bachmann contended that Obama was endangering the United States and Israel by supporting radical Islamists.
'President Obama, if you look at nearly every decision he has made about this issue, it is to lift up the Islamists and to take down Israel.'
The congresswoman, who won the Republican presidential straw poll in Ames, Iowa, in 2011 and who narrowly won re-election to the House of Representatives last month, said that Americans who are not Islamists will 'lose their right of speech and expression' because there was 'no tolerance for dissent or disagreeing in any way with the goals or the beliefs of the Islamists'.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

What Fiscal Cliff?


According to voters, spending cuts are a must!


Read more:

If Washington is looking for guidance on the fiscal cliff, voters are sending mixed signals.
A majority says major spending cuts are necessary to solve the country’s budget woes -- that solely raising taxes on taxpayers earning more than $250,000 isn’t enough. Even so, the most popular proposal among voters for reducing the deficit is -- you guessed it -- raising taxes on the rich.
In addition, while a majority of Republicans (59 percent) thinks major cuts to entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare should be made now, even if it is tough on families, a majority of Democrats (52 percent) thinks those programs should continue to be funded at their current levels, even if it means passing on trillions of dollars of debt to future generations.
That’s according to a Fox News poll released Wednesday.
Overall, 61 percent of voters say major spending cuts are necessary to reduce the deficit, while 33 percent think increasing taxes on high earners would be enough. Half of Democrats think taxing the rich is all that is needed. By contrast, majorities of Republicans (77 percent) and independents (62 percent) think cutting spending is also necessary.
If income taxes go up, almost all voters -- 89 percent -- think President Obama should agree to make major cuts in government spending as well. That includes 83 percent of Democrats, 91 percent of independents and 95 percent of Republicans.
Meanwhile, by a 53-36 percent margin, voters think Obama will use the money from tax hikes primarily to increase government spending rather than to reduce the deficit.
Nearly 7 voters in 10 are “very” interested in the budget situation the federal government is facing. The so-called “fiscal cliff” means that unless the president and Congress reach an agreement, on January 1 tax rates will automatically go up for almost all Americans while spending on many government programs will automatically be cut.
By a 10-point margin, more voters than not think an agreement will be made before the deadline (51-41 percent).
A 52-percent majority says it would be “terrible” for the economy if the country goes over the cliff, yet 37 percent say it wouldn’t be that bad. Voters are about equally likely to say it would be terrible for them personally if no agreement is reached (46 percent) as they are to say it wouldn’t be so bad for their family (44 percent).
While 34 percent of voters think the “only way” to get the deficit under control is for the country to go over the cliff, fewer -- 12 percent -- say they actually want the nation to do so.
One in five voters who describe themselves as “very” conservative wants the country to go over the fiscal cliff (19 percent).
More voters think the president (38 percent) has a plan to deal with the deficit issues than think the same about Republicans (26 percent). Still, majorities believe neither Obama (60 percent) nor congressional Republicans (70 percent) have a clear plan for the current situation.
Sixty-six percent of Democrats think Obama has a plan to handle the deficit. That’s much higher than the 35 percent of Republicans who think their party leadership does.
In general, voters think the best way to deal with the country’s deficit problem is mostly with cuts in government spending (57 percent) rather than tax increases (20 percent).
Still, increasing taxes on incomes exceeding $250,000 a year is the most popular proposal for dealing with the deficit, with 69 percent of voters favoring that option. It’s followed by reducing the number of government employees (65 percent), reforming Social Security (56 percent) and raising the minimum eligibility age for Medicare over time from 65 to 67 years (51 percent).
Views are split on reducing the amount of deductions taxpayers can claim on their taxes: 49 percent favor this measure, while 47 percent oppose it.
Overall, just over half of voters (51 percent) oppose reducing defense spending to help solve the budget problem. Fifty-six percent of Democrats favor cutting defense, while 65 percent of Republicans oppose it.
Nearly 8 voters in 10 oppose introducing a national sales tax (79 percent), making it even less popular than increasing income tax rates for all Americans (70 percent oppose).
Fully 77 percent of voters believe all Americans should be required to pay some amount of federal income taxes -- even if it is as little as $100. Democrats (24 percent) and independents (22 percent) are more likely than Republicans (15 percent) to disagree with this.
Other highlights from the poll:
-- A 57 percent majority of voters ages 55 and over favors increasing the eligibility age for Medicare over time from 65 to 67 years.
-- Republicans (60 percent) and independents (56 percent) favor increasing the eligibility age for Medicare, while 57 percent of Democrats oppose it.
-- Sixty-five percent of voters living in households with income of $100,000 and higher favor increasing taxes on those earning more than $250,000 a year.
The Fox News poll is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 1,012 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from December 9 to December 11. For the total sample, it has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Read more:

House Conservatives: Blame for Fiscal Cliff ‘Rests Squarely on Boehner’s Shoulders’!

Cybercast News Service ^ | December 12, 2012 | Patrick Burke

House conservatives believe there is no good proposal put forth by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) or President Obama to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff” and blame for the current Republican position “rests squarely” on Boehner’s shoulders.

“Let’s do something that’s real unusual in this town. Let’s talk about accountability. I don’t care whoever you are. The position the speaker’s in right now—if there’s any blame to be placed, it’s squarely on his shoulders,” said Rep. Jeff Landry (R-La.). …

“There’s no deal on the table from either side that is a good deal for the American people. Not one deal,” said Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) said Wednesday at a press conference with several House conservatives. …

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Dems line up behind Pelosi against changing Medicare eligibility age! (leaves 270K uninsured in 2021)

By Mike Lillis - 12/12/12 08:01 PM ET

House Democrats are lining up behind Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) against raising Medicare’s eligibility age as part of a year-end tax-and-spending package.

Pelosi rejected raising Medicare’s eligibility age in an op-ed published Tuesday in USA Today, then doubled down on that position Wednesday.

“We want what happens to be fair,” she said in an interview on CBS’s “This Morning” program. “And one of the things that we object to is raising the Medicare age.”

A number of Democrats say this is neither a case of posturing by Pelosi nor a good-cop, bad-cop routine with President Obama to boost the White House’s negotiating position. Instead, they see Pelosi’s remarks as the reiteration of a core party principle that can’t be compromised.

“I haven’t heard any Democrat in our caucus say they’re open to raising the eligibility age,” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said Wednesday.

The Democrats’ opposition could play a significant role in the fate of a fiscal-cliff package, as House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is expected to lose dozens of his troops if the bill includes the tax-rate increases Obama is insisting upon. Without at least 218 Republicans, Pelosi and the minority would have to step in to make up the difference.

It’s a dynamic that hasn’t been lost on the Democrats, and they say they intend to use their leverage to prevent cuts to entitlement benefits.

“If Democrats are asked to deliver votes — which is almost certain, right? … we have to understand exactly what that plan is as it impacts Medicare and Social Security,” Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said Wednesday.

Democrats insist they’re open to finding some savings from Medicare, but warn they won’t support a fiscal package that includes cuts to entitlement benefits — including a hike in Medicare’s age.

“Within the totality of the system … yes, there can continue to be savings and efficiencies and cuts that can be made,” Rep. John Larson (Conn.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said Wednesday after a caucus meeting in the Capitol. “Where Democrats are rock solid is we don’t think we should be impacting beneficiaries.”

Means-testing on Medicare is one possible reform that could draw Democratic support. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), the leader of the Congressional Black Caucus, endorsed the possibility last week.

“I think most rational people, including Democrats, agree we have to make some cuts and deal with Medicare,” Cleaver said Dec. 7 on MSNBC. “Let’s have some means-testing, because I don’t think that cutting benefits at this time is going to go over well. We can do means-testing and reduce the payments [to the wealthy].”

Raising Medicare’s eligibility age has repeatedly come up in the deficit fights that have defined the 112th Congress, and Obama supported such a change last year in private talks with Boehner on raising the debt ceiling. Democrats howled, however, that the White House was giving away the store in return for too little in new revenues, and the talks quickly broke down when the president demanded higher taxes.

Obama this week didn’t rule out supporting the change to Medicare again, though he downplayed it by saying it won’t do much to lower deficits.

“When you look at the evidence, it’s not clear that it actually saves a lot of money,” he told ABC News. “But what I’ve said is let’s look at every avenue, because what is true is we need to strengthen Social Security, we need to strengthen Medicare for future generations. The current path is not sustainable, because we’ve got an aging population and healthcare costs are shooting up so quickly.”

In January, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that increasing the eligibility age from 65 to 67 — in two-month increments starting in 2014 — would save Medicare $148 billion over the next decade. But because many seniors would shift to other federal programs — like Medicaid or federally subsidized insurance exchanges created by the Democrats’ healthcare law — the net deficit savings over the same span would be $113 billion.

Larson said there’s enough waste in the nation’s healthcare delivery system that Congress can find plenty of federal savings tackling that. He argued that Obama’s reelection was a clear signal that voters favor the president’s approach to healthcare and entitlement reform.

Changes to Medicare’s eligibility age would also complicate passage in the Senate. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) this week called the idea “a nonstarter”; Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) told The Washington Post that it would be “absolutely unacceptable”; and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said it “would be a terrible and destructive thing to do and extremely disheartening for so many people who worked so hard for the president.”

“It would have lasting consequences into his presidency,” Whitehouse warned Obama.

Fueling the Democrats’ opposition, the CBO has estimated that the change would leave roughly 270,000 seniors uninsured in 2021, while increasing premium and out-of-pocket costs for millions of other would-be Medicare beneficiaries.

Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) said Democrats have complete confidence that Obama won’t allow Medicare benefit cuts to become a part of the final package. He said Obama’s public openness to entitlement cuts is a “smart” strategy from a president who “doesn’t want to be negotiating in the paper.”

“He’s got a lot of support in the caucus. People are confident that he’s got wind at his back from the election and he’s holding firm,” Welch said Wednesday.

“It’s premature for those of us who are on the outside and have no clue as to what is going on moment to moment to be getting panicky or be taking a hostile position to something that may not even be real,” he added. “These are closed-door discussions largely between the president and the Speaker, and the Speaker has got one hell of a hard job.”


Just make sure...





Which Pill?

I'm on Food Stamps!

Lansing Junk

Payback Time!

Pay us!

Can't Wait?

Debt and Spending

Metaphor Trouble

Don't Worry




Look for the Union Label

The Beat Goes On



Break Glass

I Married...

Santa Bankrupt?

Chicken and Rice

Obama's Tax-the-Scapegoat Strategy Is Doomed to Fail

Investor's Business Daily ^ | 12/12/2012 | John Merline

In an interview with Fox News host Bill O´Reilly last year, President Obama claimed he "didn´t raise taxes once." O´Reilly didn´t challenge the claim, and other reporters repeated it as fact. But it was completely false.

By the time he went on O´Reilly´s show, Obama had signed more than 20 tax hikes into law with a combined 10-year price tag of more than $500 billion. However, since most of these taxes targeted relatively small and unpopular groups — smokers, tanning salons, insurance companies, the rich — few seemed to notice.

Indeed, a review of the tax hikes Obama has enacted or proposed finds that most follow the same pattern: Pick out distinct groups that people generally don't like and hit them with special tax punishments.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...