Friday, January 4, 2013

Morsi : No peace with descendants of apes and pigs!

Jerusalem Post ^ | 01/04/2013 16:34 | ( staff)

Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are “a waste of time and opportunities” as Arabs and Muslims get nothing out of engagement with “the descendants of apes and pigs,” current Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi asserted in September 2010, according to newly translated interviews published this week by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

In the first interview, aired on Lebanon’s Al-Quds TV on September 23, 2010, Morsi denounced the Palestinian Authority as a creation of “the Zionist and American enemies for the sole purpose of opposing the will of the Palestinian people.” Therefore, he stressed, “No reasonable person can expect any progress on this track.”

“Either [you accept] the Zionists and everything they want, or else it is war,” Morsi said, “This is what these occupiers of the land of Palestine know—these bloodsuckers, who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs.” …

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

What happened in the House; the best course now...

self | January 4, 2013 | self by txrangerette

Being able to describe something accurately is the first step to understanding it, then fashioning a course of action.
What happened in the House Speaker vote is that, although some opposition to Boehner began to surface, no candidate ran for the position against him. For days Mark Levin has been urging an opponent to run, but nobody did. Therefore, the options were Boehner, Pelosi, or continued votes without a winner.
You can't beat somebody with nobody. Many thought Cantor was going to challenge Boehner when Cantor and the other leadership voted against the "cliff deal". They were mistaken. It's possible Cantor had thoughts of that, who knows? But could've concluded he would not pull the necessary votes to win. Conservatives unhappy with Boehner would have a hard time voting for Cantor instead. Not much of a change except in personalities...
On other threads certain House members are being attacked for voting Boehner. If that's your opinion, fine, but please be armed with the FACT that Boehner had no opponent but Pelosi.
Going forward, my advice is directed to those who sound like they are going to hole up in their houses with their guns nearby and tell the political world farewell (hunkering down in gall and bitterness and an "I told you so" to everyone who still fights for America as we knew it), or else, throw their hopes into a variety of third parties.
For your own sakes, it's not a good idea to cut yourself off from sources of support outside of your "bunker". Just a word to the wise, but of course you will do as you wish. For America's sake, Mark Levin exemplifies the better course going forward. Parsing out America's plight, he is working on a plan for state and local action to counter ALL that has gone wrong in Washington DC.
Meanwhile, until he gets that ready for rollout, he still supports those who are worthy of it. Such as Ted Cruz. There are others, too. But I want to give one example because if I give a few others, THOSE people will become issues from critics who have axs to grind, rather than the general point I'm making.

“Zero Dark Thirty”: Dramatized Fiction on CIA “Torture”

Flopping Aces ^ | 01-04-13 | Wordsmith

How accurate and realistic is the portrayal of CIA interrogation in the film? The movie, after all, opens with a statement saying “based on firsthand accounts of actual events"; then goes on to show the fictionalized brutal abuse and torture of a fictional high value terrorist, including waterboarding.

Well, one "firsthand account" not utilized as an expert consultant to the movie is Jose Rodriguez, former head of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center, author of Hard Measures, and unapologetic defender of the CIA's "torture" program....

When I reviewed Zero Dark Thirty, the focus of my review was on whether or not political partisanship played a role in the film. I believe Kathryn Bigelow's intent in making the film was devoid of a political agenda. However, in an attempt at "historical accuracy", just whose history narrative did Mark Boal (screenwriter and professional journalist) listen to? The movie lays claim in its opening moments to being “based on firsthand accounts of actual events.” And Boal states that he didn't "want to play fast and loose with history”. Yet in dramatizing one of the most controversial of political issues- whether or not we tortured HVDs- it appears they did just that, whether due to following the narrative formulated by critics or due to artistic liberties and dramatization. Bigelow and Boal did also warn,

that “Zero Dark Thirty” remained a thriller and not a kind of documentary intended to stand up to nit-picking by historians. For instance, their film is rooted — more by cinematic choice than by historical necessity — in the experience of a young American intelligence operative, Maya, who is portrayed by Jessica Chastain.
But in going to see the film, how many gullible moviegoers are going to come away from the film not believing that this is a dramatization, meticulously researched in historical details and facts? Especially with a blurb at the beginning that this film is “based on firsthand accounts of actual events"?
One person who I doubt Boal chose as an onset film adviser and expert consultant is Jose Rodriguez.
The "torture scene" in the first quarter of the movie didn't sit well with me because it seemed to jumble together some of the worst "stereotypes" of Guantanamo/CIA blacksites/interrogations/detainee abuses that our CIA AND military interrogators were accused of (the HVD being brutalized by CIA interrogator "Dan" in the film seems to represent several real-life HVTs rolled up into one). The interrogation scenes also played out in a manner that is consistent for the sake of dramatizing; but not consistent with the clinical and professional nature of how EITs were conducted (based upon details layed out in the OLC memos and as described by Marc Thiessen and Jose Rodriguez in their respective books).
Writes Mark Bowden:

So, how true is it? It was a mistake for those involved in the film to suggest that Zero Dark Thirty is "journalistic," and to have touted their access to SEAL team members and CIA field officers. No matter how remarkable their research and access, the film spills no state secrets. No movie can tell a story like this without aggressively condensing characters and events, fictionalizing dialogue, etc. Boal's script is just 102 pages: fewer than 10,000 words, the length of a longish magazine article. Within these limits the film is remarkably accurate, and certainly well within what we all understand by the Hollywood label, "based on a true story," which works as both a boast and a disclaimer.
Bowden understands the film's presentation as "remarkably true", in the broad sense. But how fair and accurate is the movie's rendition of CIA "torture"?
(excerpt)

Blinking Causes Brain To Go Off-Line

New research from Japan suggests that blinking does more than stop our eyes drying out: it is an active process that causes the brain to go off-line, into a more reflective mode, before giving renewed attention.

Tamami Nakano of Osaka University and colleagues write about their findings in the 24 December online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, PNAS.

In earlier work, where they had invited volunteers to watch Mr Bean videos, Nakano and colleagues discovered that people's eyes blink when they need to pay less attention, for instance when the video cuts to a new scene.

And in another study, they found people blink when they pause while speaking, and this entrains their listeners to time their eye blinks to occur a split second later.

This seems to confirm the common-sense idea that we blink at times when we'll miss the least important information.

But in their new PNAS study, Nakano and colleagues appear to show that eyeblinks actively cause attention disengagement, they are not a response to it.

For the study, 20 volunteers watched videos of Mr Bean while the researchers scanned their brains with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and also monitored their eyeblinking.

They used Mr Bean videos so the participants would blink spontaneously as they looked at visually stimulating, natural scenes, rather than while observing static images that don't need as much attention.

The researchers compared brain activity during spontaneous eyeblinking to activity when the volunteers were not blinking. They also looked at what happened to brain activity when the video monitor was physically blacked out for the same length of time and frequency of normal eyeblinks.

They found that spontaneous eyeblinks are closely followed by the reciprocal activation of the default mode network, and the deactivation of the dorsal attention network.

"We show that while viewing videos, cortical activity momentarily decreases in the dorsal attention network after blink onset but increases in the default-mode network implicated in internal processing," they write.

The default mode network, also known as the task-negative network, is a cluster of brain regions that become active when we are not observing the outside world but focused on internal reflections: recalling memories, having daydreams.

The dorsal attention network includes regions like the frontal and parietal lobes, which become active when we focus attention on something that is happening in the outside world.

In contrast, this reciprocal activation and deactivation of the two networks did not happen in response to the physical blackouts on the screen, which would suggest that activation of the default network was not a response to a lack of visual input.

"The results suggest that eyeblinks are actively involved in the process of attentional disengagement during a cognitive behavior by momentarily activating the default-mode network while deactivating the dorsal attention network," conclude the researchers.

Mark Stokes heads the Attention Group at the Oxford Centre for Human Brain Activity in the UK and was not involved in the study. He told the Guardian the study was "particularly novel because it considers natural spontaneous eye blinks".

He describes it is a carefully prepared work, with "appropriate controls", and finds the main conclusion that blinking causes disengagement "attractive and exciting".

The study appears to supports the idea that temporarily shutting off sensory inputs helps the brain fine-tune the senses and control the flow of cognitive processes. This coincides with work by other researchers, such as that of cognitive neuroscientist Daniel Smilek, of the University of Waterloo in Canada, who suggests eyeblinking is a sign of mind-wandering, and we close our eyelids so less information comes into the brain.

Written by Catharine Paddock PhD
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today

"Blink-related momentary activation of the default mode network while viewing videos";Tamami Nakano, Makoto Kato, Yusuke Morito, Seishi Itoi, and Shigeru Kitazawa; PNAS 2012 ; published ahead of print 24 December 2012; DOI:10.1073/pnas.1214804110; Link to Abstract.
Additional source: <2>Switching attention in the blink of an eye", The Guardian, 28 December 2012.

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

Catharine Paddock PhD. "Blinking Causes Brain To Go Off-Line." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 3 Jan. 2013. Web.
4 Jan. 2013.
Catharine Paddock PhD. (2013, January 3). "Blinking Causes Brain To Go Off-Line." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
Please note: If no author information is provided, the source is cited instead.

Hillary Clinton Doesn't Deserve Americans' Admiration! ^ | January 4, 2013 | Diana West

Americans, Gallup tells us, admire Hillary Clinton more than any other woman in the world -- again. This latest accolade marks the 17th time Gallup has found Clinton to be the Most Admired Woman (MAW?) since she became first lady nearly 20 years ago. Only Eleanor Roosevelt (13 MAWs) comes close. Only Mother Teresa (1995 and 1996) and Laura Bush (2001) have interrupted Clinton's winning streak, and even then, Clinton came in second.
And therein lies America's cosmic flaw. A country that could time and again embrace Hillary Clinton as its MAW has lost its mind or its memory or both.
Does the phrase "congenital liar" tinkle any bells? I know such non-admirable sentiments are thought to be in the worst of taste, if not also banishable offenses. Still, as conjured by the late New York Times columnist William Safire in 1996, the phrase described the then-first lady for her shameless prevarications. These included what sure looked like bribery ("cattle futures"), defrauding taxpayers ("Whitewater"), obstructing justice -- or, rather, "finding" her Rose Law Firm billing records (under subpoena for two years) just days after the statute of limitations ran out -- among other corrupt behaviors that must have slightly suppressed Hillary-admiration that same year. The phrase remains apt.
"I remember landing under sniper fire," Clinton declared on the presidential campaign trail in 2008, describing a 1996 trip to Bosnia. "There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down (chuckles) to get into the vehicles to get to our base." It was a vivid but debunkable whopper, as CBS footage of the event proved. In reality, Clinton, accompanied by daughter Chelsea, made her ceremonial way into Bosnia through a warm throng marked by smiling faces and a kiss from a local girl -- not bullets. Admirable?
On a more nationally significant level, Clinton recently supported President Obama's Big Lie that a movie trailer of "Innocence of Muslims" on YouTube "resulted" (her word) in the September attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya -- a concerted falsehood for which neither Clinton nor Obama nor former CIA Director David Petraeus has yet answered. Even several days after intelligence agencies determined that a planned assault, not a video-driven protest, had taken place, Clinton went so far as to promise a grieving Charles Woods, father of slain former SEAL Tyrone Woods, that "we" were going to have the video maker "arrested and prosecuted."
Why was Clinton still perpetuating the false narrative that the exercise of free speech under the First Amendment, not Islamic jihad, had resulted in the attack? Was that admirable? Clinton has lately let it be known that she will voluntarily testify about Benghazi following her hospitalization for a blood clot, but I seriously doubt whether mere House members will risk asking this crucial question of the Most Admired Woman in America, especially now that she has risen from her sickbed. If they don't, they're not admirable, either.
Meanwhile, the video maker, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, was indeed arrested and swiftly prosecuted, and is now serving one year in jail for "parole violations." His incarceration, however, is better understood as punishment for violating the Islamic ban on free speech about Islam. To be sure, one year is nothing compared to the death penalty an Egyptian court recently slapped on Nakoula and other Americans associated with the movie in absentia -- and without a peep of protest from the Obama administration, including Clinton.
The fact is, Hillary Clinton has worked assiduously with the Islamic bloc nations, known as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), to promote Islamically correct speech codes through the so-called Istanbul Process. The goal of this process -- and the goal of transnational Islam -- is to implement Shariah speech codes via U.N. Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18, which seeks to criminalize "defamation" -- free speech -- about Islam. In leading this drive against free speech, Hillary Clinton is actually leading a drive against the First Amendment.
Most Americans don't know about the Istanbul Process, let alone how Islamic speech codes are unconstitutional, but it is this policy against free speech that may stand as Clinton's enduring legacy as secretary of state. It is of a piece with having presided over, first, the shredding of U.S. alliances with Egypt's Hosni Mubarak and Libya's Moammar Gadhafi and then supporting jihadist factions and organizations, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, now implementing Islamic law across the Middle East. This, of course, is President Obama's policy, but Hillary Clinton has been an active team player.
Another aspect of this same foreign policy Clinton has spearheaded is the launch of the Global Counterterrorism Forum. The forum's roster of 29 nations plus the European Union is stunning for its exclusion of Israel, a leading counterterrorism force as much as it is a leading terrorism victim. But not so, according to Islamic definitions. Knowingly or not, as a leader of this forum, one-third of whose members come from the Islamic bloc, Clinton has accepted the Arab League and OIC definitions of terrorism, which both deny the existence of Israeli victims (sometimes U.S. soldiers) and legitimize the terrorism of Hamas, a wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hezbollah.
How could this be? What influences have led Clinton to formulate or follow such policies? We don't know, although it is hard not to wonder about the input of top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, a young woman with well-established familial and personal ties to Muslim Brotherhood figures and front groups (including a "charity" linked to al-Qaida and a group banned in Israel for ties to Hamas). Indeed, what may be most astounding and mysterious about Clinton's whole public tenure is how Abedin ever received the security clearance necessary to work so closely with the secretary of state.
Even broaching such a simple if burning national security question, as Rep. Michele Bachmann and others discovered last summer, is also a banishable offense. After all, Hillary Clinton is our MAW!
That's life. But it isn't admirable.

Taxpayer Bill for Obama’s Hawaii Vacations: $20 Million!

White House Dossier ^ | January 4, 2013, 10:07 am | Keith Koffler

Michelle Obama recently revealed that she and President Obama don’t give Christmas gifts to each other. They merely say, “We’re in Hawaii,” and that’s Christmas gift enough.

But actually the present is from taxpayers, and it’s an expensive one.

The total cost to taxpayers of Obama’s vacations to Hawaii since becoming president is likely in excess of $20 million, and possibly much, much more. During a time of budget deficits that threaten the nation’s security and its future, the Obamas have chosen to maintain a “family tradition” and vacation halfway around the world instead of finding far cheaper alternatives closer to home. …

(Excerpt) Read more at ...
Meet The Grifters
America's Black Royalty

Obama voters stunned to discover that they too are “millionaires and billionaires”

Daily Caller ^ | January 4, 2013

Congratulations, genuises. Turns out you’re rich!
America: You break it, you buy it. has more reaction as Obama voters get their latest, smaller paychecks.
The next time an Obamabot complains about taxes, or rising prices, or falling wages, or anything else having to do with the money coming out of his own pocket, you just need to ask him one question:
“Why are you so greedy?”
P.S. Trending: #WhyIsMyPaycheckLessThisWeek
P.P.S. “What. Happened? You reelected a lying SCOAMF. That’s what happened.”
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Putting A Trillion Dollars Of Platinum In Perspective

Tyler Durden's picture

So you want a trillion dollar platinum coin? Ok: here are some facts:
  • Platinum has traditionally been the most valuable precious metal for one simple reason: it is rare.
  • It is so rare, that all the platinum ever mined could fit into a 25 cubic foot box.
  • The weight of that box comes out to just over 16 tons: this is how much platinum has been mined since the start of time.
  • A coin valued at $1 trillion and made out of platinum would, at today's price of $1557/ounce, weigh in at 642.3 million ounces.
  • 642.3 million ounces is also roughly 18 thousand tons, or about 1100 times more than all the platinum mined.
In other words, putting a coin that is worth $1 trillion in perspective to all the platinum ever mined, would look something like this:

Now, putting the sheer legal idiocy of the proposal aside, and CNBC's John Carney has written a good article about why it is indeed, legal idiocy, the simple reality is that for this retarded idea to work, there has to be some justifiability, or even remote credibility of the "legal tender" backing the value. Sadly as the chart above shows, there can't possibly be such justifiability.
Or can there?
Remember, as we said, the chart above is indicative of reality at today's prices. So if the Treasury plans on literally coming up with ridiculous laws, what is there to prevent it from merely coining a one ounce, or half an ounce, or one gram Platinum coin and assigning it the value of $1 trillion.
Sure it can. There is a problem with that, however: it is called currency devaluation and is also what FDR did with executive order 6102 when he confiscated America's gold - he basically devalued the US Dollar by well over half overnight (which, for all those curious, is the endgame in the current depression also, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it).
In other words, when one strips away with all the rhetoric, all the advocates of this insidiously stupid idea which gets a new life every time there is a debt ceiling crisis, are doing, is arguing for a massive devaluation of the dollar: because for the trillion dollar coin idea to be even remotely plausible, the price of Platinum, and by implication the entire precious metals complex, would have to go up by a factor of some 1,100.
It also means the value of the paper US currency would have to go down by 1,100.
Which, by the way, is precisely what all those who wish for the Fed to continue funding America's unprecedented spending binge, which can never be satisfied by taxes alone, are hoping for.
And of course, they will eventually get it.

Great news: Federally-permitted lightbulbs a cancer risk!

Hotair ^ | 01/04/2013 | Ed Morrissey

Legislate in haste ... repent at leisure. In their haste to rid Americans of the unconscionable plague of perfectly safe if somewhat inefficient incandescent lighting, politicians in Washington have forced us to adopt more expensive technology in its place. Compact flourescent lighting (CFLs) are already known to be a considerable disposal risk, thanks to the mercury used in them. A new study reported earlier this week by Miami's CBS affiliate warns of an operational risk as well ... ultraviolet radiation that can cause skin cancers and even acute burns (via Katie Pavlich):

Every time you turn on the lights, you may be putting yourself at risk, according to a disturbing new study.


Energy efficient bulbs are eco-friendly and can save you big bucks, but experts say that some could also have a dark side.
Actually, they’re not all that eco-friendly, as even the government acknowledges. The EPA wants to argue that the release of mercury from CFLs in disposal is less than that released from the burning of the amount of coal one saves by using them. That may well be true overall, but not if one breaks in your house. At that point, you need to conduct an hours-long cleanup — and even if you want to dispose of an unbroken CFL, it takes special disposal in most jurisdictions due to the eco-unfriendly nature of CFLs.
And now, it takes special instructions to use them, too:
Money saving, compact fluorescent light bulbs emit high levels of ultra violet radiation, according to a new study. Research at Long Island’s Stony Brook found that the bulbs emit rays so strong that they can actually burn skin and skin cells.
“The results were that you could actually initiate cell death,” said Marcia Simon, a Professor of Dermatology.
Exposure to the bulbs could lead to premature aging and skin cancer, according to doctors.
“It can also cause skin cancer in the deadliest for, and that’s melanoma,” said Dr. Rebecca Tung.
Well, these are just the defective CFLs, right? The outsides are coated to block UV radiation. And that’s true, but …
In every bulb that researchers tested they found that the protective coating around the light creating ‘phosphor’ was cracked, allowing dangerous ultraviolet rays to escape.
So what can you do? Stay away from them:
Stony Brook researches advised that customers exercise caution and stay two feet away from the bulbs at all times, while storing them in an overhead fixture or lamp.
Gee … maybe Congress should have thought to check this out before regulating incandescents out of existence.

Congress Avoids The Fiscal Cliff By Selling Us Down The River!

TMO ^ | 1-4-2013 | Peter Schiff

With the possible exception of the New York Times' editorial board (and the cast of The Jersey Shore), everyone on the planet understood that the United States Government needs to cut spending, increase taxes, or both. Instead, after months of political posturing and hand wringing, the Federal Government has just delivered the exact opposite, a deal that increases spending and decreases taxes. The move lays bare the emptiness of budget legislation, which can be dismantled far easier than it can be constructed.
One question that should be now asked is whether Moody's Research will finally join S&P in downgrading the Treasury debt of the United States. After the Budget Control Act of 2011 (which resulted from the Debt Ceiling drama) Moody's extended its Aaa rating, saying in an August 8 statement:
"...last week's Budget Control Act was positive for the credit of the United States.... We expect the economic recovery will continue and additional budget deficit reduction initiatives will be put in place by 2013. The political parties now appear to share similar deficit reduction objectives."
Now that Moody's has been proven wrong, and the straight jacket that Congress designed for itself has been shown to be illusory (as I always claimed it was), will the rating agency revisit its decision and downgrade the United States? Given the political backlash that greeted S&P's downgrade in 2011, I doubt that such a move is forthcoming.
For now, the real budget negotiations have been supposedly pushed later into 2013, when the debt ceiling will be confronted anew. But who can really expect anything of substance? The latest deal emerged from a Congress that is nearly two years removed from the next election. As a result, Congressmen were as insulated from political pressures as they could ever expect to be. Nevertheless, they still chose political expediency over sound policy. If Congressional leadership (an oxymoron that should join the ranks of "jumbo shrimp" and "definite maybe") could not put the national interest in front of political interests now, why would anyone expect them to do so later? They will continue to ignore our fiscal problems until a currency crisis forces their hand. I expect deficits to approach $2 trillion annually before Obama leaves office. Unfortunately, at that point the solutions would be far more draconian than anything economists and politicians are currently considering.
In light of the extensions of the popular middle class tax rates, the loudly trumpeted tax increases on those individuals making more than $400,000 (and couples making more than $450,000) will not be enough to translate into higher tax revenues. Instead they will result in perhaps $60 billion per year in new revenue to the Federal government that will be more than offset by the new spending announced in the agreement. However, the increases will result in many individuals in high tax states like California and New York paying more than 50% of their income in taxes.
While many economists are cautioning that higher taxes on the wealthy will take a bite out of spending, in my opinion it is more likely to result in lower business investment, which is far more detrimental to the economy. When faced with diminishing discretionary income, most rich people would sooner cut back on savings and investment than they would on health care, education, home improvements and vacations.
But it should be clear that the rate increases are just the opening crescendo in a symphony of tax hikes on the nation's entrepreneurial class. President Obama has recently stated that he will consider needed cuts in spending and entitlement programs only if they are coupled with additional tax increases on the wealthy. In other words, as far as the President is concerned, the hikes included in the budget agreement that was just passed didn't count for anything.
It cannot, or should not, be denied that Washington's latest fig leaf will have a major impact on the markets. The New Year's "relief rally" is understandable given the clear implications that the government will simply print its way out of trouble for as long as it can. In the past, fiscal profligacy was held in check by investors who would sell bonds and push interest rates higher whenever it appeared that the government was not serious about national solvency. But with the Federal Reserve now buying the vast majority of U.S. government debt, no such roadblock exists. With monetary and fiscal stimulus pushing up stock and bond prices, and no immediate fear of a rally-killing spike in interest rates, there is no reason to stay on the sidelines. Markets are now driven by stimulus, not fundamentals, and the stimulus is firmly at the wheel. (For more on this - see the article in the January edition of Euro Pacific's Global Investment Newsletter). But it is important to look at the nature of the rally. We would bring investors' attention to the increase in gold and oil and rally against the dollar of every major currency except the Japanese yen
(which is being deliberately debased by a newly elected government). Our new Newsletter edition also includes an analysis of some of the more promising overseas markets.
But by taking the nominal risk out of investing, the government is insuring that the risks to the U.S. economy will grow exponentially. We are now - and will remain - a debt-fueled economy for as long as the rest of the world permits this to continue. But this is no way to create real, sustainable economic growth. On the contrary, it will simply permit the growth of government, the depletion of economic vitality, and ultimately the collapse of the U.S. dollar.
In the meantime, President Obama and Congressional leaders will take credit for a tax cut that is in reality a huge tax increase in disguise. Government spending is the real source of taxpayers' pain and it is only a matter of time before the bill comes due in the form of inflation. See our Newsletter for fresh analysis as to why inflation may already be higher than you think. Because the deficits will grow even larger, more purchasing power will be lost in this manner than would have been lost had all the Bush tax cuts been allowed to expire. In addition, though entitlements cuts were taken off the table, the real value of benefits could be slashed, as cost of living adjustments fail to keep up with skyrocketing consumer prices. That's a Fiscal Cliff that will not be so easy to avoid.

Obama's Second Term Starts With More of the Same! ^ | January 4, 2012 | Donald Lambro

WASHINGTON -- The newly elected Republican-led House was peacefully sworn into office Thursday as GOP leaders began planning for four years of divided government.
If you thought the past year was a rocky one, 2013 may make the political trench warfare battles of 2012 look like a Sunday school picnic.
Soon after the smoke cleared in the wee hours of New Year's Day, when Congress had taken the government to the precipice of the "fiscal cliff," and even a bit over, it was clear that ever more contentious battles awaited incoming lawmakers.
There were the automatic spending cuts buried in the fiscal cliff business that Congress put off until March 1. And in late March, a critical funding bill to keep the federal government operating is due to expire. The bet here is the government will not shut down, but the tea party warriors are angry and looking for some budget scalps.
Meantime, a bitter debt-ceiling war is likely to be fought once again -- this time on the Treasury Department's request to lift the nation's $16.4 trillion legal borrowing limit by another $2 trillion or more to pay the government's bills.
President Obama petulantly warned Congress this week that he will not tolerate "another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay the bills that they've already racked up."
Oh, really. Apparently, Obama skipped class on the day his Harvard constitutional law professor dealt with the part of our governing document that states Congress is a co-equal branch of government. It can debate everything and anything it wants, whether the chief executive likes it or not.
And if any fiscal issue needs a prolonged, thorough and critical debate on the House and Senate floor nowadays, it is the monstrous and unsustainable size of our debt, which threatens our financial future.
And what's this business about paying off "the bills that they've (meaning the Congress) already racked up"? Members of Congress, who've been spending like there's no tomorrow on our credit card, deserve a huge share of the blame.
But Obama is hardly blameless. He's been a willing accomplice in the spending binge of the past four years, working hand-in-glove with the drunken spenders in Congress, signing massively costly bills like his national health care law (more on this one later).
Congress has the power to authorize spending and to appropriate such funds as it sees fit, but the president also has the power to block such spending with the stroke of a pen. It's called the veto, a budget-balancing tool he didn't use in his first four years and isn't likely to use in his next four.
No president in American history has piled up as much debt as quickly as Obama. No president has spent more than Obama over the same period, nor run up anywhere remotely near the unprecedented budget deficits that he's recorded in each of the four budgets over which he's presided.
Does anyone remember the president's promise at the beginning of his administration? He declared in 2009: "Today I'm pledging to cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my first term in office."
Here's his yearly budget deficit record thus far: $1.4 trillion in 2009; $1.3 trillion in 2010; $1.3 trillion in 2011; and $1.2 trillion in 2012, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
Obama is presently on track to deliver his fifth budget deficit in the 2013 fiscal year totaling $1.1 trillion, with similar deficits lined up as far as the eye can see.
These are not "inherited" deficits that he can blame on his predecessor. These are Obama's deficits. He is the chief executive officer, and it is his policies that are hugely responsible for making them.
Certainly entitlements like Social Security and Medicare are responsible for the lion's share of the spiraling growth rate in spending. But new spending proposals are adding to that bill, too, and Obama's proposed a lot of spending, as in his $800 billion, 1930s-style public-works stimulus plan that hardly made a dent in the nation's unemployment rate.
The real cost of Obamacare isn't fully known at this time, but it has been steadily rising with each new budget estimate and is racing toward the trillion-dollar level faster than anyone realizes.
Obamacare supporter and former Treasury Department official David Gamage told The Wall Street Journal: "I have been researching Obamacare and assisting with its implementation, and have come to this realization: Without further reforms, the law will create unnecessary costs for working-class Americans."
But Obama's largest role in the nation's mushrooming deficits and debts has to do with his abject failure to get the American economy growing again at a stronger rate.
As he enters the fifth year of his economically troubled presidency, the painfully sluggish economy continues to shuffle along at a subpar 2 percent a year. This has meant weak monthly job-creation figures, and unnecessarily high unemployment and mediocre business earnings, which in turn mean lower tax revenues and thus higher deficits.
"The economy must add more than 356,000 jobs each month for three years to lower unemployment to 6 percent, and that is not likely with current policies," says University of Maryland business economist Peter Morici.
"That would require (economic) growth in the range of 4 to 5 percent. Without better trade, energy and regulatory policies and lower health care costs and (lower) taxes on small business, that is simply not going to happen," Morici says.
This is why we need a vigorous debt ceiling debate, and maybe companion legislation to force Obama to agree to deeper spending cuts than thus far he is willing to accept.
We can't continue to have trillion dollar-plus deficits and spend money we don't have, but that's the path his tax-and-spend, anti-economic growth policies have put us on.
If they continue, says Morici, our country is "headed for a Greek-style train wreck by the end of the decade."

We're now one step closer to America's coming civil war! ^ | 12/3/2012 | Arthur Herman

The New Year has started with a monstrosity of a budget deal, one that proves that neither political party, Democrats or Republicans, is really serious about controlling the growth of big government.
But soap opera dramatics about fiscal "cliffs" and sequestration shouldn’t deflect from where President Obama is really taking this country. Consider this story from the Wall Street Journal a few days before Christmas:
“Thousands of people in several Argentine cities ransacked supermarkets for a second day in the latest challenge to President Chistina Kirchner, who is struggling to revive a weak economy...In the central city Rosario, two people were killed during the incidents and 137 people arrested.
“The violence puts Mrs. Kirchner in a difficult position as the poor are [her] core constituents...Her government spends billions of dollars a year to help low income families, including free health care...[Yet] Argentine activists who claim to represent the poor traditionally block access to supermarkets in the month of December to demand free food and other items...The latest events were some of the worst acts of looting and vandalism in years.... Local media showed dozens of men, women, and children hauling away televisions, refrigerators, and food.”
Some have said my warnings about a coming civil war between makers and takers are exaggerated. It’s true that Argentina’s politicians have been waging class warfare since Juan and Eva Peron–and they aren’t fazed when it turns bloody. Obama and the Democrats are relative newcomers to the game. But Argentina reveals who really suffers when those who create a nation’s wealth get mugged by those who spend it–as just happened this week in Washington.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

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