Monday, September 1, 2014

Krauthammer: You can't have it your way, Obama!

Amarillo.com ^ | Aug 29, 2014 | Charles Krauthammer



The Obama administration is highly exercised about “inversion,” the practice by which an American corporation acquires a foreign company and moves its headquarters out of the U.S. to benefit from lower tax rates abroad.
Not fair, says President Barack Obama. It’s taking advantage of an “unpatriotic tax loophole” that hardworking American families have to make up for by the sweat of their brow. His treasury secretary calls such behavior a violation of “economic patriotism.”


(Excerpt) Read more at amarillo.com ...

Pulling Back the Curtain on “Phony Scandals”

Townhall.com ^ | August 31, 2014 | Ed Feulner


resident Obama claims to be running “the most transparent administration in history.” But even those who knew he was exaggerating must have been surprised when dozens of his own inspectors general revealed what a laughably hollow claim this is.
Earlier this month, 47 of the federal government’s 73 watchdogs filed a formal complaint about the “serious limitations” the Obama administration places on their ability to uncover waste, fraud and abuse.
It’s an unprecedented charge. “I’ve never seen a letter like this,” House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said. “And my folks have checked. There has never been a letter even with a dozen IGs complaining.”
IGs from the National Security Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice -- among many others -- say the administration is imposing such “serious limitations on access to records” that it’s creating “potentially serious challenges to the authority of every Inspector General and our ability to conduct our work thoroughly, independently, and in a timely manner.”
Time after time, the IGs request information necessary for them to do their jobs. And time after time, they’re told the information is “privileged” and therefore can be legally shielded, even though prior administrations haven’t made such dubious claims.
Yes, this can be a legitimate claim in certain, very limited instances. Information that could jeopardize certain matters of national security, for example, is naturally very sensitive and must be handled carefully.
But when you’re concealing more information than you’re revealing, and doing so almost routinely, something is seriously wrong.
Take how the Peace Corps refused to provide records of reported sexual assaults to assist an investigation into how the agency handled such cases. And the difficulty the EPA’s inspector general had obtaining documents from the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board. And many other cases that haven’t become public yet.
The IGs aren’t the only ones disturbed by the stonewalling attitude of “the most transparent administration in history.” In July, representatives of 38 journalism organizations sent a letter to President Obama, complaining about a lack of government openness.
The lead signer was David Cuillier, president of the Society of Professional Journalists. The letter accused the administration of “politically driven suppression of news and information about federal agencies.”
The administration is always quick to dismiss any focus on the IRS targeting conservatives, or the Benghazi attack, or the Justice Department investigating reporters, as “phony scandals.” They want us to believe they’re baseless distractions.
But we’re supposed to take this on faith. Why not provide the information necessary to prove their point? Why not open the files so we can see for ourselves?
“All of these stories linger because of unanswered questions and lack of meaningful information,” USA Today recently editorialized. “The administration could bring all of these matters to closure by simply releasing all available records.”
And if they refuse to do so, how can they blame anyone for assuming that the information they’re hiding must be damaging? That the evidence of wrongdoing is so strong that it’s better to weather charges of hypocrisy?
Even Ralph Nader isn’t happy with the White House. “Despite lofty initial campaign promises by the Obama administration, widespread government secrecy has only worsened in recent years,” he wrote earlier this year.
Ironically, the inspectors general wouldn’t even exist if not for a 1978 law that came in the wake of the Watergate scandal -- a law designed to prevent future cover-ups. As the IGs note in their letter, this law stipulates that they are entitled to “complete, unfiltered, and timely access to all information and materials ... without unreasonable administrative burdens.”
This isn’t a matter of politics. Government secrecy strikes at the very heart of how our system of government is designed. Transparency is essential to a free society.
Rep. Issa is planning to hold hearings about this in September. Surely an administration victimized by nothing more than “phony scandals” has nothing to fear.

Possible Cure for Type 1 Diabetes Announced!

Daily Call ^ | August 30. 2014 | Jennifer Runyon

I know this is a loaded and extremely controversial topic but there’s been a big break in the diabetes world. I thought it needed to be shared because no matter how you feel, it’s a big deal! ViaCyte Inc. has been given FDA approval to begin clinical trials on beta cell encapsulation.
You may be wondering why this is a big deal. You see, in Type 1 diabetes the body’s own immune system attacks beta cells found in the pancreas. These beta cells produce insulin and the attack makes them unable to do that. Because the body can no longer make its own insulin, the person must get insulin through injections or an insulin pump. Without a working pancreas, the person must work endlessly to control blood sugar levels. Uncontrolled levels can cause devastating effects such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, other complications and even death.
If only there were some way to get working beta cells into type 1 diabetics and not have the body’s immune system attack them. Well, now there just might be. ViaCyte is creating beta cells out of stem cells. They then put them in a cover that allows the produced insulin to get through it and enter the bloodstream. This cover allows the insulin to get through, but its pores are small enough to screen out components of the immune system that could attack the cells.
The encapsulated beta cells would be implanted in the body and would allow people to live as if they did not have diabetes for up to 24 months! Twenty four months without thinking about this disease…I can’t even imagine 24 minutes!
There’s so much hope riding on this trial. Since the day I was diagnosed nearly 28 years ago, my parents and I have been hearing that a cure is “right around the corner.” After hearing this and seeing no results time after time, you start to seriously doubt it. I can’t describe how exciting it is to see something finally make it to clinical trials that could actually make diabetes disappear for awhile.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m oh so grateful for the advances in technology that I’ve seen throughout my years. They’ve definitely made diabetes more manageable allowing people to have happier, longer lives. This however isn’t something that will make the disease easier; it’s something that will make the disease disappear! And it’s something I’ve been dreaming about for nearly 28 years!

What Islamic Terrorism?

http://the-american-catholic.com ^ | August 30, 2014 | Donald R. McClarey

Sometimes this administration is simply beyond parody:
The FBI’s most recent national threat assessment for domestic terrorism makes no reference to Islamist terror threats, despite last year’s Boston Marathon bombing and the 2009 Fort Hood shooting—both carried out by radical Muslim Americans.
Instead, the internal FBI intelligence report concluded in its 2013 assessment published this month that the threat to U.S. internal security from extremists is limited to attacks and activities by eight types of domestic extremist movements—none motivated by radical Islam.
They include anti-government militia groups and white supremacy extremists, along with “sovereign citizen” nationalists, and anarchists. Other domestic threat groups outlined by the FBI assessment include violent animal rights and environmentalist extremists, black separatists, anti- and pro-abortion activists, and Puerto Rican nationalists. Click at link.
(Excerpt) Read more at the-american-catholic.com ...

Cruz fires up conservatives, says bomb Islamic State 'back to the Stone Age' (Yesssssss)!

Fox News.com ^ | August 31, 2014

Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, made clear this weekend his foreign policy strategy for dealing with the militant group Islamic State: “bomb them back to the Stone Age.”
"They want to go back and reject modernity," he said. "Well, I think we should help them. We ought to bomb them back to the Stone Age."
Cruz made his remarks Saturday in Dallas at a summit for Americans for Prosperity, the political arm of the billionaire GOP donors Charles and David Koch
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...

Breaking: FORT BLISS RAMPS UP SECURITY Following Report on Imminent Terrorist Threat!

The Gateway Pundit ^ | 8/31/14 | Jim Hoft

A warning bulletin was issued Friday to federal law enforcement, intelligence and other sources on an imminent terror attack on the border.
Breitbart.com obtained a copy of the leaked document. The document shows James O’Keefe crossing the border in a Osama bin Laden mask.
(photo from Breitbart.com)
(photo from Breitbart.com)
El Paso, Texas media is reporting Fort Bliss announced enhanced security measures on Sunday. The announcement came after the conservative government watchdog group Judicial Watch issued an urgent report on Friday based on government sources who warned of possible Islamist terrorist attacks on the Texas-Mexico border. Included in the Judicial Watch report was word from sources that the commanding general of Fort Bliss was being briefed on the threats.
While some of the measures are set to expire Tuesday, other unspecified “future change access controls” will be in place beyond then.
KVIA-TV reported on the enhanced security at Fort Bliss.
“Officials told ABC-7 that their concern for safety will affect vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle and pedestrian access to the installation through 5 a.m. Tuesday morning.
“ABC-7 asked Fort Bliss spokesperson Lt. Col. Lee Peters if this was related to the alleged Islamic State threat in Juarez.


(Excerpt) Read more at thegatewaypundit.com ...

Conservatives raise call to strip jihadists of US citizenship, as Ted Cruz pushes exile!

Washington Times ^ | 8/31/14 | Kellan Howell

Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, told a crowd of 3,000 at a conservative summit in Dallas that Americans fighting with Islamic State militants should be exiled from the country saying, “we need to not let into this country any American who is fighting with ISIS.” But some conservative politicians say that banishing American jihadists doesn’t go far enough, and that those who leave the country to fight for militant groups like the Islamic State, Hamas, or al Qaeda should be stripped of their citizenship. On Friday, former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, who is running for a U.S. Senate seat in neighboring New Hampshire, called for
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...

Corporations Join Droves Renouncing US Citizenship!

Casey Research ^ | 08/30/2014 | Nick Giambruno, Senior Editor, InternationalMan.com

Don’t be surprised to lose if you don’t make an effort at being competitive.
And if you go out of your way to make yourself less competitive, expect to lose.
If that sounds like simple common sense, that’s because it is.
But it’s also exactly what the US has been doing for years—enacting tax policies that sabotage its global economic competitiveness.
It’s like trying to get in shape for a marathon by going on an all-McDonald’s diet. (Speaking of McDonalds, check out this funny video spoof of what their commercials should really look like.)
Here are two major reasons why the US is lagging in the global economic marathon:
  1. The US has the highest effective corporate income tax rate in the developed world (see chart below).
  1. Unlike most other countries, which only tax domestic profits, the US taxes the earnings of foreign subsidiaries of US companies when the money is transferred back to the US. This has had the effect of US corporations keeping over $1.9 trillion in retained earnings offshore to avoid the crippling US corporate income tax.

These “worst in the developed world” tax policies are clearly hurting the global competitiveness of American companies.
Being deemed a “US Person” for tax purposes is like trying to swim with a lifejacket made of lead.
It should come as no surprise that an increasing number of productive people and companies are seeking to shed this burden so they can keep their heads above water.
At this point, it’s more than just a trickle—it’s an established trend in motion.
And I don’t see anything that would reverse it. On the contrary, given the political dynamics—ramped-up spending on welfare and warfare policies, as well as an “eat the rich” mood—taxes have nowhere to go but north. And that means the exodus will continue.

Three Cheers for Walgreens

Over the past couple of years, dozens of high-profile US companies have moved abroad (or seriously considered it) to lower their corporate income tax rate and to access their offshore retained earnings without triggering US taxes.
Among them are Medtronic, Liberty Global, Sara Lee, and Omnicom Group—the largest US advertising firm—to just name a few.
Earlier this year Pfizer, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, sought (but was ultimately rebuffed) to move abroad, which would have cut its tax bills by as much as $1 billion a year.
The strategy these companies are using is known as an inversion. It’s where a US company merges with a foreign company in a jurisdiction with lower taxes and then reincorporates there. Current US law allows for this if the foreign shareholders own at least 20% of the combined company (though some are trying to raise the minimum to 50%).
Now, despite the howls and shrieks from upset politicians and the mainstream media about these companies being “unpatriotic” and “un-American,” they’re doing absolutely nothing illegal. Inversions are totally acceptable within the current rules of the US Tax Code.
Chuck Grassley, a Republican senator from Iowa has said, “These expatriations aren’t illegal. But they’re sure immoral.”
I beg to differ.
Why would anyone want to give the destructive bureaucrats in DC a penny more than is legally required? As far as I’m concerned, not only is there nothing wrong with going where you’re treated best, there's also an ethical and moral imperative to starve the Beast.
And now the latest high-profile company to consider putting the Beast on a diet is Walgreens.
Walgreens is considering reincorporating in Switzerland as part of a merger with Alliance Boots, a European rival. The net effect for would be to reduce Walgreens’ tax rate to 20%, down from around 31% now. The move is estimated to save around $4 billion over the next five years.
What really has the politicians scared is that inversions have started to snowball.
The New York Times quoted an international tax lawyer stating that “it takes one company with enough public recognition to start [a] domino effect.”
Walgreens could be the company that triggers a domino effect. If Walgreens were to move, it would gain a significant competitive advantage against its rivals. CVS, Walgreens’ main competitor, paid a 34% tax rate in recent years. Can CVS really compete with Walgreens if the latter is paying 20%?
Probably not. And that will only lead to more inversions.

Another Way to Starve the Beast

Remember, US companies are not globally competitive because of these two unique burdens:
  1. The US has the highest effective corporate tax rate in the developed world.
  1. Unlike most countries, which only tax domestic profits, the US taxes the earnings of foreign subsidiaries of US companies when the money is transferred back to the US.
We have already seen how inversions can reduce #1, but they also offer huge benefits in terms of #2.
Reincorporating abroad allows companies to permanently avoid paying US taxes on foreign earnings. It also allows companies to access their retained earnings offshore in ways they couldn’t before without triggering punishing US taxes.
Medtronic, for example, has accumulated $20.5 billion of untaxed earnings in foreign subsidiaries. By reincorporating abroad, Medtronic can access that money without getting slapped with US corporate income taxes, which would save it billions.
For companies like Medtronic and Walgreens, reincorporating abroad seems like a no-brainer.
Contrary to the government propaganda, the villains in this story aren’t the companies seeking to diversify abroad to remain globally competitive. The villains are clearly the spendthrift politicians who enact these “worst in the developed world” tax policies, which create very compelling incentives for these companies to leave the US.

It’s Not Just Companies Saying Sayonara

While the US should be enacting policies that make it attractive for productive people and companies to come to the US—rather than driving them away—don’t hold your breath for positive change. It’s more likely that nothing but more taxes and regulations are coming.
But as we have seen with companies like Medtronic and Walgreens, companies have options too.
And it’s not just multibillion-dollar corporate entities that have options. Individuals operating on a modest scale can also reap enormous benefits by diluting the amount of control the bureaucrats in DC (or any country) wield over them. International diversification is the solution.
You do this by moving some of your savings abroad with offshore bank and brokerage accounts, physical gold held abroad, owning foreign real estate, and establishing an offshore company or trust.
Obtaining a second passport is an important part of the mix as well.
You probably can’t take all of these steps, and that’s fine. Even taking just one will go a long way to reducing your political risk and giving you more options. In many cases, you don’t even have to leave your living room.
Think of it as your own personal insurance policy against an out-of-control government.
However, things can change quickly. New options emerge, while others disappear.

Obama’s Miserable Failure

Frontpage ^ | 9/1/2014 | Daniel Greenfield

It was always obvious what Obama’s supporters wanted. They weren’t willing to settle for a Hillary, just another politician who would punch the clock, deliver tepid speeches and push their leftist agenda.
They wanted someone larger than life. A head made for Mount Rushmore and a body that would be cast in statues across the country. Speeches meant to be studied in classrooms for the next hundred years.
They compared him to JFK and Reagan. He was treated as the icon that his backers wanted him to be. His election was supposed to be a watershed moment in American history.
Instead it ends in miserable failure.
At home, Obama is caught in a desperate tug of war with Republicans. He won the budget battle by sending park rangers to shut down national monuments. His last ditch gamble for holding on to the Senate is using racial tensions in Ferguson to promote black voter turnout.
And if he wins, all he’ll have is what he has now.
This is how shoddy and tawdry the reality of Hope and Change has become. Trapped in a corner, Obama is dragging out the dirtiest Chicago politics. He’s trying to hold off the inevitable by using the same types of tactics that the crooked mayor of his hometown would.
There’s no inspiration here. No words that will resound across time. Just dirty rats on a sinking ship.
Blame Congress has become the new Blame Bush. ObamaCare is a slow motion disaster that requires constant course corrections to keep it from coming apart. It’s not the new Social Security or Medicare. It’s the new HMO; a clumsy construction that most Americans are unhappy with.
Obama’s only power comes from his abuse of his authority, but what one man does, another man can undo. Instead of creating a lasting legislative legacy, Obama’s executive orders and legislation by administration are a house of cards that his successor can topple with the same pen and phone.
They seem intimidating in the way that the actions of tyrants are, but tyranny can be undone with tyranny. What Obama failed to do was build a consensus. He didn’t change the course of American history. He didn’t win the hearts and minds of Americans. Now he’s reduced to vandalizing America.
Obama said that Putin’s actions in Ukraine weren’t a sign of strength, but a sign of weakness. There is some truth to that. Putin’s economic policies have failed and he was unpopular at home. But the Obama tyrannical reign of phone and pen also isn’t a sign of strength. It’s a sign of weakness.
Like Putin, Obama has run out of options.
Unpopular with voters, shunned by his own party in battleground states, he rules by executive order and parties with influential executives while ignoring his responsibilities.
That’s not Reagan. It’s not JFK. It’s not even LBJ.
Stumbling to the microphone in a tan suit, he admits that he has no strategy for ISIS. Why should he? A few months ago he was calling a force that controls much of Iraq and Syria a junior varsity team while claiming credit for defeating Al Qaeda. Now his spokesman insists that the US is not at war with ISIS.
What Obama says has no relationship to reality. It’s always been that way. It’s only becoming obvious to those talking heads inside his media bubble now.
Obama’s foreign policy consisted of a flowchart of how things were supposed to work. There was an arrow from “Outreach” to “Reconciliation” to “New Middle East”. Instead Iraq is on fire. Libya is on fire. Syria is on fire. Everyone else is either mocking him or begging for his help without seriously expecting him to do anything useful.
And the flowchart doesn’t mention any of it.
ISIS was supposed to be a JV team. Iraqis are supposed to reconcile. ISIS isn’t supposed to be at war with the United States. Like most ideologues, Obama confuses what his reading of the inevitable forces of history says should happen with what is actually happening. Political Islam was supposed to stabilize the Middle East. Instead the future will be defined by a clash between national armies and Islamist militias.
Removing US troops from Iraq was supposed to fix the problem. The best anti-colonialist scholarship said it would. Instead combined with the Arab Spring, it let Al Qaeda take over much of the country.
But what else was an ideological fanatic big on theory and short on life experience going to do?
Obama is Fareed Zakaria. He’s Thomas Friedman. He’s Paul Krugman. He read all the books and he talks a good game so that it’s easy to miss the fact that his ideas don’t have much to do with real life.
Friedman babbling about the flattening world, Krugman pretending that money is infinite and Zakaria jumping from one ridiculous globalist idea to another sound good in a lecture hall or a column.
But only an idiot would actually listen to them.
Obama’s speeches sounded good, but only idiots would elect a man with no life experience, no executive experience and no meaningful experience of any kind for speaking well, instead of doing well.
Of course Obama doesn’t have a strategy for ISIS. Why would he?
ISIS wasn’t supposed to happen. His schedule, in between golfing and fundraising, had amnesty and Global Warming unilateral orders penciled in. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine also wasn’t on the schedule. Killing missile defense and being incredibly flexible were supposed to fix that.
As a last resort, sanctions, the universal failure of global diplomacy, were supposed to keep this from happening. But like everything else that Obama tried, they didn’t work.
Obama doesn’t live in the world of “What is” but the world of “What should be”. Inspiration does come from the world of “What should be”, but when it isn’t grounded in the world of “What is” then it manifests as insanity or leads to miserable failures.
The difference between the brilliant architect and the lunatic on the street corner is that while both of them know “What should be”, only one of them knows “What is”.
Obama’s inspiration came from “What should be”. He never did understand “What is”. His followers thought and think that “What is” can be waved away, ignored or beaten down as a last resort. That is what he is doing now with his executive orders and his unilateral rule. He is trying to salvage his miserable failure as a leader by forcing his way on the whole country.
It hasn’t made him popular. It hasn’t made his way into the American Way. It has isolated him. The American people have rejected him in poll after poll. Now the media is slowly accepting their verdict.
And no, he doesn’t have a strategy for that.