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Saturday, August 6, 2011

S&P: Downgrade Was Because Obama, Congress 'Did not Cut Enough'

Cue exploding liberal heads in...now:
But S&P officials on Saturday insisted that they had come to a reasoned conclusion that the U.S. will have difficulty getting its soaring deficits under control. And they said S&P had given plenty of warnings that a downgrade could be coming if Congress and the Obama administration did not produce a credible deficit-cutting plan.

David Beers, global head of sovereign ratings at S&P, said the rating agency was concerned that the deal on the budget reached last weekend fell short of what S&P felt was needed. S&P was looking for $4 trillion in budget cuts over 10 years.

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Vote: Who is to Blame for the US's Credit Being Downgraded?

For two years, the Democrat party had a super-majority in the Senate, the majority in the House, and the executive branch.  They had hundreds upon hundreds of chances to raise the debt ceiling or to cut spending but decided not to.  Yet, the day after S&P downgraded the United States' credit rating, Democrats are deciding to blame Republicans for every possible thing wrong with the economy, particularly our credit.

For example, Harry Reid stated in response to the news:
The action by S&P reaffirms the need for a balanced approach to deficit reduction...instead of hardliners who have already ruled out the balanced approach that the markets and rating agencies like S&P are demanding.
So the question is: who is really to blame?  Is it Republicans for demanding that Democrats cut over-spending and balance the budget?  Is it President Obama for leading from behind?  Is it Democrats for over-spending and blaming others instead of actually doing anything?  Maybe President Bush somehow?  Or some combination?

Vote below:



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The Day the Obama Administration Ended

Mark your calendars, everybody, because yesterday was a very important day. It was not only a day in which our debt was seen as unsustainable, but it is likely the day that sealed the coffin of Obama's potential second term.

Knowing the way the electorate may be, he might well win another four years in Washington. However, with the potential effects of the S&P downgrade-- this may be the event that will snap even some Obama supporters back to reality.

Let's take a look at some of the possible effects--

3. Needless to say, increasing costs for consumers and businesses tends to slow their economic activity. Some estimates put a downgrade like this as likely to shave 1 percent off GDP. This slowing certainly increases the risks that the U.S. will have a second dip into recession. It also means less tax revenue, so the potential for additional debt increases.

4. As the economy slows, expect the stock market to react. After all, investors buy shares to get a piece of growing profits. A slowing economy means profits grow less rapidly or go down. The relative value of a share of anything will go down. Some experts predict a downgrade could force stocks to sell-off by 6 percent to 10 percent in short order. That's another 1,100 points on the Dow.

5. A slowdown in economic activity also means less demand for workers. The non-partisan group Third Way has published estimates that a simple 0.5 percent increase in interest rates could erase more than 640,000 jobs.

These are terrible indicators and could have a similar effect as the crash of Bear Stearns and other investment banks in 2008. The economy, if hit with another 1,100 point loss, could point straight at recession. And considering the anemic job growth already, losing 600,000-plus would be disastrous.

This could be the day after the next recession started-- and the day after Obama lost his chance for a second term.

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U.S. Credit Rating Downgraded

At least according to S&P. Expect interest rates and recession fears to increase.

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S&P Downgrades US Credit Rating

Go figure, you can't spend everything you possibly can and expect no consequences!  Who woulda thunk it:
The United States has lost its sterling credit rating from Standard & Poor's.

The credit rating agency on Friday lowered the nation's AAA rating for the first time since granting it in 1917. The move came less than a week after a gridlocked Congress finally agreed to spending cuts that would reduce the debt by more than $2 trillion -- a tumultuous process that contributed to convulsions in financial markets. The promised cuts were not enough to satisfy S&P.

The drop in the rating by one notch to AA-plus was telegraphed as a possibility back in April. The three main credit agencies, which also include Moody's Investor Service and Fitch, had warned during the budget fight that if Congress did not cut spending far enough, the country faced a downgrade. Moody's said it was keeping its AAA rating on the nation's debt, but that it might still lower it.

One of the biggest questions after the downgrade was what impact it would have on already nervous investors. While the downgrade was not a surprise, some selling is expected when stock trading resumes Monday morning. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 699 points this week, the biggest weekly point drop since October 2008.
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Friday, August 5, 2011

Obama State Senate Records Show Him as Confused, Off-Topic

Barack Obama served in the Illinois State Senate from 1997-2004 before being elected to the United States Senate that year. President Obama has characterized his tenure in the body as a time of building consensus between the two parties and pushing through important legislation.

Upon a look of the actual transcripts of his Senate tenure, there is a different picture. While he does address some issues, such as lead poisoning, rent control, and municipal issues, many of these are not earth-shattering or reducing regulation or taxes.

You can find some of his transcripts per year simply by looking at the Illinois legislative record. Let's take a look at some examples from his first year on the job in 1997.

From October 30, 1997, he even admits to his colleagues that he was not paying attention to legislation already passed with his consent:


So why was he not paying "sufficient attention"? Just look back two weeks, to the October 17th transcript, in which he wasn't even there:


Or another absence from November 1999:


Or this confused response from November 2000?


So he got better with experience, eh? From May 2001, what about following talk of the Energy and Environment Committee meeting with... birthday wishes?


Wow. The bill of the century.

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Wisconsin Court Orders Tax Payers to Foot Trans-Gendered Convict's Gene Therapy

The world we live in:
A federal appeals court has upheld a judge's ruling striking down a Wisconsin law banning taxpayer-funded hormone therapy for transgender inmates.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision came Friday in a case brought by a group of male inmates who identify as female. They say they need the hormones to treat their gender identity disorder and not having them would lead to severe health problems.

The state appealed after a federal judge struck down the 2006 law last year. A three-judge panel upheld the ruling, saying denying inmates medical treatment amounted to "torture."

The American Civil Liberties Union hailed the decision.
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The New Pundit Press

Pundit Press (at the suggestion of intrepid writer Danny) has switched from a blogspot domain to www.punditpress.com. All old articles direct to the new site!

Hope you enjoy the new, old Pundit Press!


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DOW Gains 60

The Dow Jones Industrial average gained 60 points in today's session on Wall Street, which is definitely better than yesterday's 500 point decline, but is still in negative territory for the year. Nasdaq lost 24 points and the S&P 500 lost just 1.

I wrote earlier how the DJI would likely gain 50 or so points today, due to the somewhat good jobs report that came out this morning from Washington.

What say you?

Awaiting Pataki's Entrance

NOTE: Pundit Press is not supporting any candidate for President at this point.

Pundit Press reported several weeks ago that former New York Governor George Pataki will announce his campaign for the 2012 Presidential election in South Carolina this month - and we're standing by that report.

We have noticed Governor Pataki touring both Iowa and South Carolina; lamenting the lack of candidates in the race and "mulling" his options. There's no doubt he is running for President, but the question is: "when will he announce?"

Unfortunately, Pundit Press has absolutely no idea - but we do know that Governor Pataki will announce by the end of this month, and can't wait until he does.

Until then, we'll just have to do with Governor Pataki visiting battleground states and the media ignoring his impending candidacy.

What say you?

DOW Down 215 in Mid-Day Trading

Once again:

Update, 1:01pm- And what do you know, now the DOW's up over 100. A very busy, and even more volatile, day.

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Watch Obama Speech on Economy Livestream Video, 8/5/2011




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Watch Obama Speech Live Video, 8/5/2011




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A Declaration of Independence

It has happened just as foretold.  The Progressive Republicans have joined with their Democrat fellow-travelers and once again sold our inheritance for a bowl of promises.  We voted for an end to the out of control spending and what did we get?  3.5 trillion steps closer to the abyss.   It’s time to admit that when you fall off a cliff it doesn’t matter much if you were pushed or if you walked.  The fall might not be so bad but that sudden stop at the end isn’t so good.

Maybe it’s just me but I’m tired of the same old same old in our politics.  The big-box monopoly parties have morphed into two sides of the same coin.  Today we choose between the Conservative Progressives’ policies of tax and spend, infringe personal liberty, and outsource our sovereignty or the Liberal Progressives’ policies of tax and spend, infringe personal liberty, and outsource our sovereignty.  We’ve been caught on the horns of a dilemma trying to choose between Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and since we don’t want to throw our vote away we must vote for one of the big boys after which the campaign promises dissolve and we’re hung out to dry.

As a voter I’ve had my Damascus Road Experience.  The scales have fallen from my eyes.  I’ve reached the point where I would rather vote for someone who might actually try finding another way to operate our government besides taxing like the Sun King and spending like a drunken sailor whose credit card limit is constantly raised and who can print his own money.  

It’s time to stop talking.  It’s time to take action.  The Founders of our nation dedicated their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to birth our state and this noble experiment.  It’s time for us to do the same. This nation was conceived as a representative republic designed to operate on democratic principles.  For over 100 years the Progressives have worked to transform the land of the free and the home of the brave into a People’s Democratic Republic.  What’s the difference?  The difference between a Democracy and a People’s Democracy is “the difference between a jacket and a straight jacket.”

How did we arrive at the current situation? 

James Madison our fourth president and the chief architect of the U.S. Constitution said, “There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpation.”  We didn’t get here all in one jump.  First the camel said, “Can I just stick my nose in your tent to stay warm?” and finally the generous man found himself out in the cold as the camel settled down for a nice warm nap, one inch at a time. 

The compassion of our people built a safety net for those who needed help and the greed of the lazy turned it into a hammock.  America, the Land of the Free is being transformed into an America that is dedicated to the unsustainable achievement of, from each according to their abilities to each according to their need.  When you rob Peter to pay Paul eventually Peter changes his name to Paul and the house of cards  tumbles down.
The willingness to share our heritage led America to welcome more immigrants each year than the rest of the world combined, and the abuse of our generosity turned into a migration invasion that threatens to overwhelm us and destroy the future of our children.  Taxes imposed to meet the ever-swelling demands of government have turned into a blatant, wealth re-distribution program that makes most pyramid schemes look fair.  It’s as if our predatory government looks at a productive citizen as merely a source of residual income.  Or as the ads promise, our Progressive leaders lay on the beach of self-importance and our checks just keep pouring in.  We’re no longer respected as Citizens.  Instead, we’re coveted as consumers or human capital. 

It’s time for action.

We as citizens who love our country must to break the logjam caused by an imperial presidency, an abdicating legislature, an activist court, a suffocating bureaucracy, and the strangulation of regulation.  The constant growth of government destroys freedom for “as government expands liberty contracts.”
It’s time to actively work for America’s acceptance of a different way.

And what might this Different way be? 

Something radical, something that almost strains the bounds of the imagination, something that would immediately unleash the bent-up energy of a free people: a return to constitutionally limited government! 
But how do we get there from here?  We need to build a new party to win the reins of government from the two-headed bird of prey which has assumed perpetual power through perpetual re-election.  What we need now are citizens willing to sacrifice their repose and enter the arena.  We need non-professionals to clean up the mess and right the ship of state.

What we don’t need is one more election where the Conservative Progressives replace the Liberal Conservatives because as Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

We need a new party.  We must work to unite the Tea Party Movement with the many splinter parties which hold the same basic values.  We must reclaim our liberty from the professional politicians and professional radicals who have manipulated the system to achieve unlimited power which they use to spend us into insolvency, tax us into poverty, and regulate us into serfdom.

This new party must siphon off all the conservatives who are members of the twin party out of habit or family tradition.  This new party must rise fast and work hard.  It must capture the center and the right declaring boldly that it will defend what America stands for but not necessarily all that stands for America.  The time has come to fight for the right before we are swallowed by the wrong.

Winston Churchill said, "If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed, if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not so costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance for survival.  There may be a worse case.  You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves."

We can’t let divisions divide us or they will bury us.  United we stand, divided we fall.  None of us can do this alone but together we can.  Keep the faith.  Keep the peace.  We shall overcome.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8
© 2011 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens.

Good News for Wall Street?

The Dow Jones Industrial average fell over 500 points yesterday afternoon in one of the worst days on Wall Street since October 2008. It was unbelievable watching every major stock option collapse by 5% or more as the bell rang.

However, we do have some limited good news today: over 100,000 jobs were added last month and the rate of unemployment did decrease to 9.1%, which might lead to Wall Street reversing its two week long downfall, at least for the time being.  

I do not expect miracles, but perhaps we will see the Dow gain 50 or so points today instead of losing hundreds upon hundreds with no end in sight.

What say you?

Non-farm Job Numbers Increase 117,000

Non-farming jobs have increased 117,000.  Even though 130,000 jobs are needed to keep up with the natural expansion of people, the unemployment rate somehow decreased to 9.1% from 9.2%.  Analysts predicted anywhere from 85,000 jobs to 120,000 jobs, so this increase is right in that expectation.

Yet somehow, even though these job numbers are less than needed to even keep unemployment the same, people are relieved that it isn't worse.  Welcome to President Obama's economy.

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Job Numbers Coming Out at 8:30am

After a 512-point plunge in the stock market yesterday and a growing fear that the United States is headed for another recession, all eyes are on job numbers this morning.  If they are bad, which is expected, the DOW will likely plunge again.

Keep it on Pundit Press.  Once the numbers come out, we will have them.

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Isn't that Nice! DOW, Foreign Markets Plummet in Honor of President's Birthday

I'm kidding, of course... much of the plunge has come in honor of his failed (and failing) economic policies.  But certainly there is more than a bit of irony that on any day of the year for the DOW to plummet, it was Mr. Obama's 50th birthday.  And it fell just over 500 points, seemingly just for him!

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

ObamaNomics: DOW Plummets 512, Double Dip, Recession "Coming," Say Analysts

President Obama's entire Presidency has been one that (1) blames George W. Bush for everything and (2) tries to make terrible news look good.  That is precisely what Mr. Obama has done concerning the United States' current economic state:

The Stimulus that he said would prevent unemployment from breaking 8%?  A great success even though unemployment peaked at over 10% and remains well over 9%.  "It prevented a depression," Mr. Obama quipped during one of his speeches.  Naturally, President Bush was at fault for any failings that the Stimulus provided.

Oil prices?  Simply not Mr. Obama's fault.  Sure, he's the leader of the free world, but what can someone like that do about anything?  Likewise with inflation (which the President's Stimulus helped to cause).

Confidence in the market?  President Obama has been going on and on about how people are either holding the economy hostage (Tea Party!) or saying how terrible it was/is (President Bush!).  I can't possibly imagine why people wouldn't want to invest when there is a fear-monger in the White House.

The wealthy not creating as many jobs as he hoped?  Well, surely it could not be the President's fault.  I mean, wouldn't you want to spend money when the most powerful man on earth keeps saying that he plans to tax you extra?

What about the debt ceiling?  Well, in 2006, Senator Obama called raising it a "failure of leadership," railed against it, and ultimately voted against it.  Now, it is necessary... you know, because he's in office.
Mr. Obama blaming someone else
The point of all of this is that the President does not believe that he has done a single thing wrong during his Presidency.  It is some one else's fault, always: Tea Party!  Bush!  Republicans!  The rich (they "contribute nothing")!  Palin!  Zombie Ronald Reagan!

But here's the inside scoop:  for some reason, much of the American public was willing to go along with the President's lies.  They gave him some time to "fix" things; they've allowed him to blame President Bush for two and a half years.  But that ends today.

The DOW fell 512 points.  Job numbers are supposed to be terrible when they come out tomorrow.  President Obama whined that Republicans were causing the Stock Market to plummet because they didn't agree to a debt ceiling hike (not his fault, naturally).  After they did, guess what:  it plummeted much more than before.

The President has heralded his Stimulus and his economic policies as successes; imperfect, but booming successes that took America out of a recession caused by the evil mastermind Bush.  So what is he going to say if we dip once again into recession?  Analysts on CNBC are already sold on another one; the only question is whether it will be a quick recession or a long, painful recession.

Who's Mr. Obama going to blame?  Somebody, anybody, but the person who is responsible for much of the position that we are in: himself.

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The Crimes of PETA

An informative graph for your perusal:

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Guns Going South, Drugs Coming North, and the Feds Watched it All

I have commented at times on "Operation Fast and Furious" and "Operation Walker", where guns were allowed to walk across the border into Mexico and into the hands of drug cartels all with the tacit approval of multiple federal agencies. Now, we learn that federal incompetence and criminal negligence didn't stop with guns. I didn't realize that fighting the "war on drugs" included facilitating their entry into the nation.

U.S. federal agents allegedly allowed the Sinaloa drug cartel to traffic several tons of cocaine into the United States in exchange for information about rival cartels, according to court documents filed in a U.S. federal court.

The case could prove to be a bombshell on par with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' "Operation Fast and Furious," except that instead of U.S. guns being allowed to walk across the border, the Sinaloa cartel was allowed to bring drugs into the United States. Zambada-Niebla claims he was permitted to smuggle drugs from 2004 until his arrest in 2009.

"Loya himself continued his drug trafficking activities with the knowledge of the United States government without being arrested or prosecuted," the court documents state.

Zambada-Niebla met voluntarily with U.S. federal agents on March 17, 2009, at the Sheraton Hotel in Mexico City, which is near the U.S. Embassy, "for the purpose of his continuing to provide information to the DEA and the U.S. government personally, rather than through Loya," court records allege.

"DEA agents (then) told Loya-Castro to tell Mr. Zambada-Niebla that they wanted to continue the same arrangements with him as they had with Mr. Loya-Castro."

Interesting that this arrangement seems to have started in 2009, around the same time Fast and Furious and Gun Walker were getting started.

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DOW Down 280, NASDAQ, S&P Down Over 2.5% in Mid-Day Trading

Remember when Democrats were blaming Republicans for making the stock market go down because they would agree to a debt ceiling?  I didn't buy the lie at that time and absolutely no one should now.  Currently, at 11:38am, the market is tanking:

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Obama Administration to Use Tax Dollars to Help Fund Re-election Campaign

President Obama will be touring battleground states in the next few weeks in order to rally support for his re-election campaign.  Mr. Obama plans to talk about job creation, the economy, and the goals that he believes that he has achieved while in office.

However, the trip, which is unquestionably partisan and only helps Mr. Obama, will be funded by American taxpayers.  This comes at a time when the President's approval rating is plummeting and at a time when the President has been calling for efficient use of money.

In a conference, Press Secretary Jay Carney tackled questions by reporters. When asked whether it was a presidential event or a campaign event, Mr. Carney responded, “That is an official event.”

Mr. Carney went on to state quite bluntly that the President should be able to use taxpayer money on any event that he wishes. “He’s the President of the United States,” Secretary Carney said.

A reporter then asked Mr. Carney, "With the bus tour, it's certainly a visual, but what are the tangibles?"

Mr. Carney stated that the government would soon release more details of the trip, then stated, “The, the, uh, air of cynicism is, uh, quite thick. Uh, the idea that the President of the United States, uh, should not venture forth into the country is, uh, ridiculous.”

The reporter responded, “I didn’t say that,” to which Mr. Carney responded:

"No...but, um, your, your, you implied it in your question and the, you know, it is absolutely important for, uh, the President, whoever that person is, uh, in the past and in the future, to get out and, and, uh, uh...hear from people in different communities."

You can watch the exchange below:

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VA Tech Shut Down After Gunman Possibly Spotted on Campus

Hopefully this is all a false alarm and everyone comes out safe.

From MSNBC:
NBC affiliate WSLS confirmed that the campus siren system had been activated and all people on campus had been asked to remain indoors.

The university issued an alert on its website at 9:37 a.m. Thursday telling students and employees to stay inside and secure doors.

A subsequent crime alert said three children attending a camp on campus reported seeing a white man who appeared to have a gun covered with a cloth.

"Officers responded immediately to the area but found no one matching the description," the crime alert said.
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David Wu Officially Resigns

Representative David Wu (D-OR) officially resigned late last night from the U.S. House of Representatives after serious allegations of sexual misconduct with a fundraiser's daughter created a media and political firestorm against him.

He waited until the debt-ceiling debate was concluded earlier this week - when he voted aye for the deal - as promised to resign from Congress. Governor John Kitzhaber will call a special election to replace Wu in the near future.

Republican odds of victory in Oregon's 1st district are slim, but businessman Rob Cornilles - who received over 42% of the vote in 2010 against Wu - has announced his campaign to replace the Congressman. While I'm not confident of success, I'm hopeful that Republicans might be able to win this seat.

What say you?

Michael Lerner Solves our Debt Ceiling Crisis

Michael Lerner, a faux rabbi who never graduated from a theological rabbinic school, has done it again. In his latest emailing he has his own unique solution to the debt ceiling crisis.

Here is what he says;
“Instead of being such a wimp, Obama could even now simply announce the following plan for what will happen if the debt limit isn't reached: he will pay the social security, medicare and other benefits to those Congressional districts whose representatives voted to raise the debt limit and not to those which did not.”

Let me understand this. If a particular Congressman did not vote to raise the debt limit, Lerner would have all the seniors of his district thrown off the Medicare rolls, no matter how sick or in need of health care they were, and these people would also be denied their Social Security checks, meaning destitution for many. Talk about collective punishment!

Let me be clear. According to the First Amendment to the US Constitution, Lerner is entitled to say whatever he believes. But this sort of “solution” is what Lerner has been warning us would happen if the “right wing” is allowed to take over our nation. (Lerner always uses the term “right wing” pejoratively; in his demonization of the American voting public, it applies to all Americans who support Israel)

The hypocrisy and sanctimony should not be surprising. This is a man who ostentatiously trumpets his spirituality, and who claims to deplore the political game which he has played for his entire adult life. And yet he suggests playing hardball in a way that not even Chris Matthews would suggest.

There is a pattern here. A few years ago. Alan Dershowitz wrote a piece for the Jerusalem Post in which he pointed out that Michael Lerner had concurred in a call for his (Dershowitz’s) assassination.

Dershowitz recounted that Norman Finkelstein, a strong supporter of Hezbollah and an opponent of justice for Holocaust survivors, had published an article entitled "Should Alan Dershowitz Target Himself for Assassination?" In his article, Finkelstein justified Dershowitz's assassination as a war criminal, based on his support for Israel.

Finkelstein's piece was accompanied by a cartoon showing Dershowitz masturbating while viewing images of dead Lebanese civilians with a Jewish Star of David prominently featured.

Michael Lerner then approvingly circulated the Finkelstein article from his Tikkun e-mail account and under the Tikkun letterhead. This is the rabbi who promotes himself as head of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, who claims to be devoted "to peace, justice, non-violence, generosity, caring, love and compassion." This is a man who purports to observe the Jewish values against evil words (lashon hara) and bearing false witness. This is a man who ardently opposes Israel's targeted assassination of Hamas terrorists, but supports the assassination of a pro-Israel academic.

Here are some of Dershowitz's comments in response:

“Why would a rabbi circulate an article by an anti-Semite suggesting that the assassination of a pro-Israel professor might be justified? Because the "rabbi" is himself an Israel-basher who has gotten into bed with Hezbollah supporters, advocates of divestment from Israel and other Jew-haters. I'm describing, of course, Rabbi Michael Lerner, whose magazine Tikkun is quickly becoming the most virulently anti-Israel screed ever published under Jewish auspices.”

Lerner has never graduated from a theological rabbinic seminary, and many do not consider him a rabbi. After dropping out of the Jewish Theological Seminary, he prevailed on three buddies to “ordain” him, a so-called private ordination. Mainstream rabbinical leaders of the Reform, Conservative and Orthodox movements have expressed concern that private ordinations, not granted by seminaries, can produce insufficiently educated or fraudulent rabbis.

Lerner’s response to this is boilerplate Lerner. He attacks seminaries for being "more interested in producing organizational men for Jewish life than spiritual leaders connected to the deepest spiritual and social-justice minds".(presumably and immodestly meaning himself)

In response to this, Rabbi Alan Lew, a genuine spiritual being, stated, "That is arrogant nonsense. I spent six years in extremely rigorous, round-the-clock study in the classic texts of our tradition. Authentic Jewish spirituality is in the texts, not in some fancy New Age ideas or watered-down kabbalah”.

Whether or not Lerner is a rabbi, whether or not he is devoted "to peace, justice, non-violence, generosity, caring, love and compassion.", whether or not he advocates assassinating a political rival, his latest screed makes one thing crystal clear. Lerner supports severe collective punishment for those who live in districts in which their representative takes positions different from those of Lerner. This has all the hallmarks of a tyrannical approach to policy making.

Whether liberal, conservative or centrist, this is not the way we solve problems in America. These are not the words of a spiritual, compassionate, above-the-political-fray person. Nor is this the language of a believer in democracy.

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UN Sends Syria "Strongly Worded" Letter in Response to Mass Murder

Honestly, it's like they live in a dream world.
The Security Council today condemned the widespread violation of human rights in Syria and the use of force against civilians by the country’s security forces, calling for an end to the violence and urging all sides to act with restraint and refrain from reprisals, including attacks against State institutions…

“Those responsible for the violence should be held accountable,” the Council said in a presidential statement read by Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri of India, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency this month…

It stressed that “the only solution to the current crisis in Syria is through an inclusive and Syrian-led political process, with the aim of effectively addressing the legitimate aspirations of and concerns of the population which will allow the full exercise of fundamental freedoms for its entire population, including that of expression and peaceful assembly..."

[T]he statement sends other signals as well. It explicitly warns against attacks on government institutions. On the view of the Security Council, a full-scale revolt by the Syrian people against the government–a regime that has been killing protesters for weeks–is not justified. The Council statement also insists that the “only solution to the current crisis in Syria is through an inclusive and Syrian-led political process.” The meaning is clear: outside intervention is not a solution.

The Council is willing to concede that the Assad government has gone too far. But it’s not willing to acknowledge the right of Syrians to forcefully evict their repressive rulers and it does not accept that outsiders have the right to assist them in doing so.
A letter will not stop a genocidal maniac

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Tea Party and the Limits of Ideology

Powerful needs and desires have given rise to the populist movement known as “The Tea Party”. I suspect that for every active member, there are dozens more who are sympathetic to its goals, making this truly a massive grass roots movement for change

I am not one of those who deplores the tea party phenomenon. Nor do I believe that it is appropriate or accurate for politicians and media figures to use intemperate language (racists, terrorists) to describe its members. (The word "racist" has come to have a debased meaning, often simply meaning that "I disagree with you, and I challenge your right to have views different from mine”)

Further, I am in support of most of their key aims, including a reduction in federal spending, a shrinkage in the size of government, and more reliance on the private sector.

However, I believe that any grass roots populist movement will necessarily appeal to highly concerned and often angry Americans by adopting an ideology that may be overly simplistic, and will tend toward intolerance of differences and alternative solutions. Carried to extremes, it will frequently be dangerous. .

We can look to history to see the fate of populist movements; the history of such movements has not been a happy one. I present one extreme example from American history.

During the early years of the twentieth century, there was a popular movement known as eugenics that seized the imagination of many liberals and progressives. They believed that American life could be greatly improved by sterilizing "defectives", thereby removing them from the gene pool. Its proponents shared the belief that directing reproduction and biological selection could improve, and possibly even perfect, society. As a result, 60,000 involuntary sterilizations were performed with public support.

No less a figure than Associate Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes concurred. Justice Holmes had been a law professor at Harvard, had advocated for expansive freedom of speech, was considered to possess a highly rational intellect, and was a popular figure among American progressives. In the case of Carrie Buck, he opined that sterilization would be better for the world because, as he stated, "three generations of imbeciles are enough". It required the adoption and extension of this American program by Nazi Germany to realize how repulsive these words and this activity was. In the name of a well-meaning goal, we almost went down a rabbit hole of maleficence.

In other words, what may seem to make sense at first blush may contain within it the potential for consequences that were never intended and may be highly harmful. Most ideologies, whether left or right, historically offer simple solutions to complex problems, and often lead to unintended and harmful consequences.

So what are the problems with the tea party?

Our major domestic predicament today, in my opinion, is unemployment. Lower this, and we will have more Americans consuming, and more Americans paying taxes, resulting in economic stimulation and increased government revenues.

How do we increase employment? Many brilliant economists disagree on the ways to accomplish this, and especially disagree on the role of government. Some believe that government must be the employer of last resort, as did those who were advising Roosevelt in the 1930s. These experts claim that our recovery from the Great Depression was the result of the actions of increased government spending. Others, equally brilliant and credentialed, claim that Roosevelt’s actions kept us mired in the Depression for too long, and it was only the “stimulus” provided by World War ll that solved the problem.

I don’t have the answer to this question, but neither, I suspect, do the tea party movers and shakers. One of the leaders of the tea party movement, Congressman Michelle Bachmann, is a woman that I admire greatly. She is articulate, energetic, ethical, and smart. But her decision to vote against increasing the debt limit shows a rigidity that I believe is unfortunate, and raises some valid questions about her judgment.

In the latest drama surrounding the debt ceiling limit, many beliefs and issues were played out in clear and stark relief. Most tea party people believe that the final deal was a bad one. They believe that we should have had greater cuts, and that the debt ceiling should not have been raised. (Had the limit not been raised, it is likely that American credit would have been downgraded, resulting in higher interest rates further aggravating our deficit.) Even though virtually all of the demands of the conservatives were met, this was not good enough for the tea party leadership. This shows a form of ideological extremism, an unwillingness to compromise, which is inconsistent with the need for tolerance, compromise and democratic norms.

A second area of concern lies with entitlements. Most tea party leaders want entitlement spending to be reduced. But how can we do this and keep our safety net intact? Perhaps there are many who find no problem in going back to the days when there was no such thing as a safety net. But this is not the position of most Americans, liberal or conservative.

Take Social Security. When it was originally enacted, coverage began at a time when most Americans retired. That also coincided with what was then the average life expectancy. Since then, many people are retiring earlier, and life expectancy has advanced dramatically. This means more Americans are receiving social security, and a smaller percent are paying into it. While this states the problem in a nutshell, it fails to suggest a feasible solution. I have seen no proposed solutions of an adequate safety net.

Take Medicare. Many of my conservative friends advocate reduced Medicare spending. Well, how do we do this? One suggestion is to eliminate waste, fraud, abuse, and unnecessary procedures. Yes, we need to do all of these things. Yet these items are an extremely small fraction of Medicare spending, and will not make a dent in the enormous expenditures. Another solution is to pay less to providers This is a formula for demanding that physicians provide care at a level of compensation less than the cost of their overhead, and will simply drive more doctors away from treating Medicare patients

Another suggestion is a greater reliance on paraprofessionals. While this will work well in many instances, it will also lower quality, and/or will be completely unacceptable to most Americans. Bottom line? Many possible solutions are being debated, but they are neither simple nor cheap. Sloganeering about reducing entitlement spending is simple, neat, appealing, and solves nothing.. .

The ideology of the tea party (as well as many other ideologies including those of modern day progressives who appear on MSNBC) shows a tendency toward a rigidity and intolerance that are not in the best interests of our nation. This phenomenon was best described by the great political philosopher Isaiah Berlin, who believed that there is never any one correct answer, but that pluralism of opinions is desirable. He stated that “a society in which many opinions are held, and those holding different opinions are tolerant of each other, is better than a monolithic in which one opinion is binding on everyone …. The enemy of pluralism is monism -- the ancient belief that there is a single harmony of truths into which everything, if it is genuine, in the end must fit.”

The challenge for the tea party is to examine what will work, and to be tolerant of a pluralism of opinions and ideologies. However, for a grass roots populist movement to adhere to such precepts would likely diminish its mass appeal. And therein lies the limits of all grass roots populist ideologies. To capture the mood and allegiance of large numbers of frustrated and angry citizens usually means abandoning the use of reason, the appreciation of complexity, tolerance and pluralism.

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Greek Banks face 'Silent Run'

Looks like Greece may be officially doomed:

Official figures back him up. In May alone, almost €5bn (£4.4bn) was pulled out of Greek deposits, as part of what analysts describe as a "silent bank run". This version is also disorderly and jittery, just not as obvious. Customers do not form long queues outside branches, they simply squirrel out as much as they can. Some of that money will have been used to pay debts or supplement incomes, of course, but bankers put the sheer volume of withdrawals down to a general fear about the outlook for Greece, one that runs all the way from the humble rainy-day saver to the really big money.

'Clueless' government

"Every time the markets move, I get phone calls," says an Athens-based fund manager. "They're from investors asking: 'How can I get my money out of the country?' "

One senior investment banker is more blunt: "People are scared that the government doesn't know what the fuck it's doing." He tells a story about an acquaintance who took out €30,000, wrapped it in a bag and stashed it in his garage. "The bag had previously had some food inside," he says. "So it attracted rats, who ate the notes."

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Military Tries to Stop Troop Drawdown

Supporting our ongoing War in Afghanistan and the current troop levels is a lonely position for any person today, but the United States Military is up to the challenge and we should all hope they succeed.

With the President, the Congress and the people all standing against them, our men and women in uniform have performed admirably in Afghanistan. Our enemies are on the run, and significant progress has been made - especially in the crucial Helmand and Kandahar Provinces. The Military has succeeded against all odds.

However, they face their biggest battle to date next month: maintaining the current troop surge levels.

Everyone from President Obama to Senator Levin to incoming Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta support drawing down our 2009-10 troop surge and negotiating with Taliban leaders, while few have been willing to stand with our Military and ride out the fight until victory is achieved.

Well, the Military is more than willing.

According to a Politico report - the

Hoekstra for U.S. Senate

Finding someone viable to challenge Michigan U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D) in next year's election has been difficult for the Republican Party, even though her early polling numbers indicate weakness among likely voters in the traditionally Democratic bastion of liberalism.
Well, they can end their search because the perfect candidate has announced.

Former U.S. Representative Pete Hoekstra has just filed the appropriate paperwork to establish a campaign for the 2012 Senate election. I received an email from his campaign earlier this morning, like millions of other supporters, alerting me to the fascinating news.

As someone who has long supported Mr. Hoekstra's efforts in Congress to fight radical Islam, I am pleased to no end that the naturalized American is running to return to elected office and defeat one of the Democrats loyalist members in the Senate. He deserves our support in his campaign to unseat Ms. Stabenow.

Please visit the official Pete Hoekstra for U.S. Senate website.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Consumer Spending Falls

Another sign that the economy is doing poorly, consumer spending has fallen:

Incomes rose 0.1 percent, the smallest gain since September. Many people are also pocketing more of their paychecks. The personal savings rate rose to 5.4 percent of after-tax incomes, the highest level since August 2010.
The data confirmed last week's report that showed the economy expanded at an annual rate of just 1.3 percent in the spring after only 0.4 percent growth in the first three months of the year. It also highlighted that consumer spending softened at the end of the April-June quarter, which could mean the sluggish economy is worsening.
Stocks fell after the report was released. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped more than 100 points in morning trading. Broader indexes also declined.
We may be heading for another recession.

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Debt Deal Passes Senate

The new debt compromise has just passed the Senate. It has now passed both Houses of Congress and will go on to President Obama for his signature. The markets are down significantly, though.

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Watch Obama Speech on Debt Ceiling Live/Streaming, August 2, 2011

The speech is scheduled to begin at 12:15pm:


Live video by Ustream

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Utica Shale Bigger than Eagle Ford and Putting Greens on Notice

With all the talk about budgets, debt ceilings, credit rating downgrades and default many missed some very big energy news last week. Chesapeake Energy announced a major discovery in southeast Ohio after discovering natural gas and shale oil deep within the Utica Shale. Ohio Governor John Kasich recently asked, "Did you hear about the revolution that's coming to Ohio? Folks this is huge."

PennEnergy reports:

Chesapeake noted successful results from six horizontal and nine vertical wells drilled in its Utica shale holdings, and based on its proprietary geoscientific, petrophysical and engineering research during the past two years, said its “industry-leading 1.25 million net leasehold acres in the Utica Shale play could be worth $15 - $20 billion in increased value to the company.” Analysts at Baird Equity Research say the results constitute an implied acreage valuation of $12,500-$16,667 per acre.

....

In what some may see as most compelling about the report is the direct comparison to the much publicized Eagle Ford Shale. The company believes the Utica Shale “will be characterized by a western oil phase, a central wet gas phase and an eastern dry gas phase and is likely most analogous, but economically superior to, the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas.”

The Utica Shale occurs in outcrops in New York and in the subsurface in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario in Canada. It is also found in the states of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio.

One estimate puts an estimated 20 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Utica Shale, and while it offers some unique challenges—a higher carbonate content and lower clay mineral count than the Marcellus as well as significant depth and a lack of information surrounding the play—producers are cautiously optimistic that advances in technology utilizing multi-stage hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling techniques can unlock the play’s potential.

The potential of the Utica Shale in New York is immense and opens areas to drilling in the state not covered by the Marcellus. With the DEC now lifting the hyrdraulic fracturing moratorium in the Marcellus look for the the environmental lobby to redouble their efforts to shut down drilling in New York all together. With the Town of Otsego as the standard, pressure is building in communities across the state to enhance land use laws and zoning restrictions in an attempt to usurp state law.

This plan of action doesn't seem particularly well thought out though as there are significant potential legal ramifications to such action and in the town ofDryden, New York, the town board has been put on notice. The towns of Otsego, Springfield, Middlefield, and Cherry Vally would do well to take notice so as to not put the citizens on the hook to defend positions that turn out to be indefensible.

In conclusion, the Town should affirmatively anticipate that federal and/or state court action against it is highly probably, if not virtually certain, on one or more of the above cited or other claims. You cannot extinguish hundreds of millions of dollars of property values held by thousands of residents and separate mineral rights held by both in and out of state people without anticipating legal actions. The energy industry has its own causes of action and may also sue.

It is highly probable that this overly broad ban, as written, will have unforeseen or unintended consequences. For similar reason, the County Legislature deferred action on a road law.

The more sensible alternative and responsible fiduciary response is to defer any action on a ban until ban challenges elsewhere are litigated. Certainly, the State is far from ready to begin permitting wells, so there is no need for haste. You have at a minimum into 2012, if not longer.

The Town should take notice that a ban is inconsistent with environmental advocates’ position favoring the development of natural gas under the Kyoto protocols. It is also inconsistent for the Town and individuals to use energy from elsewhere while refusing to allow its regulated development locally. And, failure to develop domestic energy means foreign energy dependence, foreign wars to protect vital energy interests, and the sapping of revenues the government could use to pay debt and provide programs.

DSEC’s mission is to offer balanced, data driven information on safe energy development, to logically and numerically evaluate benefit-to-risk ratios, free of emotional bias or ideology, and to bring together people interested in an analytical approach to energy issues. A ban does not serve to meet this mission. It does not allow for a “middle way” in which there is lawful, safe, regulated energy development. Legally, we believe a total ban is an unnecessary high risk strategy for the Town and which in its uncompensated takings is unjust.

The Board is now on notice. It is DSEC’s hope the Board will do the prudent thing and recognize there is both division of opinion in Dryden and significant large scale dollar risk. Both drilling without regulation and refusal to drill are equally extreme solutions. We oppose both. Please opt for deliberate moderation and do not adopt in haste this radical total ban.

Be sure to read the whole thing.

Cross posted at Lonely Conservative
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Biden: Tea Party Similar to "Terrorists"

Certainly not a ringing endorsement from the Vice President:
Vice President Biden was criticized Monday over reports of a private meeting he had with House Democrats in which Tea Party Republicans were compared to “terrorists," though Biden denies he described Republicans that way.

A senior Democratic official told Fox News that Biden made such comments in reaction to a heated conversation with liberal House members like Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa., who were venting that Republicans got too much out of the debt ceiling deal unveiled the night before and "acted like terrorists."

The comment drew an immediate rebuke from Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., one of the most outspoken Tea Party-aligned lawmakers in Congress.

“With the president holding the American economy hostage, I would prefer to think of myself as a Freedom Fighter,” Paul said in a statement, calling the remarks “insulting.”

But the Democratic official stressed that Biden made the comment to move the conversation along.
Biden
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Putin: US "Like a Parasite" on World Economy

Vladimir Putin is not pleased:
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin accused the United States Monday of living beyond its means "like a parasite" on the global economy and said dollar dominance was a threat to the financial markets.

"They are living beyond their means and shifting a part of the weight of their problems to the world economy," Putin told the pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi while touring its lakeside summer camp some five hours drive north of Moscow.

"They are living like parasites off the global economy and their monopoly of the dollar," Putin said at the open-air meeting with admiring young Russians in what looked like early campaigning before parliamentary and presidential polls.

US President Barack Obama earlier announced a last-ditch deal to cut about $2.4 trillion from the U.S. deficit over a decade, avoid a crushing debt default and stave off the risk that the nation's AAA credit rating would be downgraded.

The deal initially soothed anxieties and led Russian stocks to jump to three-month highs, but jitters remained over the possibility of a credit downgrade.

"Thank god," Putin said, "that they had enough common sense and responsibility to make a balanced decision."
Putin

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Former Gingrich Staffer: 80% Twitter Followers are Fake; Gingrich Loses 20,000 Followers in a Week

This is hilarious or devastating, depending on your view of Newt Gingrich.  Mr. Gingrich recently announced that he would be running for President; however, he was met with little coverage and even less support.

But somehow he amassed a tremendous amount of Twitter followers:
1,325,939 followers.  That's over twice the number of followers of fellow Republican and former VP candidate Sarah Palin:
Approximately twenty times the number of followers of Republican Presidential nomination opponent Michele Bachmann:
And about 25 times the number of followers of opponent Herman Cain:
Well, there's a reason for that:  most of them are fake.  80% to be precise.  That's according to Gingrich's former staffer.  According to him, Gingrich hired a firm to create accounts in order to make Gingrich's campaign appear to be on a roll.  The staffer estimated that only 10% of the users are real.

In fact, even if the fact that Gingrich is leading every other Republican candidate and his staffer's statement isn't evidence enough, even more damning evidence comes from Twitaholic.  According to the site, Gingrich has only gained 18,000 followers in the last year.  In fact, since he announced that he intends to run for President in May, he's only gained 10,000:
Those 10,000 are now gone, along with more.  According to Twitter Counter, Gingrich has lost 20,000 followers in the last week alone:

For a candidate whose main fault is his image problem, this could be the nail in his already feeble Presidential campaign.  Twitter Counter further predicts that Gingrich will continue to lose followers:
Sarah Palin, on the other hand, has been gaining followers steadily:

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Doctors find Uterus in Indian Man; Man has Emergency Hysterectomy

An Indian man, only identified as "Ryalu," went to the hospital after intense stomach pains. The hospital in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh thought it may be a hernia or a list of common stomach illnesses. They did not expect what they found: a "full female reproductive system," including a uterus.

Precisely, the man had "a female uterus, ovaries, Fallopian tubes, a cervix and underdeveloped vaginal tissue" all in his lower abdomen. Surgeon Pramod Kumar Shrivastava stated that the man "had external male organs, was fit from working in the fields, and lived a normal life."

After the discovery, Ryalu had an emergency hysterectomy. He is currently recovering in a hospital.

The Telegraph continues:
"Usually the contents of the Hernia Sac are abdomen organs like large intestines and small intestines but when we operated on the patient we were surprised to find female reproductive organs. We have removed the organs through a hysterectomy and repaired the hernia.

"The sac contained quite developed uterus, both the ovaries, Fallopian tubes, cervix and a tissue which is undeveloped but apparently looks like vaginal tissue," he explained.

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Monday, August 1, 2011

Members of the Cracked Head Club Unite!

Although he is denying it now, there have been rumors floating that Vice President Biden described Tea Party activistists as terrorists. Although it has been a popular theme of late and he is surely jumping on the bandwagon, at least he didn't call us racists.

Surprisingly, this slight is the least of what is coming out of Biden's mouth these days.

While the nation is celebrating the return of Gabriel Giffords to the House chamber, Biden does what only Biden can do....

ABC reports:
Vice President Joe Biden, with a big smile on his face, walked to the House floor and said, “I came to see Gabby, that’s why I’m here.”

…When Biden was asked about what he spoke with Giffords about, he joked, “She’s now a member of the cracked head club like me."

VIDEO: Gabrielle Giffords return to the House

Here is the video of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords returning to the House floor to cast her vote in support of the debt ceiling deal. Giffords received a standing ovation from her fellow House members.



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Debt Deal Passes House with Strong Bi-Partisan Support

The debt deal to raise the debt ceiling and enact budget cuts has passed the House of Representatives with strong bi-partisan support.  It will now go on to the Senate, where they will vote on it tomorrow.  It is expected to pass easily there, then will be signed into law by President Obama.

In a touching moment, Representative Gabrielle Giffords returned triumphantly to Congress in order to vote in favor of the bill.

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Rep. Gabby Giffords Returns to Congress

Democrat Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head in January and survived, has returned to Congress to vote for the debt deal. Moments before appearing in the House, Ms. Giffords's twitter tweeted:
She was met with standing applause that went on for several minutes.
Giffords before the tragic shooting
The bill was passed with strong bi-partisan support.

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Registering Republican

For the past 26 months I have been the Chairman of a countywide Young Republican club in New York, but was too young to actually participate in elections; fundraising; petition drives, or anything else involving the law.

Me and my fellow young GOP turks did a lot of ground work, but I had to watch everyone else actually vote and elect our local, state, and federal officials. It was painful to watch, especially when I wanted to see new friends win their race for Sheriff, or even Town Supervisor.

It's painful no longer.

On Wednesday morning I went down to the local Board of Elections office and finally - finally - registered to vote as a proud member of the Republican Party. Meaning I am no longer a young turk looking in, but a young turk taking part in the greatest political system on earth.

I might just be one new Republican, but I will work hard to equalize hundreds and hundreds of Democrats - and you can too.

What say you?

Watch Boehner Speech Live Video, August 1, 2011



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New York State Democratic Party Chair: "Drill, Baby, Drill"

NYS Democratic Chair has come to a remarkable conclusion.

Jay Jacobs has committed a cardinal sin. He has signed a contract with Hess Corp and received per-acre money upfront to drill 140 acres of land at his Tyler Hill summer camp in Pennsylvania. His claims of doing his own research and coming up with an honest conclusion will not sit well with those in his party. You have to respect the man for taking this position. It will likely cost him his job.

"Many things that we do in modern society have the potential to destroy the environment, and we can't stop doing everything because of minuscule risks. It's when those risks become significant that we have to stop," said Jacobs.

"My belief is if we can extract natural gas, which is a cleaner form of energy, from our land, reducing the import of foreign oil and the cash flowing out of our country, and make for cleaner air, improve the economy and not damage the water, I'm for it," Jacobs continued.

"We have to be rational here, not emotional. If it's going to destroy people's water, I'm against it, too. But I've been led to believe that there are definite ways if you do this right not to destroy the water."

Some have argued, myself included, that the opponents to hydrofracking for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale have reached the maximal point of influence and this would help in confirming this suspicion.

Otsego ProActive Network is in search of the elusive middle ground in natural gas development. With democratic party leadership like Mr. Jacobs, they may just find it.

Cross Posted at Lonely Conservative


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July 2011 "Unexpectedly" Compilation

Last month I decided to make a compilation of as many "unexpectedlies" that I could find.  For those unfamiliar with the term, the Main Stream Media and news outlets sympathetic to President Obama always used the term "unexpectedly" (or some variation of the word) to describe bad economic news.  The reason why they do this is simple:  if bad economic news is unexpected, then good news about the economy is the norm.  Get it?

The problem is, of course, that there has been a tremendous amount of bad news about the economy and, in fact, under President Obama's leadership, bad news is indeed the norm.  Yet the MSM trudges along, refusing to change despite how ludicrous they look.

So, I tried to cover from the beginning of 2011 to late June in my last compilation.  Of course, I recognize that I certainly missed a bunch.  Therefore, I figured that I would do a monthly piece so that these articles aren't lost in the big world of the internet.

I'm sure you're done reading this, so without further ado:

U.S. Economy: Sales of New Houses Unexpectedly Dropped in June, Business Week, July 26

U.S. durable goods orders fall unexpectedly, Financial Post, Jul 27

U.S. Trade Deficit Unexpectedly Surges as Oil Prices Climb, Business Week, July 12

US Trade Deficit Unexpectedly Surges to $50.2 Billion, Money News, July 12

"Many key labor market signals deteriorated, and the jobless rate rose unexpectedly to 9.2 percent," Reuters, July 8

Orders for U.S. Durable Goods Unexpectedly Fall as Inventory Growth Slows, Bloomberg, July 27

Expected bumper crop in US makes corn prices suffer its biggest fall in 15 years, Merco Press, July 1

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Unexpectedly Sink, Fox Business, July 27

Data worse than expected AUD/USD plunged to 1.0720 short-term, Forex News, July 4

U.S. GDP Grows At Annual Rate Of 1.3 Percent In Second Quarter, Missing Expectations, Huffington Post, July 29

"The unemployment rate jumped unexpectedly higher in June," Fox Business, July 8

U.S. economic growth in the second quarter, lower than expected, Finance Online, July 30

U.S. Consumer Confidence Unexpectedly Declines to 63.8 From 71.5 in Index, Bloomberg, July 15

UPDATE: US June Durable Goods Orders Unexpectedly Fall, Nasdaq, July 27

Existing-Home Sales in U.S. Unexpectedly Decreased in June, Business Week, July 20

New York Area Manufacturing Unexpectedly Shrank in July, Bloomber, July 15

And, of course, economic news that no one seems to pay attention to: data that is later revised downward. In other words, normally the economic data is "unexpectedly" low during initial reports, then it gets lowered even further later on:

GDP report shows economy even weaker than expected, Washington Examiner, July 29

2011 auto sales forecast revised downward, Business Times, July 18

Bernanke revises down U.S. growth this year, Economics Newspaper, July 13

US revises down growth rate, Financial Times, July 29

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