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Saturday, September 24, 2011
Nearly 700,000 Tennesseans will gain new coverage under health-care reform, but those already with insurance might have to wait longer to receive care and younger people overall may have to pay more.Please bookmark!
Those are among findings from a report out from a think tank the state’s largest health insurer, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, launched this year to study the interface between public policy and health care.
“It will be a little longer line, but everybody will be in the line,” said Dr. Steven L. Coulter, president of the insurer’s Tennessee Health Institute and co-author of the report with William T. Cecil, an independent health-care consultant.
The bulk of the new people obtaining coverage would be younger men who become eligible for Medicaid under new guidelines because of their low incomes, according to the report.
The rest will be people who qualify for subsidies to buy insurance policies through state health exchanges starting in 2014.
1. Herman Cain - 37%.
2. Rick Perry - 15%.
3. Mitt Romney - 14%.
4. Rick Santorum - 11%.
5. Ron Paul - 10%.
6. Newt Gingrich - 8%.
7. Jon Huntsman - 2%.
8. Michele Bachmann - 1%.
Rick Perry's disappointing second-place finish will raise red flags, but what about Michele Bachmann's last-place finish just one month after winning the Iowa straw poll in Ames? There will be consequences to these results.
What say you?
A majority of Americans rates President Obama “about the same” or “worse” than his predecessor, George W. Bush, according to a new Gallup poll.
When a random sample of 1004 adults were asked to compare the 43rd and 44th presidents, 34 percent of respondents said Obama had been a worse president than Bush, while 22 percent said he was about the same.
Forty-three percent, a plurality, said they preferred Obama’s handling of the presidency.
President Barack Obama's approval ratings have fallen to a new low, with only 36 percent of Americans saying that they approve of the way he is handling his job overall, according to a new poll from the Economist/YouGov. A majority of Americans - 56 percent - disapprove of the president's performance.Please bookmark!
Even more concerning for the president may be the news that top Republican candidates have moved within striking distance in head-to-head matchups. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney trails Obama by just a 44 percent to 43 percent margin, while Texas governor Rick Perry trails 46 percent to 42 percent.
As has been the case in previous polls showing the president's slipping approval, Americans seem frustrated primarily in a souring economy. Only 30 percent of Americans strongly or somewhat approve of the president's handling of the issue. 50 percent of Americans believe that the policies of the Obama Administration have hurt the economy, and 53 percent say that they have hurt the middle class.
Nor are they particularly convinced by the president's jobs bill push. More Americans believe that the bill would not create a substantial number of new jobs, and 64 percent of those polled say the president should be doing more to help create new jobs.
Furthermore, the poll shows that while the country was evenly divided in January on whether they would describe the president as "effective", today only 15 percent of Americans believe so, versus 40 percent who do not. 45 percent have no opinion on the matter.
Does this surprise anyone?
Putin never really left the Kremlin with Dmitry Medvedev replacing him and selecting him as Prime Minister, but the two did have substantive differences at times, which usually benefited the west. However, in the end, the puppet never strayed too far from the former KGB officer.
There's now a strong chance that Putin could control/lead Russia for twenty-five uninterrupted years now. It cannot be overstated how much of a big step backwards it is for the Russian people, who only threw-off their evil Soviet overloads two decades ago, to once again be under the cusp of a authoritarian.
What say you?
Front Page Comparisons: Fox Covers Politics, CNN Covers "Crisis Apparitions," MSNBC Covers Gay Dance
Going to Fox News this morning, they had this as their top story:
One down, two to go. Next up is CNN. Their top story and picture is Do loved ones bid farewell from beyond the grave?:
Now on to MSNBC. Their top story is Glamorous gay dance scene a 'family affair:'
No wonder no one reads/watches MSNBC.
In late-August, a class of seventh graders were given a project about class uniforms. Their teacher, who refuses to be named, handed out reading material that he or she thought was relevant: an excerpt from a letter entitled “My Name is Ahlima.”
The letter is about the differences between cultures and dressing. If it stopped there, there may not have been need for concern. However, the letter then talks about polygamy, Sharia Law, women not being allowed to drive, and "immodest" Westerners.
One excerpt reads:
“My name is Ahlima and I live in Saudi Arabia… Perhaps two differences Westerners would notice are that women here do not drive cars and they wear abuyah. An abuyah is a loose-fitting black cloth that covers a woman from head to toe. I like wearing the abuyah since it is very comfortable, and I am protected from blowing sand… I have seen pictures of women in the West and find their dress to be horribly immodest… Women in the West do not have the protection of the Sharia as we do here. If our marriage has problems, my husband can take another wife rather than divorce me, and I would still be cared for… I feel very fortunate that we have the Sharia.”Understandably, Hal Medlin, a parent of one of the children in the class, was upset. After filing a complaint, he stated, “I thought this was absurd... [The teacher] was trying to compare Islamic rules of dress and how they compared to school uniforms, which I thought was a stretch. The principal and the [superintendent] agreed with me... but they wouldn’t agree with my premise that it put Islam in a positive light because of the [statements].”
“This particular sequence is a two-day social studies lesson. They read this letter and then examine stereotyping. The next lesson is a compare and contrast on the role of women in the Middle East. Yes, the Muslim girl stereotypes Western women, but are there ways we stereotype Muslims? I have no idea what the objection is."The reading material has since been "adjusted."
A man with an airgun fired up to three times at a guard on the edge of the security zone, set up around the area of the open air mass, in Erfurt, eastern Germany.Please bookmark!
Around 30,000 had been gathering from before dawn for the mass in the cobbled square beneath the soaring spires of Erfurt's medieval cathedral, when reports began to filter through of a shooting incident near a security checkpoint in the city centre.
Erfurt police spokesman Dirk Sauter said the shooting was "several kilometres" from the Cathedral Square and was not initially thought to be linked to the papal visit.
The gunman was said to have opened fire from within his own flat before being seized by police officers. The private security guard was only slightly injured.
Vatican spokesman, the Reverend Federico Lombardi said there was "no worry" in the papal entourage over the incident.
Police say the shooting took place more than an hour before the Mass, on the periphery of the security zone that had been set up.
Following the mass the Pope was due to fly on to Freiburg for another open air service tomorrow.
NASA's dead six-ton satellite fell to Earth early Saturday morning, starting its fiery death plunge somewhere over the vast Pacific Ocean.Please bookmark!
Details were still sketchy, but the U.S. Air Force's Joint Space Operations Center and NASA say that the bus-sized satellite first penetrated Earth's atmosphere somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. That doesn't necessarily mean it all fell into the sea. NASA's calculations had predicted that the former climate research satellite would fall over a 500-mile swath.
The two government agencies say the 35-foot satellite fell sometime between 11:23 p.m. EDT and 1:09 a.m. EDT. NASA said it didn't know the precise time or location yet.
Some 26 pieces of the satellite - representing 1,200 pounds of heavy metal - were expected to rain down somewhere. The biggest surviving chunk should be no more than 300 pounds.
The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite is the biggest NASA spacecraft to crash back to Earth, uncontrolled, since the post-Apollo 75-ton Skylab space station and the more than 10-ton Pegasus 2 satellite, both in 1979.
Friday, September 23, 2011
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is reconsidering his decision not to enter the 2012 presidential race — and he says he will let top Republican donors know within days about his plans, Newsmax has learned.Please bookmark!
During the past few weeks, several leading Republican donors and fundraisers have been urging the popular Republican governor to reconsider his decision not to run and to enter the GOP primary.
These Christie supporters note that significant GOP support has remained on the sidelines of the primary fight. Many leading fundraisers have yet to commit to any current primary contender, including frontrunners Rick Perry and Mitt Romney.
Newsmax has learned that the effort to draft Christie culminated in a hush-hush powwow held in the past week with Christie and several notable Republican billionaires.
A source familiar with the meeting suggested that Christie seemed inclined to enter the race but said he needed more time.
Christie promised to make a final decision "within two weeks," the source said.
Defying U.S. and Israeli opposition, Palestinians asked the United Nations on Friday to accept them as a member state, sidestepping nearly two decades of failed negotiations in the hope this dramatic move on the world stage would reenergize their quest for an independent homeland.Please bookmark!
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was greeted by sustained applause and appreciative whistles from the delegations in the General Assembly hall as outlined his people's hopes and dreams of becoming a full member of the United Nations. Some members of the Israeli delegation, including Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, left the hall as Abbas approached the podium.
In a scathing denunciation of Israel's settlement policy, Abbas declared that negotiations with Israel "will be meaningless" as long as it continues building on lands the Palestinians claim for that state. Invoking what would be a nightmare for Israel, he went so far as to warn that his government could collapse if the construction persists.
"This policy is responsible for the continued failure of the successive international attempts to salvage the peace process," said Abbas, who has refused to negotiate until the construction stops. "This settlement policy threatens to also undermine the structure of the Palestinian National Authority and even end its existence."
To another round of applause, he held up a copy of the formal membership application and said he had asked U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon to expedite deliberation of his request to have the United Nations recognize a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.
Gary Johnson - Why was he there? Besides for providing the biggest laugh of the night and repeatedly saying "balanced budget," he was basically Ron Paul's shadow in crazy far-right libertarianism.
Rick Santorum - Once again he proudly stood up for maintaining America's role in the world and our War on Terror, which he actually said we should win. He also hit Perry well on immigration.
Newt Gingrich - He answered the questions on foreign aid and unemployment benefits smartly, which is only Newt being Newt, and was a real class act by not selecting one of his co-debaters over the other for Vice-President.
Ron Paul - He actually had the gall to defend his remarks on Americans being kept in by a border fence and implied E-Verify would be used by the federal government to register, and track American citizens. Oy Vey!
Rick Perry - He had a terrible debate. His continuous pauses during answers were annoying and his attacks on Romney fell flat, as did his "no heart" comment on those who oppose in-state tuition for illegal aliens. We don't need liberal attacks within the GOP Primary.
Mitt Romney - He had another good debate, enough to win me over, especially on Israel and the question of leadership in America. His attacks on Perry were effective; Cain's consideration of him for VP could work to his advantage and his lets make it "former President Obama" line was pure gold.
Michele Bachmann - She really needed to win this debate, or else her campaign was all but over and she just didn't come through. Her attacks on Perry were petty and unbecoming, once again, although her answer on a question involving separation of church and state was dynamite.
Herman Cain - He won the debate: without question, hands down. His answer on Israel was solid in support of our relationship, his answer on ObamaCare was personal and well thought out and I am starting to like the idea of Federal Reserve Chairman Cain.
Jon Huntsman Jr. - He basically believes America should lead the world by leaving Afghanistan and Pakistan to the wolves and focusing on our central core (infrastructure? roads? what? what?). Isn't that Obama's plan?
What say you?
With so much at stake, each candidate wanted to shine in what was being called the most "technological" debate of all time. So, in your opinion, who won the FoxNews/Google debate last night in Florida?
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Watch live video from The Republican Debate on GOOGLES on www.justin.tv
Free desktop streaming application by Ustream
Suffolk University/7NEWS survey of 400 likely Republican Primary voters:
1. Mitt Romney - 41%.
2. Ron Paul - 14%.
3. Jon Huntsman - 10%.
4. Rick Perry - 8%.
5. Sarah Palin - 6%.
6. Michele Bachmann - 5%.
7. Newt Gingrich - 4%.
8. Rick Santorum - 1%.
8. Buddy Roemer - 1%.
Trailing Mitt Romney, and Ron Paul (considering the state is known for its libertarian leanings) is one thing, but falling behind Jon Huntsman is just embarrassing. If there's anything we can learn from this - Mitt never has to worry about going through the New England states in next year's Primaries.
What say you?
P.S. - Where in the hell has Huntsman come from? 10% in New Hampshire: color me shocked.
Georgia executed Troy Davis on Wednesday night for the murder of an off-duty police officer, a crime he denied committing right to the end as supporters around the world mourned and declared that an innocent man was put to death.Please bookmark!
Defiant to the end, he told relatives of Mark MacPhail that his 1989 slaying was not his fault. "I did not have a gun," he insisted.
"For those about to take my life," he told prison officials, "may God have mercy on your souls. May God bless your souls."
Davis was declared dead at 11:08 ET. The lethal injection began about 15 minutes earlier, after the Supreme Court rejected an 11th-hour request for a stay.
The court did not comment on its order, which came about four hours after it received the request and more than three hours after the planned execution time.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
People with 'mild' forms of autism are more likely to be atheists, according to a controversial new study - and more likely to shun organised religion in general.Please bookmark!
The study, which looked at posts on autism forums, focused on people with high-functioning autism such as Asperger's.
The study, from University of Boston, speculates that common autistic spectrum behaviours such as 'a preference for logical beliefs' and a distrust of metaphor and figures of speech, could be responsible.
The study authors, Catherine Caldwell-Harris and Patrick MacNamara studied discussions by 192 different posters on an autism website. They also looked at a survey of 61 people with high-functioning autism, and graphed against results from the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) test.
The results appeared to show that those with high AQ scores were 'more likely' to be atheists.
In the group of high-functionining autistic individuals, 26 per cent were atheists, compared to 16 per cent of 'neurotypical' individuals.
The man who faulted Rick Perry for being a Democrat in the 1980's (even though he joined the Libertarian Party in 1987 to run against the policies of Ronald Reagan) would consider a Congressman who attempted to impeach the last Republican President from office for a Cabinet level position.
That's all you need to know about Ron Paul - crazy as hell.
Republicans need a sane nominee to challenge Obama in 2012; not someone who's joined at hip to the far left base of Obama.
What say you?
Gloria Borger, in an odd op-ed that doesn't particularly seem to make a point, now states that President Obama has somehow "transformed... from the mild-mannered Clark Kent into, well, Superman." No liberal bias, huh?
The piece's main gist is this: evil "Republicans" went against "liberals" and "the rest of us" by demanding spending cuts, while refusing to raise taxes. President Obama's speech this week "transformed" him from an average person into Superman because he began to "play the game." Or something like that. Quite frankly, it's hard to say what Ms. Borger is really talking about, because at one moment she calls Mr. Obama Superman, and the next she says "the rest of us" (who "the rest of us" are, she never specifies) are waiting for the real Superman.
Either way, Ms. Borger says that Obama transformed or something, but his speech was "politics." And yet, "the rest of us" (once again, undefined), cannot "really fault the White House for playing politics with Republicans who have refused to cut the big deals."
Well, I can and I bet a lot of "us" can. I don't know who the "rest of us" are, but I bet most can find fault with a President politicking. Even Ms. Borger says it's only "politics," that it's "not intellectually satisfying," and it may not get through Congress. I can see three huge faults right there, Ms. Borger. You may want to read your own piece.
So he joined the game [again, what's with this game?]. Maybe it's the opening salvo, and maybe something will come of this kabuki. But there is a final calculation here: if nothing comes out of the supercommittee, the president would be less damaged than the Congress.But I thought Obama was Superman. You said it yourself just a few paragraphs ago.
As for the rest of us, we're still Waiting for Superman. The real one.
This is one of the worst pieces of garbage that I've ever read on CNN. And I've been reading (occasional) articles on CNN for some time.
In a conference call this morning with Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa, reporters were told the Attorney General in Mexico has confirmed at least 200 murders south of the border happened as a result of Operation Fast and Furious.Please bookmark!
“I would be remiss if I didn’t mention, as the Attorney General in Mexico is so concerned, she’s made the point that at least 200 Mexicans have been killed with these weapons and probably countless more,” Issa said.
Eleven crimes in the United States have been linked to Operation Fast and Furious up to this point. Issa said he expects as the investigation in the operation continues, more crimes connected to Fast and Furious will come to light and be exposed. This is not surprising, considering out of 2500 weapons the Obama Justice Department allowed to “walk,” and that only 600 have been recovered, the rest are lost until they show up at violent crime scenes. The damage from Operation Fast and Furious has only started to be seen. Remember, the Mexican Government and ATF agents working in Mexico were left completely in the dark about the operation.
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) says he would consider putting the liberal congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) in his Cabinet if he were to win the presidency in 2012.Please bookmark!
Paul said his libertarian political philosophy helps him connect with some on the far left — including Kucinich, who shares Paul’s general anti-war stance.
Paul joked that if he brought the Ohio congressman aboard in his administration, he might have to create a "Department of Peace."
"You've got to give credit to people who think," he said.
"Being pragmatic is about forming coalitions," Paul said at a breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor. "I probably work with coalitions better than the other candidates. I don't think I've said anything negative here about the president."
Paul spokesmen Jesse Benton later said the remark was a joke, and said Kucinich is too ideologically different from Paul to be a candidate for a Cabinet spot.
"Ron works with Dennis on some coalition issues, and respects him as a thinker, but was joking and would not consider him for Cabinet position. He made clear he did not want to name Cabinet officials," Benton said.
The death of former Afghan President Rabbani, who has been allied with the United States for decades now against both the Soviets, and the Taliban, should remind us that you cannot negotiate with terrorists, because they have no intentions of ending this fight until they are victorious and they will murder anyone in their way.
Peace to the Taliban means murdering a former President in his house.
If President Obama was a real leader, he would immediately change course by ordering the troop withdrawal to be cancelled and flush the few remaining Taliban controlled areas of Afghanistan, and yes Pakistan as well, once and for all. Peace in Afghanistan should only be obtained by the destruction of the Taliban by our forces and not the guaranteed survival of it by theirs.
America needs a President who will lead on Afghanistan by destroying the Taliban.
What say you?
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
As communities in West Virginia are repealing their ill conceived bans on hydraulic fracturing and West Virginia courts are busy striking down those very bans, citing that state Department of Environmental Protection has "exclusive control in this area of law", town boards in upstate New York are continuing to put on a good face as they prepare for their day in court. Behind the scenes though, they are increasingly uneasy with regard to the legal positions they have staked out.
From the West Virginia Record:
A Monongalia Circuit Court judge last week struck down a ban on fracking by the city of Morgantown, saying the state Department of Environmental Protection has "exclusive control of this area of law."
According to the court, the doctrine of preemption is applicable law when the State has assumed control of a particular subject of regulation, and a local government has enacted an ordinance in the same field.
When a state law fully occupies a particular area of legislation, indicated by the State's comprehensive regulatory scheme, no local ordinances will be permitted to contravene it, Judge Susan B. Tucker wrote in her Aug. 12 order.
Tucker said the legislative purpose of the WVDEP is clearly set forth in state code.
"The legislation sets forth a comprehensive regulatory scheme with no exception carved out for a municipal corporation to act in conjunction with the WVDEP pursuant to the Home Rule provision," she wrote.
"In fact, as set forth in the legislative statement of policy and purpose governmental entities are required to supplement and complement the efforts of the State by coordinating their programs with those of the State."
That reasoning sounds familiar. According to Article IX (§ 2,subd. [c], par. [ii] ) of the New York State Constitution specifies that any local law be “not inconsistent with…any general law.” The State Constitution further provides that the legislative power of local government is limited “to the extent that the legislature shall restrict the adoption of such a local law.”
Plus there is this from New York Environmental Conservation Law Section 23-0303(2) which specifically provides that: “[t]he provisions of this article shall supersede all local laws or ordinances relating to the regulation of the oil, gas and solution mining industries; but shall not supersede local government jurisdiction over local roads or the rights of local governments under the real property tax law.”
Well that certainly can't sound promising to the anti-gas crowd and it has to be purely frightening to those town board members who wrote those laws and are now in the position of looking foolish in front of their constituency while at the same time attempting to justify the funds needed to defend these rules in court. As I have learned, "it does not come under normal town business, and will cost the town extra to handle". Now this is reassuring. Wonder when the Park Foundation and the Heinz Foundation will show up with their high priced lawyers and buckets of cash to offset the cost of the people who are being financially hurt twice on this issue.
Today the Daily Star, Oneonta's premiere and only newspaper did some reporting on the Middlefield lawsuit that has been filed by Cooperstown Holstein Corporation. In the article there are some very interesting tidbits of information that is worth noting. First is the name Jennifer Huntington who is president of Cooperstown Holstein Corporation. Look for her name to be sullied as things move forward. She is fighting the fight many of us are too afraid to fight and she has my respect. The second name of import is that of Scott Kurdowski of Levene, Gouldin & Thompson LLP of Binghampton. This is the law firm representing the Middlefield company and selected this as the test case.
The lawsuit seeks to declare the provisions of the town's zoning law pertaining to oil and gas drilling void and in violation of New York state law, Kurkowski said.
The goal is to establish precedent in this case, he said.
The local ban violates New York's Environmental Conservation Law, which states that all local municipalities are preempted from passing local laws relating to the regulation of the oil and gas industries, Kurkowski said, adding that a similar ban was overturned by a court in West Virginia.
Interesting that the goal of this lawsuit is to set precedent. I don't think a law firm, with the ability to pick and choose cases would jump on the first frivolous case to show up at their door. Everyone knows this dispute will likely be settled before the NY State Supreme Court and there are reputations on the line and cases must be strong and compelling.
This brings me to the defense. Attorney David Clinton, from the firm Gozighan, Washburn & Clinton who represents the Town of Middlefield in this case doesn't sound very sure of the the position he finds himself and gives the sense that he is a bit taken aback by this suit coming from a landowner and not a gas company. Much harder to demonize of farmer than an oil company. He adds, "[t]he town is not regulating gas drilling. It is banning it." This is not a defense, it is a confession. Banning an action seems to me as the ultimate regulation. He continues, "[i]t comes down to the law and how it should be interpreted." This is true, but it seems a bit of a stretch to argue that banning is not a form of regulation. I don't expect he will be defending the Town of Middlefield for very long.
The entire article is pretty interesting as are the comments, so as always, read the whole thing.
For more on the legalities in play read this article posted an EID Marcellus - Here's a novel idea - follow the law.All bolded portions are at my discretion.
Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Florida Democrat, submitted her resignation as a member of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. According to the floor of the House:Please bookmark!
The House received a communication from the Honorable Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Ms. Wasserman Schultz submitted her resignation from the Committee on the Judiciary. The resignation was accepted without objection.Rep. Wasserman Schultz still serves as a member of the House Budget Committee, Chief Deputy Whip for the minority, as well as Chair to the Democratic National Committee.
The Washington Times Water Cooler put in an inquiry to Wasserman Schultz's office about the congresswoman's resignation from the judiciary committee and is waiting on a response.
The chief executive and chief financial officer of Solyndra will invoke their Fifth Amendment rights and decline to answer any questions at a congressional hearing on Friday.Please bookmark!
According to letters obtained by Reuters, Solyndra attorneys have advised CEO Brian Harrison and CFO W. G. Stover to not testify at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
“I have advised Mr. Harrison that he should decline to answer questions put to him by this subcommittee based on his rights under the Fifth Amendment,” Harrison’s attorney, Walter F. Brown Jr., wrote to the the committee. “This is not a decision arrived at lightly, but it is a decision dictated by current circumstances.”
The House Energy and Commerce Committee opened an investigation into Solyndra after the solar panel manufacturing company — which received a $535 million loan from the Department of Energy — announced it would be declaring bankruptcy earlier this month.
Emails obtained by the committee have pointed to White House influence in the decision to award Solyndra its loan. Critics have rallied around the case as an example of the Obama administration’s failed stimulus plan, specifically Obama’s much-touted green energy initiative.
The Presidential election next year will be fought out largely on domestic issues, especially the prolonged recession, with high unemployment and underemployment. Yet just as we saw in the special Congressional election last week in Queens, foreign policy will loom large. Americans are tired of watching Barak Obama apologize for our nation, while he dangerously undermines our allies
Thus his failure to support our ally Israel, his failure to critique the Palestinians on their role in undermining negotiations, and his enabling of Israel’s old and new enemies, Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, Syria, and now Egypt, Turkey, and Lebanon, will be issues that the American people will judge harshly.
And it will not be limited to Jews and Evangelical Christians. The emergence of media and pundits who speak to broader segments of the public have found Obama deficient in his handling of the Middle East. Current Presidential candidates, speaking to audiences with few if any Jews, point to his betrayal of Israel as a major failing. It appears that a majority of the American people has grown disgusted with the way that Obama has thrown our ally Israel under the bus.
There are many other examples of Obamas ineptness in the arena of foreign policy. I will highlight only two here.
One clear example of failure is Turkey, the remnant of the old and powerful Ottoman Empire. Not long ago, Turkey was a staunch ally of both the United States and Israel. As pointed out by Jack Rosen , under Prime Minister Erdogan Turkey has turned away from the West, and is now looking to be a leader of the more radical Islamist states. Erdogan is now firmly against America. He has demonized Israel, promised to send flotillas to Gaza accompanied by the Turkish navy, tried to prevent Israel from drilling for oil and gas off its own coast, insisted that Israel allow arms to freely enter Gaza, and increased repression of his own people. And all the while, Obama demanded nothing from Turkey in exchange for American support.
A second example is Obama’s handling of nuclear proliferation by rogue states. As John Bolton has pointed out, “Since his inauguration, … Obama has insisted that the nuclear-proliferation threat represented by Iran and North Korea could be defused through negotiation. Although he has never articulated the slightest reason to believe that either rogue state would voluntarily eliminate its weapons program, he has extended his “open hand,” waiting for Tehran and Pyongyang to unclench their fists. In both cases, gullibility and the fascination with negotiation as a process, or perhaps just Obama’s narcissism, have given the proliferators the precious assets of time and the cover of legitimacy, both of which they have unfortunately used all too productively.”
There are many more examples, some outlined by Barry Rubin. To quote Rubin, on Middle East issues Obama has failed dangerously and badly. American national interests require that he be defeated in the next election.
I accuse President Barack Obama of Destroying Western Interests in the Middle East, Helping Destabilize the Region, and Putting Millions of Lives in Jeopardy
by Barry Rubin See pajamasmedia;
Think of how outrageous my headline is:
Destroying Western Interests in the Middle East, Helping Destabilize the Region, and Putting Millions of Lives in Jeopardy
Do you think that’s extremist, crazy, can’t be true because you’re not seeing that stuff in the New York Times? You must be a right-wing Republican, you say?
No, just a serious Middle East analyst.
The tenth anniversary of September 11, almost three years after Obama’s election, is a suitable time to confront this issue honestly and fully. So consider fairly and honestly the list of points below.
Egypt: Obama supported a revolution overthrowing a U.S. ally — rather than a smooth transition replacing the dictator and instituting some reform without dropping the entire regime — disregarding State Department advice and not even consulting with Jordan, Israel, or Saudi Arabia! He also unilaterally announced his readiness to see the Muslim Brotherhood in power. His analysts denied that the Brotherhood is a radical, anti-American Islamist organization that supports terrorism. The resulting dangerous crisis, including Egypt becoming a new type of Iran, is now clear to all.
Israel-Palestinian Peace Process: By distancing himself from Israel, removing all pressure from the Palestinians, unilaterally proposing a freeze of Israeli construction on settlements, and repeatedly messing up the effort to restart negotiations, Obama made the peace process situation worse. His failure to handle properly the Palestinian UN unilateral independence bid has put U.S. policy in a terrible mess, with an American veto leading to large-scale anti-Americanism and probable violence both by Palestinians against Israel and by Muslims against the United States.
Israel: The damage the Obama Administration did to Israel was not in bilateral relations or even in the “peace process” but by its role in the deterioration of the regional situation to a dangerous extent. As a result, the two most powerful regional powers that had decent relations with Israel — Egypt and Turkey — turned around 180 degrees; Hamas rule was entrenched in the Gaza Strip; Hizballah’s rule in Lebanon. That’s four of Israel’s “neighbors” that became effectively hostile while the Obama Administration didn’t even notice. As the level of threat rose, U.S. political-diplomatic support for Israel declined.
Turkey: As Turkey continued to move toward being a repressive Islamist state allied with revolutionary Islamism, the U.S. government didn’t notice. Farcically, it promoted the ”Turkish model” and made Turkey its mediator over Syria’s future!
Lebanon: As Lebanon fell under Syria-Iran-Hizballah control, the Obama Administration did nothing. It failed to support the moderates and so they surrendered.
Syria: The Administration pursued the factually ridiculous effort to pull Syria away from Iran and engaged it even as Damascus escalated its support for terrorism, aggression toward Lebanon, killing Americans in Iraq, and then repressing its own people.
Gaza: The Administration gave Hamas indirect aid, made no serious effort to overthrow a radical, anti-American, genocidal-oriented regime, and pressed Israel to reduce sanctions to a minimum. This ensured the survival and strengthening of a pro-terrorist revolutionary Islamist state on the Mediterranean.
Saudi Arabia: Repeated slaps in the face and failure to confront advances by revolutionary Islamists — especially Iran and Syria, as well as abandonment of Mubarak — disgusted this ally. Seeing U.S. weakness, it concluded it has to take care of itself
Iran: After wasting a long time in engagement, the administration finally (at the slowest possible speed) did push sanctions. Yet it still has no strategy for opposing Iran’s non-nuclear methods of subverting neighbors and expanding its influence.
Danger: Obama failed to realize it or to define properly friends and enemies.
Leadership: Despite being begged by different allies, the Obama Administration failed to demonstrate leadership.
Empowering Islamism: In his Cairo speech and thereafter, Obama emphasized the Muslim identity of Middle Easterners thus undermining Arab identity and nationalism.
Endangering the lives of American soldiers and civilians: By refusing to allow a proper analysis of Islamism and terrorism. Consider, for example, the Fort Hood attack in which Americans were killed because military officers feared to do their job lest it hurt their promotions.
Libya: Obama entered a war without any strategy for what would happen after Qadhafi fell or any knowledge of who he was helping to promote as the new leadership.
Rejection of basic diplomatic principles: Supporting friends and punishing enemies; credibility; deterrence; coherent strategy.
What’s important is the result, not whether you think this has been caused by incompetence; arrogance; a thirst for popularity over responsibility; ideology; a personal antipathy toward Israel (it shouldn’t be exaggerated but it’s there); lack of experience; choosing advisors badly; or ignorance among them. I don’t think it’s been deliberate but what’s shocking is to have a policy so bad that many do.
There is nothing inevitably Democratic or liberal about these failings. No previous president or administration — even that of Jimmy Carter — comes close to having so many dangerous failures. Nor is it inevitably a product of Washington, as the State and Defense departments gave him some good intelligence and advice which, if followed, would have greatly reduced the extent of the problems.
You can cheer Obama’s continued strategic cooperation with Israel, sanctions on Iran, and engagement in Libya. You can place blame on Obama’s predecessor or chant, “Obama killed Osama” and not tireless American intelligence operatives or courageous Navy SEALs. But after all the rationalizations won’t you admit that the situation is still truly shocking?
The American people, Middle East allies, US. interests, and the world generally cannot afford another four years of misjudgment and reckless endangerment. Can Obama be trusted to deal with a nuclear-armed Iran; a radical Egypt supporting Hamas; a Turkish regime screaming about fighting Israel, a Palestinian movement that has thrown away any diplomatic alternative?
I leave jobs and the economy, medical care, and such to others. On Middle East issues, however, Obama has failed dangerously and badly. He has ignored chances to learn from experience. American national interests require that he be defeated in the next election.
Now it appears that the public is catching up with all of his problems. For months, even as the public grew dissatisfied with the way the country was headed, Obama's approval did not slip as much as it could have. Now, with not one, but two polls showing him at or below 40%, he is doing worse.
In the Real Clear Politics average of the major polling indices, the President has fallen to his lowest level yet. While his disapproval has not reached that point currently, he is just coming off his record disapproval.
Let's take a look at the average from the beginning of the year:
We can see the jump in approval from the bin Laden killing, but we can also notice the spike in disapproval from late last month which topped out at 53.2%.
As it stands now, Obama is facing the following:
All in all, not impressive numbers. Part of Obama's ratings are being held up by a Reuters poll which has him at a 47/48 split, the most positive of all of them. That one's about to be phases out, so watch and see if it will drop again.
As Solyndra seeps into the public consciousness, his approval average may fall below 40%, a very dangerous area for an incumbent.
In remarks at the White House yesterday, President Obama said “it’s hard to argue against” his plan for a $1.5 trillion tax hike on American families and small businesses – but he sure did a pretty good job of it in the past! Less than a year ago, President Obama warned that – if Congress failed to prevent tax hikes – Americans would “see it in smaller paychecks” and “fewer jobs.” At that time, President Obama was “absolutely convinced” that preventing tax hikes would “strengthen our entire economy” – a striking contrast to the tax hike touting he did yesterday. Here’s a quick refresher for President Obama on the devastating impact tax hikes will have on jobs and the economy, courtesy of President Obama:
Higher Taxes “Will Have the Effect of Fewer Jobs.” “US President Barack Obama on Thursday urged Congress to pass the tax deal he brokered with Republican foes, saying rejecting the compromise would hurt the economy and cost US jobs. … ‘[I]f this framework fails, the reverse is true. Americans will see it in smaller paychecks that will have the effect of fewer jobs,’ he said.” (AFP, 12/9/10)
President Obama Said He Was “Absolutely Convinced” That Preventing Tax Hikes Would Grow the Economy and Create Jobs. President Obama: “I am absolutely convinced that this tax cut plan, while not perfect, will help grow our economy and create jobs in the private sector. ... I urge members of Congress to pass these tax cuts as swiftly as possible. Getting that done is an essential ingredient in spurring economic growth over the short run.” (Remarks, 12/15/10)
President Obama Argues for Tax Relief, Not Tax Hikes: “By a wide bipartisan margin, both houses of Congress have now passed a package of tax relief that will protect the middle class, that will grow our economy and will create jobs for the American people.” (Remarks, 12/17/10)
President Obama Said Preventing Tax Hikes Would “Spur Hiring” and “Strengthen Our Entire Economy.” President Obama: “All told, this will not only directly help families and businesses. By putting more money in people’s pockets, and helping companies grow, we’re going to see people being able to spend a little more, we’re going to spur hiring - we’re going to strengthen our entire economy.” (Weekly Address, 12/11/10)
President Obama Says “[Y]ou don’t raise taxes in a recession...” (MSNBC, 8/5/09)
|He was against it before he was for it|
Monday, September 19, 2011
Most of our businesses were hard hit, and floodwaters damaged homes even outside of the 100-year flood zone. It was the worst calamity to hit our community since 1914.
However, the response of the people of Middleburgh, from around the state, and even from around the country, was spectacular. I played a role in organizing hundreds of volunteers while the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, local churches, and others aided us in our time of need.
Still, even though the majority of the cleanup phase is ending, we're still looking at up to one billion dollars worth of damage in Schoharie County. We are just now coming to terms with the massive scope of this disaster. Many still remain homeless while damage in neighboring Schoharie may be so bad that the Village itself may have to dissolve.
The Village of Middleburgh, on which I serve on the Board, has set up a relief fund. If you can spare a dollar or two to help us, it would be much appreciated. We hope to get money to fix our roads, assist our volunteer fire department, and help the homeowners and businesses get back on their feet.
We're doing better, but it's a long road ahead. Please help make it a little easier.
Chill the hate:
GM-Volt (click on the picture to actually read it):
The suspects, six men and one woman, all aged 22-32, are reported to be involved in Islamic extremism and to be British citizens of Pakistani descent.According to the LWJ, British media is reporting that the raids were linked to an attack in the works.
The Guardian is claiming that the attack was in 'advanced stages:'
Whitehall sources described it as a "major intelligence-led operation" and added that the latest arrests showed that the threat from extremist Islamist ideology had not evaporated despite the deaths of Bin Laden and other prominent al-Qaida individuals in recent US drone strikes on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.But there were no weapons or explosives found.
A spokeswoman for Lowe's Home Improvement says an employee and another person have been shot to death at a North Carolina store.Please bookmark!
Spokeswoman Karen Cobb says the shooting happened Monday at a store in Concord, which is about 20 miles northeast of Charlotte. She says it appears to be a domestic situation and no other customers or employees were injured.
Additional information was not immediately available.
Concord Police Sgt. K.W. Childers said authorities were notified of the shooting at approximately 5:21 p.m.
President Obama’s smooth path to the Democratic nomination may have gotten rockier Monday, after a group of liberal leaders, including former presidential candidate Ralph Nader, announced plans to challenge the incumbent in primaries next year.Please bookmark!
The group said the goal is to offer up a handful of candidates from various fields and areas where the president either has failed to stake out a “progressive” position or where he has “drifted toward the corporatist right.”
“Without debates by challengers inside the Democratic Party’s presidential primaries, the liberal/majoritarian agenda will be muted and ignored,” Mr. Nader said in a news release. “The one-man Democratic primaries will be dull, repetitive, and draining of both voter enthusiasm and real bright lines between the two parties that excite voters.”
In search of candidates, Mr. Nader and the others sent out a letter, endorsed by 45 “distinguished leaders,”to elected officials, civic leaders, academics and members of the progressive community who specialize among other things in labor, poverty, military and foreign policy. The list, they said, also includes progressive Democrats who have held national and state office and have fought for progressive reforms.
“We need to put strong Democratic pressure on President Obama in the name of poor and working people,” said Cornel West, author and professor at Princeton University who has been highly critical of Mr. Obama’s tenure since helping him get elected in 2008. “His administration has tilted too much toward Wall Street, we need policies that empower Main Street.”
I think we all know that President Obama does not believe that Republicans in the House of Representatives, infused with a good helping of the Tea Party, has even a chance of passing his newly christened "Buffett Rule" taxing spree. We just went through a major debt battle to prove that tax increases aren't going to get passed, even if the United States is going to go over the Congressional debt limit.
So, really, the question is: why is Mr. Obama proposing this bill now? Does he believe that those who make $200,000 or more should pay more taxes? Sure he does; he's made that obvious from speeches for the last... well, forever. But why propose it now?
But they didn't. The Tea Party did not allow Obama to push for a few abstract, poorly constructed illusions. Yet one thing happened that the President didn't expect: his base started to leave him. Democrats began to cry foul over a President they see as weak-willed. Rumblings of a primary became discussions out in the open. Websites promoting Hillary in 2012 started popping up.
So Mr. Obama needs something, a Hail Mary of sorts. Tea Party Republicans are not going to change to his side, he's lost most independents, and his base was angry at him. He is completely aware that the House will never pass tax increases. So his solution is simple: propose massive new increases that will never, ever get through Congress, but will energize his base.
In the meantime, Mr. Obama hopes that the conversation is about Left versus Right and Poor versus Rich, instead of what it really is: Liberals too Dumb to Realized they're being Used vs. The Rest of Us.
For Obama, it's the perfect combination. Try to get his "agenda" passed, but blame Republicans if it failed (which is what he's been doing all along). Yet, he can whine that conservatives are protecting the rich while he's defending the poor. The only problem is, he never expected this bill to pass in the first place.
Oh, and this is budget number 3 this year. Let's see if Mr. Obama goes for a record and proposes number 4.
Failing to account for the recession that would follow by wealthy Americans not spending anymore and small businesses forced to fire employees to stay in the black, because their federal taxes will rise to nearly 40% in time for President Obama's reelection next November.
This proposal would gut the Bush tax rates that spurred nearly four straight years of job growth and revenue increases and replace them with even more oppressive taxes in the middle of our second economic downfall in just four years. Its economic foundation is class warfare and politics; not economic growth, and revenues.
If President Obama wants to play the populist "tax the rich" role - let him, because the Republican Party will not stand for higher taxes on American businesses and wealth producers. We will take the political hit if need be, because some things are more important than grandstanding, which this President never learned in school.
What say you?
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Drawing a bright line with congressional Republicans, President Barack Obama is proposing $1.5 trillion in new tax revenue as part of his long-term deficit reduction plan, according to senior administration officials.
The president on Monday will announce a proposal that includes repeal of Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest taxpayers, nearly $250 billion in reductions in Medicare spending, $330 billion in cuts in other mandatory benefit programs, and savings of $1 trillion from the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, the officials said.
The plan includes no changes in Social Security and does not include an increase in the Medicare eligibility age, which the president had considered this summer.
The officials briefed reporters Sunday evening, but spoke on the condition of anonymity in advance of the president's announcement.
All in all, the president's plan is as much an opening bid as it is a political statement designed to draw contrasts with Republicans, who control the House of Representatives.
As such, it was not intended as a compromise and did not include agreements Obama had reached with House Speaker John Boehner during failed deficit reduction negotiations this summer.
The new taxes in particular have little or no chance of passing Congress as proposed. Republicans were already lining up against the president's tax proposal before they even knew the magnitude of what he intended to recommend.
Key features of the proposal:
-$1.5 trillion in new revenue, which would include about $800 billion realized over 10 years from repealing the Bush-era tax rates for couples making more than $250,000. It also would place limits on deductions for wealthy filers and end certain corporate loopholes and subsidies for oil and gas companies.
-$580 billion in cuts in mandatory benefit programs, including $248 billion in Medicare and $72 billion in Medicaid and other health programs. Other mandatory benefit programs include farm subsidies.
-$430 billion in savings from lower interest payment on the national debt.
A wealthy family man was arrested on suspicion of murder yesterday after allegedly stabbing a burglar to death with his own knife.Please bookmark!
Businessman Vincent Cooke, 39, was relaxing when he heard a knock at the front door of his detached home.
When he answered he was confronted by two men, at least one armed with a knife, who threatened him and tried to force their way into the £350,000 house in the Cheshire stockbroker belt.
With his wife and young son due home any minute, Mr Cooke fought desperately to keep the men out. In the struggle burglar Raymond Jacob, 37, was stabbed with his own knife and fell to the ground fatally injured. The second intruder fled.
Minutes later Mr Cooke’s wife, Karen, 35, and 12-year-old son Anthony arrived and watched in horror as the raider lay dying.