Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Enemies of the state: Administration smears some opponents, arrests others

During President George W. Bush's two terms, you couldn't drive far without seeing a particular bumper sticker: "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism." Now that Democrats control the White House and Congress, the left treats dissent as the lowest form of treason. When the left agitates over government policies, it's considered righteous anger. When the right - and much of the center - agitate, it's painted as the rantings of the criminally and violently insane.

With Obamacare signed into law, Democrats have stopped congratulating themselves long enough to notice that the American people aren't cheering on the sidelines. According to a CNN poll released last week, 58 percent oppose President Obama's handling of Obamacare, while Gallup shows him this week with a 46 percent job approval, his lowest yet. A CBS poll released after the House of Representatives passed Obamacare showed Speaker Nancy Pelosi's favorable rating at 11 percent and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's at 8 percent, higher only than Beelzebub's.

Aware that their "reform" is rejected by most of the American people and that they will face serious consequences in November, the Democrats have decided that the best defense is a good offense: Attack those who oppose Obamacare. It doesn't seem to bother most Democrats that that pernicious strategy puts them in the weird and politically untenable position of attacking most of the American people.

Over the past week, a parade of Democrats have accused members of the Tea Party movement and other opponents of Obamacare of threatening them. There may be an infinitesimal number of looney tunes who have engaged in that kind of unacceptable behavior out of hundreds of millions of Americans. But the Democrats have dishonestly extrapolated from a few claimed incidents to taint all those who reject Obamacare as wild-eyed wackos.

If this sounds familiar, it's because the Democrats have shown a disturbing pattern of demonizing those who disagree with them. A year ago, Mr. Obama's Department of Homeland Security issued a report for law enforcement called "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment." It suggested that anyone who opposed abortion, illegal immigration and oppressive taxes, supported gun rights or served in Iraq and Afghanistan should be singled out for special attention. Why? Because such people might burst into a spasm of violence at any time. There was no mention of being on the lookout for potential violence committed by Islamic jihadists, even after actual acts of violence committed by an Islamic jihadist in Little Rock. (The Fort Hood shooting happened later.)

In other words, if you go to church, believe in protecting innocent life, own a gun or defend your country, the Democrats consider you a potential enemy of the state. It was no coincidence that the Homeland Security report was issued just as the Tea Party movement was gaining real national traction.

Not surprisingly, then, once they had passed their widely unpopular health care bill, the Democrats moved quickly to delegitimize opposition to it. Their defiant move in the face of overwhelming popular resistance gave them another excuse to equate big-government progressives with good patriots and small government advocates with potentially violent nutcases who must be watched.

As if on cue, this week, Homeland Security, the FBI and the Department of Justice's Joint Terrorism Task Force carried out raids against a purported "Christian militia group" in the Midwest. According to reports, nine people have been charged with plotting to kill police officers with "weapons of mass destruction." The indictment describes the group as an "anti-government extremist organization" and the FBI special agent in charge, Andrew Arena, cast it as "radical and fringe." That may be, but the description has a conveniently familiar ring to it.

Interestingly, the head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Dawud Walid, rushed to announce the raids at a CAIR banquet at about the same time the story became public. "We salute the FBI for breaking up a militia that was seeking to harm American Muslims," he said. It's curious that he would know that at a time when the FBI still had the investigation under seal. (We're still waiting to hear why Homeland Security and the FBI chose to use the descriptive word "Christian" when they seem unable to use the word "Muslim" in connection with Islamic extremism.)

It's mind-blowingly coincidental that these raids on a supposedly "Christian" militia group would come at the exact moment that Democrats were trying to change public opinion on Obamacare by claiming persecution by their opponents. They have cast Tea Partiers, conservatives, independents, Christians and militia members as all cut from the same unstable, volatile cloth. How can anyone take their opposition to the Democrats' agenda seriously when they're toting guns and being raided by Homeland Security and the FBI? They're all nuts, don't you know?

The Democrats handle dissent by isolating it, smearing it and delegitimizing it in order to crush it. The warning should be clear: If you have small-government, traditional values, you may be considered by your own leadership to be an enemy of the state.



United States of Argentina

When White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel last year advised "never waste a good crisis," he likely was thinking ahead to President Obama's economic stimulus program and health care plan. After swelling the federal deficit by passing the stimulus at a cost of nearly $1 trillion, Democrats in Congress signed off on Obamacare, with a price tag, according to Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., of $2.3 trillion in its first decade alone. With federal spending exploding at such a rate, it's no wonder that Moody's Investor Service recently warned that it would downgrade the U.S. government's credit rating if it concludes "the government was unable and/or unwilling to quickly reverse the deterioration it has incurred."

What the United States government will do in the future may be in question, but we need not look far to find past examples of countries unwilling to get their finances in order. Consider Argentina. In 1914, it was one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and its living standard exceeded that of Western Europe until the late 1950s. Then President Juan Peron squandered his nation's prosperity by introducing a host of redistributionist economic and regulatory policies, nationalizing utilities and foreign investments, and pumping up the national debt. What followed was three decades of political instability, growing dependency, and economic stagnation.

There was a brief period of privatization and booming foreign investment in what the American Enterprise Institute's Mark Falcoff called Argentina's "go go" 1990s. But that was negated by the return of political leaders espousing Peronist principles who created a downward economic spiral by breaking contracts with foreign utility companies that had invested heavily in Argentina. Today, the country has lost its international credit standing and an estimated 10 percent of the population has moved abroad to escape the stifling taxes, regulation and inefficiency. To make matters worse, President Cristina Kirchner recently attracted attention for firing the president of the country's central bank. His sin was refusing to go along with her inflationary spending policies (Argentina's inflation is 17 percent) and challenging her demand that he hand over $6.6 billion in bank reserves.

Besides sending federal spending skyrocketing, Obama has, like so many of the politicians who ruined Argentina, dramatically increased government regulation of business, nationalized major sectors of the economy, and imposed a lengthy list of tax increases. America today is no more exempt from economic reality than Argentina was in years past. Make no mistake, these actions will eventually drain the life from this nation's economic vitality, just as they did in Argentina.



The welfare system penalizes efforts to get ahead

Until you earn about $40,000 a year, you’re pretty much stuck in poverty, an economist’s numbers show. In fact, until you get past $40,000 a year, any raise or higher paying job you get might actually sink you deeper into poverty. Take a look at this story from economist Jeff Liebman, who now works in the Obama Administration:

The poverty trap is still very much a reality in the U.S.

A woman called me out of the blue last week and told me her self-sufficiency counselor had suggested she get in touch with me. She had moved from a $25,000 a year job to a $35,000 a year job, and suddenly she couldn’t make ends meet any more. I told her I didn’t know what I could do for her, but agreed to meet with her. She showed me all her pay stubs, etc. She really did come out behind by several hundred dollars a month. She lost free health insurance and instead had to pay $230 a month for her employer-provided health insurance. Her rent associated with her section 8 voucher went up by 30% of the income gain (which is the rule). She lost the ($280 a month) subsidized child care voucher she had for after-school care for her child. She lost around $1600 a year of the EITC. She paid payroll tax on the additional income. Finally, the new job was in Boston, and she lived in a suburb. So now she has $300 a month of additional gas and parking charges. She asked me if she should go back to earning $25,000.

Take a look at this chart by economist Clifford Thies, via Greg Mankiw’s blog.

From the green dot, you can see that earned income rises… for a while. Then there’s this screwy wavy line. That’s the mother making a little more, but earning a little less.

$40,000 a year is about $19 an hour. Over 40 percent of Chicagoans don’t earn that much.

There aren’t that many jobs out there that make $19 an hour. Bank Teller? $13.33 an hour. Office clerk? $15.60. Retail salesperson? $11.80. Security guard? $16.14. (Statistics via Chicago Rehab network).

Our tax incentives work… initially. Then they only serve to hurt people. They say the poor don’t work hard enough, but that single mother sounds like a pretty hard working person to me. The story goes on to say that she got a weekend job, to try to make ends meet. Except after childcare and gas, it didn’t help at all.

So if working harder means people might actually earn less, how is it that we expect people to work harder?



BrookesNews Update

Obama's road to economic ruin : Obama's monstrous health bill needs to seen as part of a comprehensive attack on the US economy. Therefore the markets are also examining Obama's tax policies, regulatory proposals, insane views on energy production and pricing plus his borrowing and spending programs. But it is not just the financial side that is considered, there are also the political aspects. And they ain't pretty
Paul Krugman's Keynesian views: more snake oil : According to Krugman saving is 'a bad thing'. In fact, the more Americans save the worse the economy will be. But if Krugman were right then those countries with very high savings ratios would be permanently depressed while countries with no savings would be booming. Yet statistics show that it was those countries with the highest savings rates that had the highest growth rates
U.S. government, on its way to bankruptcy, part 2 : The U.S. government is out of control, a government that has committed to obligations so big, that unless policies change, it will literally bankrupt the United States and create mass poverty
The Democrats' anti-tax lunacy : The Democrats' opposition to tax cuts borders on the hysterical. Apart from their insincerity (the only kinds of tax increases they support are those their fabulously super rich supporters can easily avoid) there is the utter bankruptcy of their so-called economic arguments
Obamacare: the other tax shoes begin to drop : Obama's brilliant healthcare legislation is a job killer that will cause taxes and costs to leap. It will stunt economic growth and worsen the economic downturn by making too costly to hire people while simultaneously providing financial incentives to sack a number of employees. Well done, Obama!
Banned in Britain for "Hate Speech" - Unless You're the Daughter Of a Mass Murderer : Britain's Labour Government recently celebrated 50 years Castro's dictatorship, including mass torture, murder, slave camps, drug running and terrorism. To stress its support for the sadistic Castro it invited Che Guevara's daughter to the celebrations. She in turn praised her father's vicious crimes and his sadism
Sabotaging the US-Israel relationship : The leftwing mainstream media is lying again about Israel. These politically motivated liars mislead viewers and readers by failing to provide the full historical context and demographic projections for Israel's capital and the so-called settlements



Medical society files lawsuit to block ObamaCare: "With the president’s ink barely dry on the health care overhaul’s final fixes, a group of nearly 5,000 American physicians is filing suit to stop the mammoth new law dead in its tracks. ‘I think this bill that passed threatens not only to destroy our freedom in medicine but to bankrupt the country,’ said Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. The Arizona-based medical coalition filed suit on March 26, arguing that congressional reforms illegally coerce individuals into buying insurance from private companies.”

Obama regime to permit oil exploration off Virginia coast: "President Barack Obama is to announce on Wednesday a plan to permit exploration for oil and natural gas off the coast of Virginia as a way to create jobs and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil. Obama, who wants Congress to move a stalled climate change bill, has sought to reach out to Republicans by signaling he is open to allowing offshore drilling, providing coastlines are protected.”

The rich can’t pay for ObamaCare: "President Barack Obama’s new health-care legislation aims to raise $210 billion over 10 years to pay for the extensive new entitlements. How? By slapping a 3.8% ‘Medicare tax’ on interest and rental income, dividends and capital gains of couples earning more than $250,000, or singles with more than $200,000. The president also hopes to raise $364 billion over 10 years from the same taxpayers by raising the top two tax rates to 36%-39.6% from 33%-35%, plus another $105 billion by raising the tax on dividends and capital gains to 20% from 15%, and another $500 billion by capping and phasing out exemptions and deductions. Add it up and the government is counting on squeezing an extra $1.2 trillion over 10 years from a tiny sliver of taxpayers who already pay more than half of all individual taxes. It won’t work. It never works.”

A new economics?: "You probably missed it. But a new school of economics was unveiled last week shortly after health care reform passed the House of Representatives. Speaker Nancy Pelosi stepped to the podium in the House chamber and said the legislation will ‘unleash tremendous entrepreneurial power’ and create millions of jobs. ‘Our economy needs something new, a jolt,’ she said. And she and her Democratic colleagues had just delivered it.”

Obamacare starts squeezing the private sector: "The news on healthcare reform this week is that right off the bat, the major corporations are discovering they will be losing stunning amounts to taxes as a result of Obamacare. Caterpillar, the first to speak out, reported it will take a one-time write-down of $100 million in order to account for the elimination of a federal tax refund it has been receiving for providing drug benefits to its retired employees. In the following days, AT&T, Verizon, 3M, Deer & Co., and AK Steel Holdings announced they would take similar write downs. AT&T’s new tax bill will come to over $1 billion. The news is a body blow to major companies hoping to recover profitability and add jobs. If all this sounds familiar, it should. It is exactly what Republicans predicted would happen if Obamacare became law.”

CIA says ACLU-backed plan endangered Gitmo officers: "A team of CIA counterintelligence officials recently visited the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and concluded that CIA interrogators face the risk of exposure to al Qaeda through inmates' contacts with defense attorneys, according to U.S. officials. The agency's "tiger team" of security specialists was dispatched as part of an ongoing investigation conducted jointly with the Justice Department into a program backed by the American Civil Liberties Union. The program, called the John Adams Project, has photographed covert CIA interrogators and shown the pictures to some of the five senior al Qaeda terrorists held there in an effort to identify them further."


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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