Is this the intellectual level of those who protect America?
A 13-year-old boy in Washington state faced federal interrogation by a Secret Service agent over a Facebook posting that warned President Obama of suicide bombers.
Vito LaPinta of Tacoma, Wash., said he posted a message on Facebook after Usama bin Laden’s death, saying Obama should be careful of possible retaliatory acts against him by other terror members, according to the station. “I was saying how Usama was dead and for Obama to be careful because there could be suicide bombers,” the boy told the station.
A week later, the boy said a man walked into Truman Middle School “with a suit and glasses and he said he was part of the Secret Service.” “He told me it was because of a post I made that indicated I was a threat toward the president,” he said.
The Tacoma school district acknowledged a Secret Service agent questioned Vito and that it was a security guard who called Vito’s mom because the principal was on another call. The school district said they didn’t wait for Vito’s mother to get there because they thought she didn’t take the phone call seriously.
“That’s a blatant lie,” Robertson said. The teen’s mom says she rushed to Truman Middle School immediately and arrived to discover her son had already been questioned for half an hour.
Keith Burgess-Jackson on happiness
I have never understood why people study happiness or set their sights on it. Have these people never heard of the paradox of happiness? If you aim for happiness, you're less likely to attain it than if you aim for something other than happiness. I think progressives are far more likely than conservatives to obsess about happiness. Conservatives find happiness in intermediate institutions, such as family, community, friendships, and church. They don't seek happiness; they never even think about it. Happiness finds them.
Progressives, many of whom are atheists, seek to destroy these intermediate institutions so as to bring everyone under the control of the managerial state. Since the state can't make people happy, progressives end up making everyone miserable and bitter. It's hard to believe that progressives think of themselves as the smart ones.
Addendum: Justice consists in proportioning happiness to merit. Vicious people deserve to be unhappy. It's not a good thing that a vicious person is happy; it's a bad thing. Nor is it a bad thing that a vicious person is unhappy; it's a good thing. The only happiness that matters, in other words, is the happiness of virtuous people.
Obama's $250,000 Question
Left and right agree: His agenda requires him to break his tax pledge
Back in 2008, candidate Barack Obama turned even Joe the Plumber to his political advantage by playing percentages and pitting the majority of the country against the super-rich. Such was the simplicity of his message that even those attending an American university could grasp it. As one college student told this newspaper at the time, "Everyone knows Obama's only going to raise taxes on those making more than $250,000, and Joe the Plumber does not make more than $250,000."
Politically that was a winner. Now, however, the numbers are not adding up—or at least, not in a way that will pay for President Obama's ambitions for the federal government. And at least some of his allies on the progressive left are pointing it out.
In the New Republic, the Brookings Institution's William Galston zeroes in on the fuzzy math. "Unless Obama is prepared to tolerate huge deficits indefinitely," he writes, "or to emulate arch-conservatives and curb the budget deficit with spending cuts only, he will have to break his unsustainable tax pledge at some point. The only question is when."
"The President's political advisers are keenly aware of the fact that Democrats need to improve their performance with these voters or face defeat in 2012," Mr. Salam writes. "This helps explain the profound irrationality of the Obama administration's approach to key public-policy questions." By irrationality, he means what Mr. Galston means: the split between what the president needs to do economically to fund his programs and what he did politically to get himself elected.
Mr. Galston, of course, is no Art Laffer, though his original piece was full of interesting figures illustrating that the U.S. tax regime is more progressive than the most popular clichés would have it. Mr. Galston cheerfully supports raising taxes on those with incomes between $100,000 and $250,000 to support progressive policies and help tame the deficit. He is simply honest enough to know that Mr. Obama cannot get the top 2% of income earners to pay for everything he has promised to do.
Inside the Beltway, one of the most hallowed chestnuts is that so polarized have our politics become, we can no longer agree on basic facts. Mr. Galston and Mr. Salam and their respective allies disprove that. Both agree on the revenue problem, though their policy conclusions veer off in sharply opposite ways.
Both would probably also agree that in the last two elections, the American people have zeroed in on one part of the message without perhaps accepting the full consequences of their position. In 2008, Americans went resoundingly for Mr. Obama, who promised that no one but the super-rich would have to worry about paying more for anything. Then in 2010, a tea party backlash helped elect Republicans who promised to reduce the size and reach of government.
So here's the question for 2012: If we the people don't want the higher taxes that are needed to support not only ObamaCare but a growing federal government, are we willing to support the real cuts that go along with that choice? And if we decide we don't want these programs touched, will we accept the higher taxes that go along with keeping them, including for people making a lot less than $250,000?
This is the heart of the argument shaping up between Mr. Obama and Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee. Manifestly Mr. Obama believes that as much as Americans say they want smaller government, the moment they find one of their favorite programs (e.g., Medicare) up for consideration, they balk.
Mr. Ryan and Republicans make the opposite bet: The president's spending has made Americans more willing to face up to these choices, especially if the alternative is higher taxes on more people.
The argument over taxes and spending, of course, is never fully won. The good news here is Messrs. Galston and Salam have met across the ideological spectrum to offer a good starting point. For those of us who believe that America is best served by a debate that forces citizens to make a clear choice—and that Mr. Ryan has the better part of the argument—we say, "Bring it on."
Retired tax accountant Dick McDonald comments:
Tax experts were not fooled into thinking that Obama’s 2008 campaign promise to raise taxes only the 2% of taxpayers making more than $250,000 was a fiscal possibility. Taxing 100% of their income wouldn’t even make a dent in Obama’s bloated budget or even a ripple in his generational-killing deficits.
The fact is he rode into the White House on a lie and to date the Republicans have not called him on it. In fact that is part of what is wrong with Republicans – they don’t have daily talking points to beat Democrats repeatedly over the head.
So the article above warns us that Obama is coming after those making between $100,000 and $200,000 a year. He plans to raise their taxes. He has no other choice. They have all the money.
In addition to what you learn above be aware that the IRS is going after the same income group. They have been prohibited from auditing taxpayers based on the probability of larger assessments since the late 90’s. Lately statistics show that auditing this group also generates more tax dollars.
Apparently the rich have legions of tax accountants and attorneys that present difficult auditing barriers whereas your $100,000 to $200,000 taxpayers can’t afford such high-priced talent and just lie down when faced by the IRS.
So much for campaign promises. They are coming after us.
20% of new Obamacare waivers are restaurants etc. in Pelosi's district
Of the 204 new Obamacare waivers President Barack Obama’s administration approved in April, 38 are for fancy eateries, hip nightclubs and decadent hotels in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Northern California district.
That’s in addition to the 27 new waivers for health care or drug companies and the 31 new union waivers Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services approved.
Pelosi’s district secured almost 20 percent of the latest issuance of waivers nationwide, and the companies that won them didn’t have much in common with companies throughout the rest of the country that have received Obamacare waivers.
Other common waiver recipients were labor union chapters, large corporations, financial firms and local governments. But Pelosi’s district’s waivers are the first major examples of luxurious, gourmet restaurants and hotels getting a year-long pass from Obamacare.
For instance, Boboquivari’s restaurant in Pelosi’s district in San Francisco got a waiver from Obamacare. Boboquivari’s advertises $59 porterhouse steaks, $39 filet mignons and $35 crab dinners.
The reason the Obama administration says it has given out waivers is to exempt certain companies or policyholders from “annual limit requirements.” The applications for the waivers are “reviewed on a case by case basis by department officials who look at a series of factors including whether or not a premium increase is large or if a significant number of enrollees would lose access to their current plan because the coverage would not be offered in the absence of a waiver.”
A total departure from reality on America's Left
Comment by Dick McDonald
Senate Democrats are voting today to end tax breaks for Big Oil which should save $21 billion over the next ten years. Granted, if it passes both Houses and is signed into law, it will generate $21 billion more for Democrats in Congress to spend to buy votes from their “dependents” in the next ten years. It will definitely increase the cost of gasoline to the consumer by $21 billion in the next ten years as these new taxes the politicians are confiscating will just be passed on to the consumer.
Harry Reid on the floor today just proved how ignorant (or “insane”) he is by saying “We have to do something about the exorbitant gas prices and the best way to start with that is to do something about the five big oil companies getting subsidies they don’t need.”
WHAT IS THIS MORON SMOKING? Oil companies are not going to reduce gas prices because Congress taxes them an additional $21 billion.
Walter E. Williams
The liberal vision of government is easily understood and makes perfect sense if one acknowledges their misunderstanding and implied assumptions about the sources of income. Their vision helps explain the language they use and policies they support, such as income redistribution and calls for the rich to give something back.
Suppose the true source of income was a gigantic pile of money meant to be shared equally amongst Americans. The reason some people have more money than others is because they got to the pile first and greedily took an unfair share. That being the case, justice requires that the rich give something back, and if they won't do so voluntarily, Congress should confiscate their ill-gotten gains and return them to their rightful owners.
A competing liberal implied assumption about the sources of income is that income is distributed, as in distribution of income. There might be a dealer of dollars. The reason why some people have more dollars than others is because the dollar dealer is a racist, a sexist, a multinationalist or a conservative. The only right thing to do, for those to whom the dollar dealer unfairly dealt too many dollars, is to give back their ill-gotten gains. If they refuse to do so, then it's the job of Congress to use their agents at the IRS to confiscate their ill-gotten gains and return them to their rightful owners. In a word, there must be a re-dealing of the dollars or what some people call income redistribution.
The sane among us recognize that in a free society, income is neither taken nor distributed; for the most part, it is earned. Income is earned by pleasing one's fellow man. The greater one's ability to please his fellow man, the greater is his claim on what his fellow man produces. Those claims are represented by the number of dollars received from his fellow man.
Say I mow your lawn. For doing so, you pay me $20. I go to my grocer and demand, "Give me 2 pounds of steak and a six-pack of beer that my fellow man produced." In effect, the grocer asks, "Williams, you're asking your fellow man to serve you. Did you serve him?" I reply, "Yes." The grocer says, "Prove it."
That's when I pull out the $20 I earned from serving my fellow man. We can think of that $20 as "certificates of performance." They stand as proof that I served my fellow man.
Contrast the morality of having to serve one's fellow man in order to have a claim on what he produces with congressional handouts. In effect, Congress says, "You don't have to serve your fellow man in order to have a claim on what he produces. We'll take what he produces and give it to you. Just vote for me."
Who should give back? Sam Walton founded Wal-Mart, Bill Gates founded Microsoft, Steve Jobs founded Apple Computer. Which one of these billionaires acquired their wealth by coercing us to purchase their product? Which has taken the property of anyone?
Each of these examples, and thousands more, is a person who served his fellow men by producing products and services that made life easier. What else do they owe? They've already given.
If anyone is obliged to give something back, they are the thieves and recipients of legalized theft, namely people who've used Congress, including America's corporate welfare queens, to live at the expense of others. When a nation vilifies the productive and makes mascots of the unproductive, it doesn't bode well for its future.
My Twitter.com identity: jonjayray. My Facebook page is also accessible as jonjayray (In full: http://www.facebook.com/jonjayray). For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
List of backup or "mirror" sites here or here -- for readers in China or for everyone when blogspot is "down" or failing to update. Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)
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)