In case you are unaware, the Declaration of Independence as well as countless writings from the Founders state that human rights are God given and thus man and government have no authority to deny them. This kind of mistake is no accident.
Judging from some of the commentary in the news media, many people seemed surprised by the fact that Republican Sen. Rand Paul would visit Howard University, a university with a majority African-American student population. The main thrust of Paul’s speech last month was to try to persuade the African-American community that its interests were best served by the Republican party rather than the Democratic party, and that the GOP was still the party of Abraham Lincoln, the party that produced black congressmen after the Civil War and the first black United States senator in the 20th century.
The audience at Howard was polite but skeptical. Paul’s case may have been strengthened had he made reference not to the 16th president of the United States, but to the 30th president.
The 30th president, Republican Calvin Coolidge, was a major supporter of Howard University and an overlooked figure in advancing the cause of racial equality in the United States. In one of his earliest acts as president, Coolidge proposed and persuaded Congress to pass an appropriation bill that reinforced the unique relationship between Howard and the federal government.
In his First Annual Address to Congress in 1923 he wrote: “About half a million dollars is recommended for medical courses at Howard University to help contribute to the education of 500 colored doctors needed each year.” This appropriation was to grow over the years, leading to the production of health care and other professionals who would stimulate the growth of an African-American middle class and develop leaders in all walks of life, nationally and internationally.
Coolidge made it clear that his interest in Howard specifically and the African-American community generally was not limited to this one gesture. Historians of the civil rights movement of the often note the significance of a speech made at Howard in 1964 by President Lyndon Johnson in which he uttered the words, “We shall overcome.” This was seen as a dramatic gesture at that time for a politician from the Southwest to echo the words of an anthem of the civil rights movement.
But forty years before Johnson’s declaration, Coolidge gave the commencement address at Howard and signaled a significant change in progressive race relations. In reading his words it must be recalled that he spoke at a time when separate but equal was the law of the land, when lynchings trumped due process in criminal cases involving black men, and when the most recent Democratic president, Woodrow Wilson, had praised a film which glorified the Ku Klux Klan.
Coolidge began his address by referencing the sad history of slavery and the importance of religious leaders in ending that period of American history. Because of his great interest in supporting business, he then described the growth of businesses owned by African-Americans since emancipation from slavery. He emphasized business growth and the spread of literacy among blacks as paralleling developments in the nation at large. To the Howard graduates and to the entire country he then said:
“The nation has need of all that can be contributed to it through the best efforts of all its citizens. The colored people have repeatedly proved their devotion to the high ideals of our country. They gave their services in the war with the same patriotism and readiness that other citizens did …. The propaganda of prejudice and hatred which sought to keep the colored men from supporting the national cause completely failed. The black man showed himself the same kind of citizen, moved by the same kind of patriotism, as the white man. They were tempted, but not one betrayed his country…They came home with many decorations and their conduct repeatedly won high commendation from both American and European commanders.”
[Editor’s Note – It is rare that we copy an entire article from another web site and present it in total. Usually we print a key excerpt of the most important points and have a link to the rest, which is considered “best internet manners”. However, in some rare cases, when the piece is so important, the information so crucial, that presenting the entire piece becomes warranted.
This piece from Michelle Malkin shows that some of the same people who were caught abusing the IRS under Bill Clinton, were re-appointed by Obama and are some of the guilty parties today. This indicates clear premeditation from the White House. What other reason would a President re-appoint a man with a criminal history like IRS Department Head Steven Miller?]
UPDATE – IRS boss of Tea Party probes targeted anti-Clinton group in 1990s – LINK.
UPDATE – IRS Official Admits Clinton Enemies Were Audited – LINK.
It’s always the “low-level” peon’s fault, isn’t it? When Democrats get caught red-handed abusing government powers and bullying their political enemies small and large, nobody at the top knows nuttin’. The buck stops … in the janitors closet or something.
Here’s what I know: While they pretend to champion privacy rights, top left-wing operatives have routinely ransacked and plundered through the private documents and personal records of conservative groups, business owners and public figures. Through it all, those on the right standing against government tyranny have refused to stand down.
During the Clinton years, senior IRS official Paul Breslan revealed that the administration’s auditors specifically targeted conservative critics. On the hit list: Judicial Watch, Paula Jones and Gennifer Flowers, the National Rifle Association, The National Review, The American Spectator, Freedom Alliance, National Center for Public Policy Research, Citizens Against Government Waste, Concerned Women for America, and the San Diego Chapter of Christian Coalition.
Steven Miller, one of the Clinton IRS agents who helped conduct those witch hunts in the 1990s, is currently the head of the Obama IRS department that has now admitted it discriminated against tea party groups. Jackboot history repeats itself.
In 1997, far-left Congressman Jim McDermott obtained and leaked an illegally taped phone call involving House GOP leaders to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The New York Times. Far from a low-level underling, McDermott was the top Democrat on the House Ethics Committee at the time. Ohio GOP Rep. John Boehner won a $1 million civil lawsuit against McDermott. McDermott’s leak was condemned by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Hogan as “willful and knowing misconduct (that) rises to the level of malice in this case.”
In 2005, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee — headed by New York Sen. Charles Schumer — targeted then Maryland GOP Lt. Gov. Michael Steele as he considered a U.S. Senate bid. Two of Schumer’s staffers illegally obtained Steele’s credit report by using his Social Security number, which they got from public documents. They set up a fake email account and then impersonated Steele on a website to filch his financial information.
Democrats framed the sleazy move as the work of junior staffers. But the supervising operative involved, Katie Barge, was senior research director of the DSCC, a former researcher at the George Soros-funded attack group Media Matters for America and a researcher for presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards.
Schumer’s other document plumber, Lauren Weiner, was a DSCC researcher who had worked for Dick Gephardt and the Democratic National Committee. She pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining a credit report and escaped jail time. After she was fired, she earned a journalism degree at the Columbia University School of Journalism.
In 2006, longtime Democratic operative Bob Fertik called on his minions to attempt to obtain the private phone records of prominent conservatives through shady online information brokers. “If money is scarce,” Fertik vowed, “Democrats.com will reimburse you if you buy the records for an important phone number and discover gold when you get the records.”
In October 2008, top Ohio Democrats targeted real plumber Joe Wurzelbacher after he challenged then presidential candidate Barack Obama’s “spread the wealth” radicalism. Helen Jones-Kelley, then director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, ordered underlings to scour government databases for dirt. In addition to pawing through his child-support papers, her agency also checked Wurzelbacher in its computer systems to determine whether he was receiving welfare assistance or owed unemployment compensation taxes.
Jones-Kelley was not just a high-level state official. She was also an Obama campaign donor who volunteered to arrange an event for Michelle Obama and provided the campaign with nearly 20 names of potential donors ahead of a Dayton campaign stop. Three years after resigning, she found herself back on the taxpayer dole with another government job. Corruptocrats protect their own.
Also in 2008, Obama’s allies at a Soros-tied outfit named Accountable America sent out “warning” letters to 10,000 top GOP givers “hoping to create a chilling effect that will dry up contributions.” Witch hunt leader Tom Matzzie, formerly of Soros-funded MoveOn.org, promised “legal trouble, public exposure and watchdog groups digging through their lives.” Matzzie also advertised a $100,000 bounty for dirt on conservative political groups “to create a sense of scandal around the groups” and to dissuade donors from giving money.
The effort was supported by Judd Legum, founder of Think Progress, which is run by former Clinton scandal manager turned Obama confidante John Podesta’s Center for American Progress.
During the 2010 midterms, the Obama bully brigade waged a similar campaign against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its donors as payback for the organization’s ads opposing the federal health care takeover. During the 2012 election season, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina declared war on free-market philanthropists Charles and David Koch and private donors to their nonprofit activist group Americans for Prosperity.
As I warned in my column in March 2012, it seemed “no small coincidence” at the time that Team Obama was threatening conservative activists publicly “just as numerous tea party organizations (were) reporting that the Internal Revenue Service (had) targeted them for audits. According to Colleen Owens of the Richmond (Va.) Tea Party, several fiscally conservative activist groups in Virginia, Hawaii, Ohio and Texas (had) received a spate of IRS letters. The missives demand(ed) extensive requests to identity volunteers, board members and … donors.”
The latest confession by Obama IRS officials that they targeted tea party, pro-Constitution and pro-Israel groups isn’t a sign of “rogue” behavior. It’s tyrannical Democratic business as usual.
Editor’s Note – The fact that the IRS scandal is portrayed as being centered in Cincinnati, Ohio sets up a false narrative; as if “oh it didn’t happen in DC so perhaps it wasn’t as political as some feared”. That is the misnomer of misnomers. The political fact is this: he who wins Ohio wins the presidency. The importance of of Ohio in electoral politics cannot be overstated. UPDATE – IRS officials in DC and California involved in targeting conservative groups – LINK.
Editor’s Note II – The same IRS department head, Steven Miller, who politicized the IRS under Clinton at center of current scandal – LINK. Why reappoint a man with his history? This indicates premeditation on the part of the administration.
UPDATE – IRS boss of Tea Party probes targeted anti-Clinton group in 1990s – LINK.
UPDATE – IRS Official Admits Clinton Enemies Were Audited – LINK.
This post is being constantly updated so please check back from time to time.
UPDATE – IRS chiefs knew about politically motivated audits in 2011 – LINK.
UPDATE – The crazy things the IRS asked TEA Party groups during the illegal inquiries – LINK. No one can say this was not politically motivated after reading this.
UPDATE – ABC News’ George Will “How stupid do they (IRS and Obama Admin) think we are?”
“He has through his subordinates and agents endeavored to cause in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.” Section 1, Article 2, the Impeachment Articles of Richard Nixon.
UPDATE – Dennis Kucinich Slams IRS’ Political Targeting:
UPDATE – ABC News: IRS IG Report shows that IRS started targeting conservative groups in 2010 (video). Groups targeted included those who watch government spending, educating on the Bill of Rights, those who focus on tax policy and Jewish groups.
UPDATE – IRS Leaking private information for political reasons – LINK.
UPDATE – Koch Industries Lawyer to White House: How Did You Get Our Tax Information? – LINK.
UPDATE – Coulter: Obama’s signature campaign move was opening sealed records – LINK.
UPDATE – Jon Stewart Skewers Obama over scandals – LINK.
UPDATE – IRS intimidation used to shut down TEA Party groups – LINK.
UPDATE – IRS Execs knew political targeting was happening and lied to Congress about it:
Representative Dave Camp, chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, charged top IRS officials, including former commissioner Doug Shulman, of lying to Congress over the targeting of tea-party groups.
“They knew this was going on and responded in writing to the committee that it was not,” said Camp in an interview at the Capitol. He also said “yes” when I asked him whether he felt that Shulman and others had lied.
UPDATE – An IRS Exec at center of the illegal political targeting was promoted and given $42,531 in bonuses:
Lois Lerner, the senior executive in charge of the IRS tax exemption department and the federal employee at the center of the exploding scandal over the IRS targeting of conservative, evangelical and pro-Israel non-profits, was given $42,531 in bonuses between 2009 and 2011.That figure was included in data provided by the IRS in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by The Washington Examiner. Lerner is director of the IRS exempt organizations division, which processes and approves or denies applications from groups seeking tax-exempt status.
UPDATE – Over $100 million in IRS bonuses since 2009 – LINK.
UPDATE – IRS Gave liberal groups a pass, put conservatives on hold for 27 months – LINK.
UPDATE – IRS targeted over 500 conservative organizations, religious organizations, educational organizations that teach American civic history, Jewish and other pro-Israeli organizations – LINK.
UPDATE – Franklin Graham also targeted by IRS – LINK.
UPDATE – Fox News host Eric Bolling was targeted by the IRS – LINK.
UPDATE – Another IRS Official at the center of the illegal targeting promoted, now in charge of IRS Obamacare office – LINK.
UPDATE – Sarah Hall Ingram, the IRS executive in charge of the tax exempt division in 2010 when it began targeting conservative Tea Party, evangelical and pro-Israel groups for harassment, got more than $100,000 in bonuses between 2009 and 2012.
More recently, Ingram was promoted to serve as director of the tax agency’s Obamacare program office, a position that put her in charge of the vast expansion of the IRS’ regulatory power and staffing in connection with federal health care, ABC reported earlier today.
UPDATE – IRS illegally gave records on conservatives to a leftist George Soros sponsored group. Soros is the number one contributor to various Democrat Party organizations – LINK.
UPDATE – Soros gave $6.1 million to groups that pressured the IRS to target conservatives – LINK.
UPDATE – Romney donor Frank Vandersloot smeared by Obama campaign audited twice:
UPDATE – WOW! IRS Asked Tea Party Leader for Back-Door Password to Group’s Website:
UPDATE – Report: IRS Deliberately Chose Not to Fess Up to Scandal Before Election. IRS Commissioner knew this was going on for over a year – lied to Congress – LINK:
UPDATE – IRS Denied tax exempt status to pro-life groups on behalf of Planed Parenthood – LINK – LINK.
UPDATE – Conservative Hispanic Groups Targeted In IRS Scandal – LINK.
UPDATE – Mark Levin – It’s Time to Kill the IRS:
UPDATE – CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: The testimony from [Steven] Miller comes under the category of ‘how stupid do you think we are?’ Here’s a guy who said that the IRS openly discriminated against groups on the basis of their politics, but the action was not a political action. It was instead an attempt at efficiency. You’ve got to be a knave or a fool to say that and you have to be an idiot to believe it. It’s simply a contradiction in terms. – LINK.
UPDATE – Texas TEA Party leader was subject to IRS, FBI, ATF and OSHA audits after applying to IRS for tax exempt status. Texas Congressman Kevin Brady asks, “Is this America anymore?”:
UPDATE – Five IRS employees to testify next week to answer for wrongdoing – LINK.
UPDATE – IRS: ‘Please Detail the Content of Your Members’ Prayers.’ – LINK:
UPDATE – Chris Matthews: Miller was full of it and there was clearly targeting going on – LINK.
UPDATE – Piers Morgan: I guess government can become tyrannical after all:
UPDATE – Paul Ryan grills IRS Commissioner. Can there be any doubt that Commissioner Miller mislead Congress in his previous July 2012 testimony?
UPDATE – IRS Chief Steven Miller: “I Can’t Remember” Who Is Responsible for Targeting Conservatives:
UPDATE – Mika Brzezinski, Joe Scarborough & Lisa Myers: IRS is lying, lied to Congress. Timeline:
UPDATE – IRS lied in FOIA requests to conceal documents – LINK.
UPDATE – IRS agents classified applications from conservatives and churches as “obnoxious” – LINK.
UPDATE – Rep. Mike Kelly receives standing ovation after epic grilling of IRS Commissioner:
BUSTED – Top Obama Administration officials were briefed on IRS political targeting in June of 2012 – NY Times – AP – WSJ – Breitbart:
The inspector general gave Republicans some fodder Friday when he divulged that he informed the Treasury’s general counsel he was auditing the I.R.S.’s screening of politically active groups seeking tax exemptions on June 4, 2012. He told Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin “shortly after,” he said. That meant Obama administration officials were aware of the matter during the presidential campaign year.
OUTRAGE – Suit Alleges IRS Improperly Seized 60 Million Personal Medical Records – LINK.
UPDATE – IRS asked churches for membership lists:
ILLEGAL – IRS ignored Congressional demand for documents relating to the illegal targeting of citizens – LINK.
UPDATE – Trey Goudy questions former IRS Commissioner Schulman. “Can’t remember”. Schulman admits that he did nothing to stop the illegal practices at the IRS [Note – Some are saying that Schulman was a Bush appointee. Schulman gave $250.00 a month to the Democratic National Committee]:
UPDATE – IRS official Lois Lerner pleads the Fifth Amendment after waiving that right by her opening statement. You do not get to tell your side of the story and refuse cross examination by pleading the Fifth. Pleading the Fifth means that you are not testifying in fear that doing so will reveal criminal activity that can be used against you:
SHOCK – IRS official Lois Lerner asked targets of investigations about their prayers when she was at the Federal Election Commission (FEC); sued Christian Coalition in a politically motivated lawsuit and lost:
UPDATE – Ranking Democrat at the Government Oversight Committee blasts IRS:
UPDATE – Senior White House staff, including Obama’s lawyer, White House Council Kathy Ruemmler, knew about illegal IRS targeting and claim they didn’t tell Obama – LINK:
Does anyone believe this story?
UPDATE – Krauthammer: Obama still dodging questions and lying about IRS
1 – Illegal targeting happened months before the Citizens United court ruling.
2 – Claims about “inadvertent targeting” due to “massive increase of 501c4 applications” also untrue, as there was no appreciable increase in the first year of the illegal targeting.
3 – IRS Council Lois Lerner’s claim that she found out about the illegal targeting in the press also false as the IG report shows that she knew about it at least as far back as June 2011.
4 – Lerner misled Congress.
UPDATE – How did a White House economics advisory Austin Goolsbee get private tax information on Obama Administration political enemies – LINK.
UPDATE – Senator Mitch McConnell: Obama Administration used IRS as “Speech Police”:
UPDATE – More “I don’t know – I don’t recall” video from Obama Administration officials:
UPDATE – NBC News: Senior Washington IRS officials requested information of conservative groups:
Cleta Mitchell, another attorney representing conservative groups that allege they were targeted, said an IRS agent in Cincinnati told her a “task force” IRS office in Washington, D.C., was making the decisions about the processing of applications, and that she subsequently dealt with IRS representatives there.
“(The IRS agent in Cincinnati) told me that in fact the case would be transferred to a special task force out of Washington, and that he was told – he was the originally assigned agent – that he wasn’t allowed to make decisions, the decisions were all going to be made in Washington,” Mitchell said. “I know that this process was going on in Washington because I’ve dealt with those people.”
UPDATE – Anonymous Cincinnati IRS official says ‘Everything comes from the top.’ – LINK:
Everything comes from the top. We don’t have any authority to make those decisions without someone signing off on them. There has to be a directive.
UPDATE – Fox 19 Ben Swann: Individual IRS Agents/Supervisors named and they all are supervised by Agent Supervisor Cindy Thomas. Thomas visited with IRS Chief Council Lois Lerner regularly:
UPDATE – The Blaze/NBC News: IRS Chief Council Lois Lerner personally signed at least some illegal questionnaires to targeted groups – LINK.
UPDATE – Pro-Israel organizations audited by IRS say government targeting coordinated – LINK.
UPDATE – Illegal IRS targeting started the day after President Obama met with the Treasury Department/IRS employees union chief – LINK.
WOW – Lois Lerner to Republican Senate Candidate “promise me you will never run for office again and this investigation will go away”. How Lois Lerner tried to strong-arm Dick Durbin’s opponent out of 1996 Illinois Senate race – LINK – LINK.
Orwellian – Obama Administration sends armed DHS Agents to peaceful protests against IRS – LINK.
BUSTED – IRS’s Doug Shulman had more public White House visits (157) than any Cabinet member. Bush met with his IRS chief once – LINK: UPDATE – Bill O’Reilly not happy that former IRS chief visited the White House 157 times, could be a smoking gun:
Conservative radio talker Mark Levin appears to have touched off the investigation into Internal Revenue Service targeting of conservative political groups back in March 2012.
In a letter last year on behalf of the Landmark Legal Foundation, an organization he heads, Levin requested an investigation into what he called “misconduct.”
On Friday, the Internal Revenue Service revealed that it had improperly targeted conservative groups for audits during the 2012 election. During a conference call, Lois Lerner, the IRS’s director of exempt organizations, explained that IRS staffers selected groups that included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications for tax exempt status.
Levin told The Daily Caller Friday afternoon his organization had litigated similar complaints of political audits during the Clinton administration and specifically referenced the Heritage Foundation as one of the tax collector’s targets at the time.
More recently, Levin said, conservative and Tea Party groups approached him complaining of harassment by the IRS, which prompted his organization to petition Treasury Department Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George.
The House oversight committee will look into the IRS’s admission Friday that it targeted conservative groups for special scrutiny during last year’s elections — a move that committee Chairmen Darrell E. Issa and Jim Jordan said smacks of “political retaliation.”
The two lawmakers said they will hold those IRS officials who were involved “responsible … for this political retaliation.”
The IRS admitted that it unfairly sent conservative and tea party groups questionnaires last year asking them to justify their tax-exempt status. Republicans at the time accused the agency of trying to intimidate conservatives into silence ahead of the elections.
Friday’s admission appears designed to deflate an upcoming audit by the IRS’s inspector general looking into the matter.
“The fact that Americans were targeted by the IRS because of their political beliefs is unconscionable,” Mr. Issa and Mr. Jordan said in a statement. “The committee will aggressively follow up on the IG report and hold responsible officials accountable for this political retaliation.”
Harry Reid not only violated Senate rules in his tirade. What Harry Reid tried to do that generated the floor objection of Ted Cruz is also very worthy of noting. What Reid tried to do was have the right to add language in the bill that was not voted on in the Senate in secret.
That is correct, the Senate leadership since 2006 has been legislating behind closed doors in secret during the conference process. The House under Nancy Pelosi was doing that until the Republicans took back the House. Please see our editor’s note below.
Editor’s Note: The videos below are from 2009. The Democrats inserted language in a bill (during conference in secret) to make it legal to give bonuses to the AIG execs who we were bailing out. Those execs were big donors to Democrat Senator Chris Dodd. After lying about it, Dodd and the Democrats finally confessed at what they had done:
There may be a seemingly good reason to give the government more power and intrusion in our lives, but in case after case we find the tools given with those powers to be irresistible for those so entrusted to abuse.
The Founders were wise to chain the government as best they could, but even they well understood that eventually it would unravel if the people were not vigilant.
The father of a Connecticut child is furious after discovering that his son’s school is teaching students that Americans don’t have a Second Amendment right to bear arms.
“I am appalled,” said Steven Boibeaux, of Bristol. “It sounds to me like they are trying to indoctrinate our kids.”
Boibeaux’s son is an eighth grader at Northeast Middle School. On Monday his social studies teacher gave students a worksheet titled, ‘The Second Amendment Today.’
“The courts have consistently determined that the Second Amendment does not ensure each individual the right to bear arms,” the worksheet states. “The courts have never found a law regulating the private ownership of weapons unconstitutional.
The worksheet, published by Instructional Fair, goes on to say that the Second Amendment is not incorporated against the states.
“This means that the rights of this amendment are not extended to the individual citizens of the states,” the worksheet reads. “So a person has no right to complain about a Second Amendment violation by state laws.”
According to the document, the Second Amendment “only provides the right of a state to keep an armed National Guard.”
Boibeaux said he discovered the worksheet as he was going over his son’s homework assignments.
“I’m more than a little upset about this,” he told Fox News. “It’s not up to the teacher to determine what the Constitution means.”
Mat Staver, the founder and chairman of the Liberty Counsel, called the lesson propaganda – that is “absolutely false.”
“In fact, the US Supreme Court has affirmed that the Second Amendment ensures the individual the right to bear arms,” Staver told Fox News. “The progressive interpretation of the Second Amendment is that it doesn’t give you the right to bear arms – that it’s a corporate right of the government – but that has been rejected by the Courts.”
Boibeaux’s son’s teacher also told the students that the Constitution is a “living document.”
As noted in the worksheet provided to students – that means “the interpretation changes to meet the needs of the times.”
“The judges and courts of each generation provide the interpretation of the document,” the worksheet states.
Boibeaux called that concept mind-boggling.
It’s not up to the teacher to determine what the Constitution means,” he said. “If you want to learn about the Constitution, recite it word for word.”
Staver said the idea that the Constitution is a living document is another progressive tactic.
“This idea that this school is propagating that the Constitution can simply be changed at the whim of someone – or that the Second Amendment does not protect the individual right to bear arms is absolute propaganda and absolutely false,” Staver said.
With so many of these green energy boondoggles it looks like this – Obama hands over tax-dollars to a fund raiser who is an owner in a junk “green energy company”. Said owners pay themselves in a big way, give big money to Democrats and go out of business.
As of last November (2012) there were 50 such companies. Obama Administration emails released show how green energy money was steered to Obama cronies with sham, junk bond companies.
China’s major solar panel companies — whose low-cost products led some American factories to close, helped create the Solyndra controversy and spawned talk of a trade war — were bankrolled in the United States by the world’s largest investment banks.
Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, USB Investment Bank and others raised $6.5 billion for seven young Chinese solar panel makers in the mid-2000s by underwriting their securities on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq, a Tribune-Review investigation has found.
The Trib goes on, “It’s not clear how the idea of using offshore tax havens to get listed on U.S. exchanges developed. But the Trib learned through SEC reports how Chinese solar companies grabbed onto the idea.” The first was Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd., now the world’s largest solar company. It began operating as a Chinese company in May 2002, and by 2004 reported sales of $85.3 million…”
However, Bloomberg News reported last week, “Suntech Power Holdings Co. (STP) [was] forced to put its Chinese solar unit into bankruptcy last month, “becoming the latest casualty of a painful slump in the global solar industry,” wrote Townhall.com. But Bloomberg noted that Suntech “began that slide into insolvency in 2009 when customers linked to the founder couldn’t pay their bills and the company booked the sales as revenue anyway, regulatory filings show.”
What most don’t know is that Suntech is a tiny fraction of “Obamanomics Outsourced,” whereas his administration is responsible for steering billions in stimulus funds (and other “green” money) to foreign companies and shipping green jobs overseas. This is clearly a broken 2008 energy campaign promise, but worse, a violation on how the 2009 trillion-dollar stimulus package was sold –– to create jobs and grow the economy here in America.
Most charities help the wounded, the ill and/or the poor. Obama constantly claims that Republicans want to balance the budget on the backs of the poor and the old, but Obamacare and his budget do exactly that. Democrats often blame Republicans for exactly what it is they are doing. Obamacare’s transfer of $714 Billion from Medicare to pay for Obamacare bureaucrats has caused premiums for the elderly to rise.
President Obama’s long-awaited budget proposal, to be released today, does not come right out and say that it intends to reduce contributions to charity—but that is almost certainly what would happen were it to become law. Here’s why. The White House has effectively doubled down on a tax change it has been pushing for four years that would limit the value of the charitable tax deduction. The Administration has, since 2009, pushed unsuccessfully to allow only 28 cents on a dollar donated to charity to be deducted—even though the top tax rate for the wealthy donors who make most use of the deduction has been 35 percent. In the budget released today, the President again proposes to cap the charitable deduction at 28 percent—despite the fact that the top rate on the highest earners has increased to 39.6 percent. Think of it this way: the White House proposal would raise the cost of giving to charity from 60 cents per dollar to 72 cents per dollar. That’s a 20 percent increase in what can be called the “charity tax.”
When one taxes something more, of course, one gets less of it—and it’s likely that the current $168 billion in itemized charitable giving would decline. Indeed, Indiana University’s Center for Philanthropy has previously estimated that capping the charitable tax deduction’s value at 28 percent—even when the top income tax rate was 35 percent—would lower giving by 1.3 percent, or some $2.18 billion in 2010. The new proposal would likely take an even bigger bite from giving. The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that the reduction in giving could be as high as $9 billion a year.
Of course “cuts” doesn’t tell the whole story. That money, $714 billion, was not returned to the taxpayer, nor was that money used to pay the debt, nor was it returned to those who have paid into medicare for decades. Instead, that money was robbed from those who paid medicare premiums. The Democratic Party leadership along with President Obama used that money to pay Obamacare bureaucrats and write the reams of regulations associated with it.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Retired as a city worker, Sheila Pugach lives in a modest home on a quiet street in Albuquerque, N.M., and drives an 18-year-old Subaru.
Pugach doesn’t see herself as upper-income by any stretch, but President Barack Obama’s budget would raise her Medicare premiums and those of other comfortably retired seniors, adding to a surcharge that already costs some 2 million beneficiaries hundreds of dollars a year each.
More importantly, due to the creeping effects of inflation, 20 million Medicare beneficiaries would end up paying higher “income related” premiums for their outpatient and prescription coverage over time.
Administration officials say Obama’s proposal will help improve the financial stability of Medicare by reducing taxpayer subsidies for retirees who can afford to pay a bigger share of costs. Congressional Republicans agree with the president on this one, making it highly likely the idea will become law if there’s a budget deal this year.
But the way Pugach sees it, she’s being penalized for prudence, dinged for saving diligently.
It was the government, she says, that pushed her into a higher income bracket where she’d have to pay additional Medicare premiums.
IRS rules require people age 70-and-a-half and older to make regular minimum withdrawals from tax-deferred retirement nest eggs like 401(k)s. That was enough to nudge her over Medicare’s line.
“We were good soldiers when we were young,” said Pugach, who worked as a computer systems analyst. “I was afraid of not having money for retirement and I put in as much as I could. The consequence is now I have to pay about $500 a year more in Medicare premiums.”
The question and answer part comes at 23:00. be sure to watch.
Here are senator Paul’s prepared remarks:
I’d like to thank President Ribeau, the Howard University faculty, and students for having me today.
Some people have asked if I’m nervous about speaking at Howard. They say “You know, some of the students and faculty may be Democrats…”
My response is that my trip will be a success if the Hilltop will simply print that a Republican came to Howard but he came in peace.
My wife Kelley asked me last week do you ever have doubts about trying to advance a message for an entire country?
The truth is, sometimes. When I do have doubts, I think of a line from T.S. Eliot, “how should I presume to spit out all the butt ends of my days and ways, and how should I presume.”
And when I think of how political enemies often twist and distort my positions, I think again of Eliot’s words: “when I am pinned and wriggling on the wall, how should I presume?
And here I am today at Howard, a historically black college. Here I am, a guy who once presumed to discuss a section of the Civil Rights Act.
Some have said that I’m either brave or crazy to be here today. I’ve never been one to watch the world go by without participating. I wake up each day hoping to make a difference.
I take to heart the words of Toni Morrison of Howard University, who wrote: “If there is a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
I can recite books that have been written, or I can plunge into the arena and stumble and maybe fall but at least I will have tried.
What I am about is a philosophy that leaves YOU – to fill in the blanks.
I come to Howard today, not to preach, or prescribe some special formula for you but to say I want a government that leaves you alone, that encourages you to write the book that becomes your unique future.
You are more important than any political party, more important than any partisan pleadings.
The most important thing you will do is yet to be seen. For me, I found my important thing to do when I learned to do surgery on the eye, when I learned to restore a person’s vision.
I found what was important when I met and married my wife.
Although I am an eye surgeon, first and foremost, I find myself as part of the debate over how to heal our sick economy and get people back to work.
I truly believe that we can have an economy that creates millions of jobs again but we will have to rethink our arguments and try to rise above empty partisan rhetoric.
My hope is that you will hear me out, that you will see me for who I am, not the caricature sometimes presented by political opponents.
If you hear me out, I believe you’ll discover that what motivates me more than any other issue is the defense of everyone’s rights.
Of strong importance to me is the defense of minority rights, not just racial minorities, but ideological and religious minorities.
If our government does not protect the rights of minorities, then democratic majorities could simply legislate away our freedoms.
The bill of rights and the civil war amendments protect us against the possibility of an oppressive federal or state government.
The fact that we are a Constitutional Republic means that certain inalienable rights are protected even from democratic majorities.
No Republican questions or disputes civil rights. I have never waivered in my support for civil rights or the civil rights act.
The dispute, if there is one, has always been about how much of the remedy should come under federal or state or private purview.
What gets lost is that the Republican Party has always been the party of civil rights and voting rights.
Because Republicans believe that the federal government is limited in its function-some have concluded that Republicans are somehow inherently insensitive to minority rights.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Republicans do, indeed, still believe many rights remain with the people and states respectively.
When some people hear that, they tune us out and say: he’s just using code words for the state’s right to discriminate, for the state’s right to segregate and abuse.
But that’s simply not true.
Many Republicans do believe that decentralization of power is the best policy, that government is more efficient, more just, and more personal when it is smaller and more local.
But Republicans also realize that there are occasions of such egregious injustice that require federal involvement, and that is precisely what the 14th amendment and the Civil Rights Act were intended to do-protect citizens from state and local tyranny.
The fourteenth amendment says, “No state shall . . .” The fourteenth amendment did change the constitution to give a role for the federal government in protecting citizenship and voting regardless of race.
I did not live through segregation nor did I experience it first-hand. I did grow up in the South in public schools comprised of white, black, and Latino students largely all getting along with each other.
So, perhaps some will say that I can never understand. But I don’t think you had to be there to have been affected by our nation’s history of racial strife.
The tragedy of segregation and Jim Crow in the South is compounded when you realize that integration began in New England in the 1840’s and 1850’s.
In 1841, Frederick Douglas was pulled from the white car on the Eastern Railroad, clutching his seat so tightly that he was thrown from the train with its remnants still tightly in his hands.
But, within a few years public transportation was integrated in the northeast.
It is a stain on our history that integration didn’t occur until more than 100 years later in the South. That in the 1960’s we were still fighting to integrate public transportation and schools is and was an embarrassment.
The story of emancipation, voting rights and citizenship, from Fredrick Douglas until the modern civil rights era, is in fact the history of the Republican Party.
How did the party that elected the first black US Senator, the party that elected the first 20 African American Congressmen become a party that now loses 95% of the black vote?
How did the Republican Party, the party of the great Emancipator, lose the trust and faith of an entire race?
From the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, for a century, most black Americans voted Republican. How did we lose that vote?
To understand how Republicans lost the African American vote, we must first understand how we won the African American vote.
In Kentucky, the history of black voting rights is inseparable from the Republican Party. Virtually all African Americans became Republicans.
Democrats in Louisville were led by Courier-Journal editor Henry Watterson and were implacably opposed to blacks voting.
Watterson wrote that his opposition to blacks voting was “founded upon a conviction that their habits of life and general condition disqualify them from the judicious exercise of suffrage.”
In George Wright’s “Life Behind the Veil,” he writes of Republican General John Palmer standing before tens of thousands of slaves on July 4th, 1865, when slavery still existed in Kentucky, and declaring:
“my countrymen, you are free, and while I command, the military forces of the United States will defend your right to freedom.” The crowd erupted in cheers.
Meanwhile, Kentucky’s Democrat-controlled legislature voted against the 13th, the 14th, and the 15th amendments.
William Warley was a black Republican in Louisville. He was born toward the end of the nineteenth century.
He was a founder of Louisville’s NAACP but he is most famous for fighting and overturning the notorious Louisville segregated housing ordinance.
Warley bought a house in the white section in defiance of a city segregation law. The case, Buchanan v. Warley, was finally decided in 1917 and the Supreme Court held unanimously that Kentucky law could not forbid the sale of a house based on race.
The Republican Party’s history is rich and chock full of emancipation and black history.
Republicans still prize the sense of justice that MLK spoke of when he said that “an unjust law is any law the majority enforces on a minority but does not make binding upon itself.”
Republicans have never stopped believing that minorities, whether they derive from the color of their skin or shade of their ideology should warrant equal protection.
Everyone knows of the sit-ins in Greensboro and Nashville but few people remember the sit-it in the Alexandria public library in 1938.
Samuel Tucker, a lawyer and graduate of Howard University, recruited five young African American men to go to the public library and select a book and sit and read until they were forcibly removed.
Tucker’s sit-in set the stage for students who organized the sit-in at Woolworth’s in Greensboro that brought down Jim Crow in many areas, years before the civil rights act of 1964.
I think our retelling of the civil rights era does not give enough credit to the heroism of civil disobedience.
You may say, oh that’s all well and good but that was a long time ago what have you done for me lately?
I think what happened during the Great Depression was that African Americans understood that Republicans championed citizenship and voting rights but they became impatient for economic emancipation.
African Americans languished below white Americans in every measure of economic success and the Depression was especially harsh for those at the lowest rung of poverty.
The Democrats promised equalizing outcomes through unlimited federal assistance while Republicans offered something that seemed less tangible-the promise of equalizing opportunity through free markets.
Now, Republicans face a daunting task. Several generations of black voters have never voted Republican and are not very open to even considering the option.
Democrats still promise unlimited federal assistance and Republicans promise free markets, low taxes, and less regulations that we believe will create more jobs.
The Democrat promise is tangible and puts food on the table, but too often doesn’t lead to jobs or meaningful success.
The Republican promise is for policies that create economic growth. Republicans believe lower taxes, less regulation, balanced budgets, a solvent Social Security and Medicare will stimulate economic growth.
Republicans point to the Reagan years when the economy grew at nearly 7% and millions upon millions of jobs were created.
Today, after four years of the current policies, one in six Americans live in poverty, more than at any other time in the past several decades.
In fact, the poor have grown poorer in the past four years. Black unemployment is at 14%, nearly twice the national average. This is unacceptable.
Using taxes to punish the rich, in reality, punishes everyone because we are all interconnected. High taxes and excessive regulation and massive debt are not working.
The economy has been growing at less than 1% and actually contracted in the fourth quarter.
I would argue that the objective evidence shows that big government is not a friend to African Americans.
Big government relies on the Federal Reserve, our central bank, to print money out of thin air. Printing money out of thin air leads to higher prices.
When the price of gas rises to $4 per gallon, it is a direct result of our nation’s debt. When food prices rise, it is a direct result of the $50,000 we borrow each second. Inflation hurts everyone, particularly the poor.
If you are struggling to get ahead, if you have school loans and personal debt, you should choose a political party that wants to leave more money in the private sector so you will get a job when the time comes.
Some Republicans, let’s call them the moss-covered variety, mistake war for defense. They forget that Reagan argued for Peace through strength, not War through strength.
The old guard argues for arms for Ghaddafi and then the following year for boots on the ground to defeat Ghaddafi.
I want you to know that all Republicans do not clamor for war, that many Republicans believe in a strong national defense that serves to preserve the Peace.
In Louisville, in the predominantly African American west end of town, it was recently announced that 18 schools are failing. The graduation rate is 40%.
The head of Kentucky’s education called it academic genocide. Johns Hopkins researchers call these schools dropout factories.
I defy anyone to watch Waiting for Superman and honestly argue against school choice.
A minister friend of mine in the West End calls school choice the civil rights issue of the day. He’s absolutely right.
By the sixth grade, Ronald Holasie was failing most of his classes, but through school choice he was able to attend a Catholic school in the DC area.
There he learned that he had a natural gift for composing music, but before that, his reading level was so low that he had struggled to write lyrics. Ronald then went on to matriculate at Barry University.
There are countless examples of the benefits of school choice – where kids who couldn’t even read have turned their lives completely around.
Maybe it’s about time we all reassess blind allegiance to ideas that are failing our children.
Every child in every neighborhood, of every color, class and background, deserves a school that will help them succeed.
Those of you assembled today are American success stories. You will make it and do great things.
In every neighborhood, white, black or brown, there are kids who are not succeeding because they messed up.
They had kids before they were married, or before they were old enough to support them, or they got hooked on drugs, or they simply left school.
Republicans are often miscast as uncaring or condemning of kids who make bad choices. I, for one, plan to change that.
I am working with Democratic senators to make sure that kids who make bad decisions such as non-violent possession of drugs are not imprisoned for lengthy sentences.
I am working to make sure that first time offenders are put into counseling and not imprisoned with hardened criminals.
We should not take away anyone’s future over one mistake.
Let me tell you the tale of two young men. Both of them made mistakes. Both of them were said to have used illegal drugs.
One of them was white and from a privileged background. He had important friends, and an important father and an important grandfather. You know, the kind of family who university’s name dorms after.
The family had more money than they could count. Drugs or no drugs, his family could buy justice if he needed it.
The other man also used illegal drugs, but he was of mixed race and from a single parent household, with little money. He didn’t have important friends or a wealthy father.
Now, you might think I’m about to tell you a story about racism in America, where the rich white kid gets off and the black kid goes to jail.
It could well be, and often is, but that is not this story. In this story, both young men were extraordinarily lucky. Both young men were not caught. They weren’t imprisoned.
Instead, they both went on to become Presidents of the United States.
Barack Obama and George Bush were lucky. The law could have put both of them away for their entire young adulthood. Neither one would have been employable, much less president.
Some argue with evidence that our drug laws are biased-that they are the new Jim Crow.
But to simply be against them for that reason misses a larger point. They are unfair to EVERYONE, largely because of the one size fits all federal mandatory sentences.
Our federal mandatory minimum sentences are simply heavy handed and arbitrary. They can affect anyone at any time, though they disproportionately affect those without the means to fight them.
We should stand and loudly proclaim enough is enough. We should not have laws that ruin the lives of young men and women who have committed no violence.
That’s why I have introduced a bill to repeal federal mandatory minimum sentences. We should not have drug laws or a court system that disproportionately punishes the black community.
The history of African-American repression in this country rose from government-sanctioned racism.
Jim Crow laws were a product of bigoted state and local governments.
Big and oppressive government has long been the enemy of freedom, something black Americans know all too well.
We must always embrace individual liberty and enforce the constitutional rights of all Americans-rich and poor, immigrant and native, black and white.
Such freedom is essential in achieving any longstanding health and prosperity.
As Toni Morrison said, write your own story. Challenge mainstream thought.
I hope that some of you will be open to the Republican message that favors choice in education, a less aggressive foreign policy, more compassion regarding non-violent crime and encourages opportunity in employment.
And when the time is right, I hope that African Americans will again look to the party of emancipation, civil liberty, and individual freedom.
This is not unusual for the left. As has been demonstrated again and again, such laws are not designed to stop crime, they are designed to put gun owners in jail, who are most likely the political enemies of Democrats. yes their intentions are that bad.
S. 374 just passed the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday on a vote of 10-8. S. 374 bears the Orwellian title “Protecting Responsible Gun Sellers Act of 2013.” With all of the talk about “Universal Background Checks,” it is time to see what Congress has in mind for you. In short, the bill is designed to land you in federal prison.
The act bans the transfer of a firearm without running a criminal background check on a transferee through the federal NICS system. This is the same system that is used for retail purchases of firearms now, whether at a gun store or a gun show. The bill would apply the check to transfers that are currently private and expand the definition of “transfer” beyond any reasonable conception of the term. The definition of a “transfer” in the bill is very broad, and it includes loaning a firearm. There are some exceptions, but the exceptions are very narrowly drawn.
Under S. 374 as it passed the Judiciary Committee, all transfers would first require a transfer to a federally licensed firearms dealer, who would then transfer the firearm to the recipient, after running a check through NICS.
Exceptions would include gifts to a spouse, sibling, parent-child, or grandparent grandchild.
Transfers within the home, say to a live in girlfriend, would be legal, but only if the firearm does not leave the home (or “curtilage”) and the transfer lasts less than 7 days. A temporary transfer at a shooting range would also be legal, but only if the firearm does not leave the shooting range. A loan for hunting would also be legal. Other loans would result in imprisonment for a year unless the NICS check is performed.
The term “transfer” specifically includes the term “loan,” so loaning a firearm other than in the situations outlined above would be a crime.
What about the following situations:
You leave on a trip for 10 days, with the firearm at home in possession of a room mate, fiancee, or lover.
You have a few acres here in Georgia. You step away from the “curtilage” of your home and permit a friend or relative to use your firearm to shoot targets or pests on your own property.
Both situations would land you in prison under S. 374.
It gets worse. What is a shooting range? Under the bill, it is only a shooting range if it is owned or occupied by a “duly incorporated organization organized for conservation purposes or to foster proficiency in firearms.”
Is the shooting range owned by a natural person? Prison.
Is the shooting range owned by a corporation dedicated to turning a profit, rather than conservation or fostering the aims in the bill? Prison.
What about loaning a firearm for shooting at a Georgia DNR range? Prison.
While there is an exception for shooting competitions organized by the Georgia DNR, there is no exception for loaning a firearm just for recreational target shooting practice.
There is much more to the bill. For instance, it does away with the Georgia Weapons Carry License as an exception to the NICS check. It permits Eric Holder to set the cost of the transfer fee when you loan your weapon. It mandates reporting the theft or loss of a firearm within 24 hours, the failure of which will put you in prison, and this part of the bill is a felony punishable by 5 years imprisonment.
The bill claims Congressional power to make these laws under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause.
Well for starters it sets up civilian gun registration, which history shows not only is useless at crime fighting, but is used to disarm the citizens before a disaster. It bans certain guns, in such a way that goes directly against the Supreme Court rulings in Heller and Miller.
Combine such a list with current data mining in the government and you have a new 4th Amendment problem as well. What ever happened to the right to privacy?
Senator McCain asks “why can’t we have an open debate (and simple majority vote implied) about this?” The answer is obvious even to him:
1 – Human rights are not subject to majority vote. It says “shall not be infringed” for a reason.
2 – Politicians are not honest brokers when debating most any issue. What they are calling “universal back ground checks” is really civilian gun registration. All while they try to sell to the masses that most people go to a gun show to buy guns without a back ground check, when that simply is not the case.
While talking about “back ground checks” for mental health, the left has and continues to oppose inserting more of these records into the current national instant check system. The left also opposes mandatory evaluations for those who are dangerously mentally ill; actually arguing that people “have a right to be mentally ill”.
The left refuses to enforce the gun laws we have now against genuine criminals. Chicago has the lowest gun crime enforcement rate and the highest gun crime. That is not an accident. However, when the left has a chance to go after an honest citizen who makes a technical violation of a gun law without criminal intent he is prosecuted with zeal, unless of course he is politically well connected.
Speaking of not debating as an honest broker, in the budget battle the Democrats have redefined the term “balanced” in the budget to mean “more tax increases fewer spending cuts and more spending elsewhere” rather than a budget that does not spend more than it takes in. When politicians stoop to this level of dishonesty any debate becomes a platform and tool for the lying politician.
And to think somehow John McCain was able to become the Republican Presidential Nominee.
The IRS estimates that the cheapest Obamacare approved health plan available in 2016 (to avoid the penalty) will cost $20,000.
In bold face below is the administration’s response to this study and what they say is just plain dishonest. Why?
The Obama Administration is trying to confuse people on cost vs price. A small percentage of Americans will have their skyrocketing health insurance premiums partially subsidized by the government, but while that may bring down the price of the premium, the actual cost of the premiums and the rising cost of the claims due to the taxes and regulations still skyrockets.
In this case price does not equal cost. For example: If your son goes to the store to buy a Hot Wheels car that costs $3.00 and your son only has $2.00, if you give him the extra dollar to pay for it, the cost of the toy car is still $3.00.
The idea of the subsidy making insurance affordable is also misleading because those who will be able to qualify to get help paying their premiums, will still not be able to afford their portion of the insurance premium because the cost of the insurance will be so high – subsidized or not.
This very writer’s employer subsidized health insurance premium went from about $30.00 a month to $267.00 and I make too much money to qualify for a subsidy. The poor simply cannot afford to pay it.
The other misleading statement from the Obama Administration is that some people can go on the state insurance exchange and get the state exchange to pay for part of their insurance premium. Setting aside the cost does not equal price fact we explained above, many states are not participating in the exchange. Why? Because after the first three years of Obamacare the states have to pay the subsidized portion of the rising premiums themselves which state after state has made very clear will bankrupt them (assuming that the poor would have the money to sign up and pay for their part of the estimated $20,000 per year premium).
Medical claims costs — the biggest driver of health insurance premiums — will jump an average 32 percent for Americans’ individual policies under President Obama’s overhaul, according to a study by the nation’s leading group of financial risk analysts.
The report could turn into a big headache for the Obama administration at a time when many parts of the country remain skeptical about the Affordable Care Act. The estimates were recently released by the Society of Actuaries to its members.
While some states will see medical claims costs per person decline, the report concluded the overwhelming majority will see double-digit increases in their individual health insurance markets, where people purchase coverage directly from insurers.
The disparities are striking. By 2017, the estimated increase would be 62 percent for California, about 80 percent for Ohio, more than 20 percent for Florida and 67 percent for Maryland. Much of the reason for the higher claims costs is that sicker people are expected to join the pool, the report said.
The report did not make similar estimates for employer plans, the mainstay for workers and their families. That’s because the primary impact of Obama’s law is on people who don’t have coverage through their jobs.
The administration questions the design of the study, saying it focused only on one piece of the puzzle and ignored cost relief strategies in the law such as tax credits to help people afford premiums and special payments to insurers who attract an outsize share of the sick. The study also doesn’t take into account the potential price-cutting effect of competition in new state insurance markets that will go live on Oct. 1, administration officials said.
“It’s misleading to look at only some of the provisions of the law because, taken together, the law will reduce costs,” said Health and Human Services spokeswoman Erin Shields Britt.
But a prominent national expert, recently retired Medicare chief actuary Rick Foster, said the report does “a credible job” of estimating potential enrollment and costs under the law, “without trying to tilt the answers in any particular direction.”
And this is a fact, as of March 13, 2013 these are just the Obamacare regulations, over 20,000 pages (photo below). The tax code is over 60,000 pages.
Apple founder Steve Jobs, according to his book, told Obama that government has rendered it almost impossible for him to build a factory here in the United States, which is why he builds them in China. This very writer has a dear friend who runs a small business with less than ten employees. He tells me of the constant efforts by state and federal bureaucrats to put him out of business.
I ask you, why are two sisters who group up and decide to live together not entitled to inheritance rights and such the same as married people? So married couples and perhaps lesbians should get this but not sisters? This is not an argument for gay marriage, it is an argument for fixing the tax law, abolishing estate taxes altogether because they are so unfair, and a simple tax code that works for people no matter if they are married, straight, gay, or even just sisters.
The tax code argument for gay marriage is an argument about a crappy tax code, not for gay marriage. I say keep our eye on the ball, the tax code is a behemoth disaster and a tool for the corrupt. Toss it out and replace it.
The Universal Studios theme park resort in Florida will end health insurance for part-time employees as of December 31 as a direct result of Obamacare.
As The Inquistir has previously reported, other employers in retail or in the restaurant business and in other sectors are doing the same or offloading full-time employees into a part-time status (less than 30 hours a week) so they don’t qualify for existing coverage. Irrespective of the need to hire more employees, some firms are purposely keeping headcount below 50 workers to avoid the law’s provisions altogether. Despite supporting Obamacare, many politically connected unions have sought and received waivers from the law’s provisions.
Universal explained that its low-premium plan (commonly referred to as a “mini-med” plan) that places a cap on annual benefits is no longer permitted under Obamacare. Universal, one of the largest employers in central Florida, claims, however, that only three percent of its employees will be affected by the change according to the Orlando Sentinel. The paper also reported that Walt Disney World is “still assessing the health-care reform act and how it impacts our business.”
Similarly, according to the Financial Times, David Dillon, chief executive of the Kroger supermarket chain, commented “that some companies might opt to pay a government-mandated penalty for not providing insurance because it was cheaper than the cost of coverage.”
Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini claimed that health insurance premiums for some small businesses and individuals could double next year under Obamacare, according the Bloomberg news agency.
The Los Angeles Times had similar findings about the possibility of premium sticker shock:
“Exactly how high the premiums may go won’t be known until later this year. But already, officials in states that support the law have sounded warnings that some people — mostly those who are young and do not receive coverage through their work — may see considerably higher prices than expected.”
You’ll recall that in the long struggle to get Congress to narrowly approve Obamacare, the president repeatedly insisted that if you like your current insurance, you can keep it. He and his Democrat colleagues also maintained that the law would health insurance less expensive or more widely available.
NBC Newshas reported that about eight million people, however, will lose their employer-provided health insurance altogether as a result of the so-called fiscal cliff deal, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated.
No matter what the tax is, it is sold to help fund “the children”, “the sick”, “the disabled”…. and what kind of sick greedy capitalist bastard are YOU to oppose it!! YOU HATE CHILDREN!!
The good ole “bait and switch” is almost the oldest trick in the book, and is used by the left as a matter of routine.
[Editor’s Note: For more on how the Proposition 63 Tax was a failure and how the resources were misused and eventually misappropriated to pet projects click HERE.]
Mercury News – Prop 63 hasn’t solved California’s mental health care crisis:
If President Barack Obama wants a model for solving the nation’s mental health care crisis, he needs to find a better one than California.
Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg urged Obama to adopt California’s Proposition 63 as the nation’s model following the tragic shootings in Newtown, Conn., which raised awareness of mental health as well as gun control issues. Steinberg has asked Obama to consider matching dollar for dollar the money that states put into their mental health programs.
Proposition 63, approved by voters in 2004, was sponsored by Steinberg. It has, indeed, been good at raising money. The 1 percent tax on millionaires’ incomes has netted more than $8 billion over eight years.
But what does California have to show for it? Fewer psychiatric hospital beds, fewer doctors treating patients and fewer clinics across the state. An estimated 750,000 California adults failed to receive mental health treatment they needed last year.
And if California is making any progress in reducing the use of its jails and prisons to warehouse the mentally ill, it’s news to us. About half of the counties in the state have no inpatient psychiatric services.
The formula for distributing Proposition 63 money allocates significant amounts to counties for new programs for new patients rather than older but still-needed programs for longtime patients. And last year’s budget cuts made matters worse. While Proposition 63 raised $1 billion in dedicated funding, the Legislature took $798 million of nonrestricted money away from other mental health programs.
The result is a two-tier system in which a wave of new programs is flush with cash while long-standing programs serving the vast majority of patients are crunched for money.
“If we could fund the programs we need, we could greatly reduce the number of people in our jails and prisons,” says Jessica Cruz, executive director of California’s branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, who supports the Proposition 63 programs but thinks more money is needed for others. “We could help reduce the number of mentally ill crowding our hospital emergency rooms and the homeless wandering our streets.”
A Department of Justice study found that 56 percent of state prisoners and 64 percent of local jail inmates have symptoms of serious mental illnesses. And 75 percent of those inmates received no treatment while incarcerated. Three out of every four people with serious mental illnesses can be successfully treated for a fraction of the annual cost of $47,102 of housing an inmate in California’s prisons.
Cruz notes that only 2 percent of mentally ill people are violent. If California could reach them before their problems manifest themselves in horrific fashion, we could make communities safer, save taxpayers money any improve the lives of thousands who now have nowhere to turn for help.
[Editor’s Note: D. J. Jaffe maintains a list of links and information about mental health policy. His work is a must read for anyone interested in public safety.]
President Obama said the federal government has to do something meaningful to prevent future shootings, like the recent massacre of 26 children and adults at a school in Newtown, Connecticut. Here is what the federal government can do to prevent violence related to mental illness:
2. Write exceptions into the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) so parents of mentally ill children can get access to medical records and receive information from their children’s doctors on what is wrong and what the children need. Right now, for reasons of “confidentiality,’ doctors won’t tell parents what is wrong with their kids or what treatment they need, even as they require parents to provide the care. As a result, when a child goes off treatment, the parents’ hands are tied. They have all the responsibility to see the person is cared for, but none of the information or authority to see it happens. We have to change the patient confidentiality laws so parents can help prevent tragedies rather than become a punching bag for the public when something horrific happens.
3. End the Institutes for Mental Disease (IMD) exclusion in Medicaid law. This provision tells states: “If you kick someone out of the hospital, we will pay you 50% of the community care costs.” This causes states to lock the front door of hospitals and open the back door, regardless of whether the community is an appropriate setting. If you have a disease in any organ of your body, other than the brain, and need long-term hospital care, Medicaid pays. Failing to pay when the illness is in the brain is federal discrimination against persons with mental illness. I wrote on Medicaid discrimination for the mass market in the Washington Post, but John Edwards wrote a more scholarly paper on ending the IMD Exclusion. Relatedly, a proposal made by former vice-presidential candidate Ryan, under which Medicaid was block-granted could solve this problem.
4. Create a federal definition of serious mental illness, and require that the vast majority of mental-health funding go to it. Due to mission creep and the tendency to diagnose normal reactions of people as a mental “health” issue, government agencies now claim that 40 percent or more of Americans have a mental ‘health’ issue. Worst, most mental “health” funding currently goes to this group of the highest functioning. But only 5 to 9 percent of Americans have a serious mental illness. That’s where we should be spending our money — on the 5 to 9 percent who are most likely to become violent and need help, not the worried well. There is more than enough money in the mental-health system to prevent Newtown-type incidents, provided it is spent on people who are truly ill, not the worried-well. I wrote on this for a mass market on Huffington Post, but a much more scholarly paper was written by Howard H. Goldman and Gerald N. Grob. With the fiscal cliff approaching, prioritizing the most seriously mentally ill for services is more important than ever.
5. Eliminate the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA). SAMHSA is the epicenter of what is wrong with the American mental-health system. SAMHSA actively encourages states to engage in mission creep and send the most seriously ill to the end of the line. They provide massive funding to organizations that want to prevent mentally ill individuals from receiving treatment. They have nothing positive to show for their efforts in spite of a massive bureaucracy that meets and meets and meets and never accomplishes anything. I wrote on this for a mass market in the Washington Timesand Huffington Post. But Amanda Peters wrote a terrific scholarly piece on SAMHSA for a law journal.
If Obama is serious about wanting to do something, the steps above would be the best first step. True, the mental-health industry may throw a fit as they find themselves obligated to serve the most seriously ill, but it’s the right thing to do. Anything else could be deadly.
Here is what states should do.
States should make greater use of Assisted Outpatient Treatment, especially for those with a history of violence or incarceration. AOT allows courts to order certain mentally ill people to stay in treatment as a condition of living in the community. AOT works. New Yorkers remember Larry Hogue, the “Wild Man of 96th Street,” who kept getting hospitalized, going off meds, terrorizing neighbors, and going back into the hospital. Connecticut does NOT have an AOT law on the books (see these facts about the Connecticut mental-health system), and we can’t say for sure if it would have helped in this case, but all states should have one to prevent similar incidents.
• States should make sure their civil-commitment laws include all the following, not just “danger to self or others: (A) Is “gravely disabled”, which means that the person is substantially unable, except for reasons of indigence, to provide for any of his or her basic needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, health or safety, or (B) is likely to “substantially deteriorate” if not provided with timely treatment, or (C) lacks capacity, which means that as a result of the brain disorder, the person is unable to fully understand or lacks judgment to make an informed decision regarding his or her need for treatment, care, or supervision.
• When the “dangerousness standard” is used, it must be interpreted more broadly than “imminently” and/or “provably” dangerous.
State laws should also allow for consideration of a patient’s record in making determinations about court-ordered treatment, since history is often a reliable way to anticipate the future course of illness. (Currently, it is like criminal procedures: what you did in the past presumably has no bearing, so the court may not know past history when deciding whether to commit someone. In fact, there are ways to know which mentally ill individuals become or are likely to become violent.)
Your employer might cover part of it, or the taxpayers may cover a part of it, but no matter who pays, the cost of insurance is going way up, while at the same time driving down the available resources for medical services.
In a final regulation issued Wednesday, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assumed that under Obamacare the cheapest health insurance plan available in 2016 for a family will cost $20,000 for the year.
Under Obamacare, Americans will be required to buy health insurance or pay a penalty to the IRS.
The IRS’s assumption that the cheapest plan for a family will cost $20,000 per year is found in examples the IRS gives to help people understand how to calculate the penalty they will need to pay the government if they do not buy a mandated health plan.
The examples point to families of four and families of five, both of which the IRS expects in its assumptions to pay a minimum of $20,000 per year for a bronze plan.
“The annual national average bronze plan premium for a family of 5 (2 adults, 3 children) is $20,000,” the regulation says.
Bronze will be the lowest tier health-insurance plan available under Obamacare–after Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Under the law, the penalty for not buying health insurance is supposed to be capped at either the annual average Bronze premium, 2.5 percent of taxable income, or $2,085.00 per family in 2016.
In the new final rules published Wednesday, IRS set in law the rules for implementing the penalty Americans must pay if they fail to obey Obamacare’s mandate to buy insurance.
To help illustrate these rules, the IRS presented examples of different situations families might find themselves in.
In the examples, the IRS assumes that families of five who are uninsured would need to pay an average of $20,000 per year to purchase a Bronze plan in 2016.
Using the conditions laid out in the regulations, the IRS calculates that a family earning $120,000 per year that did not buy insurance would need to pay a “penalty” (a word the IRS still uses despite the Supreme Court ruling that it is in fact a “tax”) of $2,400 in 2016.
For those wondering how clear the IRS’s clarifications of this new “penalty” rule are, here is one of the actual examples the IRS gives:
“Example 3. Family without minimum essential coverage.
“(i) In 2016, Taxpayers H and J are married and file a joint return. H and J have three children: K, age 21, L, age 15, and M, age 10. No member of the family has minimum essential coverage for any month in 2016. H and J’s household income is $120,000. H and J’s applicable filing threshold is $24,000. The annual national average bronze plan premium for a family of 5 (2 adults, 3 children) is $20,000.
“(ii) For each month in 2016, under paragraphs (b)(2)(ii) and (b)(2)(iii) of this section, the applicable dollar amount is $2,780 (($695 x 3 adults) + (($695/2) x 2 children)). Under paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section, the flat dollar amount is $2,085 (the lesser of $2,780 and $2,085 ($695 x 3)). Under paragraph (b)(3) of this section, the excess income amount is $2,400 (($120,000 – $24,000) x 0.025). Therefore, under paragraph (b)(1) of this section, the monthly penalty amount is $200 (the greater of $173.75 ($2,085/12) or $200 ($2,400/12)).
“(iii) The sum of the monthly penalty amounts is $2,400 ($200 x 12). The sum of the monthly national average bronze plan premiums is $20,000 ($20,000/12 x 12). Therefore, under paragraph (a) of this section, the shared responsibility payment imposed on H and J for 2016 is $2,400 (the lesser of $2,400 or $20,000).”
Indiana has three bills to make some technical fixes to Indiana’s firearm laws.
The problem with some gun laws is that they are designed, sometimes intentionally as in New York’s gun law, to trick legal gun owners into breaking the law simply by acting reasonably. This turns regular decent folks into criminals, Left wing prosecutors and politicians are all too willing to throw the interests of justice out the window to have a chance to ruin the life of a political foe.
Each one of these bills contain basic common sense changes that should be enacted into law.
Via Chris Cox at The NRA:
The 2013 session of the Indiana General Assembly is off to a great start with multiple pro-gun bills being filed. Some great strides have been made over recent years in Indiana and your NRA will continue working to move forward to protect the rights of the law-abiding gun owners in the Hoosier State.
House Bill 1473, sponsored by state Representative Jim Lucas (R-69), would allow a person who legally possesses a firearm to keep that firearm stored in a locked trunk of their vehicle, a glove box, or stored out of plain sight in the vehicle while on school property. This would allow parents to park on school property for a meeting with a teacher or principal to do so without the fear of breaking the law. HB 1473 has been referred to the House Committee on Public Policy.
State Representative Sean Eberhart (R-57) has filed pro-hunting legislation, House Bill 1563, which applies to fish and wildlife matters. The Hoosier State maintains a rich hunting heritage and HB 1563 would make a few enhancements to Indiana’s wildlife laws. HB 1563 has been referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources.
Sponsored by state Senators Jim Banks (R-17) and Jim Tomes (R-49), Senate Bill 97 prohibits a state agency, including a state-supported college or university, from regulating the possession or transportation of firearms, ammunition, or firearm accessories on land, in buildings and other structures that are owned or leased by the state. Please be advised that SB 97 would not affect prohibited places under federal law. SB 97 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedure.
Please continue to check www.NRAILA.org for updates on these and other issues.
In 2006, Canada’s National Debt was 50% of their GDP. In 2006, America’s National Debt was 50% of their GDP. Since the elections in Canada of Stephen Harper and the Conservative Government the Canadian National Debt stands at less than 30% of the Canadian GDP. Since the midterms of 2006 [when Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats took power in Congress] in America the National debt now stands at over 100% of the American GDP.
1) Only in America could the rich people – who pay 86% of all income taxes –
be accused of not paying their “fair share” by people who don’t pay any
income taxes at all.
2) Only in America could people claim that the government still
discriminates against black Americans when they have a black President, a
black Attorney General, and roughly 18% of the federal work force is black
while only 12% of the population is black
3) Only in America could they have had the two people most responsible for
our tax code, Timothy Geithner, the head of the Treasury Department and
Charles Rangel who once ran the Ways and Means Committee, BOTH turn out to
be tax cheats who are in favor of higher taxes.
4) Only in America can they have terrorists kill people in the name of Allah
and have the media primarily react by fretting that Muslims might be harmed
by the backlash.
5) Only in America would they make people who want to legally become
American citizens wait for years in their home countries and pay tens of
thousands of dollars for the privilege while we discuss letting anyone who
sneaks into the country illegally just ‘magically’ become American citizens.
6) Only in America could the people who believe in balancing the budget and
sticking by the country’s Constitution be thought of as “extremists.”
7) Only in America could you need to present a driver’s license to cash a
check or buy alcohol, but not to vote.
8) Only in America could people demand the government investigate whether
oil companies are gouging the public because the price of gas went up when
the return on equity invested in a major U.S. oil company (Marathon Oil) is
less than half of a company making tennis shoes (Nike).
9) Only in America could the government collect more tax dollars from the
people than any nation in recorded history, still spend a Trillion dollars
more than it has per year – for total spending of $7-Million PER MINUTE, and
complain that it doesn’t have nearly enough money.
10) Only in America could politicians talk about the greed of the rich at a
$35,000.00 a plate campaign fund-raising event.
11) Only in America can a man with no background, no qualifications and no
experience … and a complete failure at his job … be reelected.
What you see here is Senator Leahy trying to get a soundbite out of Wayne LaPierre. Senator Leahy is trying to get an answer out of the NRA that he can spin into using to falsely claim that the NRA opposes ALL back ground checks on gun buyers who do not already have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. The simple truth is that it is the NRA who championed the National Instant Check System (NICS) to begin with. Under the law it is illegal to attempt to buy a gun of you are a convicted felon and it is the ACLU and other groups among the left that have opposed mandatory reporting to NICS for the mentally ill.
The Obama Administration has made a conscious decision not to prosecute felons who attempt to buy guns. I will let you decide why you think that is, but the sudden and staggering drop in prosecutions cannot be an accident.
The NRA opposes mandatory checks for collectors who occasionally trade or sell a single firearm at a gun show, why? Because the left has a VERY long history on using technicalities in such laws or simple mistakes in paperwork to prosecute honest gun owners and collectors, which is exactly what the new gun law in New York in designed to do. The simple truth is that ideologues in the Democratic Party have long been willing to criminalize political differences and use their prosecutoreal zeal to go after gun owners who the left views as political enemies.
To see more on the “Gunshow Loophole Myth” click HERE.
In data released Thursday afternoon, the Federal Reserve revealed that its holdings of U.S. government debt had increased to an all-time record of $1,696,691,000,000 as of the close of business on Wednesday.
The Fed’s holdings of U.S. government debt have increased by 257 percent since President Barack Obama was first inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2009, and the Fed is currently the single largest holder of U.S. government debt.
As of the end of November, according to the U.S. Treasury, entities in Mainland China owned about $1,170,100,000,000 in U.S. government debt, making China the largest foreign holder of U.S. government debt.
When Obama was inaugurated in 2009, the Fed owned $475.322 billion in U.S. government debt. As of the close of business on Wednesday, Jan. 23, the Fed owned $1.696691 trillion in U.S. government debt, up $1.221369 trillion during Obama’s first term.
After 30 years, The New York Times has admitted that Reaganomics worked.
The inadvertent revelation comes in a November 29th article by Binyamin Appelbaum chronicling the steadily falling tax burden Americans have experienced since the 1980s.
AEI columnist James Pethokoukis notes that the heart of The Times’ article is that in 2010 Americans “paid far less in total taxes — federal, state and local — than they would have paid 30 years ago.”
Pethokoukis points out that some tax hike advocates think this means that America’s tax burden is too low and time has come for a hike. But Pethokoukis disagrees.
Maybe I’m crazy, but I think the reduction in the tax burden — staring with the Reagan tax cuts — has been a huge competitive advantage for the U.S. We should keep that edge. Check out these numbers. In 1981, France’s per capita GDP was 81% of U.S. per capita GDP, Germany’s 83%, Italy’s 81%, Britain’s 69%.
In 2010, France’s per capita GDP was 73% of U.S. per capita GDP (down 8 points), Germany’s 81% (down 2 points), Italy’s 68% (down 12 points), and Britain’s 76% (up 7 points).
Pethokoukis reminds readers that Europe was closing the gap with U.S. wealth by 1980, but after Reagan’s tax cuts that trend stagnated and in other cases even began to reverse.
There are many great points made in the Pethokoukis piece and you need to go read them, but his last one is the funniest—or saddest, depending on your point of view.
4. Another bit: “Economists agree that taxes on business are passed on to investors, reducing profits, and to workers, reducing wages. Upper-income households bear the brunt of these taxes, and corporate tax collections have fallen sharply.” That is right. Taxes matter.
Funny, the NYT never mentioned this widely known economic fact when Mitt Romney was attacked for saying “Corporations are people.”
WASHINGTON — President Obama’s $60.4 billion request for Hurricane Sandy relief has morphed into a huge Christmas stocking of goodies for federal agencies and even the state of Alaska, The Post has learned.
The pork-barrel feast includes more than $8 million to buy cars and equipment for the Homeland Security and Justice departments. It also includes a whopping $150 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to dole out to fisheries in Alaska and $2 million for the Smithsonian Institution to repair museum roofs in DC.
Other big-ticket items in the bill include $207 million for the VA Manhattan Medical Center; $41 million to fix up eight military bases along the storm’s path, including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; $4 million for repairs at Kennedy Space Center in Florida; $3.3 million for the Plum Island Animal Disease Center and $1.1 million to repair national cemeteries.
Budget watchdogs have dubbed the 94-page emergency-spending bill “Sandy Scam.”
Matt Mayer of the conservative Heritage Foundation slammed the request as an “enormous Christmas gift worth of stuff.”
“The funding here should be focused on helping the community and the people, not replacing federal assets or federal items,” he said.
Even though deficits rule the day at every level of government, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the 847,000 new jobs created since June, a full 621,000 were government jobs. In November alone, 35,000 new government jobs were created.
In other words, as the labor participation rate plummets to a thirty year low — which means we have fewer taxpayers — we’re not only increasing the number of taxpayer-funded jobs, but the government is using the creation of these jobs to juice the employment numbers in a way that makes it look as though the job situation is actually improving.
Naturally, none of this would be possible without a compliant media working overtime to bring out the pom-poms and cover up what’s really going on.
Let me tell you something, if Obama had an “R” after his name and creating the exact same economic results, the media would make damn sure the public was familiar with what “labor participation rate” means. [Emphasis ours – Political Arena]
The poll asked respondents, “President Obama has said he will not negotiate with Republicans on cuts to entitlement programs, including Medicare, until they agree to raise tax rates on the wealthy. Do you think he is right or wrong to insist on that as a precondition to broader negotiations?”
As Bloomberg reported in its story, 58 percent percent of respondents indicated that the president was “right” to insist on the precondition, while 37 percent said he was “wrong.”
But in the same poll, American adults were asked “whether it is better to raise the top tax rate the wealthy pay, or to limit the amount people can claim in tax breaks, such as mortgage interest and charitable contributions, so they end up paying tax on a bigger share of their income.”
Fifty-two percent responded that they preferred limited tax breaks to a tax-rate hike.
[Political Arena Editor’s Note – The tax reform to eliminate some deductions and loop holes that tend to favor the richest players with the most political influence is the Boehner (Republican) plan. Bloomberg News did not report that according to their own poll, more people favored the Republican tax plan.]
Only 39 percent said they would rather see tax rates on the wealthy increase. Nine percent indicated they weren’t sure.
The Bloomberg News story quoted the president of Selzer & Co., which conducted the survey, saying the results indicated that Republicans and Speaker of the House John Boehner should yield to the president.
“If you are not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” – Malcolm X