Friday, November 30, 2012

AMT: the stealth tax at the cliff

Beyond the discussion abound of targeting our retirement investments, could this be a more immediate alternative that Capitol Hill might aim for, requiring no action on their part?

WashingtonWire: The fiscal cliff is made up of lots of different components. But one of the most important – if little-understood – is the alternative minimum tax.

The AMT is a sort of stealth tax that hits people when they accumulate too many deductions and other breaks. It was originally adopted to make sure that the very wealthy don’t avoid paying tax altogether. But in recent years it’s begun to affect more middle-class households. In part that’s because it’s not automatically indexed for inflation.

So every year or two, Congress passes an AMT “patch” to exempt most of the people affected. For 2011, the exemption was $74,450 for married taxpayers filing jointly, and $48,450 for individuals. Because of the exemption, only about 4 million taxpayers paid the AMT for 2011.

But the last patch expired at the end of 2011. Unless Congress does something by the end of December, the AMT exemptions revert to $45,000 for married taxpayers and $33,750 for individuals. That means about 28 million more households would owe “very large, unexpected” AMT liability for 2012, according to the IRS, and they would owe the tax on the returns they file in the spring of 2013.

A surprise tax? As if ObamaCare and the economic slump aren't enough. And it would still only make a dent in paying down the debt, if they even had that in mind (which they don't). However, good news for all those who voted Obama and Democrats back into office...

From a political standpoint, it’s hard to imagine a better formula for sparking a taxpayer revolt than to impose a large, unexpected tax increase with little or no warning.

The impact would be concentrated in more affluent and urbanized states, particularly those with high state and local taxes (the federal deduction for state and local taxes is one of the breaks that frequently pushes people into the AMT). California’s number of AMT filers would go from 685,000 to more than 5.5 million, according to the Congressional Research Service. New York would go from 477,000 to about 3.9 million. New Jersey would go from 265,000 to almost 2.2 million.

That makes the AMT a tax increase that could hurt Democratic lawmakers as much as Republicans – and maybe more because the states most affected tend to be blue ones.

Middle class Democrats paying their fair share and spreading their wealth around too. Oops. Those Staten Islanders sure aren't gonna be any happier with the regime.

Levin: 'The UN is not our friend'

Mark gives us the real skinny on the UN and that vote yesterday...if you didn't already know...

"The U.N. is not our friend ... It’s populated overwhelmingly with thugs, genocidal maniacs and other freaks...”

You see, yesterday's vote in the general assembly wasn't just about upgrading the Palestinians’ status to a nonmember observer state. The Palestinians are now granted the ability to bring international charges against Israel, which they've wanted for years. Even more concerning, this vote displays just how isolated our Israeli ally is in the world, and that isolation extends to us as well.

Next, comes the threat to sovereignty and freedom.

Little Timmy Geithner’s letter to Santa

Dear Santa...

BeltwayConfidential: Yesterday Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner presented Republican leaders on Capitol Hill with President Obama’s plan to avoid the fiscal cliff. The Geithner proposal asked for:
1. An immediate $1 trillion tax hike through higher top marginal income tax rates as well as higher taxes on both capital gains and dividends.
2. An agreement to raise $600 billion more in taxes later this year by limiting tax deductions for top earners.
3. $50 billion in new infrastructure stimulus spending.
4. Another “emergency” extension of unemployment benefits.
5. An extension of either the payroll tax cut or the reinstatement of Obama’s stimulus Making Work Pay tax credit.
6. A mortgage refinancing program.
7. Billions in new spending to prevent cuts to Medicare reimbursement payments for doctors.
8. An infinite debt limit hike.
Upon hearing Geithner’s wish list, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., reportedly “burst into laughter.” He should have patted Geithner on the head and offered him a candy cane instead.

The offer Obama gave to Republicans yesterday should cure any conservative of the fantasy that Obama is an honest partner in either the fiscal cliff talks or the larger and long-term fight to reduce the deficit. Yesterday’s offer proves that Obama will never agree to any significant and meaningful entitlement or tax reform.

The best Republicans can do now is just go back home to their constituents and wait till the Obama administration grows up.

And where's the spending cuts? Oh right...they're not there. Does this give you any indication of how concerned Obama and Democrats are about negotiating a deal, or the fiscal cliff for that matter? If that doesn't, this should...

TravelersToday: Now that he doesn't have to worry about campaigning, President Barack Obama is reportedly getting ready for a long Hawaiian vacation with his family over the holiday season. According to estimates, the trip will cost at least $4 million on the tax payers dime.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Targeting your 401k and IRA

Liberals have been scheming up plans to do this for years, and the call to confiscate more of your wealth by mettling in your investment savings is erupting once again...this time at the peak of Democrats stirring up more and more class warfare in our country, no less. And now, they've come up with a new angle to seize more of your property: Your 401k or IRA tax deduction is now a government subsidy.

And the bastions of liberal institutions and media march in lockstep with their statist cohorts...just take a look at how they perceive your savings...

TheNewYorkTimes: Every year, the government spends more than $100 billion on tax breaks to encourage Americans to save more for retirement. But a new study suggests such provisions may have little effect on the amount Americans save.

The finding has particular relevance as Congress looks for ways to raise revenue by reducing tax breaks as part of the year-end budget negotiations.

The researchers — Raj Chetty and John N. Friedman of Harvard, Soren Leth-Petersen and Tore Olsen of the University of Copenhagen, and Torben Heien Nielsen of the Danish National Center for Social Research — looked at Danish data, in part because analogous American numbers are much less detailed. Although there is no way to know whether the patterns in Denmark and the United States are identical, the two countries have similar pension systems, and the new research fits with previous findings about how Americans save.

You catch that? DENMARK...they're not even using American data...wait, there's more...

TIME: One of the earliest fears about tax-favored savings accounts like IRAs and 401(k) plans was that when this pool of savings grew large enough Congress would not be able to resist tapping it to help solve the nation’s debt problems. We’re about to find out if those fears—persistent for decades—have been justified.

Everything including the sacred mortgage deduction is on the table as lawmakers wrestle with the fiscal cliff, a year-end avalanche of scheduled spending cuts and tax increases. With a combined $10 trillion sitting in IRAs and 401(k) plans, retirement accounts make a juicy target. Some of this money has never been taxed, and under current law never will be.

To maintain this savings incentive the government “spends” $100 billion a year in the form of tax breaks to those who stash money in these kinds of accounts. Now, a new study suggests this tax incentive does little to change saving behavior. Some lawmakers, no doubt, are wondering: Why keep an expensive tax incentive that does not incent?

You see, not taxing you now, but allowing you to save your money, growing it in investments over time, then taxing you later, is 'costing government' now. You're cutting into their spending by saving your money, and they can't have that.

TheAtlantic: Imagine there were no 401(k)s. You wouldn't stop saving for retirement, right? Right? Don't worry, I won't tell Suze Orman. Not that CNBC's personal finance guru would get mad at you -- according to a new paper, most households wouldn't sock away any less for their golden years if we eliminated 401(k)s. Which raises a $100 billion question...

Why subsidize retirement saving if the subsidies don't work?

And there's the kicker: Saving MY MONEY is viewed by these parasites as a government subsidy. Unbelievable...I guess I'm just too greedy when I don't want to give the swirling vortex in DC more of my wages.

Additionally, Levin sounded the alarm earlier today on his Facebook page, as well as in Thursday evening's opening monologue, addressing the threat to nationalize your 401k!

During my last few shows, including as recently as yesterday, I have alerted you to Obama's desire to nationalize your 401-k plan and eliminate your mortgage interest deduction.

Some background on the former. Back in October 2008, I got word that Professor Teresa Ghilarducci of the New School had testified before Rep. George Miller's committee in support of a plan to nationalize private pension plans -- in particular, 401-k plans. I not only spoke about it on my show back then, but we tracked down the professor and I conducted the first interview on talk radio. I will discuss this at more length on my program this evening, but I thought you might want to be among the first to listen to that interview again. Please pass it along to as many people as you can.

Levin toys with her brilliantly...

(Rush also warned us about this lady in '08)

Folks, they bailout failure, they induce wasteful stimulus spending, they take over entire industries, they grow entitlements and welfare, redistributing wealth...and it's never enough! Spread the word and tell your congressional members that THEY'VE TAKEN ENOUGH!

Advice to Republicans: Pass the ball to Obama!

The two titans of conservatism weigh in...

After explaining exactly what's going on with our post-Constitutional government, Levin moves on to the fiscal cliff theater, addressing Republicans: Pass what needs to be passed in the House, then let the Democrats in the Senate and Obama raise taxes on everyone if they don't want to compromise...

"[Obama] wants taxes raised now, and then we'll talk about cutting spending later. This is why Republicans are nuts! The Republicans should pass what needs to be passed. No tax increases. No elimination of deductions. And stop calling them 'loopholes', they're deductions. Go ahead and propose massive cuts; ten, twenty percent across the board. Make the votes, throw it to the Senate, and go home! ... The only thing worse, I have concluded, than this fiscal cliff, is no fiscal cliff... If we don't make cuts now, and we don't deal with this now, what's left as we keep moving, moving, moving closer and closer to a more centralized government where fewer and fewer Americans, we call them 'politicians', have enormous power over us?"

"We're going off a spending cliff. We're going off a welfare state cliff. We're going off a Big Government cliff. Can't we even explain it that way? This 'fiscal cliff' that they talk about is nothing but a toe stub. That's all it is, as bad as you think it is...the fact is, if we raise taxes, if we don't make cuts, we're in a more disastrous and perilous situation than we were before. ... We need to go off this so-called 'fiscal cliff' in order to cut spending and in order to prevent Obama from playing class warfare. We have to do it, because we're not dealing with a reasonable or rational president. We're dealing with a Marxist, we're dealing with an ideologue. And he's fully prepared to win the game of chicken. We have to be fully prepared to win the game of chicken, not for the Republican Party, for the future of the Nation."

After discussing Obama's media-perceived legacy, as opposed to the real one he's setting up for himself and the country, and that he actually wants the cliff, Limbaugh shares a similar sentiment: 'Call Obama's bluff, let him drive us off the fiscal cliff.'

"Let's say that he really doesn't want to go over the cliff. Let's say that he really doesn't want a recession in his second [term]... Then the way to handle that, the way to call his bluff on this, is to not negotiate with him, and leave it totally up to him what happens. Very publicly, walk away from the talks, so whatever happens, vis-à-vis 'the cliff', is perceived to happen, well, the real point is to flush Obama out. Find out. I would suggest to people who really believe Obama is concerned about his second term and his legacy, he doesn't want a recession, the only way to flush that out is to come dangerously close to allowing it all to happen. And the way you do that is to pull out of negotiations and offer no resistance...if the Republicans offer no resistance to what Obama wants, we'll find out just how willing he is to take the country over the cliff. All I'm saying is that all these people saying 'he doesn't want to take us over the cliff', 'he's worried about his second term legacy', 'he doesn't want 2 million unemployed', 'he doesn't want that written about him', let's find out. And you can't find out by negotiating with him. Do that, and you get played for a fool."

Back away now, let Obama and the Democrats have it and let them do what they're gonna do. "Back out of this and make sure you don't have any fingerprints on this at all."

But "if you would rather see the Republicans stay at the negotiating table," Rush offers some alternative ideas. Among them: Tie all federal pensions to any income tax increase; specifically, eliminate federal pensions. Come up with an idea where federal employees, including the political class and the President, pay more taxes too! They need to have more skin in the game. You know, fair share and all...

"Get in on the class war, Republicans. The governing class isn't paying their fair share is what's happening here. The governing class is getting away with blaming the working class."

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Like J.R. negotiating with Gilligan

"The way to understand this is, this is J. R. Ewing negotiating with Gilligan, of Gilligan's Island, with J. R. Ewing being the Democrats and Gilligan being the Republicans."

Great analogy of this whole fiscal cliff theater from Rush as he rejoins us this morning.

"That's where this is. And what they're haggling about, if you really want to put this in terms that may be more easily understood, they're haggling over our private property. We have an absolute fiscal disaster that is being blamed on us, when they are the architects, they are the people who spend all the money. Now some of us are culpable because we demand the spending. Some of us -- not me, maybe you, but many others have culpability because they demand some of that spending 'cause they think they're gonna get some of it. But it's a spending-side problem."

"This whole fiscal cliff thing is being done in such a way as to make as many people possible believe that it's the fault of people not paying enough in taxes. We have a fiscal cliff because people are selfish. We have a fiscal cliff because the people this country are selfish and are not paying enough in taxes, and we have a fiscal cliff in this country because the rich are selfish, and they're not paying enough taxes. Let me give you a thought here before we go to the break. This government has spent trillions alone in the War on Poverty, redistribution, trillions overall since the mid-sixties, we have spend trillions of dollars to fix all of these problems. They do nothing but get worse, right? Trillions."

"How much are we talking about in a tax increase on the rich? Billions. Eighty-four billion, hundred billion, whatever it is. Would somebody explain to me how raising taxes on people to the tune of 84 or a hundred billion is gonna matter, when spending trillions prior to all this hasn't? Trillions versus billions. It is our private property that's being haggled over here, and we will not have as much of it when they're finished, and that's all you need to know about this. It's all you need to know. Our private property is up for grabs. They're gonna get more of it when this is all said and done and when that happens we are still going to be blamed for the mess."

Excellent points! Notice also out of all the talk of taxes or 'revenues', how little there is of their spending. Of course, they're not gonna blame it on themselves, when they could just as easily divide Americans and talk us into blaming each other (i.e., rich vs. poor, middle class, fair share and the whole lot of redistributionist clap trap). But even with their desire to tax the rich...billions to pay down TRILLIONS? The math just doesn't add up...yet, a majority of Americans have bought into this sham. And you're even further gone if you think they'll actually use this money taken from the rich to pay down debt!

"Let me try to put this in perspective for you in terms of what this is really all about. The fiscal cliff is theater, nothing more and nothing less. It's a game of political chicken, folks, and it will result in a winner and a loser. The media will act as judge. They will do everything in their power to influence the jury, which are the American people. Obama's already gotten his name written in ink as the winner. Understand, Obama is going to win the fiscal cliff, but it's a game of theater. There will not any substantive entitlement reform. There will not be any spending cuts because there never are. There will be new enhancements to revenue with appropriate questions that people will not ask. But none of this fiscal cliff stuff has anything to do with solving the budget problem or any other fiscal problem that we have."

ADDENDUM: Along those same lines, we've got admirable guys like Rand Paul asking why we have to trade tax increases just to get entitlement reform from Democrats; while despicable ones like Dick Durbin who says he's not willing to give entitlement reforms even for GOP concessions on tax increases. So there ya go...the Left has no intention of negotiating or compromising with the Right...and never have.

Majority now against gov't healthcare guarantee

Umm, too little, too late...

Gallup: For the first time in Gallup trends since 2000, a majority of Americans say it is not the federal government's responsibility to make sure all Americans have healthcare coverage. Prior to 2009, a majority always felt the government should ensure healthcare coverage for all, though Americans' views have become more divided in recent years.

So...why did so many vote a guy back in for a second term that would guarantee the federal government control this?! Moronic...

The myths about the hispanic vote

Interesting article from Byron York that puts a couple of myths about the hispanic vote into perspective: that the hispanic vote decided the election, and that there's some vast untapped pool of natural conservative voters among this demographic.

TheExaminer: After moments of panic in the immediate aftermath of Mitt Romney's defeat, some Republicans and conservatives are regaining their equilibrium on the issue of what the GOP should do about immigration and the Hispanic vote.

They're looking at key questions from the campaign, like how much of Barack Obama's victory was attributable to Hispanic support. They're also looking at the Hispanic electorate itself to see how big a role immigration, versus a wide range of other issues, played in voting decisions. The goal, of course, is to win a larger portion of the Hispanic vote, but first to take a clear-eyed look at what actually happened on Nov. 6.

And the lesson for Republicans is: Take your time. Calmly reassess your positions. Don't pander.

After taking the reader through statistics from several states, York concludes...

The bottom line is that even if Romney had made historic gains among Hispanic voters, he still would have lost the election. That means Romney underperformed among more than just Hispanic voters. And that means winning more Hispanic votes is far from the GOP's only challenge.

Equally interesting, though, is York's observation on Krauthammer belief that hispanics "should be a natural Republican constituency: striving immigrant community, religious, Catholic, family-oriented and socially conservative (on abortion, for example)," and that "the principal reason they go Democratic is the issue of illegal immigrants." To the contrary, the man who had much to do with Krauthammer's conversion to the Republican Party, social scientist Charles Murray, looked across a broad range of data and found little to support the notion that Hispanics are natural Republicans.

Hispanics "aren't more religious than everyone else ... aren't married more than everyone else ... aren't more conservative than everyone else," Murray wrote. In addition, Hispanics don't work harder than other groups and are only slightly more pro-life than the rest of the population.
The available data, Murray concluded, "paint a portrait that gives no reason to think that Republicans have an untapped pool of social conservatives to help them win elections."

In addition, exit poll information suggests Hispanics voted on a number of issues beyond illegal immigration -- and those issues favored Democrats. A majority of Hispanics who voted Nov. 6 favored keeping Obamacare. A majority favored higher taxes for higher earners. A majority -- two-thirds, in fact -- said abortion should be legal.

Wake up call, perhaps? York's summary...

None of this is to say the GOP shouldn't seek more Hispanic votes. There are opportunities; for example, Romney made significant inroads among Hispanic voters with college degrees. But the fact is, Republicans had a serious problem with lots of voters, as well as potential voters who didn't go to the polls. The Hispanic vote was just part of it.

McCain, Graham, Ayotte more 'troubled' now than before meeting

Jansing&Co: Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Kelly Ayotte stated that, after meeting with Amb. Susan Rice, they are more "troubled" and still have many questions regarding the administration's handling of Benghazi.

And speaking of the former US Ambassador to the UN, who Graham mentioned, Greta interviewed John Bolton last night.

I really hope these guys are genuinely troubled. However, I don't put anything past the showboats of McRINO & Grahamnesty. Will they still nominate her as Hillary's replacement? Again, I wouldn't put it past 'em.

Morsi's dictatorial decrees brewing a civil war

Arab Spring? More like another ironic moment...

theRightScoop: Obama was quick to throw Mubarak under the bus 2 years ago as people flooded Tahrir Square. But now that Egypt finds itself in a similar circumstance, I don’t see Obama running to the microphones and cameras to call for democracy and the ousting of Morsi, even as 200,000 people flood Tahrir Square calling for an end to this new regime:
YahooNews: The same chants used against Hosni Mubarak were turned against his successor Tuesday as more than 200,000 people packed Egypt’s Tahrir Square in the biggest challenge yet to Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

The massive, flag-waving throng protesting Morsi’s assertion of near-absolute powers rivaled some of the largest crowds that helped drive Mubarak from office last year.

“The people want to bring down the regime!” and “erhal, erhal” — Arabic for “leave, leave” — rang out across the plaza, this time directed at Egypt’s first freely elected president.

The protests were sparked by edicts Morsi issued last week that effectively neutralize the judiciary, the last branch of government he does not control. But they turned into a broader outpouring of anger against Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood, which opponents say have used election victories to monopolize power, squeeze out rivals and dictate a new, Islamist constitution, while doing little to solve Egypt’s mounting economic and security woes.
Note that it’s also being reported today that Egyptian Judges have joined the protesters.

How will they spin this one? We'll soon see. But you can guarantee that while Mubarak was forced out under the pressure of Egyptian protests, a military coup and outside forces, like the Obama administration and the worldwide media's promotion of a so-called 'democracy movement' (i.e., mob rule, as can still be seen in the streets), don't look for Morsi to leave so easily. He's got an army of his own in the Muslim Brotherhood, and they won't cave as easily as your run-of-the-mill political party. And if the Egyptian military decides to stage a coup against the Islamist will be civil war.

Just remember: This is who the Obama administration helped usher into power. Smooth move.

ADDENDUM: As only Rush can!

"How's that outbreak of Democracy working?"

Monday, November 26, 2012

A less religious nation

In this season, following a time of Thanksgiving, and rolling right into the true celebration of Christmas, I happened to run across this intriguing CNSNews piece by Ben Shapiro, who takes a different approach in addressing how Obama won a second term through the exploration of religion in America, as well as the dire consequences of abandoning it: "Mitt Romney lost for the same reason that traditional marriage lost on Election Day: America is becoming a less religious country. And that bodes ill for the future of the United States."

Even with 78% of the electorate identifying themselves as Christians (Protestant and Catholic combined), 57% said they only attended church rarely, if at all. Added with the 12% of voters who didn't report a religious affiliation at all, and Shapiro presents us with a percentage of the population that broke for Barack Obama.

This isn't to argue that secular people can't be good, hard-working Americans; the vast majority of them are. It isn't to argue, either, that they don't vote Republican; many of them do. But the increasing secularization of America means the increasing importance of the state in American life. For generations, the religious community looked to two sources for inspiration and support in times of crisis: God and fellow members of the community. The secular community looks to one source: the state. Where the religious believer understands that it is immoral to deprive someone else of their property by force, even when such stealing is given legal cover by the state, the secularist believes that the morality of redistributionism takes precedence over the morality of respect for the rights of others. The same folks who voted for gay marriage and abortion voted for a broad expansion of the state and for higher tax rates.

That's not because Republicans are pro-life and pro-traditional marriage; even if Republicans ignored the issues — as, indeed, Mitt Romney tried to do — secularists would still link a larger state with a pro-abortion, pro-same sex marriage position. That's because the same position that rejects the sanctity of unborn life tends to reject the sanctity of private property; both are based on the John Locke-ian premise that man is special in the universe, and that the product of his labor is an extension of his special place in the universe. Ignore man's Godly origins and his property becomes a dispensable commodity rather than a fulfillment of a divine mission.

More than that, the religious society rests on two fundamental principles: personal responsibility and belief in responsibility to future generations. Secularism rejects both principles. Personal responsibility becomes societal responsibility in the secular view; we are all shaped by our genetics and our environment, both of which are out of our control.

How, then, can we be held responsible for our actions? As for responsibility to future generations, the prophet of modern day leftist economics, John Maynard Keynes, summed it up best: "In the long run, we are all dead." Tap out the public treasury now, and grab your redistributionist cash for there is no kingdom of heaven — and you won't be around to reap the consequences of your decisions.

From here, Shapiro ventures into how every godless society has turned towards radically Marxist economic schemes, as opposed to the way traditional Judeo-Christian philosophy has advanced capitalism. But I think there's a powerful message that's worth repeating in understanding the difference between a voluntary, communal perspective advancing liberty and that slippery, dictatorial slope of the statists. While there is the desired inclination to view the state as a broader composite of the community, that perspective is a generalization of what Shapiro is precisely addressing. He sees 'the State' in much the same way that Levin and other conservatives have expressed: a top-down, authoritative, governing system, by which the people (the community) become beholden to that system, Statism.

Also, the nod to Locke is an exceptionally fitting way to put this topic into its proper perspective. Divine Providence surrounds our very existence; and ignoring that, shrugs off the notions of both free will and personal responsibility, leaving everything to mere inconsequential chance. What a bleak, meaningless outlook on life. And if that's the outlook shared by more Americans today, is it any wonder why we find ourselves facing so many cliffs, unconcerned with the future?

Finally, Shapiro leaves us with something to ponder, as well as something to strive for: reviving American Exceptionalism through Principle.

So, can American society survive its turn to secularism? It can, but only in a different form — a more European form. The best hope for a return to fundamental American principles is a return to the fundamental American philosophy embodied on our coinage: E Pluribus Unum on one side, In God We Trust on the other.

And Dennis Prager would add, Liberty.

So while certainly not explaining every nuance of what's happening with our society, I think the shift to a more secular America, away from religious practice and principle, poses a significant concern for the future of America as we've known it.

Delusional Jamie Foxx: 'our lord and savior Barack Obama'

This is bad comedy...

NewsBusters: Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx recently called Barack Obama "our lord and savior."

This occurred at the previously recorded Soul Train Awards broadcast on BET Sunday...

Please also notice that this clip was used as a promo for the presentation by BET.

I guess Obama really IS the messiah.

But we're the nutty religious extremists? Riiight, Hollywood...

Supreme Court revives challenge to ObamaCare on religious-liberty grounds

Don't hold your breath...I still have little-to-no faith in the Supreme Court, particularly after Roberts' betrayal, but the revival of this lawsuit by this very judicial body does hold some promise for Liberty in America if won.

HotAir: A decision by the Supreme Court this morning opens up a potential new avenue of attack against ObamaCare on the grounds of religious liberty — and not just the HHS contraception mandate. The court overturned the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by Liberty University over the health-system overhaul, in a move that was not opposed by the Obama administration in court.

Why didn’t the White House oppose LU’s motion? The timing issue is now largely moot, thanks to that 5-4 decision that upheld the individual mandate as a tax. The lawsuit would have been refiled shortly in any case, which would have only provided a slight delay to the inevitable.

This lawsuit differs from the previous cases used by the Supreme Court to determine the constitutionality of the law. None of the earlier plaintiffs brought up the religious-liberty issue, in large part because HHS hadn’t formulated its arrogant posture that the government can define religious expression. With the HHS contraception mandate now in place, the violation of the First Amendment has now become concrete, and the courts will soon have to decide just how to square the language that that clearly stipulates that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” with the HHS regulation that attempts to restrict religious exercise to only within the walls of a church, synagogue, or temple.

Getting that addressed sooner is a victory in the short run for everyone. Let’s hope that the appeals courts and the Supreme Court recognize the violation sooner rather than later, too, before the Obama administration forces religious organizations to close doors on hospitals, clinics, charities, and schools.

Ready? Repubs to break tax pledge, Dems to raise taxes on everyone

I smell another bad deal on the horizon from all sides (via theRightScoop):

Speaking of not standing up for principle, more Republicans are ‘falling in line‘ to accept a deal that might raise taxes in order to raise revenue by disavowing a pledge they signed years ago not to raise taxes. Instead of standing up for the truth that we have a spending problem and not a revenue problem, Republicans are slowly laying down their weapons while standing in a den of hungry lions.

Thanks John Boehner:

FoxNews: More congressional Republicans are breaking a long-standing pledge to oppose tax increases before returning to Washington on Monday to avert a looming fiscal crisis with a deal that increasingly appears impossible to reach without changes to the tax code.

Meanwhile, the lion's den theRightScoop mentioned earlier...

The Democrats clearly have a strategy to beat Republicans into submission for the sake of their socialist ideology, and they will sacrifice the American people to do it:

Politico: Call them the cliff jumpers.

A growing bloc of emboldened liberals say they’re not afraid to watch defense spending get gouged and taxes go up on every American if a budget deal doesn’t satisfy their priorities.

Here’s what these progressives fear: an agreement that keeps lower tax rates for the wealthy, hits the social safety net with unpalatable cuts and leaves Pentagon spending unscathed. In other words, they’d rather walk the country off the cliff than watch President Barack Obama cave on long-held liberal priorities.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The true story of Thanksgiving

Though there are some in this country, and apparently a disproportionate number these days, who'd like to pursue a system of governance and rule that's proven time and time again throughout the ages to fail in misery and destruction (i.e, socialism, or rather, statism), we are nonetheless reminded during this time of the year of a Creator who saw fit to set this Nation aside as an Exceptional place for Freedom in the world. 'This last and greatest bastion of freedom' and 'a beacon of hope', as Reagan would say. It is a time to reflect and be thankful of the Blessings bestowed on us, as well as a time of Prayer for preservation and against diminishment.

So, without further adieu, Rush's annual 'true' story of Thanksgiving!

Over your Thanksgiving celebration with family and friends, I'd also like to leave you with these great words from President Reagan's First Inaugural Address...

The crisis we are facing today does not require of us the kind of sacrifice many thousands of others were called upon to make. It does require, however, our best effort, and our willingness to believe in ourselves and to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds; to believe that together, with God's help, we can and will resolve the problems which now confront us.

And, after all, why shouldn't we believe that? We are Americans.

God Bless and have a great and bountiful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Getting in on the welfare state by thwarting conservatism

"Liberty's permeance in American society often makes its manifestations elusive or invisible to those born into it. Even if liberty is acknowledged, it is often taken for granted and its permanence assumed. Therefore, under these circumstances, the Statist's agenda can be alluring ... It is not recognized as an increasingly corrosive threat to liberty but rather as coexisting with it." ~ Mark Levin from 'Liberty and Tyranny'

Unfortunately, it seems to have become accustom for the usual Republican consultants and campaign operatives (i.e., Mike Murphy, Steve Schmidt and others), who encounter a significant defeat at their own behest, often times to reflect not on their own shortcomings and messaging, and not towards the opposition's deceitful webs spun to gain, these guys continue to tow the party line and instead blame conservatives and the adherence to principled beliefs that while conveniently claiming in one breath when it suits them, seek to change (or 'modernize') for political expediency in another. 

What's sad is that with the defeat of Romney, their candidate all along, many throughout the party have not only turned on conservatives (many of whom traversed beyond the primaries to side with the Republican nominee), but they've now turned on him as well. Take for instance the reactions of younger guys like Jindal and Rubio, or those among the older guard, like Gingrich, when Romney professed to donors that Obama had won the election by promising free stuff to targeted constituency groups; in essence, promoting the expansion of the welfare state (The Santa Claus mentality that Rush has been talking about over the past week, if you will). Suddenly, conservative principle, that all these guys have espoused at one point or another, takes a back seat to defeat, and now they're ready to make the GOP into anything to possibly win future elections. Now, while winning is obviously important, what's it say about a political party that has lost its philosophical foundation on which it bases its policies? Likewise, what does it say about those party members who wish to recapture political power by skirting those foundational principles? Is it expected of the conservative base to abandon this foundation for some modernization that moves us further away from the crux of conservatism?

Rush says that these Republicans don’t want to be seen as disagreeing with the welfare state...they want in on it...

And then when you've accepted the confines of the welfare state, co-existing with it, and don't want to speak to the truth of it, you've not somehow become nobler for've become another enabler of it; in effect, a neo-statist.

Perhaps instead of blaming conservatives for the ills of the GOP, the operatives and politicians, the neo-statists lurch if you will, should understand that Democrats won the election by capitalizing on the decline of the country: the takers vs. the makers. Santa Claus has come to town, GOP...and instead of diving over one another to get yours, maybe a winning strategy would be to uniformly expose the myth of the jolly old man and where his gifts actually come from.

ADDENDUM: Levin touched on these enabling tendencies during the second hour of Monday evening's program and expanded...

I want to tell the Republican Party bureaucrats something: Your paid consultants who become extremely wealthy losing elections, the Mike Murphy's, the Steve [Schmidt's], a whole cabal of losers and punks; you keep sending them out on the Sunday shows, to this online rag called Politico, and other places, to trash conservatives and tea party activists and so forth; I want to tell you Republican Party bureaucrats something: You want to create a third party? Then you keep doing of the reasons why the number of independent voters keeps growing and growing and growing, many of these people are dissatisfied with you. They're conservatives who want nothing to do with the Republican policies. I also read somewhere, it's probably the same trash out of Politico, that, you know, this guy, Senator Moran from Kansas and others have said, 'Look, 2010, we were fighting the tea party in the primaries; 2012, we just kind of left things alone; now we're serious. We've gotta control who they nominate, we've gotta control this process.' And they keep bringing up Akin and Mourdock. And I keep thinking to myself, 'Where Akin and Mourdock the only Republicans who ran for the Senate this year? Are they the only Republicans who lost?' Ladies and gentlemen, this is how the propaganda works, even from the Republican Party. The overwhelming majority of Senate races lost by the Republicans were establishment Republicans or Republicans strongly endorsed by the Republican Party in Washington, D.C., not tea party conservatives, not conservatives per say. And you look at how they use the liberal media, these Republican politicians and bureaucrats, to spin, to create this myth...

...but worse of all of it, Senate and House aside, John McCain was their guy, Romney was their guy, and I'm not attacking Romney, I'm making a point. Bob Dole was their guy, Gerald Ford was their guy. Our guy was Reagan. There you have the two landslides. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Until we clean out the old bulls, the hangers-on, the losers who cannot think outside the box, who are not quick on their feet, who do not really embrace conservative principles, who frankly have no intention of doing anything fundamentally to advance constitutionalism again; until we do that, it's going to be very hard to defeat the Democrats.

I go along with others who've said it could get so bad in the next two or four years that the Republicans will win the next election. And I think we need to be very mindful of this and very prepared for this. That said, that's not a mandate. Folks, we need to reestablish the Constitution. We need to make 'capitalism' a good word again. We need to bring back what I call the American mindset or psychology. We need to do all these things. It's daunting, it's an enormous task. If you think about it too long, you'll get depressed about it. But we need to fight this, one issue at a time.

But isn't it interesting that right now our biggest foe are the paid consultants, paid for by the Republican RINOs, the old bulls and the Ruling Class, to go on tv and trash us, to trash talk radio. Somehow 'we' lost this election, you see. And what's very annoying about this is we actually rallied behind Romney, rallied behind all the candidates, and did everything we could to drag them across the finish line, and this is what we get in return.

Speaking on one of the post-election media talking points that's constantly repeated, illegal immigration/amnesty, as if that's the only thing that came of this election, Levin goes on to discuss something that can actually be said about most all of these targeted issues: it's bad politics!

It's just appalling. It's appalling what's happening to the country, to the Republican Party, to some of these conservative organizations...the culture is getting hollowed out, the society is generally being devoured by the government. The conservative movement's being devoured by the Republican Party, which is being devoured by itself. And this is what they focus on.

People come here on their own free will in violation of our laws, I don't care who they are or where the hell they come from. They cross the border, they come into a sovereign country, and we're made to look like fools. There's something wrong with some of us who say, 'Well, that's not right. Can't we fix that?' No. Why? Well, because, people vote. And because they vote, the political expedient is we have to figure out a way that ethnicity votes like every ethnicity, and they're voting overwhelmingly Democrat, so we need to get in on this game, this illegal game. So, politics, and bad politics, drives policy. Rather than principle, rather than the rule of law, politics is driving policy, and bad politics.

And when I hear some of our wonderful tea party conservative candidates, although some of them pretend they're not anymore when I hear a number of them campaigning and saying 'oh, we gotta address this...' It's not because they want to address it because it's a legal matter that needs to be addressed; or they want to address it because there's something immoral about people who voluntarily come into our country illegally and then demand to stay or somekind of amnesty or access to this that or the other. No, it needs to be addressed so we can get votes, they argue. And then when you object, there's something immoral with us. 'Don't you know these are human beings?' Of course I know they're human beings! Does Mexico know they're human beings? Why don't they treat them like human beings? Does Mexico know that Guatamalans who come into its country illegally, who they throw in prison, that they know taht Guatamalans are human beings? Apparently not. And so we have Republicans, and even conservatives, talking the talk of the Left, abandoning their own principles, participating in the propaganda of the Left, 'Well, we're not like them; we don't want it ultra-ultra comprehensive, just kind of comprehensive.' And so there are few political voices left to speak the truth. And we are inundated with this; it's just endless propaganda. You know, I don't know the answer to it, but I refuse to give into it.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Islamo-Nazi connection

A helpful reminder for those who don't know (or have forgotten) the history of the Palestinian-Arab National Movement...

You CANNOT negotiate with this.

Time for an imminent stand (UPDATE)

In the wake of Islamic Jihad bragging that their weapons are being supplied by Iran, the Israeli Defense Force struck a Hamas propagandist media centre for the second time, killing yet another terrorist leader, Islamic Jihad's Ramez Harb, a key figure in the Al Quds Brigades.

With Hamas continuously launching rockets haphazardly into southern Israeli cities however, Israel's defense minister hinted Sunday that a ground assault on Hamas in Gaza is imminent.

Now in D.C., we've still got foolery going on with the likes of McRINO wanting to send BJ over to lead negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians (back at it so quickly, are we John?) if the Oslo Accord between Israel and the PLO was such a resounding success (remember that handshake between Arafat & Rabin, with Clinton's arms outstretched between the two? The optics.).

No, this time, I think Ariel Sharon's son shares the sentiment of many frustrated Israelis...Gilad Sharon says that a decisive conclusion is necessary: "There is no middle path here – either the Gazans and their infrastructure are made to pay the price, or we reoccupy the entire Gaza Strip." Here's the line that catching all the flak from the anti-semitic liberal media, sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, regardless of their terrorist ties, of course...

"We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza."

As WeaselZippers so elegantly lays out, "Of course libs will feign outrage over this, but the truth is we would flatten any country that indiscriminately lobbed rockets at our cities."

It's time for Israel to take a stand and finish this, preferably with America's support.

UPDATE: via theRightScoop, Levin voices a shared disappointment in Netanyahu caving to outside pressure (vis-à-vis, Obama) in the acceptance of a cease-fire, and thus the upperhand against these terrorist forces. He also expands on the dire consequences facing the entire region.

Another lamentation on executive powers

WeaselZippers points out yet another of Obama overseas lamentations...

BeltwayConfidential: During a lengthy speech at the University of Yangon in Burma, President Obama signaled the important traits of American democracy, particularly his limited powers as president.

“As President, I cannot just impose my will on Congress — the Congress of the United States — even though sometimes I wish I could,” he stated. “The legislative branch has its own powers and its own prerogatives, and so they check my power and balance my power.”

Obama also mentioned his responsibilities as Commander-In-Chief of the United States Military were limited by civilians.

“America may have the strongest military in the world, but it must submit to civilian control,” he said. “I, as the President of the United States, make determinations that the military then carries out, not the other way around. As President and Commander-In-Chief, I have that responsibility because I’m accountable to the people. ”

Obama also praised American rule of law, noting that while he could appoint judges, he was not allowed to tell them how to rule.

“You need to reach for a future where the law is stronger than any single leader, because it’s accountable to the people,” he added.

Let's see...he acknowledges that he doesn't have power to impose his will on Congress; YET, whenever he doesn't like the way the legislative process proceeds (illegal immigration, DODT, etc.), he misuses the power of the executive to bypasses them via fiat. And that's not imposing his will? I don't think I even have to mention how his will has been imposed through the two justices thus far that Obama's installed in the Supreme Court, as well as numerous lower federal judges. The man not only mocks the rule of law, but seeks to thwart it with every move he and his statist cohorts make.

He also mentions his role as the Commander-In-Chief...we've seen how well he adhere's to the prior imposition of his will. If it weren't for conservatives and certain rights (take the 2nd Amendment for example), I shutter to think of a dystopian future with a guy like Obama seeking a full-bore dictatorship, and having to put the military's submission to civilan control to the test. If America continues down the road this man is paving, who knows what's in store for us...

Welcoming new immigrants to the welfare state

Come on's your check!

TheDailyCaller: Ask not what you can do for your country, but what your new country can do for you.

“Welcome to,” a website maintained by the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), bills itself as the “primary gateway for new immigrants to find basic information on how to settle in the United States” — featuring a prominent section for new immigrants about how to access government benefits.

“Depending on your immigration status, length of time in the United States, and income, you may be eligible for some federal benefit programs,” the Web page reads.

“Government assistance programs can be critically important to the well-being of some immigrants and their families. Frequently, however, there is a lack of information about how to access such benefits. Benefit programs can be complicated and you may be given misleading information about how they operate.”

Imagine what we never would have achieved if this was the model America was built upon.

Geithner: 'absolutely' get rid of debt ceiling

Fiscal cliff? Eh, why worry about that precipice when the nation's Treasury Secretary doesn't even want to bother with limits on our debt anymore? Sheesh.

HotAir: Yes, by all means — let’s just blithely remove the mechanism forcing us to have a discussion about our whopping and ever-mounting $16 trillion in national debt, because we can’t get our fiscal act together. That pesky ol’ chestnut. From the WFB:

Hey, you know what else isn’t a tenable strategy for the country? Spending a trillion dollars we don’t have on a counterproductively bloated bureaucracy, every year.

What if Obama doesn't want a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff?

Jazz Shaw over at HotAir has a hunch that Obama doesn't want a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. Unfortunately, I tend to agree...

Everyone came away from the initial summit meeting between Obama, Boehner and Reid with big smiles and a public air of confidence that Friday’s kumbaya moment would lead to The Big Deal. Call me a cynic, but I’m still not buying it. Yesterday, AP touched on a part of this story, tossing out some ideas about how everyone – particularly Democrats – might walk away with relatively clean hands if no deal is reached on the fiscal cliff this year. It’s all true, but for some of us there’s a bit more to the story. The Democrats, for their part, seem to have plenty to gain and not much to lose.

Through a series of circumstances that Shaw observes -- an unorthodox idea from some Democrats to temporarily allow the government to go over the fiscal cliff to give the party more bargaining leverage, combined with polls that show the majority of voters still wanting Bush-era tax cuts to expire for top earners, as well as Republicans shouldering the brunt of the blame over Democrats and the President if those tax rates expire for everyone -- he basically thinks it works out to a win-win for Obama.

Yes, he could look like the great peacemaker and try to strike some sort of grand bargain with Boehner. And if he did, he would likely get some of what he and the Democratic majority want in exchange for taking a slightly less than maximum raise on taxes for the most wealthy. But why?

If he takes a very hard line and forces the showdown to a collapse in discussions, several potentially positive (for him) results are baked into the cake. He can claim that Republicans refused a “balanced approach” and it’s their fault that everyone’s taxes went up. He then has the Democrats force a vote on a bill to only lower taxes on the middle class and the poor and just dares the GOP to vote against it. (They won’t.) At this point he has the tax / revenue increase he promised without giving up a single thing. Now the negotiations start anew to talk about “spending cuts” but the GOP’s major bargaining chip is gone. Obama gets to put up a far more shallow version of cuts, and if the Republicans don’t like it, they can choose to reject the deal and just let the deficit continue to skyrocket.

What Republican in their right mind could go for this? Perhaps more than we might think. ... Just as I’ve been saying since earlier this year, if you needed congressional action to raise taxes it would never happen. But in this case, to raise tax rates all you need is for Congress to do nothing. And when you need nothing done, there’s no better crack team than Congress. And once the taxes are up, even the GOP reps who have signed the Norquist pledge are free to sign a bill that lowers taxes… even if that doesn’t apply to the wealthy. They get to remain covered on their voting record in their home districts and blame the fallout on the Democrats.

The thing with that scenario, though, is that the top earners (the entrepreneurs, the real job creators) are then given a larger opening to pull up stakes and seek less taxing business environments in other parts of the world. Also, as an aside, why is it always lost in the messaging that the Bush-era tax cuts are actually the current rates and have been for the past decade?! So, extending them for all, except the top earners, simply keeps them the same for us, while raising taxes on the job makers. Another incentive to relocate...and take the economy and employment with them.

ADDENDUM: Ed Morrissey adds to the conversation, supplying numerous sources pointing to Republicans folding to an increase in taxes on top earners in exchange for the promise of tax and entitlement reform mechanisms next year. Rinse, repeat, Republicans...

In the current political line-up, that’s probably the best the GOP can do without playing chicken all the way to the cliff with Democrats. If voters wanted a better deal, they would have replaced more of the players two weeks ago.

On the other hand, Marc Theissen approaches the fiscal cliff differently: let's go over it!

WaPo: Here’s an idea for how to start the New Year in a bipartisan fashion: Let’s go over the fiscal cliff!

Today, the only ones in Washington who advocate fiscal cliff-diving are liberal Democrats. It’s time for conservatives to join them. Letting the Bush tax cuts expire will strengthen the GOP’s hand in tax negotiations next year, and it may be the only way Republicans can force President Obama and Senate Democrats to agree to fundamental tax reform.

At least going back to the Clinton rates would put more people on the tax rolls, and give more Americans a stake in constraining government spending. It would also force all Americans — including the middle class — to pay for growing government services, instead of borrowing the money from China and passing the costs on to the next generation.

Americans had a choice this November, and they voted for bigger government. Rather shielding voters from the consequences of their decisions, let them pay for it.

He's got a point.