Sunday, May 30, 2010

Idiots on Parade: Obama's National Security Strategy

Obama’s security strategy falls short

By Clive Crook
Financial Times
May 30 2010 19:56

The administration of Barack Obama sees its new National Security Strategy – a statement the White House sends Congress from time to time – as a work of great importance, a radical departure from its predecessor’s thinking. It is neither; nor, for that matter, is it a strategy.

Ordinarily, one might be unconcerned. A document is just a document, after all: actions are what count. The worrying thing is that the US president and his team seem so deluded about what they have produced.

I might be prejudiced. To judge the content of the statement, you have to overlook the way it is expressed, which is not easy. It was run through a management-speak machine. It emerged, repetitious and full of misprints, with added verbiage and reduced intellectual content. Then it was put through a second time.

Imagine 50 pages of this: “To prevent acts of terrorism on American soil, we must enlist all of our intelligence, law enforcement, and homeland security capabilities. We will continue to integrate and leverage state and major urban area fusion centres that have the capability to share classified information.”

Previously, as you know, many people denied that homeland security capabilities should be used for homeland security. So much for that false doctrine. And notice how state and major urban area fusion centres will in future share information. Another bold departure. The previous approach to these strangely impaired fusion centres was different, entirely different. Thankfully, those days are over.

This is the “all appropriate measures” school of policy analysis. One should do everything that is appropriate – in an integrated, leveraged, cost effective and sustainable way – while rejecting anything inappropriate, disorganised, ineffective or bound to fail.

According to this paper, the aims of Mr Obama’s national security policy include every desirable outcome. Curbing climate change is an aspect of national security. By similar reasoning, available resources embrace every aspect of his domestic and foreign policy: not just strong armed forces and a prosperous economy but also “access to quality, affordable healthcare”. National security includes everything and therefore means nothing.

The authors contrast Mr Obama’s enlightenment with the brainlessness of his predecessor. But as his actions have departed little from late-period George W. Bush, this boils down to mood and pedantry. The White House does not like to say “war on terror” or “terrorism”; terrorism is a tactic not an enemy, it explains. One can still say (indeed the administration insists) the US is at war with terrorists, violent extremists, and al-Qaeda and its affiliates. Good to have this cleared up.

Taking care not to mistake tactics for enemies, Mr Obama has increased the US commitment in Afghanistan, much as Mr Bush would have. His strategy fails to clarify the rationale. He retains the right to act unilaterally. He excludes rogue states such as Iran from his (qualified) promise to use nuclear weapons only in retaliation for an attack with weapons of mass destruction. He has scaled up drone strikes on and off the battlefield, a policy of doubtful legality. He renounces torture – as did Mr Bush – but detains terrorist suspects indefinitely without trial. He promises to close Guantánamo but the prison is still there.

Unlike many critics of Mr Obama, I see these policies as defensible. The world does not surrender to good intentions, and the administration is doing its best in difficult circumstances. Also, tone matters. It is right to encourage allies not disdain them; to cajole rivals as well as threaten. In his second term, a chastened Mr Bush came to understand this – which makes it wrong to say security policy under Mr Obama has changed that much.

One could dismiss the paper as a campaign flyer unworthy of analysis. But the administration has hard choices to make, and more than a year’s experience to think about. The strategic analysis the paper claims to provide is necessary. One only hopes the White House does not mistake this so-called strategy for the work it still needs to do.

Above all, strategy must focus on priorities and constraints. The White House says it agrees with this – the US cannot do everything, and it must have partners. But aside from such statements of the obvious, the paper is silent about what is vital in national security, what is desirable and affordable, and what is desirable but not affordable. It correctly says that ends must be aligned with means, but fails to align them. All right goals will be pursued; all available assets will be brought to bear. That is not a strategy.

Over everything hangs the greatest challenge facing the US: coming to terms with diminished power. To judge by the paper, the administration is unwilling even to think about this. Yes, it underlines mutual interest and calls for co-operation – but with American characteristics. The US will continue to lead, it insists. Its interests will not be subordinated. “We are no less powerful, but we need to apply our power in different ways,” said Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, last week.

No less powerful? US military strength is fearsome but the limits to its use bind ever more tightly. Increasingly, the co-operation the US seeks will not be on terms it dictates. Painful subjects for a mighty nation but ones that the next strategy might start to address.

where for art thou

Global Cooling

Global Cooling - from a volcano.  The answer - pollute more, warm us up.

In June 1991, the massive eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines rocked the Pacific region and led to a global drop in temperature.

"That volcano produced enough ash and aerosols that were injected into the atmosphere that cooled the globe for up to, I think, 2 degrees centigrade for several years," said Peter La Femina, Assistant Professor of Geoscience at the Pennsylvania State University.


Meanwhile, Katla has the whole range of magmatic compositions from basalt to rhyolite, which are richer in silica.

"So it has the ability to be much, much more explosive," he said.

However, the effect of these gases in the years following their release into the atmosphere are much more complex than just straight cooling.

"Not only did we have global cooling, but there was actually some warming during the Northern Hemisphere winters," said La Femina.


How Ominous is Ominous

The end of the world as we know it, or simply silly writers ...

It doesn't really matter does it - whether it is one or two volcanos that will erupt and do what decades and centuries of man made pollution didn't do - inextricably alter our environment and end (if this is to be believed) life as we know it and change how we look at life and the future.

All that pollution we are emitting - global warming - may be necessary to prevent another deep ice age.


Scientists Issue Ominous Warning About Second Iceland Volcano ‘Katla!’

May 28th, 2010 - 12:15 am
ICT by Angela Kaye Mason -

May 27 (THAINDIAN NEWS) According to scientists, a second volcano in Iceland, known as ‘Katla’ is close to failure, and this could cause world wide catastrophe similar to that in the movie, “The Day After Tomorrow”. As Eyjafjallajokull began erupting, scientists were already warning that this event could trigger an eruption of nearby Katla, which would have repercussions of epic proportions. In the first warning issued came the frightening thought, “If lava flowing from Eyjafjallajokull melts the glaciers that hold down the top of nearby Volcano, Katla, then Katla could also erupt. That potential occurrence could send the entire world, even the United States, into a deep freeze.” Similar warnings were posted in Science Fair and USA today.

And now that very volcano is showing signs that it could be getting ready for an eruption of it’s own. A paper which was released from the University College of London Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction stated, “Analysis of the seismic energy released around Katla over the last decade or so is interpreted as providing evidence of a rising … intrusive magma body on the western flank of the volcano. Earlier seismic energy release at Katla is associated with the inflation of the volcano, which indicates it is close to failure, although this does not appear to be linked to seismicity around Eyjafjallajökull, We conclude that given the high frequency of Katla activity, an eruption in the short term is a strong possibility. It is likely to be preceded by new earthquake activity. Presently there is no unusual seismicity under Katla.”

The president of Iceland, Ólafur Grímsson has issued the following statement: “We [Iceland] have prepared … it is high time for European governments and airline authorities all over Europe and the world to start planning for the eventual Katla eruption.”


Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Left are the Instigators of Race based intolerance - Just ask Maher

Bill Maher - not funny, not bright, and not terribly useful unless you are looking for examples of idiots and fools on parade.

He made a statement that lines up as one of the most racist and ignorant statements I have heard or read in, well, I don't think anything has come close -

HBO's Bill Maher: "I thought when we elected a black president, we were going to get a black president. You know, this [BP oil spill] is where I want a real black president. I want him in a meeting with the BP CEOs, you know, where he lifts up his shirt where you can see the gun in his pants. That's -- (in black man voice) we've got a 'motherfu**ing problem here?' Shoot somebody in the foot."


Don't Ask, Don't Tell - Barney and his version.

House Votes to Allow ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal

The New York Times
May 27, 2010

WASHINGTON — The House voted Thursday to let the Defense Department repeal the ban on gay and bisexual people from serving openly in the military, a major step toward dismantling the 1993 law widely known as “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

The provision would allow military commanders to repeal the ban. The repeal would permit gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military for the first time.

It was adopted as an amendment to the annual Pentagon policy bill, which the House is expected to vote on Friday. The repeal would be allowed 60 days after a Pentagon report is completed on the ramifications of allowing openly gay service members, and military leaders certify that it would not be disruptive. The report is due by Dec. 1.

The House vote was 234 to 194, with 229 Democrats and 5 Republicans in favor, after an emotionally charged debate. Opposed were 168 Republicans and 26 Democrats.

Supporters of the repeal hailed it as a matter of basic fairness and civil rights, while opponents charged that Democrats and President Obama were destabilizing the military to advance a liberal social agenda.

“On Memorial Day, America will come together and honor all who served our nation in uniform,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a floor speech, noting the symbolic timing of the debate. “I urge my colleagues to vote for the repeal of this discriminatory policy of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ and make America more American.”

Separately on Thursday, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved a similar measure allowing the repeal.

The vote, in a closed session, was 16 to 12, with one Republican, Senator Susan Collins of Maine, in favor of the repeal, and one Democrat, Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, in opposition.

Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan and chairman of the committee, said he believed that the full Senate would support permitting the repeal.

Like the House amendment, the Senate measure, which is expected to come up for a vote soon, would allow Pentagon leaders to revoke the ban 60 days after the military study group completes its report and President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, certify that it would not hamper military readiness and effectiveness or “unit cohesion.”

Mr. Obama and Mr. Gates favor repealing the ban, as does Admiral Mullen, who, in testimony before the Armed Services Committee in February, called for a repeal.

In a statement, Mr. Obama said he was “pleased” by the votes.

“This legislation will help make our armed forces even stronger and more inclusive by allowing gay and lesbian soldiers to serve honestly and with integrity,” he said.

But chiefs of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines have objected. In letters solicited by Senator John McCain of Arizona, the senior Republican on the Armed Services Committee, they urged Congress to delay voting on the issue until after the Defense Department completed its report.

After the committee vote, Mr. McCain said he would continue to fight a repeal when the bill reached the Senate floor. “I think it’s really going to be really harmful to the morale and battle effectiveness of our military,” he said.

Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, who sponsored the repeal measure, said, “The ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy doesn’t serve the best interests of our military and doesn’t reflect the best values of our country.”

“Bottom line,” Mr. Lieberman, added, “thousands of service members have been pushed out of the U.S. military not because they were inadequate or bad soldiers, sailors, Marines or airmen but because of their sexual orientation. And that’s not what America is all about.”

The Armed Services Committee approved the broader policy bill by a vote of 18 to 10, with Mr. Webb and Senator Scott Brown, Republican of Massachusetts, who also opposed the repeal, supporting the broader measure.

With liberals in Congress being asked to vote on an unpopular war spending bill, Democratic leaders there have been pushing to finally do away with a ban that many in their party view as discriminatory and unpatriotic.

The Senate approved the spending bill Thursday night and the House is expected to vote on it early next month.

As the House headed toward the vote, the debate was often emotional.

In a floor speech on Thursday, Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, denounced the policy that requires gay men, lesbians and bisexuals to keep their sexual orientation secret if they want to serve.

Mr. Frank noted that the Israeli military, which he called “as effective a fighting force as has existed in modern times,” does not bar gay men or lesbians from service. Mr. Frank, who is openly gay, also said that he would be criticized — rightly, he said — if he were to suggest that gay men and lesbians be exempted if a military draft were needed.

[Not quite true Mr. Frank.  You may wish all you like, but it simply is not so.  The IDF allows anyone to enlist (gay or not), and you have a choice - to be openly gay and public about it, or not.  If you choose to NOT be public and announce to the world that you are gay, you may make it into a combat force.  If you believe it is best to tell the world about your great joy, you will not serve in any combat position.  That Mr. Frank is the IDF policy, not what you intimate.]

Representative Mike Pence of Indiana, the No. 3 Republican in the House, accused Democrats of trying to use the military “to advance a liberal social agenda” and demanded that Congress “put its priorities in order.”

Other Republicans said the military was a unique institution and its rules sometimes had to differ from civilian society.

“We are dissing the troops, that is what we are doing,” said Representative Howard P. McKeon of California, senior Republican on the Armed Services Committee.

Republicans also questioned if the military leaders who would make the final decision would be able to resist pressure from the White House to lift the ban.

Democrats who backed the repeal compared the vote to the racial integration of the military and hailed the action as allowing all Americans who wanted to serve to do so.

“In the land of the free and the home of the brave, it is long past time for Congress to end this un-American policy,” said Representative Tammy Baldwin, a Wisconsin Democrat who is openly gay.

Democrats accused Republicans of mischaracterizing the proposal, by suggesting it would unsettle the troops. “This policy will happen only when the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff stay that it is the right thing to do for this country,” said Representative Robert E. Andrews, Democrat of New Jersey.


Arizona and Illegal Immigration

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer abruptly suspends state's attorney general from illegal immigrant law defense

May 28, 2010
11:22 pm
The Los Angeles Times

A sudden new twist in the ongoing rhetorical and legal struggle over Arizona's tough new law to round up illegal immigrants.

Late Friday night as the Memorial Day weekend began, Arizona's Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, in effect, suspended the state's Democratic attorney general from defending the new law in upcoming legal challenges. The measure, known as S.B. 1070, is due to take effect this summer and, among other things, allows local police under federal guidelines to check the immigration status of people they stop.

The governor's abrupt action against Terry Goddard, her likely Democratic opponent in this fall's gubernatorial election, came after months of disputes between the two and at the end of a long day of legal maneuvering in both Arizona and the nation's capital.

As the state's chief lawyer, Goddard would be expected to take the lead in defending Arizona against....

...challenges to the Legislature's action, which erupted after years of state frustration with the federal government's inability to secure the state border with Mexico against illegal immigrants, drugs and criminals.

However, Goddard has vocally opposed the measure, so much so that the Legislature gave the governor advance authority to hire outside legal counsel.

On Friday, Goddard met with the Obama administration's Atty. Gen. Eric Holder in Washington, then held a news conference just hours before Brewer's handpicked attorneys were to meet with Holder, an outspoken critic of the law.

Brewer said, "I believe the federal government should use its legal resources to fight illegal immigration, not the State of Arizona."

Seeing apparent collusion between the two Democrat lawyers, Brewer pulled the plug Friday night.

Her statement (full text below) said:

Due to Attorney General Goddard’s curious coordination with the U.S. Department of Justice today and his consistent opposition to Arizona’s new immigration laws, I will direct my legal team to defend me and the State of Arizona rather than the Attorney General in the lawsuits challenging Arizona’s immigration laws.

Despite widespread criticism in the media and the Obama administration, whose officials including Holder admitted they had not actually read the legislation, numerous polls have shown deep support for the measure nationally and within Arizona.

And that approval has transferred over to Brewer, who was trailing Goddard early this year in polls of a hypothetical matchup come Nov. 2. Brewer inherited the governor's office last year when Janet Napolitano resigned to accept the man-caused nomination of Homeland Security secretary from President Obama.

[To read the full text, or related articles, click on the title link]


Friday, May 28, 2010

Scholarships for Illegals, In-State Tuition for Illegals - I want to be illegal

So the question is - do other scholarships ask about citizenship?  Can a person (illegal) get scholarships without showing proof of citizenship?  If so, is this not discriminatory against citizens?

I would like to renounce my citizenship so I can apply - because apparently the majority of available funds don't ask for proof, if they even ask at all.  The illegal is already getting IN-STATE tuition rates, unlike my costs if I was to move to Arizona and apply at ASU, I would be OUT-OF-STATE and pay A LOT MORE.  I suppose I should tell the admissions at ASU that I am an illegal alien from California.

Calif. College Offers Scholarship to Illegal Immigrants

By Jana Winter
Published May 28, 2010

A public community college in California has set up a scholarship fund for immigrant students — including illegal immigrants. The $2,500 scholarship has sparked anger by some, including at least one lawmaker who is threatening to cut off federal funding to the school.

Orange County's Santa Ana College says the controversial new memorial scholarship will be funded by private donations and honors former student Tan Ngoc Tran, a student leader and immigrant-rights activist who transferred to Brown University before she was killed by a drunk driver on May 15.

Students eligible for the new scholarship must have a 3.0 or higher grade point average, demonstrate a financial need and must also be trying to become an American citizen. Those eligible include students holding green cards, students who have permanent residency — and illegal, undocumented immigrants.

The scholarship was announced by the Santa Ana College Foundation at an informal memorial service for Tran held at Santa Ana College on Wednesday, said Laurie Weidner, spokeswoman for the Rancho Santiago Community College District, which governs Santa Ana College.

Weidner repeatedly emphasized to that no public funds would be used for the scholarship.

But Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., whose district includes the taxpayer-funded Santa Ana College, says that isn't quite true — because the scholarship diverts resources from Americans in need of education funds.

"The fact that a public employee of a public college is seeking to circumvent immigration laws is problematic," he told "The fact that it's being associated with a public institution means there's public funds involved: If you have a fund being operated by public employees, it's public."

He said he could not believe that a college would announce such a scholarship at a time when the majority of Americans has increased concerns about security threats along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Department of Homeland Security recently sent out an alert regarding a Somali man with reported terror ties who the agency believes is trying to sneak into the U.S. over the Mexican border.

"They totally misread the will of the people," Rohrabacher said of the school. "It's very bizarre."

The GOP lawmaker sent a letter to Santa Ana President Erlinda Martinez and has been in touch with members of the district board.

District board member Philip Yarborough — who is an elected official — says he's gotten a flurry of calls from outraged taxpayers who do not want public schools giving priority funding to illegal immigrants.

He was trying to find out exactly where the money would come from to fund this memorial scholarship.

But Weidner, the district spokeswoman, said critics are overreacting, and said the privately funded scholarship is meant to honor a "wonderful student leader" who continued her education after community college.

Tran, 27, was an undocumented immigrant pursuing a doctorate degree at Brown University at the time of her death. She was a leading member of the Dream Team, an activist group lobbying for the passage of the Dream Act, a bill that would provide certain protections for illegal immigrants living in the country, including giving access to scholarship money.

"We want all of our students to dream big and go to an Ivy league school — if they try hard and keep their focus, they can have the American dream too," said Weidner.

In his letter to the president of Santa Ana College, Rohrabacher called the scholarship "an affront to law abiding citizens whose tax dollars will pay the bill" and "an unconscionable insult to immigrants who took the time and considerable effort to come to this country legally.

"Channeling our scarce resources to illegal immigrants, even if they are students, is unforgivable at a time when so many of our citizens and legal residents are struggling to meet their own education needs," he wrote. "[I]f you feel compelled to misrepresent the interests of the taxpayers and your own students you are putting continued public financing for Santa Ana College in jeopardy."


Transparency: Tell the World How Many Nukes We have ... why not give them the locations also.

Transparency.  Great.  Let the US be transparent to all the enemies we have, let Obama sing the praises of such transparency - except domestically.  When it comes to things that happen here - let us not be so transparent.  We are doing this, says the administration, to show the world how transparent we are.  Dear World - we were more transparent than any of you 10 years ago, 20 years ago - forget needing to be more ... you need to be more transparent.  Yet, Obama like most liberals believes the US is the enemy of peace and we are the secret society (perhaps that is why there has been increased wiretapping, information gathering, and domestic spying in the last 20 months).    Regardless, doing this to encourage China to be transparent is utterly naive and imbecilic and if the individual claims to be a scientist at Atomic Scientists, who argues this case - he is a fool as well as naive and imbecilic.

U.S. reveals size of nuclear arsenal

8:36pm EDT
By Arshad Mohammed and Phil Stewart

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States disclosed for the first time on Monday the current size of its nuclear arsenal, lifting the veil on once top-secret numbers in an effort to bolster non-proliferation efforts.

The Pentagon said it had a total of 5,113 warheads in its nuclear stockpile at the end of September, down 84 percent from a peak of 31,225 in 1967. The arsenal stood at 22,217 warheads when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989.

The figure includes warheads that are operationally deployed, kept in active reserve and held in inactive storage. But it does not include "several thousand" warheads that are now retired and awaiting dismantlement, the Pentagon said.

"The United States is showing that it is being increasingly transparent," a senior U.S. defense official told reporters at the Pentagon.

"It's part of our commitment ... to set the stage for strength in non-proliferation and for further arms control."

The official declined to offer the Pentagon's estimate for Russia's arsenal and renewed calls for greater transparency by China, saying there was "little visibility" when it came to Beijing's nuclear program.

The United States is also pushing for a new round of sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

By releasing the data during the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference, analysts said the United States was trying to show it is cutting its arsenal so as to help persuade other states to tighten the global non-proliferation regime.

"It is hugely important for the United States to be able to say, 'Look we are living up to our obligations under the NPT," said Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists.


The disclosure comes less than a month after President Barack Obama unveiled a new policy restricting the U.S. use of nuclear weapons and signed a landmark arms reduction accord with Russia.

Obama, who won a Nobel Peace Prize in part for his vision of a nuclear free world, has also renounced the development of new atomic weapons.

Historically, the overall size of the arsenal has been kept secret to help prevent potential adversaries from using the information to more precisely neutralize U.S. nuclear forces.

Still, analysts warned the disclosure could also negatively impact perceptions of the United States -- possibly dismaying other nations by demonstrating how many nuclear weapons it retains two decades after the Cold War ended.

"I think the states that are most concerned about nuclear disarmament will be more focused on the number that remain rather than the number (reduced)," said George Perkovich, director of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The Pentagon said from fiscal years 1994 through 2009, the United States dismantled 8,748 nuclear warheads.

The Pentagon also declined to disclose the exact number of warheads awaiting dismantlement. It said more analysis needed to be done to make sure it did not impact U.S. national security.

The United States aims to dismantle those warheads by the early part of the next decade, another U.S. official said, also briefing reporters on condition of anonymity.


Massachusetts illegal alien problem

Wait, the Rockers will have to stay away from Massachusetts as well as Arizona!!  Great.  Let's see if they do, or if they are truly hypocritical fools.

Mass. Senate passes crackdown on illegal immigrants

May 27, 2010 05:56 PM
By Noah Bierman and Maria Sacchetti, Globe Staff

With one lawmaker citing President Lincoln's respect for the rule of law, the Massachusetts Senate passed a far-reaching crackdown this afternoon on illegal immigrants and those who would hire them, going further, senators said, than any immigration bill proposed over the past five years.

In a surprising turn of events, the legislation replaced a narrower bill that was passed Wednesday over the objections of Republicans.

The measure, which passed on a 28-10 vote as an amendment to the budget, would bar the state from doing business with any company found to break federal laws barring illegal immigrant hiring. It would also toughen penalties for creating or using fake identification documents, and explicitly deny in-state college tuition for illegal immigrants.

The amendment would also require the state’s public health insurance program to verify residency through the Department of Homeland Security, and would require the state to give legal residents priority for subsidized housing.

The amendment will now be part of negotiations with the House as part of the entire state budget.

Supporters, especially Republicans, struck patriotic notes and spoke of the sanctity of the law as they spoke on the Senate floor.

“It was President Lincoln -- and I’m going to paraphrase here -- who suggested that respect for the law should be preached from every pulpit taught by every mother to every child,” said Senator Bruce Tarr, a Gloucester Republican.

But one supporter said that the measure was being passed for practical purposes and would hurt people.

Senator Frederick E. Berry, a Peabody Democrat, complained that one of the Republican sponsors acted like the "Patriots had just won the Super Bowl. ... I am going to vote for it, but I don’t think we ought to rejoice."

Democrats had resisted such a sweeping proposal, but spent last evening negotiating today’s measure, shortly after a new polled showed 84 percent of the liberal-leaning state’s voters supported tough immigration rules barring state services to illegal immigrants.

Sonia Chang-Diaz, a Boston Democrat who opposed the amendment, said the measure had not been properly vetted and would add undue obligations to businesses and state government when they could ill afford it. She said it would cost the state money, while programs for children and public safety are being cut and people in her city are being shot at.

"I just don't think this is an appropriate time to be enforcing an additional cost burden on the state, doing things that are not our job," Chang-Diaz said.

The measure would also close what supporters say is a loophole that allows businesses to register cars under a company name, without identifying the owner by Social Security number and federal tax identification number. It would also crate a toll-free hot line for anonymous reporting of companies that employ illegal immigrants.

The measure comes weeks after immigration measures failed in the House, and amid heightened debate over illegal immigration fueled by the state's election season and Arizona's passage in April of the toughest immigration law in the nation.

Recent polls have found that, while voters supported blocking illegal immigrants' access to public benefits, they were split over whether the Bay State should have a law such as Arizona's.

Thursday's Senate amendment would also authorize the state attorney general's office to broker an agreement with federal authorities to help enforce immigration law. That would be a stark departure for Attorney General Martha Coakley, who has increased outreach to immigrants, encouraging them to file employment complaints, regardless of their legal status. Scores of immigrants whose bosses allegedly failed to pay their wages have turned to her for help in recent years.

The legislation also would increase penalties for driving without a license, one of the main problems facing illegal immigrants in Massachusetts. In November, a panel commissioned by Governor Deval Patrick urged him to push to grant driver's licenses and in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, among many other recommendations. Patrick sent the recommendations to his cabinet for study and pledged to return with a proposal in 90 days, but the results have not been made public.

Most immigrants in Massachusetts are here legally, but an estimated 190,000, or 20 percent, are here illegally, according to the census.


Tax Tax Tax Tax - that is all they understand. Tax Tax Tax

So close the deficit by CUTTING SPENDING.  Not by taxing the rich MORE than you are already.

N.Y. Assembly Looks at Millionaire's Tax

Wednesday, 26 May 2010, 1:53 PM EDT

MYFOXNY.COM - New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is reportedly pitching a plan for an increased "millionaire's tax" aimed at 75-85 thousand New Yorkers making $1 million or more a year.

Political columnist Fred Dicker , who appeared on Wednesday's Good Day New York, says Silver secretly proposed a $1 billion tax hike on the highest income earners to Gov. Paterson.

The plan would jack up a current millionaires tax another 11-percent. The current "millionaire's tax" actually starts affecting people who have incomes over $200,000. High income tax earners would pay more than 13-percent of their salary in local taxes.

The highest one percent of income earners account for about 36 percent of all state taxes.

The state is trying to close a $9.2 billion deficit.


Not going.

President Obama will skip Memorial Day visit to Arlington National Cemetery

By Anne E. Kornblut and Ed O'Keefe

Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, May 28, 2010

President Obama is skipping the traditional Memorial Day visit to Arlington National Cemetery, a move that has dismayed some veterans -- and comes at a sensitive moment in the administration's relationship with the military.

Instead of speaking at Arlington, as he did last year and as most presidents have done, Obama will appear at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery outside Chicago, the White House said. Vice President Biden will take his place at Arlington, the most prestigious military cemetery in the country and home to Section 60, a large burial ground for soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

[To read the rest of the article, click on the title link]

Sestak on Clinton Offer

Sestak statement on Clinton deal

By: Susan Ferrechio
Chief Congressional Correspondent
05/28/10 2:36 PM EDT

The statement from Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., about the White House Counsel’s Office report on his allegations that the Obama administration offered him a “high-up” federal job in exchange for not entering the Democratic Senate primary against Sen. Arlen Specter:

“Last summer, I received a phone call from President Clinton. During the course of the conversation, he expressed concern over my prospects if I were to enter the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate and the value of having me stay in the House of Representatives because of my military background. He said that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had spoken with him about my being on a Presidential Board while remaining in the House of Representatives. I said no. I told President Clinton that my only consideration in getting into the Senate race or not was whether it was the right thing to do for Pennsylvania working families and not any offer. The former President said he knew I’d say that, and the conversation moved on to other subjects.

“There are many important challenges facing Pennsylvania and the rest of the country. I intend to remain focused on those issues and continue my fight on behalf of working families.”


War on the Military: It Continues ...

Amazing bit of wordsmithing, but that is exactly what is happening.

War on the military-industrial complex

By: Timothy P. Carney
Examiner Columnist
May 28, 2010

If your family spent a majority of its disposable income on groceries, and you were looking to tighten your belt, you might start by taking a scalpel to your grocery budget.

If Republicans are serious about reining in our out-of-control federal spending, they ought to start with the spending item that takes up 56 percent of our discretionary spending -- defense. Conservatives, in their much-needed attacks on federal overspending, too often give the Pentagon a pass. For the budget of fiscal 2011, taxpayers are spending $708 billion on defense.

Maybe it seems unpatriotic to criticize our military spending. Maybe it seems like you're not supporting the troops to look for defense cuts. But as a tribute to our soldiers, sailors and airmen this Memorial Day weekend, let's start dismantling the military-industrial complex that saps our wealth without helping our troops.

This week, conservative Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., encouraged the president's fiscal responsibility commission to freeze defense spending and institute other reforms aimed at eventually cutting the military budget.

"Total Pentagon spending is higher today in inflation-adjusted dollars than at any time during the last 60 years," Coburn wrote. More poignantly, he added: "America's defenses have been decaying, despite -- perhaps even because of--- increasing budgets."

More military spending might be yielding a weaker military. This may sound absurd, but it shouldn't -- not to conservative ears, at least.

Conservatives understand that big government is, very often, the problem. Bloated bureaucracies are counterproductive. You don't solve problems by throwing money at them. Government spending attracts waste, fraud and abuse. And when you put fallible humans in charge of spending huge amounts of other people's money, cronyism and corruption ensue.

Conservatives and libertarians don't oppose welfare because they resent helping poor people or resist foreign aid out of disregard for the world's poor. We want a smaller Health and Human Services budget in part because we think it will yield better health and leave humans better served.

These arguments also apply to defense spending.

We are spending more and getting less. Coburn writes: "As the defense budget has grown over time, our forces have shrunk. Secretary Gates noted in a recent speech that current submarines and amphibious ships are three times as expensive as their equivalents during the 1980s and we have fewer of them."

Part of the problem is the ballooning bureaucracy. "The Department of Defense," Coburn writes, "has far too many headquarters, staff, and bureaucracy that merely create more work for subordinate units."

Another part of the problem is the military-industrial complex. Conservatives now realize how the big banks gave us the bailouts, Big Pharma gave us health care "reform," and a gang of green bandits is angling to rip us off through a climate change boondoggle. Well, the defense contractors have been playing this game for decades.

Huge corporations, headquartered in Northern Virginia, depend mostly or entirely on the U.S. military for their profits. Bureaucrats and congressional staffers spend other people's money while protected from strict scrutiny by the veil of national security.

Defense contractors have spent more than half a billion dollars on lobbying since 2006. Former New York Sen. Al D'Amato represents United Technologies as does House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's, D-Calif., former chief of staff. Linda Daschle, wife of former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., lobbies for Boeing, General Electric and Lockheed Martin. Jim Dyer, former chief of staff for the House Appropriations Committee, claims Lockheed, GE and General Dynamics as clients.

To the staffers and politicians, these wealthy lobbyists serve as a walking reminder: If you play ball, you can get the sort of cushy job I have in a few years.

Politicians also use defense contracts as job programs -- as pork. This robs from taxpayers, but it also robs from our troops.

We need a military, and we're at war, so we can't completely avoid opportunities for corruption in defense. But we can minimize them. Coburn proposes some procurement reforms, but conservatives know that the best reform is often a pay cut. Republicans ought to call for some retrenchment at the Pentagon.

Timothy P. Carney is The Washington Examiner's Lobbying Editor. His K Street column appears on Wednesdays.


Citizenship: A Bill in Congress Redefines

A Birthright? Maybe Not.

George Will
Sunday, March 28, 2010

WASHINGTON -- A simple reform would drain some scalding steam from immigration arguments that may soon again be at a roiling boil. It would bring the interpretation of the 14th Amendment into conformity with what the authors of its text intended, and with common sense, thereby removing an incentive for illegal immigration.

To end the practice of "birthright citizenship," all that is required is to correct the misinterpretation of that amendment's first sentence: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside." From these words has flowed the practice of conferring citizenship on children born here to illegal immigrants.

A parent from a poor country, writes professor Lino Graglia of the University of Texas law school, "can hardly do more for a child than make him or her an American citizen, entitled to all the advantages of the American welfare state." Therefore, "It is difficult to imagine a more irrational and self-defeating legal system than one which makes unauthorized entry into this country a criminal offense and simultaneously provides perhaps the greatest possible inducement to illegal entry."

Writing in the Texas Review of Law and Politics, Graglia says this irrationality is rooted in a misunderstanding of the phrase "subject to the jurisdiction thereof." What was this intended or understood to mean by those who wrote it in 1866 and ratified it in 1868? The authors and ratifiers could not have intended birthright citizenship for illegal immigrants because in 1868 there were and never had been any illegal immigrants because no law ever had restricted immigration.

If those who wrote and ratified the 14th Amendment had imagined laws restricting immigration -- and had anticipated huge waves of illegal immigration -- is it reasonable to presume they would have wanted to provide the reward of citizenship to the children of the violators of those laws? Surely not.

The Civil Rights Act of 1866 begins with language from which the 14th Amendment's Citizenship Clause is derived: "All persons born in the United States, and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States." (Emphasis added.) The explicit exclusion of Indians from birthright citizenship was not repeated in the 14th Amendment because it was considered unnecessary. Although Indians were at least partially subject to U.S. jurisdiction, they owed allegiance to their tribes, not the United States. This reasoning -- divided allegiance -- applies equally to exclude the children of resident aliens, legal as well as illegal, from birthright citizenship. Indeed, today's regulations issued by the departments of Homeland Security and Justice stipulate:

"A person born in the United States to a foreign diplomatic officer accredited to the United States, as a matter of international law, is not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. That person is not a United States citizen under the 14th Amendment."

Sen. Lyman Trumbull of Illinois was, Graglia writes, one of two "principal authors of the citizenship clauses in 1866 act and the 14th Amendment." He said that "subject to the jurisdiction of the United States" meant subject to its "complete" jurisdiction, meaning "not owing allegiance to anybody else." Hence children whose Indian parents had tribal allegiances were excluded from birthright citizenship.

Appropriately, in 1884 the Supreme Court held that children born to Indian parents were not born "subject to" U.S. jurisdiction because, among other reasons, the person so born could not change his status by his "own will without the action or assent of the United States." And "no one can become a citizen of a nation without its consent." Graglia says this decision "seemed to establish" that U.S. citizenship is "a consensual relation, requiring the consent of the United States." So: "This would clearly settle the question of birthright citizenship for children of illegal aliens. There cannot be a more total or forceful denial of consent to a person's citizenship than to make the source of that person's presence in the nation illegal."

Congress has heard testimony estimating that more than two-thirds of all births in Los Angeles public hospitals, and more than half of all births in that city, and nearly 10 percent of all births in the nation in recent years, have been to illegal immigrant mothers. Graglia seems to establish that there is no constitutional impediment to Congress ending the granting of birthright citizenship to persons whose presence here is "not only without the government's consent but in violation of its law."


Race and Empathy

I Feel Your Pain, Unless You're From a Different Race charles Q. Choi
livescience Contributor – Thu May 27, 12:12 pm ET

Normally when you see or imagine someone else in pain, your brain experiences a twinge of pain as well. Not so when race and bias come into play, scientists now find.

Intriguingly, people respond with empathy when pain is inflicted on others who don't fit into any preconceived racial category, such as those who appear to have violet-colored skin.

"This is quite important because it suggests that humans tend to empathize by default unless prejudice is at play," said researcher Salvatore Maria Aglioti, a cognitive and social neuroscientist at the Sapienza University of Rome in Italy.

Scientists asked volunteers in Italy of Italian and African descent to watch short films showing either needles penetrating a person's hand or a Q-tip gently touching the same spot. At the same time, they measured brain and nervous system activity.

When the volunteers saw the hands get poked, the brain and nervous system activity revealed the same spot on each volunteer's own hands reacted involuntarily when the person in the film was of the same race. Those of a different race did not provoke the same response.

However, when both white and black volunteers saw violet-colored hands get jabbed, they responded empathetically. This suggests that people normally automatically feel the pain of others, and the lack of empathy that volunteers showed for people of other races was learned and not innate.

"This default reactivity of human beings implies empathy with the pain of strangers," said researcher Alessio Avenanti of the University of Bologna in Italy. "However, racial bias may suppress this empathic reactivity, leading to a dehumanized perception of others' experience."

It could make evolutionary sense that we feel less empathy for people who are different than us. "In case of war or even a friendly competition like a football game, it could be adaptive to feel less empathy for people we consider our opponents," said social neuroscientist Joan Chiao at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., who did not take part in this research.

Then again, "it also makes evolutionary sense for us to feel the pain of others, as it might cue that there is danger close by," Chiao noted. "Also, without feeling the pain of others, it could be harder to motivate altruistic behaviors, especially if such behaviors come at a cost."

Essentially, for the stranger in pain, in order to elicit help, he or she would need to actually get the stranger to feel empathy.

While the ability for culture to regulate empathy could be helpful, "when you feel prejudices that are not adaptive, that are not rooted in reality, that shows that there can be a darker side to empathy regulation," Chiao added.

These new findings could suggest one could help deal with racial prejudice with methods designed to restore empathy for others, the researchers said.

"One can reduce empathy, but one can also promote it, learning positive associations with another group," Chiao said.

The scientists detailed their findings online May 27 in the journal Current Biology.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Obama: Another Reason Community Organizers Should Not Be Given Real Jobs

- May 27, 2010

Counterterror Adviser Defends Jihad as 'Legitimate Tenet of Islam'

The president's top counterterrorism adviser on Wednesday called jihad a "legitimate tenet of Islam," arguing that the term "jihadists" should not be used to describe America's enemies.

The president's top counterterrorism adviser on Wednesday called jihad a "legitimate tenet of Islam," arguing that the term "jihadists" should not be used to describe America's enemies.

During a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, John Brennan described violent extremists as victims of "political, economic and social forces," but said that those plotting attacks on the United States should not be described in "religious terms."

He repeated the administration argument that the enemy is not "terrorism," because terrorism is a "tactic," and not terror, because terror is a "state of mind" -- though Brennan's title, deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism and homeland security, includes the word "terrorism" in it. But then Brennan said that the word "jihad" should not be applied either.

"Nor do we describe our enemy as 'jihadists' or 'Islamists' because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one's community, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children," Brennan said.

The technical, broadest definition of jihad is a "struggle" in the name of Islam and the term does not connote "holy war" for all Muslims. However, jihad frequently connotes images of military combat or warfare, and some of the world's most wanted terrorists including Usama bin Laden commonly use the word to call for war against the West.

Brennan defined the enemy as members of bin Laden's Al Qaeda network and "its terrorist affiliates."

But Brennan argued that it would be "counterproductive" for the United States to use the term, as it would "play into the false perception" that the "murderers" leading war against the West are doing so in the name of a "holy cause."

"Moreover, describing our enemy in religious terms would lend credence to the lie propagated by Al Qaeda and its affiliates to justify terrorism -- that the United States is somehow at war against Islam," he said.

The comment comes after Brennan, in a February speech in which he described his respect for the tolerance and devotion of Middle Eastern nations, referred to Jerusalem on first reference by its Arabic name, Al-Quds.

"In all my travels the city I have come to love most is al-Quds, Jerusalem, where three great faiths come together," Brennan said at an event co-sponsored by the White House Office of Public Engagement and the Islamic Center at New York University and the Islamic Law Students Association at NYU.


Warning: Sun can cause cancer, smoking can cause cancer, burned BBQ can cause cancer ...

....  everything can cause cancer - wait, we all have cancer cells in our bodies so nothing causes cancer, rather it flips the switch that turns cancer production on.  Or something like that.

In any case, a new study -  sunscreen causes cancer.

Some Sunscreens Accelerate Cancer, Research Says

Monday, May 24, 2010

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- New research show that some popular brands of sunscreen may actually accelerate skin cancer, instead of protecting your skin.

For years, experts have been telling people to apply and reapply sunscreen, especially when facing the sun's harmful rays. According to a new study by the Environmental Working Group released Monday, almost half of the most popular sunscreen contain ingredients that could actually speed up cancer.

Those like Ashley Rolling, who said she uses sunscreen religiously, said despite the new research, she will continue using the product.

"I don't know how much I believe that, I mean, have they tested the study thoroughly or what evidence do they have to back it up? That's what I would ask," she said.

Researchers said that sunscreen containing Vitamin A or its derivative seemed to be the cause.

Dr. Sanjiba Goyal, a local dermatologist said do not put that bottle down just yet.

"Based on the study, at least at this point, it's too early to draw any significant conclusions," he said.

In fact, he said Vitamin A derivatives found in a lot of sunscreen products could be used in anti-aging products. In some cases, he said, they can be used as treatments for certain types of skin cancers.

Goyal said until more studies can prove the new claims, he will continue telling his patients what he has been for years.

"The key is if you can avoid sun exposure completely, followed by clothing, and then sunscreen is the final step, then it's probably the least effective," he said.


BAD Policy: Troops to the Border.

Ok, so I initially believed it was a good policy.  Now we find out more, and I have to change my mind - it is a bad policy.

US troops won't be used to stop illegal immigration: US

May 26 03:50 PM US/Eastern

US National Guard troops being sent to the Mexican border will be used to stem the flow of guns and drugs across the frontier and not to enforce US immigration laws, the State Department said Wednesday.

The clarification came after the Mexican government urged Washington not to use the additional troops to go after illegal immigrants.

President Barack Obama on Tuesday authorized the deployment of up to 1,200 additional troops to border areas but State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters, "It's not about immigration."

He said the move was "fully consistent with our efforts to do our part to stem, you know, violence, to interdict the flow of dangerous people and dangerous goods -- drugs, guns, people."

He said the extra troops would be used to free up civilians engaged in support functions so that law enforcement personnel can be increased along the 2,000-mile-long (3,200 kilometer) border.

Nearly 13 million Mexicans live in the United States, more than half of them illegally.

"We have explained the president's announcement to the government of Mexico, and they fully understand the rationale behind it," Crowley said.

Obama's announcement came less than a week after a state visit to Washington by Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who asked for greater US backing for a bloody three-year-old war on drug cartels.

Drug violence has claimed the lives of nearly 23,000 people over the past three years.

fools and liars

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Obama Takes a Break

When is a holiday not a vacation, but instead is a weekend break? 

Obamas take a weekend break from Washington

By Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 25, 2010; A10

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Don't call it a vacation, the White House says. It's a "getaway," or a "weekend away" or maybe just a "break."

[Absolutely - it isn't a vacation - look Bush took a break every so often, and it is necessary given the pressures of the office - why not.  I only wish Democrats had stopped attacking him daily for all his VACATIONS and realized that reality is never far away when you are president.]

Whatever you call it, President Obama and the first lady made it clear to their staffs that there would be no interviewing of Supreme Court nominees or big briefing books in advance of long meetings.

Instead, the Obamas took a step off the Washington treadmill from the moment they arrived here. They chowed down on some North Carolina barbecue and escaped for a Blue Ridge Mountain hike within moments of getting off their plane.

That's not to say that real life doesn't always intrude just a bit for Barack and Michelle Obama, even when the White House is temporarily tucked away in the side of a mountain, surrounded by lush forests and rolling green hills.  

[It certainly didn't when Bush took some days off - maybe not as many as Obama, but then Bush didn't have as many issues to contend with - Bush only had two wars.]

The president issued a statement on the anniversary of the slaughter almost a century ago of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks, for the second time passing up an opportunity to use the term "genocide," despite promising during his campaign to do so. Activists and officials from across the spectrum were quick to express disappointment.

On Sunday, Obama faces the grim task of eulogizing the 29 miners who died in West Virginia April 5 after an explosion rocked their coal mine.

But at least for a day and a half, aside from a few briefings, the president's usual packed schedule of meetings, speeches, motorcades and public events was replaced with more relaxing activities.

He had hardly checked into the Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa Friday afternoon before he was on the links for a quick nine holes, finishing after nightfall. Saturday morning, he was up at dawn for another round, this time a 5 1/2- hour full 18 holes.

Reporters were kept away from the action, though a handful were allowed to watch his final hole Friday night. The president took the wheel of a golf cart, steered it up near the green of the 10th hole and made several warm-up swings before putting.

The ball fell a bit short of the hole, but fellow golfers Marty Nesbitt, Eric Whittaker and Marvin Nicholson allowed him to take a gimme.

Asheville was ready to welcome the Obamas as it had previous presidential vacationers. In an eyeglass store in the quaint downtown, a sign read: "Welcome Mr. President. We can help you SEE the way out of the Recession!" A spice store announced: "Hey Mr. President, check out the spice girls. We voted for you."

The local newspaper, the Asheville Citizen-Times, blogged in real time about the president's activities. At one point, the paper noted the Twitter comments from deputy press secretary Bill Burton, whom the paper identified as "the official White House twitter person Bill Burton."

But for most of the weekend, the Obamas stayed within the secure confines of the resort, venturing out only for dinner Saturday night.

Michelle Obama played tennis Saturday morning, aides said. There was no official confirmation that she availed herself of the spa facilities, but several people reported stern-looking Secret Service agents standing outside the spa entrance Saturday.

The Obamas are expected to return to Washington on Sunday evening after the memorial service in West Virginia.

Obama sending national guard to border

Good policy.  We need more than 1200 but that is a great start.  Perhaps wrongly used, but it will be a good start.

Obama sending 1,200 troops to Mexico border

May 25, 2010

.WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will deploy up to 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexican border and request $500 million for enhanced border protection, an administration official said on Tuesday.

The troops will provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support, intelligence analysis, immediate support to counternarcotics enforcement and training capacity until Customs and Border Patrol can recruit and train more officers and agents to serve along the frontier.

The funds will be used to enhance technology at the border and share information and support between law enforcement agencies as they target illegal trafficking in people, drugs, weapons and money.

The immigration issue has been a subject of intense focus in Washington, with Obama calling for comprehensive reform, and speaking out against a tough new law in the border state of Arizona.

The issue also was a focus of a state visit to Washington last week by Mexican President Felipe Calderon.


The Dow Falls, North Korea on the Brink, Iran with a Nuke, and Al Qaida still Planning

... and we have a community organizer in charge.

We are in trouble.

Dear American People:
I realize that only 42% of you support Obama, according to very recent polling, but dear lord, when you elect a president do NOT, please, DO NOT think domestic.  The domestic issues will resolve themselves and sort out, eventually - THINK globally, think international crisis after crisis after crisis.  Please.  And a community organizer is wholly unqualified to handle these concerns.  Worse, the lack of experience makes the world a much more dangerous position given the fact that most of the world holds us in such contempt.

Stocks drop after euro slumps, Dow falls below 10K

Tuesday May 25, 2010, 1:39 pm EDT

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Dow Jones industrials plunged below 10,000 Tuesday after traders dumped stocks on expectations that the world economy will weaken in the coming months.

The Dow fell about 190 points in afternoon trading. It has fallen about 1,330 points, or nearly 12 percent, from its recent high of 11,205, reached April 26. The Dow and broader stock indexes all fell more than 1 percent.

Investors also exited the euro and commodities including oil and again sought safety in Treasurys. That drove interest rates lower. The benchmark 10-year note's yield fell to its lowest level since April 2009.

Investors were anxious about problems beyond the financial crisis in Europe. Tensions between North and South Korea reminded traders that political issues can be a threat to economic growth. And analysts said that even the still unresolved oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico contributed to investors' foul mood.

Still, uncertainty over the impact that Europe's debt problems could have on the rest of the world in the coming months remains the biggest driver of investor pessimism, said Jonathan Corpina, president of Meridian Equity Partners. The largest concern is that painful austerity measures that European governments are being forced to take could lead to a prolonged economic slump in the region and cause another global recession. And investors fear that even those measures won't contain the crisis, Corpina said.

"It seems like the Europeans are playing 'tag, you're it ' -- first it was Greece and now it's maybe Spain or Portugal," said Corpina, a New York Stock Exchange floor trader. "We know someone else is next. The problem is that it seems like every plan in place isn't going to satisfy the needs."

A warning of hard times came from Britain's Queen Elizabeth, who opened the new session of Parliament with a speech delivered on behalf of Britain's new coalition government. The queen, said there would be budget cuts because "the first priority is to reduce the deficit and restore economic growth."

Other European countries are imposing budget cuts as well, trying to control their debts. Investors are concerned that these steps will stifle economic growth, and that other countries including the U.S. will inevitably see their own growth stunted.

European Union leaders warned Tuesday that the continent's economy would stagnate unless governments make major reforms to promote growth. The problem is, though, that large debts in some countries make it difficult to implement stimulus measures to rally economies.

Traders have been selling the euro heavily in recent weeks because of uneasiness over whether steep budget cuts in countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal will drag down an economic recovery on the continent. Italy was set to become the latest European nation to announce spending cuts to reduce its deficit.

The euro approached a four-year low, which it set last week. The euro dropped to $1.2285, close to the low of $1.2146 it touched last week.

Investors are not focusing on current signs of growth, but are instead trying to gauge where the global economy will be later this year. Pessimism, particularly about Europe, has replaced a hopeful tone among traders early in the year.

"Market participants feel like they're walking on eggshells," said Oliver Pursche, executive vice president at Gary Goldberg Financial Services in Suffern, N.Y. "Every small piece of potentially bad news is being exaggerated and mentally being fast-forwarded to the worst-case scenario."

Markets were also hurt by reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il ordered his military to combat alert because of rising tensions on the Korean peninsula. North Korea also said it would cease communication and relations with Seoul. South Korea has said North Korea was responsible for the sinking of a South Korean warship two months ago. Major indexes in Japan and Hong Kong fell more than 3 percent.

Meanwhile, the monthlong effort to cap the Gulf oil well that has spewed millions of gallons of oil is also rattling investors, Corpina said. Oil is now starting to come ashore across a 150-mile swath of the Gulf Coast, endangering wildlife and livelihoods in commercial fishing and tourism.

"The worry is that the situation is getting worse and there's no real fix," he said. "First we were just talking about the oil industry being affected. Now it's the environment and fishing industries. Next we'll be talking about the hotel and leisure industries."

A disappointing report on U.S. home prices added to the downcast mood. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index fell 0.5 percent in March from February, a sign that the housing market remains weak even as mortgage rates are still near historic lows.

A better-than-expected report on consumer confidence didn't stop the selling. The Conference Board's consumer confidence index rose for the third straight month, climbing to 63.3 in May from 57.7 last month.

The Dow fell 190.07, or 1.9 percent, to 9,876.50 by early afternoon. Only one of the 30 Dow stocks, Home Depot Inc., rose, and that was just by pennies.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 20.13, or 1.9 percent, to 1,053.52. The index hit its lowest level of the year in early trading, dropping to 1,040.78.

The Nasdaq composite index fell 42.75, or 1.9 percent, to 2,170.80.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, fell to 3.14 percent from 3.20 percent late Monday. It fell as low as 3.07 percent, its lowest level since April 2009.

The yield on the 30-year bond briefly fell below 4 percent for the first time since October, before rising slightly. It is down to 4.04 percent from 4.08 percent late Monday.

Crude oil fell $2.16 to $68.05 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, in part a reflection of expectations that weak economic growth will curtail demand for fuel.

Overseas markets were also down sharply. Britain's FTSE 100 dropped 2.5 percent, Germany's DAX index lost 2.3 percent, and France's CAC-40 plummeted 2.9 percent. Japan's Nikkei stock average fell 3.1 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 3.3 percent.


US - Europe: We have Become More Like Them

In Europe the cultural belief ... well, actually it is more like a cultural truism was that you were not the sum of what you did, rather you were the sum of what you didn't do ... the vacations, the free time spent twiddling and dwiddling and wasting whatever time you had was in truth, not wasting or dwiddling, it was your time to simply be.  In several European countries, one is paid not for one's product, but for simply being.  You work 12 weeks, you are off 12 weeks, you work 12 weeks and you are off 12 weeks and you work 4 weeks and ... and you rather enjoy that schedule.  Well, it failed Europe, but Obama wants it here, and he has begun his change ....

Private pay shrinks to historic lows

By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY
May 25, 2010

Paychecks from private business shrank to their smallest share of personal income in U.S. history during the first quarter of this year, a USA TODAY analysis of government data finds.

At the same time, government-provided benefits — from Social Security, unemployment insurance, food stamps and other programs — rose to a record high during the first three months of 2010.

Those records reflect a long-term trend accelerated by the recession and the federal stimulus program to counteract the downturn. The result is a major shift in the source of personal income from private wages to government programs.

The trend is not sustainable, says University of Michigan economist Donald Grimes. Reason: The federal government depends on private wages to generate income taxes to pay for its ever-more-expensive programs. Government-generated income is taxed at lower rates or not at all, he says. "This is really important," Grimes says.

The recession has erased 8 million private jobs. Even before the downturn, private wages were eroding because of the substitution of health and pension benefits for taxable salaries.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that individuals received income from all sources — wages, investments, food stamps, etc. — at a $12.2 trillion annual rate in the first quarter.

Key shifts in income this year:

• Private wages. A record-low 41.9% of the nation's personal income came from private wages and salaries in the first quarter, down from 44.6% when the recession began in December 2007.

•Government benefits. Individuals got 17.9% of their income from government programs in the first quarter, up from 14.2% when the recession started. Programs for the elderly, the poor and the unemployed all grew in cost and importance. An additional 9.8% of personal income was paid as wages to government employees.

The shift in income shows that the federal government's stimulus efforts have been effective, says Paul Van de Water, an economist at the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

"It's the system working as it should," Van de Water says. Government is stimulating growth and helping people in need, he says. As the economy recovers, private wages will rebound, he says.

Economist Veronique de Rugy of the free-market Mercatus Center at George Mason University says the riots in Greece over cutting benefits to close a huge budget deficit are a warning about unsustainable income programs.

Economist David Henderson of the conservative Hoover Institution says a shift from private wages to government benefits saps the economy of dynamism. "People are paid for being rather than for producing," he says.


Monday, May 24, 2010


So says the Governor of the State of Massachusetts. 

Amazing what constitutes sedition today.  Democrats have reminded us nearly every week how unpatriotic everyone who opposes Obama is, and now they are also guilty of sedition.

Of course the guy modified his statement later - who wouldn't given the ... problems he would have if he didn't.  All of the Democrats in the last 12 months who have called opposition to Obama unpatriotic, racist, and sedition, have later modified their statements.  When Republicans said something was unpatriotic - it was not opposition that was questionable, it was motives and purpose.  Besides that - no one ever said opposing Bush was unpatriotic.  No one from the government - go find it and check.  One of those stories that was built on stories built on lies.  But that doesn't matter - not when you have the certainty of your faith - Obama.

Patrick says Obama critics are 'almost at the level of sedition'

May 24, 2010 03:33 PM

By Michael Levenson, Globe Staff

Governor Deval Patrick, even as he decried partisanship in Washington, said today that Republican opposition to President Obama’s agenda has become so obstinate that it “is almost at the level of sedition.”

The Democratic governor, who is close to the president, made the comments at a forum at Suffolk Law School's Rappaport Center, where he was asked by an audience member about partisan battling in Congress.

Patrick said that even "on my worst day, when I’m most frustrated about folks who seem to rooting for failure," he doesn't face anything like the opposition faced by the president.

"It seems like child’s play compared to what is going on in Washington, where it is almost at the level of sedition, it feels to like me,” Patrick said., the dictionary site, defines sedition as "incitement of resistance to or insurrection against lawful authority.''

After the forum, Patrick explained his remarks.

“I think that the number of people in the Grand Old Party who seem to be absolutely committed to saying ‘no,' whenever he says ‘yes,’ no matter what it is, even if it’s an idea that they came up with, is just extraordinary,” the governor told reporters after the forum.

But did the opposition really border on sedition?

“That was a rhetorical flourish,” Patrick said.

In a statement released a few hours after his comments were posted on and other websites, the chairwoman of the state Republican Party criticized Patrick.

"Apparently our First Amendment rights are only guaranteed if we agree with the tax-and-spend policies of Deval Patrick and Barack Obama,'' Jennifer Nassour, chairwoman of the state GOP, said.

She added, "the governor should focus on the critical issues at hand, like (lowering) property taxes and controlling rampant spending, instead of defending his buddy President Obama."

stupid people


The end of a series, of a constant - where one man stood out and above, and did what had to be done.  In a way it is quite fitting that the series ends as Mr. Obama proclaims a new world order. 

Jack is over and done, finished and gone, and as hard as Mr. Obama will try, and he will try - he cannot end American exceptionalism, and because he will fail, Jack will be back - even if it is only on the big screen.


More Taxes: California Democrats - to fill the void, raise taxes.

On top of the federal taxes coming our way, the state will raise taxes.  tax tax tax tax.  Never met a tax they didn't like!

California Democrats unveil tax-increase package

7:25pm EDT

SAN FRANCISCO, May 24 (Reuters) - Democratic lawmakers in California unveiled a plan on Monday for nearly $5 billion of tax and fee increases to help fill the state government's $19.1 billion budget gap.

The plan by state Senate Democrats would raise $4.9 billion by raising California's vehicle registration fee, suspending corporate tax breaks scheduled to begin next year and boosting the state's tax on alcoholic beverages.

Democrats control both chambers of the state's legislature and have said they would seek new revenue to help plug the shortfall.

Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, by contrast, has ruled out tax increases and is relying largely on deep spending cuts in his plan for balancing the state's books. He has called for $12.4 billion of cuts and would scrap the state's welfare system, a plan Democrats have rejected.

Republicans in the legislature's minority immediately criticized the proposed tax increases, signaling they will use their votes to block them. Democrats lack the votes to pass tax measures on their own.

Analysts expect budget negotiations between Schwarzenegger and lawmakers will drag on and press into the state's next fiscal year, which begins in July.

California's leaders are facing another year of weak revenue as a result of the recession and the downturns in financial and real estate markets.


To Tax or simply to raise the federal tax for cleanups - by whatever name it is the same.

A brilliant way to raise billions.  Tax the oil companies and then force the oil companies to clean it up.

Almost as if it was all planned - a way to raise taxes and further the compromise the economic system.  It is amazing.  Control of the financial sector when it happens to present a blunder of extraordinary proportions.  It is amazing how this administration seems to be there to clean up these messes by imposing new regulations and control, and increasing our taxes - taxes that impact the poor more than anyone else.

Oil tax increase would help pay to clean up spills

May 24 04:20 PM US/Eastern
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Responding to the massive BP oil spill, Congress is getting ready to quadruple—to 32 cents a barrel—a tax on oil used to help finance cleanups. The increase would raise nearly $11 billion over the next decade.

The tax is levied on oil produced in the U.S. or imported from foreign countries. The revenue goes to a fund managed by the Coast Guard to help pay to clean up spills in waterways, such as the Gulf of Mexico.

The tax increase is part of a larger bill that has grown into a nearly $200 billion grab bag of unfinished business that lawmakers hope to complete before Memorial Day. The key provisions are a one-year extension of about 50 popular tax breaks that expired at the end of last year, and expanded unemployment benefits, including subsidies for health insurance, through the end of the year.

The House could vote on the bill as early as Tuesday. Senate leaders hope to complete work on it before Congress goes on a weeklong break next week.

Lawmakers want to increase the current 8-cent-a-barrel tax on oil to make sure there is enough money available to respond to oil spills. At least 6 million gallons of crude have spewed into the Gulf of Mexico since a drilling rig exploded April 20 off the Louisiana coast.

President Barack Obama and congressional leaders have said they expect BP to foot the bill for the cleanup.

"Taxpayers will not pick up the tab," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Monday.

BP executives told Congress last week they would pay "all legitimate claims" for damages. But the government needs upfront money to respond to spills, as well as money to pay for cleanups when the responsible party is unable to pay, or is unknown. Money spent from the fund can later be recovered from the company responsible for the spill.

The Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund has about $1.5 billion available. Under current law, only $1 billion can be spent from the fund on a single incident. The bill would increase the spending limit to $5 billion.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the tax increase was hastily put together, without adequate study, to help pay for an unrelated bill. The tax increase was unveiled Thursday, without any congressional hearings to study its impact.

Even with the tax increases, the bill is projected to add $134 billion to the federal budget deficit.

"I have seen no analysis on how this would impact energy security, how this would impact domestic production, how this would impact the overall economics in the country," said Christopher Guith, vice president of the chamber's energy institute. "There hasn't been any sort of deliberation on this."

The American Petroleum Institute has not taken a position on the tax increase, though a spokeswoman said Congress should study the ramifications before acting.

"We understand we need to have an insurance policy in order to cover people in the event of a spill," said the spokeswoman, Cathy Landry. "At the same time we need to have a vital oil and gas industry."

The bill does not address a federal law that caps liability at $75 million for economic damages beyond direct cleanup costs. Democratic Senators tried to pass a bill last week that would have increased the cap to $10 billion, but they were blocked by Republicans.

The oil industry says such a high cap would make it difficult, if not impossible, to insure oil rigs.

BP said Monday its costs for responding to the spill had grown to about $760 million.


Make Mine Freedom - 1948

American Form of Government

Who's on First? Certainly isn't the Euro.