Tuesday, February 28, 2012

President's apology to Afghanistan people puts our troops at risk

After two innocent U.S. soldiers were murdered in retaliation for the burning of some Korans in Afghanistan, President Obama did what he does best. He apologized on behalf of all of America to the Afghan president and Muslim leaders. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter joined the President in the humble pie-feast, offering up mea culpas to Afghanistan's people for any offense they felt at seeing the Korans burned.

The administration made little attempt to explain the issue. Though it was discovered that enemy prisoners were sending secret messages written in the Korans (which in itself is contrary to Islam rules on desecration), our president's first order of business was not to explain why the books were disposed of this way by the soldiers, but rather he jumped at the chance to express our own shame for causing offense. Apparently murdering our own American citizens in response is not offensive to this president as he has yet to demand an apology from Afghanistan for that. Instead, by freely offering America's guilt as a country, he set our troops up as huge targets for revenge.

Since then, at least five U.S. soldiers are dead as a result of this revenge, while the violence continues to skyrocket. Shouts of "Death to America" and burning U.S. flags fill the streets. But our President remains committed to his policy of appeasement. After all, we wouldn't want to offend anyone who despises our country and is killing our own troops, now would we.

In perfect timing, the President's proverbial bowing to a vehemently anti-American country coincides with his proposed cuts to defense spending. The cuts don't so much come from bringing the troops home, but rather they'll be paid for in part by specifically targeting the troops, their families, and military retirees who'll be forced to pay much, much more for their healthcare. Not surprisingly, the unionized civilian defense workers’ benefits will remain unchanged.

Since Obama is so good at apologizing, maybe his next one should be to the U.S. troops who give everything for our country, and yet get so little in return from their own Commander in Chief.

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Obama's 2013 budget: Retirees to be hit with huge tax

If you look closely at President Obama's 2013 budget, you'll see there's a proposal in it to approximately triple the tax rate on corporate dividends. The current rate is 15 percent.

Obama says the dividend tax rates should be more closely aligned with the higher-end personal income tax rate of 39.6 percent. This rate hits 41 percent when you factor in the planned phase-out of deductions and exemptions, and then goes all the way to 44.8 percent once the 3.8 percent investment tax surcharge from ObamaCare goes into effect.

As The Wall Street Journal put it in a recent commentary, "Of course, the White House wants everyone to know that this new rate would apply only to those filthy rich individuals who make $200,000 a year, or $250,000 if you're a greedy couple. We're all supposed to believe that no one would be hurt other than rich folks who can afford it.”

However, the truth is that those who can least afford it would be most impacted by the hike: retirees who depend on dividend income to get by. According to IRS data, almost three of four dividend payments go to those over the age of 55, and more than half go to those older than 65.

The Journal also pointed out that all shareholders will be affected, regardless of income levels. "Historical experience indicates that corporate dividend payouts are highly sensitive to the dividend tax. Dividends fell out of favor in the 1990s when the dividend tax rate was roughly twice the rate of capital gains," it says. "When the rate fell to 15 percent in 2003, dividends reported on tax returns nearly doubled to $196 billion from $103 billion the year before the tax cut, and by 2006, dividend income had grown to nearly $337 billion."

Reviews have shown that the tax cut played a significant role in the increase in dividend payouts.

“If you reverse the policy, you reverse the incentives,” the Journal wrote. “The tripling of the dividend tax will have a dampening effect on these payments.

In addition to retirees, The Journal concluded that “all American shareholders would lose” because the taxes would make stocks less valuable and prices would fall, causing a sell-off. Today, 51 percent of Americans hold shares of stock either directly or through mutual funds.

Once again, President Obama claims he cares, but if you are one of the millions of average Americans trying to secure your future through investments, plan on giving roughly half of your earnings to the government through higher taxes. For those on fixed incomes to begin with, it seems that would be a painful price to pay.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

President's approval ratings on economy rise as suburban poverty hits all time high: What gives?

A new AP poll shows President Obama's approval ratings on the economy are climbing. This is interesting considering just yesterday an article in MSN.money said there are now 2.7 million more impoverished households in the suburbs than in cities. This is based on a Brookings Institution analysis that revealed there were 15.4 million suburbanites living in poverty in 2010, a 53 percent increase since 2000. Poverty levels rose 11.5% from 2009 to 2010 in the suburbs, and inched up 5% in cities. The article mentioned how suburban food banks that were once supported by its own residents are now largely being used by those same people.

Gas prices are at record highs, but unlike when prices spiked under George W. Bush, you hear nary a criticism of President Obama's role in this. Prices are predicted to hit five dollars as early as this summer (and already have gone that high in Los Angeles), and the media keep silent. We have vast natural resources in America, yet our President refuses to tap into them while prices soar. Where is the outrage the media and the public levied at Bush? If there has been any economic recovery at all, imagine what this added gas price burden would do to it. Meanwhile the unemployment rate remains stubbornly high, and "jobs added" have been largely in the public sector or temporary jobs found for the holidays. The numbers also don't reflect the huge number of people who have simply given up looking for a job and so are no longer counted in the totals.

The middle class is being pummeled by taxes, policies and regulations that continue to punish both the citizen and businesses -- who pass the costs on by either raising consumer prices or letting employees go. Still the President is calling for astronomical increases in spending at taxpayer expense while putting up roadblocks to businesses trying to survive. As CEO of Wynn Resorts, Steve Wynn, said, "This administration is the greatest wet blanket to business, progress and job creation in my lifetime and...we are frightened to death about all the new regulations, our escalating healthcare costs, and regulations coming from left and right."

Maybe those approving of President Obama on the economy are those members of unions who have received over 1,200 exemptions from the disastrous ObamaCare, while the rest of us are stuck with it. Maybe the approval comes from the 49 percent of the population that pays zero federal income taxes or the people of Solyndra who got millions in subsidies. Perhaps it's the left wing extremists at the EPA who put planet earth ahead of people, or just all the people on the public payroll who are giving the President a big thumbs up. Or maybe it's just those who simply base their opinions on the President's empty promises of nirvana. Who knows. Whoever it is praising the President on the economy, it's a safe bet to say the suburban soccer mom standing in line at the local food bank is not one of them.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Are social programs more important than national security?

National security is the primary and most important responsibility of our federal government. But in the Obama Administration, common defense takes a backseat to spending on social programs like health care reform and Medicaid. Even though we're drowning in debt, Obama is seeking to increase spending by $3.8 trillion in 2013 to $5.8 trillion in 2022 to support these and other programs. That's a 53 percent increase in spending - funded by the taxpayers and more borrowing -- which basically adds an additional $6.7 trillion to the federal deficit.

America's debt is crushing us and we simply cannot afford to continue this spending spree. Unfortunately it seems the only area the U.S. administration does seem willing to reduce spending on is our national defense. In the past few years, more than 30 defense-related programs have been “canceled, capped or ended,” former Defense Secretary Robert Gates revealed. These include plans for a long-range bomber, the F-22 program, the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, and two Pentagon agencies. Planned cuts also include a 30 percent reduction in the nation’s nuclear stockpile and a 50 percent decrease in the missiles, subs and bombers used to deliver them. Hundreds of military bases have closed and the ranks of admirals and generals have shrunk.

In other cuts, the Navy shut down the U.S. Second Fleet, which trains all strike groups before deployment. The Army canceled a missile system and the Army and Marines agreed to shrink their numbers. Meanwhile, one of our best defenses against short and intermediate-range airborne attacks is the Standard Missile 3 (SM-3), which can intercept enemy missiles while in flight. But the President cut funding for the newest version of SM-3, despite complaints that it's already in dangerously short supply.

Incredibly, President Obama is now seeking to cut military defense spending by an additional $450 billion, a figure well above his earlier target of $400 billion in cuts. These are volatile times and considering that both U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Israel have predicted that Iran will be capable of launching a nuclear missile at the U.S. as soon as 2014, now is hardly the time to shrink our national defense capabilities, while spending the rest of the country into oblivion.

Either way you look at it, our President's actions are putting us at serious risk.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

First Lady takes 16th vacation on the taxpayers' dime

First Lady Michelle Obama has just returned from a Presidents' Day jaunt to Aspen, Colorado, with her two daughters. This marks the 16th trip in total the First Family has taken in the three years since the family patriarch became president. Some of these trips have been just Michelle on her own with her children.

The trips aren't your average little weekend road trip to the family cottage either. The First Lady's choice of travel includes five-star resort stays in places like Europe, South Africa, New York City and regular trips to Hawaii. When you add in all the costs associated with this, including Secret Service, additional security, personal staff, meals, lodging and the like, we taxpayers are footing quite a hefty bill for the First Lady's entertainment. Some estimates put it at approximately $10 million. The Hawaii Reporter said the family's 2011 Christmas trip to Hawaii alone exceeded $1.5 million.

At a time when a record number of Americans are on food stamps and few can even afford to take a vacation because they're just trying to make basic ends meet, the First Family's flagrant disregard for struggling Americans and their unconscionable spending of taxpayers' money is nothing short of contemptuous. And yet they say they're the ones who care about the middle class and the poor. Somehow their posturing hardly rings true.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Obama loves the Bible...when it suits his agenda

At the recent National Prayer Day Breakfast speech, President Obama referenced biblical scripture, saying that Jesus would approve of "tax the rich" schemes in order to "spread the wealth". Jesus clearly spread messages of love, charity, justice and truth, but it's hard to pinpoint any passages that show He was a socialist advocating the forceful taking of property from one to give to another.

Jesus' lessons of love and helping one's neighbor resonated in the human heart, and from that sprung charity. For centuries humans have helped each other in times of need without being compelled against their will to do so. That is the spirit of freely given love that Christ taught and that humans practice by nature.

In no other part of the world has this generosity been more evident than in America. Though welfare and unemployment benefits have their rightful place to an extent, before they became so common, neighbors and family could turn to one another when times got tough. And when disaster strikes anywhere in the world, America is always a first responder, and the first place the world turns to for help. That is our fundamental nature, the generosity rooted in Jesus' teachings.

For the President of the United States to exploit the Bible to justify his own political agenda of unjust wealth redistribution -- and then deny American Catholics the right to live their Bible-rooted faith by forcing them to provide contraception and other services they deem evil -- is not only the height of hypocrisy, but the ultimate rejection of Christ's teachings.

It is not the government's place to tell citizens their faith can be practiced within the confines of a building during Sunday Mass, but nowhere else during the rest of the week. True followers of Christ are asked to live His word and spread it throughout their daily lives. The government is essentially telling us to ignore our faith and keep our mouths shut on the matter anytime we are outside the safe haven of a physical church. That is not religious liberty. It is a government abusing its power to coerce citizens into submission.

It's a shame our President uses the Bible as his own personal tool to sell his bill of socialist goods, and then denies the rest of us our right to live by the same Book's teachings.

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why do atheists only pick on Christians?

Last year the U.S. Air Force banned a class designed to prepare soldiers for nuclear battle because it cited verses from the Bible. The class based its curriculum on the Christian-based "Just War Theory” and used passages from both the Old and New Testaments to show missile launch officers how going to war can be a moral choice.

The Air Force suspended the class on the same day a complaint was filed by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which claimed the class violated the concept of "separation of church and state".

Now the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers has demanded the U.S. Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) modify the logo on its official patch to remove a Latin reference to God. The translated motto, which originally read, "Doing God's Work with Other People's Money" now says, "Doing Miracles with Other People's Money". All it took was one complaint by one atheist group and now men and women serving in this unit are no longer allowed to bear reference to God on their uniforms.

No matter how clear certain truths are, they're sometimes no match for the blind fury of the godless. Atheists are on a mission, and it is not a mission for tolerance. Their goal is not to coexist peacefully in a society founded originally on sound Christian principles. Their agenda is simply to remove God from the public eye, and they will trample on our rights to achieve this. If all believers were forced to express their faith only in the confines of private dwellings, the atheists might be appeased - temporarily.

But hiding our beliefs is not what our Constitution demands. It guarantees the opposite. Atheists love to rely on the Constitution to back up their demands for "separation of church and state", but the fact is, no such reference is anywhere to be found. On the contrary (for the millionth time) it says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof".

While subsequent Supreme Court rulings have interpreted this to mean that "government should not prefer one religion to another, or religion to irreligion", there is still nothing that says individuals can only express their religion in private, not public, places.  And as for expressing religious beliefs in public places that are actually taxpayer-funded, the rights of citizens funding these dwellings should be all the more preserved.

If the government believes the RCO motto shows government-approved preference to one religion over another, then it should immediately close down the new prayer hall specifically established for Muslims at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. But the atheist protesters are mute on this one, so apparently worshiping Allah is not their concern. It is the Judeo-Christian expressions of religion they cannot tolerate.

The double standard set forth by atheists is beyond transparent. Unfortunately for them, our Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. Unfortunately for the rest of us, these protesters seem to be the squeaky wheel getting the oil, at the expense of our Constitutional rights.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

We the people vs. judicial activists

In 2008 over seven million California voters passed Proposition 8 -- a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The decision was then overturned by one person, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker. The judge's decision was appealed, and now three judges on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday to uphold Judge Walker's decision saying that California's Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.  

One fundamental thing the pro same-sex marriage crowd has repeatedly failed to do is show where in the Constitution such a right exists to back their claim that bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. They have failed because it is nowhere to be found in the Constitution.

But more than this, what does it mean when the majority of people's voices on any topic are squelched and usurped by one person in a robe? Doesn't that smack of tyranny, at least of the judicial sort? Lately there has been example after example to demonstrate that our votes don't matter. Last month a judge overturned the voters' decision in Oklahoma not to allow Sharia Law to be applied in the state's legal system - despite the fact that 78 percent of the voters approved the ballot initiative to amend their state's constitution.

Whether you are for same-sex marriage or not is neither the point nor the basis for argument. The issue - and a serious one at that - is that by throwing away people's votes, we are being denied the right to have our votes count and denied the right to amend our own state constitutions by activist judges who have very clear political agendas, but very murky adherence to right and wrong. Votes matter. But it only takes one activist judge's opinion to stomp out everyone else's. This needs to turn around lest we become a republic in name only.

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Monday, February 6, 2012

U.S. Supreme Court Justice: What's so great about the U.S. Constitution anyway?

It's bad enough we have a president who has referred to our U.S. Constitution as outdated and fundamentally flawed. But now Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has jumped on the Constitution-bashing bandwagon. In a recent interview with Egypt's Al-Hayat TV, she said Egypt should use other countries' constitutions as a basis for forming their own, rather than use the U.S. as a model. Her particular favorite is South Africa's constitution because, as she said, "That was a deliberate attempt to have a fundamental instrument of government that embraced basic human rights, and had an independent judiciary...it really is, I think, a great piece of work that was done. Much more recent than the U.S. Constitution.”

Without going into too many details of S. Africa's constitution, since that country is not the point here, it's worth noting that it does guarantee its citizens freedom from discrimination -- including on the basis of sexual orientation, disability or religion -- and freedom of speech. South Africans also have the right to "make decisions concerning reproduction," "form a political party," or "form and join a trade union."

What a better country America would be if only we had the right to speak, worship and freely associate like they let the people in South Africa do. Oh, that's right, we do. It's called the First Amendment. Yes, of course. And then there's the Second Amendment, and so on. And we have a couple dozen anti-discrimination laws on the books, and the Federal Hates Crime bill signed into law by President Obama -- albeit it's a law that basically paves the very slippery road toward making it a crime to have a single thought or belief not in accordance with the super-sanitized, Grade A-approved, politically correct mindset - but hey, it's on the books. And let's not forget the Holy Grail of all rights established by the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade.

Obviously most of these examples aren't actually in our Constitution, but that's what makes our Constitution so magnificent. It emphasizes the God-given rights of the individual - not the collective rights of certain protected or entitled classes - and it preserves these rights through the sound application and upholding of law (which is the only way freedom and true liberty can exist. Anything less is chaos, and as history shows, most constitutions enacted by nations throughout history have failed precisely and simply because they were not based in sound law, and because they weren't upheld.)

As to her reference to S. Africa's "independent judiciary", I shudder to think what that means. Then again, I shudder a lot lately when I look around in our own country and see our judicial system being overtaken by judicial activists who have no intention of upholding the Constitution or the other laws they swore to obey, but rather are flinging them aside in pursuit of their own political agenda. 

If Justice Bader Ginsberg wants to be impressed with the refreshing "newness" of South Africa's constitution, that's her personal prerogative. But as a Supreme Court Justice charged with the solemn task of sustaining American law, her failure to grasp why it's so great that the U.S. Constitution is "old" becomes worrisome. If you tried to count all the constitutions ratified throughout history by countless nations, you wouldn't find one that has lasted as long as America's. There's a reason for that. It's because our Constitution works. Too bad this Supreme Court Justice is not impressed by that. Makes you wonder just how dedicated she is to upholding it. 

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Once again, the 'pro-choice' crowd shows how anti-choice it is

Congratulations (sort of) to the Susan G. Komen Center for its decision to rescind funding to Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest provider of abortions. It's always been a puzzling contradiction that Komen would donate even one dime to PP, given Komen's dedication to ending breast cancer and the fact that even one abortion in the first trimester increases a woman's chance for breast cancer dramatically. Ostensibly, Komen's donations were to fund breast exams and mammograms. But most PP clinics don't provide these. They provide contraception, STD screenings and abortions (and they intentionally withhold information from women about the grave physical dangers of abortion).

Komen is defunding PP (for now) because of an ongoing Congressional criminal investigation into Planned Parenthood for allegedly using federal funds to provide abortions, which violates the law. Other investigations surround Planned Parenthood's turning a blind eye to the sex trafficking of minors, including a PP worker caught on tape advising an undercover "pimp" on how to procure abortions for his 14-year-old "sex slaves." But the Susan G. Komen organization has stated it hopes to resume funding PP once the investigations are complete (and in the meantime, it continues to fund Planned Parenthood of Southern New England and other grants that have already been approved). This is nothing to cheer about.

But the damage may be done. The blistering backlash against Komen from the "pro choice" crowd is replete with threats to withhold donations to Komen going forward. Allegations include the usual: Komen is not concerned with a woman's right to choose; Komen is against poor women who wouldn't otherwise receive healthcare; Komen is the devil incarnate.

How nice if Planned Parenthood's worshipers knew the truth. PP was founded by Margaret Sanger - the same racist woman who praised the Ku Klux Klan and Hitler's eugenics plan for exterminating "inferior races". In 1939 Sanger started the Negro Project to reduce the black population to achieve, in her words, "racial purification". Today a substantially disproportionate number of PP clinics reside in poor areas where the black population is highest, and percentage-wise, the vast majority of abortions are performed on black women. According to blackgenocide.org, the black population is the only population in decline in America. As Pastor Clenard Childress, Jr., so hauntingly put it, "The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb."

Another truth is that even if every PP clinic were shut down today (we can only pray) not one economically disadvantaged woman would be denied access to healthcare. Period. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are already close to 8,000 taxpayer-supported health centers nationally (outnumbering PP clinics by about 10 to 1!) that provide much more thorough care for low-income women than PP offers. Since even defunding PP entirely wouldn't leave women in a lurch, losing Komen's comparatively small funding would do nothing to hurt women.

Yet the blatant, unapologetic hypocrisy displayed by the "pro-choice" crowd goes unabated. They just cannot accept that not everyone shares their views. They claim to be pro-choice, but they demonize anyone for choosing something not in accordance with their death-culture worldview. If the people at Susan G. Komen feel it's prudent to withhold funding while investigations are underway lest they be embroiled in a potential legal case, isn't that their choice?

If the so-called pro-choice group really is pro-choice, then they need to know choice is a two-way street, even if they disagree with the choice being made.  It's called tolerance -- something this crowd loves to preach. Maybe it's time they admit that they're not actually pro-choice. They're just pro-abortion. And God have mercy on anyone who disagrees.

Read more about Planned Parenthood's sketchy activities at Planned Parenthood doesn't deserve tax funds.

Amendment 12:15 p.m.: Susan G. Komen just announced it has reversed its decision and will continue to fund Planned Parenthood grants. Before this reversal, donations yesterday to Susan G. Komen were up 100%. Will Komen return the money donated to them yesterday by the pro-lifers who believed in them? Don't hold your breath.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

National debt set to hit $21.7 trillion under Obama by 2022. It must be Bush's fault.

The Congressional Budget Office just updated its budget outlook, and it doesn't look good. But is anyone surprised? According to the CBO, under President Obama’s policies, the national debt will rise to $21.665 trillion by 2022. If the mainstream media-fed masses could find a way to blame Bush for this, they probably will. That would almost be laughable if it weren't for the fact that these same people have and exercise the right to vote. That's how we got Obama - well, that and the zillions of dollars that people like George Soros and illegal foreign contributions gave to Obama's vote-purchase campaign in 2008.

As for the massive, record-setting debt we're accumulating under Obama, didn't he promise us that by the end of his first term he would cut our deficit in half and that if we got ObamaCare that "not one penny would be added to the national debt"? Can you imagine if that had been Bush caught in this lie? We'd never hear about anything other than that on every main media outlet in America.

Of course the media-fed masses who usually love blaming Bush for everything are onto their next spoon-fed line: it's because of corporate greed that we need to increase spending to the point of America's oblivion. But the problem is not greed, as in corporate greed, but in another type of greed: the kind of real greed that stems from a bloated sense of entitlement by the jealous, the lazy or the simply average. Some are envious of the successful, some are unwilling to work hard for their own success, and some simply haven't the talent or vision to reach astronomical financial success. They want it handed to them. How greedy is that?

Yet they continue to blame the corporations as the source of all their angst despite that U.S. corporations provide the jobs people claim they want. These same corporations then pay the world's highest taxes at 35%, and then stockholders are taxed an additional 15% on the dividends (remember...stockholders are largely people in the middle class). How is it that some people still wonder why business operations move out of the U.S.?

While the angry anti-business crowd demands corporate demise, the federal government continues its own war on business. Let's pray neither gets victory in this battle. After all, once they succeed in driving every business out of business, who will the government get its money from to distribute to the masses? Who will the 'masses' blame then for their own misery? Maybe those salivating for the "greedy corporate hounds" to get their comeuppance should be careful what they wish for. If they get what they're demanding - essentially equality of poverty - it won't be a pretty sight for anyone.

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