Be careful what you ask for! (See 1 below.)
Go to PJTV and watch the comment about Bernie Sanders regarding the rich and when is enough enough.
The Conversation with Tony Katz: Enough with New York's Weiner & Bernie Sanders
Larry O'Connor and Meredith Dake look at Senator Bernie Sander's assault on the so called rich. Why are liberals like Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) so obsessed with taxing other people's money? The death tax and more on this episode of The Conversation with Tony Katz.
My view of being rich, from an economic standpoint, can be defined in two ways. First, if you can live on the interest on your interest you are rich. Second, if you have enough money to do what you want without working you are rich. The latter is more subjective because everyone has different desires on how to spend their time.
To me, having to work or not having to work is the dividing line for determining one's 'richness.'
Liberals love to play the emotional fairness game as long as they are the arbiter of what is fair. We know this is all a bunch of crap but since they have been allowed to build constituencies with our tax dollars and fruits of our labor that continually return them to office we either have to suck it up or get some smarts and vote the 'loony goons' out. Maybe 2010 was a beginning. Time will tell.
I have edited some comments on sanity and insanity. (See 2 below.)
A rational reason for any politician not to over reach is because citizens will eventually not support a government that promises more than it delivers, delivers below expectation at too high a cost and thus, eventually fails to meet expectations. The politicians have brought us to that point and believe they can continue to do so. They were not listening to the Nov. voters. (See 3 below.)
What gives with Saudi Ruler? (See 4 below.)
Abbas plays his fiddle for soft headed Israelis hoping they will buy his words and forget the PA's continued actions of antipathy and the teaching of faleshoods and hatred to their next duped generation.
Abbas has a forum for peace and it is called the negotiating table but that might mean he won't get all he wants.(See 5 below.)
Can 'Obamascare 'be derailed and replaced with something sane? Yes, if politicians have guts, care about improving our nation's health care delivery system and America's fiscal survival and finally, are willing to listen to rational solutions that have been out there for years. (See 6 and 6a below.)
Most women I know have two breasts and this Administration does not believe women should be treated with Avastin because it costs too much. Perhaps the bureaucrats at FDA will accept half a loaf and allow the treatment of only one breast. That's what Solomonic D.C. compromise is all about.
Welcome to the world of 'Obamascare.' Where are you feminists?
At least we now know what Obama 'fairness' means - screw women who seek quality in their remaining years of life while coping with this tragic disease. So Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year and forget about Bah Humbug! Obama is looking out for us! (See 7 below.)
1)It's late fall and the Indians on a remote reservation in South Dakota asked their new chief if the coming winter was going to be cold or mild.
Since he was a chief in a modern society, he had never been taught the old secrets. When he looked at the sky, he couldn't tell what the winter was going to be like.
Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, he told his tribe that the winter was indeed going to be cold and that the members of the village should collect firewood to be prepared.
But, being a practical leader, after several days, he got an idea. He went to the phone booth, called the National Weather Service and asked, 'Is the coming winter going to be cold?'
'It looks like this winter is going to be quite cold,' the meteorologist at the weather service responded.
So the chief went back to his people and told them to collect even more firewood in order to be prepared.
A week later, he called the National Weather Service again. 'Does it still look like it is going to be a very cold winter?'
'Yes,' the man at National Weather Service again replied, 'it's going to be a very cold winter.'
The chief again went back to his people and ordered them to collect every scrap of firewood they could find.
Two weeks later, the chief called the National Weather Service again. 'Are you absolutely sure that the winter is going to be very cold?'
'Absolutely,' the man replied. 'It's looking more and more like it is going to be one of the coldest winters we've ever seen.'
'How can you be so sure?' the chief asked.
The weatherman replied, 'The Indians are collecting a shitload of firewood'
2)Insanity on the Potomac — Treasury investors recoiling in horror!
Last day for 2011 Forecasts!
By Martin D. Weiss, Ph.D.
Given the insanity on the Potomac last week, I cannot imagine a time when a clear vision of the future would be more crucial.
At 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, President Obama signed a new fiscal package, which ...
is virtually designed to add $858 billion to the federal deficit ...
is likely to cost much MORE if events do not pan out as planned, and worst of all ...
is not tied with any plan for long-term fiscal restraint.
Simply put, our leaders figure they can deal with the deficit "later."
Sound familiar? It should. Because it's the same exact rationale we heard after passage of the $800-billion TARP bill to save the banks in 2008 ... and still again after passage of another $820-billion law to stimulate the economy in 2009.
In both cases, they said it was the LAST major government action to save the day. It wasn't.
In both cases they said they'd deal with the resulting deficit later. They did nothing of the kind.
So what do you call it when otherwise intelligent people repeat the same action while expecting a different result?
But that's not all. Just a few days earlier, at 20th and Constitution, the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee met with the apparent goal of matching the lunacy.
Despite screams of outrage from governments and investors worldwide, the Fed absolutely committed to creating hundreds of billions — and perhaps trillions — of paper dollars out of thin air.
The 3-Way Collusion Is Obvious ...
Congress passes a groundbreaking bill to gut the budget.
The president promptly signs it into law.
And the Fed prints the paper money to finance the folly.
But there's a problem: America's creditors aren't buying it. In fact, ever since the Fed first announced its intent to print up another $600 billion (QE2), supposedly with the goal of LOWERING long-term interests rates, those same rates have been rising.
Just a couple months ago — in early October — the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note rested at 2.41%. Last week, it blew through the 3% level and looked for all the world as if it could reach 4%!
It's clearly not working.
The Fed's solution? Do more; hope for different results.
All over Europe, governments are cutting spending like there's no tomorrow. They know that voters will take to the streets in outrage. But they know they have no choice. If they don't lower their deficits, bond investors will abandon them. Their governments could collapse like a house of cards.
Meanwhile, here in the U.S., despite deficits rivaling those of many of the worst in Europe, our leaders have just added hundreds of billions MORE dollars!
Moody's has a number to measure this insanity. It warns that the new law will raise the government's debt-to-GDP ratio to a staggering 73%! Along with Fitch it has warned — again — that it may have to lower the U.S. government's credit rating.
What do you call it when our leaders ignore the warnings of rating agencies that are known for being overly optimistic about future financial challenges?
Still more insanity!
Needless to say, all of these events will have a profound impact on every dollar you have saved, invested and socked away for retirement in 2011.
There's no doubt about it: 2011 is going to be one of the most eventful years ever for the U.S. economy and for us investors. The only questions that remain are, how will this public debt crisis impact YOUR investments and Your own sanity?
By Tom Roberson
Our government is accelerating down the path to irrelevance with actions that undermine our faith in its ability to govern.
For government to function properly, its citizens must have faith that it is capable of handling the affairs of state in a fair and evenhanded way. Government must assure its citizens of consistent treatment of all issues with a reasonable, commonsense set of rules whose purpose is straightforward and clearly understood. A government grounded in common sense can survive the occasionally ill-conceived law or corrupt individual as long as its citizens can point to a clearly defined set of core rules.
This has been the case in America -- we look to our founding documents for core rule guidance in the form of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. We understand that governments are inherently flawed due to the fact that they are created, staffed, and maintained by inherently flawed humans. But you do the best you can and hope you have enough checks and balances built into the system to weed out flawed behavior from those seeking to take advantage.
However, corruption on the scale of individuals and small groups is one thing, but wholesale corruption of multiple large groups is quite another. Merriam-Webster defines corruption as an "impairment of integrity, virtue, or moral principal," "decay, decomposition," and "a departure from the original or what is pure or correct." It is by this standard that I refer to the deviation from the founders' intent as corruption. The attitude of American citizens is decaying into one of cynicism and hostility towards government officials. People no longer respect police officers and other government officials, as can be seen in the low approval ratings of Congress.
The Wall Street Journal reported on a federal investigation into police corruption in Tulsa, OK, where police are accused of planting false evidence to secure convictions. MSN Money details how financially strapped jurisdictions are shoring up their depleted revenues by targeting travelers with speed traps. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ignored House rules in order to ram ObamaCare through against the wishes of a majority of Americans. The TSA is facing a backlash from travelers over its recently instituted X-ray and pat-down procedures that do nothing to improve security and are seen as the blatant form of government overreach that they are. And let's not forget the escalating violence on our southern border as narco-terrorists increasingly encroach on sovereign U.S. territory while the Obama administration drags it feet in response. The list goes on.
These are not isolated incidents; they reach all the way from local government up to the federal government. Our entire society seems to be condoning and embracing, or at least accepting with a shrug, corruption and heavy-handedness as the new way to do business. We are descending back into the very quagmire of "every man for himself" that governments were established to overcome. Even a cursory review of the history of great civilizations reveals this common disturbing trend prior to the total collapse of just about every one.
When faced with this evidence, is it any wonder that Americans are increasingly hunkering down in bunker mode to avoid becoming a target on the government's radar? Companies are hoarding cash and even returning some of it to shareholders rather than investing it in expansion due to the uncertainty of the business climate.
Lest you think I'm a pessimist, I'm encouraged by the push-back from the Tea Party movement of concerned citizens aware that our government is out of control and headed for the cliff. Awareness of the problem has been raised, concerned citizens are working the system, and elections are starting to have consequences. One thing I've noticed at Tea Party meetings is the fact that Republicans and Democrats come together, united by a common purpose, and engage in civil conversation over a shared set of concerns. The Tea Party movement has become the new center of American politics.
The covenant between citizens and government stipulates that citizens will act responsibly and government will protect citizens from internal and external threats. The federal government has overextended itself and now faces trouble protecting us. Consider the shortage of food inspectors, Border Patrol Agents, police, and doctors (remember that ObamaCare just federalized the medical industry). Additionally, cutting the defense budget seems to be in vogue as a way to reduce current federal spending even though we are waging a war against terrorism or something. It's funny how defense is always mentioned as the only area where cuts can be made, and never Housing and Urban Development.
America is between the proverbial rock and a hard place when it comes to finances, and the time has come to seriously prioritize government functions. As the government is spread ever thinner in an attempt to regulate every arguably justifiable problem, it becomes increasingly incapable of performing those functions necessary for our protection and monitoring the flawed humans in its employ whose actions slowly but surely undermine our faith.
America needs a great awakening, where citizens demonstrate that they will no longer tolerate leaders in pursuit of policies that pit one group against another at the expense of all for the sake of electoral success. The Tea Party movement has embodied the spirit of this great awakening and must persist in spite of the howls from those whose cushy existence is threatened by a realignment of the national political order.
Our society needs to reaffirm traditions that bind us together as a nation instead of tearing them down in a futile attempt to escape a perceived notion that they keep us from enjoying our fullest potential. We need to strengthen the notion of shame lost on politicians (such as Charles Rangel) who cynically refuse to be shamed and admit error. Only by holding ourselves to a higher standard can we hope to restore faith in America and its institutions.
Tom Roberson is an independent conservative blogging at email@example.com
4)Silence on Saudi King's medical condition stirs interest in Tehran
No outsider has seen Saudi King Abdullah, 87 - and no medical bulletins have been issued - since Dec. 3 when he underwent a second operation, described as "surgery to stabilize several vertebrae on the spinal cord" at the Presbyterian Hospital, New York. His relatives and the royal retinue have taken over a whole hospital wing and the entire Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, but have maintained an unbroken silence for 18 days about the king's medical condition.
When asked about the king's health Dec. 6, after the second operation, his half-nephew Prince Turki Al Faisal, brother of Foreign Minister Saudi Al Faisal, replied: "I have no idea" – an answer Saudi watchers found odd from a former chief of Saudi General Intelligence. Certainly, as a senior royal figure, Turki would have been expected to know about the medical condition of the head of the world's leading oil exporter, a ruler who controls its political, military, intelligence and financial affairs with a firm hand.
Abdullah's indisposition, whatever it is, takes out of circulation the dominant power of the Persian Gulf Emirates and of the moderate Arab bloc standing fast against Iran's spreading influence in the Middle East. King Abdullah never denied the WikiLeaks revelation from US diplomatic documents that he headed the group pressing the United States for military action against Iran, or the disclosures in Western media that he approved Saudi-Israeli cooperation for an attack on Iran's nuclear sites.
On Dec. 15, concern for his health sharpened after US Vice President Joe Biden was not admitted to the king's bedside when he visited the New York Hospital with a letter from President Barack Obama wishing "the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques" a speedy recovery. "He was received by King Abdullah's family" including one of his sons, the White House said.
Refusing the US Vice President access to the king to personally hand over a letter from the President certainly needed explaining. Sources report, the White House is also at sea on the king's medical condition and may have sent Biden on a fishing expedition to find out what was going on. But he too failed to penetrate the wall of secrecy.
Reactions to the Saudi king's mysterious condition have come only from two quarters –both intriguing: Tehran and the Lebanese Hizballah.
Thursday, Dec. 16, Hizballah's leader Hassan Nasrallah dropped a comment into his standard tirade against America and Israel that, because of the situation in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi-Syrian initiative for resolving the Lebanese crisis has been shelved and no one can tell when it will be reactivated – if at all.
Never before has Nasrallah commented in public about the Saudi-Syrian backdoor bargaining on the Lebanese crisis and Hizballah's role in fomenting it.
Reports the king assigned his son Prince Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah to carry this initiative forward in Damascus. The Hizballah leader's comment indicated there was no one in Riyadh competent to make the necessary decisions for keeping it afloat.
Two days later, on Dec. 18, the incoming Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi used his swearing-in speech for this pointed comment: "In order to achieve a pragmatic and effective foreign policy, we should focus our attention on the Islamic world and our neighbors. Saudi Arabia has a special position which accordingly also needs special political attention as Iran and Saudi Arabia can solve many of the problems of the Islamic world."
This remark was exceptionally conciliatory, coming as it did shortly after WikiLeaks quoted King Abdullah as advising the US to attack Iran's nuclear facilities "to cut off the head of the snake."
Iranian sources take it to mean that Tehran is looking forward to the post-Abdullah era in Riyadh. Iran no doubt recalls the Saudi throne's practice of hiding acutely ill monarchs - even for as long as a decade in the case of the late King Fahd, until Abdullah succeeded him in 2005, and several years for the seriously ailing Crown Prince Sultan, 85. Salehi was no doubt taking advantage of the apparent power limbo in Riyadh to signal a willingness to turn a new page in Iran's relations with Saudi Arabia, addressing it to whichever prince is chosen to stand in for the king and eventually to succeed him.
5)Abbas to Israeli MKs in Ramallah: Help us not miss the chance for peace
Palestinian president meets with some 100 Israelis, including legislators and journalists, says Palestinians changed from culture of terror and violence into culture of peace and stability.
By The Associated Press
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas hosted dozens of Israeli legislators and activists Sunday, and urged them to relay a simple message to the Israeli public - he is serious about negotiating a peace deal and that the Palestinians will never again resort to violence.
Sunday's meeting at Abbas' West Bank headquarters was attended by about 100 Israeli Jews, including members of parliament, peace activists and journalists. The legislators were from Labor, Kadima and Meretz, the three Israeli parties that support the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
Labor's participation was notable because it sits in Netanyahu's governing coalition. A member of Netanyahu's Likud Party, and four ultra-Orthodox Jewish journalists, also attended.
The Palestinian president told the visitors that peace is possible.
"We are ready to conclude peace, to have our state in the 1967 borders, with agreed (land) swaps, to have security, a third party in our territories for a while, agreed upon," he said. "We will find solutions to the other remaining ... core issues."
Abbas said the Palestinians have undergone a transformation in the wake of last decade's Palestinian uprising, in which thousands of people died during years of violence.
"We changed the culture of terror and violence into a culture of peace and stability here in the West Bank in the last four years," he said.
He also appealed to the visitors for help.
"We do not want to miss this opportunity," he said. "We don't want to miss it. Please help us not to miss it. I have eight grandchildren. I want a peaceful life for them."
The outreach from Abbas comes at a time when peace efforts seem hopelessly stuck. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government refuses to freeze settlement construction, while Abbas says he can't negotiate without such a halt.
U.S. mediators, meanwhile, have not come up with a plan for breaking the deadlock over the settlements, and have not presented a way forward that seems acceptable to both sides.
With talks on hold, the Palestinians are pursuing parallel strategies to improve their leverage, including seeking international recognition of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, the territories Israel captured in 1967.
Such recognition, while largely symbolic in the absence of a peace deal, is meant to affirm the 1967 borders at a time when Netanyahu refuses to recognize them as the baseline for negotiations. Netanyahu has not presented his own border proposal, but has said he will not agree to withdraw to the 1967 frontier.
Reaching out to Israeli public opinion is also part of the Palestinian strategy, apparently in hopes of generating some pressure on Netanyahu.
By YUVAL LEVINSingle Page
In October 2009, at one of her weekly press conferences, Nancy Pelosi was asked by a reporter “where specifically does the Constitution grant Congress the authority to enact an individual health insurance mandate?” Pelosi shook her head and replied: “Are you serious?” When her spokesman Nadeam Elshami was later asked to clarify the answer, he responded, “That is not a serious question.”
But it has turned out to be a pretty serious question after all. On December 13, U.S. District Court judge Henry Hudson ruled that in fact Congress does not have the authority to enact such a mandate. The case, brought by Virginia’s attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, will now be appealed. It will no doubt end up—perhaps together with a series of other lawsuits filed by officials in more than 20 states—before the Supreme Court in the next year or two.
At issue is Obamacare’s requirement that every American purchase some approved form of health insurance or pay a fine. Without that mandate, much of the rest of the architecture of Obamacare falls apart. That architecture is essentially a command-and-control approach to keeping health care costs down: The government defines what counts as insurance, compels insurers to ignore risk in pricing coverage, imposes price controls on coverage, and then forces everyone to buy the resulting insurance products.
That last part is necessary because the law’s requirement that insurance companies charge sick and healthy people the same price would create a powerful incentive for Americans to avoid buying health insurance at all until they were sick. After all, why pay for coverage when you don’t need it if you can just buy it for the same price when you do need it? Of course, no insurance system could survive if only the sick bought coverage. So Obamacare simply orders everyone to buy insurance. Having taken the economic logic out of insurance, the law’s champions had to take away the public’s freedom to choose whether to be covered or not.
The problems with this approach are legion. Command-and-control policies do not have a very good track record, to say the least, and decades of experience with the Medicare system demonstrate that command-and-control does not keep costs down more effectively in health care than anywhere else. Creating a competitive health insurance market would better control costs without pushing people around so much.
But, in our system of government, questions of legitimate authority precede even these questions of wisdom and efficacy. Can the government really order us to buy something we don’t want to buy and punish us for failing to do so?
The administration’s case for the constitutionality of the mandate rests on two arguments: (1) the Commerce Clause permits such a law because a failure to buy insurance has an effect on interstate commerce, and (2) if you don’t like the first argument, well, then the mandate is not actually a mandate but rather a tax and is therefore permitted under the government’s power to tax.
The first argument is certainly not easy to like. If, as the administration argues, a person’s decision not to purchase health insurance invites the government to compel him to purchase it because being uninsured can create a burden on the economy (by requiring taxpayers to help shoulder the cost of his care if he gets sick), then there is really no limit on the government’s reach at all. By the same logic, a person’s choice not to jog or eat broccoli could add to the burden of our health care costs, so the government could mandate that the person exercise and eat his vegetables. Almost every choice we make has some economic consequence, but surely the Commerce Clause does not mean that the government can therefore force us to make a different choice.
The administration’s second argument is not much better. Payment of the fine for noncompliance with the individual mandate would take place through one’s annual tax return, but in no other way does it make sense to conceive of the mandate as a tax. While the health care law was being debated, its advocates—including the president—sternly insisted that the mandate was not a tax. And it is far from clear, in any case, why the government should have an unlimited power to “tax” us for making choices that liberals do not like.
In a sense, then, the question now before the federal courts is whether the government simply has unlimited power over the life of every American. How the Supreme Court addresses that question will say a great deal about the future of our system of government.
And yet the future of our health care system need not depend at all, as the future of our legal system unfortunately does to a considerable degree, on the whims of Justice Anthony Kennedy. Obamacare is a disaster for a host of reasons of which the individual mandate is only one. The 112th Congress need not wait for the courts to decide the fate of the mandate. For reasons constitutional, economic, and moral, Congress can repeal Obamacare and replace it with real health care reform.
6a)McConnell vows to grill vulnerable 2012 Dems on healthcare reform repeal
By Alexander Bolton
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) said he will force Democrats to vote on a repeal of the landmark healthcare reform law when Republicans control half of Congress next year.
“I’m hoping we will receive from the House of Representatives a full repeal of Obamacare; it will be hard to get that through the Senate,” McConnell said on CNN's "State of the Union."
McConnell said he hopes “that among those who had maybe second thoughts in the Senate, including the 23 Democrats who are up for re-election in ’12, there will be some openness to revisiting what I think is the think is the single worst piece of legislation in my time in the Senate.”
Democrats are nervous about controlling their Senate majority after the 2012 election as 21 Democratic senators, as well as two independents who caucus with them, face re-election in what is expected to be a difficult political environment.
Republicans will control the House and incoming Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) plans to pass a repeal of the healthcare law.
Republicans, who remain in the Senate minority, do not control the upper chamber’s floor schedule, but they could attempt to force a vote on a healthcare repeal by offering it as an amendment to other legislation or using variety of other floor tactics.
7)FDA’s ration game
By Boston Herald Editorial Staff
The Food and Drug Administration’s latest ruling, removing the drug Avastin from approved treatments for advanced breast cancer, is nothing short of cruel. And if it doesn’t amount to health care rationing, then we don’t know the meaning of the word.
The drug, produced in this country by Genentech, has been and remains on the approved list for treating colon, brain, lung and kidney cancer. It has been shown to halt or slow the growth of tumors, thus prolonging life in many cases and the quality of life in many others.
But the FDA insists that breast cancer patients treated with Avastin “did not live any longer than patients who were not treated with the drug,” said Janet Woodcock, the FDA’s top drug regulator. And, she insisted that Avastin patients were at greater risk of side effects.
All of which might be persuasive had not the European Medicines Agency, the FDA’s counterpart for all European Union nations, looked at the same data and reached the opposite conclusion. It found that by slowing the return of tumors the “quality of life for women” was “clinically improved.”
No doubt part of the issue here is that the treatment costs about $8,000 a month - a cost which for Medicare patients is largely born by the government. With the FDA’s rejection of the treatment, those patients will no longer be covered. Physicians could still prescribe the drug “off label” (at least the government hasn’t decided to second guess their clinical judgments), but only those who could afford to bear the cost privately are likely to do that. (Even Genentech’s patient assistance programs are likely to be affected by the FDA ruling.)
Earlier studies found the drug extended the lives of women with late stage breast cancer by five months. That was later disputed by FDA regulators who put the figure at about two months. For some women, however, the treatment has added a year or more to their lives and with chemotherapy can keep tumors at bay, thus making those last months more comfortable.
End-of-life decisions are never easy. But they can and should be made between doctor and patient - not by some Washington bureaucrat.
Welcome to the wonderful world of “universal” health care.