More government usurpation and control to politically pacify "Greens.". Basis for the control is specious data pertaining to fracking.(See 1 below.)
And more Obama control. (See 1a below.)
$8 billion to buy votes for Obama's re-election! (See 1 b below.)
Ms. Obama's working the system. (See 1c below.)
Response from friend and fellow memo reader to previous memo: "I am very interested by your story on LBJ and Viet Nam. I think the "apologia" on the Secret Service is BS. This "elite" unit is not elite after all. T.."
My response was that I agreed with both his comments.
Three cheers for Elie for smacking down political opportunism! (See 2 below.)
So goes Sarkozy so goes the E.U.? (See 3 below.)
More documented input relative to the Obama's legal qualifications and status as lawyers. (See 4 below.)
Finally Bret at his finest. Great insights, great tongue in cheek Jonathan Swift type satirical writing. (See 5 below.)
1)Executive Order: Federal Government To Take Control of Domestic Natural Gas Production; EPA Set To Move Within One Week
By Mac Slavo
While Americans focused their attention on the Colombian controversy involving U.S. Secret Service agents, prostitutes and excessive drinking, President Obama quietly signed his latest Presidential Executive Order.
The Supporting Safe and Responsible Development of Unconventional Domestic Natural Gas Resources Executive Order seeks to create what amounts to a Presidential super committee that will oversee the regulation and development of the ‘unconventional’ natural gas industry for the purpose of ensuring a long-term natural gas supply for the United States, as well as to do so in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.
Excerpts (Read the complete E.O.):
While natural gas production is carried out by private firms, and States are the primary regulators of onshore oil and gas activities, the Federal Government has an important role to play by regulating oil and gas activities on public and Indian trust lands, encouraging greater use of natural gas in transportation, supporting research and development aimed at improving the safety of natural gas development and transportation activities, and setting sensible, cost-effective public health and environmental standards to implement Federal law and augment State safeguards.
Because efforts to promote safe, responsible, and efficient development of unconventional domestic natural gas resources are underway at a number of executive departments and agencies (agencies), close interagency coordination is important for effective implementation of these programs and activities. To formalize and promote ongoing interagency coordination, this order establishes a high-level, interagency working group that will facilitate coordinated Administration policy efforts to support safe and responsible unconventional domestic natural gas development.
The target of the legislation is what many believe is the unrestricted and out-of-control drilling practices of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a process which blasts water, sand and chemicals underground to stimulate the release of natural gas. Fracking has led to health concerns from environmentalists and others for its potential to pollute the air and contaminate drinking water. Some theories also suggest that fracturing may raise the likelihood of earthquakes in areas like the central United States, an argument that many scientists agree is plausible.
Domestic Fracking Intensity via Gasland
Several industry groups have applauded the President’s move to curtail the industry, with American Petroleum Institute head Jack Gerard saying his organization is “pleased that the White House recognizes the need to coordinate the efforts of the federal agencies that are reviewing, studying or proposing new regulations.”
The President’s order establishes an ”Interagency Working Group” to be composed of deputy level or higher representatives from federal agencies that include the Defense Department, Transportation, Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Energy, Homeland Security, and the Environmental Protection Agency. The working group has been tasked with supporting the safe, responsible and efficient development of unconventional domestic natural gas resources.
Now that the President has given the go ahead, there’s nothing holding the government back. The fracking industry stands to be impacted almost immediately, with federal agencies prepared to tear into operations nationwide in short order:
The Obama administration is taking new steps to increase federal oversight of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a drilling method that has helped usher in a natural-gas boom but brought with it environmental concerns.
The Environmental Protection Agency is slated to unveil final oil-and-gas air pollution regulations next week that would cut smog-forming and toxic emissions from wells developed with fracking. Separately, the Interior Department will soon float rules for fracking on public lands.
Source: The Hill
But not everyone agrees with what is considered by many to be a further expansion of the federal government into industries traditionally reserved for State regulatory agencies. “We don’t need another working group, or any more bureaucracy, ” responded republican Congressman John Boehner through a spokesman.
According to opponents of the legislation, by Presidential decree the federal government can now coordinate action through thirteen core federal agencies against any domestic natural gas production facility and according to standards determined to be appropriate not by law, but because of political agenda.
Moreover, because a key stated purpose of the Executive Order is to ensure long-term supplies, the President’s decree gives the federal government the ability to shut down gas production operations as they see fit, potentially leading to government price fixing and centralized control of an essential natural energy resource.
While the President’s Executive Order aims to curtail the unsafe and environmentally dangerous practices of the fracking industry, it further expands government control over our lives through more centralization of power and bureaucracy.
Online Resources For This Article: Stan Deyo, Jeff Rense, The Hill, Politico, Wash Post, EPA
Related: Executive Doomsday Order: Obama Authorizes Gov to Seize Farms, Food, Processing Plants, Energy Resources, Transportation, Skilled Laborers During National Emergency
1a)From: Gary L. Bauer
COUNTDOWN TO VICTORY: 197 DAYS TO THE 2012 ELECTIONS
Barack Obama just got busted trying to manipulate Medicare for political purposes. Here is what's going on.
Beginning in 2013, ObamaCare eliminates Medicare Advantage -- a popular program that 12 million seniors rely on. But in order for Medicare Advantage to be eliminated next year, seniors would have to register for a new program this year -- about a month before the election.
Desperate to avoid having millions of seniors ticked off weeks before the election, the political hacks in the Obama Administration found a way to postpone the phase out of Medicare Advantage. Federal law allows the Department of Health and Human Services to spend money on "demonstration projects" without congressional approval so long as it is conducting a legitimate study intended to improve the effectiveness and quality of various health care programs.
It turns out that HHS has set aside $8 billion in "bonuses" for Medicare Advantage. Republicans have long complained that this spending has only one purpose -- to delay the demise of Medicare Advantage until 2014, but the media and the White House have ignored their complaints.
A report from the non-partisan Government Accountability Office strongly suggests the GOP complaints are valid. The Associated Press reports that government auditors say the bonus program should be cancelled. Consider this excerpt:
"GAO, the investigative agency of Congress, did not address GOP allegations that the bonuses are politically motivated. But, its report found the program highly unusual. It 'dwarfs' all other Medicare pilots undertaken in nearly 20 years, the GAO said. Most of the bonus money is going to plans that receive three to three-and-half stars on Medicare's five-star rating scale, the report said.
"But GAO questioned whether the bonus program will achieve its goal of finding better incentives to promote quality. 'The design of the demonstration precludes a credible evaluation of its effectiveness in achieving (the administration's) stated research goal.'"
Of course it precludes a credible evaluation of effectiveness! HHS isn't studying anything. Remember -- the Medicare Advantage program is scheduled to be eliminated. So why are taxpayers providing billions of dollars in "bonuses" for average performance? As the AP notes: "Available through 2014, the bonuses will soften much of the initial impact of the Medicare Advantage cuts, acting like a temporary reprieve. This year, for example, the bonus program offset more than two-thirds of the cuts in the health care law."
Republicans should conduct a thorough investigation of this program and do everything they can -- even though the media will ignore much of it -- to expose this abuse of power. This is just one more example of the corruption of this administration. Obama's willingness to bend the rules and waste your hard-earned money for political purposes knows no limits. And it is another example of why conservatives are right to resist Obama's siren song of higher taxes, even on "millionaires and billionaires." The problem in Washington is not a lack of revenue. It is too much spending!
CBS Focuses On Christian Persecution
The persecution of Christians throughout the Middle East is a matter of grave concern for men and women of faith in America. It is a subject I have repeatedly written about, and my oldest daughter works on the issue in Congress for Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA). Like many, I have been frustrated by the lack of attention the mainstream media devotes to this issue. So I was particularly interested to see how CBS would cover the subject on its "60 Minutes" program last night. Sadly, the show was another example of the make believe world our media elites live in.
If you were to poll Americans and ask them what is the major threat confronting Christians in the Middle East, the virtually unanimous response would be "Islamic extremism." After all, churches are routinely attacked by Muslim militants in Nigeria and Iraq. Politicians and clerics are debating whether to demolish churches in Kuwait. The Arab Spring has turned into a Christian Winter in Egypt. Bibles are banned in many Muslim nations. Pastors face death sentences in Iran.
But the folks at "60 Minutes" evidently see the issue very differently. I don't recall the last time I read about a church bombing in Israel carried out by radical Jews, but last night's "60 Minutes" episode on the plight of Christians in the Holy Land was an outrageous attack on Israel designed to undermine Christian support for the Jewish state here in America. And it is a tactic that is gaining popularity among the left -- especially among so-called "mainline" Protestant denominations.
Christians United for Israel is fighting back. Click here to sign a petition denouncing the biased and misguided reporting in last night's "60 Minutes" episode. I hope the next time CBS tries to cast an eye on Christian persecution in the Middle East, it will focus on the real problem -- radical Islam.
A number of conservative pundits have observed that the Obamas are everywhere lately. You can't even tune into a major sporting event without it being interrupted for a gratuitous interview with Barack or Michelle Obama. In fact, this First Lady is anything but camera shy. In George W. Bush's first term, Laura Bush appeared on 12 TV shows. Michelle Obama has already been on 44 shows!
I have also noticed that Obama has a unique capacity to draw the media's attention away from the serious and significant and toward the trivial and tedious -- which is exactly what he will need to do to win a second term. You can read more in my weeklyHuman Events column.
1b)An $8 billion trick?
Call it President Obama’s Committee for the Re-Election of the President — a political slush fund at the Health and Human Services Department.
Only this isn’t some little fund from shadowy private sources; this is taxpayer money, redirected to help Obama win another term. A massive amount of it, too — $8.3 billion. Yes, that’s billion, with a B.
Here is how it works.
The most oppressive aspects of the ObamaCare law don’t kick in until after the 2012 election, when the president will no longer be answerable to voters. More “flexibility,” he recently explained to the Russians.
But certain voters would surely notice one highly painful part of the law before then — namely, the way it guts the popular Medicare Advantage program.
For years, 12 million seniors have relied on these policies, a more market-oriented alternative to traditional Medicare, without the aggravating gaps in coverage.
But as part of its hundreds of billions in Medicare cuts, the Obama one-size-fits-all plan slashes reimbursement rates for Medicare Advantage starting next year — herding many seniors back into the government-run program.
Under federal “open-enrollment” guidelines, seniors must pick their Medicare coverage program for next year by the end of this year — which means they should be finding out before Election Day.
Nothing is more politically volatile than monkeying with the health insurance of seniors, who aren’t too keen on confusing upheavals in their health care and are the most diligent voters in the land. This could make the Tea Party look like a tea party.
Making matters even more politically dangerous for Obama is that open enrollment begins Oct. 15, less than three weeks before voters go to the polls.
It’s hard to imagine a bigger electoral disaster for a president than seniors in crucial states like Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio discovering that he’s taken away their beloved Medicare Advantage just weeks before an election.
This political ticking time bomb could become the biggest “October Surprise” in US political history.
But the administration’s devised a way to postpone the pain one more year, getting Obama past his last election; it plans to spend $8 billion to temporarily restore Medicare Advantage funds so that seniors in key markets don’t lose their trusted insurance program in the middle of Obama’s re-election bid.
The money is to come from funds that Health and Human Services is allowed to use for “demonstration projects.” But to make it legal, HHS has to pretend that it’s doing an “experiment” to study the effect of this money on the insurance market.
That is, to “study” what happens when the government doesn’t change anything but merely continues a program that’s been going on for years.
Obama can temporarily prop up Medicare Advantage long enough to get re-elected by exploiting an obscure bit of federal law. Under a 1967 statute, the HHS secretary can spend money without specific approval by Congress on “experiments” directly aimed at “increasing the efficiency and economy of health services.”
Past demonstration projects have studied new medical techniques or strategies aimed at improving care or reducing costs. The point is to find ways to lower the costs of Medicare by allowing medical technocrats to make efficient decisions without interference from vested interests.
Now Obama means to turn it on its head — diverting the money to a blatantly nonexperimental purpose to serve his political needs.
A Government Accounting Office report released this morning shows, quite starkly, that there simply is no experiment being conducted, just money being spent. Understandably, the GAO recommends that HHS cancel the project.
Congress should immediately launch an investigation into this unprecedented misuse of taxpayer money and violation of the public trust, which certainly presses the boundaries of legality and very well may breach them.
If he’s not stopped, Obama will spend $8 billion in taxpayer funds for a scheme to mask the debilitating effects on seniors of his signature piece of legislation just long enough to get himself re-elected.
Now that is some serious audacity.
Benjamin E. Sasse, a former US assistant secretary of health, is president of Midland University. Charles Hurt covers politics in DC.
WORKING THE SYSTEM
Wow, she must have been really good at her job.
At the top right hand corner of page 17 of the New York Post, January 24, 2009, was a column entitled, "Replacing Michelle" in the National Review, The Week.
Here it is as it appeared:
"Some employees are simply irreplaceable. Take Michelle Obama: The University of Chicago Medical Center hired her in 2002 to run 'programs for community relations, neighborhood outreach, volunteer recruitment, staff diversity and minority contracting'.
In 2005 the hospital raised her salary from $120,000 to $317,000 - nearly twice what her husband made as a Senator.
Her husband, Barack Obama, had just become a U.S. Senator. He requested a $1 million "Earmark" for the UC Medical Center. Way to network, Michelle!
Now that Mrs. Obama has resigned, the hospital says her position will remain unfilled. How can that be, if the work she did was vital enough to be worth $317,000?
Let me add that Michelle's position was a part-time, 20-hours-a-week job.
20hrs. X 52 weeks = 1,040 hours per year
$317,000 divided by 1,040 hours = $304.80 per hour.
My thoughts: How did this bit of "quid pro quo" (scratch my back - I'll scratch yours) corruption escape the sharp reporters that dug through Sarah Palin's garbage and kindergarten files?
I hope this is forwarded so many times that the media will HAVE to cover it..
Recession is when your neighbor loses his job.
Depression is when you lose your job.
Recovery is when Obama loses his job
Obama's come-uppance fromElie Wiesel during self-serving visit to Holocaust Museum
During the last three years, President Obama did not visit the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. But today, he did; and promptly gave a self-serving campaign speech for Jewish votes.
"I will always be there for Israel," he told the audience at a Holocaust Memorial Remembrance Day event. Invoking "Never Again" several times, he recalled how he also stood with survivors in the Warsaw Ghetto, then added:
"So when efforts are made to equate Zionism to racism, we reject them. When international fora single out Israel with unfair resolutions, we vote against them. When attempts are made to delegitimize the State of Israel, we oppose them. When faced with a regime that threatens global security and denies the Holocaust and threatens to destroy Israel, the United States will do everything in our power to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon."
Obama also had harsh words for Syria's President Assad and his ongoing atrocities, but generally seemed self-satisfied with his administration's record on both Iran and Syria. Ditto for seeking to prevent atrocities in Sudan, Ivory Coast, Central Africa and Libya. And he also claimed credit for "doing more to protect women and girls from the horror of wartime sexual violence."
Then, to top it off, he announced a new initiative: creation of an Atrocities Prevention Board to oversee all administration efforts to avert genocidal atrocities. With Obama, when in difficulty, create another government agency.
The president had with him as escort and introducer Elie Wiesel and lavishly praised the Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor for his unrelenting campaign to keep the memory of the Holocaust front and center.
But Wiesel did not reciprocate. Instead, determined to tell truth to power, he admonished Obama for not doing nearly enough to confront Assad's atrocities in Syria and Iranian President Ahmadinejad's development of nuclear weapons and threats to wipe Israel off the map.
In introducing Obama, Wiesel asked why "world leaders," presumably including Obama, have not "learned anything" from the Holocaust.
"How is it that Assad is still in power?" Wiesel asked. "How is it that the Holocaust's No. 1 denier is still a president? He who threatens to use nuclear weapons - to use nuclear weapons - to destroy the Jewish state. We must know that when evil has power, it is almost too late."
Directly addressing Obama, Wiesel declared: "Mr. President, we are here in this place of memory. Israel cannot not remember. And because it remembers, it must be strong, just to defend its own survival and its own destiny."
Clearly, Wiesel was not exactly encouraged by Obama's remarks.
Since the Holocaust Museum is a national undertaking, it is fitting for a U.S. president to pay an occasional visit and call its lessons to public attention. But by waiting until 2012, an election year, and in the substance of his speech, Obama turned his visit into a political event, just as the presidential-election campaigns move into high gear. It leaves a stain on the museum and the Holocaust to exploit it for political purposes
The timing of Obama's appearance and the political aspect of his visit recall another controversial moment in the museum's history, In 1998, Walter Reich, then the museum director, was forced to resign by the museum's governing board and the Clinton White House for refusing to give a VIP tour of the museum to Yasser Arafat.
Here's what commentator Marvin Kalb said at the time: "In Washington these days, conscience and principle are in short supply. At the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, particularly, these ideals should be honored and exalted. But last Wednesday, Walter Reich, director of the museum, was fired because he had the temerity to object to a museum visit by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
"Reich believed that the Holocaust, both the memory and the museum, should not be 'politicized' by letting an administration searching desperately for a breakthrough in stalled Middle East talks use it as diplomatic tapestry."
In 1998, Reich rose to the occasion. Today, Elie Wiesel -- in softer but still telling ways - was his worthy successor.
Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers
De Borchgrave: If Socialist Wins France, European Union Will Be 'Irrelevant'
By Jim Meyers and John Bachman
Award-winning journalist Arnaud de Borchgrave tells Newsmax that French President Nicolas Sarkozy will “squeak through” his upcoming election and remain in office, but a Sarkozy loss would lead to a decline of the European Union that could render it “irrelevant.”
De Borchgrave also says a major issue in the French election is the war in Afghanistan, which is unpopular in France as it is in the United States.
And he warns that the European Union will “automatically collapse” if the Euro currency doesn’t survive, yet governments will be “automatically overthrown” by the people if they go too far in reducing spending.
A 30-year veteran of Newsweek magazine, de Borchgrave is now director and senior adviser of the Transnational Threats Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, editor at large at United Press International, and a frequent Newsmax contributor.
French President Sarkozy narrowly lost the first round of France’s presidential election to Socialist candidate Francois Hollande on Sunday and will face a runoff.
“If the Socialist wins, the decline of the European Union will continue to the point where it may become irrelevant in the context of geopolitics,” de Borchgrave comments.
“If Sarkozy wins, things will be roughly on the same level as they are today. I think he is going to win. He is very good at debating.
“Sarkozy has been under heavy criticism because people consider him vulgar. He doesn’t quite seem presidential. But he does appeal to the man in the street, and also he is much firmer on immigration than his Socialist challenger.
“My guess today is that he is going to squeak through.”
Citing a major reason for Sarkozy’s loss of popularity, de Borchgrave declared: “I think the fact that he got France involved in Afghanistan. The Europeans who followed us into Afghanistan after 9/11 figured they were going to be around with us fighting Taliban and the remnants of al-Qaida for six, seven, eight or nine months, but not six, seven, eight or nine years.
“The involvement in Afghanistan has become more and more unpopular, as it has in our own country.
“I mean 70 percent of the American people today are against continued involvement in Afghanistan. It’s roughly the same figure all over Europe, and everybody is a little surprised to read in the papers today that we are talking about making a 10-years commitment to Afghanistan, to the non-Taliban government.
“That seems to lack reality. We can’t make any commitment beyond one or two years that Congress would not overturn.”
Asked to explain the apparent move toward the right taking place in France and several other European countries, de Borchgrave responds: “Because 11 leaders of Europe have been tossed out since 2009 when the financial crisis hit hardest. I think they are drawing a lesson from that.
“I think it’s a reaction to abuses on the left. Also the left is wide open to immigration, from countries that are not exactly on everyone’s favorite list. I think there’s common ground there among all European countries on what has become immigration mostly from the Arab world.”
De Borchgrave says we won’t be able to get a definitive answer on how much the global economy will be affected by the debt crisis in the Eurozone for “a long time. There is no clear cut answer to this unless you’re willing to tighten everyone’s belt to the point where governments would be automatically overthrown by the people.
“What you might see is a gradual loosening of European ties. They’re not too tight right now but you might see over the next two or three years a gradual loosening of what some people are beginning to see as the straitjacket of the European community.”
Asked if the Euro currency will survive, de Borchgrave tells Newsmax: “If it doesn’t survive, the European Union automatically collapses, and that’s why I don’t think they’ll let it collapse.
“Greece may have to drop out possibly. Portugal and Spain as well. But the core of the European Union is bound to remain the core while others may peel off.”
Elaborating on the debt crisis in Greece, de Borchgrave adds: “In Greece they’re on the verge of a popular revolution if they continue to tighten the belt, as they seem to be under some kind of obligation to do.
“Everybody’s watching this very carefully indeed. The future of the European Union is at stake, and that leads some people to make concessions they wouldn’t otherwise make, because nobody wants to see the whole thing collapse.”
© 2012 Newsmax. All rights reserved
To be (a lawyer) or not to be...
Is the President's resume accurate when it comes to his career and qualifications? I can corroborate that Obama's "teaching career" at Chicago was, to put it kindly, a sham.
I spent some time with the highest tenured faculty member at Chicago Law a few months back, and he did not have many nice things to say about "Barry." Obama applied for a position as an adjunct and wasn't even considered. A few weeks later the law school got a phone call from the Board of Trustees telling them to find him an office, put him on the payroll, and give him a class to teach. The Board told him he didn't have to be a member of the faculty, but they needed to give him a temporary position. He was never a professor and was hardly an adjunct.
The other professors hated him because he was lazy, unqualified, never attended any of the faculty meetings, and it was clear that the position was nothing more than a political stepping stool. According to my professor friend, he had the lowest intellectual capacity in the building. He also doubted whether he was legitimately an editor on the Harvard Law Review, because if he was, he would be the first and only editor of an Ivy League law review to never be published while in school (publication is or was a requirement).
Consider this: 1. President Barack Obama, former editor of the Harvard Law Review, is no longer a "lawyer". He surrendered his license back in 2008 possibly to escape charges that he "fibbed" on his bar application.
2. Michelle Obama "voluntarily surrendered" her law license in 1993.
3. So, we have the President and First Lady - who don't actually have licenses to practice law. Facts.
4. A senior lecturer is one thing. A fully ranked law professor is another. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, "Obama did NOT 'hold the title' of a University of Chicago law school professor". Barack Obama was NOT a Constitutional Law professor at the University of Chicago.
5. The University of Chicago released a statement in March, 2008 saying Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) "served as a professor" in the law school, but that is a title Obama, who taught courses there part-time, never held, a spokesman for the school confirmed in 2008.
6. "He did not hold the title of professor of law," said Marsha Ferziger Nagorsky, an Assistant Dean for Communications and Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago School of Law.
7. The former Constitutional senior lecturer cited the U.S. Constitution recently during his State of the Union Address. Unfortunately, the quote he cited was from the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution.
8. The B-Cast posted the video.
9. In the State of the Union Address, President Obama said: "We find unity in our incredible diversity, drawing on the promise enshrined in ourConstitution: the notion that we are all created equal."
10. By the way, the promises are not a notion, our founders named them unalienable rights. The document is our Declaration of Independence and it reads: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
11. And this is the same guy who lectured the Supreme Court moments later in the same speech?
When you are a phony it's hard to keep facts straight.
President Barack Obama - Editor of the Harvard Law Review - Has No Law License?:
I saw a note slide across the #TCOT feed on Twitter last night that mentioned Michelle Obama had no law license. This struck me as odd, since(a) she went to school to be a lawyer, and (b) she just recently held a position with the University of Chicago Hospitals as legal counsel - and that's a pretty hard job to qualify for without a law license. But being a licensed professional myself, I knew that every state not only requires licensure, they make it possible to check online the status of any licensed professional.
So I did, and here's the results from the ARDC Website: She "voluntarily surrendered" her license in 1993. Let me explain what that means. A "Voluntary Surrender" is not something where you decide "Gee, a license is not really something I need anymore, is it?" and forget to renew your license. No, a "Voluntary Surrender" is something you do when you've been accused of something, and you "voluntarily surrender" your license five seconds before the state suspends you. Here's an illustration: I'm a nurse.
At various times in my 28 years of nursing, I've done other things when I got burned out; most notably a few years as a limousine driver; even an Amway salesman at one point. I always,always renewed my nursing license - simply because it's easier to send the state $49.00 a month than to pay the $200, take a test, wait six weeks,etc., etc. . . I've worked (recently) in a Nursing Home where there was an 88 year old lawyer and a 95 year old physician. Both of them still had current licenses as well. They would never DREAM of letting their licenses lapse. I happen to know there is currently in the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City, Indiana an inmate who is a licensed physician,convicted of murder when he chased the two burglars who entered his home and terrorized his family into the street and killed them. (And I can't say I blame him for that, either.)
This physician still has an active medical license and still sees patients, writes prescriptions, etc. all from inside the prison. And he renews his medical license every two years, too. I tried looking up why she would "Voluntarily surrender" her license, but Illinois does not have its 1993 records online. But when I searched for "Obama", I found this:
"Voluntarily retired" - what does that mean? Bill Clinton hung onto his law license until he was convicted of making a false statement in the Lewinsky case and had to "Voluntarily Surrender" his license too.
As usual, all feedback -- especially rumors, innuendo and outright speculation -- is welcome.
5) As Goes France
)The first round of France's presidential election is getting plenty of attention in the U.S., and it's easy to see why: It challenges the proposition that a free society, knowing that it stands at the edge of an abyss, will not persuade itself that it has learned to fly.
5) As Goes France
Even exceptional nations cannot ignore the laws of economic gravity.
By Bret Stephens
)The first round of France's presidential election is getting plenty of attention in the U.S., and it's easy to see why: It challenges the proposition that a free society, knowing that it stands at the edge of an abyss, will not persuade itself that it has learned to fly.
Political scientists sometimes speak of the concept of the rational voter, which is the idea that each person will typically make an intelligent political choice given his interests and options. In France—where Sunday's electoral menu consisted of quasi-fascism, quasi-Marxism, soft socialism and the bouillabaisse ideology of a failed and desperate incumbent—the rational choice for voters was to stay home.
Instead, the French came out in huge numbers, 80%-plus, to show their enthusiasm for their preferred recipe for disaster. As expected, Socialist Party challenger François Hollande came out slightly ahead of President Nicolas Sarkozy—27.9% to 26.7%—and the two will now go head-to-head in the May 6 runoff.
So this is the "responsible" choice now before the French. On the one hand, there is a man-child president who will one day serve as a second object lesson in the perils of raising to high office hyperactive but diminutive men. On the other hand, there is his laid-back, congenial challenger, about whom the worst that can be said is that his ideas are crazy. Again, rational French voters should probably stay home. Again, they'll probably turn out in big numbers.
What is the matter with France?
Like everything in life, national politics always look different from the inside looking out than the outside looking in, and France's real problems aren't necessarily what they seem to the rest of the world. The talk of the day is the strong third-place finish of National Front candidate Marine Le Pen, which suggests that fascism, in heels, is again becoming fashionable in Europe.
But every Western democracy has a sizeable (if often submerged) constituency that supports some combination of xenophobia and economic nationalism, and Ms. Le Pen did only slightly better than her father's second-place, first-round, finish in 2002. France is not slouching toward 1933.
Nor can the French be faulted for wanting to throw Mr. Sarkozy out. Incumbents everywhere in Europe are getting the voters' boot, and the president's performance has been particularly disappointing given the pledges he made five years ago to break radically with the stagnation-inducing policies of the previous decades. Mr. Sarkozy, like Barack Obama, committed the original political sin of overpromising and underdelivering.
Still, the mystery of France is how a nation can witness what happens to countries that live beyond their means and yet insist on living beyond its means. France's debt-to-GDP ratio will rise to 90% this year from 59% a decade ago. It spends more of its GDP on welfare payments (28.4%) than any other state in the developed world. It has an employment rate of 62.8%, as compared to Germany's 76.5% or Switzerland's 82.9%.
These sorts of statistics may have been obscure before the economic crisis, when politics could still be the art of not making choices. Today you would need earplugs, a helmet and a burqa for the message not to get through. Nations, like people, cannot spend too much more than they make; otherwise they can lose their creditworthiness and go broke. Competition in a global economy is a reality, not an option. Wealth cannot be transferred if transfers also destroy wealth. Rich people can always take their money (and their tax payments) elsewhere. The "trade-off" between work and leisure is ultimately a choice between wealth and poverty.
Now the French have stared all this in the face and said: Ça n'a rien à voir avec nous. It has nothing to do with us.
No candidate in the contest has suggested the country ought to attract foreign investment or nurture its native entrepreneurs. No candidate seems to think a tax cut—whether on consumers, producers or wage-earners—might be a good idea. Is France capable of nurturing a Steve Jobs or a Mark Zuckerberg? The idea seems to have crossed none of the candidates' minds.
And how will France get out of its debts? Not through a more productive private sector and a more frugal public one, but in a flood of ever-cheaper currency, courtesy of a pliant ECB. That's something on which both Mr. Sarkozy and Mr. Hollande firmly agree. Inflation is the windy updraft the falling man often mistakes as a force more powerful than gravity.
The U.S. differs from France in having a much more robust distrust of the state's power and its claims to wisdom, and an equally powerful faith in the regenerative powers of the free market. Federalism also creates opportunities for policy experiment—on school choice, for instance, or lower taxes—not always available to the French.
Yet Americans should also take note that we aren't so different from France, either: in our debt-to-GDP ratio, our employment rate, our credit rating. Above all, both in France and in America there's a belief that, as exceptional nations, we are impervious to the forces that make other nations fall. It's the conceit that, sooner or later, brings every great nation crashing to earth.