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« on: September 30, 2011, 01:51:00 PM »

The Patriot Post Digest 9-30-2011
From The Federalist Patriot
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The Foundation

"The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying our own money for unexplained projects, forbids it in the dispensation of the public moneys." --Thomas Jefferson

Government & Politics
The President Zero Jobs Bill

To hear the Leftmedia tell it, economists are giving positive reviews to the $447 billion "jobs" bill that Barack Obama proposed1 earlier this month before a joint session of Congress. It seems, however, that "positive" is a relative term, and that the media are shamelessly carrying Obama's water. Same story, different day.

Obama Jobs Plan Prevents 2012 Recession in Survey of Economists2 spun the Bloomberg headline. This transparent attempt to candy-coat the story becomes painfully evident by the second paragraph: "The legislation, submitted to Congress this month, would increase gross domestic product by 0.6 percent next year and add or keep 275,000 workers on payrolls, the median estimates in the survey of 34 economists showed. The program would also lower the jobless rate by 0.2 percentage point in 2012."

Forgive us for not being impressed, but 0.6 percent improvement in GDP? Unemployment reduced by 0.2 percent? And 275,000 jobs at a cost of $447 billion? Let's look at the math: That comes out to roughly $1.6 million per job, and for an "investment" of $447 billion, GDP will gain less than $90 billion. Headline unemployment would remain at nearly 9 percent, a point higher than we were supposed to see with the first stimulus. Indeed, Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto's headline was far more accurate: A Rip-Off at Half the Price3.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is undaunted, however. Geithner said Stimulus Jr. is worth it, though he argued that the cost per job is the wrong way to measure its effectiveness. Naturally. "You've got to think about the costs of the alternatives," Geithner said. "If the alternative plan is for Washington to do nothing, that's unacceptable." The "do something -- anything" attitude has made us $4 trillion poorer over the last three years with nothing to show for it. But what's another half-trillion if it will help re-elect Obama?

Joe Biden took another tack: "Look, we should be doing all of this stuff even if we were growing by 8 percent, even if there was a 3 percent unemployment rate in America." It's not about the economy, it's about the size of government.

Despite Obama's incessant calls to "pass it right away," House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (D-CT) introduced the legislation in the House just this Wednesday -- three weeks after the president's speech. H.R. 12, is identical to S. 1549, introduced in the Senate last week by Majority Leader Harry Reid. The Republican-controlled House is unlikely to put the bill up for a vote, given the president's insistence on $1.5 trillion in tax increases as part of the deal.

Even the Democrat-controlled Senate, though, has been slow to act -- Democrats don't have the votes. When the upper chamber returns from a weeklong recess, Reid will instead push a vote on a bill to label China a currency manipulator. Of the jobs bill Reid said, "We'll get to that, but let's get some of these things done that we have to get done first." Like washing their hair.

Quote of the Week

"Even though 50 some percent of the American people think the economy tanked because of the last administration, that's not relevant. What's relevant is we're in charge." --Joe Biden

Just send them an unemployment Hallmark card4, Joe.

News From the Swamp: Appropriations

Congress has yet to pass FY2012 appropriations bills, but it did pass continuing resolutions before leaving for a week's vacation. The House voted to continue funding through Tuesday, when another vote will be taken to extend it further, and the Senate continued funding through Nov. 18. The latter bill passed 79-12, but only after some wrangling over funding for FEMA. Republicans had insisted in offsetting increased FEMA spending before the end of the fiscal year, but when FEMA suddenly "discovered" that they actually had $114 million, the disaster was averted. Barack Obama has overused FEMA -- 222 times so far this year -- and then Democrats used the manufactured crisis of FEMA running out of money to call for even bigger government. Multiply this trick hundreds of times, and you hit a $4 trillion budget.

This Week's 'Braying Jenny' Award

North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue, a Democrat, has come up with the solution to our economic crisis: Cancel democratic elections for the next cycle. "I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won't hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover," Perdue said. "I really hope that someone can agree with me on that."

Perdue said she thinks that temporarily halting elections would allow members of Congress to focus on the economy. Yeah, that's just what we need -- less accountability. Upon receiving criticism, her initial defense was that she was "joking." Don't buy it. Democrats may soon regret choosing North Carolina for their 2012 convention.

From the Left: 'Raise My Taxes'

Barack Obama continued pushing his misguided economic plan this week, sticking by the claim that the only way out of our economic crisis is to raise taxes on the wealthy. It makes no sense for Obama to raise taxes on the very group with the capital to start hiring and investing so that we can avoid a second recession during his presidency, assuming the first recession actually ended. Yet the president's richest supporters are backing the move. The proposed tax hike has even been nicknamed the "Buffet Rule," after billionaire investor and Obama supporter Warren Buffet, who has repeatedly called for the president to raise taxes on America's highest earners. Buffet claims that his secretary had a higher income tax rate than he did, though he has failed to make his tax returns public to prove it.

At an Obama town hall meeting this week, one particular sycophant pleaded for Obama to "please raise my taxes." The source of this dreck was a retired Google employee named Doug Edwards, a rich Democrat who has contributed $300,000 to the party since 2000. Someone should show Mr. Edwards how to Google the address for the IRS so he can send an extra check. The IRS created a provision in which people can send in money to the Bureau of Public Debt, a donation that will supposedly be put against the national debt, and depending on individual circumstances, this contribution may even be tax deductible.

News From the Swamp: The Trouble With Taxes

The president's plan for raising taxes on the country's top income earners and his class-warfare rhetoric are playing well with his leftist base, but the proposal is proving a tough sell on Capitol Hill. Republicans have categorically opposed any tax increases, and Obama has responded in kind by threatening to veto any bill that would cut entitlements without raising taxes on the wealthy. Congressional Democrats aren't big fans of Obama's plan either, but they certainly won't agree to a measure that only cuts spending.

The situation leaves little room to maneuver for the congressional supercommittee established by the debt-ceiling deal and tasked with drawing up a deficit reduction package by November. The plan must include $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years. If they fail, automatic cuts go into effect that will, among other things, slash hundreds of billions in defense spending. The one way out of this no-win situation for the supercommittee is to develop a plan for comprehensive tax reform that would broaden the tax base while lowering rates. This kind of compromise doesn't fit with Obama's divisive rhetoric, though, and it's doubtful that he would accept such a proposal.

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The Patriot Post Digest 9-30-2011
From The Federalist Patriot
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Hope 'n' Change: Supreme Court Receives ObamaCare Appeals

Both sides in the ObamaCare court challenge petitioned the Supreme Court this week to take up the case and make a final ruling on the law's constitutionality. The Justice Department is challenging the August ruling of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which called the mandate forcing Americans to purchase insurance unconstitutional. The plaintiffs in that suit, including 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Businesses, argue that the federal government does not have the right to force citizens to purchase a product.

The Court was already likely to address ObamaCare at some point during its term, which begins next week. Separate circuit courts have issued contradictory rulings on the law, causing the Supreme Court eventually to step in and make a final decision. The Justices face the daunting task of analyzing the 2,200-page law. Among the fundamental questions to be considered are whether the insurance mandate is unconstitutional; whether it must be stripped out and the rest of the law left intact; or whether all of ObamaCare must go to the dustbin. And all this will take place against the backdrop of a fierce presidential election.

If all the legal wrangling weren't enough to cause anxiety, a recent report by the Kaiser Family Foundation noted that insurance premiums for family coverage went up by 9 percent, or an average of $1,400, this year. The White House was quick to dismiss the report, but what cannot be denied is Obama's promise in 2009 that ObamaCare would lower insurance premiums. Then again, not one promise about the virtues of ObamaCare has materialized, and the law hasn't even been fully implemented yet. We hope it never will be.

Campaign Trail: Yes, We Cain?

GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain won last week's straw poll in Florida by a convincing margin, claiming just over 37 percent of the vote. Texas Governor Rick Perry placed a distant second with 15 percent, while Mitt Romney managed to earn 14 percent without actively participating in the poll. Michele Bachmann likewise steered clear of the event, but her last-place showing in the contest doesn't bode well. Cain's victory coincides with a sudden spike in popularity for the former Godfather's Pizza CEO, and a recent IBOPE Zogby poll now puts him at the front of the field with 28 percent.

It could be that Cain's 9-9-9 tax proposal is gaining traction. His idea of a 9 percent business tax, a 9 percent income tax with deductions only for charity, and a 9 percent sales tax as a vehicle for switching completely to the Fair Tax is both substantive and intriguing, though adding a sales tax before the 16th Amendment is repealed is a dangerous idea. "If 10 percent is good enough for God," says Cain, "then 9 percent should be just fine for the federal government."

In case no one has noticed, Cain is a black man. And his impressive win in Florida puts the lie to the oft-repeated liberal canard that the Tea Party is racist. Can a self-made businessman who has never held elected office but has plenty of experience turning around ailing businesses win the GOP primary? Time will tell.

National Security
Palestinians Turn the Screws

As we noted last week, Palestinians had threatened to ask the full UN General Assembly to recognize their quest for statehood. Last Friday they pulled the trigger, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas formally applied for full UN membership, openly defying U.S. and Israeli opposition to the plan. Within hours of the request, U.S. and European leaders had proposed yet another pointless plan for restarting the dormant "peace" talks between the Palestinians and Israelis. This "new" plan, devised by the U.S., the European Union, the UN, and Russia, sets yet another timeline aimed at concluding yet another peace agreement no later than yet another target date, this time the end of 2012.
In a letter accompanying the statehood application, Abbas asks UN Secretary General Ban

Ki-moon to send the statehood request immediately to the Security Council and the General Assembly. However, on Wednesday the UN Security Council handed it to a committee that will review it in the coming weeks. The review period is supposed to be a maximum of 35 days, but Western diplomats say this limit can be waived, leading to the typical UN do-nothing, never-ending process. Even if the committee eventually moves the application forward, however, the Palestinian bid is doomed to failure due to U.S. opposition. As the recent New York special elections proved, Obama cannot risk further alienating Jewish voters by pandering to the Palestinians. Besides, most Palestinians really don't want a peaceful, two-state solution; they want a one-state Palestine solution, along with the extermination of the Jews. Until that changes, there will be no peace.

Warfront With Jihadistan: Changing of the Guard

Admiral Mike Mullen is stepping down as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs today, completing the DoD leadership transition from the Bush administration to Obama's. Robert Gates left the Defense Secretary post in July, succeeded by Leon Panetta, and in August, Gen. David Petraeus stepped down as supreme commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan to take the helm at the CIA. Mullen is leaving after four years and will be succeeded by Gen. Martin Dempsey, an Iraq War veteran. Mullen worked to refocus U.S. military efforts on Afghanistan; he also championed drone attacks on militants in Pakistan, a tactic that has been very successful.

According to Mullen, the U.S. will be in Afghanistan for some time to come. "We continue on this path to shift lead security responsibility to the Afghans by the end of 2014," he said in congressional testimony last week. "That's why I think this strategic partnership declaration currently being negotiated is so important because that really is the commitment. We're going to be there longer than 2014." One reason why Mullen believes this is the unprepared status of the Afghan military. Just two of 180 brigades, totaling about 1,000 soldiers each, are ready to operate independent of U.S. forces.

Meanwhile, some good news from The Washington Post5, "Anwar al-Aulaqi, a radical U.S.-born Muslim cleric and one of the most influential al-Qaeda operatives wanted by the United States, was killed Friday in an airstrike in northern Yemen, authorities said, eliminating a prominent recruiter who inspired attacks on U.S. soil."

Iranian Nuclear Program Continues

Iran continues inching toward its goal of nuclear weapons capability, aided by a feckless international community whose attention has been diverted by the Arab Spring. The latest International Atomic Energy Agency report, released Sept. 2, repeated what the previous half-dozen reports had said: Iran has not suspended nuclear enrichment at Natanz; has not suspended work on its heavy water reactor; has not suspended nuclear conversion work at Esfahan (where uranium ore is converted into uranium hexafluoride (UF6) in a multi-step process); has not addressed UNSC questions about military-related nuclear work; and is not observing the terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty's Additional Protocol, which allows short-notice and no-notice inspections of nuclear sites. In summary, Iran is not providing the necessary cooperation, and the IAEA is unable to conclude that Iran's nuclear material is meant for peaceful purposes.

This week, several respected non-proliferation experts commented on the statements in the report -- statements provided by Iran to the IAEA -- that Iran has enriched 70kg of UF6 to 20 percent and was preparing to triple its production in the immediate future. Based on these facts, Iran is judged capable of enriching sufficient UF6 to the 90 percent level needed for a weapon in just six months or less -- 62 days, by the calculation of one expert.

Meanwhile, as we go to press, Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, a Christian convert in Iran, is set to be executed as soon as today for his refusal to recant Christianity and return to Islam. Such persecution is all too normal in Islamic countries. If executed, Nadarkhani will leave behind a wife and two young children. We pray for his immediate release.

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The Patriot Post Digest 9-30-2011
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Department of Military Correctness: Houston Cemetery

In July, we reported6 on the egregious policy of the Houston Cemetery's banning of religious speech at military funerals. Families wishing to use such speech had to submit a written request to cemetery director Arleen Ocasio. Even worse, this policy was supported by the Department of Veterans' Affairs. Now, however, it looks as if constitutional rights to free speech have triumphed over politically correct bureaucrats and big government -- at least in this case.

The mediating parties have come to an agreement that restores the rights of military families to choose the way they honor their fallen loved ones. The VA will no longer be able to interfere with prayer during funeral services or censor the words "God" or "Jesus" in condolence cards and gifts. The VA will also have a cross, Bible and Star of David easily accessible to families who wish to have them. While this is, of course, excellent news, it's still inconceivable that it had to come to this point. The real tragedy here is that those who fight to protect our right to worship have to fight -- even in death -- for their own. The agreement now awaits the signature of Texas Supreme Court Justice Tom Phillips. Unfortunately, that agreement does not include the removal of Arleen Ocasio.

Immigration Front: Alabama Law Upheld -- in Part

Alabama won a significant victory in its bid to combat illegal immigration this week when U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn upheld most of the state's recently passed law on the matter. Alabama law enforcement can verify the immigration status of those they stop, detain or arrest, and schools must determine that status upon a student's application. Blackburn had issued a stay on the law earlier this year while she determined her course, but she found that these provisions do not violate or functionally pre-empt federal law. She did, however, block enforcement of the parts of the law making it a crime to transport or harbor an illegal alien, or for an alien to seek or perform work. She also blocked the part of the law permitting discrimination lawsuits against companies that hire illegals. The ruling is a blow to the Obama administration, which is seeking to prevent enforcement of both state and federal immigration laws.

Business & Economy
Income Redistribution: Solyndra Scandal Now Involves California Democrats

Interesting new wrinkles have surfaced in the scandal surrounding California-based solar panel maker Solyndra. One published report7 exposed a rift between three Obama administration officials. National Economic Council director Lawrence Summers and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner emphasized a go-slow approach in an October 2010 meeting, while their view about the vetting process was contradicted by Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who wanted even less scrutiny for the program. The meeting, however, occurred months after Solyndra had been guaranteed loans of over a half-billion dollars by Chu's Department of Energy, so that horse had already bolted the barn.

The long list of creditors stiffed by the solar panel manufacturer includes the California Democratic Party. CDP officials were surprised to be on the list, claiming they were unaware of a reason why they would be included. Solyndra doesn't owe us "any funds in any form," said communication director Tenoch Flores. It wasn't clear what the amount in question was. However, campaign finance records show Solyndra donated $7,500 to the California Democratic Party in 2010, after the DoE loan was granted. The company also spent over $1 million on Washington lobbyists between January 2009 and June 2011. Perhaps that's why they received more federal money even after violating the terms of the original deal by missing their first payment in December 2010.

Meanwhile, right behind Solyndra may be other companies for whom the DoE approved over $1 billion worth of loan guarantees this week for solar-generation projects in Nevada and Arizona. This includes a $737 million loan guarantee for the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, which will allegedly create 45 jobs. The big news, though, is that an investment partner in the project is Pacific Corporate Group, whose executive director is Ron Pelosi, who just happens to be Nancy Pelosi's brother-in-law. Suddenly, we understand the spending of $737 million to create 45 jobs.

This Week's 'Alpha Jackass' Award

"Ethics is about right and wrong, but if you'd ask me what my favorite subject was back in 8th grade ... I don't think ethics would have made it on the list." --Barack Obama

Regulatory Commissars: Obama Wants the EPA to Be 230,000 Stronger

Because the Environmental Protection Agency has deemed it now has the power to write and enforce new, tougher greenhouse gas regulations, they're asking for 230,000 more employees to help in that cause. The estimated cost: $21 billion. Meanwhile, the private sector continues to hemorrhage jobs every month, a process that would only accelerate with more regulations.

Clean Air Act regulations affect some 14,000 businesses annually. If these new rules are in place by 2016 -- which the EPA admits is an aggressive timetable for such far-reaching guidelines -- that number would jump to 6.1 million. With the EPA also estimating that it will take 1.4 billion work hours to enact all these regulations, the 230,000 employees will be busy for quite some time to come; the average number of hours per new hire would be over 6,000. That's three solid work years for nothing but enforcing rules no court has cleared. But just in case, the EPA wants the funding and authorization to do so. If these are the "green jobs" Barack Obama is seeking to create, there may not be any jobs left over for the rest of us when he's done.

Was Ford Pressured to Yank Commercial Critical of Bailout?

For Ford, the ruse was simple: Convince a person picked off the street that the company wanted them to participate in a marketing survey, then surprise him with a mock press conference peppering him with questions as to why he bought his Ford. In doing so, the automaker crossed a line with the Obama White House, which reportedly pressured the carmaker to drop the ad because it was critical of competitors that benefited from the 2009 auto bailout. That story has continued to percolate despite denials from both the Obama administration and Ford -- the latter claiming that the ad had merely finished its scheduled four-week campaign. However, lending credence to the entirely believable rumor of the White House strong-arming is the fact the automaker not only stopped airing the commercial on television but also pulled the ad from YouTube for several days before placing it back last week.

The commercial has made a folk hero out of Chris McDaniel, a proud Ford F-150 owner who touted his truck and the fact that Ford didn't take any money from the 2009 bailout. Not that Ford is an innocent bystander. The company has accepted federal loan guarantees in the past, though that was so it could work to comply with CAFE mileage standards. Meanwhile, we just hope McDaniel doesn't get the "Joe the Plumber" treatment, whereby every bit of made-up dirt on him is made public by Obama's Leftmedia minions.

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The Patriot Post Digest 9-30-2011
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Culture & Policy
Second Amendment: A Surprise Gunrunner Buyer

The scandal surrounding the ATF's Operation Fast and Furious just took another turn for the worse. Fox News reports8, "Not only did U.S. officials approve, allow and assist in the sale of more than 2,000 guns to the Sinaloa cartel -- the federal government used taxpayer money to buy semi-automatic weapons, sold them to criminals and then watched as the guns disappeared."

Obviously, this finding runs counter to the Justice Department's claim that Fast and Furious was "botched" and that agents just "lost track" of the guns headed south. In fact, it appears that the Department's intent was that the guns would become lost in Mexico. Again, Fox News: "According to documents obtained by Fox News, Agent John Dodson was ordered to buy six semi-automatic Draco pistols -- two of those were purchased at the Lone Wolf gun store in Peoria, Ariz. An unusual sale, Dodson was sent to the store with a letter of approval from David Voth, an ATF group supervisor. Dodson then sold the weapons to known illegal buyers, while fellow agents watched from their cars nearby." Dodson blew the whistle after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed with a gun from the operation in December 2010. It was bad enough that Terry and possibly hundreds of others lost their lives to supposed government incompetence. But it's an entirely different matter when the government acted with intent.

Village Academic Curriculum: No Waiver Left Behind

Frustrated by his inability to get Congress to reauthorize and modify No Child Left Behind (NCLB), Barack Obama has taken matters into his own hands, announcing that he will let states opt out of parts of NCLB -- provided they give the federal government more control over education policy, a technique otherwise known as extortion. Specifically, states could apply for and receive a waiver if they promise to follow guidelines established not by Congress but by the White House. Under NCLB, the Secretary of Education has the authority to grant waivers but not to use waivers to rewrite the law. Of course, we're by no means fans of No Child Left Behind, which itself gave the federal government unprecedented control over education.

As for the constitutional authority at stake, the Heritage Foundation explains9, "The President does have a proper constitutional role to play in the legislative process. The President has the power to veto or sign a bill. Furthermore, as permitted by the recommendation clause of Article 1, Section 3, the President may recommend legislation to Congress. This ... does not mean that the President can unilaterally create law as if by royal edict." By attempting to turn the West Wing of the White House into a legislative action arm, this president is again blatantly violating the constitutional separation of powers. This hardly comes as a surprise. Indeed, bypassing Congress is nothing new for this president, whose penchant for executive edicts has repeatedly proven his disdain for the Constitution.

School Bullies Are Often Administrators

It seems some school officials can't tell the difference between protected free speech and "bullying," opposition to which -- real or imagined -- has become all the rage amongst educators and legislators alike. In Fort Worth, Texas, freshman honor student Dakota Ary was recently served with an in-school suspension simply for conveying his belief that homosexuality is a sin. Newsbusters reports10, "The comment came during a German class, where conversation turned to vocabulary for Christianity and the Bible. Dakota said one student asked about translations for homosexual terms." Dakota replied, "I'm a Christian, and I don't think being gay is right." For that, Newsbusters says, "The disciplinary referral given to [him] called his comments a 'possible instance of bullying.'" That's right. No hitting, no punching, no harassing. Simply stating a belief.

Of course, were the tables turned and a student opined that being a Christian is wrong, such a statement would undoubtedly have been labeled freedom of expression. But under Leftist political correctness, Christianity has become the only thing permissible to attack -- even when they're just saying "bless you."11 Thankfully, Dakota is not so easily intimidated. "If the same situation comes up [again], I think I'd do the same thing," he said. We certainly hope, however, that the PC-indoctrinated school officials would not.

And Last...

The "youth vote" was critical to Barack Obama's success in 2008, and he would love nothing more than to recreate that magic in 2012. Yet there appears to be little love for the president these days, even among his previously ardent supporters. According to the New York Post12, Obama tried to carve out a slot on MTV to campaign for his re-election among young Americans, but MTV turned him down. That doesn't mean Obama will quit, though. In fact, he had an MTV-style message for young people13: Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna tell a lie and hurt you. It remains to be seen if his love will be left unrequited.

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team

(Please pray for our Armed Forces standing in harm's way around the world, and for their families -- especially families of those fallen Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, who granted their lives in defense of American liberty.)



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