Sunday, December 31, 2006
Our national media and the international media still thinks that Saddam got a raw deal - sure they say he was a butcher, but we shouldn't hold that against him. After all what is a few hundred thousand people dead by his hand, they weren't Americans, right. We should just have left things alone. The major media said he was dignified and came from humble beginnings after the hanging.
Liberals love mass killers - I have said this many times in other post and there isn't a day that goes by that at least one of the high profile Democrats shows us that they really care for the international terrorists and mass murders. After all they are cut from the same cloth.
Here is a little history of the close friends of liberal Democrats.
Lenin - Dead of the complications of a stroke, perhaps assisted by poisoning, January 21, 1924.
Benito Mussolini - Executed without judicial procedure by communist partisans, April 28 1945. The act was robbed of any meaning by the concurrent murder of his innocent mistress, Clara Petacci.
Adolf Hitler - Dead by his own hand beneath the ruins of the Berlin Chancellory, April 30, 1945.
Stalin - Dead of stroke aided by medical neglect at age 74 at his dacha outside Moscow, March 5, 1953.
Ho Chi Minh - Dead of heart failure at age 79 at his home in Hanoi, September 2, 1969.
Francisco Franco - Dead of old age at 82 on November 20, 1975.
Mao Tse Tung - Dead of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis at age 82, on September 9, 1976.
Tito - Dead of circulatory problems on May 4, 1980, three days before his 88th birthday.
Nicolae Ceaucescu - Shot out of hand at age 71 after a bogus "trial" following a nationaluprising, December 25, 1989.
Ruhollah Khomeini - Dead of cancer on June 3, 1989, at the age of 89.
Kim Il-sung - Dead of a heart attack at 82 in Pyongyang, July 8, 1994.
Pol Pot - Dead at age 72 (possibly a suicide) on April 16, 1998, while waiting to be turned over to an international tribunal.
Idi Amin Dada - Dead of old age at age 79 on August 16, 2003, after years of exile in SaudiArabia.
Slobodan Milosevic - Dead in his cell under unexplained circumstances while in the hands of an international criminal tribunal at the Hague, March 11, 2006.
Most of the great butchers of the 20th century died of old age, in their own beds, some ofthem honored by millions. Not a single one met justice in the sense accepted in free states across the world. The handful who died otherwise are aberrations, victims of strange events that act as models for nothing.
There is one single exception - the hanging of Saddam Hussein on December 30, 2006after a careful, lengthy trial carried out under extremely difficult circumstances according tointernationally recognized judicial norms. The state of Iraq has succeeded where the rest of the civilized world has failed. It is a singular achievement, and it will stand.
"There is no more acceptable sacrifice than the blood of a tyrant."
- Giovanni Boccaccio
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Big Bellies Tied to Heart Disease
The more your belly sticks out, the greater your risk of developing heart disease, a new study shows. "The message is really obesity in the abdomen matters even more than obesity overall," Dr. Carlos Iribarren of Kaiser Permanente of Northern California in Oakland, the study's lead author, told Reuters Health.
Body mass index (BMI), a gauge of weight in relation to height, is a fairly crude way to judge a person's heart disease risk based on obesity, he noted. For example, muscular people may have a high BMI and be perfectly healthy.
In the current study, Iribarren and his team looked at 101,765 men and women who underwent checkups between 1965 and 1970, which included SAD measurements, and were then followed for about 12 years. Men with the largest SAD were 42 percent more likely to develop heart disease during follow-up compared to those with the smallest SAD, while a large SAD increased heart disease risk by 44 percent for women, Iribarren and his team found.
Within BMI categories, the researchers found, heart disease risk rose with SAD; even among men of normal weight, heart disease risk was higher for those with bigger bellies. The relationship between SAD and heart disease risk was strongest among the youngest men and women, which is not surprising, Iribarren said, given that people who develop central obesity younger in life would likely have more serious problems.
"I think it has important implications for prevention," he said. " Don't let this happen to you when you're young; that's kind of the message."
SOURCE: American Journal of Epidemiology, December 15, 2006.© Reuters 2006.
Hillary Disavows Her Iraq War Vote
Sen. Hillary Clinton has for the first time said she would not have voted to authorize the 2002 attack on Iraq if she had known then what she knows now. Previously the likely presidential candidate in 2008 has said that if the Senate had all the information it has today — about Iraq’s weapons program and the current difficulties in pacifying the nation, for example — there would never have been a vote on the Senate floor. During a Dec. 18 appearance on NBC’s “Today” show, Clinton repeated that refrain. But this time she added: “And I certainly wouldn’t have voted that way.”
Clinton’s change of heart regarding the war comes as she is facing an increasing threat from Sen. Barack Obama, who as a state official in Illinois, spoke out against the Iraqi invasion as Clinton was voting for it. Two of her other potential presidential rivals, Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards, also voted to authorize the invasion, but then publicly declared they had made a mistake and called for troops withdrawals. As recently as September, when
Clinton was asked on ABC’s “Nightline” about supporters who wanted her to say she was sorry for voting for the war, Hillary stated: “I don’t think that’s responsible.” And in June, Clinton was actually booed during a Washington appearance when she said it was wrong to set a strict timetable for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.
White House Gore is waging a fierce campaign for recognition and an Oscar statuette for his global warming documentary, while reviving talk that he's pursuing a bigger prize: the presidency.
His recent itinerary has been the ultimate in high profile. The former vice president made self-deprecating jokes on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," offered ideas on preserving the environment to Oprah Winfrey and her daytime audience and parried questions on Iraq from Matt Lauer on "The Today Show." This Saturday Gore is hosting a network of 1,600 house parties across the country to watch and discuss his documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," with the Democrat planning to address the gatherings by satellite hookup. The movie is on the short list of feature-length documentaries being considered for Oscar nominations.
What better way to bring the season of cheer and giving to the new year than a message about Hillary and Mom - heh - enjoy
Breaking from NewsMax.com
Hillary's New Strategy: The Mom President
"We've never had a mother who ever ran or was elected president." That was Hillary Clinton speaking earlier this week, when she appeared on the television show The View. Don't think for a minute that she was just making an interesting historical observation. No, Hillary doesn't work that way. She never says or does anything that hasn't been perfectly scripted and endlessly polled beforehand.
She had a message, a new strategy to try out. So look for the new "Mom Strategy" to be the anchor of her presidential run. Forget Soccer Moms and Security Moms; now it's going to be all Moms all the time - with Hillary as the biggest Mom of all. The "Mom Strategy" is key to presenting the latest iteration of Hillary. She needs to move out of the center space that she populated in her last reincarnation as a moderate. That's over.
Because democratic primary voters are squarely at odds with her positions on the war in Iraq, she needs to move on. The "Mom Strategy" gives her a credible way to tack to the left on the war. She's already begun. Last week, she told an NPR audience that she would have voted against the war if only she had known then what she knows now. Woulda, shoulda, coulda. In furtherance of the new Mom strategy, she has re-released her best-selling book It Takes A Village. This time, she is pictured surrounded by adoring, well-groomed and respectful children on the cover. Just like Mom. This is no coincidence; it's an element of the strategy.
The subliminal message: I'm a Mom and I'm running for president. Moms take care of people, they're compassionate and don't want wars. The fact that the book isn't selling well in its re-release - Amazon ranks it at 5,000 - doesn't matter. It's the cover photo that resonates.
Hillary the Hawk may ultimately be the way to win the centrists who dominate the general electorate. But Hillary, the Mom, another Mother for Peace, is the way to capture the left that runs the Democratic primaries. And that's exactly what she's doing. Gender stereotypes are still alive and well in America and cut across men and women in all ideologies.
Survey research shows that all voters believe that women are more compassionate, more focused on children and education, and more pro-peace than men. By tapping into this helpful stereotype, Hillary can flank her rivals on the left, even though her record of support for the war and collusion with the right wing on flag burning speaks loudly to the contrary.
Mom as a metaphor carries all the right messages: empathy with other mothers (particularly the heavily Democratic single moms), a commitment to education, and family values. Now that Illinois Senator Barak Obama has threatened to bring a newer "first" to presidential politics — the first black may trump the first woman — Hillary answers by labeling herself as the first mother to seek the presidency. (Actually, she's not. While Elizabeth Dole — who ran in 2000 — has no children, another woman, who had two children, ran for president in 1872. Victoria Woodhull, an early suffragette - and mistress of Cornelius Vanderbilt - ran as the candidate of the Equal Rights Party).
Hillary's new strategy echoes the 1996 Bill Clinton strategy in pushing a "fatherhood" agenda. Embracing the idea of taking responsibility, enforcing child support, promoting school uniforms and curfews, and fighting against teen smoking and sex and violence on TV, President Clinton promoted the idea of his fatherhood in his bid for re-election. He began his political career as Arkansas' boy Governor. When he ran for president, he was everyone's buddy — eating at McDonalds and jogging in baggy shorts — but as president he needed to grow up and project the subtle image of America's father.
In carefully choreographed photos, he was deliberately surrounded by adoring children looking up at him as he pushed his new message. Now Hillary is seeking to run for president as America's Mom — pro-peace, pro-family, pro-children. And it started last week on The View. Stay tuned.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
What the problem here is Clinton, by his inaction on the terrorist networks in this country, has put the nation at risk, and if we knew just what papers that Berger took out, destroyed and then put back after changing the content, we would have a good idea just how critical the danger we were facing, maybe even prevented the 9/11 attack.
But we will never know and for most people in this country they don't care. These are the same people that voted in November that turned power over to the same people like Sandy Berger.
Just think a minute about why this is so important to the Democrats - if we knew that the information that Berger took put the nation at risk and it was directly related to Bill Clinton, and most people think it is, how does Hillary fit into this web of conspiracy and cover-up? She was Bill's right hand in most everything he did. What did she know and when did she know it - hmmmm
The following is just more evidence that the Democrats are up their collective necks in this massive cover-up.
DoJ's democRAT line
While the DoJ (Dept. of Justice) papered over Sandy Berger's theft and destruction of classified documents from the National Archives, classified documents then of interest to the 9/11 Commission, the judge in the case insisted on a stronger penalty than the DoJ prosecutors who were clearly sympathetic to Berger did, and today the Inspector General of the Archives blew the whistle on the DoJ and Berger's conduct :
A former national security adviser to President Clinton, Samuel Berger, stashed highly classified documents under a trailer in downtown Washington in order to evade detection by National Archives personnel, a government report released yesterday said. The report from the inspector-general for the National Archives, Paul Brachfeld, said Mr. Berger executed the cloak-and-dagger maneuver
At the time the news of his prosecution became public we noted that the press was remarkably incurious and that Berger and his pals in the Clinton coterie had obviously leaked the story to minimize its impact:
Now that the details have been made known and we have had a peep at the inside workings of the DoJ in another case, the Lewis Libby prosecution, I have more questions.
1) How did this plea deal came about in a Republican administration committed to eradicate leaking? and 2) How can the DoJ justify the contrast between Berger's treatment when he deliberately destroyed real classified information and obstructed the work of the 9/11 Commission and their treatment of Libby who it hounded even though they knew (and kept secret0 the fact that it was Armitage, not Libby, who leaked Plame's identity, information which even the prosevutor will not try to show was actually classified?.
A particularly telling detail was the bit in the news reports of Berger's treatment to the effect that DOJ sources insisted that "no original information" had been lost. That, of course, is simply the negative way of saying: All annotations to the original documents have been lost; we will never know for sure what the reactions of responsible members of the Clinton administration were to the contents of these highly important national security documents.
Of course DOJ has always known this, as well as the significance of Berger's conduct So, what interest did the prosecutors have in minimizing the seriousness of Berger's crime--for crime it was, whatever the plea deal ultimately was? Or am I forgetting that the DOJ officials--the same ones who oversaw the start of Plamegate--have close ties to certain Democratic senators?
The following from the American Thinker:
"Hundreds of millions of dollars"
Rachel Ehrenfeld writes an eye-opening column in today's Washington Times, on the Arab money connections of Jimmy Carter. Like James Baker III, the only president ever called "Jimmy" has lots and lots of lucrative connections to money with Islamic connections. It is a must-read. Two examples:
Between 1976-1977, the Carter family peanut business received a bailout in the form of a $4.6 million, "poorly managed" and highly irregular loan from the National Bank of Georgia (NBG). According to a July 29, 1980 Jack Anderson expose in The Washington Post, the bank's biggest borrower was Mr. Carter, and its chairman at that time was Mr. Carter's confidant, and later his director of the Office of Management and Budget, Bert Lance.
At that time, Mr. Lance's mismanagement of the NBG got him and the bank into trouble. Agha Hasan Abedi, the Pakistani founder of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), known as the bank "which would bribe God," came to Mr. Lance's rescue making him a $100,000-a-year consultant. Abedi then declared: "we would never talk about exploiting his relationship with the president."
Next, he introduced Mr. Lance to Saudi billionaire Gaith Pharaon, who fronted for BCCI and the Saudi royal family. In January 1978, Abedi paid off Mr. Lance's $3.5 million debt to the NBG, and Pharaon secretly gained control over the bank. Mr. Anderson wrote: "Of course, the Saudis remained discretely silent... kept quiet about Carter's irregularities... [and] renegotiated the loan to Carter's advantage."
There is no evidence that the former president received direct payment from the Saudis. But "according to... the bank files, [it] renegotiated the repayment terms... savings... $60,000 for the Carter family... The President owned 62% of the business and therefore was the largest beneficiary." Pharaon later contributed generously to the former president's library and center.
Then there's this:
A quick survey of the major contributors to the Carter Center reveals hundreds of millions of dollars from Saudi and Gulf contributors. But it was BCCI that helped Mr. Carter established his center.
The scandals surrounding BCCI were never fully explored. Democrat elder statesman Clark Clifford, among other prominent figures, was let off from prosecution because of his age. I believe that BCCI was a lodestone of global corruption, but we will probably never know the full story.
Posted at 02:02 PM
Political strategist Dick Morris is so disgusted by the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency that he’s announced he’ll leave the country if she wins the Democratic nomination.
Appearing on Fox News Channel’s "Hannity & Colmes,” Morris – a former aide to President Bill Clinton – said that Bill and Hillary both suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder: "When they don’t get enough attention, they’re disordered.”
He also took a swipe at Hillary for re-releasing her book "It Takes a Village,” telling substitute host Karen Hanretty: "This seems to just reek of desperation on [Clinton’s] part . . . as a means to get herself out there.”
Morris dismissed Sen. Barack Obama’s chances of winning the presidency, saying he is the "best thing that’s ever happened to Hillary Clinton. Because he can’t win. You think about the guy for five minutes and you’re not gonna vote for him.”
However, Morris went on: "Obama’s in fact a better first than [Clinton] is. First black is better than first woman, in politics.”
Morris suggested that Hillary let Obama "float and then let him float away, like a balloon, probably running him for vice president on her ticket.
"I’m leaving the country if this happens.”
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Of course that is faulty thinking as we broke our word to South Vietnam when we went there. We said we will help defend that country from the communist north. We went back on our word and left them to their fate. Tens of thousands died in the take over of the south and hundreds of thousands died in Cambodia.
Many are calling for negotiations with the neighbors of Iraq - Iran and Syria. Both have indicated they want to destroy Iraq as a democracy, take it over for it's oil reserves and use it as a base for terrorists in the middle east and against Israel. Where do you start to negotiate?
There is a saying that I think fits the times ,"Pease is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it."
It's a new war, like none we have ever fought before. The consequences or retreat and surrender will doom many generation to come in this country and all of western culture.
There can be no other way but to stay the course, no matter how long it takes.
Monday, December 18, 2006
I think the best solution would be to disband it altogether. As it is now, it is a totally corrupt institution. It serves no useful purpose to anyone, anywhere.
What follows is just one of dirty untold stories of the UN and Kofi Annen.
Lives of the rich and famous: The UN
Thomas Lifson (American Thinker)
There is a certain kind of "wealth" that goes undetected by tax authorities, surveys, and the general public. It is the wealth that consists of the ability to spend other people's money on pleasurable objects. A shining example is on offer today, courtesy of the London Sunday Telegraph and Mark Malloch Brown, Kofi Annan's right-hand man at the United Nations.
Now that Annan's corrupt era as Secretary-General is coming to a close, it is time for hagiographies to be produced, so as to drown out the cries of mean-spirited people who might point out the world's largest financial scandal in history or the genocidal slaughter in Rwanda, both of which happened under Annan's responsibility.
And hey, if you are going to lavish praise, you might as well be lavish, right?
The United Nations Development Program, which spends $4 billion a year allegedly helping the world's poor, has just paid over half a million dollars to produce a vanity history of itself. And the resulting book has rocketed to # 577,233 in the sales rankings at Amazon.com, showing that the UN's legendary skills at getting value for money are still at work as Annan's reign comes to an end.
The project was authorized by Mark Malloch Brown, who himself knows how to lead a life of wealth without actually having to earn all that much money. As the New York Sun reported last year:
Mark Malloch Brown, whose current annual net salary as an undersecretary general is $125,000 a year, has emerged as the tenant in a house that Mr. Soros owns and that rents for $120,000 a year?
The rich are different from you and me, according to F. Scott Fitzgerald. The kind of wealth wielded by Annan and Brown is different from that of the rich. No taxes, no accountability, and the ability to pose as somemiind of saint. Nice work, if you can get it.
Hat tip: Brigitte
Sunday, December 17, 2006
I'm not an expert on road rage, but I have been around long enough to understand how it can become a problem. Experience is a good teacher. You know, been there, done that.
Road rage can be caused by a lot of different things - things that are not necessarily earth shaking but over time they have a tendency to pile up, which causes pressure on one's self control. Most people will just fume internally when confronted by an unexpected intrusion on their forward movement, in car or any other type of confrontation that makes them change or alter any part of their personal life.
Traveling down the road you get cut off, or walking down a sidewalk someone pushes past you, or waiting in a line at a busy store after work on Friday and someone goes to head of the line. it has happened to all of us. It's just that some of us can't seem to hold that pressure in all the time and that's when our problems begin.
I think that it takes two to tango - those that cause the problem and how those that take exception to it. I think it's an ego problem that manifests itself in the form of angry outbursts of fist shaking and fowl language. Of course, sometimes it comes in the form of violence towards the causee which is a different situation entirely. Have not been there and have not done that but I have seen it up close and it ain't pretty.
I believe taking one's self too seriously, on occasion, makes for problems that we never thought of or even dreamed of, could happen to us. If you are always late getting some place or you have a tendency to drive too fast, because your always late, or maybe you feel because you drive a better car and have a career that is on track to success, you should have better access to avenues that lead forward. hmmmmm
How does that go again, 'I'm on track to change the world so don't do anything that will make me change course'. Can you imagine getting caught on a second red light because someone cut in front of you to turn left just as it turn red? Whoa! 'I'm heading to an important meeting with important people. Idiot!'
How about a bunch of people holding signs blocking your way that proclaim the person that you voted for is a loser, and they actually lost. Not a good situation for you, or them, if you are behind the wheel of a car and your late.
Yeah, well, it's just as well that I don't have these problems, as I'm perfectly under control at all times, and I can and will tell you what you are doing wrong, most of the time. heh
Human nature, being what it is, will always find a way to bring other circumstances to bear on our problems - and we will find some way to let others know that they are the cause of our anguish, real or not, whether it's in the store or behind the wheel of our car.
Case in point, if my wife, of thirty seven years, has a problem that seems to be larger enough and one that causes a lot of stress, she will go back as many years as it takes into the dim past to prove that it was my fault - or maybe it just seems that way - heh
Take a deep breath and go forward at a pace that will allow you to get where you are going and still be able to smile say "hi" to the first person that you come to. It works - it really does.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
This snip from an article by Victor Davis Hanson (powerline) goes right to the heart of the situation.
---"Senator Nelson just returned from talking in Mr. Assad’s Syria—the serial murderer of Lebanese reformers, the clearinghouse for Hezbollah, the refuge for the killers of Americans in Iraq—with assurances that Syria wishes to be a stabilizing factor in the region.
Sen. Kerry in Cairo just praised Hosni Mubarak, lauding him by chastising President Bush’s failure to listen to this voice of reason and his criticisms of the United States. And why not listen to such advice, since this autocrat has been the recipient of billions in American aid, while squelching all reform for some thirty years in the bargain?
No doubt Kerry also lectured Mubarak about once hyping the WMD threat (“Mubarak lied, thousands died?”). Remember, the Egyptian strongman, as part of his reservations about Iraq, had warned our generals that American troops would be targeted with gasses of all sorts by Saddam.
Kerry also called for new talks with Iran—a rogue state presently in the middle of uranium enrichment, supplying IEDs to the militias in Iraq, promising to wipe out Israel, and hosting a Holocaust denial love fest in Teheran. Surely if the senator once denigrated our own soldiers as terrorizing Iraqis he can at least say that Iranians do the same?
Jimmy Carter is publicizing his indictment of Israel as an apartheid state, this apparently awful democracy that is the only country in the present Middle East where Arabs freely vote in safety, publish their views without censorship, and enjoy a material existence unknown in the West Bank.
Perhaps he can offer suggestions on how to deal with Iran, since the last time he entered into that diplomatic arena he sent Ramsey Clark as an official envoy to apologize for American sins, to offer a new partnership, and in vain to beg for the return of the hostages. And we know the results of that gambit—and the subsequent moral careers of both the sender and his emissary.
We knew we had to do something to rescue this magnificent and unique bird from a fatal consequence.
With as much tender loving care as we could muster, we picked her up and held her up to a feeder to get some much needed nourishment before we turned her loose. She never even tried to get away from us as she was completely exhausted.
After a short period of feeding and rest, she flew away without to much trouble, but when she landed on a small branch, she promptly turn her self upside down and hung suspended from her tiny feet until she regained her strength. The next day she was gone, at least she was gone from that branch - we have several females that frequent the feeders on a regular schedule. We hope she was one of them.
Come to find out these birds will hang upside down when resting or sleeping. I guess what ever works -
Friday, December 15, 2006
It's the same old song and dance of the liberals, Marxist socialists, and that is income redistribution - it's right out of the liberal play book - it's take from the productive and give to the unproductive.
The liberals want to incite class warfare - they are divisive in all of their actions - just look at their proposals on the minimum wage increases and the rhetoric that comes along with it - the poor need more money. The rick are taking it all. No mention of education, skills or motivation to succeed. The liberals may as well hang a sign on their backs, 'we hate the free market because we can't control it, but with control we will have power'.
The liberal Democrats have to have complete control of our lives, anything less is unacceptable.
With the old school liberals about to take power, always remember their driving purpose is to kill individual thought and self enterprise. The individual must die to benifet the masses.The Top 1% . . . of What?
By ALAN REYNOLDS December 14, 2006
As many others have done, Virginia's Democratic Senator-elect Jim Webb recently complained on this page of an "ever-widening divide" in America, claiming "the top 1% now takes in an astounding 16% of national income, up from 8% in 1980." Those same figures have been repeatedly echoed in all major newspapers, including this one. Yet the statement is clearly false. The top 1% of households never received anything remotely approaching 16% of personal income (national income includes corporate profits). The top 1% of tax returns accounted for 10.6% of personal income in 2004. But that number too is problematic.
The architects of these estimates, Thomas Piketty of École Normale Supérieure in Paris and Emmanuel Saez of the University of California at Berkeley, did not refer to shares of total income but to shares of income reported on individual income tax returns -- a very different thing. They estimate that the top 1% (1.3 million) of taxpayers accounted for 16.1% of reported income in 2004. But they explicitly exclude Social Security and other transfer payments, which make up a large and growing share of total income: 14.7% of personal income in 2004, up from 9.3% in 1980. Besides, not everyone files a tax return, not all income is taxable (e.g., municipal bonds), and not every taxpayer tells the complete truth about his or her income.
For such reasons, personal income in 2004 was $3.3 trillion, or 34.4%, larger than the amount included in the denominator of the Piketty-Saez ratio of top incomes to total incomes. Because that gap has widened from 30.5% in 1988, the increasingly gigantic understatement of total income contributes to an illusory increase in the top 1%'s exaggerated share.
The same problems affect Piketty-Saez estimates of share of the top 5%, which contradict those from the Census Bureau (which also exclude transfer payments). Messrs. Piketty and Saez figure the top 5%'s share rose to 31% in 2004 from 27% in 1993. Census Bureau estimates, by contrast, show the top 5%'s share of family income fluctuating insignificantly from 20% to 21% since 1993. The top 5%'s share has been virtually flat since 1988, aside from a meaningless one-time jump in 1993 when, as the Economic Policy Institute noted, "a change in survey methodology led to a sharp rise in measured inequality."
Unlike the Census Bureau, Messrs. Piketty and Saez measure income per tax unit rather than per family or household. They maintain that income per tax unit is 28% smaller than income per household, on average. But because there are many more two-earner couples sharing a joint tax return among high-income households, estimating income per tax return exaggerates inequality per worker.
The lower line in the graph shows that the amount of income Messrs. Piketty and Saez attribute to the top 1% accounted for 10.6% of personal income in 2004. That 10.6% figure looks much higher than it was in 1980. Yet most of that increase was, as they explained, "concentrated in two years, 1987 and 1988, just after the Tax Reform Act of 1986." As Mr. Saez added, "It seems clear that the sharp, and unprecedented, increase in incomes from 1986 to 1988 is related to the large decrease in marginal tax rates that happened exactly during those years."
That 1986-88 surge of reported high income was no surprise to economists who study taxes. All leading studies of "taxable income elasticity," including two by Mr. Saez, agree that the amount of income reported by high-income taxpayers is extremely sensitive to the marginal tax rate. When the top tax rate goes way down, the amount reported on tax returns goes way up. Those capable of earning high incomes had more incentive to do so when the top U.S. tax rate dropped to 28% in 1988 from 50% in 1986. They also had less incentive to maximize tax deductions and perks, and more incentive to arrange to be paid in forms taxed as salary rather than as capital gains or corporate profits.
The top line in the graph shows how much of the top 1%'s income came from business profits. In 1981, only 7.8% of the income attributed to the top 1% came from business, because, as Mr. Saez explained, "the standard C-corporation form was more advantageous for high-income individual owners because the top individual tax rate was much higher than the corporate tax rate and taxes on capital gains were relatively low." More businesses began to file under the individual tax when individual tax rates came down in 1983. This trend became a stampede in 1987-1988 when the business share of top percentile income suddenly increased by 10 percentage points.
The business share increased again in recent years, accounting for 28.4% of the top 1%'s income in 2004.
As was well-documented years ago by economists Roger Gordon and Joel Slemrod, a great deal of the apparent increase in reported high incomes has been due to "tax shifting." That is, lower individual tax rates induced thousands of businesses to shift from filing under the corporate tax system to filing under the individual tax system, often as limited liability companies or Subchapter S corporations.
IRS economist Kelly Luttrell explained that, "The long-term growth of S-corporation returns was encouraged by four legislative acts: the Tax Reform Act of 1986, the Revenue Reconciliation Act of 1990, the Revenue Reconciliation Act of 1993, and the Small Business Protection Act of 1996. Filings of S-corporation returns have increased at an annual rate of nearly 9.0% since the enactment of the Tax Reform Act of 1986."
Switching income from corporate tax returns to individual returns did not make the rich any richer. Yet it caused a growing share of business owners' income to be newly recorded as "individual income" in the Piketty-Saez and Congressional Budget Office studies that rely on a sample of individual income tax returns. Aside from business income, the top 1%'s share of personal income from 2002 to 2004 was just 7.2% -- the same as it was in 1988.
In short, income shifting has exaggerated the growth of top incomes, while excluding a third of personal income (including transfer payments) has exaggerated the top groups' income share.
There are other serious problems with comparing income reported on tax returns before and after the 1986 Tax Reform. When the tax rate on top salaries came down after 1988, for example, corporate executives switched from accepting stock or incentive stock options taxed as capital gains (which are excluded from the basic Piketty-Saez estimates) to nonqualified stock options reported as W-2 salary income (which are included in the Piketty-Saez estimates). This largely explains why the top 1%'s share rises with the stock boom of 1997-2000 then falls with the stock market in 2001-2003.
In recent years, an increasingly huge share of the investment income of middle-income savers is accruing inside 401(k), IRA and 529 college-savings plans and is therefore invisible in tax return data. In the 1970s, by contrast, such investment income was usually taxable, so it appears in the Piketty-Saez estimates for those years. Comparing tax returns between the 1970s and recent years greatly understates the actual gain in middle incomes, and thereby contributes to the exaggeration of top income shares.
In a forthcoming Cato Institute paper I survey a wide range of official and academic statistics, finding no clear trend toward increased inequality after 1988 in the distribution of disposable income, consumption, wages or wealth. The incessantly repeated claim that income inequality has widened dramatically over the past 20 years is founded entirely on these seriously flawed and greatly misunderstood estimates of the top 1%'s alleged share of something-or-other.
The politically correct yet factually incorrect claim that the top 1% earns 16% of personal income appears to fill a psychological rather than logical need. Some economists seem ready and willing to supply whatever is demanded. And there is an endless political demand for those able to fabricate problems for which higher taxes are, of course, the preferred solution. In Washington higher taxes are always the solution; only the problems change.
Mr. Reynolds, a senior fellow with the Cato Institute, is the author of "Income and Wealth" (Greenwood Press, 2006).
Thursday, December 14, 2006
There is a huge disconnect here and for the life of me I can not put my finger on it - other than to say " why not pick the first guy or gal that comes down the street?"
This guy is a complete nobody - he is a complete zero - and I don't want to here that he has a clean slate so he carries on political baggage to the office.
What is happening here is the press is falling over this guy like he the 'second coming'. He's just another liberal in the same mode as Bill Clinton only with a lot less experience but just as liberal if not more so.
(This is from Triditional Values Coalation News) and to the point!
Who is Barak Obama and What does he Believe - TVC
December 14, 2006 -- Senator Barak Obama (D-IL) has only been a U.S. Senator for two years but he is being promoted in the media as the Democrat's best hope for winning the White House in 2008.Sen. Obama recently traveled to New Hampshire, where he was warmly welcomed by Democrat supporters. In November, Obama gave a keynote speech on AIDS at Pastor Rick Warren's Saddleback Church in Southern California.
Sen. Obama speaks as a man of faith. He attends Trinity United Church of Christ (UCC) church in Chicago, which describes itself as a church that disavows Âthe pursuit of middleclassness, and pledges allegiance to all black leadership who espouse and embrace the Black Value System.
Trinity has a non-negotiable commitment to Africa; and is a congregation committed to the historical education of African people in diaspora; it is committed to liberation, restoration, and economic parity.At the UCC General Synod in 2005, the denomination adopted a resolution calling for equal marriage rights for all regardless of gender. This includes homosexuals and transgendered individuals.
Sen. Obama's church background is clearly liberal and pro-homosexual. His voting record shows him to be a typical secularist liberal. Human Events notes that Obama has a 100% rating from Americans for Democratic Action, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the National Organization for Women, the NAACP and the National Education Association.
He says he believes that marriage should be a union of one man and one woman, but voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2006.While an Illinois state senator, Obama voted present on a bill that would keep pornographic books and video stores 1,000 feet away from schools and churches.
In 1999, he voted against a requirement to make schools filter internet pornography from school computers. As a state senator he also voted present twice on a bill that would ban partial-birth abortion and was absent on a third vote. In 2001, he voted present on a parental notification bill and in 2002 he voted against a bill to protect babies that survived failed abortions.
"Senator Obama is a very charming person and he may likely become the Democrat's presidential candidate in 2008", said TVC Executive Director Andrea Lafferty. "But I hope that Christians will pay attention to his actions and his voting record not his words in deciding whether or not to support him in 2008".
"He has a voting record as far left as John Kerry or Ted Kennedy and his support of abortion and homosexuality make him an anti-life, anti-traditional marriage candidate".
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
little wonder the terrorists were very happy with the outcome of the November elections. They know it will much easier to defeat us with the Democrats in power.
The following article highlites some of the more prominent stars of the left in this country.
In thrall of freaks
Vasko Kohlmayer, A bloger who calls herself Urban Infidel, was at hand to mingle with some of the guests attending a party in honor Lynne Stewart.
As many people know, Ms. Stewart is a prominent civil rights lawyer who was convicted of helping her client Omar Rahman to communicate with his terrorist organization from prison while serving a sentence for spearheading the first World Trade Center attack. The party which was called ‘Ode to Joy and Struggle' was given to celebrate the resolution of Ms. Stewart's legal difficulties.
Describing the guest procession which included such notables as Ward Churchill, the bloger observes that‘at moments it seemed like a horror movie or freak show.' Incredibly, her description could not be more apt. If you think this assessment may be an exaggeration, you can see it all for yourself here. The whole spectacle was made even more bizarre as some of the guests chanted ‘F--k America' and ‘America is evil.'
One may be tempted to dismiss this event as a mere gathering of a group of malcontents. This, however, would be a mistake, because the ideas and objectives of these people - that America is bad and deserves to lose, for instance - are espoused by a major American political party. The democrats will not admit it openly - for obvious electoral reasons - but this is most certainly their aim, because the policies they advocate will inevitably produce this outcome. In this fashion they seek to translate into reality a whole array of positions championed by Lynne Stewart and her friends.
Incredible as it may seem, it is these strange-looking people that determine the ideological orientation and objectives of today's Democratic Party. To get them legislatively implemented, the Party deceptively puts up a more polished facade of Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, John Kerry, Dick Durbin, and Hillary Clinton. But make no mistake - these slick politicians for the most part share the worldview of Ms. Stewart and her comrades.
Lamentable as it is, the present Democrat Party is in the thrall of extremist freaks. It is enough to go on a couple of the most popular liberal websites such as Daily Kos or Democratic Underground to see that this is in fact so.
It is very worrisome that most Americans still do not realize this.
One group that clearly gets it are the terrorists who began celebrating the moment they learned of the outcome of the latest elections. They even used the term ‘brotherly' when referring to members of the Democratic Party. Do you wonder why? It is because they know all too well that the democrats will seek to implement the objectives of Ms. Stewart's guests. And the good of America is most certainly not among them.
Maybe we need some more effort on the part of the Iranian students and other freedom fighters to get this done before a nuke shows up on the seen. Maybe a coordinated attack from inside and outside the country might be the answer - we need something and soon.
AyatollahÂs health fails as Iran power struggle grows
by Michael Ledeen
Three days ago, Iran's dictator, Supreme Leader Ayatollah ali Khamenei, was rushed to the vast medical facility traditionally known as Vanak hospital (it now has an Arabic name that means the 12th Imam Hospital), a 1,200-room facility that saves half of its beds for the leadership.
Khamenei is known to be suffering from cancer, and taking considerable quantities of an opium-based pain killer. He has lost more than 17 pounds in the past ten months, and was told last spring that he was unlikely to see another New Year (In the Iranian calendar, the New Year begins at the end of March).
Khamenei first complained of chills, and then broke out in a cold sweat. He lay down to rest, and began to lose feeling in his feet, at which point his aides got him to the hospital.
Amidst maximum security, and under orders that the event be kept secret at all costs, the theocrat was placed in one of the luxurious suites reserved for the country's most important figures. Khamenei's blood pressure and pulse were alarmingly low, and his physicians at first feared some sort of hemorrhage. But they could find no trace of internal bleeding, and concluded that he had had some sort of cardiac crisis.
Khamenei is still undergoing tests and receiving maximum attention. It is clearly a serious problem because he wanted to leave the hospital, only to be talked out of it by the doctors. The precise gravity of his condition is not known, but the argument over the wisdom of moving him to his own home suggests it may be quite serious.
My sources for this information are a very knowledgeable Iranian cleric plus another Iranian who has previously provided strikingly accurate stories from the highest levels of the regime in Tehran, suggesting that a major crisis may be underway in Iran.
The Power Struggle
The Supreme Leader has good reason to keep his condition secret, and to seek to demonstrate he retains his ability to rule the country. Khamenei knows that his regime is riven by intense conflict, some of which has been dramatically exposed in recent weeks in the run-up to the election of a new Assembly of Experts (the clerical body whose main responsibility is the selection of the Supreme Leader).
News of Khamenei's heart problems, especially if they turn out to be life-threatening, would undoubtedly catalyze the battle at the highest levels of the regime to control the choice of his successor. Recent events document both the intensity and the violence of the power struggle.
On November 27th, a military aircraft, an Antonov 74, headed for a military site near Tabriz crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran. Nearly forty deaths were reported, including several top leaders of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, the country's elite military organization. The dead included some of Khamenei's closest allies and advisers, and their loss was a serious blow for him.
Most Iranians who are in any case reluctant to believe in accidents when the mighty are killed are convinced the plane was sabotaged, especially as this is the latest in a sequence of spectacular airplane disasters, producing high-level military casualties.
About a week earlier, a military helicopter came down, killing all six people on board. Last January, Ahmad Kazemi, the Revolutionary Guards ground commander, and seven other senior officers, were killed in the crash of a French-made Falcon, a small executive jet, near the Turkish border. Barely a month before, yet another military aircraft, a C-130, came down near Tehran airport, hit a ten-story building, and killed 115 people (mostly journalists).
A week ago, the Majlis (the national assembly) passed a law effectively reducing the presidential term of Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nezhad by a full year. This was universally seen as an attack in favor of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, Ahmadi-Nezhad's most visible political rival, and a candidate to succeed Khamenei.
Meanwhile, as reported in Iran Press News, the ongoing public challenge to the regime itself continues unabated.
On Wednesday, thousands of students demonstrated on the campus of Tehran University, chanting "death to despotism," and "death to the dictator". And in Mazandaran Province, up by the Caspian Sea, thousands of angry workers protested in front of Ahmadi-Nezhad himself, announcing they were starving and demanding the government honor its promise to improve the lot of the poor.
As yet, news of the Supreme Leader's medical problems has remained a secret, known only to a handful of trusted aides and colleagues. But it is only a matter of time before Khamenei's condition becomes public knowledge. With unknown ramifications to the stability of Iran and the region at large.
Monday, December 11, 2006
"Most humans thrive on certainty and abhor risk and uncertainty - they turn away when confronted by change no matter if the reward for their unwillingness to change is oppression and loss of basic freedom."
I wonder if this is what so many Americans today are willing to do just for short term security?
Is the vote this November a sign that so many Americans do not understand what is happening in the real world? I fear the worst -
Friday, December 08, 2006
This article is from Newsmax and written by Dick Morris - a good analysis of what we will be getting as compared to Bubba, her husband, when he was in office.
Hillary Can Win but Must Not
Now that Hillary has dropped the coy pretense of indecision that she used to justify her re-election to a Senate seat she no longer wants and has told friends that she plans to run for president, two questions present themselves: Can she win? and, What kind of a president would she be? Story continues below...
She definitely can win . . . and probably will.
She is uniquely able to expand the electorate to bring in millions of women, mostly single, who will vote overwhelmingly for a female Democrat.
Women Will Rise . . . to Support Gender
The feminization of poverty, long decried by the left, will finally lead unmarried women to show up at the polling place and vote their short-term economic interest and vindicate their gender bias.
In 2000, only 19 million single women voted. By 2004, their turnout rose to 27 million. With Hillary in the race, the single-female vote will probably go up to its proper ratio of the adult population — 33 million votes. Can white men outvote single women? Despite the intensity with which white men tend to oppose Hillary, they can't vote twice. The enthusiasm that will grip many Americans — women in particular — at the cultural implications of a woman president will probably sweep through the primaries and cause many to overlook Hillary's flaws and dismiss her defects.
The idea of a woman candidate will prove so attractive that millions of voters will overcome their objections to the specific person who is running. Her mastery of the establishment of the Democratic Party, her vast lead among ex-officio delegates — many of whom have received campaign contributions from her coffers — and the celebrity draw of her ex-president husband will prove hard for a mere mortal to overcome.
But should she win? No way!
Distinct Differences Between Clintons
Those who know both Hillary and Bill well and are willing to speak frankly in public realize the fundamental differences between the two and grasp how his abilities are the counterpoints to her defects. He is intensely creative, constantly turning issues over in his mind seeking new solutions.
She rarely has a new idea but specializes in advocacy — the rote recitation of talking points. He has an instinctual feel for people and an uncanny ability to read a room and know what everyone in it is thinking. She is obtuse in her understanding of people and ham-handed in her approach.
He cares deeply about being loved. She seeks popularity as a means to the goal of getting elected but otherwise marches to the beat of her inner, liberal drummer. He distrusts ideology, and his innate perfectionism finds all belief systems flawed.
She swallows the ideological line of the guru du jour hook, line, and sinker. During the health-care years, it was Ira Magaziner that pushed her buttons.
When she decided to back the Iraq war, it was the generals who paraded before her committee. She is vulnerable to a cultish adoration of the guys with all the answers. He lets the give and take of politics wash off his back. A critic is a potential convert whom he hopes to charm over to his side. She has a rigidly dichotomized view of friends and enemies, demanding total loyalty and public silence from the former and maintaining a ruthless determination to destroy the latter.
She is a Democratic Nixon to those whom she perceives as her enemies. He is a moderate by instinct, seeking incremental change. She devotedly and deeply believes in a European-style socialism in which government takes much more of our national income and offers a far wider array of services and benefits. He'll raise taxes when he has to.
She'll increase them just to redistribute income. He's most like Eisenhower, Kennedy and Bush Sr. — feeling his way, acting with caution, and skeptical of all advice. She is more like LBJ, Nixon or Bush Jr. — determined to charge ahead and do what she thinks needs to be done, torpedoes be damned. And finally, he knows who he is and, except for his private shortcomings, is not ashamed to let it show.
She constantly seeks to reinvent herself and rigidly maintains an almost totally inaccurate image in public of what she is really like in private. He has little discipline. Hers is iron. His caution is innate. Hers is a learned response to what happens when people see who she really is.
He made a very good domestic-policy president.
She would be a disaster at home and abroad.
(This snipet is from Powerline)
An interesting report in today's Jerusalem Post:
Hamas officials have managed to smuggle more than $66 million in cash through the Rafah border crossing in the past eight months, a member of the Hamas-led government revealed Wednesday.
Meanwhile, sources close to the Hamas-led government claimed that Hamas representatives recently held talks with officials from the US Democratic Party at a secret location.
The sources told the Bethlehem-based Maan News Agency that Hamas representatives have also been holding secret talks with European government officials, including Britain and France.
There is no way to know for sure whether this report is true, but I don't think it would be surprising if Democrats, anticipating their new Congressional majorities next month, are already talking to our country's enemies with a view toward crafting their own foreign policy.
It's interesting to speculate about what "Democratic Party officials" recently held secret talks with what "Hamas representatives."
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
If it means the Western economies have to collapse because some bark-eaters demand it as we as Americans have too much of everything anyway, and it isn't fair to the third world becasue, instead of working to build an ecomomy that works, they are killing each off - so be it - they don't care, their agenda has be met.
Global warming Theory Questions
I consider myself, (as one with a modest scientific background), as one with a great curiosity about the "Global Warming " debate. As such I am inclined to read in full most of what becomes available including the text of Mr. Lawson's paper .
I found his perspective refreshing and honest. The purpose of my writing here is not to criticize the Lawson paper but to ask of the climate intelligentsia why 2 certain elements of every discussion are stunningly absent or mentioned in passing from every document I have read on the subject.
To me if these two issues are not answered thoroughly then nothing in the debate is even worth discussing.
One: How can it be that the planet has been warming on average since the last ice age some 20,000 years ago and that is nearly a post script in the discussion.
The experts speak of ocean level changes of 1/2 inch being critical over the next 100 years when in fact the sea level has changed by hundreds of feet in 20,000 years of on average constant warming with intermittent cooling. Nearly all of that warming taking place while human kind as a species held on by a shoestring to existence on the planet.
Only in the last 200 years has significant progress been made in the real quality of life and then most of that taking place in the last 50 years. Human kind had nothing to do with 99% of the time frame in that geologic snap shot and that is all but ignored.
Two: There is NO definitive study that correlates atmospheric carbon dioxide to climate change over millennia much less anthropogenic CO2. The fact that atmospheric CO2 has increased in the last 100 years and simultaneously the planet has warmed does not correlate the two issues.
My hair has grayed in that time period so I suppose I could conclude that anthropogenic CO2 increases caused that as well and thereby begin litigation against GM for my gray hair. Ohhh wait someone in California has as much as done such a stupid thing already to bring litigation against all of the US auto makers.Someone needs to apply real science principles to scientific exploration.
The scientific community needs to examine my queries (I cannot be the only one with such questions) and with peer review call me a nut. I anxiously await being proved wrong with good science.
As usual, the media will not print this as it doesn't fit their agenda of hate for this country - why exactly is that? America is the last great hope for freedom in the world - when it's gone there will be no where to go, even for the media elites.
How can these people live here and hate this country that gives them everything?
Please explain this to me!
Do you know? I didn't know! How could we?
Did you know that 47 countries' have reestablished their embassies in Iraq?
Did you know that the Iraqi government currently employs 1.2 million Iraqi people?
Did you know that 3100 schools have been renovated, 364 schools are under rehabilitation, 263 new schools are now under construction and 38 new schools have been completed in Iraq?
Did you know that Iraq's higher educational structure consists of 20 Universities, 46 Institutes or colleges and 4 research centers, all currently operating?
Did you know that 25 Iraq students departed for the United States in January 2005 for the re-established Fulbright program?
Did you know that the Iraqi Navy is operational? They have 5 - 100-foot patrol craft, 34 smaller vessels and a naval infantry regiment.
Did you know that Iraq's Air Force consists of three operational squadrons, which includes 9 reconnaissance and 3 US C-130 transport aircraft (under Iraqi operational control) which operate day and night, and will soon add 16 UH-1 helicopters and 4 Bell Jet Rangers?
Did you know that Iraq has a counter-terrorist unit and a Commando Battalion? Did you know that the Iraqi Police Service has over 55,000 fully trained and equipped police officers?
Did you know that there are 5 Police Academies in Iraq that produce over 3500 new officers each 8 weeks? Did you know there are more than 1100 building projects going on in Iraq? They include 364 schools, 67 public clinics, 15 hospitals, 83 railroad stations, 22 oil facilities, 93 water facilities and 69 electrical facilities.
Did you know that 96% of Iraqi children under the age of 5 have received the first 2 series of polio vaccinations?
Did you know that 4.3 million Iraqi children were enrolled in primary school by mid October?
Did you know that there are 1,192,000 cell phone subscribers in Iraq and phone use has gone up 158%?
Did you know that Iraq has an independent media that consists of 75 radio stations, 180 newspapers and 10 television stations?
Did you know that the Baghdad Stock Exchange opened in June of 2004? Did you know that 2 candidates in the Iraqi presidential election had a televised debate recently?
OF COURSE WE DIDN'T KNOW! WHY DIDN'T WE KNOW?OUR MEDIA WOULDN'T TELL US!
Instead of reflecting our love for our country, we get photos of flag burning incidents at Abu Ghraib and people throwing snowballs at the presidential motorcades.
Tragically, the lack of accentuating the positive in Iraq serves two purposes: It is intended to undermine the world's perception of the United States thus minimizing consequent support, and it is intended to discourage American citizens. ----
Above facts are verifiable on the Department of Defense web site.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Given that this is the season for extravagance and excess, the two factors can be found in every facet of most of our lives.
The two factors are - COMFORT and SIZE - think about it for a few minutes and I believe you will agree this covers life as we know it.
Monday, December 04, 2006
The Democrats don't like this program as it is showing to be a success, and what's worse, it was a Bush program - Yikes! The liberals want a larger government hand in this as they think the average senior is too stupid to be able to figure out what is the best plan for them selves.
Another problem is the liberals want to pharmaceutical companies to sell the drugs for nothing - the Democrats think the companies are ripping off the public just like Walmart and any other company that is a success. Liberals hate success - it makes them look bad. Capitalism and the free markets don't work. Their usefulness is at an end - more government,socialism, will solve all problems.
What the real plan of the Democrats is to have more control of our lives. Bigger government for everyone and everything.
Medicare Part D (excerpt)
Sunday's Washington Post had an excellent front-page story on Medicare Part D, the new Medicare prescription drug benefit. Part D, which took effect at the beginning of this year, seems to have been a success. Some 22.5 million seniors have enrolled, and the costÂ$26 billionÂhas turned out to be lower than projected. And "Medicare has received new bids indicating that its average per-person subsidy could drop by 15 percent in 2007, to $79.90 a month." Polls indicate that about 80 percent of enrollees are satisfied with the program.
Democrats have been proposing, as one of their first acts in the majority, to repeal the provision that prevents
Medicare from negotiating directly with drug companies on prescription prices. They want direct negotiations, as in the Veterans Affairs program. VA drug prices are in fact lower, but the VA formularies include many fewer drugs and thus less choice for doctors and patients.
The problem is that repealing the prohibition on direct negotiations can't force the Bush administration into direct negotiations. Under Part D, seniors can choose from insurance policies offering a variety of options; the insurers negotiate with the pharmaceutical companies or with prescription benefit managers who operate as middlemen.
It was an article of faith with Democratic politicians and political consultants that seniors would be dissatisfied with Part D. They would find the array of choices too complicated and hard to figure out. They would be angry at the "doughnut hole"Âthe fact that out-of-pocket drug costs from $2,250 to $3,600 are not covered. But it turns out that seniors, even if not as Internet-savvy as the rest of the population, were able to deal with the array of choices and were able to find plans they liked. There are even insurance policies available that cover the doughnut hole.
Choice and competition turn out to work better, and more inexpensively, than centralized command and control. Don't take my word for it; the Post quotes a leading Democratic policy analyst:
Urban Institute President Robert D. Reischauer, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office, called that a remarkable record for a new federal program.
Initially, he said, people were worried no private plans would participate.
"Then too many plans came forward," Reischauer said. "Then people said it's going to cost a fortune. And the price came in lower than anybody thought. Then people like me said they're low-balling the prices the first year and they'll jack up the rates down the line. And, lo and behold, the prices fell again. And the reaction was, 'We've got to have the government negotiate lower prices.' At some point you have to ask: What are we looking for here?" - - - -
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Democrats want to open up Cuba so we can appreciate all of the great advances that Castro has made in the last 47 years. Jimmy Carter lied about the first election of Chavez when he was asked to monitor the election. He knew the election was rigged but he proclaimed it honest. Jimmy loves communists and dictators. He also had a hand in the recount. Now he is at it again. God help us.
I think I have mentioned this on other occasions, like all the time - but if Jimmy and the other leftists liberal shout their ideology from the roof tops, far be it from me to hide their words under a bushel. They are who they are - why pretend we don't know?
Will Venezuela boot Chavez today?
A.M. Mora y Leon
Venezuelans go to the polls today, to choose whether to give Hugo Chavez a third term, or elect his challenger, the democratic non-communist Zulia state governor, Manuel Rosales. No one knows how this will turn out.
All indicators that might signal the outcome are contradictory. Opinion polls vary widely, with Chavista polls showing Chavez with a 30-point lead, and opposition polls showing Rosales about 5% to 10% ahead, in growing momentum. In addition, huge demonstrations of Rosales supporters through Caracas show the commitment of the Chavez opposition, something the Chavistas, with vastly more resources, have been unable to match in numbers.
But even that is hard to draw a judgment on. One of the most curious events embodying this contradiction was the strong stock market rally in Caracas Friday. Market sources told Bloomberg the rally happened because investors believed Chavez was winning. My sources in Caracas said it was because investors believed Rosales was winning.
All of these things show that no one knows what will happen on Sunday. Some projections of what might happen, based on varying factors, can be read at Publius, at Venezuela Today and at the BBO investment bank weekly report. But no one knows for sure.
The only thing left to do is just watch, particularly because Jimmy Carter's Carter Center is down there in Caracas to flatter the dictator. That raises the imperative to watch hard for signs of fraud, because the Carterites won't catch them.
That's what Venezuela's bloggers are doing, and three of them are in the forefront of the news, reporting minute by minute the many developments that will shape events of this election. Be sure to watch the live blogging of Miguel Octavio at Devil's Excrement, Daniel Duquenal at Venezuela News & Views, and Aleksander Boyd at VCrisis for the latest developments as this election progresses. To delve even deeper, check out two blog aggregators. Venezuela Today, for a Drudge-Report-like presentation of many blogs, and an interesting new blog aggregator called To2Blog Venezuela, which is working like an RSS feed of all blogs covering Venezuela.
So much is at stake in this Venezuelan election - not just for the fate of the Americas region in general, but for the U.S., too, given the kind of mischief Chavez may direct at the U.S. if he wins, fairly or not. His alliance with Iran and its nuclear programs, as well as his weapons purchases from Putin's Russia, all point to potential trouble ahead for the U.S. on a Chavez victory. If he is ousted, none of those will be a problem, and we can instead fully focus on winning free trade pacts for the region instead of worrying about what Ahmadinejad is setting up in our own hemisphere.
Posted at 06:00 AM Email Permalink
Saturday, December 02, 2006
from Tennessee, decided to meet here in Wisconsin and
train their Golden Retrievers to retrieve birds to hand. The lady from Tennessee said she had a couple of pigeons that she will bring for the dogs to retrieve.
This next part sounds a little cruel but as things go in this sport of field training, this particular story doesn't have a bad ending, well almost.
When training field dogs, it is a must to have live birds and ones that will actively participate by flapping their wings as they are thrown in the air. But to keep the birds over a period of time for training, it is necessary to pull out their flight feather and then tie their legs together so they when they are thrown in the air, wildly flapping their wings, not actually flying, they won't fly away and they can't run when the hit the ground.
The whole idea is to train puppies before they get any bad habits like eating the birds or crushing them. Puppies usually have no idea that this is or could be a meal for them. Their instincts tell them that when they see this bird flying through the air they want to go and get. The trick then is to train them to bring it back to the handler without destroying it, that is killing it in this case. In an actual hunting situation, the bird is already dead, you then want the dog to bring it back without stopping to eat it or crushing it with their jaws.
So, now, after many weeks of training and many hand thrown flights of these birds, and dogs retrieving them, only one survived out of two that made the trip. One got crunched by an adult dog that the handler said he had a soft mouth. Right!
Anyway, when the training was done and the bird was left to grow his flight feather back, we thought it would be a nice reward for him, having survived the riggers training, to be released so he could go his own way.
When the time came to open the cage and release him for the last time so he could fly away forever, he flew around the farm for a few minutes then came back and landed on the roof of the house. He has been here ever since.
Is he stupid or just doesn't care to travel to the next farm where there are other pigeons is anybodies guess. He is welcome to stay as long as he wants even though he poops on our deck every morning. We think maybe he is here for a reason. Maybe not to. Life is strange
If they lose a large market share, so what. If they can get rid of most of the union members or the union all together, all the better. They will be a in better shape than most of the other US auto makers in this country.
What is happening to Ford is a natural thing. It's the free market at work. I would hate to see Ford go down the tubes as I like Ford cars and trucks, but if the market is not there for Ford, than it's good bye.
It will be the free market at it's best.
Ford on Collision Course With Bankruptcy?
Ford Motor Company yesterday announced plans to procure $18 billion to finance its "Way Forward" turnaround plan, and details of the financing deal reveal that Ford is putting up nearly all of its domestic assets as collateral. Ford is risking its U plants, office buildings, patents, trademarks, and stakes in its credit division, Ford Credit, and Volvo.
That’s the first time in the company’s 103-year history that it was forced to mortgage parts of its business to obtain financing. Ford said in a statement that it needed the funding "to address near- and medium-term negative operating-related cash flow, to fund its restructuring, and to provide added liquidity to protect against a recession or other unanticipated events." The company arranged the financing with investment banks J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs.
Under the terms, Ford is replacing an existing $6.3 billion unsecured line of credit with a new $8 billion secured, five-year revolving line of credit, and it’s taking out an additional secured loan for $7 billion. There’s also another $3 billion unsecured loan.
Secured debt means that the issuers can seize assets if Ford defaults. That puts Ford bondholders and stockholders, which are unsecured, at a considerable disadvantage should the company file for bankruptcy. That's because in the food chain of bankruptcy, the secured loans get paid first; the unsecured bondholders rank second; and the stockholders, third.
For example, Fitch Ratings tells The Chicago Tribune that unsecured bondholders can expect to recover just 34 percent of their investment if Ford defaults, compared to 68 percent before the new financing deal was made. Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s both lowered Ford’s unsecured debt ratings on Monday. "If management fails to make the ailing company profitable, Ford may be left with little choice but to find a buyer or merger partner or file for bankruptcy protection," explains The New York Times.
The good news is that experts say Ford’s new cash flow could buy it at least two years before being forced into bankruptcy, according to reports. "Ford has bought itself some additional time and money," Shelley Lombard of the bond-analysis firm Gimme Credit tells the Tribune, "but it still has to execute." "Completing this financing would considerably strengthen Ford's ability to fund the large cash requirements it will face through 2008," noted Moody's Investors Service.
And while Ford "still faces daunting competitive and market challenges, this plan would give it some breathing room over the next two years," said Moody’s. But Ford lost about $7 billion in the first nine months of this year. At this pace, the company will have less than two years to stage its turnaround. In addition, the company says it doesn’t expect to turn a profit until 2009 at the earliest, reports the Times. Ford should use this opportunity to get its turnaround plan in gear.
How foolish to think that America has the right to self determination.
Powell: U.S. Should Talk to Iran, Not Attack
Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell does not believe the United States will attack Iran and says Washington should speak to Tehran and Syria.
Powell, who said Iraq was in a civil war on Wednesday, was speaking to the Leaders in London Business Forum on Thursday.
Answering a question from Reuters, Powell said: "Iran is a regional power and it will have to be dealt with. We should find ways to speak to them and also speak to the Syrians."
Both Iran and Syria have been accused by the U.S. government of sponsoring terrorism and fomenting violence in Iraq. Iran has also been accused of trying to build nuclear weapons. Both countries deny the accusations.
"I hope that over time Iran will play a responsible part in the region," he said. "As you know Iran is doing very well now, they have no particular pressure on their nuclear program."
He said he could not speak for the administration of President Bush but he could not see any circumstances which would cause a military conflict between the United States and Iran.
"We all agree that it's not a good thing for Iran to develop their nuclear program if it could develop nuclear weapons, but the United States is not going to attack Iran," he said.
Powell said the Bush administration would have to work with the United Nations and Russia to keep Iran from evolving its nuclear program beyond power generation.
The Iraq Study Group, a commission of five U.S. Democrats and Republicans, is set to release a report on December 6 which is expected to call for regional talks as the way forward in Iraq, including involvement by Syria and Iran.
(c) 2006 Reuters. All rights reserved.
I mentioned yesterday Colin Powell's speech to the Arabs about how we need to talk instead of fight to protect ourselves from annihilation. Look to the next article for the transcript. The contrast is unreal.
Netanyahu: Iran Preparing Another Holocaust
Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu says Iran's nuclear goals, and the fanaticism of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, pose a threat not only to Israel, but to the entire Western world.
The former prime minister compared the growing threat of Iran to the rise of Nazism before World War II, and he wonders why no one seems to be taking the threat seriously.
"It's 1938, and Iran is Germany, Netanyahu said, "and Iran is racing to arm itself with atomic bombs. Haaretz newspaper reports that Netanyahu repeated that line as a chorus during an address Monday to the United Jewish Communities General Assembly.
Netanyahu's address came in response to repeated threats by Ahmadinejad to "eliminate the Zionist regime and "remove Israel from the face of the earth.
Netanyahu says the threat cannot be taken lightly and that Ahmadinejad is "preparing another Holocaust for the Jewish state through the force of nuclear weapons.
"Believe him and stop him, Netanyahu said of Ahmadinejad. "This is what we must do. Everything else pales before this.
Iran's nuclear goal, says Netanyahu, "goes way beyond the destruction of Israel it is direct to achieve world-wide range. It's a global program in the service of a mad ideology.
Israel should be joined by the United States in assuring that Iran does not gain the capability to create nuclear weapons, and he supports the Bush administration's goal to isolate the Iranian threat.
" . . . Israel would certainly be the first stop on Iran's tour of destruction, but at the planned production rate of 25 nuclear bombs a year . . . [the arsenal] will be directed against the big Satan, the U.S., and the moderate Satan, Europe, Netanyahu said.
Iran can be stopped, Netanyahu added, but good nations must take action against evil ones to ensure that Jews in Israel and the West will not be subject to another Holocaust.
"No one will defend the Jews if the Jews do not defend themselves, he said. "Iran's nuclear ambitions have to be stopped.
Friday, December 01, 2006
The UN and the Credibility of Tom Lantos
Eye on the UN
On Tuesday, November 21, 2006 the New York Times called the "reformed" UN Human Rights Council "a discredit to the United Nations" and commented "...the Human Rights Council [was] born earlier this year of a weak-kneed compromise from which the United States stood honorably apart.
"By contrast, on April 6, 2006 Congressman Tom Lantos, soon to become the chairman of the House International Relations Committee, "expressed outrage at the Bush Administration decision...not [to] seek a seat on the United Nations' new Human Rights Council" because, he claimed, "the new Human Rights Council...is a clear improvement over the existing commission...".
Now Congressman Lantos is faced with the following incontrovertible record - predicted with precision by Ambassador John Bolton. Thirty percent of all the UN Human Rights Commission resolutions adopted over a forty-year period and critical of a specific states' human rights record were directed at Israel alone.
In comparison, in five sessions since it first met in June of this year, the Council has directed one hundred percent of its human rights resolutions condemning a specific state towards Israel.Will Chairman Lantos continue to blame America for UN-driven anti-Zionism and anti-semitism and refuse to recognize hate when it stares him in the face? Or will he encourage the necessary steps to distance the United States from the UN's lead human rights agency now so obviously foreign to everything we (and Congressman Lantos) hold dear?