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Paparock 07-18-2009 07:23 PM

The Obama Nation Or Abomination (Liar, Liar)
Note: The following are presented from a conservative point of view and are not intended as an end all or endorsements by this forum but make people think. If you have a different view and want to present it then do so in a respectful manner but do not just attack the authors or conservatives in total as that is not an honest discussion.

The Nuts and Bolts of Cap and Trade
Only this Congress can craft legislation that destroys jobs and robs us of liberty while benefiting selected Big Businesses.

The purpose of cap and trade (C&T) legislation is to reduce Americans’ consumption of fossil fuels—coal, oil, and natural gas—and to speed up the transition to alternate forms of energy, such as wind and solar power. The “cap” part would be a legislated limit to the quantity of carbon dioxide that Americans would be permitted to put into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels. The government would then issue permits that it would sell or give (details are being worked out) to businesses who could then either emit CO2 up to the amount stipulated in their permit, or, if they can curb CO2 emissions below that amount, could sell or “trade” the permit to the highest bidder in the after-market.

The stated overarching goal of proposed C&T is to save the planet from human-caused climate change, which C&T proponents attribute to human emissions of greenhouse gases, primarily CO2 from fossil fuels. These proponents truly believe (despite considerable scientific disagreement) that such measures are necessary to save the earth. Others have a political agenda: If government can regulate energy consumption, then government has great control over economic activity and people’s lives—an irresistible lure to central planners, social engineers, utopian visionaries, and megalomaniacs.

Still others have economic incentives: companies that generate electricity from non-CO2 sources, such as nuclear and hydropower, would gain a windfall cost advantage against their competition; alternative energy businesses would stand to receive billions of dollars in additional subsidies; and Al Gore, who met behind closed doors with congressional leaders to plan the C&T strategy earlier this year, has reportedly invested millions of dollars in alternate energy companies and stands to profit enormously from C&T-generated government subsidies.

Opponents of C&T are more concerned about its massive costs—both economic and political. In January 2008, candidate Barack Obama stated plainly that under his C&T plan, electricity prices would “necessarily skyrocket” as utilities using fossil fuels would pass along the costs of CO2 permits to consumers. Significantly raising the cost of power would not only hammer Americans’ utility bills, but would make it more expensive for businesses to power their operations. This would shut down marginal businesses and leave the survivors less competitive against foreign businesses—especially since China and India, for example, have announced they won’t curtail CO2 emissions at all.

Indeed, from an economic standpoint, the C&T bill should be titled the “Raise the Cost of Living and Ship Jobs Overseas Act of 2009.”

Even though studies cited by advocates of C&T show that American CO2 reductions would shave only a few hundredths of a degree off future temperatures, they still believe that this is worth the considerable costs. Thus, when the House of Representatives approved cap and trade legislation at the end of June, a majority rejected proposed amendments that would have limited the program’s economic damage by suspending C&T if gasoline rose to $5.00 per gallon or unemployment reached 15 percent.

Most Americans aren’t concerned about global warming and certainly don’t want to get poorer (especially now, at a time of acute economic distress), so one might think that C&T legislation would be doomed. But this is where things get really interesting:

Originally, government was going to sell the CO2 permits, raising hundreds of billions in revenue. Now, though, congressional leaders are reshaping the program to give permits to various utility companies in exchange for their endorsement of the plan (and perhaps their lobbying dollars). So much C&T money is now slated to be given to Big Business that members of Team Obama admit that this program could become the largest corporate-welfare program ever.

So, will C&T pass in the Senate so that an eager President Obama can sign it into law? Probably not, if the bill is openly and deliberately debated. However, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may duplicate what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did to get a C&T bill through the House—rush it through before members could read it, and bestow billions in favors to “persuade” undecided members to support it. Despite the overall negative impact of such a bill, the special interests—both environmentalists and corporations—may still prevail.

The Obama/Pelosi/Reid axis will not initially get as much revenue or as deep cuts in fossil-fuel consumption as they would like, but if they can establish the principle that the government should decide how much energy Americans can consume, they will celebrate.

We the people, though, should reckon the cost to our liberty.

If this principle becomes law, we may face a day when a federal bureaucrat will grant permission to Al Gore to jet around to preach the evils of CO2 emissions while denying Joe Sixpack the right to fly cross-country to see his girlfriend once a month. Might we emulate the Brits, who currently are devising a “para-police” force to monitor energy consumption?

There is much at stake in the C&T debate. This is one of the major issues of our time. Become informed.

Dr. Mark W. Hendrickson is a faculty member, economist, and contributing scholar with the Center for Vision and Values at Grove City College.

Paparock 07-18-2009 07:27 PM

Lies, Damn Lies, and Health Care
The coming backlash as Americans learn the price tag of ObamaCare and the way politicians inflate the number of Americans "uninsured."

If priorities are to be believed, the priority the Obama administration has placed at the top could become a flop. Political pollster Daniel Yankelovich says that Americans are slowly leaving the “wishful stage” of the health care debate, when polling data showed broad support for a larger government role in medicine. Yankelovich predicts “in the next few weeks, when voters discover what national health care will cost and how it could affect their own care, romance will give way to reality.” Studies already show the legislation's eroding popularity, as citizens find out the problems inherent in socialized medicine, the tax increases necessary to finance it, and the deception politicians use to inflate the number of uninsured Americans.

A few months ago, Americans believed the nation’s health care system was in need of a major fix, according to a CBS poll. Nine out of ten said fundamental changes were called for, although most said they were satisfied with their own health care. Some 34 percent said that health care for the uninsured still was important.

But the polls were taken well before the public education campaign had begun, and Congress was stunned and flummoxed by estimates of the cost of health care legislation being drafted in the Senate. The impartial Congressional Budget Office calculated the legislation could cost $1 trillion or $1.6 trillion, depending on its legislative components.

Little comfort was given to the public when they realized that just taxing the top tax bracket, the despised “rich,” would not provide enough money to pay for universal health care—that the tax collector would undoubted have to delve down to the middle-class taxpayer to finance a giant health plan. Kaiser Health News has reported dollars would have to be extracted from the “top-earning 40 percent of the population,” to pay for universal health care. When people learn ObamaCare means a massive tax increase for nearly half of all Americans, a revolt could ensue.

Still another major concern began to dampen public enthusiasm for nationalized medicine. It was in the proposed powers of a national health czar, known as the Health Choices commissioner, reported Kaiser Health News. The commissioner and the health choices agency would oversee a health insurance exchange, according to a draft bill in the House. The Health Choices Administrator would be the bureaucrat who would deliver Obama’s extravagant promise of affordable health for all. A health insurance exchange would be created, a national purchasing pool from which individuals and small businesses would pick from private plans or a government-run alternative.

The Commissioner’s authority would be all-encompassing. He would determine who would qualify for federal subsidies to aid in buying coverage, set standards for handling grievances for claims denied, govern insurance marketing campaigns, and set other standards normally controlled by the states.

Many citizens are seeing ads on their TV sets telling of the horrors of socialized medicine in Europe, Britain and Canada, where interminable waits for treatments are customary, and rationing of medical care is commonplace, especially for the aging. The largest threat for the aging is whether The Obama Administration’s National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, already encompassed in the Stimulus law, limits care for seniors only to what is “cost effective.” This is done in countries where health care is rationed to exclude treatment for many seniors, because they are judged to be near life’s end; why “waste” the expense?

Finally, no clear picture is given of even how many Americans are uninsured. Figures such as 46 million, 47 million, even 50 million are tossed about by politicians. The U.S. Census Bureau has tucked away in scores of pages of tables intriguing figures on the number of types and characteristics of people who do not have health insurance. The total latest figure, based on information gathered in 2008 is 45,657,000 uninsured. But this is deceiving. That figure represents the total of Americans who were without health insurance at any time during the year—even for a few weeks.

The figure also includes 9,737,000 who were not U.S. citizens.

The Congressional Budget office said in a 2003 study, “The uninsured group is constantly changing.” It analyzed data from “several federally sponsored national surveys.” Its findings: only between 21 and 31 percent were uninsured for the whole year. Between 56 and 59 percent were uninsured at any time during the year. Of those, ten percent said they didn’t need inurance. Seventy-one percent said it cost too much, but half of these bought it anyway in four months or less.

Demographics also come into play. Americans age 18-to-24 years old who were uninsured at least some part of the year totaled 7,991,000. Many of them, of course, were healthy and had uses for their money other than health insurance. Those age 25-to-34 numbered 10,329,000. Some 7,717,000 Americans age 35-to-44 were uninsured for some period during the year. Uninsured people 45 to 64 totaled 10,754,000. And those 65 and older numbered only 686,000. They may well have not yet signed up for Medicare or didn’t want it.

The total number of citizens who were covered by private insurance in 2007 was 202,991,000, according to the Census Bureau figures.

Millions more were enrolled in government programs. The total number insured by the government was put at 83,031,000. According to the government, 43 million people were enrolled in Medicare in 2006, 36 million of whom were 65 or older. The balance was disabled. Fifty-three million people are enrolled in Medicaid, the program for low-income Americans. Others are covered by military or state health plans.

A number of middle-income people who probably could afford health insurance were uninsured for some portion of the year. Those in this category with household incomes of from $50,000 to $74,900 totaled 8,848,000. Americans with household incomes of $75,000 or more, numbered 9,115,000. They told Census surveyors they were uninsured at some point during the year, so the Census Bureau tables showed.

Uninsured Americans under 18 were said to total 8,149,000. But because the latest Census figures, gathered in 2008, were for 2007, they didn’t include the effects of a law President Obama signed this past February 4. It reauthorized and expanded SCHIP, which added 4 million children to government health care. Children in families with incomes up to three times the federal poverty level qualified for the program. Children at even higher income levels in New York and New Jersey were allowed to qualify for SCHIP benefits, which now include dental care and mental problems. Proven citizenship is not required. The law provided coverage for an added 4 million children by 2013. So, in fact, there are far fewer than 45.6 million uninsured Americans.

When these facts sink in, the American people may rise up against ObamaCare. It wouldn’t be the first time such plans backfired on Congress. In 1988, Congress passed a bill to protect the elderly against the cost of catastrophic illness. But the cost to seniors—who would have been charged a big surtax to pay for it—was comparable to a slap in the face. The elderly were boiling over. Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, D-IL, then chairman of the Ways and Means Committee who was most responsible for the bill, was vilified. At one point, a large group of seniors chased the lawmaker’s car down the street shouting and waving their canes at him. The bill was repealed some months later. (Rostenkowski later went to jail for mail fraud.) Now, with broad health care changes being drafted on the Hill, a repeat of the uprising in 1988 is not impossible.

When Obama signed the bill into law, he said, that “providing coverage to 11 million children through SCHIP is a down payment on my commitment to cover every single American.” That “commitment” may well end up as another Obama broken promise.

Paparock 07-20-2009 02:22 PM

Community Organizer-in-Chief
Community Organizer-in-Chief
Radical social advocacy has made a lifelong impact on Obama.

Voters in last November’s election never really got a clear sense of just what candidate Barack Obama did during his years as a “community organizer.” The phrase carries with it some vague suggestion of volunteers working selflessly to represent the downtrodden, the powerless in the community, as they seek to climb out from under the yoke of domineering and exploitative authority. Wikipedia gives us some sense of that notion:

Unlike other forms of more consensual “community building,” community organizers generally assume that social change necessarily involves conflict and social struggle in order to generate collective power for the powerless.

An Internet search for a definition of community organizing turned up someone named Mike Miller at something described as the Organize Training Center. Mr. Miller’s take on community organizing comes extraordinarily close to the principles that Barak Obama, former community organizer, is applying to his role as the nation’s new president. There is a remarkable carry-over from his earlier role to his present one:

Organizing does two central things to seek to rectify the problem of power imbalance—it builds a permanent base of people power so that dominant financial and institutional power can be challenged and held accountable to values of greater social, environmental and economic justice . . .

When viewed in this context, many of the Obama policies that defy logic begin to make perfect sense, even proposals and programs that on their face appear to be in perfect conflict with the common good—as well as common sense. Some of these would, of course, include: degrading our health care system down to Canadian and British standards; turning on the money spigot in the form of an ill-conceived “stimulus” that will neither create jobs nor improve the economy; follow the forever-futile policy of trying to spend our way out of a recession; nationalizing bankrupt car companies on behalf of union interests, thereby preserving failed business models to the tune of tens of billions of dollars; supporting the despicable “card check” legislation that will foster retribution and, inevitably, violence against workers who would be deprived of the secret ballot; raising taxes to astronomical levels—on individuals, corporations, small businesses—in the teeth of a severe recession, a course that risks turning a crisis into a catastrophe; and touring the globe while busily ingratiating himself with every two-bit despot, dictator, and enemy of democracy he can find by repeatedly apologizing for America’s past failings and transgressions.

I could go on but it would be pointless. Each of these policies, as well as others, is incompatible with even the barest degree of fiscal responsibility, job creation, personal liberty, and America’s stature on the international stage. They stand as a perfect contrary indicator to traditional American values like individual choice and freedom from an intrusive government that stands in the way as an obstacle to individual achievement and its rewards. One can only conclude that since each and every one of them are so wrong-headed and patently antithetical to the well-being of the nation, there must be another agenda at work having nothing to do with setting the country on the road to recovery.

Another policy I failed to mention perhaps can give us some insight into the true agenda at work here. Part of the president’s tax proposal provides euphemistically-dubbed “tax credits” to the roughly 60% of the populace that does not actually pay income taxes. This would create the perverse situation in which having no obligation to pay anything under the tax code becomes a profitable enterprise, leaving the non-payer with a net gain. The source of these credits, of course, is the 40% that enjoys no such immunity under the tax code. Now we know what candidate Obama meant when he told Joe the Plumber that as good Americans we should “share the wealth.” What he really meant was that government should act as an intermediary through which wealth is simply redistributed. Thus, a campaign comment that many interpreted to signify the candidate’s belief that all Americans should share in the opportunity to achieve prosperity really had a darker meaning: that government’s proper role is to expropriate by fiat the assets of one group of Americans and transfer them to a different group.

Go back for a moment and re-read the quotations on the function of the community organizer and it becomes evident that Mr. Obama is still acting in that role. He is working to build a “community” in which the influence of the “powerful” is diminished and that of the “powerless” is enhanced. “Solutions” like wealth redistribution and lowest-common-denominator health care serve to achieve that outcome. Hence the “dominant”—corporations, financial institutions, rich people—should be challenged and held accountable to values of greater social, environmental and economic justice. Scrutinized in that context, then, policies that don’t meet the standards of rationality when viewed through the prism of their purported purpose—such as economic measures designed to address economic problems—take on new meaning as vehicles aimed at “fixing” what Mr. Obama thinks is the real problem with the country—the problem of power imbalance.

Perhaps Americans will in time despair of their flirtation with social and economic collectivism. If they do, however, this administration’s legacy will not be simply that it pursued policies that the country eventually rejected. It will be remembered instead for its most egregious act—exploiting and exacerbating a genuine national crisis in the interests of pursuing a radical social and economic agenda.

Perhaps more than any of its 43 predecessors, the Obama administration provides a perfect illustration of Ronald Reagan’s observation that government is not the solution to the problem, it is the problem.

Paparock 07-21-2009 01:08 AM

Administration Delaying Release of Key Economic Report
Administration Delaying Release of Key Economic Report
By Michael A. Fletcher
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 20, 2009 5:04 PM

The Obama administration is delaying release of a congressionally mandated report on the nation's economic conditions, spawning speculation that it is trying to tamp down bad economic news to avoid further complicating the already fraught legislative debate over health care reform.

The report, which is normally published by late July, is being delayed by several weeks, the administration acknowledged on Monday. Officials said the hold-up is not unusual in presidential transition years, noting that Presidents George W. Bush and former President Bill Clinton each published their initial budget updates weeks late.

"Because of the unique circumstances of a transition year, we -- like President George W. Bush in 2001 -- are releasing the mid-session review a few weeks later than as is usual in non-transition years," Kenneth S. Baer, communications director for the Office of Management and Budget, said Monday.

Asked about the speculation that the delay is linked to the ongoing health care debate, Baer responded: "I don't deal in speculation. What I know is that in transition years past both the full budgets and Mid-Session Reviews have come out later than in non-transition years and this year will be no different."

The report, which takes the measure of economic growth, job creation and budget deficits, will update assumptions that undergirded the administration's budget for next year. And while many economists say the deep recession gripping the nation is slowly easing, the administration's update is nonetheless expected to be filled with dire economic news. Many private forecasters already are predicting that unemployment, which is now at 9.5 percent nationally, will peak in double figures sometime next year.

Caught off-guard by the severity of the economic situation it inherited, the administration has badly underestimated how much unemployment would rise even with its $787 billion economic stimulus plan in place. Those missed projections have led some critics to question the credibility of the administration's economic forecasts and given pause to legislators considering sweeping proposals such as health care reform and cap-and-trade legislation that Obama calls essential to future economic growth and stability.

"The last time the president made grand promises and demanded passage of a bill before it could be reviewed, we ended up with the colossal stimulus failure and unemployment near 10 percent," said Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.). "Now the president wants Americans to trust him again, but he can't back up the utopian promises he's making about a government takeover of health care. He insists his health care plan won't add to our nation's deficit despite the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office saying exactly the opposite. And today we learn that the president is refusing to release a critical report on the state of our economy, which contains facts essential to this debate. What is he hiding?"

Paparock 07-21-2009 01:16 AM

Bailouts could cost U.S. $23 Trillion
Bailouts could cost U.S. $23 Trillion

A series of bailouts, bank rescues and other economic lifelines could end up costing the federal government as much as $23 trillion, the U.S. government’s watchdog over the effort says – a staggering amount that is nearly double the nation’s entire economic output for a year.

If the feds end up spending that amount, it could be more than the federal government has spent on any single effort in American history.

For the government to be on the hook for the total amount, worst-case scenarios would have to come to pass in a variety of federal programs, which is unlikely, says Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general for the government’s financial bailout programs, in testimony prepared for delivery to the House oversight committee Tuesday.

The Treasury Department says less than $2 trillion has been spent so far.

Still, the enormity of the IG’s projection underscores the size of the economic disaster that hit the nation over the past year and the unprecedented sums mobilized by the federal government under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama to confront it.

In fact, $23 trillion is more than the total cost of all the wars the United States has ever fought, put together. World War II, for example, cost $4.1 trillion in 2008 dollars, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Even the Moon landings and the New Deal didn’t come close to $23 trillion: the Moon shot in 1969 cost an estimated $237 billion in current dollars, and the entire Depression-era Roosevelt relief program came in at $500 billion, according to Jim Bianco of Bianco Research.

The annual gross domestic product of the United States is just over $14 trillion.

Treasury spokesman Andrew Williams downplayed the total amount could ever reach Barofsky’s number.

“The $23.7 trillion estimate generally includes programs at the hypothetical maximum size envisioned when they were established,” Williams said. “It was never likely that all these programs would be ‘maxed out’ at the same time.”

Still, the eye-popping price tag provoked an immediate reaction on Capitol Hill. “The potential financial commitment the American taxpayers could be responsible for is of a size and scope that isn’t even imaginable,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee. “If you spent a million dollars a day going back to the birth of Christ, that wouldn’t even come close to just one trillion dollars – $23.7 trillion is a staggering figure.”

Congressional Democrats say they will call for Treasury to meet transparency requirements suggested by the inspector general, said a spokeswoman for the Oversight committee. “The American people need to know what’s going on with their money,” said committee spokeswoman Jenny Rosenberg.

Paparock 07-21-2009 01:21 AM

GAO: FDA can't estimate its own budget needs
GAO: FDA can't estimate its own budget needs

Here is an excerpt from an article:

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Food and Drug Administration—which has struggled to fulfill its mission of regulating food, drugs and other consumer goods that make up nearly a quarter of the U.S. economy—does not have the expertise to forecast its own budget needs, according to congressional investigators.

While many lawmakers and consumer advocates have long complained that the agency lacks the staff and equipment to accomplish its mission, the Government Accountability Office says the agency doesn't even have "the data to develop a complete and reliable estimate of the resources it needs."

The GAO places some of the blame on the FDA's lopsided budget—which dedicates significant resources to approving new products, but far less to tracking their safety once they've reached the market.

FDA officials acknowledged the problems uncovered by the GAO, saying they are working to get a better picture of the agency's spending and how much additional funding it needs.

"We have to be able to talk about the funds we need, and how we're using the money, with more detail than FDA has in the past," said Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, the agency's deputy commissioner.

The GAO report, due out Monday, is the latest in a series to document the problems facing the agency. The FDA has spent the last few years careening from one public health crisis to the next. They have included the recall of the painkiller Vioxx—which was linked to heart attacks, contaminated blood thinners imported from China, and an investigation into a salmonella outbreak that dragged on for weeks before peppers were identified as the culprit.

The agency's product review program is largely funded by user fees from drug and medical device companies, while the company's safety inspections are funded by taxpayer dollars. Over the last 10 years, funding from private companies increased nearly 270 percent, while funds from the U.S. government grew less than 70 percent.

Currently, the federal government pays for just over 30 percent of the FDA's medical products budget. As a result, the FDA is approving more new products but is spending far less to make sure they are being used safely.

"The approval of new products has increasingly become the beneficiary of the agency's budget," according to the GAO report.

Between 2004 and 2008 the agency failed to inspect all U.S. drug manufacturing plants every two years, as required by law. In other areas, such as reviewing reports of negative drug side effects, the FDA could not even say how much money and manpower it spent.

Paparock 07-21-2009 02:22 PM

Gitmo review delayed 6 months: Obama puts vow in doubt
Gitmo review delayed 6 months
Obama puts vow in doubt
President Obama on Monday extended by six months a task force charged with determining how terrorism suspects should be interrogated, held in custody or handed over to other countries, putting in jeopardy his promise to close the military detention facility at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by January.

The move came on the same day the president pushed back the release of a congressionally mandated report on the nation's economic conditions, and the White House began to extend a self-imposed deadline for overhauling the nation's health care system.

Pushing back the deadline on how to handle 229 Gitmo detainees, among them five suspects in the Sept. 11 attacks, including accused mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, illustrates just how complicated it is to solve the campaign issue that Mr. Obama this month called "one of the biggest challenges of my administration."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, was blunt in his criticism over the delay.

"Bipartisan majorities of both houses and the American people oppose closing Guantanamo without a plan, and several important questions remain unanswered. But it became increasingly clear over time that the administration announced its intent to close the facility before it actually had a plan," he said.

Six months after Mr. Obama signed the closure order, fewer than 20 of about 245 inmates have been transferred out of the U.S. military base in Cuba.

Continue reading this lengthy article here>

Paparock 07-21-2009 02:27 PM

White House misses deadline on spending cuts report
White House misses deadline on spending cuts report
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- On April 20, President Obama challenged his Cabinet to cut $100 million in spending over the next 90 days.

The deadline came -- and went -- without a report from the White House on whether or not that promise was fulfilled.

Asked about the spending cuts, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Monday that information still was being compiled.

"Those are being reviewed now, and we'll release something in the coming days," Gibbs told the daily White House briefing.

At time the challenge was announced, critics said $100 million in savings was a small amount on the context of the federal budget.

Read the rest here>

Paparock 07-21-2009 06:01 PM

Burying the Budget
Accountability is out in the Obama White House.
By: Vasko Kohlmayer

So much for “transparency and open government.”

With economic recovery nowhere in sight and its fiscal policies increasingly called into question, the Obama administration yesterday revealed that it would not be releasing its expected mid-year budget review until next month. Although the administration insisted this was a mere bureaucratic formality, critics were quick to note that the delay would help bury some politically unpalatable news about the budget, including its projected rise of the 2009 deficit.

Concern about the administration’s budget has already been stoked by the Congressional Budget Office, whose reports in recent months have read like an unending barrage of bad news. The CBO's latest, “Long-Term Budget Outlook,” is no exception.

The CBO wastes little time getting to the bad news, noting that “Under current law, the federal budget is on an unsustainable path.” A few paragraphs down, we get grim projections about the growth of the national debt. Specifically, the “CBO estimates that in fiscal years 2009 and 2010, the federal government will record its largest budget deficits as a share of GDP since shortly after World War II. As a result of those deficits, federal debt held by the public will soar from 41 percent of GDP at the end of fiscal year 2008 to 60 percent at the end of fiscal year 2010.”

This suggests that at the end of the next fiscal year, the debt of the federal government will be 60 percent of GDP. High as this number is, the actual figure is likely larger still. By some estimates, the debt could be close to 100 percent of GDP.

To see why, we first need to know some basics about our government's debt. Also called “national debt” or “public debt,” it is the cumulative amount of money that the federal government has borrowed over the years in order to finance its budget deficits.

The federal government borrows from two sources. The one that we often hear about is the government bond market. There, government raises money by selling pieces of paper – commonly referred to as treasuries – with a promise to repay the principal plus interest at some point in the future. Purchasers (also called creditors) include foreign central banks, domestic banks, the US Federal Reserve, individual investors, investment houses, etc. The amount of all outstanding US treasuries is referred to as “debt held by the public.”

Confusingly, “debt held by the public” is not the same thing as “public debt.” This is because the federal government also borrows from another source: government agencies that happen to have surplus cash in their accounts. Some time ago it was decided that this money should not be left lying around, but that it should be invested instead. And what could be a better investment than the acquisition of US treasuries?

This seemed like a great idea all around. Everyone would win: The cash-rich agencies would earn interest while the government would get access to ready cash. To make things easy, the US Department of Treasury even issues “special” non-marketable government bonds for this kind of transaction. The process is carried out through a framework of trust funds, the largest among which is the so-called Social Security Trust Fund. The name is something of a misnomer, since the Social Security Administration actually maintains two funds: the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and the Disability Insurance Trust Fund. From these two accounts the federal government has borrowed some $2.2 trillion, which is about half of the total it owes to various government entities. Other large trust funds include the Federal Employees Retirement Fund ($738 billion), the Employees Life Insurance Fund ($322 billion) and the Exchange Stabilization Fund ($215 billion).

The agencies that administer these funds have in effect become creditors of government, since they hold securities that “represent future obligations that must be repaid.” Because of this, the amount of these outstanding securities is included within the overall national debt. Government accountants use a special name for it – “intragovernmental holdings.”

The public debt of the US federal government thus has two components: debt held by the public and intragovernmental holdings. The CBO chose to project only the growth of the former. Significantly, this is the part of the report that received the most public attention and media scrutiny, because it synthesized in simple terms the largely technical analysis that follows. One strongly suspects that the CBO did this in order to create an impression of lower indebtedness. The CBO's task was made easier by the confusing terminology, which naturally gives rise to the mistaken notion that “debt held by the public” equals “public debt.”

The best place to see the truth is at a website maintained by the US Department of Treasury, the agency responsible for the administration and servicing of America's debt. TreasuryDirect contains a feature called “Debt to the Penny and Who Holds It,” which gives regular updates on the size of the federal debt load. It is presented in the form of a simple graphic where any citizen can plainly see that “Total Public Debt Outstanding” is a sum of two items: “Intragovermental Holdings” and “Debt Held by the Public.” As of last Wednesday, the grand total was 11.525 trillion with intragovermental holdings at $4.344 trillion.

It is deeply disconcerting that the Congressional Budget Office is taking advantage of ill-defined terminology to understate the level of our indebtedness. But that is as nothing compared to the administration’s troubling spending, which so far has failed to jumpstart the economy. This February’s $787 billion stimulus package, sold as a necessary step toward recovery, has not only failed to live up to its billing but by some measures has made it worse. Unemployment remains high, even as the deficit has risen dramatically.

Nor has the administration learned fiscal humility from the serious shortcomings of the stimulus. On the contrary, President Obama has been actively touting his proposed health care reform. Some experts have estimated that the administration’s plan could carry price tag of between $1.5 trillion and $1.7 trillion over the next 10 years. Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office has predicted that the administration’s health care plan would add $240 billion a year to the federal deficit, which already stands at a record $1.8 trillion for 2009.

Ironically, in stumping for his latest budget-busting program, President Obama accused his opponents of practicing “the politics of delay.” One could make the same charge about the administration’s plans to delay the release of a budget review, which seems like a desperate attempt to stave off the mounting backlash against the administration’s runway spending. President Obama may have gotten elected on a promise of accountability. But the concept may well lose its allure when taxpayers decide that he is the one they want to hold accountable.

Paparock 07-21-2009 07:15 PM

Biden’s Darfur Campaign Pledge
Biden’s Darfur Campaign Pledge
When will the administration's words be matched with action?

As a presidential and vice presidential candidate in 2008, Joe Biden repeatedly pledged to use U.S. military force to end the genocide in Darfur. The government of Sudan is rightly listed as a state sponsor of terrorism and poses a threat to U.S. interests. Now that he’s in office, Vice President Biden should persuade President Obama to match their words with action and fulfill his campaign pledge.

“I would use American force now. I think it’s not only time not to take force off the table. I think it’s time to put force on the table and use it,” then-Senator Biden said in April 2007.

The specific recommendation Senator Biden was making was to create a No-Fly Zone over Darfur, preventing Sudanese aircraft from flying over the territory to bomb the population or supply government-sponsored forces with weapons used to carry out the genocide. Biden also said in April 2007 that he was told by senior military officials that the deployment of 2,500 soldiers to the area would “radically change the situation on the ground now.”

Biden justified his proposed intervention in moral terms, reflecting on the ongoing humanitarian disaster. The United Nations estimated in April 2008 that over 200,000 people have died as a result of the conflict, and over 2.5 million refugees have been created. The International Criminal Court has even issued a warrant for the arrest of President Omar Bashir and other Sudanese officials for their role in the genocide.

However, intervention can also be justified by national security. Sudan has become a client state of Iran, used to covertly sponsor terrorism. The Sudanese government has admitted that a truck convoy that passed through their territory in January 2009 and was carrying Iranian arms destined for Hamas in an operation managed by Iranian Revolutionary Guards members working out of Port Sudan. The trucks were destroyed by Israeli air strikes. When Egypt foiled a large Hezbollah terrorist plot on its soil, the arrested operatives confessed that the group was planning to send recruits to Sudan for training in how to carry out suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism.

Although it is not known to be a sponsor of Al-Qaeda right now, the Sudanese government previously granted Bin Laden safe harbor in the early 1990s and a former mentor of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the second-in-command of Al-Qaeda, says that al-Zawahiri was a paid Sudanese agent during these times and was used to plan attacks against Egypt. A 2006 intelligence report said there were credible reports that about 15 Al-Qaeda terrorists were training members of the Janjaweed, the militia used by the regime to carry out atrocities, under the leadership of Musa Hilal.

It is also important to note that the current regime came to power in a coup in 1989 with the assistance of the Muslim Brotherhood in Sudan, which continues to defend the regime and attribute the Darfur situation to a Western conspiracy. The country has been closely allied to Iran ever since and is a participant in the joint Iranian-Syrian-North Korean WMD efforts. Sudan has notified the IAEA of its beginning of a domestic nuclear energy program, and not-so-coincidentally, when Ayaollah Khamenei announced that Iran would share nuclear technology with other countries in 2006, he was meeting with President Bashir.

European intelligence believes that as far back as 1998, high-tech nuclear equipment was being transferred via Sudan which has still not been located. One of the focal points of the smuggling operations is a state-owned company in Khartoum which has offices in Tehran and “is cooperating intensively with Iran.”

Sudan has also been reported to have cooperated with Iraq and Iran on chemical and biological weapons in the 1990s, and there have been frequent reports of the regime using such weapons against the population in the south. Syria was also reported to have sent weapons scientists to Sudan to test aerial bombs carrying chemical and biological weapons in Darfur in June and July, which were said to have killed hundreds. Scud-C and Scud-D missiles were also stored in Syria, but the weapons were removed after the Western media reported on it. There were conflicting reports on whether President Bashir knew about the weapons, but it is highly unlikely that such secret cooperation between the two militaries could occur without his approval.

The Obama Administration may be tempted to wait and see if upcoming elections significantly change the situation. After several delays, the Sudanese government is scheduling general elections for April 2010, and a referendum to decide whether to create one single autonomous Darfur state is scheduled for the following July. In 2011, South Sudan is planning to hold elections to decide whether to become independent.

Given the Sudanese government’s human rights record, it is wishful thinking to assume they will allow elections to significantly change the status quo, although any irregularities could cause a backlash in the international community and among the population. In the meantime, the Sudanese people will continue to suffer, and the regime will continue to sponsor terrorism on Iran’s behalf.

Critics of any action will argue that the U.S. is acting as a global policeman. One of the wisest statements I’ve ever heard is that being unable to do everything isn’t an excuse for doing nothing. And right now, the U.S. is doing nothing.

Paparock 07-21-2009 07:27 PM

Americans Are Beginning to Understand the Left
Americans Are Beginning to Understand the Left
The one good thing about Obama's attempt to remake America.

By: Dennis Prager

There is only one good thing about the Obama administration's attempts to nationalize most health care and to begin to control Americans' energy consumption through cap-and-trade: clarity about the left. These attempts are enabling more and more Americans to understand the thinking and therefore the danger of the left.

The left has its first president -- with the possible exception of Franklin Delono Roosevelt -- and for the first time controls the Democratic Party and both houses of Congress. In the name of compassion for the sick and the poor and in the name of preventing worldwide environmental
catastrophe, it is attempting to remake America.

In so doing some principals of the left are becoming clearer to more Americans:

Principal One: The left, as distinct from traditional liberals, is not, and has never been, interested in creating wealth. The left is no more interested in creating wealth than Christians are in creating Muslims or Muslims in creating Christians. The left is interested in redistributing wealth, not creating it. The left spends the wealth that private enterprise and entrepreneurial risk-taking individuals create.

The left does not perceive that poverty is the human norm and therefore asks, "Why is there poverty?" instead of asking the economic question that matters: Why is there wealth? And the obvious result of the left's disinterest in why wealth is created is that the left does not know how to create it.

Principal Two: The reason the left asks why there is poverty instead of why there is wealth is that the left's preoccupying ideal is equality -- not economic growth. And those who are preoccupied with equality are more troubled by wealth than by poverty. Ask almost anyone on the left -- not a liberal, but a leftist like Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi -- which society they consider more desirable, a society in which all its members were equally lower middle class or one in which some were poor, most were middle class, and some were rich (i.e., America today). And whatever they say, in their hearts, the further left they are the more they would prefer the egalitarian society.

Principal Three: The left everywhere seeks to make as big and powerful a state as possible. It does so because only the state can redistribute society's wealth. And because only a strong and powerful state can impose values on society. The idea of small government, the American ideal since its inception, is the antithesis of the left's ideal.

The cap-and-trade bill's control of American energy and the ObamaCare takeover of American health care will mean an unprecedented expansion of the state. Added to increased taxes and the individual becomes less and less significant as the state looms ever larger. Americans will be
left to decide little more than what they do with vacation time -- just as Western Europeans do. Other questions are largely left to the state.

Principal Four: The left imposes its values on others whenever possible and to the extent possible. That is why virtually every totalitarian regime in the 20th century was left-wing. Inherent to all
left-wing thought is a totalitarian temptation. People on the left know that not only are their values morally superior to conservative values, but that they themselves are morally superior to conservatives. Thus, for example, the former head of the Democratic Party, Howard Dean, could say in all seriousness, "In contradistinction to the Republicans, we don't think children ought to go to bed hungry at night."

Therefore, the morally superior have the right, indeed the duty, to impose their values on the rest of us: what light bulbs we use, what cars we drive, what we may ask a prospective employee, how we may discipline our children, and, of course, how much of our earnings we may keep.

It is dishonest to argue that the right wants to impose its values to anywhere near the extent the left does. This can be demonstrated to a fifth-grader: Who wants more power -- those who want to govern a big state or those who want to govern a small state?

The president of the United States and the much of the Democratic Party embody these left-wing principals. Right now, America's only hope of staying American rather than becoming European lies in making these principals as clear as possible to as many Americans as possible. The
left is so giddy with power right now, we actually have a chance.

Paparock 07-21-2009 08:35 PM

Obama's Science Czar Considered Forced Abortions, Sterilization as Population Growth
Obama's Science Czar Considered Forced Abortions, Sterilization as Population Growth Solutions

John Holdren, director of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy, considered compulsory abortions and other Draconian measures to shrink the human population in a 1977 science textbook.

President Obama's "science czar," Paul Holdren, once floated the idea of forced abortions, "compulsory sterilization," and the creation of a "Planetary Regime" that would oversee human population levels and control all natural resources as a means of protecting the planet -- controversial ideas his critics say should have been brought up in his Senate confirmation hearings.

Holdren, who has degrees from MIT and Stanford and headed a science policy program at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government for the past 13 years, won the unanimous approval of the Senate as the president's chief science adviser.

He was confirmed with little fanfare on March 19 as director of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy, a 50-person directorate that advises the president on scientific affairs, focusing on energy independence and global warming.

But many of Holdren's radical ideas on population control were not brought up at his confirmation hearings; it appears that the senators who scrutinized him had no knowledge of the contents of a textbook he co-authored in 1977, "Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment," a copy of which was obtained by

The 1,000-page course book, which was co-written with environmental activists Paul and Anne Ehrlich, discusses and in one passage seems to advocate totalitarian measures to curb population growth, which it says could cause an environmental catastrophe.

The three authors summarize their guiding principle in a single sentence: "To provide a high quality of life for all, there must be fewer people."

As first reported by FrontPage Magazine, Holdren and his co-authors spend a portion of the book discussing possible government programs that could be used to lower birth rates.

Those plans include forcing single women to abort their babies or put them up for adoption; implanting sterilizing capsules in people when they reach puberty; and spiking water reserves and staple foods with a chemical that would make people sterile.

To help achieve those goals, they formulate a "world government scheme" they call the Planetary Regime, which would administer the world's resources and human growth, and they discuss the development of an "armed international organization, a global analogue of a police force" to which nations would surrender part of their sovereignty.

Holdren's office issued a statement to denying that the ecologist has ever backed any of the measures discussed in his book, and suggested reading more recent works authored solely by Holdren for a view to his beliefs.

"Dr. Holdren has stated flatly that he does not now support and has never supported compulsory abortions, compulsory sterilization, or other coercive approaches to limiting population growth," the statement said.
"Straining to conclude otherwise from passages treating controversies of the day in a three-author, 30-year-old textbook is a mistake."

But the textbook itself appears to contradict that claim.

Holdren and the Ehrlichs offer ideas for "coercive," "involuntary fertility control," including "a program of sterilizing women after their second or third child," which doctors would be expected to do right after a woman gives birth.

"Unfortunately," they write, "such a program therefore is not practical for most less developed countries," where doctors are not often present when a woman is in labor.

While Holdren and his co-authors don't openly endorse such measures on other topics, in this case they announce their disappointment -- "unfortunately" -- that women in the third world cannot be sterilized against their will, a procedure the International Criminal Court considers a crime against humanity.

Click here to see the passage on sterilizing women | Click here for the full section on "Involuntary Fertility Control"

"It's very problematic that he said these things," said Ben Lieberman, a senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation. Lieberman faulted Holdren for using government as a solution to every problem and advocating heavy-handed and invasive laws.

But other members of the scientific community said accusations against Holdren are wholly misplaced.

"John Holdren has been one of the most well-respected and prominent scientific voices urging the federal government to address global warming," wrote Kevin Knobloch, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists, in a statement.

Holdren's co-authors, Paul and Anne Ehrlich, said in a statement that they were "shocked at the serious mischaracterization of our views and those of John Holdren," caused by what they called misreadings of the book.
"We were not then, never have been, and are not now 'advocates' of the Draconian measures for population limitation described -- but not recommended" in the book, they wrote.

Still, William Yeatman, an energy policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, faulted the Senate for not screening Holdren more strenuously during his hearings before confirming his nomination by unanimous consent both in committee and in the full Senate.

Despite "the litany of apocalyptic warnings that turned out to be incorrect, no one was willing to stick his neck out" and vote no, Yeatman said.

Some of Holdren's views on population came under fire during the otherwise quiet confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, where Sen. David Vitter, R-La., asked him to revisit his past statements about environmental catastrophes that have never come to pass.

"I was and continue to be very critical of Dr. Holdren's positions -- specifically his countless doomsday science publications and predictions that have been near universally wrong," Vitter told

"I wish that the Commerce Committee had taken more time to evaluate his record during his nomination hearing, but like with everything else in this new Washington environment, the Democratic majority and the White House were pushing to speed his nomination along," Vitter said.

Vitter grilled Holdren during the hearing, asking him to clear up his 1986 prediction that global warming was going to kill about 1 billion people by 2020.

"You would still say," Vitter asked, "that 1 billion people lost by 2020 is still a possibility?"

"It is a possibility, and one we should work energetically to avoid," Holdren replied.

Sen. John Kerry, a leading Democrat on the committee, said the renewed scrutiny was essentially a Republican smear on Holdren's good record. Kerry told that senators already had "ample opportunity" to question Holdren, who "made clear that he does not and never has supported coercive approaches, end of story.

"The Commerce Committee and the Senate then unanimously concluded what I have long known -- that John Holdren is a leading voice in the scientific community and we are fortunate to have him lead the fight to restore the foundation of science to government and policymaking that has been lacking for almost a decade."

Holdren has confronted a number of challenges during his four-decade scientific career, including nuclear arms reduction, and was part of a group that shared the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize "for their efforts to diminish the part played by nuclear arms in international politics," as the Nobel Committee said.

Now his greatest focus is global warming, which he said in a recent interview poses a threat akin to being "in a car with bad brakes driving toward a cliff in the fog."

Holdren told the Associated Press in April that the U.S. will consider all options to veer away from that cliff, including an experimental scheme to shoot pollution particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun's rays and cool the earth, a last resort he hoped could be averted.

"Dr. Holdren is working day and night for the Obama Administration and the American people, helping to develop science and technology policies to make the country stronger, more secure, and more energy independent, and to make Americans healthier and better educated," his office told

Four months after Holdren's confirmation, his critics are keeping a wary eye on his work in the White House, where they assert that he has the president's ear on scientific issues.

"It is interesting that this 30-year-old book is finally coming to light," said Lieberman, of the Heritage Foundation.

"The people who are concerned about Holdren, quite frankly we didn't do enough homework."

Paparock 07-21-2009 08:43 PM

Obama Misses Own Deadline on Gitmo

Senior administration officials said Monday that the report on detention will be delayed six months and the report on interrogation and transfer policy will be delayed two months.

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration on Monday pushed back its own deadline for devising new anti-terrorism policies.

The decision had been expected, as presidentially appointed task forces have failed to meet a six-month schedule for making policy recommendations on how terror suspects should be interrogated, held in custody or handed over to other countries.

Senior administration officials said Monday that the report on detention will be delayed six months and the report on interrogation and transfer policy will be delayed two months.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the issue on the record.

As the administration quietly acknowledged the delay, a task force sent Attorney General Eric Holder and Defense Secretary Robert Gates a preliminary report summarizing their legal goals for handling terror suspects in the future.

"Where appropriate, prosecution of those responsible must occur as soon as possible, whether in federal court or before a military commission," according to the five-page memo on detention policy sent to the White House.

"Justice cannot be done, however, unless those who are accused of crimes are proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law that affords them a full and fair opportunity to contest the charges against them," the memo concludes.

The Obama administration has reached the halfway mark in its self-imposed goal to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility by January 2010.

Six months after President Barack Obama signed the closure order, fewer than 20 of about 245 inmates have been transferred out of the U.S. military base in Cuba. Currently, there are 229 detainees at Guantanamo, and the administration, by its own clock, has six months more to remove them.

Government lawyers are reviewing each case individually and have so far finished the reviews of more than half of the detainees.

More than 50 suspects have been cleared for transfer to other countries. A senior administration official has said the Justice Department is considering prosecuting about 30 others in federal courts, and another 30 or so could face trial by military commissions. A final group will be held indefinitely without charge, subject to occasional judicial review, the administration has said.

Paparock 07-22-2009 02:25 PM

Closed for Business?
Obama’s campaign promise to close Guantanamo Bay hits another snag.

By: Jacob Laksin
President Obama’s faltering pledge to shutter Guantanamo Bay prison by next January was dealt another setback this week, this one self-inflicted.

On Tuesday, two administration-created task forces – the Special Task Force on Interrogation and Transfer Policies and the Detention Policy Task Force – were supposed to have produced reports outlining the administration’s treatment of terrorist suspects, including the 229 detainees still confined in Guantanamo Bay, setting the stage for the detention facility’s closure in 2010. Instead, the twin task forces asked for a six-month extension to complete their review and released interim memos whose conclusions may make it more likely that Guantanamo will remain open past the president’s increasingly tenuous deadline.

It wasn’t supposed to be this hard to close Guantanamo. On the presidential campaign trail, candidate Obama scored cheap points against the Bush administration by deriding its conduct of the war on terror and promising to put an end to its most famous symbol. In one of his first acts as president-elect, Obama on January 22 signed an executive order requiring Guantanamo Bay to be closed within a year, hailing it as proof that his administration had rejected the “false choice between our safety and our ideals.” Under President Obama, America was no longer on the dark side.

Seven months on, the view from the White House is more complicated. One indication is the memo released this week by the Detention Policy Task Force. Although the task force was designed in part to chart a post-Guantanamo course for the administration, its conclusions are most notable for their implicit continuity with the policies of the Bush administration.

Nowhere is that more evident than on the sensitive issue of military commissions to try terrorist suspects. During the campaign, Obama derisively referred to the Guantanamo-based trials as “the flawed military commission system,” and urged their replacement by trials in federal courts. The task force climbs down significantly from that promise. It states that federal courts “are not always best suited to the task” of prosecuting terrorist suspects and observes that military commissions may be “a more appropriate forum.”

Not only that, but the task force provides a historically grounded defense of the military commissions system, pointing out that “military commissions have been used by the United States to try those who have violated the law of war for more than two centuries. They have been used during World War II, the Philippine Insurrection, the Civil War, and the Mexican war, and precursor tribunals were used even before the founding of the Republic by colonial forces during the Revolutionary War.” Military commissions, it turns out, are not so flawed after all.

Since this defense of military commissions is bound to invite charges that the Obama administration has merely adopted its predecessor’s approach in a new guise, the task force memo makes a strained attempt to claim that the types of military commissions that the administration supports are different from their incarnation under President Bush. According to the task force memo, the Bush-era commissions “suffered from a perceived lack of legitimacy” and denied due process rights to detainees. Presumably, the new and reformed military commissions will be something altogether different.

Or will they? In fact, the Obama administration’s reforms of the military commissions are largely cosmetic. To a striking extent, they retain those features of the Bush commissions – protections for sensitive sources and intelligence; a loser standard of evidence gathering that recognizes the challenges of conducting investigations in the battlefield – that have been used to portray military commissions as unjust in the Bush era. The rhetoric has changed, but the policy, in the main, remains unchanged.

Military commissions are only a partial solution to the problem of Guantanamo’s inmates. There remains the question of what to do with those detainees deemed too dangerous for release but who cannot be brought to trial due to inadmissible or insufficient evidence. On that point, Obama administration has again opted to follow the Bush administration’s precedent. The Special Task Force on Interrogation revealed this week that “if the prosecution team concludes that prosecution is not feasible in any forum,” it could the use some “other appropriate disposition.” Since indefinite detention would seem to be the only other option, the administration seems to have concluded that this Bush administration policy, too, should be continued.

This policy convergence has not exactly pleased the administration’s supporters, who consider both military commissions and indefinite detentions anathema. Activists on the Left are already crying betrayal at the task forces’ findings, with the ACLU’s Anthony Romero accusing the Obama administration of falling into “the same legal swamp that engulfed the Bush administration.”

Meanwhile, the administration’s preferred stratagem – shifting the blame onto its predecessor – has worn thin even in sympathetic political quarters. Writing in, Glenn Greenwald fumes, “From this interim report, it’s more apparent than ever that the central excuse made by Obama defenders to justify preventive detention and military commissions -- there are dangerous Terrorists who cannot be released but also cannot be tried because Bush obtained the evidence against them via torture – is an absolute myth.” Indeed, as Greenwald points out, the Obama administration seems intent on keeping these policies in place not only for those terrorist suspects already in custody but also for those who will be captured in the future.

Blog-based outrage notwithstanding, this is a welcome development. What the Left views as perfidy is actually a sign of clarity: As the administration has learned in its brief time in office, self-righteous lecturing about “false choices” is of limited utility in the difficult task of preventing another terrorist attack – a task in which Guantanamo Bay has played no small role. The only mystery is why President Obama still insists on closing Guantanamo when all the evidence – including that offered by his own agencies – suggests that it should remain open.

Paparock 07-24-2009 02:10 PM

Cool turns cold: Obama 'below 50%'

Fri Jul 24 2009

For First Time, Obama's Approval Rating Falls Below 50%

Overall, 49% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President's performance, RASMUSSEN will report later this morning.

This marks the first time his overall approval rating has ever fallen below 50% among Likely Voters nationwide. Fifty-one percent (51%) disapprove.

Eighty-three percent (83%) of Democrats continue to approve of the President'’s performance while 80% of Republicans disapprove. Among those not affiliated with either major party, 37% offer a positive assessment.

The President earns approval from 51% of women and 47% of men.

the most accurate pollster for the final results of the 2008 Presidential election.

Paparock 07-27-2009 02:34 PM

All the President’s Debt
All the President’s Debt
Obama is leading America toward financial ruin.

By: Vasko Kohlmayer

There are two things that stand out about this administration: The speed with which it is taking us toward financial ruin and its uncanny ability to conceal the fact.

Here is an example. As a result of Obama's unfettered spending the debt of the federal government will soon exceed 100 percent of GDP. And yet the American people are almost completely unaware of this unfolding fiscal debacle.

Most Americans would, in fact, be incredulous at hearing this figure, suspecting it to be a conservative smear. But we need to go no further than the administration's own documents to get the truth.

Buried deep in the president's budget proposal for fiscal 2010 is a little spreadsheet called Federal Debt at the End of the Year: 1940–2014. Catalogued as Table 7.1, it is part of a subsection called “Historical Tables.” (The table cannot be viewed online, but it be can downloaded as an xls file by clicking on the hyperlink.)

The spreadsheet features a column called “Gross Debt,” which gives the size of the federal debt as a percentage of GDP. Below are the administration's projections for the next three fiscal years:

2009 = 90% of GDP
2010 = 98.1% of GDP
2011 = 101.1% of GDP

Yes, you are reading correctly. According to Team Obama, the federal debt will reach nearly 100 percent of GDP next year. And it will exceed that critical mark in the year after that.

Unbelievably, the American public knows virtually nothing about this. Hard though one may search, it is nearly impossible to find any mention of these shocking figures anywhere in the media.

The question, then, is this: How have this administration and their accomplices in the government and media managed to pull off this spectacular concealment act?

The trick lies in the terminology. To see through it, we need to know that the federal debt is made up of two parts: the intragovernmental holdings and the debt held by the public. In an earlier piece we explained how the two work – the debt held by the public is incurred when the government issues bonds. Intragovernmental debt occurs when the federal government borrows from government agencies that have surplus cash in their accounts. This is why Table 7.1 refers to these obligations as “government accounts.”

When speaking about public debt, administration officials refer only to the “debt held by the public.” They take advantage of the ambiguous nomenclature to create the false impression that the “debt held by the public” equals “public debt.” This is not true; it only represents a portion of it. On those few occasions when they were pressed on this point, they turned defensive. When asked to explain the intragovernmental holdings in a PBS interview, White House Budget Direct Peter Orszag said he prefers to speak only about the debt held by the public, because he thinks “that's the more analytically correct measure.”

Such a dismissive attitude toward the $4.3 trillion in intragovernmental obligations is alarming on the part of the man responsible for the integrity of President Obama's budgets numbers. But whether or not Orszag wants to talk about it, intragovernmental holdings do represent real debt. The government took real money from those accounts, and the time will come when real money will have to be paid back.

The lies and distortions notwithstanding, we can be certain there will be a steep price to pay for this fiscal profligacy. The first tangible consequence may well be the loss of America's triple A credit rating, which normally happens when a country's public debt exceeds its annual economic output. We saw a preview of what could be in store when Standard and Poor's warned Great Britain about its AAA status, because its debt load could reach 100 percent of GDP by 2013. But even as S&P's was issuing the warning to Britain, the Obama administration quietly put out estimates about own own situation that made Britain look like a paragon of fiscal sobriety in comparison.

Although Britain's public debt has grown sharply, many experts do not believe that it will actually exceed 100 percent of GDP. Analysts at High Frequency Economics, for example, issued a statement which read, “No one outside S&P sees the British public sector debt burden rising nearly to that level [100 percent of GDP], not even Moody’s.”

Obama's White House, on the other hand, predicted already in May that America will break through the critical 100 percent mark as early as 2011.

Dire as the administration's earlier estimates were, they were based on a set of unrealistically optimistic assumptions. Orszag and his team had assumed a higher rate of growth, lower unemployment and greater tax revenues than what was warranted by the economic realities. Using less bullish assumptions, the Congressional Budget Office obtained much bleaker results. Needless to say, the administration promptly rejected the CBO analysis. It turns out, however, that even the CBO's figures were far too optimistic.

In mid-July every administration issues updated economic and fiscal forecasts for the given fiscal year. The Obama White House has decided to delay this year's release until later in August, which is not surprising given the dire news it will contain. The strategy behind it is clear: delay the bad news for as long as possible and in the meantime try to implement as much of your program as you can. By way of excuse, the White House claimed that the delay was due to this being a transition year between presidencies. But even AP had to point out the lie:

The update mainly involves plugging in changes in economic indicators, not revising program-by-program details. And indicators such as unemployment and gross domestic product changes have been public knowledge for some time.

When the administration finally releases its updated figures, we should be ready for some really grave news. For one thing, they will show the federal debt moving past 100 percent of GDP at the end of the next fiscal year (the previous estimate for 2010 was 98.1%). This year's deficit amount will be revised close to $2 trillion (more than four times the previous record). Should these numbers become widespread public knowledge, Obama's prospects of implementing his costly agenda would effectually go down to zero. His only hope is to hide the truth. The president's concealment effort will be seconded by the mainstream media who will not do a single story on the fiscal ruin for which we are headed. We, on the other hand, will do our best to hold them accountable.

ishmael 07-27-2009 03:05 PM

I believe Obama is the clearest sign of the end of modern world. I pray the All Mighty will end this disaster.

Paparock 07-27-2009 03:28 PM


Originally Posted by ishmael (Post 49847)
I believe Obama is the clearest sign of the end of modern world. I pray the All Mighty will end this disaster.

Greetings ishmael, it has been a long time since I have seen you post. Welcome back and I'm glad to see you.

Paparock 07-27-2009 09:19 PM

Ben Stein: "Now, the American people are starting to wake up to the truth"
Ben Stein:
"Now, the American people are starting to wake up to the truth"

Or at least Ben Stein is on to him. "We've Figured Him Out," by Ben Stein in The American Spectator, July 24:

Now, the American people are starting to wake up to the truth. Barack Obama is a super likeable super leftist, not a fan of this country, way, way too cozy with the terrorist leaders in the Middle East, way beyond naïveté, all the way into active destruction of our interests and our allies and our future.

ishmael 07-28-2009 03:00 PM

Thank you, I have begun a buisness. It takes much time. I miss being sheapard. :)

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