After months of NATO and rebel claims that the end was near for the Libyan dictatorship of Col. Muammar Gaddafi, it appears increasingly likely that the brutal regime is on its last legs. On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even praised “Libya’s victory.” But it isn’t over yet. Even as the National Transitional Council’s (NTC) forces surrounded key loyalist strongholds such as the city of Sirte, pro-Gaddafi troops were reportedly putting up stiff resistance. Fierce gun battles were still raging even in the capital despite rebels having announced the “fall” of Tripoli months ago. This week the NTC began stepping up house-to-house searches and road-block checkpoints in search of Gaddafi loyalists in the capital. Pockets of armed resistance in Tripoli, including pro-regime demonstrations, continue to pop up as well. Several days ago Gaddafi supporters bearing weapons marched out into the streets of various Tripoli neighborhoods chanting pro-regime slogans, according to news reports. NTC troops shouting “Allahu Akbarr” rushed to the demonstrations and fired on the crowds, leaving multiple casualties on both sides.  
The social and economic upheavals caused by environmental subsidies, as seen in the demise of Solyndra and other energy companies, are devastating but not unpredictable after-effects. Over decades, and even centuries, the U.S. government has indulged in a myriad of legislative actions to funnel taxpayer money into projects of its choosing — and generally speaking, no good has come from them. In fact, history shows that government interference has only hampered the natural flow of markets and depressed the innovative practices of countless American entrepreneurs. Throughout history, government subsidies have aimed to offer a number of "solutions" to the marketplace: to create jobs, keep consumer prices at "favorable" market levels, and endow business entities with capital to survive in markets that are "not sustainable by the private sector." Today, a common justification for such subsidies — which are prevalent in the environmental sector — is to achieve energy independence and curb pollution by funding research and development for emerging technologies. Such government patronage comes in various forms, including direct financial transfers, preferential tax treatments, price controls, research grants, and trade restrictions. But corporate recipients soon become addicted to such political massaging, as they relentlessly lobby Congress and the White House to negotiate corrupt inside deals that lead to endless, wasteful streams of government largesse.  
The Republican candidates for President agreed at the October 18 CNN Las Vegas debate that, despite the federal deficit crisis, they wanted to continue foreign aid spending — with the exception of Texas Congressman Ron Paul. Asked where he stood on continuing foreign aid, former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain responded that "we ought to continue to give foreign aid to our friends like Israel." Minnesota Congressman Michele Bachmann also agreed that foreign aid should be continued: "No, we should not be cutting foreign aid to Israel. Israel is our greatest ally." Frontrunner Mitt Romney acknowledged that "we're spending more on foreign aid than we ought to be spending," but he refused to call for an end to foreign aid. Texas Governor Rick Perry also declined to call for a complete end to foreign aid, though he offered that "I think it's time to have a very serious debate about defunding the United Nations." Only Rep. Paul said the nation can no longer afford to borrow money with deficits in order to give taxpayers' money away. "Foreign aid, it should be the easiest thing to cut. It's not authorized in the Constitution," Paul countered. "To me, foreign aid is taking money from poor people in this country and giving it to rich people in poor countries." Paul proposed a budget plan this week that would zero out foreign aid in year one, and cut a total of nearly $1 trillion in the first year of his presidency. The budget proposal would eliminate five cabinet-level agencies and balance the federal budget within three years without raising taxes.
According to Katy Grimes of the Sacramento-based investigative reporting website Cal Watchdog for October 19, "For unions, Governor Jerry Brown is the governor who keeps on giving." Over the weekend, the California Governor signed into law Senate Bill 922, which will prevent cities from banning union-supported “project labor agreements” that force contractors to hire union workers if they want to bid on public projects. The measure, written only one week before it was passed, provides that if even a non-union contractor wins a public project, his workers are required to join a union. Grimes added that the Governor "even included a signing message in which he proclaimed the bill to be 'fair' and 'democratic.'" However, she pointed out, the legislation "will actually do the opposite of what Brown's signing message said": It suppresses the competition rights of small businesses and infringes on local governments' ability to use free-market, non-union construction labor. And it's already mandated by the state that all employees must receive union wages, even if they are not union members, when working on public projects.
President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party have led increasingly successful efforts to pit Americans against one another through the politics of hate and envy. Attacking CEO salaries, the president — last year during his Midwest tour — said, "I do think at a certain point you've made enough money." Let's look at CEO salaries, but before doing so, let's look at other salary disparities between those at the bottom and those at the top. According to Forbes' Celebrity 100 list for 2010, Oprah Winfrey earned $290 million. Even if her makeup person or cameraman earned $100,000, she earned thousands of times more than that. Is that fair? Among other celebrities earning hundreds or thousands of times more than the people who work with them are Tyler Perry ($130 million), Jerry Bruckheimer ($113 million), Lady Gaga ($90 million) and Howard Stern ($76 million). According to Forbes, the top 10 celebrities, excluding athletes, earned an average salary of a little more than $100 million in 2010. According to the Wall Street Journal Survey of CEO Compensation (November 2010), Gregory Maffei, CEO of Liberty Media, earned $87 million, Oracle's Lawrence Ellison ($68 million) and rounding out the top 10 CEOs was McKesson's John Hammergren, earning $24 million. It turns out that the top 10 CEOs have an average salary of $43 million, which pales in comparison with America's top 10 celebrities, who earn an average salary of $100 million.
Should American high school students be required to recite the pledge of allegiance? This is a question which has generated controversy over the years, but rarely if ever has the controversy centered on the notion that the students in question would be required to pledge allegiance to a foreign nation. Nevertheless, this was situation at the high school in the McAllen, Texas Independent School District, where students were required to pledge allegiance to Mexico. McAllen is only a few miles from the Mexican border, so the question of loyalty to one’s own nation is particularly poignant as drug cartels run amok only a few miles away in the Mexican city of Reynosa. With Mexico in the midst of what amounts to a civil war, the pledge of loyalty to these United States should be a matter of honor to any Texan. According to press reports, the Mexican national anthem and pledge of allegiance were required on one occasion for students in the Spanish class taught by Reyna Santos. Several of the basic facts do not appear to be in contention. On September 16, the students of Santos’ class were required to learn and sing the Mexican national anthem and to recite the Mexican pledge of allegiance. The implications of this action, however, are in dispute between the school and one family which was offended by the requirement. For Brenda Brinsdon and her parents, Santos’ actions were indefensible. However, as KRGV television reported, school officials endeavored to defend the teacher’s actions:  
There has been a growing push from Americans, particularly those along the Mexican border, for the federal government to label the Mexican drug cartels as terrorists. On Thursday, the State Department indicated that the actions of the cartels are consistent with those considered to be “terrorism or insurgency.” “I do acknowledge that many of the facts on the ground, the things that are being done by those organizations, are consistent with what we would call either terrorism or insurgency in other countries,” William Brownfield told a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. The statement by Brownfield, who serves as the Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, came in response to the following question posed by Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) of the Foreign Affairs Western Hemisphere subcommittee:  
Moody’s summary of its annual report on France’s finances appeared on Monday sufficiently couched in calm and reasoned tones that the markets took little notice: “The country’s Aaa rating with a stable outlook reflects the French economy’s strength, the robustness of its institutions and very high financial strength.” Further on in the report, however, ominous phrases began appearing, such as “the government’s financial strength has weakened,” there is now “a deterioration in French government metrics, which are now among the weakest of France’s Aaa peers,” and “France may face a number of challenges in the coming months – for example, the possible need to provide additional support to other European sovereigns or to its own banking system.” All of this, says Moody’s, is “exerting pressure on the stable outlook of the government’s Aaa debt rating,” especially now that the government “has less room to maneuver in terms of stretching its balance sheet than it had in 2008.” But there’s nothing to worry about, as “Moody’s will monitor and assess the stable outlook” over the next three months.
Anyone trying to figure out why Americans don’t trust their elected officials need look no further than an October 17 New York Times article. Entitled “Farmers Facing Loss of Subsidy May Get New One,” the William Neuman-penned piece reports that “in the name of deficit reduction,” Congress, backed by “major farm groups,” is considering eliminating a $5 billion farm subsidy — only to turn around and enact another farm subsidy costing almost as much. “In essence,” observes Neuman, “lawmakers would replace one subsidy with a new one.” The existing subsidy, called the direct payment program, “was created in 1996 as a way to wean farmers off all such supports — and instead was made permanent a few years later,” Neuman writes. Now Congress is going to try to wean farmers off direct payments, which they receive regardless of market conditions, and onto a “shallow-loss” program, whereby the government would “guarantee 10 to 15 percent of a farmer’s revenue,” says Neuman, describing it as “a free insurance policy to cover commodity farmers against small drops in revenue.” This, by the way, would come on top of $6 billion in federal subsidies to pay over half the cost of farmers’ crop insurance premiums. Crop insurance policies “typically guarantee 75 to 85 percent of a farmer’s revenue” in the event of crop damage or a market drop, Neuman explains. Should a shallow-loss program be enacted, farmers would be guaranteed up to 100 percent of their current revenue for a very small personal investment.
It has oft been a bone of contention by Ron Paul supporters nationwide that he has been either ignored or misrepresented by the mainstream media. Liberal comedian Jon Stewart devoted an entire montage to humorously and satirically underscoring the media’s deliberate — and at times blatant — efforts to ignore Paul’s top-tier status. Now a recent study by the highly respected Pew Research Center proves that Paul has indeed been blacked out by the mainstream media. Journalism.org explains that the study “combines traditional media research methods with computer algorithms to track the level and tone of coverage of candidates for president.” Pew compiled a list of 52 mainstream news sources, ranging from newspapers to television, and discovered that Paul has received significantly less media coverage than all of the other candidates — including Tim Pawlenty, who dropped out of the race as a result of his lack of adequate progress, and Jon Huntsman, who has one of the lowest approval ratings of all the GOP presidential contenders.  
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