On December 22 President Barack Obama released the following message through the White House’s Twitter account: "Thanks to all who shared #40dollars [sic] stories. Today's victory is yours. Keep making your voices heard — it makes all the difference. — bo"
This was in direct response to the Republican House of Representatives capitulating to the President and the Democratic Senate and allowing a shortened 2-month extension of the payroll tax cut, rather than forcing through the 1-year extension that the GOP was gunning for.
President Obama started off his speech in Osawatomie, Kansas, on December 6 with a positive nod to free-market economics. Referring to Theodore Roosevelt’s economic thoughts, Obama acknowledged that the free-market system has been the most successful system in history in delivering the highest standard of living to the greatest number of people: “He believed then what we know is true today, that the free market is the greatest force for economic progress in human history. It’s led to a prosperity and a standard of living unmatched by the rest of the world.”
But then Mr. Obama added a disclaimer, a large one. “But Roosevelt also knew that the free market has never been a free license to take whatever you can from whomever you can.”
That opens the door to more than putting Bernie Madoff in jail. Given the high degree of elasticity in their egalitarian and redistributive goals, it can give a free license to politicians to take whatever they can from whomever they can.
Mike Shedlock, who has been watching the Jefferson County, Alabama, municipal bond bankruptcy and default closely, has turned up some more fraud. It appears that the original bonds issued to pay for the county’s new sewage treatment plant weren’t bonds after all, but warrants. But they were sold as the same thing, backed by the “full faith and credit” of the county. In the event of bankruptcy investors holding the warrants were to be first in line to receive their interest payments, ahead of any other creditors. And if there isn’t enough money even for that, the investors were assured that the county would do whatever is necessary to redeem them, even if it meant raising taxes or fees on the citizens.
But a warrant isn’t a bond; instead, it is merely a right granted to its holder to purchase a bond in the future. The county board of commissioners decided against issuing bonds as that would have required a referendum by the taxpayers who, at the time, were already suffering from increased sewage rates — four increases over the past 10 years. The likelihood of approval was between slim and none.
The National Defense Authorization Act will be made law with the stroke of President Obama’s pen (perhaps autopen from Hawaii?). With the enactment of the NDAA, Americans suspected by the President of having committed a “belligerent act” may be apprehended by the military and detained without recitation of charges and without access to an attorney until such time as the President decides that the “War on Terror” is over.
Majorities in both chambers of Congress voted in favor of granting the President this autocratic authority. In the Senate, only 13 members of that body stood up to defend the constitutionally protected civil liberties of Americans. In the House of Representatives, 283 of the people’s representatives violated their oath of office and voted to pass this legislation.
One of those who was true to his vow to protect the Constituiton from all enemies, foreign and domestic, has now offered an amendment to the NDAA that would “clarify the language” of the measure so as to make it explicit that no American citizen could be detained under the provisions of that act without being provided the full panoply of due process protections.
Dear Michael, I have been a longtime listener of your nationally syndicated radio talk show. You are, without question, among the most talented, entertaining, and intelligent of hosts. Many a day, in spite of what disagreements I may have had with you, I have been provoked by, and delighted in, your exchanges with guests and callers. Although I obviously do not know you personally, you also strike me as a genuinely decent human being, a loving husband, devoted father, and a good citizen who really does have his country’s best interests at heart.
Sadly, I pay you these compliments here not for their own sake, but in the way of prefacing the less flattering remarks that are to follow.
It is clear, Michael, that you do not like Dr. Paul. I admit, given the countless hours that you spend arguing for a vastly smaller, less intrusive federal government than what we currently have, I find this puzzling. As I am sure you yourself will acknowledge, Dr. Paul is nothing if not a champion of just the “limited” or “constitutional government” to which the Republican Party routinely pays lip service. Yet talk is one thing; action another. Inasmuch as proud Republicans and self-avowed conservatives such as you spare no occasion to ridicule, mock, and criticize the one person in contemporary national politics who is genuinely, passionately committed to restoring the vision of our Founding Fathers, they risk exposing themselves as frauds.
The allegation that House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and his Republican colleagues "voted to end Medicare" is the "Lie of the Year," according to the Pulitzer Prize-winning website PolitiFact. Asserting that Rep. Ryan’s budget plan would "end Medicare," the fact-check website notes, discounts the fact that it would not apply to people 55 and older, and that the federal government would award subsidies to seniors to purchase their own private insurance plans.
But even though Medicare would remain in existence, just in a different form, Democrats and liberal critics — bloggers, columnists, political committees, politicians — repeatedly charged that the plan would eliminate Medicare altogether. The website reported:
Rep. Steve Israel of New York, head of the DCCC, appeared on cable news shows and declared that Republicans voted to "terminate Medicare." A Web video from the Agenda Project, a liberal group, said the plan would leave the country "without Medicare" and showed a Ryan look-alike pushing an old woman in a wheelchair off a cliff. And just last month, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sent a fundraising appeal that said: "House Republicans’ vote to end Medicare is a shameful act of betrayal."
Scientists in Italy studying the famed Shroud of Turin, which many Christians believe is the burial cloth of a resurrected Jesus Christ, have determined that the relic could not be a medieval fake, as has been argued by some experts who have studied the shroud in the past.
As reported by the Vatican Insider, a website following Catholic Church news, the report by scientists from Italy’s National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Development says that the “double image (front and back) of a scourged and crucified man, barely visible on the linen cloth of the Shroud of Turin, has many physical and chemical characteristics that are so particular that the staining which is identical in all its facets, would be impossible to obtain today in a laboratory.” The researchers determined that the “inability to repeat (and therefore falsify) the image on the Shroud makes it impossible to formulate a reliable hypothesis on how the impression was made.”
According to ABC News, the researchers “conducted dozens of hours of tests with X-rays and ultraviolet lights,” concluding that “no laser existed to date that could replicate the singular nature of markings on the shroud. They also said that the kind of markings on the cloth could not have come from direct contact of the body with the linen.”
Great Britain’s Prime Minister has declared of his country what President Obama has notably denied of his own. Speaking to an audience of Church of England clergy at Christ Church, Oxford during one of the many official events celebrating the 400th anniversary of the King James Version of Scripture, Prime Minister David Cameron unashamedly declared of Britain: “ … we are a Christian country,” adding that “we should not be afraid to say so.”
While he quickly emphasized that he was “not in any way saying that to have another faith — or no faith — is somehow wrong,” Cameron nonetheless acknowledged that “the Bible has helped to give Britain a set of values and morals which make Britain what it is today.”
He challenged his audience that biblical morals and values were something “we should actively stand up and defend,” warning that the “alternative of moral neutrality should not be an option. You can’t fight something with nothing — because if we don’t stand for something, we can’t stand against anything.”
On the one hand, “mainstream Republicans” are described by CNN's Jack Cafferty as “apoplectic” over the prospect of Ron Paul winning the caucuses in Iowa. On the other hand, the whole party has fallen captive to the 12-term Congressman's “radical ideology,” according to Gary Weiss on the “progressive” web site Salon.com.
“The Republican Party, falling deeper into the clutches of Ron Paul’s "radical ideology," has a new item on its anti-populist agenda: Castrate the Federal Reserve so that it no longer can promote job growth,” Weiss wrote in Thursday's column. Weiss is, well, appalled at “the extent to which Ron Paul's fixation with the Fed has infected the Republican party. Anti-Fed rhetoric, once the province of "ultra-right" (on popularly cited fallacious political spectrums) groups like The John Birch Society, has gone mainstream with the rise of Paul, who has been surging in the polls and now ranks third behind Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. He is actually leading in Iowa, and a victory there would really rev up his famously loyal followers.”
Those loyal followers, as well as other Americans, might also be a little negatively revved up about about the report of a Government Accountability Office on the Federal Reserve Bank, issued in July of this year, showing the Fed had secretly lent some $16 trillion to domestic and foreign banks since 2008.
Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) introduced his annual report, "2011 Wastebook,” noting, “This report details 100 of the countless unnecessary, duplicative, or just plain stupid projects spread throughout the federal government and paid for with your tax dollars this year.” He added, "Over the past 12 months, Washington politicians argued, debated and lamented about how to reign [sic] in the federal government’s out of control spending. All the while, Washington was on a shopping binge, spending money we do not have on things we do not need, like the $6.9 billion worth of examples provided in this report."
Of the 100 projects covered, three are especially egregious, and reflect the “spend spend spend” mentality prevalent in the halls of Congress. “The Super Bridge to Nowhere” in Alaska is one of two projected bridges which became notorious during the 2008 presidential campaign.