"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt


One of Salem Oregon's Unofficial Top 1000 Conservative Political Bloggers!!!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

ObamaCare's Popularity Sinks Further


"You will enjoy your higher health insurance rates and tax increases. I, the Leftist messiah, deem it so."


Another shocker.

From the CNS News article by  Gregory Gwyn-Williams, Jr:

Support for Obamacare has hit the lowest level since the bill was passed, the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll shows.

Overall, just 35 percent have a favorable view of Obamacare while 40 percent have an unfavorable view, which ties October 2011 poll for the lowest level ever.

Twenty-four percent have no opinion on the law which, according to Kaiser, continues a recent trend of Americans offering no opinion.

The Kaiser poll finds that, in the month of April, Americans are more divided than ever on their evaluations of the health law. Opinion remains deeply divided along partisan lines with 57 percent of Democrats favoring the law and 67 percent of Republicans opposing.

Half of the public (49 percent) say they do not have enough information to fully understand how Obamacare will impact their own family.

Sixty-five percent of Hispanics say they do not have enough information to understand the law compared with 48 percent of blacks and 45 percent of whites.

More than half of Americans (53 percent) support efforts to change or block the law, while only a third (33 percent) believe opponents should accept Obamacare as the law of the land, down from 40 percent since the beginning of the year.
Yeah, and Obama and the Dems are already making excuses. It's not the law, don't you know, it's the implementation of the law. Yeah, it's not a jerk pushing you off a cliff that's the real problem, it's hitting ground that sucks.

I want to see the numbers when ObamaCare gets fully implemented and people see unemployment and under-employment figures shoot through the roof, and when everyone's tax rates skyrocket in 2014. And all this so Americans can get worse health insurance and worse health care.

But it's the GOP's fault-- or Bush. Or greedy bankers. Or racists. Or the Tea Party. Or Emmanuel Goldstein...

According to White House Correspondent Obama Surrounds Himself with Idolizers and Lives in Bubble


"And just what will future historians remember me most for? My record levels of useless spending? My record levels of unemployment? The disaster of ObamaTax-- I mean ObamaCare? Or my reduction in median income for middle class families? Oh the possibilities..."

This not very shocking observation comes from long serving White House correspondent Kenneth T. Walsh.

From The Examiner piece by Paul Bedard:

A revealing new book from one of media's longest-serving White House correspondents reports that President Obama surrounds himself only with "idolizers," and top aides make sure that those whose views might "shake him up too much" are shoved aside.

In "Prisoners of the White House, the Isolation of America's Presidents and the Crisis of Leadership," U.S. News correspondent Kenneth T. Walsh also discloses the extent to which Obama relies on polling for his political decisions, including a never-before revealed re-election project to investigate the thoughts and feelings of "up for grabs" voters and another dedicated to helping him build a lasting legacy.

Walsh, who has covered the White House for 25 years and written several books on the presidency, credits Obama for trying to get out of the so-called "bubble," but found that instead the president often relies on a tiny cadre of Chicago aides, thus living in "a bubble within the bubble."

He called top Chicago aide Valerie Jarrett "one of the leading idolizers" who blocks the access of critics to her boss. "Jarrett has gone too far in limiting others' access to the president, according to a number of White House and congressional sources," writes Walsh in the book, due out June 1. "Her goal is to keep Obama in a cocoon of admirers who won't, in her mind, shake him up too much or present views that might be contrary to her understanding of Obama's positions."

Democratic pollster Peter Hart told Walsh that Obama is more a performer than seasoned politician. "He likes performing. He likes crowds," said the pollster. But Hart added that Obama's White House is too distant from those in Congress who can help him. "It's closed. It's insular. It's shut out."
Yeah. This seems pretty consistent to the way Obama and his administration acts.

Obama seems driven by ideology, ego and incompetence-- a great deal of the incompetence coming from his inability to accept being wrong or ignorant on a subject. This (along with baseless arrogance) seems to be a hallmark of the modern academic, and just one more reason why electing academics to political positions is incredibly stupid.

Monday, April 29, 2013

California Awards $ 1 Billion High Speed Rail Contract to Firm Partially Owned By Sen. Feinstein's Husband


"My household just loves high speed rail. Cha-ching!!"
A pure coincidence, I suppose.

Nope. No fraud or conflicts of interest here. Just move along.

From Crazifornia (h/t Doug Powers @ Michelle Malkin):

Out of the entire universe of those who could have won the first phase construction contract for California’s high speed rail boondoggle, who would stand out as the last person who would win it if there were no political patronage.

Put another way, who is the most likely person to win it if there is political patronage?Both questions have the same answer: Richard Blum, the husband of California senator Diane Feinstein.

So, who won the contract? Blum, of course, as the principle owner of Tutor Perini, the lead firm in the three-firm consortium selected by the California High Speed Rail Authority.

Yes, Diane, it really does look that bad to us little people.

A High Low Bid

The Perini-Zachary-Parsons bid was the lowest received from the five consortia participating in the bidding process, but “low” is a relative term. The firms bid $985,142,530 to build the wildly anticipated first section of high speed rail track that will tie the megopolis of Madera to the global finance center of Fresno. Do the division, and you find that the low bid came in at a mere $35 million per mile.

And that doesn’t include the cost of rolling stock (that’s engines and cars to the normal among us). Nor does it include the cost of electrifying the route. Does it at least include the cost of land acquisition? No, it does not.

As this fiasco progress, remember that this $35 million per mile represents the best California can do on the section of track the High on Crack Speed Rail Authority selected to go first because it will be the cheapest.
 
Oh, it gets better though. Perini has a reasonably long history of money laundering and conspiracy.

Just having Blum/Perini win the contract is corrupt enough. But it gets much more corrupt, says The National Black Chamber of Commerce:
According to the New York US Attorney’s office: “Following a four-week trial, a federal jury in Brooklyn yesterday (March 9, 2011) found Zohrab B. Marashlian, the former president of Perini Corp.’s Civil Division, an international construction services corporation, guilty of fraud and conspiracy to launder money. The charges arose out of Marashlian’s false representation to New York government agencies that Disadvantaged Business Entities (DBE’s) were performing work in connection with major public works contracts, when, in reality, Marashlian had non-disadvantaged businesses favored by Perini Corp. do the work.” Tutor Perini paid Marashlian $14 million in salary while all this was going on. Two days before Marashlian was to receive a multi-year prison sentence he committed suicide. A fellow employee is currently doing a long prison term for the same case.

Perini has been caught doing such things over and over again. They are absolutely ridiculous in California projects. … According to the Seattle News some of the Perini headlines read: “In February, Tutor-Saliba and Perini agreed to pay $19 million to settle racketeering and fraud allegations in a San Francisco airport project.”“The companies are embroiled in an 11 – year legal battle over $16 million in extra costs on a Los Angeles subway job.” (Emphasis added)
Eleven years for $16 million in extra costs for the L.A. subway? How long do you think the court cases involving cost overruns involving this boondoggle will be? I may not live to see an end in sight and I'm forty.

Well, just reason number 3978 for me fleeing California. But don't worry, we'll all be paying for it when California turns to the Feds for bailouts. That's coming soon.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

$2 Trillion Underground Economy Flourishing in US


The underground economy in America has nearly doubled its activity since 2009. This isn't too surprising, it's just often overlooked.

From CNBC:

The growing underground economy may be helping to prevent the real economy from sinking further, according to analysts.

The shadow economy is a system composed of those who can't find a full-time or regular job. Workers turn to anything that pays them under the table, with no income reported and no taxes paid — especially with an uneven job picture.

"I think the underground economy is quite big in the U.S.," said Alexandre Padilla, associate professor of economics at Metropolitan State University of Denver. "Whether it's using undocumented workers or those here legally, it's pretty large."

"You normally see underground economies in places like Brazil or in southern Europe," said Laura Gonzalez, professor of personal finance at Fordham University. "But with the job situation and the uncertainty in the economy, it's not all that surprising to have it growing here in the United States."

Estimates are that underground activity last year totaled as much as $2 trillion, according to a study by Edgar Feige, an economist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

That's double the amount in 2009, according to a study by Friedrich Schneider, a professor at Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria. The study said the shadow economy amounts to nearly 8 percent of U.S. gross domestic product.

Much of that money goes into cash registers, said Gonzalez, as personal consumption has risen since the recession.

"There is consumer spending in the short term, with people having money even if it's not reported, and that's boosting the economy," she said. "But in the long run, an underground economy is telling us that things have to change." 
Shadow economies are usually associated with illegal activity, such as drug dealing. But anecdotal evidence indicates that off-the-books work in today's job market includes personal and domestic workers, such as housekeepers and nannies. 
"The jobs are in service industries from small food establishments to landscaping." said David Fiorenza, an economy professor at Villanova University. "Even the arts and culture industry is not immune to working off the books in areas of music and entertainment."

It also includes firms that hire hourly or day construction labor, information technology specialists and Web designers. Many who have a job that doesn't pay enough take another one that pays under the table [emphasis mine].
Gonzalez then goes on to make a rather ridiculous statement that ties the underground economy to the need for illegal immigration reform. Kind of cute how she tries to make this issue which has really taken off since 2009 to tie directly to today's hot topic for debate. Gimme a break, Gonzalez...

Shadow economies flourish when the cost of doing business legitimately is either too costly or legally restricted. This is why the black markets prospered in places like Russia back when it was the Soviet Union, Communist China prior to 1990s economic reforms, and places with highly restrictive economic laws like Brazil. Yes, illegal immigration does have plenty to do with the underground economy in the United States. However, the fact that the underground economy has probably doubled since Obama and his regulators took office coupled with the fact that illegal immigration to the US has decreased, suggests that Obama's economic policies are to blame.

As long as Obama and his ideological amateurs continue to pass unworkable laws (ObamaCare) that hold unemployment levels high and stagnate the legal economy, the underground economy will flourish. It's just a fact.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Obama's Budget Would "Punish" Middle Class


"No new taxes on anyone making under $250,000. Um... except ObamaCare-- it's legally a tax, you know. Oh, and and on cigarettes, but that's for your own good. And on your deductions. And when I really, really need to, and when I'm spending trillions of dollars, I really need to."


Our dear president is very fond of the word "punish" in regards to those Americans he holds in low esteem. And the American Left has consistently associated the middle class with the suburbs, and boy does the Left hate the suburbs. They suck up all the money with building and maintaining highways and such when that money could be better spent lining the pockets of political cronies invested in urban area to create more Detroits.

So why would Obama not wish to punish the greedy middle class that lives isolated and blind to urban problems-- unlike those rich urban dwellers who live in gated communities and guarded high rises.

From the amusingly biased Politico article (h/t Instapundit):

President Barack Obama rarely misses a chance to call on upper-income Americans to pay more taxes.

But his annual budget is doing more to target middle-class taxpayers than any of his previous proposals, calling for caps on deductions, changes in the way some tax benefits are calculated and a big hike in cigarette taxes — all proposals that would make middle-class Americans pay more. 
[..]

“It’s a concern,” Rep. Allyson Schwartz, a Pennsylvania Democrat who represents some of Philadelphia’s suburbs, told POLITICO in reference to Obama’s proposed deduction cap. “For many people, the mortgage tax deduction is your biggest deduction. It’s very significant. And just as the housing market is coming back, there’s a question about the timing of that.”

Republicans are lapping up the proposals as evidence — despite Obama’s rhetoric — the administration won’t spare the middle class from higher taxes.

“The president keeps breaking his campaign pledge to not tax the middle class — first with his health care law and now with these tax hikes in his budget,” Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, the top GOP member on the Finance Committee, told POLITICO. “As I’ve said before, when it comes to this White House and its penchant for wanting to raise taxes, everyone — including those middle-class families the president says he wants to help — needs to watch their wallets.”

Three proposals in the budget would hit the middle class in ways the president has not previously suggested.

The president’s proposal to change the way inflation is calculated means that benefits like the earned income tax credit would grow at a slower pace. His proposed deduction cap would hit people with taxable income as low as $183,000. And, policy experts say the budget plan to raise taxes on cigarettes is regressive.
 
 I just love the way Politico constantly makes excuses, and writes off opposition as merely politically-minded. Ah, the media...

Anyway, cutting through the crap, the upshot of it all is Obama's out to raise taxes and increase spending at a phenomenal rate. A real shocker, I know.

Existing US Home Sales "Unexpectedly" Fall



It's hardly unexpected for me. A rather large number of houses are on sale in my neighborhood, most of them have been up for 6 months+. In the last year, I think I've seen one sold sign. No joke. It's a weak market and I don't think it's going to get much better any time soon.

From Bloomberg:

Previously owned U.S. home sales unexpectedly dropped in March as a lean supply of properties kept the industry from generating a stronger recovery. 
Purchases (ETSLTOTL) of existing houses, tabulated when a contract closes, fell 0.6 percent to a 4.92 million annual rate, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 75 economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected sales would increase to a 5 million rate.

A decline in the availability of distressed homes and still-tight access to credit are holding back buyers, impeding progress in a real-estate market that’s been a source of strength for the economy. Bigger gains may emerge when rising property values encourage more Americans to put their properties on the market.

“Despite some little turbulence, the residential housing market is still improving,” said Christophe Barraud, an economist at Market Securities-Kyte Group in Paris, who correctly forecast the rate of purchases. “We’re in a transition mode where distressed sales are falling and conventional sales are growing, which means stagnation in total home sales. This situation is not problematic because it shows the market is returning to normal.”

Distressed properties consist of foreclosures and short sales.

The median price of an existing home rose 11.8 percent, the most since November 2005, to $184,300 last month from $164,800 in March 2012. The gain reflected an increase in the share of sales of higher-priced dwellings compared with less-expensive properties.
I love the smoothing over of the news. I'm sure that as the U.S. median household continues to fall, and as taxes and the cost of health care rise, Americans will be all over buying houses.

In the Age of Obama, bad economic news is always unexpected. Except by those who actually engage in business and free market oriented economics.


Monday, April 22, 2013

No Apologies Expected Nor Accepted


But what other kind of comments would you expect from the Left?


From Gateway Pundit

Branco Cartoon from Legal Insurrection

Friday, April 19, 2013

Boston Marathon Bombers IDed and in Shootout with Police?



A lot of rumors are circulating right now, so who knows the truth.

But Ed Driscoll at PJ Media has the following:

12:50 AM PDT: “One suspect apprehended, another remains on the loose,” the Boston Globe reports on their primary Website:
One suspect in Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings has been apprehended, according to an official with knowledge of the investigation. Another appears to remain on the loose in Watertown after a firefight with police. A 20-block perimeter was established as authorities searched for him.
A scene of chaos descended on Cambridge and Watertown late Thursday night and early Friday morning, as police confirmed an MIT police officer was shot and killed, and an apparent carjacking led police on a frenetic chase into Watertown. Hundreds of police officer flooded Cambridge and Watertown.
A spokesman for the MBTA said that a transit officer had been shot and was in serious condition.
Witnesses in Watertown said they heard explosions. Police officers were screaming about improvised explosive devices.
Massachusetts State Police spokesman David Procopio said early Friday that the violent events at MIT and Watertown appeared to be connected, and that federal authorities were investigating whether the violence of Thursday night and Friday was connected to the marathon bombings.
At least one of the suspects in Watertown appeared to be a man in his 20s.
FBI agents were on the scene.
“We are aware of the situation, we are being involved, and we are monitoring,” said an FBI representative who requested anonymity because of not being authorized to speak publicly. The FBI source said early Friday it is “too early to speculate” on a relation to the Marathon bombing.
WCVB is reporting that there will shortly be a controlled detonation of a captured IED by law enforcement officials in Watertown. It will “take place near Dexter and Laurel Sts shortly. There will be air horn before blast,” Dan Riehl adds, from the same report.

“FOX NEWS NOW REPORTING #BOSTON BOMBING SUSPECT NUMBER ONE HAS BEEN PRONOUNCED DEAD AT HOSPITAL,” Stacy McCain tweets. That’s the suspect in the black hat in the FBI photos. “White hat suspect at large,” Edward Davis, Boston Police Commissioner, adds.

For those keeping score at home, Ace blogs:
CLAIM: I’m hearing that the Scanner has confirmed that White Hat was indeed Sumil Tripathi, a Brown student who walked away from his life last month and disappeared. Who is the guy the internet has been buzzing about. I think people at Reddit first forwarded him as a suspect.
12:58 AM PDT: “BREAKING: NBC’s Kerry Sanders reports SWAT teams responding to building in Watertown because multiple motion detectors have gone off,” NewsBreaker tweets. Another Twitter user adds, “NBC’s Kerry Sanders reports 2nd suspect may be inside Watertown building where motion detectors have gone off; SWAT on the way.”

WCVB reporting that the building is lit-up with police spotlights.

1:20 AM PDT: From CBS-Boston, “Here is the latest information in a press release from the Middlesex District Attorney:”
Police are investigating a fatal shooting of MIT campus police officer by two men who then committed an armed carjacking in Cambridge, Middlesex Acting District Attorney Michael Pelgro, Cambridge Police Commissioner Robert Haas, and MIT Police Chief John DiFava announced this evening.
At approximately 10:20 p.m. April 18, police received reports of shots fired on the MIT campus. At 10:30 p.m., an MIT campus police officer was found shot in his vehicle in the area of Vassar and Main streets. According to authorities, the officer was found evidencing multiple gunshot wounds. He was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital and pronounced deceased.
Authorities launched an immediate investigation into the circumstances of the shooting. The investigation determined that two males were involved in this shooting.
A short time later, police received reports of an armed carjacking by two males in the area of Third Street in Cambridge. The victim was carjacked at gunpoint by two males and was kept in the car with the suspects for approximately a half hour. The victim was released at a gas station on Memorial Drive in Cambridge. He was not injured.
Police immediately began a search for the vehicle and were in pursuit of the vehicle into Watertown. At that time, explosive devices were reportedly thrown from car by the suspects. The suspects and police also exchanged gunfire in the area of Dexter and Laurel streets. During this pursuit, an MBTA Police officer was seriously injured and transported to the hospital.
During the pursuit, one suspect was critically injured and transported to the hospital where he was pronounced deceased. An extensive manhunt is ongoing in the Watertown area for the second suspect, who is believed to be armed and dangerous.
The case is being investigated by local, state and federal authorities working in cooperation. The Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad is assessing and removing any potentially explosive devices that may have been thrown on the street in Watertown by the suspects.
The investigation remains active and ongoing.
No further information is available at this time.
“Authorities have not officially said if those incidents are related to the Marathon suspects, but the Boston Globe reported that one bombing suspect is in custody and investigators are still looking for the second one,” CBS-Boston adds.

WCVB is currently running a press conference with law enforcement officials who say that no controlled detonation will be taking place.
I'm going to wait until we get a lot further into Friday before I come to any conclusions, but things look promising.

UPDATE: Looks like the news was sorta right this time. One suspect is dead, the other is on the run. According to NBC, the two suspects are apparently brothers with the last name of Tsarnez. A headline banner's trumpeting that the two are from Chechnya, but that remains to be seen. The AP is also tweeting that two are from Russia near Chechnya.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Failure of Obama's Gun Push in Senate Offers Real Hope



"I was 'ready to rule' from the beginning. You shall be subject to my Hope & Change, I swear it. Both you, and one day, your heirs!!"


In the age of "Hope and Change" since Obama's election, there's been precious little hope. Meanwhile, the change we've been treated has been monstrously huge and unpopular laws being passed (ObamaCare), astronomical spending, a ramping up of class warfare rhetoric, a decline in the median income of the middle class, expensive and disastrous "Green" programs whose favors were doled out to political contributors/supporters, while 7%+ unemployment and $3.50 for a gallon of gas being referred to as the new normal-- all this as most of the mainstream media have transformed themselves into bitter and angry political cheerleaders.

Yet, even after Obama administration and the media pulled out every stop in its media blitz, and in the process sunk to new depths in exploiting the death of schoolchildren, the much-heralded Senate gun control bill failed.

Investors Business Daily had this take:

Gun ownership restrictions that the president said were supported by 90% of the nation have died in a Senate controlled by his party. Exploiting Newtown is haunting the power grabbers.

Just last week it was a political no-brainer. "Ninety percent of Americans support universal background checks," President Obama asserted yet again. This time he was at the University of Hartford, less than an hour's drive from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Ct., where 20 students and six staff members were slaughtered just before Christmas. With Obama were many of the Newtown victims' parents.

[...]

He challenged Congress: "If our democracy is working the way it's supposed to, and 90% of the American people agree on something, in the wake of a tragedy you'd think this would not be a heavy lift."

Turns out that our republic is working the way it's supposed to. A Gallup poll asking what's the most important problem facing the country shows why what the president is trying to do is indeed a "heavy lift" — only 4% in both April and March cited "guns/gun control," down from 6% in February.

The "economy in general" at 24%, "unemployment/jobs" at 18%, "dissatisfaction with government" at 16% and "federal budget deficit/federal debt" at 11% all dwarfed concerns about guns. And the problems of "health care," three years after ObamaCare was passed, and "ethical/moral/family decline" are both more worrisome to the public than gun control.

As moderate Democratic senators, especially those facing re-election next year, run away from gun-restriction legislation, it's no mystery what's happened.

As Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said on Wednesday, "in some cases" the president has used Newtown victims and their families as props. While still grieving, they were flown on Air Force One to lobby Congress, with the president repeatedly insisting -- yelling, in fact -- that "this is not about politics!"

There is something repugnant about the parents of murdered children being exploited several months later. It's especially distasteful when the victims' parents are hardly unanimous on gun control. Note Mark Mattioli, who compellingly called for well-trained, on-site armed guards to protect schoolchildren as a more effective alternative to new gun laws.

Even some of the most pro-gun control Democrats, notably Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, whose 1994 assault weapons ban failed ignominiously, admit as much. Intensified background checks, she conceded, "would not have prevented the tragedy in Newtown."

Well then, why should Newtown be the rationale to rush such a government power grab into law?
 
Perhaps it was public distaste that turned the tables on the Obama/media push. Perhaps it was the simple fact that the vast majority of Americans do not believe that gun control is the answer to problems of either crime or mass shootings. Obama's oft quoted 90% of the people favor new gun control nonsense seems pulled out of thin air.

And, of course, the fact that Americans are more concerned about the economy, unemployment, and the general amount of the frequent out-and-out lies coming from the federal governament was significant.

Or maybe, just maybe, people are beginning to recognize Obama's ongoing political campaign, disguised as political policy, for what it is-- a constant power grab against people's rights and property. Perhaps a significant portion of the low information citizens now see through Obama's simple reductive ploys, and his strawman arguments. Perhaps these same people will no longer view those standing up to Obama's vision of an enormous, redistributive government as mere backwards fools motivated by racism.

Maybe.

As I''ve said many times before, Obama's Leftist policies simply do not work. They have been tried numerous times before and have always failed miserably. There has never been a question of Obama's success. There has simply been a a question of just how much misery his failures will cause, and whether he and the media will be able to scapegoat their responsibility onto political opponents or targets of opportunity.

Perhaps this political loss for Obama has offered a glimmer of hope that low information America is wising up. Perhaps the misery in the years ahead-- misery that ObamaCare, the naivety of Obama's State Department, and this administration's reckless spending and ignorance of actual economics basically guarantee-- will not be allowed to be used as a catalyst for further harmful change.

It's a stretch. But maybe. And at this point I'm grabbing whatever hope I can.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Daily Mail Reports Obama Cut Budget for Domestic Bombing Prevention by 45%




Nice.

From the Daily Mail article by David Martosko:

Barack Obama's administration has cut the budget nearly in half for preventing domestic bombings, MailOnline can reveal.

Under President George W. Bush, the Department of Homeland Security had $20 million allocated for preventing the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by terrorists working inside the United States. The current White House has cut that funding down to $11 million.
That assessment comes from Robert Liscouski, a former Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection, in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15 that killed three Americans and injured at least 173 others.
He told MailOnline that the Obama-era DHS is, on the whole, about as well-positioned as it was during the Bush administration to handle the aftermath of the April 15 bombings in Boston, 'but the Obama administration has continued to cut the budget for offices such as the Office for Bombing Prevention from $20 million started under Bush, to $11 million today.'

[...]

White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Joshua Earnest didn't respond to a question about whether there were any failures in the president's National Policy for Countering Improvised Explosive Devices, or whether it was too soon to judge the February 2013 policy's effectiveness.
He referred MailOnline's questions about the president's February policy statement to DHS, where public affairs officer Brian Hyer didn't immediately provide answers to questions.

Earnest also didn't respond to a question about how much money Obama's current budget proposal, delivered to Congress on April 10, allocates for domestic prevention of terrorist bombing attacks on American soil.
But the February White House policy document acknowledged that 'the threat from IED use is likely to remain high in the coming decade and will continue to evolve in response to our abilities to counter them.'
 
I guess when running up those trillions of dollars of debt, Obama overlooked preventing bombings. Or maybe he just thought that he really could make things better with Islamists by an apology tour and wishing everyone a Happy Nowruz... oh, and he claims to be black so that makes a big difference to terrorists everywhere.

Gallup: Only 4% of Americans Think Guns & Gun Control are Important Problems


"I don't care what the rest of you think. I want gun control and I want it NOW!! I mean, it's for the sake of the children... just like the stimulus and my trillion dollar spending sprees."


And that's after a major media push.

From the CNS News article by Michael James:

Only 4 percent of Americans think guns and gun control are an important problem facing the country, according to Gallup, and far more Americans are concerned about the economy, unemployment and the federal debt.

In its poll from Apr. 4-7, Gallup surveyed 1,005 adults by telephone and asked, “What do you think is the most important problem facing the country today?”

Respondents answered in the following order:

Economy in general 24%
Unemployment/Jobs 18%
Dissatisfaction with Government 16%
Federal budget deficit/Federal debt 11%
Healthcare 6%
Ethical/Moral/Family decline 5%
Immigration/Illegal aliens 4%
Education 4%
Guns/Gun control 4%
Situation with North Korea 4%
Lack of Money 3%
Welfare 2%
Lack of respect for each other 2%
Poverty/Hunger/Homelessness 2%
Foreign aid/Focus overseas 2%
Taxes 2%

Despite the Obama administration’s strong push for more gun control legislation, few Americans are concerned about the issue.

As Gallup reports, “Few Americans mention guns or immigration as the most important problems facing the nation today, despite the current attention lawmakers in Washington are giving to these issues. The economy still dominates as the top concern, followed by jobs and dissatisfaction with the general way in which Congress and the government work.”
 
Of course Obama has failed miserably when working with Congress, preferring instead to run a continuous smear campaign and to indulge in class warfare to to shift blame from his amateur hour policies. And of course Obama's dealings with the the economy and debt have been utter failures. Indeed Obama is preparing to deal America a tremendous blow when ObamaCare begins to kick in full force in 2014.

Clearly Obama and the Dems don't want the economy and government functions in the limelight, so they ignore the whole thing and go after the next item on the Leftist agenda-- gun control. Play to the base, and blame all problems on the GOP, the Tea Party, racism, Bush, and anything else handy.

Pathetic.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Terrorist Bombs Explode During Boston Marathon; Members of Left Media Immediately Implicate American Right


Never let a crisis-- nor a tragedy-- go to waste.

While police, rightfully, remain tight-lipped about who the suspect of the Boston Marathon Bombing might be, within mere hours the Left media has gone into overdrive blaming "waterer[s] of the tree of liberty and the like," for the attack.

From Dana Loesch writing at Red State:

The practice of journalism as an objective excercise[sic] is dead. It has been for some time, if it ever existed.

Not hours after the bombings did these vultures begin spinning:
Charles Pierce at Esquire:
BOSTON — This is just breaking, but at least two explosions occurred in downtown Boston near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Several people were injured and two have been reported dead. There are reports of people missing limbs. Obviously, nobody knows anything yet, but I would caution folks jumping to conclusions about foreign terrorism to remember that this is the official Patriots Day holiday in Massachusetts, celebrating the Battles at Lexington and Concord, and that the actual date (April 19) was of some significance to, among other people, Tim McVeigh, because he fancied himself a waterer of the tree of liberty and the like.
Peter Bergen at CNN targets “right wing groups”:

Huffington Post blogger and Al Sharpton radio producer Nida Khan:

Here’s a superintendent of Wisconsin schools – included not because he’s media, but because this man is in charge of shaping young minds. Haven’t they already had a scandal?

Chris Matthews chimed in: video. So did Youtube-demoted Cenk Uygur.
Nick Kristof of the New York Times:

This isn’t journalism. This is speculation. It’s hackneyed. It’s malicious, unprofessional, and dangerous. The lack of professionalism demonstrated by the above should be enough to shame them forever from the profession, but the profession now thrives on tabloid-level “reporting.”
After a tragedy the normal person responds by falling to their knees in prayer. The compassionate person responds with concern for the affected. The professional reports the facts and differentiates between speculation and confirmation.
While Loesch blames the lack of professionalism-- a not altogether incorrect response-- the problem goes much deeper than that. These people really and truly believe that the American Right is just that one step away from declaring a dictatorship of the "American Taliban" in this country. Frankly, they're victims of their own propaganda, deceivers who have been able to deceive themselves along with low information voters.

By downplaying the numerous terrorist threats attempted and perpetrated by both the Islamists (9/11, the shoe bomber, the Portland Ore. Christmas tree lighting bomber, etc.) and the hard Left (Weather Underground, Unabomber, Occupy members plots to destroy bridges in Cleveland, the Washington DC shooting at the Family Research Center, etc.), they have created a distorted view of reality that they truly believe. It provides the excuse for some of the appalling vitriol, death threats over twitter, and the occasional plot or act of domestic terrorism.

Their intentional divisiveness often overshadows the simple fact that the Left media continues to exist and thrive in a fictitious modern world of Jim Crow-era racism and unrealized fears of a patriot terrorist movement, a la the deplorable White Supremacist Turner Diaries (no link to trash like that will be given).

While we Americans should be united in shock and sorrow over this senseless act of terrorism, the Left continues to reflexively divide and blame due to both their "blame-the-opponent" mentality-- something baked into the essence of their political philosophy, and as victims of their own propaganda.

This was a violent attack against the innocent on American soil. As Americans, we should be united in grief and outrage. We should then crave for the truth regarding this inexcusable attack and demand that justice be done. Instead we are treated to malicious speculation, pre-calculated political attacks, and grievance mongering within moments of the explosions. It is pathetic, without human compassion, and disgusting.

How far we have fallen in such a short time.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Rev. Wright's Daughter Indicted for Money Laundering and Making False Statements


Jeri L. Wright

And it involves government grants. Shocking, I know.

From the SouthtownStar article by Dave McKinney and Casey Toner (h/t Instapundit):

The daughter of President Barack Obama’s former pastor was indicted Wednesday on charges of money laundering and lying to federal investigators in an expanding 2009 state grant-fraud case 
Jeri L. Wright, daughter of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, was accused of participating in a fraud scheme allegedly orchestrated by former Country Club Hills Police Chief Regina Evans and her husband involving a $1.25 million state job-training grant geared toward minorities.
 
Jeri Wright, 47, of Hazel Crest, was charged with two counts of money laundering, two counts of making false statements to federal law enforcement officers and seven counts of giving false testimony before a grand jury.
 
A federal grand jury handed down the multi-pronged indictments Wednesday that accused Jeri Wright of engaging in a series of bank transactions in November 2009 in which she cashed more than $27,800 in checks drawn from the bank account of a non-profit the Evans controlled and from which the state funds had been deposited.
 
The indictment described Jeri Wright as a “close friend and associate” of Evans and her husband, Ronald W. Evans, Jr.
 
With that cash in hand, Jeri Wright then allegedly deposited $19,888 of that total into the personal bank account belonging to Evans and her husband, “knowing that the property involved in the financial transaction represented the proceeds of some form of unlawful activity,” the indictment alleged.
 
When interviewed by federal investigators in August and October of 2012 and again before a federal grand jury, Jeri Wright “did knowingly make false statements” about where those state funds eventually wound up, the indictment alleged.
 
Rather than depositing the money into the Evans’ personal bank account, Jeri Wright claimed the funds represented several months of salary she was owed from working for the Evans’ state-funded non-profit, We Are Our Brother’s Keeper, and that those dollars were used to pay her mortgage and car loan, the indictment alleged.
 
“I wasn’t giving any money back to Regina,” Jeri Wright told the grand jury in a transcript that was part of the indictment. “I worked.”
 
But a federal prosecutor pressed her on whether she reported the money on her taxes, which she denied doing.
 
“I’m still waiting for the 1099,” Jeri Wright said.
 
“You don’t have to have a 1099 to report it,” the prosecutor countered.
 
“Well, I know that now,” she responded on the grand jury transcript that was part of Wednesday’s indictment.
 
In an earlier interview with the SouthtownStar, Jeri Wright described herself as “close to Regina Evans as a blood relative” and said her work for Evans’ non-profit involved setting up field trips to construction sites and bringing in speakers.
 
She denied any knowledge of the group’s finances.
[...]
 
Jeri Wright’s indictment was part of three indictments returned Wednesday by the grand jury that has been investigating the Evans for allegedly skimming off more than half of the $1.25 million in state grant funds that were to have been used as part of the rehab of the Regal Theater on the South Side.
 
The Evans were hit with a superseding indictment alleging three counts of wire fraud, seven counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering.
 
The third indictment accused Regina Evans and her brother, Rickey McCoy, 52, of Chicago — who was the executive director of We Are Our Brother’s Keeper — of obstructing justice, witness tampering and conspiracy. Additionally, McCoy faces three new counts of money laundering.
 
The indictment alleged on Nov. 12, 2009, McCoy cashed a check worth $16,249 drawn from the non-profit’s bank account and deposited that money into the personal bank account controlled by his sister and her husband.
 
Evans and her husband were first charged in 2012 by federal prosecutors in Springfield and accused of misappropriating more than half of the $1.25 million in state grant money between February 2009 and June 2010.
 
The couple had political clout.
 
State Sen. Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) helped them obtain the grant money and in March 2010 urged the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity not to yank their grant funds because of questionable spending.
 
Trotter, who in his letter described the Evans’ non-profit as a “community necessity,” denied knowledge of any wrongdoing on the Evans’ part when he wrote the letter trying to defend their state grant money.
 
Despite their indictment, Trotter last year called Evans and her husband as “decent people.” The senator has not been accused of wrongdoing.
Ah, well... Some people with political clout in Chicago pocketing government funds. Who knew such things happened in The Windy City?

You know, when there are billions (and now proposed trillions) of dollars thrown about in programs and grants, who's going to miss a few hundred thousand skimmed off the top? It's just shrinkage. Right?

Am I wrong, or is this becoming a more prevailing attitude?

Iranian Scientist Claims to have Invented "Time Machine"



Possible American version of Iranian Time Machine

Well, it's not so much a time machine as it is a "Psychic Friend Hotline" machine.

From The Telegraph article by :

Ali Razeghi, a Tehran scientist has registered "The Aryayek Time Traveling Machine" with the state-run Centre for Strategic Inventions.
The device can predict the future in a print out after taking readings from the touch of a user, he told the Fars state newsagency.
 
Razaeghi, 27, said the device worked by a set of complex algorithims to "predict five to eight years of the future life of any individual, with 98 percent accuracy".
As the managing director of Iran's Centre for Strategic Inventions, Razeghi is a serial inventor with 179 other inventions listed under his own name. "I have been working on this project for the last 10 years," he said.
 
"My invention easily fits into the size of a personal computer case and can predict details of the next 5-8 years of the life of its users. It will not take you into the future, it will bring the future to you."

Razeghi says Iran's government can predict the possibility of a military confrontation with a foreign country, and forecast the fluctuation in the value of foreign currencies and oil prices by using his new invention.

"Naturally a government that can see five years into the future would be able to prepare itself for challenges that might destabilise it," he said. "As such we expect to market this invention among states as well as individuals once we reach a mass production stage."

Razeghi said his latest project has been criticised by friends and relatives for "trying to play God" with ordinary lives and history. "This project is not against our religious values at all. The Americans are trying to make this invention by spending millions of dollars on it where I have already achieved it by a fraction of the cost," he said. "The reason that we are not launching our prototype at this stage is that the Chinese will steal the idea and produce it in millions overnight."

As much as I would like to dispute Razeghi's claim that the Americans have been working on own their Psychic Friends Hotline machine, he's very likely correct. Somewhere there's probably some university professor or a team working on future prediction algorithms for a $1,000,000+ grant. Untouched by the sequester cuts, no doubt.

Priorities.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

James Taranto's Take on Obama's Gun Control Speech


"This isn't about me, but rather pushing my statist agenda while standing on the backs of slain children."

Sorry. I've been side-lined with a stomach virus and also closely watching the gun debate in my state of Oregon. I'm also making contingency plans on moving to Texas-- and that may not be a joke.

Anyway, check out James Taranto's column from The Wall Street Journal on Obama's puerile gun control speech. Why any thinking human being gives him a pass for standing on the graves of dead children is beyond me. I guess it's the message of disarming law-abiding American citizens that's really important.

From Taranto:

The guys at CBS News have a sense of humor. The Web headline on their story about President Obama's antigun speech yesterday in Hartford, Conn., reads: "Obama on Gun Debate: 'This Isn't About Me.' " That reminded someone on Twitter of the same network's headline from July 20, 2009: "Obama on Health Care: 'This Isn't About Me.' "

Try to imagine how soul-ravagingly tedious an Obama speech would be if it were about him. We dare you.

Obama's speech, at once demagogic and pathetic, reminded us of Mayor Michael Nutter's efforts to censor a different kind of magazine, which we noted last month. Like Nutter, Obama is seeking to restrain law-abiding individuals from exercising their constitutional rights in ways the liberal left disapproves. And like Nutter's effort, Obama's is unlikely to succeed.

Here's an example of the president's demagogy:
Ninety percent of Americans support universal background checks. Think about that. How often do 90% of Americans agree on anything? And yet, 90% agree on this--Republicans, Democrats, folks who own guns, folks who don't own guns; 80% of Republicans, more than 80% of gun owners, more than 70% of NRA households. It is common sense.
And yet, there is only one thing that can stand in the way of change that just about everybody agrees on, and that's politics in Washington. You would think that with those numbers Congress would rush to make this happen. That's what you would think. If our democracy is working the way it's supposed to, and 90% of the American people agree on something, in the wake of a tragedy you'd think this would not be a heavy lift.
And yet, some folks back in Washington are already floating the idea that they may use political stunts to prevent votes on any of these reforms. Think about that. They're not just saying they'll vote "no" on ideas that almost all Americans support. They're saying they'll do everything they can to even prevent any votes on these provisions. They're saying your opinion doesn't matter. And that's not right.
At this point, the audience boos, and Obama leads them in a chant of "We want a vote!" So let's see if we have this straight: 90% of the public agrees with Obama's position, yet it can't get a vote because opponents are playing politics? One or the other of these statements may be true, or both may be false, but they can't both be true.
Hmm. Obama seems to believe that 90% of Americans agree with Obama on just about everything, from centralizing health care to the economy to betraying Israel. Yet, he never bothers to show us any polls. Color me skeptical at this guy's statistics. I wonder if he meant that 90% of the screened Obama supporters that he ships to these rallies agree with him?

By the way, doesn't "demagogic and pathetic" accurately describe Obama's administration in general? Oh, and just about every academic Leftist I've met in the last five years?