Saturday, December 29, 2012

New Year's predictions for California

It’s hard to find good news for the state’s taxpayers or business owners, although the state’s public-sector unions ought to be stocking up on champagne. - Steven Greenhut/OC Register

California's Democratic leaders are giddy about the future now that they have gained everything they wanted in the recent election – voter-approved tax increases and two-thirds supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature, thus rendering Republicans little more than an annoying irrelevancy who can no longer block tax hikes.

Will Democrats just ramp up the taxing-and-spending spree or will some semblance of a "moderate" Democratic caucus emerge to offer a limited check on those tendencies? Either way, it's hard to find good news for taxpayers or business owners, although the state's public-sector unions ought to be stocking up on champagne.

Given that backdrop, I offer some subdued predictions for the new year.

No. 1: Gov. Jerry Brown and the legislative leadership will continue to argue that the state government is on a bare-bones diet and, therefore, continue to look for additional revenue to fund it, regardless of mounting evidence of waste and excess.

No. 2: The state's optimistic budget projections will not come to pass...

No. 3: Democratic leaders will begin increasing every tax imaginable to fill the budget gap, in what will amount to death by a thousand cuts....

No. 4: Legislators will make good on their promise to "reform" the referendum and initiative process, thus assuring that there will be less opportunity for voters – who still tend to be more conservative in their votes on ballot measures than for candidates – to keep a Democratic majority in check.

No. 5: Waves of California millionaires and business owners will throw in the towel given that there's no longer anybody to protect them....

No. 6: We'll see a return of every bad policy idea, including some resurrected version of redevelopment agencies – those property-rights-abusing, central-planning agencies that Brown eliminated last year as he sought new funds. Now that there's no problem with raising taxes, Brown and legislative leaders will bring them back. California will become an even bigger laboratory for crazy proposals.... More at the link.
◼ Oct 25, 2011 CA Debt: $612 billion – CA Media Totally Silent
◼ Sep 3, 2012 Ouch! Total State Debt Tops $4 Trillion Dollars, California Ranked ... - HotAir Greenroom
California again trumped other states with a $617 billion debt. California’s debt is more than twice the size of New York‘s state debt, and New York has the second largest total debt burden in the nation. Texas, Illinois, and New Jersey rounded out the top five states with the most debt. Although New York and Texas moved up one and two spots, respectively, the states with the five largest debts remained unchanged from last year’s report....
◼ Sep 21, 2012 'Wall Of Debt' Threatens California: Independent Study - IB Times

Big Wind Meets an Ill Wind

The answer to our electricity needs is not blowin’ in the wind. - Peter Hannaford/American Spectator 12.28.12

Four years ago, Shell Wind Energy, a unit of the oil company, looked for a suitable site for a wind farm on the Northern California coast. Its scouts found a large acreage — cattle pastures — high on the hills about six miles from the town of Ferndale. They secured permission from the rancher-owners to use the land and announced the project. All hell broke loose.

The local weekly in the tight-knit town was flooded with concerned letters to the editor: One of two narrow roads into the hill area carried all the daily traffic of a large hinterland; the other was largely dirt. They would be clogged for months with construction trucks. Wind turbine blades will kill thousands of birds. The constant noise of the turning blades will keep local ranch families awake. The wind farm will spoil the view and forever alter the bucolic nature of the land.

Protest meetings followed. Shell representatives tried to allay fears. They even talked about carrying the huge blades to the site by helicopter to avoid using the roads. Nothing worked. The town passed a resolution opposing the project. Shell finally threw in the towel, saying the project would be uneconomical.

Increasingly, this seems to be the fate of Big Wind, one of the two mainstays of President Obama’s “alternative energy” plan. The other is solar energy where the Obama Administration’s record is one mostly of failures. For the federal government to subsidize research and development of promising technologies is one thing, but acting as a venture capitalist is quite another. It thought it picked winners, but got losers by throwing dollars at several failing solar panel manufacturers.

The wind farm business is now feeling the cumulative effects of opposition by neighbors and potential neighbors, bird lovers and people who oppose inefficient, uneconomical government projects.

Take the NIMBY aspect. From the left, the newsletter and website CounterPunch reports on several protests. In July a group blocked a road as part of an effort to stop construction of a 21-turbine farm on a mountain top. In October, residents near Utica, New York, sued the owners of a wind project, asserting the turbines gave them headaches, interrupted sleep, and endangered property values. In 2011, an Environmental Review Panel in Ontario, Canada, after studying a new wind facility, concluded that such things can cause harm to humans “if placed too close to residents.”

As for killing birds, there is plenty for Audubon and PETA people to complain about. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service estimates that an estimated 440,000 birds are killed by turbine blades annually. The Alameda County, California, Community Development Agency estimates that 2,400 raptors and 7,500 other birds are killed annually in the Altamont Pass turbine farm east of Oakland, through which I-80 passes.

The most ardent environmentalists are implacable in their opposition to fossil fuels and so, apparently, is Barack Obama. The world’s demand for electricity, however, continues to grow and solar panels and wind turbines cannot possibly meet that demand.

The underlying argument for using wind power is that it reduces carbon dioxide.

If one believes the global warming (“climate change”) theory, it follows that one believes humans are causing it by their use of hydrocarbons. Thus, wind farms reduce emissions.

Can they produce enough energy to reduce the use of natural gas, oil, nuclear?

In a word, no. The International Energy Agency estimates that the world’s demand for electricity will grow every year over the next two decades by the equivalent of Brazil’s annual usage. (Brazil uses about 475 tetrawatt hours a year.) The world’s total wind turbine energy output in 2011 was 437 tetrawatts, of which the U.S. share was a little under 20 percent. So, just to keep up with demand (without displacing any of the traditional energy sources) the world’s wind energy industry would have to develop five times the 2011 U.S. capacity every year for years to come. That’s a definition of Mission Impossible.
About the Author: Peter Hannaford was closely associated for a number of years with the late President Reagan, beginning in the California Governor’s office. His latest book is Presidential Retreats.

$1 Trillion Obamacare Tax Hike Hitting on Jan. 1

On January 1, regardless of the outcome of fiscal cliff negotiations, Americans will be hit with a $1 trillion Obamacare tax hike. - Americans for Tax Reform

Obamacare contains twenty new or higher taxes. Five of the taxes hit for the first time on January 1. In total, Americans face a net $1 trillion tax hike for the years 2013-2022, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

"Gunmen suspected to belong to a radical Islamist sect attacked a village in northeast Nigeria, tying up men, women and children before slitting their throats, killing at least 15"

Obama refuses to designate the Muslim group waging jihad in Nigeria and responsible for thousands of gruesome murders a "terrorist group." He leaves that label to tea partiers. - Atlas Shrugs

At Least 15 Killed in Sect Attack in North Nigeria - ABC News

The assault happened early Friday morning in the village of Musari on the outskirts of Maiduguri, the city where the sect known as Boko Haram first launched its guerrilla campaign of shootings and car bombings against Nigeria's weak central government. The gunmen shouted religious slogans and later ordered those there to be gathered up into a group, said Mshelia Inusa, a primary school teacher in the village.

"We heard some people chanting, 'God is great, God is great' amid sounds of banging on doors of houses at about 1 a.m.," the teacher said. "A voice was heard ordering people to be slaughtered and also voices of children were heard screaming."

Inusa said he and others later saw corpses with their hands tied behind their backs and their throats cut....

More than 780 people have been killed in Boko Haram attacks so far this year, according to an Associated Press count, making 2012 the worst year of violence attributed to the group. Boko Haram also has loose connections with al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and Somalia's al-Shabab, according to Western military officials and diplomats.

France's highest court overturns 75% tax on ultrarich

Embattled French President Francois Hollande suffered a fresh setback Saturday when France's highest court threw out a plan to tax the ultrawealthy at a 75 percent rate, saying it was unfair. - AP

In a stinging rebuke to one of Socialist Hollande's flagship campaign promises, the constitutional council ruled Saturday that the way the highly contentious tax was designed was unconstitutional. It was intended to hit incomes over €1 million ($1.32 million).

The largely symbolic measure would have only hit a tiny number of taxpayers and brought in an estimated €100 million to €300 million - an insignificant amount in the context of France's roughtly €85 billion deficit.

French star Gérard Depardieu moves to Belgium to escape French taxes... - FOX/NY

The Socialist government under French President Francois Hollande has infuriated many ultra-rich in France by presenting a 2013 budget that would tax top earners at 75 percent over the first €1 million of annual income. Belgium's top rate is 50 percent.

Actor Depardieu puts Paris house up for sale - Reuters

An angry member of parliament has proposed that France adopt a U.S.-inspired law that would force Depardieu or anyone trying to escape full tax dues to forego their nationality.

Gérard Depardieu has declared that he will return his French passport and leave his homeland, in an exasperated letter where he fired back at the French government's criticism of his decision to move to Belgium. - Devorah Lauter, Paris/Telegraph

"I am handing over to you my passport and social security, which I have never used," he said. "We no longer have the same homeland, I am a true European, a citizen of the world, as my father always taught me to believe."

He concludes: "Despite my excesses, my appetite and love for life, I am a free being, Sir, and will remain polite."

...Depardieu said his reasons for renouncing his citizenship are due in part to fundamental disagreements with the current Socialist-led government, which has introduced several new tax hikes, including a 75 per cent tax on millionaire earners.

France warms to Gérard Depardieu, the heroic exile - Anne-Elisabeth Moutet/Telegraph

The symbolism has not been lost on the French. When France’s richest man, Bernard Arnault, the CEO and main shareholder of the luxury behemoth LVMH, applied for Belgian citizenship last August, it was easy for Socialists to paint him as an unpatriotic, despicable fat cat. “Get lost, you rich b------” blasted a headline on the front page of Libération, the Left-wing daily, effectively capturing the national mood.

But Depardieu is a vastly different proposition from a wealthy tycoon and former asset-stripper whose children’s weddings warrant 10-page spreads in society magazines. When Jean-Marc Ayrault, France’s prime minister, contemptuously called him “a pathetic loser”, Depardieu shot back with an open letter published on Sunday. “I was born in 1948,” he wrote, “I started working aged 14, as a printer, as a warehouseman, then as an actor, and I’ve always paid my taxes.” Over 45 years, Depardieu said, he had paid 145 million euros in tax, and to this day employs 80 people. Last year he paid taxes amounting to 85 per cent of his income. “I am neither worthy of pity nor admirable, but I shall not be called 'pathetic’,” he concluded, saying that he was sending back his French passport.

ISSA: Washington spenders flunk basic math

Raising taxes won’t avoid ‘fiscal cliff’ - Rep. Darrell E. Issa/Washington Times

So much time and energy is being spent advancing the myth that raising taxes is the best way to avoid falling off the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

If you raised taxes on the top income bracket, you would generate around $1 trillion over 10 years. The past four years under President Obama have resulted in trillion-dollar deficits each year. At this rate, in 10 years we’re looking at $10 trillion in new debt. At best, the “tax-the-rich” proposal is just a 10 percent solution.

Let’s take this tax-more, spend-more approach to the extreme. If you return everyone to the Clinton-era tax rates, you’re still left with a 10-year, $2.3 trillion deficit, and that’s assuming everything stays as it is right now, and Washington breaks its trend of spending more every year. (Even if we go over the fiscal cliff and return to Clinton-era tax rates, we’re still left with at least a $2.3 trillion deficit over the next 10 years.) The bottom line is this: Under no proposed scenario does raising taxes eliminate the deficit and return us to a balanced budget. The problem is government spending.

This fixation with tax increases is doing a huge disservice to the American people because it ignores the real crisis: government spending. By now, you know all too well that government spends more than it takes in. The federal government is spending more per household than ever before. Since 1965, spending per household has grown by 152 percent....

I can guarantee you this: It won’t stop here, it won’t stop with just the “1 percent” or the “2 percent.” There will never be enough to satisfy this insatiable appetite to spend more.

That’s what’s really at stake right now.

The other side tries to boil this down into a seven-second sound bite about taxing the rich and people paying their fair share. In 2009, the top 10 percent of earners in the United States already paid more than 70 percent of federal income taxes.

This isn’t about fairness and unfairness. It’s about taxing and spending, and the federal government has spent enough.

David Tyson: Over two decades of service, Eureka's longest serving city manager retires

When the city of Eureka hired David Tyson in 2000, he had one clear goal in mind: Bring stability to the office of city manager. - Kaci Poor/The Times-Standard

Set to retire Monday, Tyson said there are many things he has accomplished in his time with the city that he is proud of, but keeping his seat as city manager for the past 12 years is by far his most satisfying accomplishment.

At the time he was hired, Eureka was a revolving door of city managers. In the 20 years prior, Eureka had seen seven different city managers come and go, several of whom were terminated by the City Council.

”It was turbulent time for the city,” Tyson said. “When a city manager is let go, it leaves the council on edge, and it leaves city staff on edge. There is just an angst that comes with not knowing exactly why someone is leaving.”

So when he was offered the job, Tyson said he was at first reluctant to accept....

Krauthammer: Obama Using Cliff to Start GOP 'Civil War'

President Barack Obama has been winning the public relations battle so far in his dispute with Republicans over the fiscal cliff, but the GOP will come out on top if there’s a cliff dive, says syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. - Newsmax

How the fiscal cliff fight will end (unhappily for Republicans) - Byron York/Washington Examiner

So a deal will most likely be done. But the bottom line is that the fiscal cliff fight will not end happily for Republicans. They will have given in on what was an article of faith — that taxes should not be raised on anybody, poor or rich — in return for essentially nothing. All they will have is a plan to fight again, soon.

Fiscal cliff debate illustrates true cost of Obama policies

If the president and Congress don't reach an agreement, roughly $671 billion in tax increases and spending cuts would take effect — yet the nation would still continue to run a deficit nearly twice the size of the pre-recession 2007 deficit. - The Oklahoman Editorial

If the tax cuts first enacted under former President George W. Bush are allowed to expire due to fiscal cliff inaction, the income tax rate will jump from 35 percent to 39.6 percent for top earners (including many small-business owners) while those in the lowest income bracket face a tax increase of 50 percent. The marriage penalty will be reinstated, the child tax credit will be cut in half, the death tax rate will be as high as 55 percent, the capital gains tax rate will rise from 15 percent to 23.8 percent, and the top dividends tax rate will rise from 15 percent to 43.4 percent. In addition, several Obamacare-related taxes take effect next year, further impacting citizens.

Falling over the fiscal cliff also could result in nearly 30 million additional filers being hit by the alternative minimum tax, including some earning as little as $33,750, according to the IRS. The impact of those fiscal cliff tax increases would likely be felt by nearly all Americans in some fashion....

Yet even with everyone from the very rich to the relatively poor taking a (sometimes substantial) tax hit, the fiscal cliff's tax-and-spending changes would still leave the United States with a sizable deficit. The cliff involves about $671 billion in tax increases and spending cuts; the country is on pace for a fifth consecutive annual deficit of more than $1 trillion. That leaves a deficit of more than $300 billion.

This is the harsh reality of Obamanomics. Under this president, you could increase taxes on the rich, the poor, married couples, those with children, small business, big business and everyone in between, and slash defense spending — and you still can't pay for all his spending. You don't even come close.

The lying continues

There is something particularly ugly in a democratic society when government officials lie — or in the case in point, tell half-truths. - Boston Herald editorial

Last week in the wake of a damning report on how some State Department officials handled the security situation at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi prior to and after Sept. 11, it was announced that four officials had resigned. Well, at least that’s what most of us thought they had announced.

This is the way State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland put it: that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “has accepted Eric Boswell’s decision to resign as assistant secretary for diplomatic security, effective immediately. The other three individuals (deemed responsible by the Accountability Review Board) have been relieved of their current duties.”

It seemed fitting punishment after the Review Board found “systemic failures” in security that led to the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

But, it turns out that Boswell was merely switching desks at State, giving up his high-profile presidential appointment as assistant secretary, but not what were described by the New York Post as his “other portfolios.”

The other three — including the utterly reprehensible Charlene Lamb, a deputy assistant secretary who insisted on outsourcing security to “local Libyans and army men” — are merely on administrative leave and are actually expected to return following what amounts to a winter break.

That’s a far cry from the heads-will-roll statement initially put out by the State Department presumably to give the rest of us the impression that actions have consequences and that there is a price to be paid for incompetence — especially a level of incompetence that resulted in the deaths of four brave Americans. Headed into term two, this administration continues its lying ways.

Six-year-old girl shot in face by Taliban and left for dead gets free surgery in US

"She's OK. All is good, thank God!" said Elissa Montanti of the Global Medical Relief Fund. - NBC

Taliban fighters ambushed Marizeh's family as they drove home in a remote, unidentified region of Afghanistan last spring, said Montanti.

Her father tried to hide the girl under his feet inside the family car but she was shot in the face, after watching both her father and brother murdered.

"They thought she had died. She was there for three hours before she was discovered," said Marizeh's doctor, Kaveh Alizadeh.

The plastic surgeon, who founded a nonprofit group that provides medical care to needy children, first heard Marizeh's story during a trip to Afghanistan.

Tribune Columnist Challenges Obama To Come To Chicago For Funeral Of A ‘Ghettoized’ Minority Murder Victim

link - Noah Rothman/Mediaite

John Kass, columnist for The Chicago Tribune, appeared on CNN on Friday where he discussed the tragic increase of violence and murder that has struck his city in recent years. He said that lawmakers and members of the press have been guilty of “papering over” how bad the situation in Chicago was getting, and of “ghettoizing” the minority children who become the victims of gun violence in the inner city. Kass concluded by challenging President Barack Obama to come to Chicago for the funeral of one of the “hundreds and hundreds” of African-American and Latino children killed every year in gun crimes....

“There had been people who were papering over and smooching up and making things look nice when they weren’t nice,” Kass added. “The city is broke.”

“We make the Sandy Hook – which was a tragedy – a big deal. Why don’t the politicians come to the funerals of the dead African-American and Latino kids who get killed by the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds,” asked Kass. “The media has ghettoized these children, these homicide victims.”

“I’m not diminishing the others, I’m just saying, President Obama, show up at a funeral here in Chicago once in a while too,” Kass concluded.

Chicago reached “a tragic number” today, according to Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy: Its homicide total for the year hit 500, the highest annual total since 2008. - Jeremy Gorner and Peter Nickeas/Chicago Tribune

Critics question aim of $25-per-gun tax in Chicago - Mike Tobin/FOX


The office of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) responded to reports today that President Barack Obama called him and other congressional leaders to receive updates about negotiations to avoid the Jan. 1 "fiscal cliff" by noting that it was the "first time McConnell has heard from any Democrat, including the President, on this since Thanksgiving." - Joel Pollak/Breitbart

While the President and the Senate leadership engage in a good cop-bad cop charade, the likely reality is that they have calculated that the "fiscal cliff" is bound to take place (and perhaps even suits their interests), and their sole focus is to convince the public that Republicans are to blame.

Given that President Obama's call to McConnell was the first he had received in over a month from any Democrat on the issue, it is probably that going over the "fiscal cliff" was the President's intent from the start.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Don’t Drink the Inside-the- Beltway Fiscal-Cliff Kool-Aid

Given the alternatives that are being bandied about in Washington, there can be no doubt that, from a policy perspective, going over the fiscal cliff is the far superior option. - Avik Roy/National Review

Temporary extensions of tax cuts don’t do much for the economy; temporary extension of unemployment benefits retards job-seeking; and the whole grab-bag of accounting gimmicks allows Congress to avoid owning up to the true scale of the budget deficit, a budget deficit that will get cut in half if we go over the cliff.

The most common conservative rejoinder to these arguments is political: that Republicans will be blamed if we go over the cliff, and that will cost them in the next election. I don’t agree with that argument, as I’ve written previously, for two reasons: (1) the next election is as far away as an election can be; (2) Republicans will never be able to build a political case for less spending if most Americans are insulated from the cost of that spending.

I was glad to see Marc Thiessen make a very similar argument today in the Washington Post. Going over the fiscal cliff, Marc writes, is “a development conservatives should welcome.” ... More at the link.

Oliver Stone to RT: ‘US has become an Orwellian state’

Americans are living in an Orwellian state argue Academy Award-winning director Oliver Stone and historian Peter Kuznick, as they sit down with RT to discuss US foreign policy and the Obama administration’s disregard for the rule of law. - RT

Oliver Stone: I think under the disguise of sheep’s clothing he has been a wolf. That because of the nightmare of the Bush presidency that preceded him, people forgave him a lot. He was a great hope for change. The color of his skin, the upbringing, the internationalism, the globalism, seemed all evident. And he is an intelligent man. He has taken all the Bush changes he basically put them into the establishment, he has codified them. That is what is sad. So we are going into the second administration that is living outside the law and does not respect the law and foundations of our system and he is a constitutional lawyer, you know. Without the law, it is the law of the jungle. Nuremburg existed for a reason and there was a reason to have trials, there is a reason for due process – ‘habeas corpus’ as they call it in the United States.
RT: Do you agree Peter?

Peter Kuznick: I agree, if you look at his domestic policy, he did not break with the Bush administration’s policies. If you look at his transparency – he claimed to be the transparency president when he was running for office. There has not been transparency. We have been actually classifying more documents under Obama than we did under Bush. All previous presidents between 1970 and 2008 indicted three people total under Espionage Act. Obama has already indicted six people under the Espionage Act. The surveillance has not stopped, the incarceration without bringing people to trial has not stopped. So those policies have continued.

Then there are war policies, militarization policies. We are maintaining that. We are fighting wars now in Yemen, Afghanistan, we are keeping troops in Afghanistan. We have not cut back the things that we all found so odious about the Bush administration and Obama added some of his own. The drones policy – Obama had more drone attack in the first eight months than Bush had his entire presidency. And these have very dubious international legality.

Post New Article Special provisions allow ‘Fast and Furious’ gunrunning lawsuit to continue

The inclusion in the House rules will allow a civil lawsuit, authorized by a bipartisan vote of the House in July 2012, to continue. Without the provisions, the Justice Department could have argued that its obligation to produce subpoenaed documents expired with the previous Congress. The lawsuit seeks the federal court to compel the production of the records. - Jerry Sepre/Washington Times

Video: Jesse Jackson Spews Nonsense When Challenged To Defend Chicago Gun Ban After 500th Homicide This Year

This hypocrisy speaks for itself. And I’m impressed someone n the media, especially at CNN, is finally asking these questions. - Tammy Bruce

Folks freak at size of tax hikes if fiscal cliff isn’t averted in the coming days

New Yorkers of all income levels got a rude awakening yesterday when they saw in The Post how much more they will pay in taxes next year without a fiscal-cliff deal by Jan. 1. - New York Post

“It’s that much higher?” asked IT worker Vikas Kataria, 34, who discovered that his combined household income of about $250,000 per year will cost him nearly $10,000 more in taxes.

“I thought it was a couple thousand — but that’s a lot,” said Kataria, who works at Merrill Lynch in Manhattan and is married to a systems analyst for a brokerage firm. “That’s huge!”

With higher taxes, the couple would have to cut out on traveling and family vacations.

Clothing designer Peter Opie, of Canary Wharf Clothier, made about $2 million this year — and would see his tax bill spike by a staggering $100,000.

“The system is nuts here — it’s madness personified!” he said

“We were impacted massively by the hurricane — and now there is this,” said Opie. “You work your butt off and you end up with next to nothing.”

Small-business owner Haim Hagon, 51, said it’ll be tough to afford college for his two high-school-aged children.

“Every dollar counts when the situation is tough,” said Hagon, who makes about $150,000 and already moved his son from a private school to a public school due to financial concerns.

“Another $6,000 could have gone to my daughter’s tuition. I’ll have to find that money another way.”

Can We Admit Now That The Bush Tax Cuts Weren’t Ever Just For The Rich? - hrwf

Women involved in self-help groups are making a difference for themselves and their families through activities that give them access to water and sanitation. - h/t: jp

More spending: Obama Orders Pay Raise for Biden, Members of Congress, Federal Workers...

President Barack Obama issued an executive order to end the pay freeze on federal employees, in effect giving some federal workers a raise. One federal worker now to receive a pay increase is Vice President Joe Biden. - Daniel Halper/Weekly Standard

"Not much of an increase, but an increase all the same," Bier notes.

And the timing isn't great either: Just as President Obama and Congress try to avert going over the "fiscal cliff," he doles out pay increases to federal workers.

Fiscal cliff negotiations update: Biden, Congress to receive pay increases — no other news to report - Doug Powers/Michelle Malkin

Here’s a good question:

Geometry teacher who compared student’s Romney t-shirt to KKK garb faces lawsuit

The family of a 16-year-old Philadelphia teenager who charges that her geometry teacher mocked her for wearing a Mitt Romney t-shirt has sued both the teacher and the school district for violating her First Amendment rights. - Eric Owens/Daily Caller

The teacher, Lynette Gaymon, allegedly told Samantha Pawlucy to “get out of this class” and pointed to the door when she entered math class at Charles Carroll High School in September, FOX 29 reported. Gaymon then tried to mark the shirt with a red marker.

Gaymon also said the pink “Romney-Ryan” shirt the high schooler wore to school was akin to the garb Ku Klux Klan members wear, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

When the incident occurred, Pawlucy’s parents called for the teacher to be fired immediately.

“This is Philadelphia, the birthplace of freedom and things like that, but we have schools that want to take away her freedom,” the girl’s father said....

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Questions the Press Doesn't Ask

Merry Christmas to the Fourth Estate! Hope you've enjoyed your goose or turkey or whatever your family tradition includes (latkes for those who are Jewish). When you return to work, there are a few loose ends on which you might want to follow up. - Mona Charen/Townhall

"Follow up." It's a term that has gone out of style in the age of Obama. You members of the press have become remarkably uncurious since he's been in the White House. A blanket of benevolent uncuriousness smothers news about Obama administration wrongdoing.

The Secretary of State, who took "full responsibility" for the Benghazi debacle, has not once been publicly questioned about it. Called to testify before a House committee this week, she pleaded illness -- a fall resulting in a concussion. She says she will testify in January. Perhaps members of Congress will ask what the press has not. Who made the decision to deny the requested additional security to our diplomats? Where is a copy of the order President Obama says he issued requiring that "everything possible" be done to save our personnel who were under attack? (Former Assistant Secretary of Defense Bing West notes that such orders are always written down.) Were Navy seals stationed in Benghazi told to "stand down" rather than render assistance? Who told Susan Rice to say that the attack grew out of a protest, when there was no protest?

Speaking of that non-existent protest, isn't anyone even a little uncomfortable at the spectacle of the United States government arresting a guy for making a video (however "crude and offensive")? On orders of this administration, an FBI team descended upon and locked up Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. He may be a petty criminal and an idiot, but that's not the point. Aren't members of press sensitive about infringements of the First Amendment? Besides, what sort of message does it send to extremists around the globe when the U.S. cracks down on expressions of "blasphemy" toward Mohammed? Won't they congratulate themselves on intimidating us?

You may want to ask. Just saying....

During the campaign (we learned after the election), the Obama administration undertook to devise guidelines for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles or drones. "There was a concern that the levers might no longer be in our hands," an official told The New York Times. In other words, a Republican president would need guidelines for the use of Hellfire missiles, but with President Obama in the White House, safeguards are unnecessary. His unerring judgment is all that's required. The president has presided over the deaths of an estimated 2,500 individuals -- including some American citizens -- through the drone program of targeted assassinations. Isn't the press interested in what sort of guidelines the administration recommends imposing on its successor? On itself? Oh, wait, with the election safely past, the guidelines are on hold....

Gallup: Majority of Americans Hold Favorable View of NRA

The poll also found that views of the gun advocacy group were more positive among gun owners, although owners said the NRA did not always reflect their views. - Stephen Feller/Newsmax

Breaking: US evacuates embassy in Central African Republic

Lots of links From Ace Of Spades

Its 3:00am and the phone is ringing...

CAR President appeals to France/USA to help stop rebel advance. UN staff appears to be bugging out too. - France24
President François Bozizé of the Central African Republic has appealed for French and US help to stop rebel forces that threaten to overrun the country's capital. The US has evacuated its embassy and the United Nations is also pulling out its staff.
US suspends embassy ops in Central African Republic - ptinews via Ace

Rebels Are Advancing Toward Capital of Central African Republic - NYT

Legislative Alert from Northern Division - CFRW

Approximately six months ago, the Republican led House of Representatives passed a number of bills intended to forestall and/or solve many of the financial problems facing the nation. The House passed a budget and other legislation intended to avoid “the fiscal cliff.” In the meantime, the Senate has done virtually nothing. It has been over three years since Harry Reid’s Senate has passed a budget. The Senate has managed with continuing resolutions. The Senate has not debated or voted on the various bills that the House has sent up. Harry Reid has refused to respond to the House bills.

Finally, House Republicans are stating that Senator Reid must take up the bills that the House passed which includes legislation regarding the financial crisis. Senator McConnell is waiting to see the Democrat plan (when they finally offer one) before agreeing to not filibuster.

These are difficult time for Republicans since the media is our enemy and Republicans do not have the same media outlets as the Democrats have. It is time for Republican Women to let the leadership in the House and the Senate know that we support their stand. It is time for Harry Reid and the Democrat led Senate to start doing the job they are getting paid to do. It is their turn to come up with a reasonable plan.

Let the Leaders know your thoughts and feelings. If you are represented by a Democrat Representative or Senator, let them know what you think.

House of Representatives
John Boehner Ohio Phone: (202) 225-4146 Fax: (202) 225-0704
Eric Cantor Virginia Phone: (202) 225-2815 Fax: (202) 225-0011
Kevin McCarthy California Phone: (202) 225-2915 Fax: (202) 225-2908
Cathy McMorris Rodgers Washington Phone: (202) 225-2006 Fax: (202) 225-3392

Mitch McConnell Kentucky Phone: (202) 224-2541 Fax: (202) 224-2499
John Barrasso Wyoming Phone: (202) 224-6441 Fax: (202) 224-1724
Jeff Sessions Alabama Phone: (202) 224-4124 Fax: (202) 224-3149

Talk to your friends and relatives. We must get the word out about what is going on in Washington.

Thank you for all your work.

Edelweiss Geary
Legislative Issues Chair
Northern Division - CFRW

Thursday, December 27, 2012

New York police begin planning for confiscation

CBS News reports that the NYPD is actively considering how they will go about confiscating guns from law-abiding citizens should the anti-gunners succeed in passing a semi-auto ban. -

The Obama administration had mysteriously neglected to submit their agenda since the fall of 2011 — until they finally did, the afternoon before Christmas break. But don’t you dare accuse them of trying to avoid their oversight obligations in an election year and bury their regulatory intentions in a holiday-Friday news dump!

The feds put some temporary brakes on their plans for the election, and now pages and pages of new rules for ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank — both of which are meant to fundamentally transform our healthcare and economic sectors — as well as controlling, intrusive new ideas from the Labor Department, the EPA, and others are all set to start taking their toll. - Erika Johnsen/HotAir

"Obama wants the nation to go over the fiscal cliff because it will raise everyone’s taxes — then he can be seen as saving the middle class by lowering their taxes in the new year..."

Longtime Sen. Chuck Grassley tells Newsmax that Republicans have a “great deal of leverage” on President Obama because they can refuse to raise the debt ceiling unless he agrees to spending cuts. - Jim Meyers and Kathleen Walter/Newsmax

Grassley was first elected to the Senate in 1980. He is member of the Budget and Finance committees and the former chairman of the Finance Committee.

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV, Grassley addresses claims by some Republicans that President Obama wants the nation to go over the fiscal cliff and let the Bush-era tax cuts expire.

“He hasn’t shown any leadership because he doesn’t know how to compromise. He does want us to go over the cliff because he’s holding all the cards. He’s got nothing to lose. You go over the cliff, everybody’s taxes are going to go up, particularly the two percent where he wanted the rates to go up.

“Then he’ll come back after the first of the year, suggest for people under $250,000 to actually decrease their taxes, so he not only [gets] a tax increase on the wealthy, but he’s going to end up being a person that saves the middle class because going over the cliff raises taxes on everybody.

“He’s in a position where he gets everything and he can still lower taxes for the middle class after the first of the year. Maybe they’ve only been going up for a couple of weeks or maybe a month, but eventually, we’re going to not raise taxes on the middle class.

“The sad commentary is if we had proper presidential leadership, we wouldn’t have to be even talking about this. This president has not wanted to sit down and work hard in negotiating like previous Democratic presidents, like President Clinton who was willing to sit down with Speaker [Newt] Gingrich and work compromises.”

Considering that the president refuses to back down on raising taxes on America’s highest-income earners, Grassley was asked, what other options do Republicans have?

“If we do go over the cliff then the focus next year’s going to be on raising the debt ceiling and we’ve got a great deal of leverage on the president on raising the debt ceiling because we don’t have to raise it unless we’re going to get some reduction in expenditures.

“The proposition that was established in August of 2011 is a pretty good proposition that Republicans are willing to follow now — for every dollar increase in the debt ceiling, we’re going to have to have a dollar decrease in expenditures....”

“Grover Norquist and his organization do a tremendous job because he’s constantly reminding the people in Congress, and also the grassroots of America, that we don’t have a taxing problem, we’ve got a spending problem. You can raise all of the taxes the Democrats want to raise but you’re not going to get us out of this deficit situation. If you’re going to get out of the deficit situation, you’ve got to tackle the spending side of the ledger.”


Obama is seeking a stripped down deal to prevent tax rates from rising on all but the wealthiest Americans and to stop steep across-the-board spending cuts. - Reuters ◼ Via Drudge

The White House last week proposed a broader package that would have let tax rates stay low for those making up to $400,000, a compromise from the president's previous rate hike threshold of $250,000.

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner was unimpressed with the offer and sought unsuccessfully to push his own proposal through Congress, but members of his own Republican Party balked at rate hikes of any kind. Talks broke down after that and the president and lawmakers left town for the holiday.

Obama making proposal to Senate GOP on 'fiscal cliff'
House to Return Sunday... - Politico
REID: Boehner runs 'dictatorship'... - CBS Washington
Deal 'virtually impossible' before New Year... - Politico
Geithner Moves Up Debt Limit to Dec. 31... - CNS
States May Want 'Cliff'... - Reuters

Falling off the "fiscal cliff" is a bad thing, right? Not necessarily for some state governments that could begin collecting more in estate taxes on wealth left to heirs if the United States goes over the "cliff," allowing sharp tax increases and federal spending cuts to take effect in January.

In an example of federal and state tax law interaction that gets little notice on Capitol Hill, 30 states next year could collect $3 billion more in estate taxes if Congress and President Barack Obama do not act soon, estimated the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank.

The reason? The federal estate tax would return with a vengeance and so would a federal credit system that shares a portion of it with the 30 states. They had been getting their cut of this tax revenue stream until the early 2000s. That was when the credit system for payment of state estate tax went away due to tax cuts enacted under former President George W. Bush.

With the return of the credit system next year as part of the "cliff," states such as Florida, Colorado and Texas -- which have not collected estate tax since 2004 -- could resume doing so. California Gov. Jerry Brown has already begun to add the anticipated estate tax revenue into his plans, including $45 million of it in his 2012-2013 revised budget.

Brown may or may not be jumping the gun.


Senate Republicans to Hold Kerry’s State Nomination Until Hillary Clinton Testifies on Benghazi

Since she took to Peruvian TV to accept responsibility for the lack of security that played a starring role in the deadly attack, Hillary Clinton has done everything in her power to avoid said responsibility. She has disappeared from public view. She floated the possibility that she might not testify before Congress at all. Then she mysteriously became ill just before her testimony was to take place. Those four State officers who supposedly quit in the wake of the Accountability Review Board’s report, have not quit at all. The Accountability Review Board’s report itself admits that mistakes were made, just not by anyone in particular. I guess the Universe itself made all those mistakes. - Bryan Preston/PJM

EPA’s Lisa Jackson resigning as secondary email investigation begins

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson has decided to resign her post as top environmental regulator, a move that comes as Congress applies pressure on her for complicating oversight of the EPA by using at least one secondary email address under an alias. - Joel Gehrke/Washington Examiner @joelmentum

Lawmakers and the EPA inspector general wonder if Jackson used a private email account created under an alias to develop those policies in a way that would be invisible to watchdogs and congressional oversight.

“Our objective is to determine whether EPA follows applicable laws and regulations when using private and alias email accounts to conduct official business,” assistant inspector general Melissa Heist wrote to the EPA on December 13, 2012, in announcing that an investigation was under way.

House Energy and Commerce Committee investigators asked a similar question. “We seek to understand whether conducting business with an alias has in any way affected the transparency of the agency’s activities or the quality or completeness of information provided to the Committee,” they wrote on December 13.

Jackson used a private email under the alias “Richard Windsor” to correspond with EPA colleagues, a decision her staff defended by saying that her official email account received too many messages for her to use it efficiently.

“While we understand the need for a secondary account for management and communications purposes, your choice to use a false identity remains baffling,” several lawmakers from the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology replied. “We remain concerned about whether EPA has adequately preserved these records and provided appropriate responses to requests for these records. We also question whether responses to records requests sufficiently connect the alias accounts to the real individual.”

Lisa Jackson’s Destructive Crusade - Henry Payne/National Review

If it seemed like retiring EPA Chief Lisa Jackson carried out her job with a religious zeal, you’d be right.

Barack Obama’s pick as his first EPA administrator told a 2010 National Council of Churches conference in New Orleans that government and religious leaders must unite in their “moral obligation” to heal the planet and “build on the religious and moral reasons for being good stewards of our environment.”

“The question now is, ‘What we can do?’” the green-church devotee concluded, adding that her efforts were blessed by the White House’s Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnership.

Her legion of Washington media disciples — who would have condemned such moral bravado by the Religious Right — ignored her rhetoric. But in punishing those she deems carbon sinners, Lisa Jackson has done enormous harm to American workers....

Liberalism’s Petty Agenda

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd recently laid bare the cynical, shallow, juvenile mindset that secured President Obama a second term. In a recent piece “The Lost Civilization,’ she writes that the world did, indeed, end on December 21 — for “arrogant, uptight, entitled, bossy, retrogressive white guys.” - David Bozeman/Net Right Daily

Blogger Creates Interactive Map of Employees of Paper Which Published Names and Addresses of Pistol Permit Holders

Making Lists -- and Publishing Them: Earth First ('Prank' Hit List), Gannett's Journal News (Pistol Permit Holders) - Tom Blumer/Newsbusters

The Journal News has published its own (conveniently unbylined) list, complete with interactive maps. The maps contain "the addresses (and names) of all pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland counties." Really:

Each dot represents an individual permit holder licensed to own a handgun — a pistol or revolver. The data does not include owners of long guns — rifles or shotguns — which can be purchased without a permit. Being included in this map does not mean the individual at a specific location owns a weapon, just that they are licensed to do so.

Data for all permit categories, unrestricted carry, premises, business, employment, target and hunting, is included, but permit information is not available on an individual basis.

To create the map, The Journal News submitted Freedom of Information requests for the names and addresses of all pistol permit holders in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam. By state law, the information is public record.

The paper does not identify how publishing all of these names and addresses furthers its alleged "long and distinguished history of service to the residents and businesses in New York’s Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties." Because it doesn't.

What it does is two things:

Gives criminals an easy roadmap for identifying homes from which they might steal guns.

Arguably more dangerously, it identifies who doesn't have "pistols" as targets who will likely be less able to resist robbery, assault, or worse, both at home and especially in public.

Which of the two is the bigger danger is an open question. I believe it's the latter. If I'm right, the publishing of these maps should disturb the unarmed far more than those who are armed.

In response to Gannett's Jounal News headquartered in White Plains, New York publishing an interactive map containing the names and addresses of all pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland Counties (previous related posts are here and here), blogger Robert Cox at (HT Instapundit) has produced an interactive map at a post entitled "Where are the Journal News employees in your neighborhood?" - Tom Blumer/Newsbusters

Sorry, Journal News, but you can't just walk all over the privacy rights of thousands of individuals and families and endanger everyone in your reading area in a blatant attempt to, by your own admission, capitalize on a school shooting tragedy -- gun owners who might see their weapons stolen and non-owners who can now be considered "soft targets" -- while automatically assuming that there will be no consequences.

Map: Where are the Journal News employees in your neighborhood? - Robert Cox/Talk of the Sound

The map indicates the addresses of all Journal News Employees in the New York Tri-State area. Each dot represents an individual Journal News employee -- a reporter, editor or staffer. The data does not include freelancers — reporters or photographers — which can be hired without being an employee. Being included in this map does not mean the individual at a specific location is a responsible reporter or editor, just that they are a reporter or editor.

Data for all categories is included, but certain information is not available on an individual basis.

To create the map, Talk of the Sound submitted Google searches for the names and addresses of all Journal News employees in the New York Tri-State area. By state law, the information is public record.

Readers are still putting together records and could not immediately provide some data. The map will be updated when that data is released.

Liberals Panic As They Lose the Gun Narrative - Kurt Schlichter/Townhall

...Their post-Newtown strategy was always to prevent an effective response from the pro-gun freedom side by both rapid action and by demonization. But the holidays and the kabuki theater that is the fiscal cliff drama meant that legislative action, their Holy Grail, would have to wait. That gave people time to think and the gun freedom side the time to react.

Demonizing those who support gun freedom was always intended as a weapon to silence them. It was also critical that we, law-abiding gun owners, become the Other. By dehumanizing us and painting us as evil, it is that much easier to strip us of our rights.

But gun freedom advocates fought back. Using the mainstream media, conservative media and especially social media – we need to understand its huge significance here – gun freedom advocates countered liberals’ bogus “facts.” Media reports about “automatic” weapons were corrected, clownish statements about “high caliber magazines” and “large capacity round” were mocked. The struggle raged over millions of Facebook posts. The average citizen saw gun banners ask “When will America control access to weapons?” and then saw several experts among his or her friends post about the significant hurdles one needs to get over to get a gun. Truth bypassed the mainstream media and became a weapon for the side of fundamental rights.

The banners overplayed their hand, losing credibility with every distortion, evasion and smear. The cries of “Blood is on your hands!” failed to resonate – reasonable Americans just did not blame the actions of a single sociopath on millions of their fellow neighbors. And it did not help when third-string celebrities and wizened literary has-beens took to hoping gun rights advocates would be shot for daring to oppose disarmament.

The gun banners also counted on a narrative that portrayed a respect for the Second Amendment. They sought only “reasonable restrictions” – why, no one wants to ban or confiscate your guns! The problem was one of memo distribution – not everybody got that memo. Mayor Bloomberg was putting out that what few guns he might graciously deign to leave in the hands of the unworthy would be starved of bullets, while Governor Cuomo acknowledged that confiscation was one of the options.

Oops. “Gun control” is a process that is designed and intended to lead to a total gun ban, and the banners are counting on people not realizing it.... More at the link.

◼ Flashback: Humboldt County, North Coast Journal printed the names of CCW holders, Sept. 2008 Pistol Packing People The Comments thread is worth a read.
Unconcealed - Hank Simes/North Coast Journal

"...We strongly reject the idea that we have invaded anyone’s privacy...."

The Journal News is Armed and Dangerous - ROCKLAND COUNTY TIMES

Armed guards from RGA Investigations have taken up post at the Journal News’ Rockland County headquarters

Guns are good for the goose but NOT for the gander.

A Clarkstown police report issued on December 28, 2012, confirmed that The Journal News has hired armed security guards from New City-based RGA Investigations and that they are manning the newspaper’s Rockland County headquarters at 1 Crosfield Ave., West Nyack, through at least tomorrow, Wednesday, January 2, 2013.

According to police reports on public record, Journal News Rockland Editor Caryn A. McBride was alarmed by the volume of “negative correspondence,” namely an avalanche of phone calls and emails to the Journal News office, following the newspaper’s publishing of a map of all pistol permit holders in Rockland and Westchester.

Due to apparent safety concerns, the newspaper then decided to hire RGA Investigations to provide armed personnel to man the location....

The Journal News caused an international stir when they released an interactive map of pistol permit holders names and addresses in Rockland and Westchester counties last Sunday, December 23. The editors have said they believe knowing where guns are is in the public’s interest. The newspaper has also taken a strident editorial position in favor of strict gun control.

Rather than take the map down following the public uproar, the executive board at the Journal News has decided to “stick to their guns” and double-down on their original decision, as they have said a map listing all pistol permit holders in Putnam County will soon to be posted.

[update---Putnam County officials have since announced their intention to not comply with the Journal News' request for the names and addresses of pistol permit holders]


The Journal News is at the center of controversy yet again. Now a hacker group has broken into the newspaper's database and is disseminating the names, addresses, and passwords of thousands of the Journal News' customers.

In December, the Westchester, New York area paper released the names and addresses of thousands of New York's legal gun owners, then threatened to publish even more in the near future.

After the local New York paper published the names and addresses of gun owners in Rockland County in an online interactive map, bloggers responded by posting the names and addresses of the employees of the Journal News.

The paper then hypocritically hired armed guards to patrol its offices over what it claimed were "threatening" emails it had received.

The Journal News also announced late in December that it would continue politicizing the names and addresses of New York gun owners and began the process of obtaining the names and addresses of gun owners in nearby Putnam County. But county officials there have balked, refusing to give the paper the requested information.

"There is the rule of law, and there is right and wrong and the Journal News is clearly wrong," Putnam County Clerk Dennis Sant said in a statement. "I could not live with myself if one Putnam pistol permit holder was put in harm's way, for the sole purpose of selling newspapers."

In the latest development in this tit-for-tat invasion of privacy, a group of hackers have announced that they've broken into the Journal News' subscriber database. The group is sending the database of customers' names, addresses, and passwords to anyone that requests it.


See it on Feinstein's site

Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals and the Alinskyite Right

Here comes the Alinskyite Right - Thomas Lifson/American Thinker

David Gregory and Piers Morgan have both met the Alinskyite Right, and progressives in positions of power should take note. Both men are the targets of digital petition drives aimed at holding them to their own standards, and ridiculing them, invoking Rules 4 and 5 from Rules for Radicals:
4. "Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules." If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules.

5. "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon." There is no defense. It's irrational. It's infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.
This may be one of the first signs of the direction the conservative movement will take in President Obama's second term, and I take heart from the development. Conservatives have read and assimilated the lessons in Rules, and with left thoroughly in control of the institutions of media, education and culture, a lot of petards are going to get a lot of hoisting in the next four years. Social media distribution makes it possible for funny or dramatic events to flow around the usual media...

Learning to love Alinsky’s asymmetrical political warfare - Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion

We saw it not only with Gregory and Morgan, but in the reaction to the publication of the home addresses and personal information of licensed, law-abiding gun owners by a NY newspaper. Rather than just complain, someone published equally personal information about the editors and reporters at the newspaper. I detest both tactics, but it’s a matter of holding them to their own rules via Alinsky.

Do not expect any help from the mainstream conservative media on this. Many of them are circling the wagons around Gregory, refusing to recognize that such deference would not be accorded them by NBC much less MSNBC.

Is there any more vile network than MSNBC, which has turned into a stinking cauldron of race and class warfare? Yet there is no group targeting MSNBC akin to Media Matters which targets Fox News and other conservative media. I wish the Media Matters of the world and their tactics didn’t exist, but they do … and they are effective. Fox News is on the defensive all the time, while MSNBC gets a pass.

2013 should be interesting, the marriage of Alinsky and the legal insurrection.

Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals:
One: Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.

Two: Never go outside the experience of your people.

Three: Wherever possible go outside the experience of the enemy. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat.

Four: Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.

Five: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.

Six: A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.

Seven: A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.

Eight: Keep the pressure on.

Nine: The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.

Ten: The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.

Eleven: If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside.

Twelve: The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.

Thirteen: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

12 ways to use Saul Alinsky's Rules For Radicals Against Liberals - Townhall

The year 2012 saw the triumph of cold reality over pie-in-the-sky dreams.

2012: When Dreams Died - Victor Davis Hanson/Townhall

...Obama once had mused that he wished to be the mirror image of Ronald Reagan -- successfully coaxing America to the left as the folksy Reagan had to the right. Instead, 2012 taught us that a calculating Obama is more a canny Richard Nixon, who likewise used any means necessary to be re-elected on the premise that his rival would be even worse. But we know what eventually happened to the triumphant, pre-Watergate Nixon after November 1972; what will be the second-term wages of Obama's winning ugly?

The so-called fiscal cliff offers more examples of 2012 dreams giving way to reality. Obama will probably get his long-promised taxes on the rich. But so what? There are not enough caricatured "millionaires and billionaires" even to make a dent in his administration's fifth consecutive $1 trillion-plus deficit.

Instead, all that is left for Obama is to go over the cliff or wait for Republicans to counter-propose the necessary cuts in entitlements so that he can both reluctantly accept these budget-saving measures and demonize those who so threaten "the most vulnerable." What will stop the massive borrowing is not the myth of bipartisan cooperation, but the reality of returning high interest rates that will make the current splurging simply unsustainable.

What did we learn from the killings of Americans in Benghazi? So far, the fantasy of jailing a single Coptic filmmaker for posting an anti-Islamic video has trumped the reality of holding the administration accountable for allowing lax security and offering only feeble responses to a massacre prompted by a pre-planned, al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist attack on a U.S. diplomatic post....

As the year ends, there are ominous signs of impending financial implosion at home. Abroad, we see a soon-to-be nuclear Iran, an even more unhinged nuclear North Korea, a new Islamic coalition against Israel, a bleeding European Union, and a more nationalist Germany and Japan determined to achieve security apart from the old but increasingly suspect U.S. guarantees.

The year 2012 should have taught us that dreaming is no answer to reality; 2013 will determine how well we learned that lesson.


The U.S. government will hit the $16.4 trillion federal debt limit Monday and turn to “extraordinary measures” to continue borrowing, the Treasury Department said Wednesday, beginning a countdown until Congress either passes legislation to allow for more borrowing or the government defaults on its debt. - Zachary A. Goldfarb/Washington Post

In a letter to Congress, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said that although the debt ceiling would be reached Dec. 31, the government could buy roughly two months’ more time before it would be unable to meet all its obligations.

“The government is facing a crunch on the debt ceiling because the issue has become ensnarled in talks to avoid some $600 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts due to begin in early January. Failing to raise the debt ceiling could cause the government to default on its debt,” Reuters notes. - Becket Adams/The Blaze

With Election Over, Americans Find They Were Duped By Democrats And Obama

It hasn't been two months since Barack Obama won re-election, but already we're finding out things that were kept from us during the campaign. Expect to hear more in the coming months.

Elections are clarifying events, we're told. But sometimes what they clarify is merely the gap between what we were told during the campaign and the reality on the ground. Often, the two don't match. That's certainly true with Obama.

How often in recent weeks have we learned that what we heard on the campaign trail from the Obama camp, and which were echoed by a cowed and subservient press, were either distortions or outright lies — enough to keep a majority of us fooled, and help win a second term for the incumbent?

Now, we're finding the reality to be something different. And to jog your recollection, here are just a few: (at the link).

THE fiscal cliff is not really a “cliff”; the entire country won’t fall into the ocean if we hit it. Some automatic tax cuts will expire; the government will be forced to cut some expenditures. The cliff is really just a red herring.

Stabilization Won’t Save Us - NYT

Likewise, any last-minute deal to avoid the spending cuts and tax increases scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1 isn’t likely to save us from economic turmoil. It would merely let us continue the policy mistakes we’ve been making for years, allowing us only to temporarily stabilize the economy rather than address its deep, systemic failures.


Happy New Year to you all! We have a new year ahead of us with new opportunities and challenges. It is up to each of us to make it the best year it can be!

Northern Division ended the year with a very successful Fall 2012 Conference in Rancho Cordova. This was our first one day conference. We had a packed house for an action packed day with exciting speakers. Our speakers, including our banquet speaker Congressman Tom McClintock, energized and inspired us and also helped us all to navigate the results of the November election. It was a thrill to see so many Federated women sharing ideas. Our afternoon President’s reception gave everyone a chance to relax and make new friends. I know everyone went home feeling much more positive than when they came. We are Federated Women and we don’t retreat!

I am very excited about the plans for our 2013 Leadership Workshop on January 19 in Rancho Cordova. We will begin with a President’s Roundtable Workshop on Friday afternoon, January 18, for new and even past Presidents. This will be a great opportunity to share ideas and network with club Presidents from across Northern Division. Club Presidents - don’t forget to sign up for the workshop on the Leadership Registration form. You don’t want to miss it!

The Leadership workshop on Saturday will help new club officers become more comfortable with their new responsibilities. Whatever your new club office may be, you will get insight on how to do an even better job. Our Leadership Workshop is not just for club officers. Every member is a leader in your community! Plan to attend and learn more about how we can have an even greater presence in our communities. From Caring for America projects, Achievement Awards criteria or producing an even better club newsletter, you do not want to miss this important program.

Our #ONE priority for 2013 is growing our clubs and increasing our total membership. We have lost members over the past couple of years and we don’t want to continue to do that. At Leadership you will get tips and new ideas on how to help recruit and renew members! Without members we don’t have a Federation! I am very excited that the Honorable Lynne Leach will be our luncheon speaker on January 19. There is no one who can do a better job to inspire, energize, empower and embolden us to get ready for 2013!

We have all learned over the past few years that we no longer have a free and unbiased press. We now have Pravda! So ladies it is up to us to get our message out; information and knowledge is POWER! You cannot afford to miss our Leadership Workshop to ensure that you get prepared for the work we have a head of us in 2013.

This year our Focus topic will be “Federated Republican Women Are...!”. Who we are, what are our strengths, what is our direction moving forward, who do we need to reach out to, how do we get our message out? It is time to step outside the box and go beyond our communities to show what courage and strength looks like when Federated Republican Women work together! We are very excited about the possibilities of this project for 2013 and beyond! Plan to learn more about how you can help contribute to our Focus topic at Leadership on January 19.

Some of you might still be upset about the outcome of the November election, especially if you were not able to attend the Fall Conference. Yes, it was disheartening to see that Americans chose to vote for revenge rather than vote for love of country. But we do not have the luxury to complain, cave in or give up, there is too much at stake!

The future is still in our hands. We have lost before and came back to win victory even stronger. It is our responsibility to make sure the greatest country the world has ever known remains the greatest country in the world!

God Bless America,
Roseann Slonsky-BreaultPresident, CFRW-Northern Division


This is important information for those of you planning to attend our 2013 Leadership Workshop in January:

In the
Friday January 18, 2013 1 pm to 5 pm

In conjunction with CFRW Northern Division Leadership Workshop
Sacramento Marriott Rancho Cordova
11211 Point East Drive · Rancho Cordova, California 95742

WORKSHOP LEADER Marianne Haydon is certified as a Professional Registered Parliamentarian (PRP) with the National Association of Parliamentarians NAP). A Past President of the California State Association of Parliamentarians (CSAP), and Past Chair or member of various NAP Committees. Past President of CFRW and CFRW Northern Division.

Registration opens at 12:45 pm
First Session
Deliberative Assembly and its rules - Conduct of business Meetings and Sessions - Minutes
2nd Session
Handling a Motion - Motions: Main - Subsidiary - Privileged - Incidental

Through competence and professionalism NAP is recognized as the leader in teaching and promoting the values of democratic decision-making and civic involvement. Parliamentary procedure is designed to:
* assist in making meetings run more smoothly
* to expedite the conduct of business before an assembly
* and to protect the rights of all members.
Membership in NAP is attained by the successful completion (70%) of a written examination and upon payment of National annual dues of $75 and annual state dues of $30. $30 of the Registration Fee will be refunded for those who take the membership exam. Attendees are encouraged to bring a copy of Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, 11th Edition, for ready reference. A limited number of the books will be available for purchase at the workshop for $18. A minimum of five people is required for the workshop.

Registration $35.00. $25 is refunded if you take the membership exam. Registration Deadline Janury 11, 2013. To take the membership exam bring a check with you made out to NAP in the amount of $105 which includes NAP membership dues ($75) and CSAP Membership dues $30. All but $25 will be refunded from NAP if you do not achieve a passing score of 70%. Upon receipt of registration, home study questions for the NAP membership exam used in the workshop will be sent to you or you can download them from the National Association of Parliamentarians website at

Mail Registration Form and check to: Marianne Haydon PRP 1021 Third Avenue Napa, CA 94558-3934 For Information Call: 707-252-4669 Or Email:

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Lawmakers and President Barack Obama are hurrying back to Washington on Thursday in what appears to be another attempt to avoid going off the fiscal cliff. In order to do that, Congress and the White House must agree on how to handle expiring tax provisions and across-the-board spending cuts, among other short-term issues that will impact the federal budget. - Kerry Picket/Breitbart

If no deal is reached, taxes will pop $2,400 for families making, on average, incomes of $50,000 to $75,000 and a CBO report says the country could lose up to 3.4 million jobs.

According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), here are specific tax measures that will begin or expire--as well as spending cuts that will go into effect under the 2012 Budget Control Act.... at the link


Following the deadly shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, Morgan insulted second amendment advocates on Twitter and called a guest on his CNN show, Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners for America, an "idiot," "dangerous" and an "unbelievably stupid man." - Kerry Picket/Breitbart

An individual by the name Kurt N. started a petition at demanding Morgan be deported back to Britain. Thousands have already signed the petition.

Anti-Piers Morgan petition tops 65K signers - Katie Glueck/Politico

The petition, created last week, had 65,887 supporters around 5 P.M. Tuesday and is posted on the White House’s official petition site. It slams Morgan for comments he has made regarding gun control in the wake of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 20 children and six adults.

“British Citizen and CNN television host Piers Morgan is engaged in a hostile attack against the U.S. Constitution by targeting the Second Amendment,” the petition to the Obama administration reads. “We demand that Mr. Morgan be deported immediately for his effort to undermine the Bill of Rights and for exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens.”

Worst Christmas shopping season since 2008 is blamed on ‘fiscal cliff’

‘Great unknown’ hinders confidence of consumers - Patrice Hill/Washington Times

Washington played the Grinch that stole Christmas this year as the partisan impasse over the budget deficit instilled fear that the nation will fall over the “fiscal cliff,” dashing consumer holiday spirits and spending.

The holiday shopping season started out with a bang, with sales hitting records over Thanksgiving weekend, but it ended with a whimper as consumers increasingly withdrew from the malls this month amid the din of discord and finger-pointing over whether to extend all or just some of the $600 billion in tax cuts and spending programs due to end next week.

Gauges of Christmas sales range from dismal to so-so. One group that tracks shoppers said it was the worst showing since the bleak Christmas of 2008, when the country was in the midst of a historic financial crisis. MasterCard’s SpendingPulse, which tracked sales from Oct. 28 to Dec. 24, said sales grew by only 0.7 percent over last year, but other trackers reported somewhat higher numbers.

The poor ending to the shopping season forced economists to lower their estimates for sales gains from the solid 3 percent to 4 percent range originally forecast.

ShopperTrak is expecting a 2.5 percent increase in November and December sales, down from an earlier forecast of 3.3 percent. The International Council of Shopping Centers said growth during the final week before Christmas was only 0.7 percent, but it is sticking to its forecast of 3 percent for the whole season.

“What could have been a merry Christmas is going to turn to a ho-hum Christmas, and we can thank our, you know, politicians for getting in the middle of it all,” NPD Group analyst Marshal Cohen said. “This great unknown puts a big damper on the consumer feeling confident to go out and spend more.”

The Biggest Cliff of All - Daniel Henninger/Wall Street Journal

If you´re looking for optimism as the world turns toward 2013, stay up late watching paid-for television explaining how to turn wrinkles into miracles. Past that, my own reservoir of uplift is a bit dry this year. A famous and successful American optimist, Ronald Reagan, put his finger closer to the problem when he suggested there was little limit to what people could accomplish if government would get out of the way. As Barack Obama flies from Hawaii´s beaches to Washington´s cliff, there may be four or five liberals who´ve come to agree with the Gipper.

Indeed, a reality has become too obvious for the world's dazed inhabitants not to notice: The greatest threat to the upward arc of human progress is the collapse of public policy making. That is the biggest cliff of all.

Governments are giving government a bad name.

What will it cost you? Fiscal deal failure would dent monthly budgets for millions - FOX


The holidays are traditionally a time where we renew our optimism about the future. Gatherings with friends and family, festive meals and sparkling decorations are all powerful elixirs to the wear-and-tear of daily life. A new ABC/WaPo poll, however, shows that this year the holiday spirit is powerless to boost the public's mood. Almost half of Americans, in fact, are fearful about their own lives in the new year.

Tax chaos looms - Bernie Becker and Peter Schroeder/The Hill

Krauthammer slams Obama for ‘illegal and unconstitutional’ regulatory overreach

As the number of regulations from the federal government is continuously expanding, the comment period for regulations has been shortened from 60 days to 45 days, a move that Krauthammer said overwhelms small businesses. - Jeff Poor/Daily Caller

“At so many levels, this is a problem,” Krauthammer replied. “First of all [is] the volume, as you indicate, which is sort of overwhelming. If you are a small business, you have no idea what’s going to happen with your health care costs, your taxes, and all the other regulations. The second is the sort of intrusiveness of all of this, and the fact that it really hurts small business who don’t have the lawyers and the accountants, and the sharp — the former legislators who can work your way around the regulations.”

“Then you’ve got the lack of being open about it. The administration has this short comment period, where you are supposed to have 60 days, by executive order, and you’re not getting it. Which means essentially, the executive runs this.”

Krauthammer also commented on the legality of the regulatory environment, one of which he said reflected an “arrogance.”

“And lastly, you get the arrogance of it,” he continued, “the administration essentially enacting legislation on its own through regulation, the way it did the DREAM Act and the way it did in stripping away the work requirement in a reform of welfare.”

“So all of these things happened unilaterally. A lot of them, I think, are actually illegal and unconstitutional. But even if they are constitutional, they are incredibly destructive of small business.”