Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Silver Stars
on: August 30, 2010, 08:10:06 PM
Fort Bragg, North Carolina (CNN) -- It's been clear for months that the fighting in Afghanistan is more intense than it's been since the war there started nearly nine years ago. Yet, from the midst of those increasingly violent firefights come some amazing stories of heroism.
On Monday, seven soldiers will receive public recognition for their actions during a Silver Star ceremony at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
The medals -- the third-highest award for valor in the Army -- are being awarded for five separate battles over a span of more than two years.
Sgt. 1st Class Antonio Gonzalez and Sgt. 1st Class Mark Roland were part of Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha (SFODA) 732.
On June 11, 2007, their unit was sent to help a group of Afghan soldiers who had been pinned down by an enemy attack. When the unit arrived, they and their fellow soldiers were immediately enveloped in the same ambush by a much larger enemy force.
Even though the enemy was firing from just 10 feet, Roland immediately climbed out of the relative safety of his armored vehicle and started attacking enemy fighters in a nearby wadi, or dry streambed.
He and his fellow soldiers killed two of the enemy and cleared the rest of the wadi of enemy attackers, all while under fire from snipers. Their actions meant the enemy was no longer a threat to his unit's rear flank.
About the same time, Gonzalez saw that four Afghan soldiers were pinned down by enemy fire. He jumped out of his vehicle and ran nearly 40 yards through enemy fire.
"Without regard for his life," the Army account read, "over the course of three trips through enemy fire, he rescued all four soldiers and brought them back to the safety of his armored vehicle." He did it all while under fire from enemy sniper and machine gun fire.
After clearing the wadi and getting back in his vehicle, Roland saw eight Afghan soldiers who were pinned down by enemy machine gun fire. He got out of his vehicle, ran through enemy fire and moved four of the Afghan soldiers back to his vehicle and directed the other four to another armored vehicle.
All told, the actions of Roland and Gonzalez -- both of whom had already received the Bronze Star for past battle -- and their fellow soldiers defeated the ambush and led to the death of 60 enemy fighters including two Taliban commanders, according to the Army.
Staff Sgts. Mario Pinilla and Daniel Gould also had Bronze Star medals to their name, and Gould had also received the Silver Star for past heroics. They were both serving with Special Operational Detachment Alpha 7134 near Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan.
The two were checking reports of Taliban movements near the village of Faramuz when they were ambushed near a river. Pinilla saw one of his fellow soldiers pinned down by enemy fire and already shot twice. Pinilla grabbed a large machine gun, ran through enemy fire, shooting back the entire time, then dived to the ground to block the enemy fire from his wounded colleague, according to the Army
During a 10-minute firefight, he was shot twice. Eventually, more soldiers showed up to help Pinilla and the other wounded man. The Army account says even though he was wounded, Pinilla didn't stop fighting.
"While his fellow detachment members fought to get to him back to safety, Sergeant Pinilla drew his 9mm Beretta and continued engaging the enemy's ambush line, despite being critically injured," the account reads.
Gould also put his life on the line to save a fellow soldier.
When the Taliban ambushed the unit, he got into an intense half-hour gun battle with the enemy. His helmet was shot off his head, and he was hit once in his body armor.
During the fight, he saw one of his teammates, who was much closer to the enemy, get shot and critically wounded. According to the Army, he used a large machine gun to neutralize the enemy that was the greatest threat to the wounded man, giving a medic a chance to go help the soldier. Then, knowing then man need to be evacuated, Gould joined the medic first in dragging the wounded soldier through nearly 50 yards of enemy fire, and then carrying the wounded man the last 40 yards on his shoulders until they all reached safety.
An enemy unit ambushed Master Sgt. Julio Bocanegra's convoy on August 26, 2008. During the attack in Paktika province, Bocanegra noticed that a group of four Afghan national policemen were pinned down by the enemy, their pickup truck blocking the route for the rest of the unit. According to the Army, Bocanegra jumped out of his vehicle and ran through a hail of fire to reach the Afghan police, all but one of whom was wounded. The Army account spells out how he helped get them to safety.
"Sergeant Bocanegra then disregarded the enemy fire and picked up one of the wounded and placed him into the vehicle which [was] continuing to receive effective fire. Continuing to ignore the danger to his life, Sergeant Bocanegra then picked up a second policeman with multiple gunshot wounds to both legs and placed him into the vehicle," the account said.
Bocanegra, with the help of the one policeman who had not been shot, got the third wounded officer into the Afghan police pickup truck and moved them all to safety. All three Afghan police officers and three soldiers who had been wounded in the fight survived their injuries.
Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Clouse, an Army veteran, was working with a Marine special operations unit and was walking along a boulder-strewn path when one of his teammates was badly wounded. He immediately provided medical attention to that man. Then, according to the Army, another teammate was wounded.
"SFC Clouse ran through the kill zone to render further medical attention under head machine gun fire that struck the back of his body armor," according to the Army summary of the battle. The second man's life couldn't be saved.
The summary says Clouse continued providing advanced combat first aid amid intense enemy fire.
"Reacting to the calls for assistance from other wounded, SFC Clouse again ran through the kill zone to provide medical assistance," according to the report.
One enemy sniper bullet destroyed Clouse's weapon, but he kept on. All told, Clouse provided medical assistance to four American wounded and one Afghan soldier who'd been wounded in the attack and helped moved them to safety.
Sgt. 1st Class David Nunez was in a convoy of U.S. Special Forces and Afghan national army soldiers traveling through the village of Shewan in Ferah province on May 29, 2008.
As many as 60 insurgents attacked the convoy, disabling Nunez's vehicle with a rocket-propelled grenade. The vehicle started burning, and Nunez was worried that other soldiers were still in the vehicle, according to the Army.
"Without regard for his own life, [Nunez] began to discard ammunition and explosives from the rear of the vehicle in order to ensure others were not injured. During this entire period of time, SFC Nunez was engulfed in flames. Ignoring his wounds and the intense concentration of enemy fire, he continued to assist the convoy pinned in the kill zone until he eventually succumbed to his injuries," the battle account reads.
Nunez's obituary noted that he had already received a Bronze Star, an Army commendation medal and numerous other decorations.
After Monday's ceremony at Fort Bragg, his record will be upgraded to include the Silver Star for "his bravery in keeping with the finest traditions of military heroism and reflect distinct credit upon himself, this command and the United States Army."
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Interesting coincidence
on: August 30, 2010, 11:49:28 AM
China: Rumors of the Central Bank Chief's Defection
August 30, 2010 | 1406 GMT
LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images
People’s Bank of China Gov. Zhou XiaochuanRumors have circulated in China that People’s Bank of China (PBC) Gov. Zhou Xiaochuan may have left the country. The rumors appear to have started following reports on Aug. 28 which cited Ming Pao, a Hong Kong-based news agency, saying that because of an approximately $430 billion loss on U.S. Treasury bonds, the Chinese government may punish some individuals within the PBC, including Zhou. Although Ming Pao on Aug. 30 published a report on its website indicating that the prior report was fabricated by a mainland news site that had attributed the false information to Ming Pao, rumors of Zhou’s defection have spread around China intensively, and Zhou’s name has been blocked from Internet search engines in China.
STRATFOR has received no confirmation of the rumor, and reports by state-run Chinese media appeared to send strong indications that Zhou is in no trouble at the moment. However, the release of this rumor and its dispersion throughout the public is significant, particularly as the Communist Party of China (CPC) is preparing for a leadership transition in 2012.
Chinese state-run media and official government websites have run several high-profile reports about Zhou, which should be seen as a move to refute the rumors. The PBC website published two articles on its homepage reporting on Zhou’s meeting with visiting Japanese Financial Services Minister Shozaburo Jimi during the third China-Japan high-level economic dialogue as well as a meeting with an Italian delegation. Xinhua news agency reported that Zhou told the PBC Party Committee Enlargement Meeting on Aug. 30 it should “continue to implement justice, and strengthen legislative work in the financial system.” Prior to this news, Zhou appeared at the 2nd annual conference of the heads of the Chinese, Japanese and Korean central banks held on Aug. 3, and his most recent public appearance was Aug. 10 for China’s Financial System Anti-corruption Construction Exhibition.
Zhou is known to have lofty political ambitions and is believed to be a close ally to former Chinese President Jiang Zemin, as well as a core figure for Jiang’s “Shanghai Gang.” There has been no shortage of rumors about Zhou’s possible dismissal in the past five years, as he is believed to be associated with several high-level financial scandals. For example, Zhou was rumored to be under “shuanggui,” a form of house arrest administered by the CPC, during the massive crackdown of Shanghai Party Secretary Chen Liangyu in 2006, which was perceived in the country as a crackdown of the Shanghai Gang and part of Hu’s effort to consolidate power ahead of the 2007 power transition. There was also a rumor that he might have been detained following the investigation and arrest of Wang Yi, the vice governor of the China Development Bank, along with several other officials in the financial circle. Currently, several financial scandals are still under investigation, and it is likely that Zhou, as PBC governor and one of the most powerful economic players in the country, could be associated with some cases. Therefore, whether or not the rumor is true at this time, the leaking of this news is very likely to be associated with a power struggle within the Communist Party’s economic hierarchy.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Privacy
on: August 29, 2010, 04:57:38 PM
We can be dosed with X-rays without our knowledge?!?
And here's this:
Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This doesn't violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway — and no reasonable expectation that the government isn't tracking your movements.
That is the bizarre — and scary — rule that now applies in California and eight other Western states. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers this vast jurisdiction, recently decided the government can monitor you in this way virtually anytime it wants — with no need for a search warrant.
(See a TIME photoessay on Cannabis Culture.)
It is a dangerous decision — one that, as the dissenting judges warned, could turn America into the sort of totalitarian state imagined by George Orwell. It is particularly offensive because the judges added insult to injury with some shocking class bias: the little personal privacy that still exists, the court suggested, should belong mainly to the rich.
This case began in 2007, when Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents decided to monitor Juan Pineda-Moreno, an Oregon resident who they suspected was growing marijuana. They snuck onto his property in the middle of the night and found his Jeep in his driveway, a few feet from his trailer home. Then they attached a GPS tracking device to the vehicle's underside.
After Pineda-Moreno challenged the DEA's actions, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled in January that it was all perfectly legal. More disturbingly, a larger group of judges on the circuit, who were subsequently asked to reconsider the ruling, decided this month to let it stand. (Pineda-Moreno has pleaded guilty conditionally to conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and manufacturing marijuana while appealing the denial of his motion to suppress evidence obtained with the help of GPS.)
In fact, the government violated Pineda-Moreno's privacy rights in two different ways. For starters, the invasion of his driveway was wrong. The courts have long held that people have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their homes and in the "curtilage," a fancy legal term for the area around the home. The government's intrusion on property just a few feet away was clearly in this zone of privacy.
The judges veered into offensiveness when they explained why Pineda-Moreno's driveway was not private. It was open to strangers, they said, such as delivery people and neighborhood children, who could wander across it uninvited.
(See the misadventures of the CIA.)
Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, who dissented from this month's decision refusing to reconsider the case, pointed out whose homes are not open to strangers: rich people's. The court's ruling, he said, means that people who protect their homes with electric gates, fences and security booths have a large protected zone of privacy around their homes. People who cannot afford such barriers have to put up with the government sneaking around at night.
Judge Kozinski is a leading conservative, appointed by President Ronald Reagan, but in his dissent he came across as a raging liberal. "There's been much talk about diversity on the bench, but there's one kind of diversity that doesn't exist," he wrote. "No truly poor people are appointed as federal judges, or as state judges for that matter." The judges in the majority, he charged, were guilty of "cultural elitism."
(Read about one man's efforts to escape the surveillance state.)
The court went on to make a second terrible decision about privacy: that once a GPS device has been planted, the government is free to use it to track people without getting a warrant. There is a major battle under way in the federal and state courts over this issue, and the stakes are high. After all, if government agents can track people with secretly planted GPS devices virtually anytime they want, without having to go to a court for a warrant, we are one step closer to a classic police state — with technology taking on the role of the KGB or the East German Stasi.
Fortunately, other courts are coming to a different conclusion from the Ninth Circuit's — including the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. That court ruled, also this month, that tracking for an extended period of time with GPS is an invasion of privacy that requires a warrant. The issue is likely to end up in the Supreme Court.
In these highly partisan times, GPS monitoring is a subject that has both conservatives and liberals worried. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit's pro-privacy ruling was unanimous — decided by judges appointed by Presidents Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
(Comment on this story.)
Plenty of liberals have objected to this kind of spying, but it is the conservative Chief Judge Kozinski who has done so most passionately. "1984 may have come a bit later than predicted, but it's here at last," he lamented in his dissent. And invoking Orwell's totalitarian dystopia where privacy is essentially nonexistent, he warned: "Some day, soon, we may wake up and find we're living in Oceania."
Cohen, a lawyer, is a former TIME writer and a former member of the New York Times editorial board.
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2013150,00.html#ixzz0y29d2EfD
Also see for the UKhttp://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1976541,00.html
and for the USAhttp://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1973131,00.html
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness
on: August 29, 2010, 12:26:22 PM
WAYNE ALLYN ROOT: Obama's classmate at ColumbiaUniversity
Overwhelm the system
Barrack Obama is no fool. He is not incompetent. To the contrary, he is brilliant. He knows exactly what he's doing. He is purposely overwhelming the U.S.economy to create systemic failure, economic crisis and social chaos -- thereby destroying capitalism and our country from within.
Barack Obama is my college classmate ( ColumbiaUniversity, class of '83). As Glenn Beck correctly predicted from day one, Obama is following the plan of Cloward & Piven, two professors at ColumbiaUniversity. They outlined a plan to socialize Americaby overwhelming the system with government spending and entitlement demands. Add up the clues below. Taken individually they're alarming. Taken as a whole, it is a brilliant, Machiavellian game plan to turn the United States into a socialist/Marxist state with a permanent majority that desperately needs government for survival ... and can be counted on to always vote for bigger government. Why not? They have no responsibility to pay for it.
-- Universal health care. The health care bill had very little to do with health care. Â It had everything to do with unionizing millions of hospital and health care workers, as well as adding 15,000 to 20,000 new IRS agents (who will join government employee unions). Obama doesn't care that giving free health care to 30 million Americans will add trillions to the national debt. What he does care about is that it cements the dependence of those 30 million voters to Democrats and big government. Who but a socialist revolutionary would pass this reckless spending bill in the middle of a depression?
-- Cap and trade. Like health care legislation having nothing to do with health care, cap and trade has nothing to do with global warming. It has everything to do with redistribution of income, government control of the economy and a criminal payoff to Obama's biggest contributors. Those powerful and wealthy unions and contributors (like GE, which owns NBC, MSNBC and CNBC) can then be counted on to support everything Obama wants. They will kickback hundreds of millions of dollars in contributions to Obama and the Democratic Party to keep them in power. The bonus is that all the new taxes on Americans with bigger cars, bigger homes and businesses helps Obama "spread the wealth around."
-- Make Puerto Ricoa state. Why? Who's asking for a 51st state? Who's asking for millions of new welfare recipients and government entitlement addicts in the middle of a depression? Certainly not American taxpayers. But this has been Obama's plan all along. His goal is to add two new Democrat senators, five Democrat congressman and a million loyal Democratic voters who are dependent on big government.
-- Legalize 12 million illegal immigrants. Just giving these 12 million potential new citizens free health care alone could overwhelm the system and bankrupt America. But it adds 12 million reliable new Democrat voters who can be counted on to support big government. Add another few trillion dollars in welfare, aid to dependent children, food stamps, free medical, education, tax credits for the poor, and eventually Social Security.
-- Stimulus and bailouts. Where did all that money go? It went to Democrat contributors, organizations (ACORN), and unions -- including billions of dollars to save or create jobs of government employees across the country. It went to save GM and Chrysler so that their employees could keep paying union dues. It went to AIG so that Goldman Sachs could be bailed out (after giving Obama almost $1 million in contributions). A staggering $125 billion went to teachers (thereby protecting their union dues). All those public employees will vote loyally Democrat to protect their bloated salaries and pensions that are bankrupting America. The country goes broke, future generations face a bleak future, but Obama, the Democrat Party, government, and the unions grow more powerful. The ends justify the means.
-- Raise taxes on small business owners, high-income earners, and job creators. Put the entire burden on only the top 20 percent of taxpayers, redistribute the income, punish success, and reward those who did nothing to deserve it (except vote for Obama). Reagan wanted to dramatically cut taxes in order to starve the government. Obama wants to dramatically raise taxes to starve his political opposition.
With the acts outlined above, Obama and his regime have created a vast and rapidly expanding constituency of voters dependent on big government; a vast privileged class of public employees who work for big government; and a government dedicated to destroying capitalism and installing themselves as socialist rulers by overwhelming the system.
Add it up and you've got the perfect Marxist scheme --
all devised by my Columbia University college classmate Barack Obama using the Cloward and Piven Plan.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters
on: August 29, 2010, 11:54:37 AM
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Kali Tudo Working Examples
on: August 29, 2010, 11:14:10 AM
Also, there is what looks like a Dracula bring the Stake at 00:04. The range is a little forced so the forward collapse into the elbow isn't there, but as best as I can tell from watching the video it does look like the combo served its purpose.
An excellent cherry performance from Alex!
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: MMA Thread
on: August 29, 2010, 12:26:58 AM
I had hopes for Toney doing better than that for a little while , , , until I saw how fat he was after 9 months of training.
Before Toney vs. Couture, someone in our group asked who would win. "Dana White" came the answer. A perfect fight for Dana: Couture remains a money maker without risking his icon status.
Absolutely no fight plan that I could detect on the part of Team Penn "Do the same thing as last time when you lost."
Edgar is an unusually mobile and unusually fit fighter. Net result? He got to choose virtually all moments of initiation of contact. Advice to BJ between rounds was next to useless, except for "When the two of you are on the fence, put his back to the fence" or something like that.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China
on: August 28, 2010, 12:06:00 PM
JDN: Sorry, but I am confused.
JDN: "Greece's deficit is 13.6
US deficit is on track to become 10.3"
Doesn't that mean our current deficit as a percentage is 25% less than Greece's?
Marc: I suppose I could quibble that one is 2009 and one is projected 2010 and that as best as I can tell both my numbers were for 2009, , ,
JDN: "Greece's debt hovered above 110% in November
US debt was 52.9% in 2009."
So our debt as a percentage is less than half of Greece's right?
Marc: Very good and , , , irrelevant. This is not the point in question. The point in question is the current magnitude of deficit spending.
52.9 - 39.7 does equal 13.2%, but this is the amount, as a percentage,
that our debt has increased from last year. Not good. IF this trend continues we are in
deep shit, but "currently" we are much better off than Greece.
Marc: Lets refresh our memory. A few hours ago, you questioned thusly:
" I couldn't find any source that verified that our current deficit was "the same size deficit as a % of GDP as Greece."
GM posted an article which contained information that included data which precisely answered your question. You responded to other data in the article as if it were the data being offered in response to your question. I then broke down the relevant data for you. Apparently I have not yet succeeded in explaining it in terms you understand.
Allow me to try again.
The point of the 13.2% number is precisely that it IS 2009's deficit and that this is greater than Greece's 2009 deficit and that my original assertion, for which you sought data, is thus supported. Yes? Anyway, is all of this really the point? The larger point is that we are running in the same neighborhood as Greece. As GM points out in his post, Greenspan is catching up with our analysis
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters
on: August 28, 2010, 11:30:46 AM
My 5th post of the morning:
For those not familiar with GB's show, I would point out that for all of 2009 the show's opening graphics featured 3 pictures; one each of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Martin Luther King. The message to me was pretty clear: MLK is an American Father just as much as were GW and TJ. The point was underlined by the inclusion in the montage of other fotos of a famous one from the 60s civil rights era of a black man holding up a sign "I am a man".
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Fox piece
on: August 28, 2010, 11:26:45 AM
Well, my internal nickname for him is in the subject heading for my post of his article: "Blowhard" http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/08/28/thousands-expected-glenn-beck-rally-civil-rights-leaders-protest-event/
Thousands Expected at Glenn Beck Rally as Civil Rights Leaders Protest Event
Published August 28, 2010
Fox News' Glenn Beck and thousands of like-minded activists gathered Saturday in the nation's capital on the anniversary and at the same site of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech, a demonstration meant to pay tribute to American troops.
Civil rights leaders, meanwhile, are planning to protest the event, claiming that the timing and location of the rally is a dishonor to King's legacy.
Beck, a Fox News personality and a conservative favorite, has said it is a coincidence that his "Restoring Honor" rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial is overlapping with the 47th anniversary of King's speech. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is expected to attend along with some 100,000 people. District of Columbia officials had granted a permit for some 300,000.
Beck and other organizers say the aim is to pay tribute to America's military personnel and others "who embody our nation's founding principles of integrity, truth and honor." The broadcaster toured the site Friday as supporters cheered.
"It was not my intention to select 8-28 because of the Martin Luther King tie,” Beck said on his radio show in June. “It is the day he made that speech. I had no idea until I announced it.”
The Rev. Al Sharpton called the demonstration an anti-government rally advocating states' rights. And Sharpton said that goes against the message in King's speech, in which the civil rights leader appealed to the federal government to ensure equality.
"The structural breakdown of a strong national government, which is what they're calling for, is something that does not serve the interests of the nation and it's something that Dr. King and others fought against," Sharpton said Saturday on C-SPAN.
"It is ironic to me that they come on the day of a speech where Dr. King appealed for a strong government to protect civil rights and they're going to the site of Abraham Lincoln who saved the union against the state rebellion," he said.
Sharpton and others planned to rally at a high school and march to the site of a proposed King memorial not far from the Lincoln Memorial.
Beck, a Fox News personality and favorite of conservatives, has given voice to those angry and frustrated with President Obama and other Democrats this election year, especially members of the tea party movement.
A conservative blogger's assertion that parts of the nation's capital should be avoided as unsafe, created an uproar on the blogosphere, accusations of racism and a sharp response by angry city leaders.
With emotions already high, the work of a largely unknown tea party blogger, Bruce Majors, brought them to a fever pitch on Friday.
The blog, which first appeared last Monday and has been widely viewed and distributed since then, warned conservative protesters visiting the nation's capital to avoid certain subway lines, suggesting they are unsafe, that certain neighborhoods should be avoided, that the city is populated by the world's refugees -- that taxi drivers are often Arab or African -- and that generally visitors should be wary.
And it inspired a satirical map of Washington with all of the city marked unsafe, except for the tiny sliver of the National Mall, home to the Lincoln Memorial. Some people mistakenly assumed the map was put out by Beck rally supporters.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Government Programs, spending, budget process
on: August 28, 2010, 11:21:31 AM
I suppose this could go on the Health Care thread too, but since the larger point seems to be about the nature of government programs, I post it here:
From Nebraska congressman Lee Terry
HOME | ABOUT ME | CONSTITUENT SERVICES | NEWS | CONTACT ME
President Obama signed a government takeover of healthcare into law. Below is a list of new boards and commissions created in the bill and each one will require your tax dollar to support:
1. Grant program for consumer assistance offices (Section 1002, p. 37)
2. Grant program for states to monitor premium increases (Section 1003, p. 42)
3. Committee to review administrative simplification standards (Section 1104, p. 71)
4. Demonstration program for state wellness programs (Section 1201, p. 93)
5. Grant program to establish state Exchanges (Section 1311(a), p. 130)
6. State American Health Benefit Exchanges (Section 1311(b), p. 131)
7. Exchange grants to establish consumer navigator programs (Section 1311(i), p. 150)
8. Grant program for state cooperatives (Section 1322, p. 169)
9. Advisory board for state cooperatives (Section 1322(b)(3), p. 173)
10. Private purchasing council for state cooperatives (Section 1322(d), p. 177)
11. State basic health plan programs (Section 1331, p. 201)
12. State-based reinsurance program (Section 1341, p. 226)
13. Program of risk corridors for individual and small group markets (Section 1342, p. 233)
14. Program to determine eligibility for Exchange participation (Section 1411, p. 267)
15. Program for advance determination of tax credit eligibility (Section 1412, p. 288)
16. Grant program to implement health IT enrollment standards (Section 1561, p. 370)
17. Federal Coordinated Health Care Office for dual eligible beneficiaries (Section 2602, p. 512)
18. Medicaid quality measurement program (Section 2701, p. 518)
19. Medicaid health home program for people with chronic conditions, and grants for planning same (Section 2703, p. 524)
20. Medicaid demonstration project to evaluate bundled payments (Section 2704, p. 532)
21. Medicaid demonstration project for global payment system (Section 2705, p. 536)
22. Medicaid demonstration project for accountable care organizations (Section 2706, p. 538)
23. Medicaid demonstration project for emergency psychiatric care (Section 2707, p. 540)
24. Grant program for delivery of services to individuals with postpartum depression (Section 2952(b), p. 591)
25. State allotments for grants to promote personal responsibility education programs (Section 2953, p. 596)
26. Medicare value-based purchasing program (Section 3001(a), p. 613)
27. Medicare value-based purchasing demonstration program for critical access hospitals (Section 3001(b), p. 637)
28. Medicare value-based purchasing program for skilled nursing facilities (Section 3006(a), p. 666)
29. Medicare value-based purchasing program for home health agencies (Section 3006(b), p. 668)
30. Interagency Working Group on Health Care Quality (Section 3012, p. 688)
31. Grant program to develop health care quality measures (Section 3013, p. 693)
32. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (Section 3021, p. 712)
33. Medicare shared savings program (Section 3022, p. 728)
34. Medicare pilot program on payment bundling (Section 3023, p. 739)
35. Independence at home medical practice demonstration program (Section 3024, p. 752)
36. Program for use of patient safety organizations to reduce hospital readmission rates (Section 3025(b), p. 775)
37. Community-based care transitions program (Section 3026, p. 776)
38. Demonstration project for payment of complex diagnostic laboratory tests (Section 3113, p. 800)
39. Medicare hospice concurrent care demonstration project (Section 3140, p. 850)
40. Independent Payment Advisory Board (Section 3403, p. 982)
41. Consumer Advisory Council for Independent Payment Advisory Board (Section 3403, p. 1027)
42. Grant program for technical assistance to providers implementing health quality practices (Section 3501, p. 1043)
43. Grant program to establish interdisciplinary health teams (Section 3502, p. 1048)
44. Grant program to implement medication therapy management (Section 3503, p. 1055)
45. Grant program to support emergency care pilot programs (Section 3504, p. 1061)
46. Grant program to promote universal access to trauma services (Section 3505(b), p. 1081)
47. Grant program to develop and promote shared decision-making aids (Section 3506, p. 1088)
48. Grant program to support implementation of shared decision-making (Section 3506, p. 1091)
49. Grant program to integrate quality improvement in clinical education (Section 3508, p. 1095)
50. Health and Human Services Coordinating Committee on Women's Health (Section 3509(a), p. 1098)
51. Centers for Disease Control Office of Women's Health (Section 3509(b), p. 1102)
52. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Office of Women's Health (Section 3509(e), p. 1105)
53. Health Resources and Services Administration Office of Women's Health (Section 3509(f), p. 1106)
54. Food and Drug Administration Office of Women's Health (Section 3509(g), p. 1109)
55. National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council (Section 4001, p. 1114)
56. Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health (Section 4001(f), p. 1117)
57. Prevention and Public Health Fund (Section 4002, p. 1121)
58. Community Preventive Services Task Force (Section 4003(b), p. 1126)
59. Grant program to support school-based health centers (Section 4101, p. 1135)
60. Grant program to promote research-based dental caries disease management (Section 4102, p. 1147)
61. Grant program for States to prevent chronic disease in Medicaid beneficiaries (Section 4108, p. 1174)
62. Community transformation grants (Section 4201, p. 1182)
63. Grant program to provide public health interventions (Section 4202, p. 1188)
64. Demonstration program of grants to improve child immunization rates (Section 4204(b), p. 1200)
65. Pilot program for risk-factor assessments provided through community health centers (Section 4206, p. 1215)
66. Grant program to increase epidemiology and laboratory capacity (Section 4304, p. 1233)
67. Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee (Section 4305, p. 1238)
68. National Health Care Workforce Commission (Section 5101, p. 1256)
69. Grant program to plan health care workforce development activities (Section 5102(c), p. 1275)
70. Grant program to implement health care workforce development activities (Section 5102(d), p. 1279)
71. Pediatric specialty loan repayment program (Section 5203, p. 1295)
72. Public Health Workforce Loan Repayment Program (Section 5204, p. 1300)
73. Allied Health Loan Forgiveness Program (Section 5205, p. 1305)
74. Grant program to provide mid-career training for health professionals (Section 5206, p. 1307)
75. Grant program to fund nurse-managed health clinics (Section 5208, p. 1310)
76. Grant program to support primary care training programs (Section 5301, p. 1315)
77. Grant program to fund training for direct care workers (Section 5302, p. 1322)
78. Grant program to develop dental training programs (Section 5303, p. 1325)
79. Demonstration program to increase access to dental health care in underserved communities (Section 5304, p. 1331)
80. Grant program to promote geriatric education centers (Section 5305, p. 1334)
81. Grant program to promote health professionals entering geriatrics (Section 5305, p. 1339)
82. Grant program to promote training in mental and behavioral health (Section 5306, p. 1344)
83. Grant program to promote nurse retention programs (Section 5309, p. 1354)
84. Student loan forgiveness for nursing school faculty (Section 5311(b), p. 1360)
85. Grant program to promote positive health behaviors and outcomes (Section 5313, p. 1364)
86. Public Health Sciences Track for medical students (Section 5315, p. 1372)
87. Primary Care Extension Program to educate providers (Section 5405, p. 1404)
88. Grant program for demonstration projects to address health workforce shortage needs (Section 5507, p. 1442)
89. Grant program for demonstration projects to develop training programs for home health aides (Section 5507, p. 1447)
90. Grant program to establish new primary care residency programs (Section 5508(a), p. 1458)
91. Program of payments to teaching health centers that sponsor medical residency training (Section 5508(c), p. 1462)
92. Graduate nurse education demonstration program (Section 5509, p. 1472)
93. Grant program to establish demonstration projects for community-based mental health settings (Section 5604, p. 1486)
94. Commission on Key National Indicators (Section 5605, p. 1489)
95. Quality assurance and performance improvement program for skilled nursing facilities (Section 6102, p. 1554)
96. Special focus facility program for skilled nursing facilities (Section 6103(a)(3), p. 1561)
97. Special focus facility program for nursing facilities (Section 6103(b)(3), p. 1568)
98. National independent monitor pilot program for skilled nursing facilities and nursing facilities (Section 6112, p. 1589)
99. Demonstration projects for nursing facilities involved in the culture change movement (Section 6114, p. 1597)
100. Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (Section 6301, p. 1619)
101. Standing methodology committee for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (Section 6301, p. 1629)
102. Board of Governors for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (Section 6301, p. 1638)
103. Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund (Section 6301(e), p. 1656)
104. Elder Justice Coordinating Council (Section 6703, p. 1773)
105. Advisory Board on Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation (Section 6703, p. 1776)
106. Grant program to create elder abuse forensic centers (Section 6703, p. 1783)
107. Grant program to promote continuing education for long-term care staffers (Section 6703, p. 1787)
108. Grant program to improve management practices and training (Section 6703, p. 1788)
109. Grant program to subsidize costs of electronic health records (Section 6703, p. 1791)
110. Grant program to promote adult protective services (Section 6703, p. 1796)
111. Grant program to conduct elder abuse detection and prevention (Section 6703, p. 1798)
112. Grant program to support long-term care ombudsmen (Section 6703, p. 1800)
113. National Training Institute for long-term care surveyors (Section 6703, p. 1806)
114. Grant program to fund State surveys of long-term care residences (Section 6703, p. 1809)
115. CLASS Independence Fund (Section 8002, p. 1926)
116. CLASS Independence Fund Board of Trustees (Section 8002, p. 1927)
117. CLASS Independence Advisory Council (Section 8002, p. 1931)
118. Personal Care Attendants Workforce Advisory Panel (Section 8002(c), p. 1938)
119. Multi-state health plans offered by Office of Personnel Management (Section 10104(p), p. 2086)
120. Advisory board for multi-state health plans (Section 10104(p), p. 2094)
121. Pregnancy Assistance Fund (Section 10212, p. 2164)
122. Value-based purchasing program for ambulatory surgical centers (Section 10301, p. 2176)
123. Demonstration project for payment adjustments to home health services (Section 10315, p. 2200)
124. Pilot program for care of individuals in environmental emergency declaration areas (Section 10323, p. 2223)
125. Grant program to screen at-risk individuals for environmental health conditions (Section 10323(b), p. 2231)
126. Pilot programs to implement value-based purchasing (Section 10326, p. 2242)
127. Grant program to support community-based collaborative care networks (Section 10333, p. 2265)
128. Centers for Disease Control Office of Minority Health (Section 10334, p. 2272)
129. Health Resources and Services Administration Office of Minority Health (Section 10334, p. 2272)
130. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Office of Minority Health (Section 10334, p. 2272)
131. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Office of Minority Health (Section 10334, p. 2272)
132. Food and Drug Administration Office of Minority Health (Section 10334, p. 2272)
133. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health (Section 10334, p. 2272)
134. Grant program to promote small business wellness programs (Section 10408, p. 2285)
135. Cures Acceleration Network (Section 10409, p. 2289)
136. Cures Acceleration Network Review Board (Section 10409, p. 2291)
137. Grant program for Cures Acceleration Network (Section 10409, p. 2297)
138. Grant program to promote centers of excellence for depression (Section 10410, p. 2304)
139. Advisory committee for young women's breast health awareness education campaign (Section 10413, p. 2322)
140. Grant program to provide assistance to provide information to young women with breast cancer (Section 10413, p. 2326)
141. Interagency Access to Health Care in Alaska Task Force (Section 10501, p. 2329)
142. Grant program to train nurse practitioners as primary care providers (Section 10501(e), p. 2332)
143. Grant program for community-based diabetes prevention (Section 10501(g), p. 2337)
144. Grant program for providers who treat a high percentage of medically underserved populations (Section 10501(k), p. 2343)
145. Grant program to recruit students to practice in underserved communities (Section 10501(l), p. 2344)
146. Community Health Center Fund (Section 10503, p. 2355)
147. Demonstration project to provide access to health care for the uninsured at reduced fees (Section 10504, p. 2357)
148. Demonstration program to explore alternatives to tort litigation (Section 10607, p. 2369)
149. Indian Health demonstration program for chronic shortages of health professionals (S. 1790, Section 112, p. 24)*
150. Office of Indian Men's Health (S. 1790, Section 136, p. 71)*
151. Indian Country modular component facilities demonstration program (S. 1790, Section 146, p. 108)*
152. Indian mobile health stations demonstration program (S. 1790, Section 147, p. 111)*
153. Office of Direct Service Tribes (S. 1790, Section 172, p. 151)*
154. Indian Health Service mental health technician training program (S. 1790, Section 181, p. 173)*
155. Indian Health Service program for treatment of child sexual abuse victims (S. 1790, Section 181, p. 192)*
156. Indian Health Service program for treatment of domestic violence and sexual abuse (S. 1790, Section 181, p. 194)*
157. Indian youth telemental health demonstration project (S. 1790, Section 181, p. 204)*
158. Indian youth life skills demonstration project (S. 1790, Section 181, p. 220)*
159. Indian Health Service Director of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Treatment (S. 1790, Section 199B, p. 258)*
*Section 10221, page 2173 of H.R. 3590 deems that S. 1790 shall be deemed as passed with certain amendments.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Yet another clueless POTH blowhard
on: August 28, 2010, 11:14:41 AM
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was already dead when I was born, and yet I idolized him the way most children idolized athletes and pop stars. I had the poster and the T-shirt, I knew the speeches and the places he’d marched. He was smart and brave, steadfast and unmovable. He was a man consumed by conviction and possessed by the magnificent radiance of the earnestly humble. He was an eloquent speaker and a beautiful writer. He cared more about justice and equality than fame or fortune. He was a beacon of light in a world beset by darkness.
That’s why the nightmarish idea of Glenn Beck (who has called President Obama a racist and compared Obama’s America to “The Planet of the Apes”) holding a “Restoring Honor” rally on the 47th anniversary of — and on the same site as — King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, so incensed me.
Glenn Beck is the anti-King.
(I find it curious that many of the same people who object so strenuously to the Islamic cultural center proposed for Lower Manhattan, many on the grounds that it is inappropriate and disrespectful, are virtually silent on the impropriety and disrespect inherent in Beck’s giving a speech on the anniversary of King’s address.)
But Beck seems bent on appropriating the civil rights movement. In April, he read his audience the civil rights movement’s commitment card and then said, “Looks to me like the next phase of the 9/12 Project.” (9/12 is a “nonpolitical movement” started by Beck last year to “protect the greatest nation ever created.”) And Beck has said of this rally, “This is a moment, quite honestly, that I think we reclaim the civil rights movement.” Reclaim? From whom?
Beck wants to swaddle his movement in the cloth of the civil rights movement, a cloth soaked in the blood and tears of the innocent and oppressed, a cloth his divisiveness and self-aggrandizing threatens to defile.
In fact, to even insinuate that the president’s policies are in any way equivalent to the brutality of the Jim Crow South at the time of the civil rights movement is the highest order of insult, particularly to those who lived and suffered through it, as well as to those who live with its legacy. If Beck truly thinks these movements are comparable, I have some pictures of “strange fruit” I’d like for him to see.
And yet, I’ve come to the conclusion that anger is the wrong reaction to Beck’s rally in Washington. Anger provides too low a return on investment. It consumes a tremendous amount of energy, but yields little progress. Instead, we should each take this opportunity to listen to the “I Have a Dream” speech once more, paying particular attention to how the echoes of yesterday’s struggles reverberate in our present struggles, and to recommit ourselves to the nobility of righteous pursuits.
We should use Glenn’s nightmare to reconnect with Martin’s dream.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China
on: August 28, 2010, 11:09:52 AM
Which is why you should read the whole article:
"When Greece started to admit its debt problems last November, the government estimated its deficit last year was 12.7 percent of its GDP – a figure that Eurostat, the European Commission’s official statistics agency, said was too low and which it revised to upward 13.6 percent. Meanwhile, the U.S. deficit is on track to become 10.3 percent of GDP in 2010 under President Obama’s budget.
, , , Greece’s debt hovered above 110 percent of the GDP in November. Meanwhile, the estimated U.S. national debt was 52.9 percent of GDP in 2009 -- a significant jump from the 39.7 percent in the previous year, according to data from the CIA World Factbook."
Lets see 52.9 minus 39.7 equals 13.2. Yes? 13.2 is greater than 12.7. Yes?
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Clueless POTH columnist
on: August 28, 2010, 11:03:16 AM
Second post of the day
America Is Better Than This
By BOB HERBERT
Published: August 27, 2010
America is better than Glenn Beck. For all of his celebrity, Mr. Beck is an ignorant, divisive, pathetic figure. On the anniversary of the great 1963 March on Washington he will stand in the shadows of giants — Abraham Lincoln and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Who do you think is more representative of this nation?
Consider a brief sampling of their rhetoric.
Lincoln: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
King: “Never succumb to the temptation of becoming bitter.”
Beck: “I think the president is a racist.”
Washington was on edge on the morning of Aug. 28, 1963. The day was sunny and very warm and Negroes, as we were called in those days, were coming into town by the tens of thousands. The sale of liquor was banned. Troops stood by to restore order if matters got out of control. President John F. Kennedy waited anxiously in the White House to see how the day would unfold.
It unfolded splendidly. The crowd for the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” grew to some 250,000. Nearly a quarter of the marchers were white. They gathered at the Lincoln Memorial, where they were enthralled by the singing of Mahalia Jackson and Joan Baez. The march was all about inclusion and the day seemed to swell with an extraordinary sense of camaraderie and good feeling.
The climax, of course, was Dr. King’s transcendent “I Have a Dream” speech. Jerald Podair, a professor of American studies at Lawrence University in Wisconsin, has called Aug. 28, 1963, “the most important single day in civil rights history.” This is the historical legacy that Glenn Beck, a small man with a mean message, has chosen to tread upon with his cynical rally on Saturday at that very same Lincoln Memorial.
Beck is a provocateur who likes to play with matches in the tinderbox of racial and ethnic confrontation. He seems oblivious to the real danger of his execrable behavior. He famously described President Obama as a man “who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.”
He is an integral part of the vicious effort by the Tea Party and other elements of the right wing to portray Mr. Obama as somehow alien, a strange figure who is separate and apart from — outside of — ordinary American life. As the watchdog group Media Matters for America has noted, Beck said of the president, “He chose to use the name, Barack, for a reason, to identify not with America — you don’t take the name Barack to identify with America. You take the name Barack to identify, with what? Your heritage? The heritage, maybe, of your father in Kenya, who is a radical?”
Facts and reality mean nothing to Beck. And there is no road too low for him to slither upon. The Southern Poverty Law Center tells us that in a twist on the civil rights movement, Beck said on the air that he “wouldn’t be surprised if in our lifetime dogs and fire hoses are released or opened on us. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of us get a billy club to the head. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of us go to jail — just like Martin Luther King did — on trumped-up charges. Tough times are coming.”
He makes you want to take a shower.
In Beck’s view, President Obama is driven by a desire to settle “old racial scores” and his ultimate goal is “reparations” for black Americans. Abe Lincoln and Dr. King could only look on aghast at this clown.
Beck has been advertising his rally as nonpolitical, but its main speaker is Sarah Palin. She had her own low moment recently as a racial provocateur, publicly voicing her support for Laura Schlessinger, radio’s “Dr. Laura,” who went out of her way to humiliate a black caller by continuously using the n-word to make a point, even after the caller had made it clear that she was offended.
Palin’s advice to Schlessinger: “Don’t retreat — reload.”
(MARC: I have listened to the phone call in question and thought Dr.Laura, whom I generally like, in an effort to be anti-PC, which I certainly support, badly missed the mark. Palin, who unlike Dr. Laura was not working live, has less of an excuse. This comment of hers will come back to haunt her I think.)
There is a great deal of hatred and bigotry in this country, but it does not define the country. The daily experience of most Americans is not a bitter experience and for all of our problems we are in a much better place on these matters than we were a half century ago.
But I worry about the potential for violence that grows out of unrestrained, hostile bombast. We’ve seen it so often. A little more than two weeks after the 1963 March on Washington, the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham was bombed by the Ku Klux Klan and four young black girls were killed. And three months after the march, Jack Kennedy was assassinated.
My sincere advice to Beck, Palin and their followers is chill, baby, chill.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH struggles with Glenn Beck
on: August 28, 2010, 10:54:27 AM
By KATE ZERNIKE
Published: August 27, 2010
WASHINGTON — It seems the ultimate thumb in the eye: that Glenn Beck would summon the Tea Party faithful to a rally on the anniversary of the March on Washington, and address them from the very place where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I have a dream” speech 47 years ago. After all, the Tea Party and its critics have been facing off for months over accusations of racism.
But many of the busloads of Tea Party activists expected in Washington this weekend do not see any irony or offense. In fact, they have come to see the Tea Party as the aggrieved — its loosely affiliated members unfairly characterized, even persecuted, as extremists.
Eighteen months ago, many were moved to the streets by a belief that they had been not listened to by their representatives in Washington. (“How dare they ignore us?” reads a sign often seen at Tea Party rallies.) Now, encouraged by Tea Party leaders and people like Mr. Beck and Andrew Breitbart, whose BigGovernment.com is a source of news for many Tea Party supporters, they have adopted the language of the civil rights movement to describe their cause. Their sense of persecution has become a galvanizing force.
Consider the response last month when the N.A.A.C.P., the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, called on Tea Party leaders to denounce racist elements in their ranks — citing signs with racist slogans at Tea Party rallies.
Tea Party Patriots, the largest umbrella organization for thousands of local groups across the country, posted a petition on its Web site calling for the N.A.A.C.P. to revoke its resolution “condemning the Tea Party movement as ‘racist.’ ”
“It is nothing less than ‘hate speech’ for the N.A.A.C.P. to be smearing us as ‘racists’ and ‘bigots,’ ” the petition declared. “We believe, like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., in a colorblind, postracial society. And we believe that when an organization lies and resorts to desperate tactics of racial division and hatred, they should be publicly called on it.”
On his radio show, Mr. Beck said he had not intended to choose the anniversary for his “Restoring Honor” rally on Saturday but had since decided it was “divine providence.”
Dr. King’s dream, he told listeners, “has been so corrupted.”
“Judge a man by the content of his character?” he said. “Character doesn’t even matter in this country. It’s time we picked back up the job.”
He later added: “We are the people of the civil rights movement. We are the ones that must stand for civil and equal rights, justice, equal justice. Not special justice, not social justice. We are the inheritors and protectors of the civil rights movement. They are perverting it.”
It has become an article of faith among Tea Party groups that any racist signs at rallies — “Go back to Kenya,” directed at President Obama, is just one example — are carried by Democratic plants sent in to make the Tea Party look bad.
In March, when members of the Congressional Black Caucus accused protesters at a Tea Party rally against health care of spitting on them and shouting racist epithets, Tea Party leaders suggested that those episodes had not occurred, saying there was no video proof.
At a rally in Searchlight, Nev., a week later, Mr. Breitbart argued that black Democratic lawmakers had set out to provoke the protesters. When they did not make racist comments, Mr. Breitbart said, the Democrats simply accused them of doing so.
He looked into the crowd and said it proved that the Tea Party was not racist. “I see black faces, Hispanic faces. I’m Jewish,” he said. “Shalom, Nevada!”
In response to the N.A.A.C.P. resolution last month, Mr. Breitbart claimed reverse racism. He publicized a video of an Agriculture Department official, Shirley Sherrod, saying that she had discriminated against a white farmer. The video turned out to be heavily edited — in fact, Ms. Sherrod had helped the farmer and had actually been telling a longer story to make a point about the need for racial understanding.
Still, Tea Party leaders say they are outraged, as anyone would be, by accusations of racism: they do not see themselves that way.
FreedomWorks, a Washington advocacy group that has encouraged the growth of the Tea Party, is planning to take out full-page newspaper advertisements highlighting black, Hispanic and Jewish Tea Party members to make the point that the movement is diverse. It is also sponsoring a new documentary about black involvement in the cause.
Tea Party supporters argue that it is progressives who are fomenting racial division.
In a rally in April here at the National Mall, Deneen Borelli, a black conservative, told the crowd that Tea Party supporters were in an impossible position: “If you are white they call you racist or a redneck. If you are black, they call you a token, a traitor, an Uncle Tom.”
Polls show that the movement has not attracted blacks proportionate to their representation in the larger population. And some Tea Party leaders acknowledge that.
FreedomWorks advises Tea Party leaders to put Hispanics and blacks on stage at rallies to show that the movement is not racist.
Alveda King, a niece of Dr. King, is scheduled to speak at Mr. Beck’s rally, and many Tea Party supporters say this is evidence that they hold no racial animus.
Lloyd Marcus, a black singer who has performed on the cross-country tours of the Tea Party Express, often introduces himself by saying, “I am not an African-American, I am a Lloyd Marcus American!”
In a letter posted Friday on the social networking Web site Tea Party Nation, Mr. Marcus wrote, “Glenn Beck’s values and principles are far more consistent with M.L.K.’s values than the black civil rights leaders who have sold their souls to the anti-God, anti-family and anti-America progressives for political power.” He signed it, “Lloyd Marcus, unhyphenated American.”
In the Tea Party’s talk of states’ rights, critics say they hear an echo of slavery, Jim Crow and George Wallace. Tea Party activists call that ridiculous: they do not want to take the country back to the discrimination of the past, they say, they just want the states to be able to block the federal mandate on health insurance.
Still, the government programs that many Tea Party supporters call unconstitutional are the ones that have helped many black people emerge from poverty and discrimination. It is not just that Rand Paul, the Republican nominee for Senate in Kentucky, said that he disagreed on principle with the provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that required business owners to serve blacks. It is that many Tea Party activists believe that laws establishing a minimum wage or the federal safety net are an improper expansion of federal power.
Critics rightly note that Dr. King spoke over and over of the need for this country to acknowledge its “debt to the poor,” calling for an “economic bill of rights” that would “guarantee a job to all people who want to work and are able to work.” In Mr. Beck’s taxonomy, this would make him a Marxist.
Even if Tea Party members are right that any racist signs are those of mischief-makers, even if Glenn Beck had chosen any other Saturday to hold his rally, it would be hard to quiet the argument about the Tea Party and race.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China
on: August 28, 2010, 03:05:42 AM
We currently are running about the same size deficit as a % of GDP as Greece. The only difference is that we get to pay it with dollars we print. When folks stop taking our dollars we will be in the same shape as Greece. Folks have been taking our dollars for lack of alternative. Now they begin to have one. Should the trend continue, and we can no longer finance our deficits with the printing press, interest rates will shoot up-- quite possibly quite quickly as everyone heads for the exits at the same time.
Working from memory IIRC at present interest payments currently run about $250B a year- a rather hefty sum considering how low interest rates are at present. Even a moderate rise in interest rates could easily take this to over one Trillion dollars.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Cong. Tom McClintock on anchor babies
on: August 27, 2010, 02:01:58 PM
I have been battling the McClatchy newspapers this month over the "anchor baby" crisis in which the babies of illegal immigrants are granted automatic citizenship. Today, eight percent of babies born in the United States fall into this category. The McClatchy newspapers branded any discussion of reforming this law "racist." Here's what I wrote in response:
In an editorial last week, the Bee tries to smear the supporters of birthright citizenship reform as "heirs" to white supremacists of the 1920's. To make this outrageous comparison, the editors resort to the tactic of equating legitimate concern over illegal immigration with opposition to all immigration.
Having constructed this straw man, the Bee then feels free to tar supporters of birthright citizenship reform HHas racists in the mold of Senator James Phelan who sought to ban all legal immigration from Asia. It then falsely insinuates that today's reformers would have opposed the landmark 1898 Supreme Court decision that correctly upheld the birthright citizenship of Wong Kim Ark, the child of legal – repeat, legal – Chinese immigrants and their descendants.
I challenge the editors to cite one statement that any Congressional advocate of reform has made that even remotely suggests barring legal immigrants to our nation or denying their children all the rights of citizenship. Indeed, I have extolled the virtues of legal immigration throughout my entire career in public office.
Unlike most nations, our immigration laws were not written to keep people out. They were written to assure that as immigrants come to America, they come with the intention to become Americans and to fully assimilate into American society by acquiring a common language, a common culture and a common allegiance to American constitutional principles. Illegal immigration undermines the entire process of legal immigration that makes our nation of immigrants possible.
One cannot support both legal and illegal immigration at the same time. If illegal immigration is to be rewarded with birthright citizenship, public benefits and amnesty, it becomes impossible to maintain our immigration laws and the process of assimilation that they assure. Indeed, there is no surer way of destroying a nation of immigrants than by Balkanizing them by language, ethnicity, culture and allegiance.
The Pew Center reported this week that eight percent of babies in the United States today are born to illegal aliens and accorded instant citizenship. The issue is whether the 14th Amendment, a Reconstruction measure to assure citizenship for the children of slaves, should continue to be used to provide automatic citizenship to babies born to parents who, under federal law, are themselves subject to immediate deportation.
Should an illegal act be rewarded by granting a legal right? If the answer is "yes," then how does the Bee suggest that we maintain the rule of law at all? If we stopped enforcing the speed limit and rewarded speeders with automatic license renewal – what would be the point of keeping the signs?
In recent years, the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, France and India have all modified their birthright citizenship laws to require that one parent at least be a legal resident in order to confer birthright citizenship. According to a June 2010 Rasmussen poll, the American people support such a reform by a margin of 58 to 33 percent. Do the Bee's editors seriously contend that 58 percent of the nation's voters are actually white supremacists?
Abraham Lincoln once observed, "You cannot disprove Euclidian geometry by calling Euclid a liar." At a time when our nation desperately needs a civil discussion over an issue that has profound implications for the very sovereignty of our nation, it is a shame that the Bee's editorial staff has chosen instead to hurl accusations of racism against those with whom it disagrees.
Since my response was published, I have received a flood positive emails and phone calls supporting our position that we need to reform birthright citizenship. It is clear that American people are overwhelmingly in favor of our positions.
That is why we are in such a good position to retake the majority in the House in November.
But I still need your help.
My two opponents in November are from the far Left. In fact one is a Green Party member and the other is a Democrat they imported from Florida who is closely tied to the Progressive Democrats of America.
DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / IBD editorial
on: August 26, 2010, 12:57:38 PM
The Killing Fields Of Caracas
Socialism: Quick, what's the murder capital of the world: Kabul? Juarez? Try Caracas, Venezuela, a city whose dictator, Hugo Chavez, has made murder a means of extending his control.
The silent protest at Monday night's Miss Universe Pageant in Las Vegas was invisible to nearly everyone — except Venezuelans. On her final catwalk, the ranking Miss Universe, Stefania Fernandez, suddenly whipped out a Venezuelan flag in a patriotic but protocol-breaking gesture.
Fernandez waved her flag for the same reason Americans waved theirs after 9/11 — to convey resolution amid distress. Her flag had seven stars, significant because Chavez had arbitrarily added an eighth, making any use of a difficult-to-find seven-star banner an act of defiance.
Fernandez's countrymen went wild with joy on bulletin boards and Facebook, showing just how worried they are about their country. Their greatest fear is violent crime.
Ever since Chavez became president in 1999, Venezuelan cities have become hellholes in which murder rates have more than quadrupled. At 233 per 100,000, or one murder every 90 minutes, the rate in Caracas now tops that of every war zone in the world, according to an official National Statistics Institute study released Wednesday.
In fact, crime is the defining fact of life in today's Venezuela. About 96% of all murder victims are poor and lower-middle class, the very people Chavez claims to represent. "Don't venture into barrios at any time of the day, let alone at night," warns the Lonely Planet guide to Venezuela to hardy adventure travelers.
By contrast, the murder rate in cartel-haunted Juarez, Mexico, is 133 per 100,000, with Mexico's overall rate 8 per 100,000, about the same as Wichita, Kan. Colombia, fighting a narcoterror war since 1964, has an overall rate of 37 per 100,000, slightly higher than Baltimore at 36.9. The overall U.S. rate is 5.4.
Make no mistake, a murder rate like Caracas' is a crime against humanity. The absence of personal security renders all other human rights moot. By coincidence, that's just what Chavez seeks to eliminate as he turns his country into a Cuba-style socialist state. Instead of Castroite firing squads or Stalinesque gulags, Chavez outsources the dirty work of socialism to criminals while throwing dissidents in jail and threatening to censor newspapers.
He may try to suppress the Dante-like photos of corpses piled high at the Caracas morgue from the El Nacional newspaper, but the hard fact is that Chavez is responsible for what's going on.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Whoa!
on: August 26, 2010, 11:35:04 AM
Suspected members of a drug trafficking cartel set up several roadblocks in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state, after armed men entered a juvenile holding facility in Escobedo, Milenio reported Aug. 26. Roadblocks were reported on the highway to Miguel Aleman, in San Nicolas and on the Lopez Mateo Avenue. At least one roadblock has been cleared by police.
If I read this correctly, the impunity is such that in order to facilitate the mission the narcos set up roadblocks while invading a govt. facility to spring their captured comrades , , ,
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Ebonics?
on: August 26, 2010, 08:51:28 AM
ATLANTA — Federal agents are seeking to hire Ebonics translators to help interpret wiretapped conversations involving targets of undercover drug investigations. The Drug Enforcement Administration recently sent memos asking companies that provide translation services to help it find nine translators in the Southeast who are fluent in Ebonics, Special Agent Michael Sanders said Monday.
Ebonics, which is also known as African American Vernacular English, has been described by the psychologist who coined the term as the combination of English vocabulary with African language structure. Some DEA agents already help translate Ebonics, Sanders said. But he said wasn't sure if the agency has ever hired outside Ebonics experts as contractors.
"They saw a need for this in a couple of their investigations," he said. "And when you see a need — it may not be needed now — but we want the contractors to provide us with nine people just in case."
The DEA's decision, first reported by The Smoking Gun, evokes memories of the debate sparked in 1996 when the Oakland, Calif., school board suggested that black English was a separate language. Although the board later dropped the suggestion amid criticism, it set off a national discussion over whether Ebonics is a language, a dialect or neither.
The search for translators covers a wide swath of the Southeast, including offices in Atlanta, Washington, New Orleans, Miami and the Caribbean, said Sanders. He said he's uncertain why other regions aren't hiring Ebonics translators, but said there are ongoing investigations in the Southeast that need dedicated Ebonics translators. Linguists said Ebonics can be trickier than it seems, partly because the vocabulary evolves so quickly.
"A lot of times people think you're just dealing with a few slang words, and that you can finesse your way around it," said John Rickford, a Stanford University linguistics professor. "And it's not — it's a big vocabulary. You'll have some significant differences" from English.
Critics worry that the DEA's actions could set a precedent.
"Hiring translators for languages that are of questionable merit to begin with is just going in the wrong direction," said Aloysius Hogan, the government relations director of English First, a national lobbying group that promotes the use of English. "I'm not aware of Ebonics training schools or tests. I don't know how they'd establish that someone speaks Ebonics," he said. "I support the concept of pursuing drug dealers if they're using code words, but this is definitely going in the wrong direction."
H. Samy Alim, a Stanford linguistics professor who specializes in black language and hip-hop culture, said he thought the hiring effort was a joke when he first heard about it, but that it highlights a serious issue.
"It seems ironic that schools that are serving and educating black children have not recognized the legitimacy of this language. Yet the authorities and the police are recognizing that this is a language that they don't understand," he said. "It really tells us a lot about where we are socially in terms of recognizing African-American speech."
Rickford said that hiring Ebonics experts could come in handy for the DEA, but he said it's hard to determine whether a prospective employee can speak it well enough to translate since there are no standardized tests. He said the ideal candidate would be a native speaker who also has had some linguistics training.
Finding the right translators could be the difference between a successful investigation or a failed one, said Sanders. While he said many listeners can get the gist of what Ebonics speakers are saying, it could take an expert to define it in court.
"You can maybe get a general idea of what they're saying, but you have to understand that this has to hold up in court," he said. "You need someone to say, 'I know what they mean when they say 'ballin' or 'pinching pennies.'"
DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Mexico
on: August 25, 2010, 09:31:53 PM
Me parece que el cuidadano Mexicano se encuentra con una pregunta profunda. ?Como debe responder como un hombre libre hecho por Dios? Los derechos humanos son la herencia de cada persona por el hecho de ser creado por dios. (Hablo correctamentamenete si digo "Son su indole"?)
Tipicamente, cuando un pueblo libre presta parte de sus derechos/potencias para crear un estado, se incluye el derecho protegerlos. Por su parte el pueblo recibe la responsibilidad de respetar a las leyes.
?Esta' Mexico hoy en dia en una situacion cuando el derecho humano de defenderse, brindado por Dios, supera la obligacion moral y spiritual de respetar a la autoridad? ?Ya es tiempo irse armado a persar de lo que diga la le?
Espero que Uds puedan entender mi espanol.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Inventing Moderate Islam
on: August 25, 2010, 01:34:23 PM
NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE www.nationalreview.com
Andrew C. McCarthy
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August 24, 2010 4:00 A.M.
Inventing Moderate Islam
It can’t be done without confronting mainstream Islam and its sharia agenda.
‘Secularism can never enjoy a general acceptance in an Islamic society.” The writer was not one of those sulfurous Islamophobes decried by CAIR and the professional Left. Quite the opposite: It was Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual guide and a favorite of the Saudi royal family. He made this assertion in his book, How the Imported Solutions Disastrously Affected Our Ummah, an excerpt of which was published by the Saudi Gazette just a couple of months ago.
This was Qaradawi the “progressive” Muslim intellectual, much loved by Georgetown University’s burgeoning Islamic-studies programs. Like Harvard, Georgetown has been purchased into submission by tens of millions of Saudi petrodollars. In its resulting ardor to put Americans at ease about Islam, the university somehow manages to look beyond Qaradawi’s fatwas calling for the killing of American troops in Iraq and for suicide bombings in Israel. Qaradawi, they tell us, is a “moderate.” In fact, as Robert Spencer quips, if you were to say Islam and secularism cannot co-exist, John Esposito, Georgetown’s apologist-in-chief, would call you an Islamophobe; but when Qaradawi says it, no problem — according to Esposito, he’s a “reformist.”
And he’s not just any reformist. Another Qaradawi fan, Feisal Rauf, the similarly “moderate” imam behind the Ground Zero mosque project, tells us Qaradawi is also “the most well-known legal authority in the whole Muslim world today.”
Rauf is undoubtedly right about that. So it is worth letting it sink in that this most influential of Islam’s voices, this promoter of the Islamic enclaves the Brotherhood is forging throughout the West, is convinced that Islamic societies can never accept secularism. After all, secularism is nothing less than the framework by which the West defends religious freedom but denies legal and political authority to religious creeds.
It is also worth understanding why Qaradawi says Islam and secularism cannot co-exist. The excerpt from his book continues:
As Islam is a comprehensive system of worship (Ibadah) and legislation (Shari’ah), the acceptance of secularism means abandonment of Shari’ah, a denial of the divine guidance and a rejection of Allah’s injunctions. It is indeed a false claim that Shari’ah is not proper to the requirements of the present age. The acceptance of a legislation formulated by humans means a preference of the humans’ limited knowledge and experiences to the divine guidance: “Say! Do you know better than Allah?” (Qur’an, 2:140) For this reason, the call for secularism among Muslims is atheism and a rejection of Islam. Its acceptance as a basis for rule in place of Shari’ah is downright apostasy.
Apostasy is an explosive accusation. On another occasion, Sheikh Qaradawi explained that “Muslim jurists are unanimous that apostates must be punished.” He further acknowledged that the consensus view of these jurists, including the principal schools of both Sunni and Shiite jurisprudence, is “that apostates must be executed.”
Qaradawi’s own view is more nuanced, as he explained to the Egyptian press in 2005. This, I suppose, is where his vaunted reformist streak comes in. For private apostasy, in which a Muslim makes a secret, personal decision to renounce tenets of Islam and quietly goes his separate way without causing a stir, the sheikh believes ostracism by the Islamic community is a sufficient penalty, with the understanding that Allah will condemn the apostate to eternal damnation at the time of his choosing. For public apostasy, however, Qaradawi stands with the overwhelming weight of Islamic authority: “The punishment . . . is execution.”
The sad fact, the fact no one wants to deal with but which the Ground Zero mosque debate has forced to the fore, is that Qaradawi is a moderate. So is Feisal Rauf, who endorses the Qaradawi position — the mainstream Islamic position — that sharia is a nonnegotiable requirement. Rauf wins the coveted “moderate” designation because he strains, at least when speaking for Western consumption, to paper over the incompatibility between sharia societies and Western societies.
Qaradawi and Rauf are “moderates” because we’ve abandoned reason. Our opinion elites are happy to paper over the gulf between “reformist” Islam and the “reformist” approval of mass-murder attacks. That’s why it matters not a whit to them that Imam Rauf refuses to renounce Hamas: If you’re going to give a pass to Qaradawi, the guy who actively promotes Hamas terrorists, how can you complain about a guy who merely refuses to condemn the terrorists?
When we are rational, we have confidence in our own frame of reference. We judge what is moderate based on a detached, commonsense understanding of what “moderate” means. We’re not rigging the outcome; we just want to know where we stand.
If we were in that objective frame of mind, we would easily see that a freedom culture requires separation of the spiritual from the secular. We would also see that sharia — with dictates that contradict liberty and equality while sanctioning cruel punishments and holy war — is not moderate. Consequently, no one who advocates sharia can be a moderate, no matter how well-meaning he may be, no matter how heartfelt may be his conviction that this is God’s will, and no matter how much higher on the food chain he may be than Osama bin Laden.
Instead, abandoning reason, we have deep-sixed our own frame of reference and substituted mainstream Islam’s. If that backward compass is to be our guide, then sure, Qaradawi and Rauf are moderates. But know this: When you capitulate to the authority and influence of Qaradawi and Rauf, you kill meaningful Islamic reform.
There is no moderate Islam in the mainstream of Muslim life, not in the doctrinal sense. There are millions of moderate Muslims who crave reform. Yet the fact that they seek real reform, rather than what Georgetown is content to call reform, means they are trying to invent something that does not currently exist.
Real reform can also be found in some Muslim sects. The Ahmadi, for example, hold some unorthodox views and reject violent jihad. Witness what happens: They are brutally persecuted by Muslims in Pakistan, as well as in Indonesia and other purported hubs of moderation.
Meanwhile, individual Muslim reformers are branded apostates, meaning not only that they are discredited, but that their lives are threatened as well. The signal to other Muslims is clear: Follow the reformers and experience the same fury. As Qaradawi put it in the 2005 interview, public apostates are “the gravest danger” to Islamic society; therefore, Muslims must snuff them out, lest their reforms “spread like wildfire in a field of thorns.”
Today, “moderate Islam” is an illusion. There is hardly a spark, much less a wildfire. Making moderation real will take more than wishing upon a star. It calls for a gut check, a willingness to face down not just al-Qaeda but the Qaradawis and their sharia campaign. It means saying: Not here.
— Andrew C. McCarthy, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, is the author, most recently, of The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ:
on: August 25, 2010, 01:02:50 PM
"We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt." --Thomas Jefferson
Obama's fiscal plan"Speaking last Wednesday in Columbus, Ohio, President Obama asked, 'How do we, over the long term, get control of our deficit?' Good question. Here's the answer suggested by last Thursday's semi-annual budget summary from the Congressional Budget Office: Stop spending so much. CBO's mid-year review largely reinforces the bad news we already knew -- to wit, that spending has exploded since Democrats took over Congress in 2007, first with the acquiescence of George W. Bush and then into hyperdrive after Mr. Obama entered the White House. To appreciate the magnitude of this spending blowout, compare CBO's budget 'baseline' estimate in January 2008 with the baseline it released Thursday. The baseline predicts future spending based on the law at the time. ... In a mere 31 months Congress has added more than $4.4 trillion to the 10-year spending baseline. ... As recently as 2005, total federal spending was only $2.47 trillion. Keep that $4.4 trillion in mind the next time you hear Mr. Obama or Speaker Nancy Pelosi say they 'inherited' this budget mess. Let's assume the recession that Mr. Obama inherited -- Mrs. Pelosi was already in power -- was responsible for causing $1 trillion or so in deficit spending. That still doesn't explain why the annual deficit of roughly $1.4 trillion will be nearly as high in fiscal 2010, after a year of economic growth, as it was in 2009. Or why CBO says the deficit will still be nearly $1.1 trillion in 2011 even if all of the Bush-era tax cuts are repealed. The deficit is barely declining because of the lackluster economic recovery, which continues to yield too little revenue, and especially because of the record levels of spending passed by the Democratic Congress and eagerly signed by Mr. Obama." --The Wall Street Journal
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WSJ: Putting on the brakes
on: August 25, 2010, 08:26:48 AM
By GRACE-MARIE TURNER
If Republicans take control of one or both houses of Congress this fall, many will have been elected with a promise to "repeal and replace" ObamaCare. But what are their options, really? There likely will be an initial showdown, but President Obama will surely veto any challenge to the law, and it would be hard to imagine mustering the votes to overturn it.
Information is the key weapon. Republicans can use congressional hearings to explain what ObamaCare is doing to the economy and the health sector. Their strongest cases would be built around jobs, the cost of health care, and the rising deficit.
If evidence shows that looming mandates on employers are crippling job-creation, they should be repealed. If health costs are rising, as they inevitably will be, Congress needs to hold hearings to investigate the causes and explain why the offending taxes and regulations must be repealed.
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.Here are six key strategies that a Republican Congress could employ to put on the brakes:
• Defund it. House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio has vowed to choke off funding for implementation of the legislation, starting with parts that are especially egregious such as the "army of new IRS agents" needed to police compliance.
While Republicans could target the most damaging provisions of the legislation and tie their defunding measures to appropriations legislation that the president wants and needs to sign, they'd better be ready for battles. When former House Speaker Newt Gingrich lost a stand-down with President Clinton over closing down the government in 1996, it was widely seen as a setback for GOP efforts to scale back big government.
• Dismantle it. To focus committee action and floor votes, Republicans can look for provisions in the law that Democrats are on record as opposing. For example, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D., N.D.) has said that the new federal program to fund long-term care—the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act, or CLASS Act—is "a Ponzi scheme of the first order, the kind of thing that Bernie Madoff would have been proud of." Mr. Conrad and five of his Democratic colleagues sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) before the legislation passed opposing the program and expressing "grave concerns" about its fiscal sustainability.
Other highly unpopular provisions include the requirement that all businesses must file 1099 forms with the IRS to report any purchases totaling more than $600 in a year. This is designed to raise about $17 billion over 10 years from tax cheats. Rep. Dan Lungren (R., Calif.) was the first to introduce legislation to repeal this gigantic paperwork burden. Many Democrats in vulnerable districts who voted for the health law are also anxious to repeal this provision, which the National Federation of Independent Business says will impact 40 million businesses.
• Delay it. Republicans can also vote to postpone cuts to the popular Medicare Advantage program, postpone mandates requiring that individuals and businesses purchase and provide health insurance, and delay imposition of the $500 billion in taxes required by the law. Mr. Obama wouldn't likely sign such legislation, but the debate would shine a light on problems that haven't received nearly enough attention.
• Disapprove regulations. The Congressional Review Act of 1996 (CRA) gives Congress the authority to overturn regulations issued by federal agencies if both houses approve, with a two-thirds majority needed to override a presidential veto. This would be difficult to pull off. But proposing a resolution of disapproval under the CRA gives Republicans a platform to express strong disagreement and bring attention to especially egregious rules.
The current congressional majority wants to gut the CRA, and the House passed a bill that would eliminate the requirement that federal agencies submit their rules to Congress before they can take effect. The Senate has not yet acted, but this measure should be on the Republicans' watch list for the rest of the year.
• Direct oversight and investigation. Other aspects of ObamaCare are ripe for public hearings. For example, rules dictating how much insurance companies must spend on direct medical benefits are already hugely controversial—even before they have been issued. Businesses are also aghast at the narrow openings they have to protect their current health plans from onerous federal regulation. Republicans could summon many witnesses to testify about the impact of this regulatory straightjacket.
Congress also must keep a careful eye on the evolving cost estimates and deficits. Former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin estimates that the cost of the subsidies for private insurance could rise to $1.4 trillion —triple the $450 billion assumed by the current CBO. This is because the legislation creates strong incentives for businesses to drop coverage and dump their employees into federally subsidized insurance. Congress has a responsibility to protect taxpayers from what surely will be exploding costs.
Republicans also will want to call Donald Berwick, head of the powerful Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to testify before Congress and detail his regulatory agenda for implementing the health-care law. He escaped that duty earlier this year when the White House avoided his Senate confirmation by giving him a controversial recess appointment.
• Delegate to the states. Congress should encourage states to press forward with their own innovative programs. For example, Gov. Mitch Daniels's popular and fiscally responsible Healthy Indiana Plan expands coverage to the uninsured using a health savings account model. And the lightly regulated Utah Health Exchange provides a marketplace for individuals and small businesses to purchase affordable, portable health insurance. Both are threatened by ObamaCare. The more that states are marching forward with reform that suits the needs and pocketbooks of their citizens, the easier it will be for Congress to repeal ObamaCare and start over.
Americans intuitively understand that government can't pay for huge new entitlement programs and the expansion of Medicaid with imagined cuts to Medicare, while still improving Medicare's long-term solvency. They also know that job creation is flat and that employers' fear of ever-rising health benefit costs is part of the problem. They need to hear the evidence that their fears are valid.
The real wallop of ObamaCare will come in 2014, when most of the spending begins and businesses and individuals are hit with intrusive and expensive mandates. The main job of Republicans, should they capture Congress, will be to slow down implementation of the law and explain to the American people the damage it will do—and already is doing—to our economy. If the White House changes hands in 2012, they can be ready to start with a clean slate and begin a step-by-step approach to sensible reform.
Ms. Turner is president of the Galen Institute.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gilder interview
on: August 25, 2010, 07:48:44 AM
George Gilder on Austrian Finance, Internet Technology and the Virtues of Supply-Side Economics
The Daily Bell is pleased to present an exclusive interview with George Gilder (left).
Introduction: George Gilder is Chairman of George Gilder Fund Management, LLC and host of the Gilder Telecosm Forum. He is also a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute where he directs Discovery's program on high technology and public policy, and the former Editor in Chief of the Gilder Technology Report (published by Forbes Inc., 1996-2007). Mr. Gilder pioneered the formulation of supply-side economics when he served as Chairman of the Lehrman Institute's Economic Roundtable, as Program Director for the Manhattan Institute, and as a frequent contributor to A.B. Laffer's economic reports and the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal. In the 1980s he also consulted leaders of America's high technology businesses. According to a study of presidential speeches, Mr. Gilder was President Reagan's most frequently quoted living author. In 1986, President Reagan gave George Gilder the White House Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence. Mr. Gilder hosts the web's premier technology investment discussion forum, the Gilder Telecosm Forum, and co-hosts (with Steve Forbes) the annual Gilder/Forbes Telecosm Conference.
Daily Bell: Can you give us some background on your life – where you grew up and what your interests were?
George Gilder: I grew up on a dairy farm in the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts, where my prime interests were cows, birds, sports, and girls.
Daily Bell: How did you become involved in free-market thinking?
George Gilder: I didn't. I got interested in human creativity and the conditions that foster it. It is enterprise that causes free markets, not free markets that summon enterprise. Adam Smith was wrong in his assertion that the extent of the division of labor is determined by the extent of the market. It is the other way around. The extent of the division of labor - the creativity of entrepreneurs - determines the extent of the market.
Daily Bell: Who were your big influences?
George Gilder: Jean Baptiste Say of Say's Law – supply creates its own demand – introduced to me by Thomas Sowell, who devoted his thesis to the subject. Supply-side economics is not a mere elaboration of free market theory. It is a new theory, founded by Say. It says markets are mere effects of enterprise.
Now from my studies of communications technology and Claude Shannon, I am intrigued with information theory and its concept of information entropy, which registers unexpected bits. Creativity always comes as a surprise to us. No information is transmitted unless it is unexpected. In this sense, Entropy is another word for "news."
I believe that information entropy also represents entrepreneurial "profit" (the unexpected component of returns; the expected component is the interest rate). Entrepreneurial economics is the economics of entropy. My former colleague Bret Swanson has an excellent website www.EntropyEconomics.com
The key rule of information theory is that it takes a low entropy carrier (no surprises) to bear high entropy information. That is why information gravitates to the electromagnetic spectrum, with its predictable waves guaranteed by the speed of light. And that is why creative enterprise gravitates to countries with stable currencies attuned to gold and the rule of law (no surprises).
Daily Bell: Explain your views on feminism and affirmative action as a young man.
George Gilder: I always valued the differences between the sexes as crucial to life and love.
Daily Bell: Have your views evolved since then?
George Gilder: Just grown stronger as the evidence from biology has mounted.
Daily Bell: Do you see differences between the Austrians like FA Hayek and the Fresh Water school of Milton Friedman?
George Gilder: Yes. The Austrians stress entrepreneurial creativity over free markets. When I went to China in the 1990s with Milton Friedman, he urged the Chinese to "take control over their money supply" as if the communists needed any further recommendations for "controls." I urged them to "let a billion flowers bloom." As I have said, there can be no free markets without free entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are not tools of the market, they are creators of new tools. The entrepreneur precedes the market. Without him, there is no market. The computerized markets of the quants careened to a predictable crash.
Daily Bell: Did you at the time you were writing Wealth and Poverty, a great book in our opinion.
George Gilder: Yes, I always preferred the Austrians for their stress on entrepreneurial creativity, but even the Austrians, beyond Von Mises, fell for the temptation of seeing entrepreneurs as products of "the free market" rather than its creator.
Daily Bell: Would you define yourself today - Republican, Conservative, Libertarian?
George Gilder: Yes.
Daily Bell: What do you think of the growing movement of Austrian economics?
George Gilder: Ever since Ludwig von Mises, the Austrians have been supreme in economics. But as far as I know no one has excelled the master.
Daily Bell: What do you think of Murray Rothbard?
George Gilder: Murray always struck me as a brilliant dogmatist, letting the ideal always trump the possible advance and allowing his hatred of bureaucracy to blur his ability to distinguish between totalitarianism and mere political muddle, between the Soviet Union and the United States, for relevant examples.
Daily Bell: What do you think of the Internet?
George Gilder: I have written several books on the Internet, beginning with Life After Television in 1990, which predicted "worldwide webs of glass and light." I think the Internet is now close to the end, because TCP-IP has become a cumbersome obstacle to communications in an age when video is the dominant form of traffic and thus the governing determinant of optimal technology. The new network will resemble a broadband synchronous version of the old telephone network, optimized for video. The current Internet, as Henry Gau has said, resembles an old telegraph system patched and upgraded for video.
Daily Bell: Is the Internet a force for freedom?
George Gilder: Yes. Communication is a form of freedom.
Daily Bell: How has your opinion of technology evolved over the years?
George Gilder: I have strengthened my view that government financed science and technology (such as global warming or "alternative" energy) are nearly always reactionary.
Daily Bell: Why did you stop writing about free-markets when you were such an eloquent proponent? Your voice has been missed.
George Gilder: I never stopped, but I wrote more about the fruits of enterprise and creativity than about the perfection of "free markets" themselves. Like "perfect competition," a cant of "free markets" has become an excuse for oppressive regulations and controls. As markets are never finally free or competition ever perfect, critics can always find reasons for new beadles and bureaucrats. Ostensible advocates of free markets, such as Paul Romer, end up denying the existence of real entrepreneurial invention (de novo) by depicting it as the mere materialist "reassembly of chemical elements."
Even Austrians depict the entrepreneur as a mere "scout of opportunities" or "arbitrageur" rather than as a creator of radical novelties based on imagination and original inspiration. They see the entrepreneur as a tool of markets rather than a creator of markets. Creation is a real thing in the world. Treating it as some kind of material process is arrant reductionism which leads to the notion that computer based financial markets are ideal. As we have seen in the recent financial crash, markets cannot function without human creativity and judgment.
Daily Bell: What do you think technology is capable of?
George Gilder: Empowerment of capitalists to defend themselves without retreat to Galt's Gulch.
Daily Bell: How is it going to change the future?
George Gilder: Enable global individualism and enterprise.
Daily Bell: Will it have a political impact? Is it?
George Gilder: Technological progress renders totalitarianism impotent. Only freedom can enable innovation and empower progress. Despots impoverish themselves.
Daily Bell: Where do you stand on fiat money versus a gold and silver standard?
George Gilder: Although I do not believe a restoration of the old gold standard is possible or desirable, I believe that gold is the monetary element and provides an extremely valuable gauge of the appropriate monetary policy. Ignoring the price of gold is perilous for any nation, such as the U.S. Gold will prevail over blind monetarism.
Daily Bell: What do you think of Congressman Ron Paul?
George Gilder: Like many movement libertarians, he always prefers the quixotic ideal (radical spending cuts) to the feasible improvement of lower tax rates. By opposing defense spending and American power he has become a shill for the enemies of capitalism and freedom.
Daily Bell: What do you think of the Tea Party movement?
George Gilder: A fully beneficial force as long as they stress tax cuts rather than spending cuts. Lower tax rates are good in themselves. Lower spending always ends up focusing on defense.
The chief damage of the new health care "reform" will come from the 16,500 new Internal Revenue Service Agents, each with $600K, assigned to enforce it. To focus on spending is wrong. It is coercive taxation that is the problem. It destroys capitalism.
Daily Bell: What do you think of the European Union and the move toward globalism generally. A good thing?
George Gilder: Global capitalism is good. Global socialism and bureaucracy is evil.
Daily Bell: Is America in good shape these days? Are you encouraged or discouraged?
George Gilder: America is in relatively bad shape. But it is showing strong signs of a revulsion against the ascendant socialism.
Daily Bell: What are some of the most influential books and web sites you can recommend to our readers?
George Gilder: Panic: the betrayal of capitalism by Andrew Redleaf and Richard Vigilante is the definitive account of the financial crash. Bret Swanson's EntropyEconomics website is excellent.
Daily Bell: Please recommend further reading from your own oeuvre as well.
George Gilder: My new book, The Israel Test, explains how anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are chiefly forms of anti-capitalism.
Daily Bell: Thank you for your time and insights.
George Gilder is a provocative writer with a formidable intellect. The arc of his literary career is broad and glittering, and his arrival on the national scene was a literary event. He was an original thinker from the beginning, attracting attention for his plain-speaking about male/female relationships and then, before it was fashionable, the necessity for free-markets in a Western world that was trending toward socialism. Many read his 1981 bestseller Wealth and Poverty and were favorably influenced by his arguments for freedom and free-markets. The book was timely and erudite - a pleasure to read. (One can see even from the interview above that George Gilder is an artist with words.)
Anyway, the whole idea of supply-side economics, which George Gilder helped pioneer as Chairman of the Lehrman Institute's Economic Roundtable, was a sociopolitical revelation. It could be realistically implemented and supported ideologically by US conservatives of the day. It also worked. In fact, every time taxes have been cut (in the U.S.) an energetic economy has been the result. By cutting taxes, a government can actually gain revenue – because entrepreneurs work harder – which is something the Obama administration should remember as it begins to arm revenue officers with rifles to facilitate further collections.
But the major point of enlightenment as regards this interview – from our viewpoint – is the statement made about libertarian congressman Ron Paul (R-Tex). Now from our point of view, Ron Paul is a man with a cast of mind similar to George Gilder's. Gilder, however, doesn't see it that way. He seems somewhat skeptical of Ron Paul.
"Like many movement libertarians, he always prefers the quixotic ideal (radical spending cuts) to the feasible improvement of lower tax rates," Gilder states in the interview above. And then he adds of Ron Paul, that, "by opposing defense spending and American power he has become a shill for the enemies of capitalism and freedom."
He also states in answer to the next question about the impact of the US Tea Party movement, "[They are] a fully beneficial force as long as they stress tax cuts rather than spending cuts. Lower tax rates are good in themselves. Lower spending always ends up focusing on defense."
We can see from the above perspective that George Gilder believes in a robust defense posture and an expenditure (one assumes from his answers) roughly analogous to trillions being spent now by the Pentagon. Not only that, but he seems to imply that the Reagan era focus on CUTTING TAXES versus CUTTING SPENDING was a purposeful one at the highest levels – a way of presenting one's free-market bona fides without chopping expenditures. In fact, Reagan ended up increasing government, which was certainly not his stated intention.
Now leaving aside the issue of military spending – a contentious one to be sure (given America's serial, global wars) – what George Gilder is telling us is that supply-side economics allowed the Reagan era Republican party to promote free-markets without running the danger of encouraging military spending cuts. In other words, government could continue to grow at the federal level even though it was implementing free-market solutions.
This is an astonishing perspective and one that we had not fully contemplated. Perhaps we've simply not read the right articles or books, but we've believed all along that supply-side economics was proposed as a libertarian solution to the problem of OUT OF CONTROL government. In fact, we are informed herein, it was proposed as a libertarian-style alternative that allowed government to CONTINUE to grow – or so George Gilder seems to explain. (Maybe we have missed something in our analysis or misunderstood him, in which case we apologize.)
Armed with acute insights, George Gilder makes other provocative statements in this interview, and we won't presume on the reader's time to point them out. They are evident enough and are cast forth as sparks, in our view, from a brilliant mind. He is certainly not a man equipped to endorse common wisdom, though his track record shows us that he is fully capable of anticipating society's most profound transformations.
Finally, we will not pretend that this interview reveals an entirely candid George Gilder. He was obviously somewhat guarded and occasionally monosyllabic, or nearly so. But we were pleased, nonetheless, to elicit his fascinating responses on any terms and wish to state he was most gracious to give us even a little of his valuable time.