Thursday, December 6, 2012

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MY VOTE ON THE "CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES"

My Vote on the "Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities"
By Senator Marco Rubio
December 4, 2012

My late grandfather was one of the most influential people in my life. Until his death when I was 13, "Papá" was a mentor who spent countless hours on our front porch with me discussing history, politics and baseball. As a Cuban immigrant, he knew how special America is, and it's one lesson from him that I will never forget.

Papá was also my hero for the way he lived his life. Stricken by polio as a boy, he would be disabled for the rest of his life.  He would often walk miles to work at a cigar factory to provide for his family. Because of his disability, walking was difficult for him and he would often return home at night with his clothes dirty from repeatedly falling to the ground.  But he kept getting up, and lived a life that I admire and will never forget.  Because of him, I knew from a very early age the inherent dignity and beauty evident in every disabled human being on earth, whether they were born with their disability or developed it in the course of their lives.

The landmark Americans With Disabilities Act enshrined into law many fundamental rights to help disabled people live better lives.  As Americans, it should make us all proud because it is one reason the United States has set the gold standard in the world for disability rights.  It has helped demonstrate to everyone else one more dimension of our exceptional people, by ensuring that our disabled brothers and sisters have better opportunities to rise above their physical limitations to stake their claim on the American Dream.

As the Senate considers the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities today, it’s important to note that a failure to approve it would in no way diminish what we have accomplished in America on disability rights, just as its passage would not improve the laws affecting Americans with disabilities.  Furthermore, nothing on this treaty compels other nations to raise their standards or in any way improve the care they afford to persons with disabilities.  Therefore, I stand in opposition of its ratification today.

The treaty's supporters have argued that its passage will elevate disability rights abroad, to the benefit of disabled people not fortunate enough to live under laws like ours and also to disabled Americans when they travel. However, the United States already promotes disabled rights and better laws abroad through the State Department and our foreign embassies.  The Americans With Disabilities Act (and subsequent improvements to it) should be the law upon which other countries base their own laws protecting their disabled people and aiming to make their lives better.

I believe America's example should lead the way on achieving stronger universal disability rights instead of the United Nations, the governing body entrusted to oversee this treaty's implementation. The American example of millions of disabled Americans living their dreams is a stronger force to compel other countries to do the same than a United Nations body populated by such chronic human rights abusers as China and Russia, nations that fail to respect the fundamental rights of everyone, much less their disabled.

When this treaty was originally negotiated, a bipartisan consensus existed that this treaty would not address abortion. This is an appropriate position when you consider that, too often, unborn children in the United States and across the world are aborted because their disabilities have been detected while in the womb. When the Senate Foreign Relations Committee debated this issue in July, I offered an amendment to make clear this Convention does not create, endorse or promote abortion rights as reproductive health.  I made clear its intent was not to change U.S. domestic laws on this matter. All my proposed change did was state very clearly that, at the end of the day, this Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is about protecting persons with disabilities, regardless of their stage in life.  Because this important change was not adopted and for all the reasons I’ve outlined here, I cannot support Senate ratification of this treaty.

Pamela Geller: "Political sensitivities" before life and liberty

From: Jihad Watch


In "'Political sensitivities' before life and liberty" at WND, December 4, Pamela Geller exposes the latest acquiescence to Muslim violence in the U.S.:
Last Friday, according to Arizona’s Casa Grande Dispatch, “an explosive device was detonated … by the back door of the U.S. Social Security Administration office, shaking downtown Casa Grande, but no one was injured.” The perpetrator was a Muslim, Abdullatif Aldosary. You would think that a Muslim detonating an IED in a government building in Arizona would be front-page stuff, or that national security agencies would be at heightened alert, but you would be wrong. The FBI is not treating it as a terrorism case because of “the political sensitivities involved.” 
Translation? They fear insulting Muslims. They’re not properly prosecuting the sworn enemies of the U.S. for fear of giving offense to Muslims who are supposedly on our side.
And the media? What media? Where was CNN? When a bacon sandwich is 100 yards from a mosque, they issue a special report, and it would be on the front page of the New York Times.
Perhaps they would dedicate a Sunday special section to “Islamophobia,” and President Obama might take to the airwaves to shake his boneless finger at us. But this, a Muslim using an IED to bomb a government building in Arizona, garners little to no media.
It’s astounding how in the tank the Shariah-complaint media have become, and how far they have gone down the rabbit hole of whitewashing Islam and downplaying jihad. But even worse is the fact that Obama’s FBI will not prosecute Aldosary on terror charges, so as not to hurt the feelings of jihadists. The Shariah-compliant FBI, too, is now enforcing the blasphemy laws.
We have lost our minds and our souls to this vicious enemy – have we no stomach in the defense of humanity and freedom?
And those of us who still have the testicular fortitude to cover jihad-related news are marginalized, demonized and accused of inciting “Islamophobia” and/or “anti-Muslim backlash.”
Contrary to the “Islamophobia” claims, I think the American people have been enormously tolerant and kind to Muslims in America. Considering what this nation has been through at the hands of the global jihad, it is amazing how generous America has been. Despite 9/11; the thwarted Times Square bombing; the Portland Christmas tree bombing; the Christmas underwear bomber; the massive plot to bomb New York City subways on the anniversary of 9/11; last week’s arrest of Muslim brothers in Florida who were plotting to use a weapon of mass destruction within the United States; last week’s arrest of an Islamic cell in California that was plotting to kill Americans overseas and in the United States; the plot by a Massachusetts Muslim to fly remote-controlled model planes packed with explosives into the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol; and so many other jihad plots in America over the last few years, there has been no backlash. None.
Think about it. Jihad attacks thwarted on an almost weekly basis, and the American people have not responded. What a testament to how civilized and tolerant we are as a culture and a society. All the blood, toil, treasure and human life fighting an enemy both here and in the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and, to a much lesser extent, Iraq, and still we welcome Muslims to our shores, in our communities and cities. 

But what do we get in return for our kindness and tolerance? False accusations of “backlash,” “intolerance,” “bigotry” and retribution against innocent people from Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas groups in the U.S. Why aren’t Muslim groups in the U.S. directing their barbs and arrows at the jihadists and not at their victims? It’s telling.

 And it’s not just the media, law enforcement and national security agencies – it’s our courts as well. There have been over 20,000 deadly jihadi attacks worldwide since 9/11, with thousands dead, displaced and mutilated, but as far as many judges and local governments, the real crime is … telling the truth about this and using the word the killers themselves use to describe their actions. The attempts by local governments to ban our anti-jihad ads were bad enough, but this is a crime: Prosecutors in the trial of the Muslim jihad terrorist Mohamed Mohamud, the Portland Christmas tree bomber, are asking the court that they be allowed to use the words “jihad” and “martyrdom” to characterize Mohamud’s jihad....
Read it all.
Saving the Planet – Or Protecting Power Grabs and Cash Cows?
 
Waning interest and credibility forced organizers to replace climate change with sustainable development as “the world’s most urgent problem” during the UN’s June 2012 Rio+20 Conference.

However, climate alarmism is again taking center stage this week at the COP-18 confab in Doha, Qatar.

The agenda remains the same: slash or end hydrocarbon use, transfer wealth, and control energy use, economic growth and lives.

The strategies likewise remain unchanged: treaties, laws, regulations and higher taxes for hydrocarbon energy – with control placed in the hands of unelected, unaccountable elites who claim they are saving Planet Earth from ecological collapse.

Previous events in Bali, Copenhagen, Durban and Rio de Janeiro lavished billions of dollars on proposals and discussions that led mostly to promises of more meetings in five-star venues like Doha. With the Kyoto Protocol set to expire, Qatar’s atmosphere is rife with grim determination to forge new international agreements, in the face of hard realities that portend still more failure for global governance stalwarts.

The United States never ratified Kyoto, isn’t bound by its dictates, and has limited economic and political stature to play a lead role in forging a new agreement, regardless of what President Obama might want.

Canada, Japan and New Zealand have rejected participation in a new treaty. The European Union is drowning in debt, struggling under soaring renewable energy costs that threaten families, jobs, companies and entire industries, and little inclined to shackle its economy further.

China, Brazil, India, Indonesia and other emerging markets are loathe to sign any treaty that would limit the fossil fuels they need to grow their economies and lift more millions out of poverty. They say industrialized nations must agree to further greenhouse gas reductions, before they will consider doing so, and insist that holding developing countries to developed nation standards would be inequitable.

Poor countries increasingly understand that CO2 emission restrictions will prevent them from developing and subject them to control by environmental activists and UN regulators. People in those countries are beginning to realize that massive wealth transfers from Formerly Rich Countries – for climate change mitigation, reparation and adaptation – are increasingly unlikely. If “Green Climate Fund” pledges ever do materialize, they will mostly end up in another unaccountable UN slush fund for bureaucrats, autocrats and kleptocrats, with only pennies trickling down to ordinary people.

On the scientific front, contrary to incessant claims that Earth is warming uncontrollably, average planetary temperatures have not risen in 16 years, even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have crept upward to 391 parts per million (0.0391 percent). Temperatures may “remain well above the long-term average,” as some insist – but humanity also suffered through a 500-year Little Ice Age and a “coming ice age scare” during the 1940-1975 cooling period.

And while global warming alarmists continue to say 2010 or the U.S. summer of 2012 was “the hottest on record,” actual data reveal that there is only a few hundredths of a degree Fahrenheit difference between these and other alleged “hottest years,” such as 2005. The 1930s still reign supreme as the hottest in American history.

Arctic sea ice reductions during 2012 were caused by many factors, including ocean currents and enormous long-lasting storms that NASA finally conceded broke up huge sections of the polar ice cap. Meanwhile, Antarctic sea ice continues to expand, setting new records. The rate of sea level rise has not been accelerating and may actually be decreasing, according to recent studies.

Even with Hurricane Sandy, November 2012 marks the quietest long-term hurricane period since the Civil War, with only one major hurricane strike on the U.S. mainland in seven years. Large tornadoes have also fallen in frequency since the 1950s, and the 2012 season was the quietest on record; only twelve tornadoes touched down in the United States in July 2012, says NOAA, shattering the July 1960 record low of 42.

Climate change computer models predict every imaginable scenario – warmer and colder, wetter and drier, more snow or less snow in winter – so human-caused disaster believers can always claim to be right. And almost nothing stops politicians and climate alarmists from saying Sandy was “unprecedented” and “proof that climate change is real,” no matter what history actually shows us.

Devastating hurricanes have struck New York, New Jersey and Canada’s Maritime Provinces many times over the centuries. Newfoundland’s deadliest hurricane killed 4,000 people in 1775, while category 1 to 3 ‘canes hit the provinces in 1866, 1873, 1886, 1893, 1939, 1959, 1963 and 2003. New York City was hammered by major storms in 1693, 1788, 1821, 1893, 1938 (the “Long Island Express”), 1944 and 1954.

Climate change is natural, normal, cyclical, frequent, unpredictable, and sometimes catastrophic – as the Little Ice Age certainly was for European agriculture and civilization.

Nor are we “running out” of oil and gas – the other rationale for irrational attacks on hydrocarbons. Thanks to new discoveries, technologies and techniques (like hydraulic fracturing), the world still has many decades of traditional energy. We need to develop it, not lock it up, to help people realize their dreams for a better tomorrow, and bring prosperity to families, communities and nations the world over.

These realities won’t stop the alarmists. There is simply too much money and power at stake. Tens of billions of dollars are transferred annually from taxpayers and energy users to activists, Mann-made global warming scientists, regulators, carbon tax “investors,” and renewable energy and carbon capture subsidy seekers – all of whom have every reason to promote climate scares and attack anyone who voices skepticism about CO2-driven climate change catastrophes.

Nor will scientific or economic reality stop the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is poised to impose a raft of economy-strangling, job-killing carbon dioxide regulations – or a Congress and White House that are desperate for new sources of revenue, to pay for stimulus and entitlement programs.

The real danger is not climate change. If we have the economic and technological resources, we can adapt to almost any changes Mother Nature might throw at us – short of another glacial period that buries much of the world under a mile of ice.

The real danger is policies, laws, regulations, restrictions and taxes imposed in the name of preventing global warming catastrophes that exist only in computer models, Hollywood horror movies and environmentalist press releases. Those political reactions will perpetuate and exacerbate poverty, disease, unemployment, and economic stagnation.

They will subsidize renewable energy programs that turn precious food into expensive fuel for cars, destroy wildlife and habitats, and leave the pursuit of happiness and human rights progress in the hands of pressure groups, politicians and bureaucrats who are convinced that mankind is a “cancer on the Earth.”

That is neither just nor sustainable. It is the reason the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow is in Doha. We want the United Nations to return to its founding principles, get serious about poverty alleviation and economic betterment for people everywhere – and implement constructive and sustained solutions to the real problems that continue to confront civilization, wildlife and the environment.


Editor's note: This piece was co-authored by Craig Rucker.

Higher Tax Rates Won't Support Entitlement State

By: Michael Barone / Townhall Columnist

The real argument here is over the size and scope of government. Under Barack Obama, federal outlays -- the technical term for federal spending -- have increased to 24 and 25 percent of gross domestic product.
That's a higher level of federal spending than in any year since 1946, when we were demobilizing after World War II. And the Obama budgets envision federal spending to continue at such levels more or less indefinitely.

This is an inevitable result, some Obama backers argue, of our aging population. Spending for entitlement programs for the elderly -- Social Security and Medicare -- are on a rising trajectory, and so the federal government simply must absorb a higher percentage of the economy than in the last two-thirds of a century.

Let's adjust the trajectory, House Republicans argue, by reforming the entitlements. Obama has given lip service to this idea -- but has offered no specifics.

He seems to be paying attention to those Democrats who oppose any changes in entitlements. Just raise taxes, they seem to say, and entitlements can keep rising as scheduled.

The problem is that, as historian Paul Rahe wrote earlier this year, "we no longer have the resources to support the entitlement state. We can certainly raise taxes, as President Obama and the Democrats intend to do, but that does not mean that in the long run we will take in more revenue -- and it is massively increased revenue that the entitlement state needs."

Rahe seems to have history on his side. To see why, take a look at the Economic Report of the President 2012, Appendix B, Table B-79, on page 412, which shows federal receipts -- the technical term for revenues -- and outlays as a percentage of gross domestic product for every year from 1939 to 2011, with estimates for 2012 and 2013.

Over that period of nearly three-quarters of a century, federal receipts have never exceeded 20.9 percent of gross domestic product. That was the number for the war year 1944.

The highest number since was the 20.6 percent of GDP in 2000, the climax of the dotcom boom. In the Obama years, federal receipts have hovered at 15 percent of GDP.

That's just because tax rates are too low, Obama backers reply. Just raise the rates on high earners, and the problem will be solved.

Actually, high earners don't make enough money to close the current budget deficit. You'd need to raise taxes on middle-income earners too.

But we have had higher income tax rates in most of the years since World War II. What history and Table B-79 show is that even much higher rates -- like the 91 percent marginal rate on top earners imposed from the 1940s to the 1960s -- have never produced federal receipts higher than 20 percent of GDP.

Why is that? As the late Jack Kemp liked to say, when you tax something, you get less of it. When the government took 91 percent of what the law defined as adjusted gross income over a certain amount, not many people had adjusted gross income over that amount.

According to a Congressional Research Service study, the effective income tax rate on the top 0.01 percent of earners in the days of nominal 91 percent tax rates was only 45 percent. Others have pegged it at 31 percent.

In the 1970s, when the top rate on wage and salary income was 50 percent and 70 percent on investment income, high earners spent much of their time and energy seeking tax shelters. The animal spirits of capitalists, to use John Maynard Keynes' term, were directed less at productive investment and more at tax avoidance.

But don't European nations extract more in taxes from their citizens? Yes, but through consumption taxes like the value-added tax. But those taxes tend to be regressive, and in this country sales taxes have been the province of states and localities.

Barack Obama and the Democrats may well get higher tax rates. But it's not likely that high tax rates can ever generate enough revenue to fund unreformed entitlement programs.
Obama pushed Europeans to recall Israeli ambassadors to protest Israel construction in Jerusalem

From Jihad Watch


The act of an enemy -- a cowardly enemy, who won't declare his intentions openly. "Sources: US behind European protest measures," by Attila Somfalvi for Ynet News, December 4 (thanks to Jerk Chicken):
The United States was behind the summoning of Israeli ambassadors by several European nations, Israeli sources with close ties to US administration officials said Monday. 
"The European move is essentially an American move," one official said. "The Brits asked the Americans how to act."
The Foreign Ministry fears Europe will take further punitive steps against Israe [sic] over its decision to advance construction in the E1 area between Ma'ale Adumim and Jerusalem.
Last week Israel announced the construction of an additional 3,000 housing units in Jerusalem and the West Bank. But it was the decision to advance the planning procedures of housing units in the segment connecting Ma'ale Adumim with Jerusalem, known as the E1 project, that truly infuriated Washington and Europe.
Meanwhile, Australia also announced it was summoning the Israeli ambassador to protest Israel's moves.
"Australia has long opposed all settlement activity," Foreign Minister Bob Carr said in a statement after Israeli Ambassador Yuval Rotem's meeting with senior Australian officials.
"Such activity threatens the viability of a two-state solution without which there will never be security in Israel."...
...and with which there will never be security in Israel.

Op-ed:

The 'bad' gun did it... 

By: Diane Sori

                                                  Oh dear, another 'bad' gun killed somebody...just ask Bob Costas. The 'bad' gun loaded itself, got off the table, walked around until it found its target, then pulled its own trigger and shot itself into yet another hapless victim...NO human involvement at all. 


Ban the 'bad' guns...yank them away from 'We the People' and take away our Second Amendment rights to protect us from yet another 'bad' gun that just might decide all on its own to hurt or kill us.

Yeah right.

Our Second Amendment gives us citizenry the right to keep and bear arms.  Saying, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” the Second Amendment protects the rights of 'We the People' allowing us firearm ownership, possession, and transportation whether the liberal left likes it or not.

George Washington, the Father of our Country wrote, “A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.”  George Mason, a delegate from Virginia to the U.S. Constitutional Convention who along with James Madison is called the 'Father of the United States Bill of Rights' said, “I ask, sir, what is the militia?  It is the whole people...To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” 

Together and alone these words spoke of an armed citizenry preventing government tyranny...the exact reason why we have the Second Amendment.  Remember, our Founding Fathers abhorred the concept of a standing army (which they believed to be the tool of tyrants to oppress the people), instead wanting a citizen militia of well-armed citizens to be called upon as needed. 

And while the left seeks to twist the meaning and intention of the words of the Constitution, specifically the Second Amendment and the term 'people' as they try to say it refers to people collectively NOT people as individuals, the original intentions of our Founding Fathers are well documented thanks to the Federalist Papers, which provide an awareness of what was intended when they created the Constitution.  In fact, and Obama won't like this, in these very papers Alexander Hamilton clearly writes that there exists a right of self-defense against a tyrannical government, and it includes the people with their own arms.  But above all else, our Founders wrote of how the courts that are entrusted with insuring that the Constitution is not subverted, have themselves, intentionally misinterpreted the 'original intent' of the Constitution. 

Thankfully, no matter how hard the gun-hating left has screamed, the Supreme Court ruled (U.S. v. Verdugo-Urquidez, 1990) that there was NO contradictory evidence from the writings of the intentions of our Founding Fathers, and so upheld that the Second Amendment does indeed protect an individuals right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and that that weapon can be used for lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home (Castle Law) and in public if need be (as per state laws). 

So tough liberal left...the Second Amendment stays, for the rights in our Constitution and our Bill of Rights are timeless and eternal, and cannot be revoked at the whim of your desire to further strip away the rights of 'We the People.'   As Thomas Jefferson said, "No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."  And the last time I looked “We the People' are still free.

And lastly liberal lefties just so you know...guns don't kill people...people kill people.  Our Founders knew it...too bad people like Bob Costas don't.

_________________________

Thanks Joe.  :)