Saturday, December 22, 2012

Obama Administration bracing for Muslim riots over "Zero Dark Thirty"

From Jihad Watch / Posted by Robert Spencer

Since Hillary Clinton vowed to have the Muhammad filmmaker "arrested and prosecuted," and did so, will she do the same for the producers of "Zero Dark Thirty" if Muslims riot over it? After all, we have already established that terrorism works. The only question now is how far this Administration will go to suppress the freedom of speech in order to appease Muslims.

"U.S. on alert for Islamist ire to ‘Zero Dark Thirty,’" by Kristina Wong for The Washington Times, December 20 (thanks to Blazing Cat Fur):
Could the release of “Zero Dark Thirty” provoke violent protests against the U.S. in response to the film’s searing depictions of “enhanced interrogation” — the coercive, super-secret and bitterly debated methods used by the CIA against al Qaeda terrorism suspects? 
Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow’s acclaimed docudrama about the pursuit of Osama bin Laden opened Wednesday at five theaters in New York and Los Angeles.
The film, an early Oscar favorite, graphically depicts coercive CIA interrogation techniques, including the waterboarding, domination and psychosexual humiliation of a detainee, who is, variously, collared and leashed like a dog, stuffed into a cramped “confinement box” and stripped naked for questioning in the presence of a female investigator.
Although the portrayal of such treatment given to a prisoner, regardless of his religion, may be deemed offensive by viewers of any faith, the film steers clear of depicting Islam’s Prophet Muhammad or showing the Koran being desecrated — two acts considered blasphemous by many Muslims.
Muslims have expressed outrage in response to the anti-Islam video “Innocence of Muslims,” the unintentional burning of Korans and a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper.
Although “Zero Dark Thirty” doesn’t enter into any of that territory and nothing suggests a similar chain of events will follow the film’s release, a senior defense official said U.S. forces are always on alert.
“I doubt extremist murderers are going to garner much sympathy in the West or in the Muslim world, but we’ll keep an eye on things,” the official said.
“This isn’t exactly the first time this issue has surfaced. It’s been debated for years, and other major Hollywood productions have fictionalized similar themes. It’s important to keep this in perspective. I haven’t seen the movie, but one thing is for sure: It has a happy ending, not just for the United States, but for Muslims around the world targeted by Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda terrorist network.”
Yet fears of a violent backlash against “Zero Dark Thirty,” which goes into wide release in the U.S. on Jan. 11, are swirling in some corners of Washington and appear to be accentuated by a public perception of a U.S. government consultative role in pre-production research for the film....
The ObamaCare Fiscal Cliff

The ObamaCare Fiscal Cliff 

By: John C. Goodman  / Townhall Columnist

In the standoff over the fiscal cliff, all the discussion has been about the Bush tax cuts. There has been no discussion about the ObamaCare tax increases. That's a mistake.

Five of the tax increases Americans will face on January 1 are new taxes created under the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare). And they are not just for the very rich. Three of the five will hit people who are solidly middle class.

The new ObamaCare taxes will hit everything from dividends and capital gains to day care and services for special needs children. They will increase the tax bill for those who have extraordinary medical expenses ? at the very time when they can least afford to pay higher taxes. They will hike the tax burden for the chronically ill who have several thousand dollars of out-of-pocket prescription drug expenses every year. The taxes will fall on medical devices ranging from pacemakers and artificial hips to bedpans and stents.

All told, these new taxes will create a burden in excess of $250 billion over the next 10 years.

The case for delaying these taxes is strong. Clearly they will depress economic activity and slow the recovery. But there is also another reason: we don’t need the money. The new ObamaCare taxes are supposed to provide the revenue to furnish subsidized health insurance to millions of people who will begin buying it in health insurance exchanges in January 2014. But the subsidies won't be needed if the insurance is not available and it won't be if the exchanges are not up and running at that time.

Here is my prediction: aside from two states that already have exchanges (Massachusetts and Utah), only one other state (Maryland) will make the deadline. Maybe Colorado will make it if they are lucky. But that's it. No other state is going to have operational exchanges on time.

In fact, half the states aren't even planning to set up exchanges. That responsibility will then fall to the federal government. But no money has been budgeted to fund such a large federal operation. The full implementation of ObamaCare could actually take years. In the meantime, let taxpayers keep more of their income to meet their own needs.

Clearly, the White House doesn't want to talk about any of this. When President Obama says he wants to protect middle income families from January tax hikes, he's not talking about the ObamaCare taxes. But what's wrong with the Republicans? They have allowed Democrats and the mainstream media to pull off a gigantic bait and switch. Everyone is talking about tax rates for the rich. No one is talking about the middle class tax burden needed to fund health reform.

Here is a brief summary of the taxes that will kick in next month, courtesy of Americans for Tax Reform.

Medical device tax: $20 billion. This 2.3% tax on gross sales could amount to a very large percent of after tax profit ? thus encouraging an industry that is providing very good domestic jobs to relocate overseas. Meanwhile, the burden of the tax will be reflected in higher prices for anyone who needs an artificial knee or hip or a pacemaker.

Flexible Spending Account (FSA) limits: $13 billion. Roughly 35 million Americans use FSA accounts to pay medical expenses not paid by the employer's health insurance with pre-tax dollars. These accounts are especially important to chronic patients with substantial out-of-pocket drug expenses. FSAs can also be used to pay for day care and services for special needs children. Currently, there is no legal limit on how much an employee can deposit in the account, but many employers cap the annual contribution at $5,000. After January 1, however, contributions will be limited to $2,500 ? effectively cutting the tax advantage in half.

Surtax on investment income: $123 billion. Democrats often say they merely want to return to Clinton era tax rates for the highest-income taxpayers. They conveniently omit the fact that ObamaCare adds 3.8 percentage points to those rates ? bringing the highest marginal tax rate up to 43.4% for individuals making more than $200,000 and couples earning above $250,000. Add on a 13% state tax in California, and some taxpayers will be paying more than half of all they earn to the government. The new tax hits dividends, capital gains and other investment income.

Limits on itemized medical expense deductions: $15.2 billion. Currently, people can deduct medical expenses in excess of 7.5% of income if they itemize. Next year, that threshold will rise to 10%. This means a higher tax burden for those who have the misfortune to have large medical bills. It is literally a tax on the sick.

Higher payroll tax: $86.8 billion. The Medicare payroll tax is currently 2.9% on all wages and self-employment profits. Under this tax hike, wages and profits exceeding $200,000 ($250,000 for a couple) will face a 3.8% rate instead. This is a direct tax hike for small business owners, who are liable for self-employment taxes in most cases.

10 Facts for Liberals: Why Gun Control Can't Stop Another Newtown Massacre

There are now calls from the Left for gun control legislation in response to Adam Lanza's unconscionable mass killing of innocent children at Sandy Hook Elementary. However, very few people seem to be asking the most basic question of all before getting started: What gun control legislation could have stopped Adam Lanza?

The answer is "none."

Let's consider a few alternatives:

1) The school was already a "gun free zone;" so obviously that wasn't effective. Of course, the sort of people who would respect a "gun free zone" in the first place are the very ones you wouldn't have to worry about carrying a gun; so it's an almost useless designation.

2) What about closing the supposed "gun show loophole?" Well, since Lanza killed his own mother and used her legally acquired guns for his rampage, making it harder for googly-eyed loners to acquire weapons wouldn't have changed a thing.

3) Some people are calling for a ban on automatic weapons. Setting aside the fact that the regulation of fully automatic weapons is already tighter than Spandex, Adam Lanza didn't use a fully automatic weapon.

4) Then there are calls for the "Assault Weapons Ban" to be reinstated. One problem: the semiautomatic Bushmaster .223 rifle that Lanza used wasn't covered by the bill. So, his mother could have bought that exact same gun with a sheriff looking over her shoulder while the ban was in place.

5) We could, of course, pass a newly updated "Assault Weapons Ban" that covers the semiautomatic Bushmaster .223 rifle. Then, gun manufacturers would try to create weapons that can get around the ban. They would probably be successful. Even if they weren't, it's not as if Lanza was battling Marines. When you're a coward who's attacking unarmed children, any gun will work.

6) We could also ban high-capacity ammunition magazines, but given the 3-5 second reload time, that would have been a minor inconvenience to Adam Lanza at worst. After all, it's not as if a group of small children were going to be able to scamper away or gang up on him during a four second window.

So, what now? Well, let's step into the realm of fantasy and assume that there's no such thing as a 2nd Amendment that provides the public with a Constitutional right to "keep and bear arms." that is every bit as important as the right to free speech and freedom of religion. Let's also pretend that the American public would go along with the following laws and attempts to implement them wouldn't lead to wide scale violence and unrest.

7) Congress could ban the manufacture and sale of bullets and magazines. Given the massive number of bullets and magazines already owned by the public and readily available instructions for making them, this wouldn't stop any determined killer like Adam Lanza. On the other hand, it would lead to a massive black market with tens of millions of previously law abiding Americans buying bullets by the bucketful from back rooms across the country.

8) Congress could also ban the manufacture and sale of guns. Again, that would lead to the creation of a massive black market, but it would also leave roughly 300 million guns in the hands of the American people. In other words, if Adam Lanza had decided to wait until AFTER that law was passed to go on his killing spree, it would have been the same sad story.

9) Then, there's the most extreme step of all: Congress could ban the ownership of guns. One problem: In the vast majority of cases, the government has no record of who owns guns and who doesn't. In most places, those records are kept at the gun store level and are not updated. If the gun is lost, stolen, given away or sold by the individual, there is no record of it. This is a feature, not a bug, and it's designed to prevent exactly the sort of confiscation we're discussing here. So, even if all guns were made illegal, it would be very difficult to enforce, most people wouldn't turn their weapons in and there would probably be two hundred million guns left in the hands of the American public. Would a man like Adam Lanza still be able to acquire a weapon in that situation? Come on, he KILLED HIS OWN MOTHER for a gun; so you can be sure he'd have gotten one elsewhere.

10) Let's go Steven Spielberg on this problem and assume space aliens show up and use some bizarre technology to get rid of all guns. Well, even so, fire and explosives would still exist and as Brian Palmer has noted in Slate, those can be even more effective killers than guns.
Guns aren't even the most lethal mass murder weapon. According to data compiled by Grant Duwe of the Minnesota Department of Corrections, guns killed an average of 4.92 victims per mass murder in the United States during the 20th century, just edging out knives, blunt objects, and bare hands, which killed 4.52 people per incident. Fire killed 6.82 people per mass murder, while explosives far outpaced the other options at 20.82. Of the 25 deadliest mass murders in the 20th century, only 52 percent involved guns.
If gun control advocates like Barack Obama, Michael Bloomberg and Michael Moore, all of whom have armed guards protecting their safety, succeed in making guns less available for law abiding citizens, it wouldn't stop another Newtown massacre, but ironically it would make it easier for rapists, gangs or even the next Adam Lanza to hurt innocent people.
Op-ed:
Plan B...dead before it even gets voted on
Diane Sori


“Now it is up to the president to avoid the fiscal cliff” said Speaker of the House John Boehner as he watched, in what amounts to a vote of 'NO confidence,' his 'Plan B Tax Proposal' go down the drain as it did NOT even make it to vote.

The simple truth is that Boehner couldn't garner support from his own party for the budget deal he chipped out with Obama. And why...because Republicans ran on a platform of NO new taxes NOT only on those making over $1million per year but NO new taxes on anyone, and Boehner reneged on that promise just to avoid a fiscal cliff that doesn't even really exist. Remember, what everyone calls the fiscal cliff is really only an extension of the payment plan to those we owe our country's financial survival to.

And while this week it appeared that the two sides seemed to be closing in on a deal, when push came to shove the House Republicans refused to raise taxes, and they need to be applauded for that. Confronted with a revolt within the party, the bill was scrapped without being voted on even though NO bill being passed threatens to send the economy into recession.

And what Obama and the Democrats still don't get...or worse yet don't care to get...is that in a time of economic stagnation with another recession a strong possibility is that cutting taxes or at least NOT raising them would help boost the economy, boost employment, and increase revenue to the federal government to reduce the deficit. But when you have a president and a party fixated on class warfare what's good for the country takes a backseat to petty jealousy and partisan politics.

Obama is NOT happy about this rejection as he claims he made concessions to Boehner to get it passed...however, at best they were concessions in name only, a public dog and pony show, because even before details of Plan B had been released to the public, Obama and 'Prince Harry' had already decided the legislation was going nowhere. Remember, these two are determined to raise taxes...solving the out of control spending problem be damned.

And even Obama saying he'd only raise taxes on those making over $400,000 per year instead of his originally wanted $200,000, the House Republicans were still NOT biting. And the bottom line is that even if Boehner sold Plan B to the Republicans in the House, the Democrats weren't even willing to consider it because they believe it would end some tax cuts for the middle class while preserved tax breaks for millionaires. Remember, the Democrats campaigned on keeping taxes lower for those with incomes of less than $250,000.

The Republicans knew this plan was NO good, because they knew that if enacted the taxes on those with incomes above $1 million would have risen from 35% to 39.6%...quite unfair to those who are the job creators. And by giving into Obama on this Boehner dealt himself a blow that might cost him his position as Speaker for the reality is that Boehner caved on a core value of the Republican Party...NO tax increases.

So now while Obama jets off to Hawaii for his very expensive Christmas vacation on our taxpayer dime, he must decide if he's even willing to make any concessions to Republicans to achieve a broader budget deal. And you know what, he doesn't have to as many sellout RINO Republicans have said they are willing to raise taxes as part of a deal to cut spending.

So now with Plan B having gone down the drain, the whole ball of wax changes after January 1, when Obama's tax rate increases automatically go into effect causing any further debate NOT to be about raising taxes but about lowering them.

But the question is...what happens now?

There are two possibilities...one is that we go over the fiscal cliff and income taxes go up on everyone, with some of the very unwise fiscal cliff spending cuts starting to kick in, along with the end of the Bush-era tax cuts expiring.

And the other is that Boehner can still cut a deal with the White House, and he doesn’t need unified Republican support to do it. If Boehner and Obama agree on a deal, then Boehner can pass it on a bipartisan basis with a large number of votes from House Democrats. But that would cost him his position as Speaker which comes up for vote again early in 2013.

So no matter which possibility happens, the bottom line is 'We the People' get screwed yet again because either way taxes will go up as Obama and his cronies continue to implode our economy from within.