Friday, March 8, 2013

Funny as hell but oh so true...


60,000 Border and Customs Agents Told to Take Furloughs

By Todd Beamon
  / Newsmax


Sixty-thousand federal employees responsible for securing the nation’s borders and facilitating trade will be furloughed for as many as 14 days starting next month because of $85 billion in cross-government spending cuts.

The federal government notified the workers on Thursday, CNN reports.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said the furloughs and other austerity measures would cause delays at ports of entry, including international arrivals at airports, and would reduce the number of border patrol officers on duty at any one time, CNN reports.

David Aguilar, the agency's deputy commissioner, said it must cut about $754 million by Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.

The agency plans to institute furloughs throughout its departments, a hiring freeze — and to reduce or eliminate overtime, compensatory time, travel and training. Other federal agencies are following similar steps because of the spending cuts that took effect on March 1 through sequestration.

Customs “continues to evaluate further impacts of sequestration” on its operations, an agency spokeswoman, Jenny Burke, said in a statement reported by CNN.

“Even with these cuts, though, individuals apprehended illegally crossing the southwest border will still be processed as usual,” Burke said.

The Customs furloughs will begin in mid-April, with reductions in border patrol overtime starting on April 7, Burke said.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Monday that she expects customs wait times to increase to 150 to 200 percent of normal, CNN said.

"I don't mean to scare, I mean to inform,” Napolitano said. “If you're traveling, get to the airport earlier than you otherwise would. There's only so much we can do with personnel.”

Meanwhile, the union representing some 24,000 agency employees predicted on Thursday that the cuts would “undercut” national security and bring a loss of revenue.

Customs collects more money for the federal government than any agency other than the Internal Revenue Service, the National Treasury Employees Union said in a statement.

“There is no escaping the reality that sequestration is having serious effects on the traveling public and on vital commerce,” the union’s president, Colleen M. Kelley, said in the statement.

Late last month, Napolitano and other Obama administration officials came under fire — particularly from officials in Arizona — for the release of hundreds of illegal immigrants held in local jails to save money as the sequester neared.

Napolitano has since promised to release more illegals, primarily on supervised release, saying the sequester had left her no choice.

“We’re going to continue to do that for the foreseeable future,” Napolitano said at a March 4 breakfast meeting hosted by Politico. “We are going to manage our way through this by identifying the lowest-risk detainees, and putting them into some kind of alternative to release.”

However, internal Homeland Security documents quoted in news reports indicated that 2,000 illegals had already been released by the time of the sequester — and officials planned to let go 3,000 more.

As many as 11 million illegal immigrants are in the United States, about seven million of whom are working — primarily in low-skill jobs.

However, roughly 20 million Americans are without jobs, including several million Americans with few job skills, according to news reports.

Senators Cruz and Paul introduce bill to prevent drone killings of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil if they don't pose an imminent threat

From Jihad Watch / Posted by Robert Spencer


I am no fan of Ron Paul or Rand Paul, both of whom have made their hostility to Israel and dangerous misapprehension of the jihad threat abundantly clear. However, this bill is obviously necessary. Hamas-linked CAIR and Leftist groups made much of the killing of al-Awlaki in Yemen, but al-Awlaki was clearly an enemy combatant, a jihadi at war with the United States. What is disquieting about the Obama Administration's claim that American citizens can lawfully be killed with drones on American soil is that the Obama Administration has already made it abundantly clear that they consider "right-wing extremists" -- a category in which they lump law-abiding and freedom-loving conservatives together with neo-Nazis and racists, in the same manner as do Islamic supremacists and Lefists -- to be more of a threat than jihadis. I can see this administration, which saw to it that the maker of a Muhammad video was jailed, using drones against foes of jihad and Islamic supremacism sooner than they would against jihadis and Islamic supremacists who are genuinely at war with the United States.

"Cruz, Paul Introduce Bill to Prohibit Drone Killings of U.S. Citizens," from Ted Cruz's site, March 7 (thanks to Jerk Chicken):
WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY) today introduced legislation to prohibit drone killings of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil if they do not represent an imminent threat. 
“Our Constitution restrains government power,” Cruz said. “The federal government may not use drones to kill U.S. citizens on U.S. soil if they do not represent an imminent threat.
The Commander in Chief does, of course, have the power to protect Americans from imminent attack, and nothing in this legislation interferes with that power.”
Key bill text:
The Federal Government may not use a drone to kill a citizen of the United States who is located in the United States. The prohibition under this subsection shall not apply to an individual who poses an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to another individual. Nothing in this section shall be construed to suggest that the Constitution would otherwise allow the killing of a citizen of the United States in the United States without due process of law.
Will Obama Reluctantly Buy Into Base-Broadening Tax Reforms That Also Lower the Rates?
By: Donald Lambro / Townhall Columnist
WASHINGTON - President Obama has been pleading with House Republican leaders lately to raise government revenues by overhauling the tax code to erase loopholes and other income exemptions.

It wasn't an idea he campaigned on last year, though the chairmen of his deficit reduction commission proposed doing just that in a report he shelved. But they also wanted to use the higher revenues to offset lowering the tax rates in order to boost economic growth, jobs and investment, which in turn would boost tax revenues and reduce the deficits.

But cutting tax rates doesn't play well with Democratic voters or with the White House, so Obama campaigned on raising taxes on the rich, won a second term and then ran into into a budget sequester fight of his own making and a wall of resistance from the Republicans in Congress.

Since it's now clear Obama isn't going to get any more tax revenue as long as the GOP controls the House, from where all revenue bills must originate, he is pursuing Plan B: Raise more tax revenues by ending billions of dollars in corporate welfare and other special tax preferences.

Well, it looks like House Republicans are going to give Obama at least half of what he wants in a bill to lower tax rates. In fact, they've been working on a tax reform bill that does just that for the past year in the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. But throughout the sequester fight, the president has been acting as if House Speaker John Boehner and his deputies haven't moved one iota in that direction.

At the height of that bitter battle last week, the president charged that the Republicans couldn't come up with "one tax loophole" that they were willing to get rid of to bring in more revenue.

That charge, as with many of his hysterical accusations, was patently untrue.

House Republicans have held 20 separate hearings on comprehensive tax reform and they have circulated a draft of their goals for wider discussion. Last month, Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp announced formation of 11 tax reform working groups to comb through the tax code with the aim of cleansing it of its worst provisions.

The committee's stated goal is "that comprehensive tax reform should include top corporate and individual tax rates of 25 percent. That goal is embedded in the House Republican Budget Resolution for fiscal years 2012 and 2013.

This would include lowering the corporate tax rate, which at 35 percent is the second highest in the world's largest economies. In a letter to Congress, a group of more than 20 top economists said that "such a move would likely lead to a more efficient allocation of resources, increased investment and employment in the United States, and higher wages."

Boehner is making tax reform his top priority this year and has reserved the coveted H.R. 1 slot for the reform bill. "I got a green light," Camp said last month, making it clear that he will move the bill out of committee in time to bring it to the House floor for for a vote later this year.

So the GOP's tax overhaul train is moving down the track, and the only remaining question now is how will the president deal with this issue in his second term?

It goes without saying that the president doesn't have a clue about what produces stronger economic growth, jobs and the level of venture capital needed for new business expansion.

His 2009 economic stimulus program, made up of big spending, shovel ready, public works projects and some temporary tax credits failed miserably.

In the fourth quarter of 2012, the Obama economy grew at a barely- breathing 0.1 percent annual rate. Economists say the real unemployment rate is now14.4 percent when discouraged, drop-out workers and others who can only find part-time jobs are folded into the numbers.

He's tried to put all of the blame on the Republicans for his failure, but voters aren't buying that or his scare tactics in the budget sequester battle.

Neither are some White House reporters. "It sounds like you're saying that this is a Republican problem and not one you bear any responsibility for," piped up White House AP reporter Julie Pace at his last news conference.

A flummoxed Obama testily replied, "Well, Julie, give me an example of what I might do." He then asked the rest of the assembled press corps, "So what more do you think I should do?"

It was a rather sad moment for a president who believes he has all the answers to the nation's economic troubles. In fact, he is running on empty.

So now, all of a sudden, he says he's for reforming the federal tax code and maybe lowering some rates, though his entire campaign was all about raising taxes to pay for his big spending plans.

He called for "comprehensive tax reform" last month in his State of the Union address. But instead of framing his proposal within the context of growing a dead-in-the-water economy, he said we needed to go after "billionaires with high powered accountants."

Instead of calling for across the board tax cut reforms in the uplifting rhetoric of John F. Kennedy's "a rising tide lifts all boats," Obama angrily characterized the issue in terms of going after "the well-off and well-connected."

Despite Wall Street's bull rally, the cold, hard economic reality is that America's depressed labor force is smaller now than it was when Obama took office four years ago.

Venture capital investments, the mother's milk of an expansionist, job creating economy, fell nationwide by 10 percent last year, according to a report by the National Venture Capital Association. And Obama has succeeded in raising taxes on the very people who invest the most in our economy.

Now, when it is obvious that none of his policies have reignited an economy that can do no better than a limp 2 percent annual growth rate, compared to Ronald Reagan's 6 percent growth rate as he began his second term, Obama is looking elsewhere for answers.

His latest, reluctant, 11th hour conversion to tax reform is a welcome change. But will he fully embrace the GOP's plans to broaden the tax base through loophole closings in order to lower the rates to trigger strong economic growth. Put me down as doubtful.

Rotten to the Core: The Feds' Invasive Student Tracking Database

Rotten to the Core: The Feds' Invasive Student Tracking Database
While many Americans worry about government drones in the sky spying on our private lives, Washington meddlers are already on the ground and in our schools gathering intimate data on children and families.

Say goodbye to your children's privacy. Say hello to an unprecedented nationwide student tracking system, whose data will apparently be sold by government officials to the highest bidders. It's yet another encroachment of centralized education bureaucrats on local control and parental rights under the banner of "Common Core."

As the American Principles Project, a conservative education think tank, reported last year, Common Core's technological project is "merely one part of a much broader plan by the federal government to track individuals from birth through their participation in the workforce." The 2009 porkulus package included a "State Fiscal Stabilization Fund" to bribe states into constructing "longitudinal data systems (LDS) to collect data on public-school students."

These systems will aggregate massive amounts of personal data -- health-care histories, income information, religious affiliations, voting status and even blood types and homework completion. The data will be available to a wide variety of public agencies. And despite federal student-privacy protections guaranteed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, the Obama administration is paving the way for private entities to buy their way into the data boondoggle. Even more alarming, the U.S. Department of Education is encouraging a radical push from aggregate-level data-gathering to invasive individual student-level data collection.

At the South by Southwest education conference in Austin, Texas, this week, education technology gurus were salivating at the prospects of information plunder. "This is going to be a huge win for us," Jeffrey Olen, a product manager at education software company CompassLearning, told Reuters. Cha-ching-ching-ching.

The company is already aggressively marketing curricular material "aligned" to fuzzy, dumbed-down Common Core math and reading guidelines (which more than a dozen states are now revolting against).

Along with two dozen other tech firms, CompassLearning sees even greater financial opportunities to mine Common Core student tracking systems. The centralized database is a strange-bedfellows alliance between the liberal Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (which largely underwrote and promoted the Common Core curricular scheme) and a division of conservative Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. (which built the database infrastructure).

Another nonprofit startup, "inBloom, Inc.," has evolved out of that partnership to operate the database.

The Gates Foundation and other partners provided $100 million in seed money. Reuters reports that inBloom, Inc. will "likely start to charge fees in 2015" to states and school districts participating in the system. "So far, seven states -- Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina and Massachusetts -- have committed to enter data from select school districts. Louisiana and New York will be entering nearly all student records statewide."

The National Education Data Model, available online at http://nces.sifinfo.org/datamodel/eiebrowser/techview.aspx?instance=studentElementarySecondary, lists hundreds of data points considered indispensable to the nationalized student tracking racket. These include:

--"Bus Stop Arrival Time" and "Bus Stop Description."
--"Dwelling arrangement."
--"Diseases, Illnesses and Other Health Conditions."
--"Religious Affiliation."
--"Telephone Number Type" and "Telephone Status."

Home-schoolers and religious families that reject traditional government education would be tracked. Original NEDM data points included hair color, eye color, weight, blood types and even dental status.
How exactly does amassing and selling such personal data improve educational outcomes? It doesn't.

This, at its core, is the central fraud of Washington's top-down nationalized curricular scheme. The Bill Gates-endorsed Common Core "standards" are a phony pretext for big-government expansion. The dazzling allure of "21st-century technology" masks the privacy-undermining agenda of nosy bureaucratic drones allergic to transparency, accountability and parental autonomy. Individual student privacy is sacrificed at the collective "For the Children" altar.

Fed Ed is not about excellence or academic achievement. It's about control, control and more control.
Op-ed: 
Hurting America's children and other peccadillos
By: Diane Sori

And the award for the only president ever to deliberately go out of his way to hurt America's children for political gain goes to...I think you all know the answer to that one.

Barack HUSSEIN Obama seems to have rocked his 'I can do whatever I want' boat a bit as he watches his poll numbers drop because the sky did NOT fall when sequestration went into effect last weekend. The dreaded 'S' word proved to be anything but dreaded as a miserly 3% cut to the budget is, if anything, laughable considering all the overspending this administration has done.

So what does Obama do to try and save political face as even some in his own party are chastising him for crying wolf...he takes his colossal...he built it, he owns it...sequestration failure out on America's school children.

“Due to staffing reductions resulting from sequestration, we regret to inform you that White House Tours will be canceled effective Saturday, March 9, 2013 until further notice,” according to a cancellation notice that was sent to congressional offices.

And so it begins.

Suspending the very popular White House Tours by claiming they need to cut staff to save money, even after Michelle's bloviation that, “my husband and I have made it our mission to open up the house to as many people as we can,” is really quite comical because what this clueless man forgets is that these tours, which bring millions of visitors to the White House each year, are staffed and conducted by volunteers.

So where is the dollar savings as no one gets paid except the Director of the Tours...or does Obama NOT remember the definition of the word volunteer...let me refresh his memory...volunteer: a person who performs a service willingly and without pay. Without pay being the operative words but I guess in Obamanation even the meaning of words can change.

Oh and by the way...why is the Director of White House Tours still on the job and being paid if the tours themselves have been suspended...hmmmm...

And who does he hurt the most with this ridiculous cut...America's school children are the unfortunate main recipients of Obama's ire and payback as each year thousands of school trips to DC are planned around a visit the 'People's House.'

So, Mr. 'It's all about the children' Obama basically just said 'the hell with the kids' as he throws his golf bag over his shoulder and off he goes for game number...what is it by now...120 or something close to that. Odd...NO cuts to that little perk that we taxpayers pay for is there.

And so it continues...

There are sequestration cuts of nearly $2 million listed to be made to the National Drug Intelligence Center’s $20 million budget. Except, guess what...that center has been closed for months, as it was absorbed into and became part of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). So those cuts are non-existent yet they are still listed to be made...hmmmm...if NO cuts can be made because the agency NO longer exists where is the $2 million dollar cut listed really going, as in where is it being hidden and for what purpose.

And let's NOT forget the theater of the absurd when Maxine Waters said that the sequester would cost 170,000,000 jobs...except there are only 150 MILLION workers in the US so how can more jobs be lost than there are.

So with all this it boils down to one thing and one thing only...Obama will use 'sequester hysteria' to try and win the public opinion battle by blaming the cuts both real and non-existent on Republicans as he sets the stage for an attempt to take back the House in 2014...and if Democrats take back the House heaven help us because then they will control it all. So, Obama will do everything and anything possible to make sure his 'sky is falling' predictions do come true for political gain and political gain alone, even if that means doing something as seemingly innocuous as suspending the White House Tours so he can say the Republicans did this to our nation's children.

Obama really has NOTHING else to try as the reality is the what amounts to 3% cuts will have little effect on the daily lives of the general public after his hope that Republicans would cave to the threat of defense cuts went right out the window. Finally Republicans showed some guts and stood strong against this most treacherous of presidents.

Simply, Obama had been predicting dire consequences for the economy if there was a reduction in federal spending...if there was sequestration. He was wrong, out and out wrong, as he forgets or just doesn't care about the basic indisputable fact that economic prosperity doesn't come from government spending...economic prosperity comes from private industry and putting people back to work allowing them to produce wealth...wealth that they can keep. And while the Stock Market is doing very well right now, and of course Obama is claiming his policies are what's fueling that (they're NOT), doing well is still NOT translating into jobs or middle class gains, because NO matter what Obama tries to insinuate Wall Street is NOT the economy...the GDP is and that is still hurting due to this his out of control spending.

So let Obama do all the useless, frivolous, and non-existent spending cuts he wants, let him blame it all on the Republicans if he wants but in the end what people will remember about all this is that Barack HUSSEIN Obama took away our children's chance to tour the White House.

And he built that and owns it all on his own.