Sunday, June 9, 2013

U.S. waives human rights conditions to give Muslim Brotherhood Egypt $1.3 billion in military aid

 From Jihad Watch / Posted by Robert Spencer

"On national security grounds." What national security grounds? What will Egypt use this military aid for, except to attack Israel and/or its own pro-democracy protesters?

A shameful episode in American history, in an age that is full of them: "US waives condition on $1.3B in aid to Egypt," by Bradley Klapper for the Associated Press, June 7 (thanks to Kenneth):
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration has waived the conditional human rights string attached to Egypt's $1.3 billion in U.S. military support for 2013. 
In a letter to Congress last month, Secretary of State John Kerry noted the Egyptian military's long partnership in promoting Mideast peace. He said aid helps protect Egypt's borders, Suez Canal shipping and Israeli security against extremists in Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula.
After Hosni Mubarak's overthrow in 2011, Congress mandated that assistance to Egypt be conditional on progress in on a democratic transition there. However, it allowed the administration to waive the requirement on national security grounds....

President Obama poses with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands as they meet for talks Friday, June 7, 2013, in Rancho Mirage, Calif. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)China flips cybersecurity tables; reports claim U.S. is prepping attacks

By Dave Boyer /The Washington Times

Chinese President Xi Jinping tried to turn the tables on President Obama over digital security Friday night by claiming that China is a “victim” of cyber attacks, amid reports that the Obama administration is developing secret plans for global cyber warfare.

As the two leaders met for an informal two-day summit in the Californian desert, Mr. Xi decried media reports that “might give people the sense or feeling that cyber security as a threat mainly comes from China.”
China is a victim of cyber attacks and we hope that earnest measures can be taken to resolve this matter,” he told reporters, with Mr. Obama at his side. Mr. Xi said he wanted to dispel America’s “misgivings” about China’s alleged role in cyber hacking.

There have been numerous reports in recent months of China launching sophisticated cyber attacks against U.S. weapons systems like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, as well as accusations of the theft of corporate secrets. China has denied the allegations.

Mr. Obama, confronting a growing scandal about his own administration’s digital surveillance on U.S. citizens, didn’t accuse China publicly of hacking America's military or corporate secrets. Instead he called for “common rules of the road” over international cyber-hacking, and said China should be America’s partner in such an effort.

“As China continues in its development process and more of its economy is based on research and innovation and entrepreneurship, they’re going to have similar concerns, which is why I believe we can work together on this rather than at cross-purposes,” Mr. Obama said.

Their meeting came amid fresh media reports that the Obama administration has been preparing secret plans to launch cyber attacks with “little or no” warning against foreign adversaries. Both the Guardian newspaper in Great Britain and the Washington Post reported that Mr. Obama signed an order in October known as Presidential Policy Directive 20, which authorizes the National Security Agency and intelligence officials to prepare for imminent cyber warfare.

“The United States government shall identify potential targets of national importance where [cyber attacks] can offer favorable balance of effectiveness and risk as compared with other instruments of national power,” the directive states, according to the newspapers.

Mr. Xi was greeted at the approach to the exclusive Sunnylands estate in southern California by hundreds of protesters, including demonstrators calling for the liberation of Tibet, members of the Falun Gong, and Vietnamese protesting about disputed islands in the South China Sea. Temperatures in the region climbed to more than 110 degrees.

The meetings will conclude on Saturday.

With the reports of domestic surveillance by the Obama administration threatening to overshadow the talks, Mr. Obama told reporters that the issue of cyber hacking are “different” from spying that’s aimed at preventing terrorist attacks.

“How we deal with both identifying potential terrorists or criminals, how the private sector deals with potential theft, and how the federal government, state governments, local governments and the private sector coordinate to keep out some of these malicious forces while still preserving the openness and the incredible power of the Internet and the web and these new telecommunications systems — that’s a complicated and important piece of business,” Mr. Obama said. “But it’s different from these issues of theft and hacking.”
I’d say it’s official; President Obama’s Watergate has arrived.  And the witty question originally formed for Nixon’s big scandal can now be re-applied to President Plausible Deniability, “What did he not know and when did he not know it?”  While I do think that IRS-Gate spells the end of this President’s ability to effectively advance the liberal agenda, I do not see an impeachment on the horizon; at least not for Barack Obama – but perhaps for the Sixteenth Amendment.

The recent parade of citizen witnesses to congressional hearings has laid bare the raw suffering that inevitably comes from tolerating the existence of a despotic government agency.  To gain an appreciation for the IRS scandal, one need only hear the eight minute statement from citizen Becky Gerritson before the House Ways and Means Committee.  Gerritson’s elocution should be required viewing for every citizen and immigrant over the age of 16, perhaps set to an inspirational John Williams soundtrack.  Juxtaposed to Ms. Gerritson are the strained testimonies from IRS employees where I keep expecting to hear that fast paced Benny Hill music welling up in the background.

The righteous momentum against IRS arrogance creates an opportunity for righting a 100–year-old wrong.  This past February 3rd marked exactly one century since the Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, giving Congress the “power to lay and collect taxes on incomes.”  

This disastrous decision ultimately reversed the positions of servant and master between America’s citizens and their federal government.

The accounting nightmare created by today’s 50,000 pages of tax law and regulations has produced a natural hostility between citizens and government, acted out on annual and quarterly cycles.  

Misinterpretations and non-compliance result in fines, property seizure, and criminal prosecution.  

The enforcement power given to the agency strikes fear in taxpayers, businesses, charities, and churches, and the temptation has proven to be too much.  Politicians and bureaucrats have leveraged this position to influence desired behaviors.

The institutional corruption of government cruelty toward political advantage has placed Washington, DC on a crash course with Mount Rushmore.  But while Democrats and Republicans fight over the control stick, National Review correspondent Kevin Williamson has been unbuckling his seatbelt and strapping on a wingsuit.  Williamson’s new book arrives with the most appealing (albeit lengthy) title of any political commentary that I have ever seen: “The End Is Near and It's Going to Be Awesome:

How Going Broke Will Leave America Richer, Happier, and More Secure.”

Williamson is right, of course, that the current arrangement is completely unsustainable.  And rather than scream all the way into the mountainside, I agree with Williamson that we should prepare to step in with solutions that reflect the Founding Fathers’ pre-Sixteenth-Amendment wisdom.  And in an attempt to out-play us, watch for liberals to begin supporting a flat tax solution.

The IRS is appropriately being criticized by both major parties.  Releasing the Commissioner into an early retirement does not equal the crime.  A systemic change must come to the collection of taxes for the federal government.  But the Democrats will soon realize that too much of a change will ruin their ability to control the masses on an individual basis.  And by modifying the current complexity to a flat tax, Democrats would trade short term manipulations for maintaining their long term position of control over the individual.

A flat tax would merely simplify the fiasco.  It would not resolve anything.  Taxing income is the problem.  Republicans should move to repeal the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

There are two worthy alternatives on the table right now; the Liberty Amendment and the Fair Tax.  

In 1998 Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) first introduced the Liberty Amendment, a straightforward proposal that repeals the ability to tax income and restricts the federal government to programs specifically enumerated in the Constitution. In 1999 Congressman John Linder (R-GA) first introduced legislation known as the Fair Tax Act.  The Fair Tax has received more congressional member support than both the Liberty Amendment and flat tax schemes.

The Liberty Amendment does not attempt to provide solutions to the lost revenues for the federal government.  For me, the wisdom in this approach is a forced reduction in the size of the federal government along with re-thinking revenue sources.

The Fair Tax begins with a national sales tax as a replacement for income tax.  The IRS is eliminated and the economy would receive a certain boost.  It also attempts to replace welfare, unemployment, and other government social involvements with a unified monthly cash payment to every legal resident.  The idea here is to collect enough sales tax to fund the government and to send a minimal subsistence payment to everyone, no matter how rich or poor they happen to be.

Ron Paul said of the Fair Tax, “We don’t need to replace the income tax at all. I see a consumption tax as being a little better than the personal income tax, and I would vote for the Fair Tax if it came up in the House of Representatives, but it is not my goal. We can do better.”  There is a lot to like about the Fair Tax and a lot to be concerned about, especially the opportunity for liberal mischief in developing dependencies with the cash payments.

But regardless of the final revenue solution, we need to head Rahm Emanuel’s advice that, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”  It has now been proven beyond any reasonable doubt that the existence of an agency such as the IRS is too great of a temptation for ambitious politicians.  The Sixteenth Amendment must be repealed.  Further, the very purpose of taxation should be refined to funding government operations.  It should never be allowed for social engineering, redistributions, punishment, or spying.

Or as Becky Gerritson bravely told the government in person, “It’s not your right to assert an agenda.”
Despite surviving a number of threats, President Obama’s health care law remains harmful, unstable, and unpopular. It also remains vulnerable to repeal, largely because Congress and the Supreme Court have granted each state the power to veto major provisions of the law before they take effect in 2014.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) itself empowers states to block the employer mandate, to exempt many of their low- and middle-income taxpayers from the individual mandate, and to reduce federal deficit spending, simply by not establishing a health insurance “exchange.” Supporters of the law do not care for this feature, yet they adopted it because they had no choice. The bill would not have become law without it. 

To date, 34 states, accounting for roughly two-thirds of the U.S. population, have refused to create Exchanges. Under the statute, this shields employers in those states from a $2,000 per worker tax that will apply in states that are creating Exchanges (e.g., California, Colorado, New York). Those 34 states have exempted at least 8 million residents from taxes as high as $2,085 on families of four earning as little as $24,000. They have also reduced federal deficits by hundreds of billions of dollars.

The Obama administration is nevertheless attempting to tax those employers and individuals, contrary to the plain language of the PPACA and congressional intent, and to deny millions of Americans the opportunity to purchase low-cost, high-deductible coverage. Employers, consumers, and even state officials in those 34 states can challenge those illegal taxes in court, as Oklahoma has done. States can also block those illegal taxes—and even stop the federal government from operating an Exchange—by approving a strengthened version of the Health Care Freedom Act.

The PPACA’s Medicaid expansion, which would cost individual states up to $53 billion over its first 10 years, is now optional for states, thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling in NFIB v. Sebelius. Some 16 states have announced they will not expand their programs, while half of the states remain undecided. Yet the Obama administration is trying to coerce states into implementing parts of the expansion that the Court rendered optional. States can replicate Maine’s lawsuit challenging this arbitrary attempt to limit the Court’s ruling.

Collectively, states can shield all employers and at least 12 million taxpayers from the law’s new taxes, and still reduce federal deficits by $1.7 trillion, simply by refusing to establish Exchanges or expand Medicaid.

imageCongress and President Obama have already repealed the third new entitlement program the PPACA created—the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act, or CLASS Act—as well as funding for the “co-op” plans meant to serve as an alternative to a “public option.” A critical mass of states exercising their vetoes over Exchanges and the Medicaid expansion can force Congress to reconsider, and hopefully repeal, the rest of this counterproductive law. Real health care reform is impossible until that happens.
Government Is Impeding America's Energy Explosion

What if the United States could quickly take steps that would eliminate the entire trade deficit, boost the economy, and create millions of jobs?

It can, according to a leading energy expert — but not if it retains some current government policies.
American exports now total $1.6 trillion a year, second only to China's $2.1 trillion, but the United States imports more than it exports and runs the world's largest annual trade deficit, about $750 billion.

And 40 percent of the deficit comes from oil imports, says Mark P. Mills, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and founder and CEO of the Digital Power Group, a capital advisory group focusing on technology.

But America is now the world's fastest-growing oil and gas producing region, and could become a net oil exporter.

Much of the credit goes to improvements in drilling technology. As the Insider Report disclosed earlier, that technology has improved the productivity of the typical oil or gas rig on U.S. shale fields by 200 to 300 percent over the past five years.

"Increasing production and exports of oil and gas and of energy-intensive products from chemicals to fertilizers can put the nation on track to wipe out the entire trade deficit within the decade, returning the nation to a trade balance — even a surplus — that has not been enjoyed for decades," Mills writes.

It would also serve as a huge stimulus to the U.S. economy, directly creating jobs across the nation and indirectly creating millions more jobs, he asserts.

However, government policies now in place hinder the production and export of hydrocarbons, says Mills, who served in the White House Science Office under President Ronald Reagan and writes the "Energy Intelligence" column for Forbes.

He urges the government to take a number of immediate steps to accelerate the nation's hydrocarbon capabilities.

For one, the Commerce Department should be directed to approve any application to export crude oil as domestic production increases 70 percent within the decade. A 1975 law makes it illegal to export crude oil, with rare exceptions, although refined petroleum products can be sold overseas.

Under legislation last modified in 1978, the Department of Energy has the authority to approve or disapprove applications for licenses to export natural gas. The government should approve all qualified entities seeking to export natural gas, Mills insists.

The Obama administration should approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, allowing Canadian crude to replace Venezuelan imports.

The federal government should also offer wider access to hydrocarbon resources on federal lands, where 80 percent of offshore and half of onshore territory remains off limits to hydrocarbon exploration.

Mills concludes: "There are manifold benefits to be had from ensuring or accelerating energy exports. Congress and the administration should take action to unleash the economic, employment, and strategic benefits that will derive from furthering U.S. hydrocarbon production and exports."