(CNSNews.com) - Terence P. Jeffrey writes: In the budget proposal he presented to Congress last month, President Barack Obama called for what would be the highest level of sustained taxation ever imposed on the American people, according to the analysis published last week by the Congressional Budget Office.
Under Obama’s proposal, taxes would rise from 17.6 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2014 to 19.2 percent in 2024. During the ten years from 2015 to 2024, federal taxation would average 18.7 percent GDP.
America has never been subjected to a ten-year stretch of taxation at that level.
In the five fiscal years encompassing U.S. involvement in World War II (1942 through 1946), federal taxation averaged 16.1 percent of GDP.
In the fiscal years since World War II (1947 through 2013), federal taxation has averaged 17.1 percent of GDP. Read the rest of this entry »
Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms fail to safeguard civil liberties
For Reason, Ronald Bailey writes: In January, President Barack Obama made a much-anticipated speech at the Department of Justice outlining proposed reforms of the domestic surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency (NSA). The secretive spy agency has taken a public battering ever since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden began blowing the whistle on its clandestine collection of basically every American’s telephone records.
“We will reform programs and procedures in place to provide greater transparency to our surveillance activities, and fortify the safeguards that protect the privacy of U.S. persons,” the president proclaimed. Unfortunately, Obama’s proposed changes to domestic surveillance programs are not nearly transparent enough, and fail to adequately protect the privacy of Americans.
In January, the federal government’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, an independent agency charged by Congress with advising the president on the privacy and civil liberties repercussions relating to fighting terrorism, concluded that the NSA’s domestic surveillance “implicates constitutional concerns under the First and Fourth Amendments, raises serious threats to privacy and civil liberties as a policy matter, and has shown only limited value.” How limited? “We have not identified a single instance involving a threat to the United States in which the telephone records program made a concrete difference in the outcome of a counterterrorism investigation.”
The oversight board recommended that the surveillance program be terminated. In his speech, the president said that he had consulted with the board. Yet he did not heed its advice.
Instead of ending the unconstitutional domestic telecommunications spying program, Obama offered what he insisted were “a series of concrete and substantial reforms.” These include a new executive order on signals intelligence-that is, data connected with private communications-instructing surveillance agencies that “privacy and civil liberties shall be integral considerations.”
The order further admonishes intelligence bureaucrats to make sure their spying actually provides some benefit greater than the embarrassment officials will surely suffer should they be disclosed. This is the “front page test,” or how officials would feel if what they are doing were reported on the front page of a newspaper. If discovery equals discomfort, then maybe they shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. Read the rest of this entry »
“[Media Matters] clearly targeted me at some point. They used to work with me on stories, try to help me, you know, produce my stories,” Attkisson told CNN’s Brian Stelter Sunday. But that changed, she said, because of work she did that bothered the Left. Read the rest of this entry »
Charles Krauthammer said President Obama’s approach to foreign policy shows that his view of human nature is lacking.
“He has trouble understanding that other countries have national interests,” he said. “And they do want to dominate other countries. He said that’s not how people act in this century. It is how people act in this century, and every century back to the Stone Age.”
Obama Administration Wants to Require Companies to Give Workers’ Numbers, Addresses to Unions Before Labor ElectionsPosted: April 21, 2014
For The Daily Caller, Patrick Howley reports: The Obama administration is poised to change regulations to allow for union “ambush elections” in which workers have less time to decide whether or not to join a union — and in which workers’ phone numbers and home addresses are provided to unions.
The administration’s National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) proposed rules would allow for union elections — in which workers at a company vote whether or not to unionize — to be held 10 days after a petition is filed. And what, exactly, would be happening to the unions during those 10 days? The new rules require employers to disclose workers’ personal information, including phone numbers, home addresses, and information about when they work their shifts.
Insiders close to the situation believe the new rules will almost certainly go into effect with few or no fundamental changes. Read the rest of this entry »
For Yahoo News, Matt Bai writes: So now it’s out there. After five years of studied reticence (unless they were talking privately to one another or their supporters), Democratic leaders in Washington finally went public last week with what they really think is motivating Republican opposition to Barack Obama. As Steve Israel, one of the top Democrats in Congress, told CNN’s Candy Crowley, the Republican base, “to a significant extent,” is “animated by racism.”
Just to make himself clear, Israel did allow that not all Republicans were the ideological descendants of Bull Connor. To which I’m sure his colleagues across the aisle responded, “Oh, OK. Cool then.”
But it’s not the reaction of Republicans that Democrats should probably have some concern about. It’s the way American voters, and a lot of younger voters in particular, may view a return to the polarizing racial debate that existed before Obama was ever elected.
Note: one of Matt Bai‘s silly sentences:
“…Still, a lot of Americans who voted for Obama probably find the racism argument at least somewhat persuasive.”
A “lot”? Really? Any chance you can be more specific? Then, the deadly trio: “probably”, “at least”, and “somewhat”. Smothered in qualifiers, so weak and blurry, it undermines the author’s point. Imagine a voter thinking, “Wellllll…The Democratic Party’s opportunistic race-baiting and divisive name-calling is probably… at least….sommmeeewhat persuasive….I guess…”
Coming in an election year, and in the wake of sporadic campaigns to solidify support among women and gay voters, the sudden Democratic focus on race felt like an orchestrated talking point. Israel’s comments came just a few days after Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, suggested that racism was keeping Republicans from voting on an immigration bill. And Pelosi was reacting to a speech by the attorney general, Eric Holder, who complained to a civil rights gathering in Washington of “ugly and divisive” attacks against the administration.
“What attorney general has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?” Holder, who is African-American, pointedly asked. “What president has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?”
As far as I can tell, though, this eruption on race actually wasn’t born in the kind of strategy session where consultants lay out which issues will move which voters. What seems to have happened was something rarer: Washington Democrats, unable to suppress their frustration for a minute longer, simply blurted out what they have always believed to be true but had been reluctant to say. One catharsis emboldened the next. Read the rest of this entry »
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is extending indefinitely the amount of time federal agencies have to review the Keystone XL pipeline, the State Department said Friday, likely punting the decision over the controversial oil pipeline past the midterm elections.
“This decision is irresponsible, unnecessary and unacceptable.”
– Sen. Mary Landrieu (D)
The State Department didn’t say how much longer agencies will have to weigh in but cited a recent decision by a Nebraska judge overturning a state law that allowed the pipeline’s path through the state, prompting uncertainty and an ongoing legal battle. Nebraska’s Supreme Court isn’t expected to rule for another several months, and there could be more legal maneuvering after that. The delay potentially frees President Barack Obama to avoid making a final call on the pipeline until after the November election.
In an ironic show of bipartisanship, prominent Democrats from energy-dependent states joined Republicans in blasting the Obama administration for delaying the decision once again.
“The agency consultation process is not starting over. The process is ongoing, and the department and relevant agencies are actively continuing their work in assessing the permit application,” the State Department said in a statement.
Republicans were quick to blast the latest delay in a review process that has dragged on for more than five years. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., accused Obama of kowtowing to “radical activists” from the environmental community, while House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, called the decision “shameful” and said there were no credible reasons for further delay. Read the rest of this entry »
“…I received a call from some of the prayer breakfast organizers saying that the White House was upset and requesting that I call the president and apologize for offending him.”
Flashback: The Prayer Breakfast Speech
For The Daily Caller, Alex Pappas writes: Neurosurgeon Ben Carson says the White House wanted him to apologize for “offending” President Obama after he famously delivered a conservative message at the National Prayer Breakfast last year.
Carson, the former director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, recalls the events surrounding his 2013 speech in his new book, One Nation: What We Can All Do To Save America’s Future. The Daily Caller obtained an advance copy of the book, which is set for release May 20.
“He did not appear to be hostile or angry,” Carson writes of Obama, “but within a matter of minutes after the conclusion of the program, I received a call from some of the prayer breakfast organizers saying that the White House was upset and requesting that I call the president and apologize for offending him. I said that I did not think that he was offended and that I didn’t think that such a call was warranted.”
[Check out Dr. Ben Carson's upcoming book One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America's Future at Amazon]
A Glimpse into the Political Future: Jonathan Chait’s Advance Apologia for the Democrats’ Defeat in NovemberPosted: April 15, 2014
Fred Siegel writes: Jonathan Chait has written a thoughtful, if debatable, 6,000-word article on race in the Obama years that has stirred a good deal of discussion. It can be read as an advance apologia for the Democrats’ defeat in the 2014 elections. Chait’s thesis, as he sums it up in an online surrebuttal, is that “American politics in the age of Obama has become balkanized not along racial lines, but by how people think about race.” In other words, Chait argues, “the Obama era has produced a cleavage along ideological rather than racial lines,” so that neither black conservatives who support the Tea Party nor the far more numerous white liberals who nod in agreement with Al Sharpton’s preachings on MSNBC are as anomalous as partisans assert. “Liberals,” Chait writes, “dwell in a world of paranoia of a white racism that has seeped out of American history in the Obama years and lurks everywhere, mostly undetectable.” Similarly, he goes on, “Conservatives dwell in a paranoia of their own, in which racism is used as a cudgel to delegitimize their core beliefs. And the horrible thing is that both of these forms of paranoia are right.”
“Parts of the public, not necessarily on the right, have caught on to Obama’s double game, in which his administration has been rhetorically egalitarian and operationally elitist.”
One can commend Chait for his evenhandedness—which has stirred a hornet’s nest of opposition from liberals—without accepting the equivalence he draws between these two views. But the real problem with his essay comes when he steps out of the realm of ideology and into the world of practical outcomes. Six years into the Obama presidency, Americans have ample grounds, independent of race, to dislike him.
[Check out Fred Siegel's book: The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Class at Amazon]
ATTKISSON: I didn’t run into that same kind of sentiment [at CBS] as I did in the Obama administration when I covered the Bush administration very aggressively, on its secrecy and lack of Freedom of Information responses, and its poor management of the Food and Drug Administration and the national laboratories, the Halliburton-Iraq questions of fraud. I mean, there was one thing after another. The bait-and-switch of TARP, the bank bailout program. All of those stories under Bush were met with a good reception. There were different managers as well, but no one accused me of being a mouthpiece for the liberals at that time.
Attkisson told Kurtz that the White House would pressure her to change or drop her reporting, and when that didn’t work, they worked her bosses instead. Kurtz asked how this differed from the “working the refs” actions that go on all the time in Washington, and Attkisson says that it went too far.
“It’s just a lot of obfuscation, accusations, saying things are ‘phony scandals,’ ‘bogus,’ ‘not real,’ giving misinformation and false information. I mean, that’s provably true in some cases.”
Mediaite‘s transcript captures Attkisson’s complaint about broadcast journalism in the age of Obama:
ATTKISSON:Now there’ve always been tensions, there have always been calls from the White House under any administration I assume, when they don’t like a particular story. But it is particularly aggressive under the Obama administration and I think it’s a campaign that’s very well organized, that’s designed to have sort of a chilling effect and to some degree has been somewhat successful in getting broadcast producers who don’t really want to deal with the headache of it — why put on these controversial stories that we’re going to have to fight people on, when we can fill the broadcast with other perfectly decent stories that don’t ruffle the same feathers?
Frank Sinatra Jr. Ronan Farrow, the young celebrity who premiered on MSNBC earlier this year with much fanfare, confused the NAACP with the NCAA today in a segment following President Obama’s speech on the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act…
“. . . And also Ben Jealous, former head of the NCAA . . . tell me, gentlemen . . . NAACP, I apologize.”
“Yes, of course it’s not true. Yes…I know. It’s fiction. It’s complete bullshit, I know. It’s a wedge issue. It’s all we got. Give it time. If we keep repeating the lie, it will….yes, exactly…It’s perfect…”
The wage gap myth, most recently used by President Obama during the State of the Union Address, states that women make only 77 cents to every dollar that men earn. AEI resident scholar Christina Hoff Sommers debunks the bogus statistic…