Tuesday, November 20, 2012

November 20, 2012

Is 30 the New 50?
by Scott Mayer
November 20, 2012

With ObamaCare in the wings, the traditional forty- or fifty-hour work week will soon be replaced with a less than thirty-hour week for many American workers. To wit: many businesses, including ones that previously received ObamaCare waivers, are trying to avoid paying onerous fines for not providing employees with health coverage as mandated by the new law.

President Obama recently said that he won't allow the budget to be "balanced on the backs of the middle class." He sure did give the appearance of truly caring about these "folks," but he failed to disclose the fact that, even if taxed at 100%, there simply aren't enough rich people to pay for all of his big-government plans. But as Thomas Sowell points out, even at a rate much lower than 100%, higher tax rates don't necessarily translate into higher tax revenues. So where will all this needed money come from? While Obama is targeting the group of Americans who already pay the most in taxes, the burden of his policies will ultimately break the backs of those he claims to be trying to protect.

The Obamacare mandate is just one example of how the middle class will be forced to shoulder a heaver burden, which flies in the face what Obama had promised to the American people. But in addition to this mandate (now officially a tax), a reduced work week will in essence have the same effect as a huge tax increase for those affected. Take-home pay is what ultimately matters, and losing 25% of one's gross pay based upon a forty-hour week or about 45% based on a fifty-hour week when overtime is factored in represents an enormous hit. This hit comes before anything is even earned to tax at regular rates. And there are plenty of other hidden ObamaCare taxes that will also take a huge bite out of Americans' pocketbooks in one way or another.

And the hits just keep on coming. ObamaCare will also take a bite out of middle-class buying power when it comes to one of America's most popular foods -- pizza -- by imposing complicated national menu-labeling standards, the costs of which will no doubt be passed along to the consumer. This added cost will be in addition to any other expenses that businesses will need to add to their products due to the hefty burden of ObamaCare. (Hat tip: KSFO Morning Show with Brian Sussman)

Margaret Thatcher once said: "The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money." The problem with Obama's socialism is that we're already running out of other people's money -- and Obama is just getting started.

By the time Obama and Democrats are finished with us, perhaps thirty will be the new fifty -- or maybe even seventy, in terms of age and health. I suppose we can call it Extreme Makeover: Obamacare Edition.

Read more: http://goo.gl/qkB4T

Oh What a Tangled Web - Libyagate won't end like Watergate
by Victor Davis Hanson
November 20, 2012

Supporters of President Obama have dubbed those who question administration statements about Libya as either partisans or conspiracy theorists, on the premise that the administration had no reason to dissimulate. But in fact, it had plenty of political reasons not to be candid, as the following questions make clear.

Why was the administration hesitant to beef up security at the vulnerable Benghazi consulate ahead of time, or to send in military assistance during the seven-hour attack on the consulate and the CIA annex, or at least to be candid after the attack?

The Obama reelection campaign had established a catchy narrative about foreign policy. “Leading from behind” had rid the world of Qaddafi without the loss of American lives, and had prepped Libya for the arrival of the Arab Spring, which would lead to a postbellum reform government. Barack Obama had killed Osama bin Laden and scattered al-Qaeda, dispelling slurs that he was somehow soft on Islamic terrorism. His reset diplomacy had brought a cool professional approach of quiet competency to foreign policy, consistent with a new lower-profile American posture abroad.

The idea of a preplanned hit by al-Qaeda affiliates on a vulnerable and unprepared American diplomatic post had the potential to shatter that narrative right before the election. Susan Rice summed up best the administration’s positive take on the supposedly spontaneous riot:
This is a turbulent time. It’s a time of dramatic change. It’s a change that the United States has backed because we understand that when democracy takes root, when human rights and people’s freedom of expression can be manifested, it may lead to turbulence in the short term, but over the long term, that is in the interest of the United States. The mobs we’ve seen on the outside of these embassies are a small minority. They’re the ones who have largely lost in these emerging democratic processes, and just as the people of these countries are not going to allow their lives to be hijacked by a dictator, they’re not going to allow an extremist mob to hijack their future and their freedom. And we’re going to continue to stand with the vast majority of the populations in these countries.
Had we, as our people on the ground had requested, beefed up security at the annex with Marines, attention at some point might have been focused on the chaotic situation in Libya and the vulnerability of the very Americans who supposedly had done so much to free Libyans from Qaddafi. Ambassador Chris Stevens was the sort of new diplomat — low-key, cool, a career professional, fluent in the local language and customs, able to blend in with the locals — that typified the new soft-power approach. He was hardly the sort of ambassador who would need, or want to be associated with, a sandbagged, barbed-wired, Marine-laden traditional compound.

Likewise, sending in air support to the beleaguered defenders — in the manner that Bill Clinton allowed the Blackhawks to strafe whatever was necessary to save a trapped American outpost in Mogadishu — would have reminded Americans that once more we were fighting al-Qaeda or its affiliates — all very much alive after the death of bin Laden. It would also have had the potential to result in a nasty high-profile firefight in a supposedly friendly reforming country on the eve of the U.S. election — a sort of mini-version of Mogadishu or the attack on the Marine barracks in Lebanon. This was at the very time the president on the campaign trail was telling the country that we were leaving wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, not starting one in Libya.

Second, the alternative explanation — blaming a crass right-wing anti-Islamic filmmaker and the notoriously Islamophobic Florida pastor Terry Jones — was just too attractive an antithesis between a few bigoted Neanderthals and the majority of reform-minded liberal Americans. Blasting reckless hate speech, arresting the filmmaker for his insensitivity on the pretext of a minor parole violation, and delivering Cairo-speech-like reassurances about ruffled Muslim feelings would all showcase the president’s natural forte on the global stage: ecumenical reaching out, zero tolerance for bigotry, and singular sensitivity to wounded Muslim feelings.

Obama simply could not resist that, even though on September 12, the day after the attack, he let slip in an interview with 60 Minutes (of which this segment was not aired till weeks later) that he suspected it might have been a preplanned terrorist hit. After all, the notion that on 9/11 hundreds of people would show up at an obscure American consulate in a secondary Libyan city in order to protest a two-month-old video produced by an obscure American, and then suddenly get out of hand and use heavy weaponry such as machine guns and mortars to attack Americans, was as preposterous as it was apparently still preferable to the inconvenient truth.

Read more: http://goo.gl/BuWfz

This Will Not be a Quick Fix
by Conservative Sue
November 20, 2012

Thomas Paine once said, "These are the times that try men's souls."  We live in a crazy world where what is right is now declared wrong, where good men and women are vilified by our government, where instant gratification and selfishness are guiding principles. 

I've said, for years, that restoring American exceptionalism will require a lot of hard work by dedicated patriots who are willing to withstand the onslaught of ridicule to educate those who have fallen asleep on our watch. Our government and our culture are slipping into an appalling state of lethargy and insolence. Those who are in leadership are not held to account while those who insist that we must respect our Constitution and founding principles are blamed for the failures of others who have taken this country down a dark path.

I have worked in education all my life. It hasn't been an easy profession for me, but a long hard battle to change a system that is designed to reward those who submit to the status quo while simultaneously thwarting the efforts of those who believe that exceptionalism in education (as in  any other endeavor) is the only real and lasting success.  

I have worked in good school districts and bad ones, but, without exception, the school districts that were willing to look at the hard facts and tackle their problems head-on were the only ones who made a real difference in improving education for the students and changing the culture of their schools and communities for the better. 

I liken the situation we see in America now to that of a faltering school district. Today many school district officials put out glowing reports of success to the public while students sit in classrooms devoid of engagement and true learning. Test scores are manipulated, data is parsed to put a positive spin on what might otherwise be seen as failure in our students. The school officials work day and night to get around accountability measures while wallowing in mediocrity and insisting that the status quo is wholly acceptable. Instead of taking poor results as a warning signal or a call for change, they ignore the results and look for a quick-fix or simply misrepresent what those negative results really mean to a naive community.

To change a culture of a school district is very difficult.  I have been very fortunate to work in school districts alongside some great teachers and administrators.. who believed, like me, that failure is simply not acceptable. That bad data is simply that, and any spin to make it look better than it is ... isn't serving any good purpose.  Years of hard work paid off as we worked together to instill an attitude of exceptionalism first within our students, then their parents, then within the school leadership teams.  The culture began to slowly change from 'what is the minimum we can do to get by?' to one of 'We will not settle for less than exceptional'. To see those attitudes change has been the most rewarding part of my career.  

Now we need to do the same in this culture.  There is no quick-fix for a culture that has drifted so far from the ideals of exceptionalism that once guided us. We can't expect that our leaders will report data honestly or begin working to restore what has been lost until we stop rewarding those who lie and stop crucifying those who are honest. We need to face the hard realities and begin the hard work of restoration.  Educating a culture that is not only clueless but also uninterested in the affairs in our government is going to take a monumental effort, but the most glorious victories are in those battles which everyone said could not be won.

I will not settle for anything less than exceptional.  Who will join me in the fight?

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