GARFIELD ON THE OIL  CRISIS

 
 
 
A lot of  folks can’t understand how we came    to  have an oil shortage here in our  country.
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Well, there’s a very simple  answer.
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Nobody bothered to check the oil.
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We  just didn’t know we were getting low..
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The reason for that  is purely geographical.
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Our OIL is located  in:
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ALASKA
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California
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Coastal  Florida
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Coastal Louisiana
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North  Dakota
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Wyoming
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Colorado
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Kansas
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Oklahoma
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Pennsylvania
And
Texas
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Our dipsticks are located  in DC

Any Questions?  NO? Didn’t think So

DOCTOR’S ORDERS

‘Obamacare’ cops: $1 billion to force new tax compliance

16,000 new IRS agents to be required under health-care reform



Posted: March 28, 2010
7:24 pm Eastern

By Jerome R. Corsi
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

 

Collecting taxes under the Democrats’ newly passed health-care plan will cost the federal government more than $1 billion a year in salaries alone, Republicans in Congress estimate.

The legislation will require the IRS to hire as many as 16,500 additional auditors, agents and other employees to investigate and collect billions in new taxes imposed on Americans, according to a House Committee on Ways and Means Committee Republican report prepared March 18 for ranking members Reps. Dave Camp, R-Mich., and Charles Boustany, R-La.

In March 2009, the federal government’s average annual salary was $42,035 for tax examiners, $91,507 for internal revenue agents and $63,547 for tax specialists, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics “Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition.”

Averaging the three pay grade averages yields an estimated $65,696 per IRS worker hired, assuming an equal number of tax examiners, internal revenue agents and tax specialists.

Together, the 16,500 new IRS personnel needed to collect taxes under the new legislation will cost the federal government somewhere in the realm of $1.1 billion

The IRS media office objected that the Joint Committee on Taxation publication JCX-18-10 issued March 21, “Technical Explanation of the Revenue Provisions of the Reconciliation Act,” does not specify any number of IRS personnel that must be hired to implement the tax provisions of the bill.

Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, disagrees.

“The Internal Revenue Service will see its largest expansion since withholding taxes were enacted during World War II to enforce the glut of new tax mandates and penalties included in the Democrats’ latest health care plan,” reads a statement on Brady’s congressional website.

Brady is the ranking Republican on the Joint Economic Committee.

“We need thousands of new doctors and nurses in America, not thousands more IRS agents,” Brady insists. “In addition to more complicated tax returns, families and small businesses will be forced to reveal further tax information to the IRS, provide proof of ‘government approved’ health care and submit detailed sales information to comply with new excise taxes.”

By 2016, the IRS will be required under the “Obamacare” legislation to monitor the health insurance status of individuals and businesses to determine if the insurance purchased as reported on tax returns meets the level of coverage required by the law. In cases of noncompliance fees and penalties are to be assessed.

The IRS could not give WND any indication how the Democrats’ new legislation would implement the “bounty hunter” program President Obama suggested would track down abusers and collect evaded taxes on all government health programs, including Medicare and Medicaid.

The IRS further did not respond by publication deadline to WND’s request for information regarding the likely number of additional personnel the IRS would have to hire to implement Obamacare, the immediate tax consequences the IRS would have to monitor and audit, and the likely cost to the IRS of implementing the new health legislation.

Sarah Palin: Searchlight Shines Light on Wayward Washington

Sarah Palin: Searchlight Shines Light on Wayward Washington

Searchlight Shines Light on Wayward Washington
 Yesterday at 4:22pm
Thank you, Tea Party Americans! A big thumbs up to the attendees, organizers and volunteers at yesterday’s inspiring Tea Party Express rally in Searchlight, Nevada. Take a look at these aerial photos from yesterday. What an amazing sight to see thousands and thousands of Americans show up in the middle of the desert to freely assemble and have their voices heard. In Harry Reid’s hometown (while he may have been doing a victory lap over the passage of Obamacare), more than 10,000 concerned citizens rallied to tell him and Speaker Pelosi that we’re ready for November.

We’re ready for a fundamental transformation of Washington – no need for their desired “fundamental transformation of America.”

The Tea Party Express rolls on… can’t wait to see you all in Boston on April 14th!

- Sarah Palin

Crackdown: Feds Conduct Mass Raids In Four States On Christian Group, Allegedly For Alleged Threats Against Islamic Terrorists

Crackdown: Feds Conduct Mass Raids In Four States On Christian Group, Allegedly For Alleged Threats Against Islamic Terrorists

March 28th, 2010 Posted By Pat Dollard.

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From The Detroit News:

At lest seven people, including some from Michigan, have been arrested in raids by a FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana as part of an investigation into an Adrian-based Christian militia group, a person familiar with the matter said.

The suspects are expected to make an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Detroit on Monday.

On Sunday, the FBI confirmed that federal law enforcement agents were conducting activities in Washtenaw and Lenawee counties over the weekend in connection to Hutaree, a Christian militia group. FBI Special Agent Sandra Berchtold told The Detroit News the federal warrants in the case are under court seal and declined further comment.

Sources have said the FBI was in the second day of raids around the southeastern Michigan city of Adrian that are connected to a militia group, known as the Hutaree, an Adrian-based group whose members describe themselves as Christian soldiers preparing for the arrival and battle with the anti-Christ.

WXYZ-TV reports that helicopters were spotted in the sky for much of Saturday night, and agents set up checkpoints throughout the area. Witnesses told the station that it was like a small army had descended on the area. The Department of Homeland Security and the Joint Terrorism Task Force are also involved in the raids.

Mike Lackomar, of Michiganmilitia.com, said both The Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia and the Michiganmilitia.com were not a part of the raid.

Lackomar said he heard from other militia members that the FBI targeted the Hutaree after its members made threats of violence against Islamic organizations.

“Last night and into today the FBI conducted a raid against homes belonging to the Hutaree. They are a religious cult. They are not part of our militia community,” he said.

Lackomar said he was told there were five arrests Saturday and another five early Sunday. The FBI declined to comment.

One of the Hutaree members called a Michigan militia leader for assistance Saturday after federal agents had already began their raid, Lackomar said, but the militia member — who is of Islamic decent and had heard about the threats — declined to offer help. That Michigan militia leader is now working with federal officials to provide information on the Hutaree member for the investigation, Lackomar said Sunday.

“They are more of survivalist group and in an emergency they withdraw and stand their ground. They are actively training to be alongside Jesus,” he said.

Sources from the Michigan militia community said one of the FBI raids took place Saturday during a wake for a Hutaree member who had died of natural causes. A Hutaree leader was arrested during the wake while at the same time agents were conducting raids at other locations.

The Associated Press is reporting that FBI spokesman Scott Wilson in Cleveland said agents arrested two people Saturday in northwest Ohio. A third arrest was made in Illinois on Sunday, a day after raids in northwest Indiana.

MIchigan Free Press:

Federal agents conducted raids over the weekend in Lenawee and Wastenaw counties that reports say may be related to some members of Hutaree, a Christian-militia group in Michigan.

“We can confirm that there were law enforcement activities in the Lenawee/Washtenaw County area,” said Detroit FBI Special Agent Sandra Berchtold. But she added that “the federal warrants are sealed and we can not comment at this time.”

The website for Hutaree says that it is “preparing for the end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive.” The group’s logo is a cross with the initials CCR, Colonial Christian Republic. In one of its videos, a group of men in military gear take down a burning United Nations flag and replace it with their flag, which has a cross.

Other militia groups said they have nothing to do with the federal raids.

“Neither MICHIGANMILITIA.COM nor the SMVM (Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia) have been raided by the FBI. We do nothing illegal.” reads a statement on michiganmilitia.com

On the Hutaree website, it warns of an anti-Christ. “As christians we all are a part of the Souls of the Body of Christ, the one true church of Christ. Not any specific man made building or any man controlled organization. This is the belief of the Hutaree soldier, as should the belief of all followers in Christ be. We believe that one day, as prophecy says, there will be an Anti-Christ. All christians must know this and prepare, just as Christ commanded.”

The group’s message boards contained messages expressing concern about the raids.

ADRIAN, Mich. (AP) – The FBI says agents have conducted weekend raids in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, and at least three people have been arrested.

Federal warrants are sealed, but FBI spokeswoman Sandra Berchtold said Sunday there has been “law enforcement activity” in two Michigan counties near the Ohio border.

FBI spokesman Scott Wilson in Cleveland says agents arrested two people Saturday in northwest Ohio. A third arrest was made in Illinois on Sunday, a day after raids in northwest Indiana.

WXYZ-TV in Detroit reports that one raid centered on a Michigan property where suspected members of a militia live.

The Michigan Militia says on its Web site that neither it nor the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia have been raided. An e-mail sent to the group Sunday wasn’t immediately returned.

The Obama Intifada Begins In Israel

The Obama Intifada Begins In Israel

March 29th, 2010 Posted By Pat Dollard.

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By Abraham H. Miller in Pajama’s Media:

This Passover, as in every previous Passover, the struggle for Jewish survival continues.

We now face an administration that has turned a bureaucratic flap over an incomplete building permit into a diplomatic crisis with Israel.

Ramat Shlomo is a Jewish neighborhood. The Arabs never protested building there because the Arabs never envisioned that Ramat Shlomo would be turned over to them in a final peace accord.

Twelve years ago, major construction began in Ramat Shlomo without a stone being thrown.

Today, a fourth stage of a seven-stage building permit and the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s central synagogue, malevolently and illegally destroyed under the Jordanian occupation, creates an Intifada, the Obama Intafada.

Obama has created negotiation positions for the Palestinians they themselves knew were unrealistic. But no Palestinian leader can afford to demand less for the Palestinians than the Americans are willing to demand for them.

First there was the demand for a settlement freeze as a prelude to negotiations. But negotiations took place all the time while settlements were being built. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas never asked for a freeze as a precondition, but once Obama carved out that position, Abbas had to fall into line. Can the Palestinian president be more accommodating to the Israelis than the Americans are?

Then, of course, the Obama administration put the building freeze in Jerusalem on the table. Abbas never asked for a freeze in Jerusalem until after the administration took the lead. Does the Obama administration believe they can make Jerusalem Judenrein (“Jew free”)?

Building in Ramat Shlomo, and the reopening of the central synagogue, the Huvra, transformed into rallying cries for a new Intifada, about which the administration remains mute. Whenever Jews choose to return to where they lived before the Jordanians evicted them, they are met with outcries from the international community. This is the same international community that chose to be blind and mute about Jews being evicted from their homes and cut off from their holy places during the Jordanian occupation.

Obama wants to be the American president who created a Palestinian state, and his vision is clear: Israel returns to the ‘67 boundaries and large segments of Jewish Jerusalem are given over to the Palestinians for a capital.

There are two problems with that offer. First, it has been rejected by two Palestinian leaders, Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas. Second, the refugee problem now overshadows the issue of territory. No Palestinian leader has ever said that the return of the territories is a sufficient or even a necessary condition for peace. Yet all forays into the “peace process” behave as if territory will solve everything.

This is the view of the vacuous liberal elements of the Jewish community, who seem to suffer from a terminal case of battered wife syndrome: Just give them more land and they won’t blow themselves up. They are really nice people when they are not teaching their children jihad or celebrating the deaths of their “martyrs.”

The Palestinians want three generations of Jew-hating refugees settled within Israel’s borders, a demand designed to topple the Jewish state. That is not going to happen, but there are options in terms of compensation, if only the Palestinians were serious about negotiations.

To date, the Obama administration has exceeded the demands of the Palestinians. The administration’s public face has hyped the proximity talks, a throwback to 1992 before there were direct negotiations, and the administration has refrained from making a single demand on the Palestinians for concessions, not even for direct negotiations.

We already know what a Palestinian state will bring Israel. Gaza is the laboratory for that. The Israelis withdrew from Gaza. Jewish philanthropists bought the settlers’ greenhouses and donated them to the Palestinians, hoping to give the Palestinians an economic livelihood. Instead, the Palestinians vandalized the greenhouses, tearing them apart for the value of their scrap copper and tubing. This was followed by an escalation of Kassam rockets and subsequently by Iranian-supplied Grad missiles. Gaza became a launching pad for attacks on Israel.

And so, too, will become the Judean Hills above Ben Gurion Airport. The airport will become the next Sderot.

What my liberal Jewish friends forget is that the Palestinians do not even have to fight the next war; all they have to do is position themselves so as to make life in Israel miserable, so that those Israelis who can leave will leave.

The Palestinians have repeatedly shown that they are interested in pseudo negotiations about a “peace process,” but they never have shown any real interest in peace through deeds. No Palestinian leader has ever suggested that the return to the 1967 boundaries, what Abba Eban called “the Auschwitz borders,” will lead to peace.

What our liberal American Jewish community has done and continues to do is to mindlessly embrace this administration and project the community’s own values on to the Palestinians. We are engaged in mirror imaging and are playing recklessly with the lives of over six million Israeli Jews.

The real chance for peace will come from strength, as Ronald Reagan showed with regard to the Soviets. Only by defeating this administration at the polls will there be a prospect for peace. To follow this administration blindly into the Palestinian abyss by weakening Israel means the end of the Jewish state.

This Passover season the struggle for Jewish survival persists as a modern-day Pharaoh, with a hardened heart, sits in the White House, deluded by his own narcissism and worshiped by liberal Jews who slavishly follow him.

Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science and a former head of the Intelligence Studies Section of the International Studies Association.

Breaking: MUSLIM RAT MEMBER OF MICHIGAN MILITIA WORKING WITH OBAMA’S FORCES IN CRACKDOWN ON CHRISTIANS – Cowardly Group Turns On Hutaree Like Scared Little Bitches Terrified For Their Name In The Leftist Media – CAIR Infiltration?

Breaking: MUSLIM RAT MEMBER OF MICHIGAN MILITIA WORKING WITH OBAMA’S FORCES IN CRACKDOWN ON CHRISTIANS – Cowardly Group Turns On Hutaree Like Scared Little Bitches Terrified For Their Name In The Leftist Media - CAIR Infiltration?

March 29th, 2010 Posted By Pat Dollard.

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Has at least one member of CAIR infiltrated the Michigan Militia? “A person claiming to be a member of the Hutaree posted a message online pleading for help and claiming that officials “broke into homes and took children and used the tasers on wives … AND my son who is 12.”

Basically what happened here is that a Muslim member of the Michigan Militia claimed a Chrsitian group was threatening Muslims and the FBI swarmed in. Did they make the threats? Do armed Muslim groups with free rein in the US make threats every day unmolested by the FBI?

Detroit News:

A member of the controversial Michigan Militia said Sunday that the Hutaree is a nationwide organization with an ardent following in Adrian, 10 miles from the Ohio border just west of Detroit. “Their philosophy and ours differ in many ways, so we don’t do a whole lot with them. They are too extreme or radical for us,” said Jim Gulliksen, coordinator of the Lenaway Volunteer Michigan Militia with membership of about a dozen in the Adrian area. “I just kind of got a bad feeling about the group and we did not want to associate with them. They are a little too paranoid for me.”

Mike Lackomar of Michiganmilitia.com said he heard from other militia members that the FBI targeted the Hutaree after its members made threats of violence against Islamic organizations. Lackomar said the members of the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia and Michiganmilitia.com weren’t arrested.

“Last night and into today (Sunday), the FBI conducted a raid against homes belonging to the Hutaree. They are a religious cult. They are not part of our militia community,” Lackomar said.

Lackomar said he was told there were five arrests Saturday and another five early Sunday. The FBI declined to comment.

One of the Hutaree members called a Michigan militia leader for assistance Saturday after federal agents already had began their raid, Lackomar said, but the militia member — who is of Islamic decent and had heard about the threats — declined to offer help. That Michigan militia leader is now working with federal officials to provide information on the Hutaree member for the investigation, Lackomar said Sunday.

“They are more of a survivalist group, and in an emergency, they withdraw and stand their ground. They are actively training to be alongside Jesus,” he said.

Gulliksen said he heard about the raids when he was in church Sunday morning. He immediately contacted local law enforcement, “to make sure they knew we weren’t really affiliated with Hutaree.”

Gulliksen said he believes national security tensions are high and the FBI may well be focusing on conservative groups because of anger over the federal overhaul of health care.

“A few months ago, I believe one of their (Hutaree) members down South was arrested on some sort of weapons charge,” Gulliksen said. “Everything is getting a little nervous right now with all the threats against congressmen and all.”

327 House members tell Obama to make U-turn on US-Israeli relations

327 House members tell Obama to make U-turn on US-Israeli relations

posted at 10:00 am on March 28, 2010 by Ed Morrissey
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Barack Obama talks a lot about the “spirit of bipartisanship.”  Now he’s had a chance to see it for himself, thanks to a series of diplomatic fumbles between the White House and Israel, usually one of America’s closest allies.  More than three-quarters of the US House of Representatives signed a letter expressing dismay over the direction of the alliance, warning that the “highly publicized tensions” aren’t helping America’s interests:

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will continue discussions with his senior ministers in the coming days, looking for a way out of the crisis with the US. He received some badly needed support on Friday from 327 congressmen, who signed a letter expressing concern that “the highly publicized tensions” in US-Israeli ties will “not advance the interests” of either state. …

Meanwhile, in Washington, [327] congressmen – three-quarters of the House of Representatives – signed a bipartisan letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressing solid support for Israel and the expectation that differences between Jerusalem and Washington will be smoothed over quickly and in private.

“We are writing to reaffirm our commitment to the unbreakable bond that exists between our country and the State of Israel and to express to you our deep concern over recent tension,” the letter read. “A strong Israel is an asset to the national security of the United States and brings stability to the Middle East.

“We are concerned that the highly publicized tensions in the relationship will not advance the interests the US and Israel share. Above all, we must remain focused on the threat posed by the Iranian nuclear weapons program to Middle East peace and stability.”

The letter stated that the US’s unswerving commitment to Israel’s security has been essential in forging previous Israeli-Arab peace agreements, “both because it convinced those who sought Israel’s destruction to abandon any such hope and because it gave successive Israeli governments the confidence to take calculated risks for peace.”

The letter’s lead signatories were Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Steny Hoyer (D-MD).  The letter had only circulated for three days last week before garnering 327 signatures, probably the most bipartisan effort seen on Capitol Hill in this session of Congress.  It provides a measure of just how far out of the mainstream the Obama administration has gotten on relations with Israel.

Moreover, they’re entirely correct.  Thanks to what amounts to a reversal of 20 years of American policy on settlements in Jerusalem, Obama has given the Palestinians a reason to refuse to come to the table that Israel simply can’t address.  Obama has made peace a lot less likely than it was fifteen months ago by throwing his tantrum in such a public manner.   Weakening Israel won’t bring peace — it will bring more attacks on Israel as Palestinians begin to believe that the US won’t back its ally any longer.

Jennifer Rubin believes Obama’s fumble was by design, or at least by instinctual hostility towards Israel.  With advisers like Samantha Power at the White House, that hostility was known long before Obama got elected.  Accidental, latent, or overt, Obama’s hostility towards a key democracy in the most strategic part of the world has raised eyebrows of both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill — perhaps belatedly, but not too late to put some serious pressure for this administration to grow the hell up.

Sucking the Blood of the Ambitious

Sucking the Blood of the Ambitious

By Bob Weir

In 1819, John Marshall, the great Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, wrote, “The power to tax involves the power to destroy.” The eminent jurist was amazingly prescient when one considers that the comment was made about a hundred years before the federal income tax was imposed, a tax that became the precursor to a laundry list of tariffs that would insinuate themselves into the socioeconomic landscape of the country.

Nickel by nickel, dollar by dollar; the people have been subjected to the increasingly rapacious arm of state-sponsored income distribution. Whenever some government official or bureaucrat, who probably never worked in private industry, decides to expand the reach of the state, he proposes a tax hike. A business owner, who needs more revenue to expand or simply to continue operating, must create a marketing plan to improve sales or services. By using talent and creative ability to attract clients, the business will improve. You see, businesspeople can’t simply force people to buy what they offer.
Not so in the freewheeling atmosphere of liberal orthodoxy. Any time one of those knee-jerk ideologues wants another “program” or another entitlement for those who don’t contribute to the economy, he simply taxes the people who do contribute.
In the latest example of government’s overreaching power and repudiation of the Constitution, Democrats have passed a bill that once again forces the productive to pay for the non-productive. We were told that 30 to 40 million people don’t have, or don’t want, health care insurance. Hence, they will now be forced to buy it against their will if they don’t have it, or get it free if they can’t afford it, in order to enable President Obama and Speaker Pelosi to construct a legacy for themselves. The predilections of the American people notwithstanding, these tyrannical glory-hounds have decided that public opinion is the least of their concerns.
The fact that workers are already paying about 50 percent of their earnings in taxes every year is of no interest to those who live by sucking the blood of the ambitious. Make no mistake about it: The government’s hands just went even more deeply into our pockets. After all, what are the people going to do about it? If they refuse to pay, hit them with fines, take away their homes, or throw them in jail. Using the principle of strength in numbers, the state can pick off individual members of the populace without fear of serious resistance; gangs are stronger than loners. If you happen to be one of those bloodsuckers, you have nothing to fear because you have nothing for the government to take. However, that’s why a concerned citizenry is an essential element of democracy; the voice of the people is more than a cliché. 
All responsible citizens recognize the need for taxes to pay for services that provide security, infrastructure, school financing, etc. In addition, most people are decent enough to open their wallets a little wider when the need arises; Americans are the most generous people on earth. Yet they’re the last people on earth you want to mess with if they feel like they are being treated unjustly. It is that spirit of righteousness, etched into our national genetic code by ancestors who struggled against tyranny, that sets us apart from the majority of the planet, most of whom genuflect obsequiously in the presence of their masters. That’s not the American way!
There are many people in government who are mature enough to temper their authority with discretion and fairness toward those who allow them to (temporarily) wield that power. But sometimes, such people need to be reminded that ultimately, all power in a democracy rests with the people. Those few who think that they sit on a throne, able to rule with an arrogant disregard for their fellow citizens, should be quickly disabused of that notion.
It is this very spirit that has made the Tea Party movement a magnet for Americans who have become incensed at the level of arrogance being evinced by the Obama administration and those Democrats who have abandoned any concept of integrity in order to become slavishly devoted to “his highness.” Repudiating their constituents, renegade Democrats have given the middle finger to the people who pay their salaries, their very generous health plans, and their stunningly generous pensions. Thanks to the Tea Party patriots and millions of other freedom-loving Americans from sea to shining sea, this recent move toward an ever-expanding socialist state will be dutifully and publicly addressed in the November election. As Justice Brandeis, another sagacious member of the Supreme Court, once said, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City Police Department. He is the executive editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas. E-mail Bob. 

Islamist Gülen Movement Runs U.S. Charter Schools

Islamist Gülen Movement Runs U.S. Charter Schools

By Stephen Schwartz

A secretive foreign network of Islamic radicals now operates dozens of charter schools — which receive government money but are not required to adopt a state-approved curriculum — on U.S. soil. The inspirer of this conspiratorial effort is Fethullah Gülen, who directs a major Islamist movement in Turkey and the Turkish Diaspora but lives in the United States. He is number thirteen among the world’s “50 most influential Muslims,” according to one prominent listing.

Gülen has been criticized as the puppet master for the current Turkish government headed by the “soft Islamist” Justice and Development Party, known by its Turkish initials as the AKP, in its slow-motion showdown with the secularist Turkish military. But Gülen is also known in Muslim countries for his network of 500-700 Islamic schools around the world, according to differing sources favorable to his movement. A more critical view of Gülen’s emphasis on education asserts that his international network of thousands of primary and secondary schools, universities, and student residences is a key element in solidifying an Islamist political agenda in Turkey.
But in startling news for Americans, the Gülen movement operates more than 85 primary and secondary schools on our soil. A roster of the Gülen schools and of the numerous foundations that support them has been released to the public by the patriotic group Act! for America. The Gülen schools are often designated as “science academies” and are concentrated in Texas, Ohio, and California — with others scattered across the rest of the country.
Two states that host Gülen charter schools are Arizona and Utah. In the former, the Daisy Education Corporation (the Gülen movement loves friendly-sounding institutional names) operates three schools in Tucson: one serving kindergarten through the eighth grade, another designated as an elementary school, and a middle-high school, all under the rubric of the Sonoran Science Academy. In Phoenix, it runs a satellite kindergarten-to-10th-grade campus with the same name.
The appearance of Gülen charter schools in Tucson has produced critical attention in local media. The Tucson Weekly published a report at the end of 2009 noting that the Sonoran Science Academy in the southern Arizona town had been named “charter school of the year” by the Arizona Charter School Association. But writer Tim Vanderpool reported that according to one dismayed parent, who declined identification while pointing out the Gülen movement’s history of intimidating critics, “the Sonoran Academy seems constantly to be bringing Turkish educators into the United States, and subjecting students to substitute teachers while the teachers await work visas.” Vanderpool submits that “several Sonoran Academy parents believe the school has a hidden agenda to promote Gülen’s brand of Turkish nationalism, advance sympathy for that country’s political goals such as winning acceptance into the European Union, and discourage official acknowledgment of Turkey’s genocide against the Armenians during World War I.” Such issues are exotic, to say the least, for Tucson parents.
Earlier in 2009, the Beehive Science and Technology Academy, a high school in Salt Lake City, came under similar critical scrutiny from the Salt Lake Tribune. That major daily’s writer, Kirsten Stewart, reported that the Utah State Charter Board had begun an investigation of the Beehive school following complaints from a former teacher and an alarmed parent. The complainants asserted that while “Beehive advertises itself as a public charter school offering college-bound seventh through 12th graders a foundation in math and science … the school has another mission: to advance and promote certain Islamic beliefs. They point to questionable financial transactions and hiring practices as proof of the school’s covert ties to Turkish Muslim preacher Fethullah Gülen.”
But while Fatih Karatas, principal of the Sonoran Science Academy middle school in Tucson, flatly denied any connection with the Gülen movement, Beehive principal Muhammet “Frank” Erdogan in Salt Lake City admitted such links in the case of his school. The Salt Lake Tribune quoted his admission that along with him, “many of Beehive’s teachers and founders also support Gülen’s ideals.” The paper also described how “Adam Kuntz, a first-year history teacher at Beehive, was fired [in spring 2009], he alleges, for taking academic freedom concerns to the state board. Earlier in the school year, Kuntz had a run-in with Erdogan over a lesson plan on World War II and the Holocaust. Erdogan wanted Kuntz to revise the plan and during a tape-recorded meeting, questioned conventional accounts of the genocide.”
Kelly Wayment, a parent of three children in the school, was removed from his post on the Beehive administrative board after he e-mailed other parents about Gülen movement influence in the school. Wayment told the Salt Lake Tribune that as in the Tucson case, teachers “tend to be from Turkey and central Asian republics living here on work visas.”           
Americans should ask both why and how the Islamist Gülen movement has managed to establish such a large presence for Turkish religious political indoctrination in publicly financed education — and should unite to oppose it.
Stephen Suleyman Schwartz is executive director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism in Washington, D.C. This article was sponsored by Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.

Making the Housing Crisis Worse

Making the Housing Crisis Worse

By Dan Nagasaki and Glenn Doi

The Obama administration has announced a new plan to help homeowners facing foreclosure due to under-employment and unemployment. Instead of having the government create an economic climate which would actually create private-sector permanent jobs and thus lower unemployment, the government wants to require lenders to cut or eliminate monthly mortgage payments for these homeowners.
The U.S. government’s housing crisis remedy has been to 1) pour taxpayer money into the financial system, evidently with minimal conditions, hoping that banks will lend this money to homeowners and businesses; 2) give taxpayer money to homeowners who are “upside-down” on their mortgages; and 3) make loans attractive to first-time buyers.
This is wrong because 1) The current banking crisis is due primarily to the housing crash, which exposed weaknesses in the banking system. The government is trying to get the banks to loan money on real estate, a depreciating asset. What is needed is first, stabilization, and then an increase in housing prices. 2) If housing prices don’t stabilize, even with refinancing or loan modification, more homes will be “upside-down.” 3) The government insists on making loans attractive to first-time buyers? Isn’t that what got us into this mess?
Government-guaranteed FHA (3.5% down-payment) loan limits have been increased to  $730,000 in many areas of the country, and first-time buyers have been receiving a tax credit when they purchased a home. But first-time buyers are understandably timid, and they’re often the last to buy in both rising and falling housing markets.

Instead of risking so much taxpayer money by focusing on first-time buyers, Fannie Mae should make home loans more attractive to investors, both domestic and foreign. Because of low real estate prices, in most areas of the country, investors can now put 20% down and easily have a positive cash flow from rental income. But FNMA has made it more difficult, and in many cases, impossible for investors to get loans. When the housing market tanked, FNMA responded by doing away with “stated income” or “easy-qualifier” loans, where loan applicants with 20% to 30% down-payment and good credit would qualify for a home loan without going through the normal lengthy loan process. But the so-called “irresponsible” investment loans were primarily 2nd and 3rd trust deed loans which were used to allow buyers to get a second or even a third loan to either purchase a house with zero down-payment or to later wring out all the equity in the property. FNMA also raised interest rates and fees for investment property and limited the number of FNMA loans each investor could have to only four.
Federal officials should ask themselves this question: “Given this housing market, if this were your personal money, would you lend your money to a first-time buyer with a 3.5% down-payment (FHA), or would you rather lend your money to someone wealthier, with good, established credit, who is willing to put down 20% or 30% of his own money to purchase a property?” Also, if the housing market goes down an additional 10%, who is more likely to default and become a burden to taxpayers: the FHA buyer or the investor who just made a down-payment of 20% or 30% and is still receiving a positive cash flow?
FNMA should allow stated-income loans, reduce interest rates and fees for investors with good credit and large down-payments, and remove the limits on the number of FNMA loans for investors — at least for the near future. The minimum goal should be to at least stabilize the housing market. Once the market is obviously stabilized, the more timid buyers will begin buying, and the housing market will experience rising prices, which will lead to less foreclosures, healthier banks, consumer confidence, and increased tax revenue.
Dan Nagasaki is the author of The Beginner’s Guide to Conservative Politics and Glenn Doi is a real estate broker in Los Angeles.
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