Liberals Should Chew and Try to Digest

Liberals Should Chew and Try to Digest

Liberals repeat ad nauseam the campaign mantra about “Bush tax cuts for the rich.” The facts don’t match that picture.

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Wall Street Journal columnist David Wessel observes what liberal-progressive-socialists can’t grasp: the economy isn’t a static “thing” that can be carved up and apportioned in accord with “social justice” to make us all equally poor.  As in physics, for every action, there is a reaction.  Results are counterintuitive. 

Liberals ignore it, but the rich pay almost all of the income taxes, while the bottom half of taxpayers pay very little of them.  Moreover, the administration’s tax cuts changed the distribution of wealth and taxes almost not at all.

For those who are not paid subscribers to the Wall Street Journal’s online publication, the following are some of Mr. Wessel’s points.

FACT ONE: Federal taxes make the distribution of income more equal, even after the Bush tax cuts. Taxes don’t undo all market forces pushing income toward the top—and there are good reasons they shouldn’t. Before taxes, the bottom 40% of U.S. households got 13% of the nation’s income in 2004; after federal taxes of all sorts they got about 15%, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s latest estimates. Because of the Earned Income Tax Credit, a cash bonus the government offers low-wage workers, many Americans at the bottom get money from the government, rather than having to pay income taxes; they still face payroll taxes on their wages.
Before taxes, the top 1% got about 16% of income; after taxes they ended up with 14%. (Yes, you read that right: The 1.2 million best-off households got about as much income, even after taxes, as the 45.5 million worst-off.) That top 1%, by the way, pays about a quarter of all federal taxes.

CBO estimates aren’t perfect, but they represent the best available attempt to combine Census Bureau and Internal Revenue Service data to get a comprehensive picture of who pays taxes.

FACT TWO: The Treasury benefits more when CEOs get bigger raises than when ordinary workers gain, and that, along with the buoyant economy, is a big reason for today’s surge in federal revenue.

It’s simple: Taking all federal taxes into account—including payroll as well as income taxes, and allocating corporate profits and taxes paid on them to those who hold shares—the CBO says those in the bottom fifth pay an average of $4.50 in taxes for every $100 they take in. Those in the top 1% pay $31.10 in taxes for every $100 they take in.

FACT THREE: The Bush tax cuts reduced income-tax rates across the spectrum. Some saved a lot more dollars than others—namely, the ones who make a lot of money. But, strangely, the percentage of taxes paid by different groups hasn’t changed very much.

Consider this calculation by James Poterba, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist: If the Bush tax cuts had never happened, and President Bill Clinton’s tax rates were applied to the 2004 economy, American households would have paid about 3% more of their income in taxes. (Mr. Poterba quickly adds that people would have behaved differently had taxes remained at Clinton levels. They would have sold fewer shares of stock, for instance, because capital-gains tax rates would have been higher. That means the 3% estimate overstates the actual effect somewhat.)

But Mr. Bush did cut taxes. So, Mr. Poterba looks at how that smaller tax bill was sliced—what percentage was paid by the best-off 1%, by the middle class, etc. It turns out the share of the income-tax tab actually picked up by each group in 2004 is close to what it would have been had Mr. Bush’s tax never happened. The CBO numbers show the same thing: The top 1% paid 25.5% of all federal taxes under Mr. Clinton’s tax rates and 25.3% under Mr. Bush’s.

How can that be? Clearly the well-off saved many bucks. For one thing, tax rates were cut for the bottom and middle as well as the top, a fact often lost in public debate over taxes on the rich. Second, there’s so little income earned and so little tax paid at the bottom that a tax cut of $100 is a big change in the taxes that group pays, and conversely at the top.

FACT FOUR: Rising spending on government retirement and health benefits almost surely will force tax increases in the next decade or so; the issue is who will be taxed.

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Global Whining

Global Whining

Ari Kaufman

We are at a tipping point. We must act, and act swiftly … Such action requires international cooperation.

This was Al Gore on February 3rd, gloating over the 46 nations–most of them European–that backed a new French-led environmental body to save us from global warming. Did you honestly think it was about combating terrorism?
Unless stuck in a cave or flying around in one of Barbra Streisand’s private planes the past few weeks, one couldn’t help but hear that “warming” is approaching us faster than ever.
We have now been blamed for creating it, and according to those who attended that enthusiastic conference in Paris, it is “unstoppable.” So, if you were saving your alarmist concerns about the Jihad in Western Europe, America, Israel or elsewhere, forget about it; Al Gore was right and you were wrong. And soon he’ll have the Nobel “Peace” Prize and Oscar to prove it.
From the AP and the BBC to Brian Williams and Energy Czaress Barbara Boxer, Global Warming–along with Scooter Libby updates–is the intangible enemy we must fear. He, she or it is the news that should matter to us, they think.
That established, as I look out my window in Indianapolis, I should forget about the snow falling and tonight’s temps being five below; that’s just a passing trend. After all, a friend recently e-mailed me an LA Times article saying that we will have freezing winters before the real “climate change” occurs that wipes out the world. Either way, the Ad Council and others are pulling out all the stops right now, from movies and political statements to children going “tick, tick” like a clock in an advertisement for Believe it or be accused of doubting science.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the end of the world some thousand generations from now–a natural phenomenon that began in the Ice Age became a clever political tool of the left to divide this country along the electoral campaign trail these next 21 months.
Whether it’s Rolling Stone lionizing Gore for becoming the first “environmental” candidate or “grassroots” bloggers begging Uncle Al to get revenge for 2000 in 2008, these publicity hounds forgot to check their common sense and their personal lives first.
Rises in temperature are natural over time, and there is no qualitative evidence that the US has more culpability in this “disaster” than other nations. In fact, despite being criticized for ignoring this imminent threat, the Bush Administration should be commended for judiciously not signing the Kyoto Protocol a few years back (or this most recent effort), as these flawed documents fail to cover the world’s biggest polluters: China, India, Brazil and many others.
And then there is the hypocrisy. The most fervent critics of our policies are typically the folks that are far too important to practice what they preach.
“Enviros” like Laurie David, Ted Kennedy and Babs will whine and kvetch until they can hate America no more, yet ask them to close down the 12,000 square foot air-conditioned barns at their Malibu estates or install electricity-generating wind turbines along their sailing route on Nantucket Sound and expect a tongue-lashing. John Edwards, the populist who incessantly rants about “Two Americas” is having a 30,000 square foot house built for him. Apparently, this is more of that do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do liberal doublespeak that Michael Moore employs while he flies his jets to the mansions he financed with Halliburton stock.
If Americans paid more attention to the personal duplicity of folks with purely ideological agendas, we’d be better off. As it is, we’re using our beautiful country’s natural atmosphere to be as divisive as we can and ignore the inherent threat of terrorism that is as real as ever.
But I’m sure that the aforementioned millionaires have spent a lot of time researching this issue, traveling to a dozen national parks in the past year and writing a book about it (like I did) before spewing their balderdash. At least Gore did some research. Then again, his documentary ends by filming Al jumping into his private jet. I hope it uses “environmentally sensitive fuel,” though.
In a June 2006 article, Dennis Prager wrote,

“People who don’t confront the greatest evils will confront far lesser ones…One day, our grandchildren may ask us what we did when Islamic fascism threatened the free world. Some of us will say we were preoccupied with fighting that threat wherever possible; others will be able to say they fought carbon dioxide emissions. One of us will look bad.”

Perfectly put. Enough said.
Ari Kaufman works as a military history researcher and writer in Indianapolis. He is the author of “Reclamation,” an upcoming book on educational reform. Access his archived work here.

Hillary Clinton Buying Black Vote for $200,000

 Hillary Clinton Buying Black Vote for $200,000

Thursday, Feb. 15, 2007 1:19 p.m. EST

The press reported on Tuesday that Sen. Hillary Clinton had scored a coup in the presidential race by winning the endorsement of a key black political leader in South Carolina, state Sen. Darrell Jackson.

Now it has come to light that just days earlier, Clinton’s campaign reached a deal to pay Jackson’s consulting firm $10,000 a month through the 2008 elections – a deal worth more than $200,000.

“Jackson had also been in talks with Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign about endorsing him and entering into a consulting contract for more than $5,000, sources said – raising questions about whether Jackson’s endorsement was bought by a higher bidder,” the New York Post reported.

Jackson – who is also the minister of a large church in the state capital, Columbia – acknowledged that he should have revealed his financial dealings with the Clinton campaign when he and fellow state Sen. Robert Ford, who is also African-American, endorsed Clinton.

But he told the Post: “It’s not about the money – there were some other candidates who offered to double [Clinton’s] offer,” Jackson told the Post, although he declined to name them.

Support from black voters is key in South Carolina, where 49 percent of the Democratic presidential primary vote came from blacks in 2004. The state will host the first Southern primaries for both the Democrats and the GOP in 2008.
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Antarctic temperatures disagree with climate model predictions

Antarctic temperatures disagree with climate model predictions

Public release date: 15-Feb-2007

COLUMBUS , Ohio – A new report on climate over the world’s southernmost continent shows that temperatures during the late 20th century did not climb as had been predicted by many global climate models.

This comes soon after the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that strongly supports the conclusion that the Earth’s climate as a whole is warming, largely due to human activity.

It also follows a similar finding from last summer by the same research group that showed no increase in precipitation over Antarctica in the last 50 years. Most models predict that both precipitation and temperature will increase over Antarctica with a warming of the planet.

David Bromwich, professor of professor of atmospheric sciences in the Department of Geography, and researcher with the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University, reported on this work at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science at San Francisco.

“It’s hard to see a global warming signal from the mainland of Antarctica right now,” he said. “Part of the reason is that there is a lot of variability there. It’s very hard in these polar latitudes to demonstrate a global warming signal. This is in marked contrast to the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula that is one of the most rapidly warming parts of the Earth.”

Bromwich says that the problem rises from several complications. The continent is vast, as large as the United States and Mexico combined. Only a small amount of detailed data is available – there are perhaps only 100 weather stations on that continent compared to the thousands spread across the U.S. and Europe . And the records that we have only date back a half-century.

“The best we can say right now is that the climate models are somewhat inconsistent with the evidence that we have for the last 50 years from continental Antarctica .

“We’re looking for a small signal that represents the impact of human activity and it is hard to find it at the moment,” he said.

Last year, Bromwich’s research group reported in the journal Science that Antarctic snowfall hadn’t increased in the last 50 years. “What we see now is that the temperature regime is broadly similar to what we saw before with snowfall. In the last decade or so, both have gone down,” he said.

In addition to the new temperature records and earlier precipitation records, Bromwich’s team also looked at the behavior of the circumpolar westerlies, the broad system of winds that surround the Antarctic continent.

“The westerlies have intensified over the last four decades of so, increasing in strength by as much as perhaps 10 to 20 percent,” he said. “This is a huge amount of ocean north of Antarctica and we’re only now understanding just how important the winds are for things like mixing in the Southern Ocean.” The ocean mixing both dissipates heat and absorbs carbon dioxide, one of the key greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

Some researchers are suggesting that the strengthening of the westerlies may be playing a role in the collapse of ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula.

“The peninsula is the most northern point of Antarctica and it sticks out into the westerlies,” Bromwich says. “If there is an increase in the westerly winds, it will have a warming impact on that part of the continent, thus helping to break up the ice shelves, he said.

“Farther south, the impact would be modest, or even non-existent.”

Bromwich said that the increase in the ozone hole above the central Antarctic continent may also be affecting temperatures on the mainland. “If you have less ozone, there’s less absorption of the ultraviolet light and the stratosphere doesn’t warm as much.”

That would mean that winter-like conditions would remain later in the spring than normal, lowering temperatures.

“In some sense, we might have competing effects going on in Antarctica where there is low-level CO2 warming but that may be swamped by the effects of ozone depletion,” he said. “The year 2006 was the all-time maximum for ozone depletion over the Antarctic.”

Bromwich said the disagreement between climate model predictions and the snowfall and temperature records doesn’t necessarily mean that the models are wrong.

“It isn’t surprising that these models are not doing as well in these remote parts of the world. These are global models and shouldn’t be expected to be equally exact for all locations,” he said.


Tampa’s Racist Radio

Tampa’s Racist Radio
By Joe Kaufman | February 16, 2007

Islamists around the
United States are playing games with the American public.  While supporting extremist causes and the hate-filled ideologies of the Muslim Brotherhood – the violent group that spawned Hamas and Al-Qaeda – they have gotten involved, as well, in interfaith activities.  Of course, it’s difficult to criticize someone that is engaged in something so innocuous as interfaith.  It highlights a danger in our society of a fifth column disguised as a friend.

Ahmed Bedier is a leader in the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a group that has its roots in Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.  His role in the organization is as its Florida Communications Director and as its local Tampa Executive Director.  Apart from this, Bedier co-hosts a radio show, True Talk, on
Tampa’s WMNF.  Within both venues, he is able to spread his dual message, one of peace and love and one of vile hate.  We will focus on a latter radio show of his to bring out this point.


On Monday, January 15, 2007, Bedier addressed a crowd at an interfaith memorial service for Martin Luther King, Jr.  To advertise this fact, Bedier placed an attractive picture of the late civil rights leader on his web blog, along with the audio of the speech.  He played some of it on his show.


Bedier stated, “As I look out on the ground tonight, how beautiful you all look, right here in
Tampa, and how diverse that we are.  We’re not just black and white or Hispanic or Arabs.  We’re a spectrum of colors.”  With this, he received much applause, as he did for other things he stated, including how Muslims are “reaping the benefits of [King’s] work,” through what Bedier called a “post-9/11 environment.”


While he underhandedly exploited the occasion of the death of Dr. King to work in CAIR’s pseudo claim of anti-Muslim bigotry, most of what Bedier said was inoffensive and harmless.  But no matter the kind words, on this same radio show, another message was being sent — that of undeniable hatred.


There were three guests on this particular show.  The first was Khalil Bendib, an Algerian-born, Berkeley-based, racially-charged cartoonist, who likes satirizing the September 11th attacks.  On Bendib’s website, one finds his work categorized into different groups.  One of the categories is titled “BLACK CARTOONS.”  The logo for this category is a picture of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s head.  Rice and numerous other members of the African-American community – even those that Bendib seems to support – are made to look as if they came straight out of an Amos and Andy skit.


During the program, Bendib admitted that he had been called an anti-Semite for his work.  Looking at many of his drawings, one could easily understand why.  Jewish stars are liberally used within and/or alongside symbols of violence.  Ariel Sharon, the former Prime Minister of Israel, is seen as bloodthirsty.  In one cartoon, the word “CANNIBAL” is emblazoned next to
Sharon’s face.  Mid-East expert Daniel Pipes is depicted as a pro-Jewish zealot.  Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman is labeled a “Zionist Extremist.”  All three of Bendib’s victims are drawn with the same type of exaggerated features found in anti-Semitic publications throughout the Arab world.


Bedier’s co-host, Samar Jarrah, rabidly anti-Israel herself, stated, “Y’know people say that Muslims and Arabs don’t have a sense of humor, but he has very funny cartoons…” 

The other two guests were
New York imam Talib Abdur-Rashid and
Kentucky academic Ihsan Bagby.  Both Abdur-Rashid and Bagby are leaders of the Muslim Alliance of North America (MANA), an African-American Islamist group founded in May of 2000, in response to the arrest of cop killer H.Rap Brown, a.k.a. Jamil Al-Amin.


It took little time for the MANA duo to let out invectives directed at the white community and those black Christians that they believe are tools of the whites.  The following exchange between Abdur-Rashid, Bagby and Bedier (who felt the urge to chime in with his own prejudice) took place on the radio show and exemplifies this hate talk:


Abdur-Rashid: “One of the problems with many of the black churches is that they’re really controlled by the white church.  They’re kind of local chapters of larger white churches, many of whom have Evangelical influence or leaning… [U]sually when you’ll find an African-American pastor speaking in that negative kind of way, there’s a hidden devil, so to speak, somewhere in the background egging him on.”


Bagby: “If I might add, I’ve seen some of the material produced by black and white Evangelical Christian groups that are aimed at Muslims.  The black material is a lot more objective, if you will.  Just as pointed to try to convert someone from Islam to Christianity, but a lot more objective…”


Bedier: “More intelligent.”


Bagby: “More intelligent – probably because black people are more exposed to Islam, and therefore, they really can’t get away too much with slanting stuff completely, totally out of line, that everybody knows what that just doesn’t hold water.  Whereas the white Evangelical material is a lot more venomous, as you said, and hateful.” 

Normally Bedier’s radio show is used to defend terrorists and their support network, but as illustrated above, True Talk is also a showcase for racism.  Bedier’s participation in Martin Luther King, Jr. memorials and interfaith events is just a way of concealing his and his colleagues’ real motives.  This author will never be fooled.

Terrorism not ruled out in Salt Lake case

Terrorism not ruled out in Salt Lake case

Art Moore in WND says that investigators are still considering the possibility of jihad terrorism in the Salt Lake mall shootings:

While the FBI stated it has found no evidence Islamic terrorism was a motive in the Salt Lake City mall shooting, investigators have not ruled it out, a police spokeswoman told WND.FBI agent Patrick Kiernan declared to reporters Wednesday he had no reason to believe the random, dispassionately executed murder of five people by 18-year-old Bosnian Muslim immigrant Sulejman Talovic Monday night had anything to do with Islamic terrorism, calling it “just unexplainable.”

But Salt Lake Police spokeswoman Robin Snyder told WND the FBI is still working with her department on the case, and investigators continue to explore the terrorism angle.

“We will pursue every single lead,” she said. “There is not one lead we are not willing to pursue. At this point, we don’t have any idea of any motive. Nothing is ruled out.”

Snyder told WND, however, she was not aware family members say Talovic often attended Friday prayers at the Al-Noor mosque, about a block from the site of the shooting, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Talovic stopped coming to the meetings in December, the paper said yesterday, when, under pressure from his father, he got a full-time job to help support the family.

Bruce Tefft, a former CIA counter-terrorism official who advises the New York City Police Department, told WND he was “flabbergasted” by the FBI’s statement Wednesday that it saw no possible connection to terrorism.

Nevertheless, Tefft – a founding member of the CIA’s counter-terrorism center in 1985 – said the FBI’s quick downplaying of terror ties in such cases is all too frequent and believes spokesman Kiernan probably was embarrassed by his statement.

“It’s almost a joke in any counter-terrorism circles that within half a day of most unexplained incidents the FBI comes out and says it isn’t terrorism,” he said. “They’ll come out with a conclusion based on no information.”…

When the FBI uses extreme groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations as sensitivity trainers, “that’s ignorance and political correctness, that’s not a deliberate psychological warfare tactic,” he said.

“I suspect they are just being politically correct to avoid a backlash by Muslims,” said Tefft.

There’s much more to this story, some of which also appears in this. Anyway, it is good that investigators haven’t ruled out the terrorism possibility, but this Salt Lake Tribune story (thanks to Debbie Schlussel) notes that they didn’t take any computers from Talovic’s home:

Salt Lake City police spokeswoman Robin Snyder said Wednesday that police have not discerned a motive or found anything resembling a suicide note. With the permission of Talovic’s parents, detectives searched their home but did not take any computers or video games, she said.

As Schlussel asks, “Why the heck not? What kind of investigation is this? What kind of investigators are these?” Indeed. In this age of heavy jihad recruitment and other activity on the Internet, this is an inexcusable omission — and one that could result in the investigators being completely misled.