The Confederacy of Takers: Secede!
Posted: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 8:01 pm
By DANA MILBANK
President Barack Obama’s opponents have unwittingly come up with a brilliant plan to avoid the “fiscal cliff.”
They want to secede from the union.
If Obama is serious about being a good steward of the nation’s finances, he’d let them.
The White House, in one of those astro-turf efforts that make people feel warm about small-D democracy, launched a “We the People” program on its website last year, allowing Americans to petition their government for a redress of grievances.
It would be excellent financial news for those of us left behind if Obama were to grant a number of the rebel states their wish “to withdraw from the United States and create (their) own NEW government” (the petitions emphasize “new” by capitalizing it).
Red states receive, on average, far more from the federal government in expenditures than they pay in taxes.
The balance is the opposite in blue states.
The secession petitions, therefore, give the opportunity to create what would be, in a fiscal sense, a far more perfect union.
Among those states with large numbers of petitioners asking out:
Louisiana (more than 28,000 signatures at midday Nov. 13), which gets about $1.45 in federal largess for every $1 it pays in taxes;
Alabama (more than 20,000 signatures), which takes $1.71 for every $1 it puts in;
South Carolina (26,000), which takes $1.38 for its dollar;
and Missouri (22,000), which takes $1.29 for its dollar.
To be fair, White House officials could refuse the secession petitions of states Obama won, such as New York (which receives only 79 cents on its tax dollar), Michigan (85 cents) and Colorado (79 cents).
What would be left is a Confederacy of Takers, including relatively poor states such as Alaska, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee and West Virginia.
Congo conflict: Rebels set sights on capital Kinshasa
Published on Wednesday November 21, 2012
By Olivia WardForeign Affairs Reporter
Turning a new and bloody page in Congo’s tragic history, the increasingly muscular M23 rebel group said Wednesday that after taking the main eastern city of Goma, it was prepared to capture the capital of Kinshasa and overthrow the government in a military coup.
‘We will go to Kinshasa, we will unite the country,’ the group’s military spokesman Col. Vianney Kazarama told a cheering crowd of civilians, police and government soldiers in Goma just one day after UN peacekeepers held their fire and watched the city fall, and Congolese troops fled for their lives.
Kazarama later softened his stand, according to the Guardian, saying that the rebels would take the capital ‘if people invite us. We obey the people.’
But the rebels’ recruitment efforts were in overdrive, and by the end of the day, starving, scantily paid Congolese government troops had swelled M23 ranks by nearly 3,000 defecting soldiers.
Rwanda is a mainstay of the rebels’ success, said a damning UN report tabled Wednesday. Written by a group of experts, it exhaustively documents how the thousands-strong M23 militia morphed from a small band of Congolese army defectors just eight months ago, to a sophisticated, well-armed and virtually unstoppable force that dominates Africa’s Great Lakes region.
The report said Rwanda had violated an arms embargo ‘by providing direct military support to the M23 rebels, facilitating recruitment, encouraging and facilitating desertions from the armed forces of (Congo) and providing arms, ammunition, intelligence and political advice.’
And in the most serious allegations of Rwandan involvement yet, it said that the ‘de facto chain of command’ for the rebels ‘culminates with the Minister of Defence of Rwanda, Gen. James Kabarebe.’
Tea Party ‘constitutionalist’ trying to stop Obama vote in electoral collage ‘discovered’ he knows jack about the Constitution
Tea Party constitutional scholar gets the constitution so totally wrong in some hair brain scheme to try and stop the electoral college from voting for Obama that even wnd.com (wing nut daily) had to acknowledge it. Yet for some reason they still have this totally wrong article up for all to read as if it is still a good idea….
How Obama can be stopped in Electoral College
Exclusive: Judson Phillips offers constitutional means to put Romney in office Jan. 21
by Judson Phillips
Judson Phillips is the founder of Tea Party Nation.
Editor’s note, Nov. 20, 2012: Since this column was posted it has been discovered that the premise presented about the Electoral College and the Constitution is in error. According to the 12th Amendment, a two-thirds quorum is required in the House of Representatives, not the Electoral College.
What next will they come up with? A tax credit for men not wasting their life-giving seeds?
After Cutting Tax Credit For Children, Michigan Republicans Consider One For Fetuses
By Tara Culp-Ressler on Nov 20, 2012 at 2:29 pm
State legislators in Michigan held a hearing on Tuesday to consider House Bills 5684 and 5685, which would allow taxpayers to receive tax relief for unborn fetuses past 12 weeks’ gestation. The proposed legislation is an odd push for Michigan Republicans, partly because Progress Michigan notes the state slashed tax credits for children last year — meaning that although parents living in Michigan do not qualify for additional tax breaks to offset the cost of caring for their own children, they could soon be able to claim a tax credit for an unborn fetus.
Progress Michigan’s executive director points out that the proposed legislation is a dangerous step toward endowing fetuses with the same rights as human beings while disregarding the real economic needs of Michigan’s children, 341,000 of whom currently live in high-poverty areas:
One week after the major Democratic victories of Election Day, Ohio’s Republican legislators Nov. 14 pushed HB 298, a bill that will keep federal funds from Planned Parenthood, through committee and into the Ohio House of Representatives floor.
If the bill passes the Republican-controlled General Assembly and is signed by Gov. John Kasich, it will block $2 million in federal funding from Planned Parenthood and prioritize other family services. In the past few years, Planned Parenthood has become a popular target for Republicans because the organization provides abortion services. But that’s not all Planned Parenthood offers; a chart released by the organization in February showed abortions only make up 3 percent of its services.
Another criticism leveled by Planned Parenthood supporters is the federal funding is legally barred from being used for abortions.
Silence is golden. So goes the proverb. But silence can be deadly when nongovernmental organizations claiming the mantles of human rights and peace fail to speak out when the lives of millions of Israelis are threatened by indiscriminate rocket fire. Each rocket from Gaza is a war crime, but only after Israel responded forcefully on Nov. 14 did these NGOs suddenly speak.
In the weeks prior to Operation Pillar of Defense, one such group, the Oakland-based Jewish Voice for Peace, lost its voice when Hamas and other terror groups were bombarding southern Israel. JVP was silent as 1 million Israelis were forced into shelters, as dozens were wounded, and children were traumatized.
Only after the Israel Defense Forces responded was JVP’s laryngitis cured. In record time, they created a section on their website called ‘Take Action for Gaza’ complete with links to anti-Israel protests around the world (at the Nov. 16 San Francisco protest promoted on this list, ‘peace activists’ chanted ‘Zionist scum, your time has come’) and a ‘Gaza protest toolkit.’ The ‘toolkit’ offers downloadable graphics with slogans like ‘Another Jew Against Attacks on Civilians. Stop the Bombs. Stop the Siege. Stop the Blank Check to the Israeli Military with U.S. Tax Dollars.’
There are many lies being told about the current conflict between Israel and Hamas. Here are seven things that are true.
No. 1. This most recent outbreak of violence represents the opening round of the third Palestinian intifada. The first intifada, which began in 1987 and petered out in the early 1990s, was an uprising of stones and Molotov cocktails. The second intifada, which began 12 years ago, was an uprising of suicide bombers. The third uprising, inevitably, was going to feature rockets and missiles. I don’t care to think about what sorts of weapons and tactics will feature in the fourth intifada.
No. 2. Hamas’s strategy in this latest conflict makes perfect sense. Hamas, which is the Palestine branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, is theologically committed to the obliteration of Israel and believes, as a matter of faith, that Jews are Allah’s enemies. Its leaders have believed, since the group’s inception, that Jews are soft (“We love death and they love life,” a Hamas leader once told me, and it is a commonly expressed thought). Hamas also believes that eventually misery and fear will drive most Jews to leave Israel, which it views as a Muslim waqf, or endowment, not merely the rightful home of the Palestinian people.
This strategy only works because Hamas leaders believe that the deaths of Palestinians aid their cause. As we have seen in this latest iteration of the Arab-Israeli war, every death of a Palestinian civilian is a victory for Hamas and a defeat for Israel. Palestinians in Gaza who dissent from this approach are often punished by Hamas.
The United States military has an intelligence problem—it has too much of it.
As drones get better at taking video, the Air Force has an increasingly hard time analyzing it for potential threats, leading one expert to warn that the military might be missing potential attacks.
[Panetta to Congress: ‘We Are Not Going to Hollow Out the Force’]
“We have hundreds of Benghazis we might need to protect against, and we don’t have the computing power or the manpower to watch it as it’s happening,” says James Keagle, director of the Emerging Challenges Program at National Defense University.
It’s a problem the military is increasingly turning to automated systems to solve—analysts can use NFL-like telestrators to circle a door, for instance. If a drone detects unexpected movement near that door, it can automatically alert people on the ground. But that raises new issues: Human rights organizations object to giving drones even further levels of automation. But even with automation, the military is falling behind, some experts say.