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Get this, folks: the Democrats have decided that their silver bullet…their only bullet…to use in order to avoid getting skunked in two weeks is to label their opponents EXTREME. Well, lets see what’s extreme.
And is it extreme for tens of millions of loyal Americans to demand a stop to all of this and a return to the clearly articulated principles on which this country was and is based?Folks, YOU’VE GOT EXTREME. Now what do you want?
They like to refer to us as senior citizens, old fogies, geezers, and in some cases dinosaurs. Some of us are "baby boomers" getting ready to retire. Others have been retired for some time. We walk a little slower these days and our eyes and hearing are not what they once were.
We have worked hard, raised our children, worshipped our God and grown old together. Yes, we are the ones some refer to as being over the hill and that is probably true. But before writing us off completely, there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration. In school we studied English, history, math, and science which enabled us to lead America into the technological age.
of us remember what outhouses were, many of us with
firsthand experience. We remember the days of telephone
party-lines, 25 cent gasoline, and milk and ice being delivered to
our homes. For those of you who don't know what an icebox
is, today they are electric and referred to as
refrigerators. A few even remember when cars were started with a
crank. Yes, we lived those days.
We are probably considered old fashioned and out-dated by many. But there are a few things you need to remember before completely writing us off. We won World War II and fought in Korea and Viet Nam . We can quote the pledge of allegiance, and know where to place our hand while doing so. We wore the uniform of our country with pride and lost many friends on the battlefield. We didn't fight for the Socialist States of America , we fought for the "Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave." We wore different uniforms but carried the same flag. We know the words to the Star Spangle Banner, America , and America the Beautiful by heart, and you may even see some tears running down our cheeks as we sing. We have lived what many of you have only read about in history books and we feel no obligation to apologize to anyone for America .
we are old and slow these days but rest assured, we have at least
one good fight left in us. We have loved this country,
fought for it, and died for it, and now we are going to save
it. It is our country and nobody is going to take it away
from us. We took oaths to defend America against
all enemies, foreign and domestic, and that is an oath we plan to
keep. There are those who want to destroy this land we love
but, like our founders, there is no way we are going to remain
It was the young people (and liberals) of this nation who elected Obama and the Democratic congress. You fell for the "Hope and change" which in reality was nothing but "Hype and lies." You have tasted socialism and seen evil face to face, and have found you don't like it after all.
You make a lot of noise but most are all too interested in their careers or "Climbing the social ladder" to be involved in such mundane things as patriotism and voting.
Many of those who fell for the "great lie" in 2008 are now having buyer's remorse. With all the education we gave you, you didn't have sense enough to see through the lies and instead drank the cool-aid. Now you're paying the price and complaining about it.
No jobs, lost mortgages, higher taxes, and less freedom. This is what you voted for and this is what you got. We entrusted you with the Torch of Liberty and you traded it for a paycheck and a fancy house.
Well, don't worry youngsters, the Grey Haired Brigade is here, and in two weeks we are going to take back our nation. We may drive a little slower than you would like but we get where we're going, and in November we're going to the polls by the millions. This land does not belong to the man in the White House or to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. It belongs to "We the People", and "We the People" plan to reclaim our land and our freedom. We hope this time you will do a better job of preserving it and passing it along to our grandchildren.
So the next time you have the chance to say the Pledge of Allegiance, stand up, put your hand over your heart, honor our country, and thank God for the old geezers of the "Grey-Haired Brigade."
NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. taxpayers could be on the hook for up to another $215 billion in aid to housing finance giants Fannie Mae (FNMA.OB) and Freddie Mac (FMCC.OB) through 2013, their regulator said on Thursday.
The companies, which were seized by the federal government in September 2008 to save them from collapse, will likely have total capital needs of between $221 billion and $363 billion through 2013, the Federal Housing Finance Agency estimated.
The estimate includes the $148 billion that the two companies, the largest providers of U.S. home loan funding, have already received in the form of preferred stock purchases by the U.S. Treasury. FHFA projections exceed expectations of analysts at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, who in August predicted the total would reach "roughly $200 billion" by the end of 2010 before stabilizing.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are at the center of debate as Congress sets to overhaul a U.S. mortgage finance system that contributed to the worst housing crisis since the 1930s. The two companies, whose programs fund the lion's share of all new home loans, are chartered by Congress but have operated as private, profit-making companies.
Under the existing system, the shareholders of Fannie and Freddie were rewarded during boom times as the companies grew under implicit U.S. support. But weaning the nation from government support will be a daunting task given the heavy reliance of borrowers on funding funneled through the two companies and Ginnie Mae, the government agency that packages bonds backed by government agencies such as the Federal Housing Administration and the Veterans Administration.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac package loans into bonds with their guarantees.
The projected amounts of capital needed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from Treasury vary depending on changes in home prices, which in recent years have been the major driver of credit losses for the two companies, the FHFA said. The regulator said it wanted to give policy makers "useful snapshots" of the potential need for future taxpayer support.
The scenarios do not account for the companies' attempts to cut losses by demanding banks repurchase faulty loans that did not meet stated underwriting guidelines, an administration official said. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have seen partial success in getting banks to repurchase loans backed by the two companies' guarantee programs, and they may also seek the same of loans in private Wall Street-issued bonds they own. For analysis, see [nN2197588].
Net of dividends Fannie and Freddie have paid to the Treasury on its preferred stock holdings, the two companies to date have drawn $135 billion in taxpayer aid, the official said. Considering the FHFA's projections, the net cost to taxpayers after dividend payments through 2013 would be between $141 billion and $259 billion, the official added.
Cumulative capital needs for Freddie Mac, after dividends have been paid, would range from $40 billion to $67 billion, the FHFA said. For Fannie Mae, those needs are likely between $102 billion and $192 billion, partly due to the larger size of its business.
The FHFA's lower projection assumes home
prices bottomed in the first quarter of 2009 and will rise by 5 percent
through 2013. The "current baseline" scenario of Moody's Investors
Service depicts small house price declines, while a worse outcome
reflects a deeper recession because of restricted access to credit and
high unemployment, FHFA said.
Losses for the two companies continue to be focused on loans guaranteed through the latter years of the housing boom. New business "is as good as it has ever been," the administration official said, noting improvements in underwriting and risk controls.
The FHFA's capital need projections "show that, in the most likely economic scenario, nearly 90 percent of the losses at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are already behind us," Jeffrey Goldstein, the Treasury's under secretary for domestic finance, said in a statement.
"Almost all of those losses are attributable to mortgages that were already on those businesses' books prior to the conservatorship," he said. "But that news should not distract us from the pressing need for reform so that taxpayers aren't put on the hook in the future."
Dividend payments on the preferred stock are making up larger portions of the capital needs as time passes, the FHFA said. Of the $73 billion to $215 billion in additional capital that may be needed, $67 billion to $91 billion represent dividend payments to the Treasury, it said.
(Editing by Leslie Adler, Chizu Nomiyama, Andrew Hay)
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly stirred up controversy last week on "The View" after making the blanket statement that "Muslims killed us on 9/11," a comment that led to co-hosts Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg walking off the set.
On Monday, O'Reilly asked Williams if there is a "Muslim dilemma" in the United States. The NPR analyst and longtime Fox News contributor agreed with O'Reilly that such a thing exists, and added that "political correctness can lead to some kind of paralysis where you don't address reality."
"I mean, look, Bill, I'm not a bigot," Williams continued. "You know the kind of books I've written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."
[Photos: See more of ousted commentator Juan Williams]
Some commentators and a leading Muslim civil rights organization took issue with Williams' comments.
The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan wrote Wednesday morning that Williams' statement about fearing Muslims on planes is an example of bigotry. "What if someone said that they saw a black man walking down the street in classic thug get-up," Sullivan wrote. "Would a white person be a bigot [if] he assumed he was going to mug him?'
The Council for American-Islamic Relations sent out a press release Wednesday afternoon calling on NPR to address the matter. Nihad Awad, the organization's national executive director, called the comments "irresponsible and inflammatory" and said they "should not pass without action by NPR."
They certainly didn't. NPR took action Wednesday night and put out a statement regarding the severing of Williams' contract: "His remarks on 'The O'Reilly Factor' this past Monday were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR."
You can watch Williams' comments below:
Williams often appears on Fox as the liberal counterpart to one of the network's conservative hosts or guests. But some NPR listeners -- an audience certainly more left-leaning than Fox's conservative one -- don't see Williams as an advocate for progressive politics when he appears on the cable news network.
Last year, NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard wrote that Williams had become a "lightning rod" among NPR's staff and noted many complaints from listeners after an appearance on O'Reilly's show.
Williams had described First Lady Michelle Obama as having a "Stokely Carmichael in a designer dress thing going," a reference to the militant African-American activist. After those comments, NPR executives asked that NPR's logo be removed when he appears on Fox News.
It can be expected that Fox hosts, especially O'Reilly, will have something to say about NPR's decision.
[Rewind: CNN host Rick Sanchez fired over on-air remarks]
Bernie Goldberg, a Fox News contributor and author of several books on what he describes as liberal media bias, offered his take Thursday morning in an email to The Upshot.
"So Juan Williams is fired for saying something the liberals at NPR find controversial?" Goldberg said. "One more piece of evidence that liberals have forgotten how to be liberal."
Goldberg continued: "These are the kind of people who brag about how open-minded they are -- as long as you agree with them. And here's the dirty little secret: lots and lots of liberals feel the same way Juan does when they get on an airplane. And a lot of those liberals work at NPR. Juan's 'crime' was saying it out loud."
Weekly Standard Editor and Fox contributor Bill Kristol also had some choice words for NPR, which he dubbed "National Politically-correct Radio." Kristol concluded a post about the firing by saying: "NPR -- unfair, unbalanced ... and afraid."
UPDATE: Williams went on Fox and addressed the controversy Thursday.
Although I have been an observer of this scene since the mid-1960’s, when Medicare was first passed, and although I have been writing and speaking on this subject since the mid-1970’s, the following are observations and predictions prompted by the comments of candidates Peckinpawh and Courtney given at this weeks combined County Medical Association meeting in Westbrook.
As Charlie Chan would say: “Velly Intellesting”.
By Chris Farrell
The size of the federal deficit is repeated so often by politicians and the news media that it's easy to become numb to the sheer magnitude of the number â€” an estimated $1.29 trillion for the fiscal year which ended on September 30, according to the new figures released today by the Obama Administration.
While that's a drop from the record $1.4 trillion deficit recorded for fiscal 2009, it's still the second largest deficit in history. No one is happy about the tidal wave of red ink:
Here's the rub: The deficit-hating oratory is heated but the deficit-reducing specifics are glaringly absent.
"The turn hasn't gone from highlighting the deficit to actually doing something about it," says Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget in Washington, D.C. Adds Veronique de Rugy, senior research fellow at the Marcatus Center at George Mason University: "We are still in the realm of rhetoric."
The reason for the reluctance? Simple political calculation. As the late Nobel laureate Milton Friedman was fond of saying, "there is no free lunch." Or, as Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, a graduate of the London School of Economics, put it, "you can't always get what you want."
Eventually, however, the size and rapid growth of the deficit mean that it will have to be dealt with â€” and that painful trade-offs will have to be made. The only real question is whether those decisions get made before the U.S. tumbles into a fiscal crisis.
"Those who say this won't be good for me because I'll pay higher taxes or I'll get a smaller benefit ignore the fact that we can't keep doing what we're doing," says James Horney Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
So what are the realistic options? You won't get many details from the majority of the politicians up for election on Nov. 2, but here are some of the ideas making the rounds in Washington:
Let the Bush Tax Cuts Expire
It's easy to fall into deep despair about the deficit, but Obama's former budget director, Peter Orszag, recently grabbed the fiscal spotlight with a remarkably easy solution: Let the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire for everyone.
By allowing taxes to return to the pre-Bush era levels for taxpayers, the federal budget would be close to balance by 2015.
"If we actually ended the Bush-era tax cuts, that would pretty much do it," Orszag said in an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria. "If you do a bit on the spending side and then end the tax cuts, you pretty much get there."
The virtue of this approach is that it doesn't require any special legislation or deal-cutting among special interest groups. Congress could then devote its legislative energy to addressing major reforms needed in entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, which everyone agrees is necessary.
That said, the idea is DOA. One reason is the risk that higher taxes could send a fragile economy spiraling lower. But the politics may be even more important. Since the earliest days of his campaign, President Obama has committed to not raise taxes on any family earning less than $250,000. Going back on that pledge could be electoral suicide —especially as Republicans are vehemently against all tax hikes. Still, it's an intriguing litmus test to see how serious a politician is about addressing the problem.
What About Other Tax Changes?
Few dispute that America's income tax code is Byzantine, a complicated stew chock full of credits, deductions, phase-ins and phase-outs. Reigning in these so-called "tax expenditures" that clutter up the federal tax code could go a long way toward attacking the deficit "Tax expenditures are bad tax policy," says MacGuineas. She and others point out that a tax credit that reduces Uncle Sam's revenues causes the deficit to rise just as surely as does a spending increase — it's just more politically palatable.
For example, Martin Feldstein, economist at Harvard University and former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors under President Reagan, estimates that simply reducing the size of tax expenditures from the current 6 percent to 4 percent of GDP would bring the projected 2020 debt down from 90 percent to 72 percent.
Sounds good, right? Who doesn't want a cleaner, less complicated tax code (especially come April)? Problem is, these loopholes support many activities people like. For instance, the education credit helps parents save for the high cost of college. The mortgage interest deduction is almost sacred to homeowners. The child care tax credit can be a much needed boon to new parents.
What's more, many Republicans look at moves toward reducing tax expenditures as the equivalent of a tax hike.
America is aging, with the leading edge of the baby boom generation reaching its retirement years. It's well-known that to eventually bring the long-term deficit under control, the government will have to address the three main entitlement programs -- Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Now, despite rhetoric to the contrary, there really is no Social Security crisis. There's financial trouble down the road but it's manageable. Still, the general outline of a compromise for shoring up Social Security's finances has emerged in recent years. It essentially relies on hiking the retirement age, lifting the cap on annual wages subject to the payroll tax, and making the cost of living index less generous. (The Congressional Budget Office offers a list of options in its July 2010 report, Social Security Policy Options at http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/115xx/doc11580/07-01-SSOptions_forWeb.pdf.). Yet many people don't buy into the compromise because it means retiring later or paying more in taxes. Ultimately, however, one — or both — will likely have to happen.
The real long-term budget pressure comes from higher health care spending. To give a sense of the scale of the problem, the benchmark 75-year projection by the Social Security Trustees guesstimates the cost of Medicare alone will swell to 11.4 percent of gross domestic product in 2083 — 94 percent larger than Social Security's cost. "We need to slow the rate of growth in healthcare," says Horney.
He's right, but the kinds of changes in healthcare required to do so will make the controversy over Obamacare a stroll through the park. Salaried doctors? Universal healthcare? Healthcare vouchers for everyone? The debate has only begun.
Cut Back on Defense Spending
Defense accounts for 20 percent of the budget. Last April Defense Secretary Robert Gates targeted more than 20 programs for termination or cutbacks, and the Defense Department is looking for more cuts. A reduction the nation's nuclear arsenal and missile defense systems could end up on the table, while military compensation is another possible target. The reason: military personnel earn average cash compensation that beats 75 percent of their civilian peers of comparable age and education . Benefits are also better than for most civilian jobs. One solution would be to cap the growth future in military compensation at the rate prevailing in the rest of the economy.
"The U.S. spends the biggest share in the world on defense," says the Marcatus Center's de Rugy. "We can cut it a lot."
Yet slashing into defense spending is always difficult, especially with troops at war in Afghanistan and still engaged in a mission in Iraq. Cuts in defense programs also quickly translate into job losses elsewhere in the economy as military contractors cutback — something few politicians willingly allow without a fight.
A Baseline Scenario
Here's one way to start thinking through the trade-offs. A centrist approach was released on Sept. 30 by William Galston of the Brookings Institution and MacGuineas. Their goal is to get debt back down to 60 percent of GDP by the end of the current decade. Their blueprint relies half on spending cuts and half on raising taxes.(http://www.brookings.edu/papers/2010/0930_public_debt_galston.aspx ) They would do everything from slashing deep into defense spending to embracing carbon taxes.
Others would take a very different tack, however. De Rugy, for one, is against raising taxes to tackle the deficit. Instead, she advocates pushing a lot of federal responsibilities back to the states, such as education and transportation, as well as pushing entitlements more toward a private voucher system.
Where do you stand? Would you cut spending? If so which programs would get trimmed? Would you raise taxes? Which ones? Change entitlements? How?
And then there are these questions: When -- if ever -- will politicians stake their fortunes on backing concrete solutions? And if they do, will voters reward them for taking action?
Chris Farrell is economics editor for the nationally syndicated public radio program Marketplace Money. He is the author of The New Frugality: How to Consume Less, Save More, and Live Better (Bloomsbury Press)
SAN FRANCISCO – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reiterated her support Friday for ending Mexico's drug violence, saying it was in the United States' interest to crack down on drug cartels that have begun behaving more like terrorists and insurgent groups.
Clinton told a sold-out meeting of the nonpartisan Commonwealth Club in San Francisco that she was surprised comments she made last month comparing Mexico to Colombia during its past cocaine wars were critically received.
"This is one of the most difficult fights that any country faces today. We saw it over the last couple of decades in Colombia," she said. "We are watching drug traffickers undermine and corrupt governments in Central America, and we are watching the brutality and barbarity of their assaults on governors and mayors, the press, as well as each other, in Mexico."
Similar remarks Clinton made before the Council on Foreign Relations prompted President Barack Obama, among others, to say that Mexico was in much better shape politically and economically than Colombia was during the 1980s. Government officials in Mexico also rejected Clinton's comparison.
"These drug cartels are now taking on a lot of the attributes of these terrorists and insurgent groups we see around the world," Clinton said Friday. "For the first time, they are using car bombings. You see them being much more organized in a kind of paramilitary way."
Clinton described Friday's speaking engagement as only her third domestic public appearance since joining Obama's cabinet last year.
She said she also has been surprised that some political commentators have disagreed with her insistence that the United States shares responsibility for drug-related violence in Mexico.
Americans have demonstrated an "insatiable demand" for illegal drugs, and the U.S. has failed to crack down on the thousands and thousands of weapons trafficked into Mexico, Clinton repeated on Friday.
"I thought it was an obvious thing to say," she said.
In prepared remarks, Clinton also praised Northern California's technology companies as instrumental to the administration's goals for promoting peace and prosperity abroad.
Clinton called Silicon Valley a model for government efforts to promote what she termed the "freedom to connect." She gave the example of young students in Syria using cell phones and Facebook to alert the world about beatings inflicted by their teachers.