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Saturday, February 1, 2014

King Obama's Edict

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

Illegal Immigrants Coming To America For The Free Stuff!!

Political Cartoons by Glenn McCoy

Here We Go Again--Another Debt Limit Where The Democrats Can Out Maneuver the Republicans! GOP Is So Predictably Incompetent!

Report: GOP May Tie Debt Limit To Partial ACA Repeal

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CAMBRIDGE, Md. (UPI) — U.S. House Republicans are considering tying an increase in the debt limit to repeal of a provision of the Affordable Care Act, Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said.
Jordan told Roll Call repeal of an ACA feature that lessens the risk for insurance providers “certainly was an option put forward by some members” at a retreat of GOP House members in Maryland this week.
Citing a GOP House member who was present during a panel discussion of tying an increased borrowing limit to repeal of the so-called risk corridors for insurers, Roll Call said Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) surprised GOP House leaders by saying she would vote for increasing the debt limit in return for repeal of the ACA provision.
Representative Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said other ideas considered at the Thursday session included tying a higher borrowing limit to a Constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget or to advancing development of the Keystone XL oil pipeline project, but he said the risk corridor repeal seemed to have the strongest chance of passage.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said Wednesday Congressional Republicans “have accepted” there is a Feb. 7 deadline for raising the Federal borrowing limit.
“All the discussions that I’ve had and the things that I’ve read show that they understand that they need to do something by the end of February,” Lew said. “And I think they also understand that there’s not going to be any kind of a negotiation or a ransom paid for Congress to do what it needs to do, which is pay the bills that it’s already committed to.”

The Game Plan That We Hope The Arabs Will Lose

Arabs Use Peace to Destroy Israel Piece By Piece

Racism and discrimination is tolerated throughout the Arab world – in governments, major corporations, and the media. Nearly the entire Arab world is judenrein, and Westerners are hesitant to travel throughout much of the Middle East. Of course, Israel is the rare diverse and liberal nation where the media is free to condemn Israel and return home to enjoy sushi, and enjoy air-conditioning and cable TV without any danger to their lives.
Hence, score Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a major public relations victory for declaring in Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum that any peace deal would involve Jews remaining in their current homes in any peace deal that may be signed with the Palestinian Arabs.  In my mind, it’s a gimmick designed to show the West precisely what kind of people Israel is being pressured to negotiate with.
As the Associated Press quotes an Israeli official, “Netanyahu believes there is no reason to uproot them against their will, particularly since Arabs made up about 20 percent of Israel’s 8 million citizens.” The prime minister believes that in peace, just as Israel has an Arab minority, there is no logical reason why the Palestinian state could not contain a Jewish minority and that Jews living in Judea and Samaria would be given the option to stay.”  He added “It should not be accepted a priori that in peace the Palestinian state must be ethnically cleansed.”
Indeed, the final line is the key – ethnic cleansing won’t be allowed in any peace deal.  Using the tradition of Jewish logic, Netanyahu is correct that under “real peace,” Jews could live in “Palestine” and that to remove them from their homes would be ethnic cleansing.   And naturally, since the Arab regime seeks to destroy Israel piece by piece, the Arabs will never accept Jews in their midst.
Sure enough without fail, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat noted, “Anyone who says he wants to keep settlers in the Palestinian state is actually saying that he doesn’t want a Palestinian state,” “No settler will be allowed to stay in the Palestinian state, not even a single one, because settlements are illegal and the presence of the settlers on the occupied lands is illegal.” And Erekat’s comments echo the words of Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas during a visit to Cairo, Egypt in the summer of 2013, when he said, “In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli – civilian or soldier – on our lands.” Even today, Jews aren’t permitted to live in Palestinian-Arab controlled territory, and Arabs who sell land to Jews are punished with death.
Netanyahu is right to call the bluff of the Arabs – and will have the world forced to explain why they will allow ethnic cleansing against Jews in the Land of Israel.  Strategically, the American and Europeans will not be able to explain how they can possibly tolerate proposed ethnic cleansing in the Land of Israel.  If Arabs (Christians and Muslim) can live in Israel why can’t Jews live in Palestine? There is no doubt at all that the Arabs will remain intransient extremists devoted to destroying the state of Israel through the peace process piece by piece.
What sort of “peace” is this where Jews cannot even live?
One of the earliest modern leaders of Zionism, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, whose words remain so true today, said in a 1929 essay called “Peace”: “A noisy whining is now being set up by a chorus of ‘peace seekers’ who aim to achieve (by preaching exclusively to Jews) conciliation with the Arabs. It is difficult to free oneself from a feeling of disgust. On the morrow of a slaughter so mean and so foul – let us confess our sins and ask that they not beat us again.”  Indeed, the world needs to stop focusing on Israel – and focus on the Arab world which remains devoted to harming Western interests.
As Jabotinsky said then, and it remains true today, “The Jewish people – all of us, 100 percent want peace.”  The Arabs are using this peace process as part of their continued quest to seek to destroy Israel piece by piece.


It Looks Like Keystone Might Be Approved. Will It Really Happen?

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Pipes for the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline lie at the ready in a field in Gascoyne, N.D. Nathan Vanderklippe/Globe & Mail/Reuters
WASHINGTON — The State Department released a report on Friday concluding that the Keystone XL pipeline would not substantially worsen carbon pollution, leaving an opening for President Obama to approve the politically divisive project.
The department’s long-awaited environmental impact statement appears to indicate that the project could pass the criteria Mr. Obama set forth in a speech last summer when he said he would approve the 1,700-mile pipeline if it would not “significantly exacerbate” the problem of greenhouse gas emissions. Although the pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels of oil a day from Canada to the Gulf Coast, the report appears to indicate that if it were not built, carbon-heavy oil would still be extracted at the same rate from pristine Alberta forest and transported to refineries by rail instead.

“He’ll deliberate and take the time he needs,” said Kerri-Ann Jones, the assistant secretary of state for oceans and international affairs.
The report sets up a difficult decision for Secretary of State John Kerry, who now must make a recommendation on the international project to Mr. Obama. Mr. Kerry, who hopes to make action on climate change a key part of his legacy, has never publicly offered his personal views on the pipeline. Aides said Mr. Kerry was preparing to “dive into” the 11-volume report and would give high priority to the issue of global warming in making the decision. His aides offered no timetable.
Environmentalists said they were dismayed at some of the report’s conclusions and disputed its objectivity, but they also said it offered Mr. Obama reasons to reject the pipeline. They said they planned to intensify efforts to try to influence Mr. Kerry’s decision. For more than two years, environmentalists have protested the project and been arrested in demonstrations against it around the country. But many Republicans and oil industry executives, who support the pipeline because they say it creates jobs and increases supplies from a friendly source of oil, embraced the findings.
The State Department is expected to shortly release the results of an inspector general’s investigation into the preparation of an earlier draft of the environmental impact report. The investigation was ordered after an environmental group obtained documents indicating that some consultants for the firm that wrote the draft report had previously done work for TransCanada, the company seeking to build the pipeline. If investigators determine a conflict of interest in the preparation of that draft, the State Department may have to conduct a new environmental review.
In light of the investigation, environmentalists were particularly critical of the report released on Friday.
“In what could be perceived as eagerness to please the oil industry and Canadian government, the State Department is issuing this report amidst an ongoing investigation into conflicts of interest, and lying, by its contractor,” said Erich Pica, the president of Friends of the Earth.
Some environmentalists saw reason for optimism in the review, which models several possible future oil market possibilities. Most involve a future of high oil prices and robust demand, in which the oil sands crude is rapidly developed with or without the Keystone pipeline. However, the report offers one alternative sequence, in which oil prices and demand are low. In that case, not building the pipeline might slow development, and thus slow carbon emissions. That possibility is unlikely, but it could provide the administration something to point to should it deny the project.
“We’re taking the inclusion of that scenario as good news,” said Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, director of international programs at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
 The oil industry applauded the review.
“After five years and five environmental reviews, time and time again the Department of State analysis has shown that the pipeline is safe for the environment,” said Cindy Schild, the senior manager of refining and oil sands programs at the American Petroleum Institute, which lobbies for the oil industry.
There are political and strategic advantages to approving the pipeline: It would strengthen relations with Canada and provide a conduit for oil from a friendly neighbor. If the pipeline is approved this year, it could also help the re-election campaigns of two vulnerable Democratic senators from oil-rich states — Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Begich of Alaska — while silencing critics who for years have urged the president to move ahead with the pipeline.
Environmentalists said that if Mr. Obama were to approve the pipeline, it would destroy his efforts to make progress on climate change. Thomas F. Steyer, a California hedge fund billionaire and a major donor to Mr. Obama’s presidential campaigns, has started an advocacy group, NextGen Climate Action, that has spent heavily campaigning against the pipeline.
Larry Schweiger, the president of the National Wildlife Federation, said: “This is a large source of carbon that’s going to be unleashed. We’re headed in a terribly wrong direction with this project, and I don’t see how that large increase in carbon is going to be offset.”
Although the pipeline is a potent political symbol, its true impact on both the environment and the economy would be more limited than either its supporters or its opponents suggest.
The new State Department report concludes that the process used for producing the oil — by extracting what are called tar sands or oil sands from the Alberta forest — creates about 17 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than traditional oil. But the report concludes that this heavily polluting oil will still be brought to market. Energy companies are already moving the oil out of Canada by rail.
“At the end of the day, there’s a consensus among most energy experts that the oil will get shipped to market no matter what,” said Robert McNally, an energy consultant who was a senior energy and economic adviser to President George W. Bush. “It’s less important than I think it was perceived to be a year ago, both politically and on oil markets.”
The new State Department analysis took into account the growing global demand for oil and the rapidly growing practice of moving oil by rail in areas where pipelines have not been built. “Given the anticipated outlook of oil prices and the cost of development, no single project will likely affect the rate of extraction,” said a senior State Department official, who asked not to be named under the ground rules imposed by the department.
But moving oil by rail has its own hazards. As the practice has increased in recent years, so have incidents of explosions of rail cars carrying oil.
Supporters of the pipeline say it will create jobs, though the number may be limited. A study by the Cornell Global Labor Instituteconcluded that the pipeline would create about 3,900 construction jobs over two years.
Privately, people close to Mr. Obama say that although he is committed to building a climate legacy, he does not see the pipeline as a central part of that effort. Instead, the president is moving forward with a set of Environmental Protection Agency regulations on coal-fired power plants, the nation’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.
Those regulations do not have the potent political symbolism of the pipeline, but could have a far greater impact on the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions by freezing construction of new coal plants and closing hundreds of existing ones.
Ahead of making his decision, Mr. Kerry will take counsel from the leaders of eight other government agencies: the Departments of Defense, Justice, Interior, Commerce, Transportation, Energy and Homeland Security and the E.P.A. It is unclear when the decision might be made, but some close to the process say it could take as long as a year.
Environmentalists are preparing to influence the next stages of the decision-making process.
“This is the most scrutinized pipeline in the nation’s history,” said Brigham A. McCown, a former administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. “The fact that it’s lasted as long as it has means one of two things. They’ve either done a very good, thorough job, or they’ve slowed it down due to political pressure.”
Correction: January 31, 2014 
An earlier version of this article misidentified the agency with which Susan Casey-Lefkowitz is affiliated. It is the Natural Resources Defense Council, not the Natural Resources Defense Center.

How Can Obama's New myRA Plan Proceed Without Any Congressional Approval? Since When Can A President Institute A Plan Without Congress Saying Yes?


President Barack Obama announced this week that he would establish a program to help low-income earners save for retirement.
The New ‘Starter’ Savings Program Obama Announced That Has Analysts Skeptical
President Obama on Tuesday announced a program to help low-income earners save for retirement. (Getty Images)
But the new “starter” savings program — called “My Retirement Account” (myRa), for “my Individual Retirement Account” (IRA) — has left a few analysts skeptical.
“His proposal might do some good — not by helping workers, most of whom are unlikely to take advantage of it, but by spurring a discussion about how to fix a broken retirement system,” theBloomberg editorial board said.
Others are more apprehensive.
“It’s a trap. It will make your savings highly visible to the government, very vulnerable to future special taxes and it drives investments in the direction of financing the government with your savings, rather than the productive private sector,” the Economic Policy Journal said after the president unveiled the plan. “That’s what myRA is all about.”
The program is aimed at Americans who lack the start-up funds required for many commercial IRAs.
“Starting with as little as $25, savers are expected to invest a little each month in Treasury bonds and then convert the accounts into traditional IRAs once the savings grow,” the Associated Press reported. “The president said that he wants all workers to be automatically enrolled in IRAs unless they specifically opt out. Under one scenario, monthly paycheck deductions would be invested in bonds unless workers choose another option.”
But as the Bloomberg editorial board said, participation in the new program will probably be far below expectations — unless people are forced into it.
“Without compulsion or inducements, participation in MyRAs is likely to be small. Fewer than one in 10 workers who are eligible to contribute to existing Individual Retirement Accounts bother to do so,” the board said.
Further, it’s important to note that the White House technically does not need congressional approval to start the program. According to Bloomberg, this is both a good thing and a bad thing.
“It’s good because it means something will happen; it’s bad because without legislation, the government can’t make employers offer the plans or tell workers they’re covered unless they choose not to be,” the editorial board said.
Households earning approximately $191,000 annually can deduct money from their paychecks and put it into a retirement fund that pays roughly the same interest rate as retirement funds available to federal workers.
“Savers would contribute after-tax dollars into the accounts, starting with as little as $25. They could opt for contributions as low as $5 a paycheck,” the AP adds. “New retirement accounts being set up by the Treasury Department would target workers whose employers don’t offer retirement benefits or who haven’t started saving yet for old age. Treasury expects to have a pilot program working by the end of the year.”
Unsurprisingly, Zero Hedge has a very dim view of the initiative: “[S]ince it offers ‘guaranteed return and no risk’ we now know where all the Fed’s bond trades will go to work once [quantitative easing] ends.”
But here’s the thing: The president was a little more careful with his words when he explained program’s “guarantees.”
“Today, most workers don’t have a pension. A Social Security check often isn’t enough on its own. And while the stock market has doubled over the last five years, that doesn’t help folks who don’t have 401ks,” the president said during his State of the Union address Tuesday.
“I will direct the Treasury to create a new way for working Americans to start their own retirement savings: myRA. It’s a new savings bond that encourages folks to build a nest egg. MyRA guarantees a decent return with no risk of losing what you put in,” he added. “Offer every American access to an automatic IRA on the job, so they can save at work just like everyone in this chamber can.”
The New ‘Starter’ Savings Program Obama Announced That Has Analysts Skeptical
Getty Images
For now, unless tweaks are made to the program, workers who want to open a MyRA account must first make sure their employers agree to participate.
The White House admitted Wednesday that no businesses have actually committed to enrolling in the program. Further, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew was unable to say how many Americans are expected to open MyRA accounts.
“We think this fills a space that, very importantly, we can do by our own authority,” Lew said.
Still, the White House said the program will cost practically noting and remains optimistic businesses will sign on to participate.
“These new accounts will open up access to tax-advantaged retirement savings vehicles that many people do not currently have access to because of cost-prohibitive barriers,” Jamie Hopkins, a professor in the retirement income program at the American College, told The New York Times, adding that the maximum amount people can save — roughly $15,000 — is fairly limited. “This is relatively small and for most people won’t make a significant impact on their retirement preparedness all by itself.”
“[T]his will not solve the retirement income shortfall that exists in the U.S.,” he said, adding that it may still be “a step in the right direction.”
But because the program relies on paycheck deductions, businesses that don’t use automatic payroll systems will be excluded unless and until the administration develops a new system for them to participate, according to the AP. This raises obvious questions about how far the White House will go to adjust the program without congressional approval.
“I could do more with Congress, but I’m not going to not do anything without Congress,” Obama told a crowd of workers Wednesday at a steel plant in Pennsylvania.

Did Obama Just Move Us Another Step Toward 401(k) And Other Retirement Plan Confiscation.

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NEW YORK – When you hear, “Hello, I’m from the federal government and I want to help you manage your retirement savings,” the best advice is to run away, as fast as you can.
In November 2012, WND reported the Obama administration was exploring a creative way to finance continuing trillion-dollar annual federal budget deficits through forcing private citizens holding IRA and 401(k) accounts to purchase Treasury bonds by mandating the placement of government-structured annuities in their retirement accounts.
Two years ago, WND reported the U.S. Department of Labor and the Treasury Department held joint hearings on whether government lifetime annuity options funded by U.S. Treasury debt should be required for private retirement accounts, including IRAs and 401(k) plans.
It looks like that day is getting closer.
Packaged as a new retirement-savers plan designed for workers whose employers do not offer IRAs or 401(k), President Obama announced in his State of the Union address Tuesday an initiative that allows first-time savers to start building up their savings in Treasury bonds that could eventually be converted into traditional IRAs or 401(k) plans.
While it is not as onerous as an Obama administration directive demanding a certain percentage of individual retirement savings must be invested in U.S. Treasury bonds, it is a first step in that direction.
With the Obama administration having run federal budget deficits in the range of $1 trillion every year in office since 2009, and with the Federal Reserve announcing a new policy to “taper” Quantitative Easing by buying $10 billion a month less in U.S. government debt every month this year until QE hits zero, somebody has to buy all the Treasury debt the Obama administration plans to issue.
In January 2013, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau suggested it should play a role in helping Americans manage the $19.4 trillion they have put into retirement savings.
“That’s one of the things we’ve been exploring and are interested in terms of whether and what authority we have,” bureau director Richard Cordray told Bloomberg in an interview.
Under the direction of the Obama White House, the Treasury and Labor departments have increasingly pushed the investment theory that because government bonds carry a sovereign guarantee against default, any IRA or 401(k) funds placed in a Treasury R-Bond would constitute, in effect, a government annuity that would pay the retiree a lifetime income, regardless how stock and bond markets might independently perform.
The government’s argument is that IRA and 401(k) investors lost principal from their retirement savings accounts when the housing bubble burst and the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell from a closing high of 14,164.53 on Oct. 9, 2007, to a closing low of 6,547.05 on March 9, 2009.
Fidelity Investments estimated the average 401(k) fund balances on the approximately 11 million accounts Fidelity manages dropped 31 percent to $47,500 at the end of March 2009, from $69,200 at the end of 2007.
Yet, with the stock-market rally that began in March 2009, Fidelity noted 401(k) account balances increased 28 percent, from a low at the end of the first quarter 2009 of $47,500 to an average of $60,700 by the end of the third quarter 2009.
With the Dow going over 16,000 in the extended rally since 2009, most IRA and 401(k) investors have registered substantial gains, but that could change.
WND has reported that should the stock-market rally turn into yet another financial bubble that bursts, retirement savers with IRA and 401(k) money invested in the stock market could again take serious losses that may take years of patience to regain.
U.S. to follow path of Argentina?
Unfortunately, retirement savers in other nations with high debt that have demanded retirement savings be placed into government debt have fared badly, taking huge losses as debt crises deepened and bond markets began selling the debt at serious discounts.
Writing in the Telegraph of London in October 2008, business and economics editor Ambrose Evans-Pritchard warned that G7 nations, including the United States, may begin following the path of Argentina in forcing privately managed pension funds to be invested in government-issued debt.
In 2008, Argentine sovereign debt was trading at 29 cents on the dollar, reflecting the devalued state of the Argentine peso, with the result that private pensioners holding government debt in their retirement accounts could not be assured those bonds would have any meaningful value at maturity.
“Here is a warning to us all,” Evans-Pritchard wrote. “The Argentine state is taking control of the country’s privately managed pension funds in a dramatic move to raise cash.”
He warned the same could happen in the U.S. and Europe, writing the G7 states “are already acquiring an unhealthy taste for the arbitrary seizure of private property, I notice.”
“It is a foretaste of what might happen across the world as governments discover that tax revenue,” he said.
With the Treasury needing in fiscal year 2010 another $1.4-$1.5 trillion in debt to finance the anticipated federal budget deficit, the Obama administration is obviously scrambling to find new ways to sell government debt cheaply, without having to raise interest rates.
As WND reported last September, Poland confiscated one-half of all its citizens’ private pensions in a move to cut the nation’s debt crisis.
Reuters reported Sept. 4, 2013, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk announced a government decision to transfer to ZUS, the government pension system, all bond investments in privately owned pension funds within the state-guaranteed system.
For the time being, the Polish government continued to allow private citizens to keep equity investments that in the Polish state-guaranteed pension system tend to be approximately half of all private pension investments.
Polish Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski said the change will reduce Polish national debt about 8 percent of Polish Gross Domestic Product, or GDP. The move allows the Polish government to resume another round of aggressive debt creation by borrowing in international markets, as reported by
By confiscating, or otherwise “nationalizing” the bonds held in Polish citizen private retirement accounts, the Polish government, with public debt currently standing at approximately 52.7 percent of GDP, circumvents two threshold restrictions that deter the government from allowing debt to rise to over 50 percent of GDP. A second deterrence kicks in when Polish national debt hits 55 percent of GDP.
Reuters pointed out that by shifting bonds held in private retirement accounts into ZUS, the government can book the assets on the state balance sheet to offset public debt, giving the government more scope to borrow and spend.
As is the case with other nations in the European Union, Poland faced with slowing economic growth, a grim job situation, and declining tax revenues, has been forced to borrow to maintain the nation’s large social welfare system without imposing austerity measures.
The international reaction among private investment advisers was one of shock and dismay.
Poland’s move follows a similar move taken by the Mediterranean island of Cyprus earlier this year. The Cyprus government confiscated 10 percent of the amount in all bank accounts in a move calculated to raise 6 billion euros to meet a condition set by international bankers, including the International Monetary Fond, as a condition of finalizing a proposed Eurozone bailout.