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To bail out banks in Cyprus (who had loaned a lot to Greece, hence the need for a bailout), the Eurozone suggested confiscating money in those banks to partially pay the banks. Sweet deal if you’re a banker, panic-inducing if you’re not. Socialism is destroying Europe.

The Democrats in the Senate managed, after 4 long years, to produce something it seemed they’d forgotten about; a budget! It is, of course, more of the same taxing and spending (and spending more than they’re taxing). And it remains to be seen if they’ll even vote for their own budget, since they unanimously voted against Obama’s budget last year.

And Paul Thacker of the Slate website lets Slate readers in on the worst-kept secret evah; the media has a liberal bias! Who knew! (No, I didn’t mean for a show of hands. That was rhetorical.)

Mentioned links:

Cyprus deal shock sends shares tumbling, gold up

After Cyprus Bank Bailout, Depositors Race to Withdraw Their Cash. Is the Rest of Europe Next?

SENATE DEMOCRATS FINALLY UNVEIL BUDGET

Confirmed: Senate Democrats’ Budget Accelerates Spending, Never Balances

Flashback: Obama: Adding $4 Trillion To Debt Is Unpatriotic

Slate Slams Obama On Transparency, Credits Fox News, Wash. Times For Fast and Furious Reporting

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Filed under: Budget & SpendingEconomics & TaxesEuropeGovernmentMediaPartisanshipSocialism

Hugo Chavez died recently. He took a country rich with oil money and turned it onto a socialist paradise, complete with high inflation, shortages of food and electricity (to name just a few items), and soaring crime rates. Only in Venezuela.

Except perhaps, not only there. It just seems like President Obama, in trying to (as he said) “spread the wealth around”, he’s doing a lot of what Chavez was doing. As a result, we’ve had one of the most anemic recoveries in history. Soaking the rich to give to the poor only lasts as long as the rich stick around; it’s not a long-term solution. A job is the best social program, but that’s not been working out so well here. Instead, crippling debt from government borrowing and spending have led us to a place that is looking more and more like Chavez’s socialist “paradise”. Listen in for more details.

The Obama administration said the sequester cuts would hurt, and by golly, they’ll make sure they do. If a department tries to ease the pain, well, they’ll just have to set them straight. Just ask Charlie Brown. (Really.)

Mentioned links:

 Heart attack killed a suffering Hugo Chavez, head of Venezuela’s presidential guard says

Loved Or Loathed, Hugo Chavez Was The Ultimate Showman

Chavez death blamed on U.S.

Email tells feds to make sequester as painful as promised

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Filed under: Budget & SpendingEconomics & TaxesGovernmentSocialismSouth America

The sequester that went into affect March 1st has President Obama lying about who came up with it (he did), how bad the cuts are (not bad), and how evil the Republicans are for letting them happen (they aren’t).

Facebook made $1.1 billion in pre-tax profits in 2012. And by “pre-tax” I mean “no-tax”. Instead they are getting $429 million back from the government. This caused the Occupy Wall Street protesters to…yawn and go back to their iPads.

If you have pre-existing conditions, ObamaCare will help get insurance. That is until the funds run out real soon now.

Donna Brazile sung the praises of ObamaCare a year ago. This year, however, she’s puzzled as to why her health insurance premiums are going up. Cause, meet effect.

Mentioned links:

Obama pledges to veto effort to undo automatic spending cuts

Whose Sequester Is It Anyway?

Obama’s fanciful claim that Congress ‘proposed’ the sequester

Facebook Gets a Multibillion-Dollar Tax Break

Obamacare Funding Running Low For Patients With Pre-Existing Conditions

IRONY ALERT!

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Filed under: Budget & SpendingEconomics & TaxesGovernmentHealth Care

In this episode, I have a one-track mind. In the President’s State of the Union address, he proposed increasing the minimum wage by about 25% to $9 an hour, as though this will somehow defeat poverty.

The fact is, according to the government’s own Bureau of Labor Statistics, only about one and a half percent of all American workers are getting the minimum wage and not living with their parents. And on average, even this group isn’t in poverty.

Further, raising the federal minimum wage raises the wages of far more people than just those at the minimum. This causes prices to rise in a way that erases much of the increased minimum.

And if labor costs more, in addition to prices going up, workers may be laid off, or businesses may slow down hiring. Is this what we want to do now? In this economy?

Make economic decisions on facts, not emotion.

Mentioned links:

SOTU PROPOSAL OPENS UP MINIMUM WAGE DEBATE

Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers: 2011

Political Payback: Facts Behind Organized Labor’s Push to Raise the Federal Minimum Wage (PDF)

How to Think About the Minimum Wage

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Filed under: Economics & TaxesMinimum Wage

The New York Times seems to have woken up from its 4-year slumber and realized that the Barack Obama is essentially pushing the same defense policies as Bush. Truly a shocker (to those who have not been paying attention.) Hey Times. Obama’s been making the same arguments he criticized for more than just last week. But I guess now that he’s been reelected, you’re free to notice it now.

In other news that the media has ignored, it was recently discovered that the Times and the Washington Post kept secret the fact that the US has a drone base in Saudi Arabia. The papers didn’t touch the story until the details had leaked out elsewhere. I compare that to how the Times dealt with secrets during the Bush administration. What a difference an administration makes!

And once again we play “Name That Quote”! This time, it’s a quote about ObamaCare(tm) that the speaker says will require more and more taxes, and even >gasp< Death Panels! No, it’s not Sarah Palin. See if you can guess who it is before I spill the beans.

Mentioned links:

Obama’s Turn in Bush’s Bind

Obama’s 262 Drone Strikes in Pakistan

The New York Times and National Security Secrets: Obama vs. Bush

U.S. NEEDS DEATH PANELS, SALES TAXES

Death Panels and Sales Taxes

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Filed under: Budget & SpendingEconomics & TaxesGovernmentHealth CareMedia

Tens of thousands marched in a huge anti-abortion protest in Washington, DC. You’re forgiven if you didn’t know about it. ABC and CBS couldn’t be bothered to mention it at all. (NBC did give all of it 15 seconds, so there’s that.)

The “Affordable Care Act” is turning out to be, well, rather unaffordable. The experts both outside and inside of the President’s own administration are saying, yes, costs are going to go up. Surprise! (We had to pass the bill so we’d know how much it would cost, right, Nancy Pelosi?)

And gun violence continues in the nations’s school, including suspensions for having a picture of a gun, and terroristic threats with a “Hello Kitty” bubble gun. Yes, over-reacting is still rampant.

And a bonus. Let’s send Ahmadinejad into space. Hey, he wants to!

Mentioned links:

 ABC and CBS Spike Huge Pro-Life March, Yet Highlight Puny Pro-Gun Control Protest

Some Nerve: NYT Finally Covers March for Life, Only to Bury It Under Story Chiding Marchers for Not Being Anti-Gun

Obama concedes: Obamacare didn’t do anything for rising health care costs

I’M BEGINNING TO THINK THAT PUTTING YOUR KIDS IN PUBLIC SCHOOL IS PARENTAL MALPRACTICE

Newtown Security Vision Discussion

Ahmadinejad wants to be Iran’s first astronaut

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Filed under: Budget & SpendingGovernmentGun ControlHealth CareIranMediaMiddle East

I start out with a mea culpa this episode. No, the school where the President sends his daughters does not have armed guards.

A federal judge ruled in December that a North Carolina plan to offer license plates that say “Choose Life” is unconstitutional, saying the state cannot issue the plates without offering a similar product for the opposing viewpoint. So are they going to now have “Choose Death” plates?

CNN would like to say that they play the news down the middle, objectively. They’d like to say it, but on the gun control issue, “fair and balanced” is not quite accurate.

The Washington DC gun ban, passed in the 70’s, was ruled unconstitutional in the 2000’s. What happened to the murder rate during the ban, and after it was struck down, should be instructive when considering the Diane Feinstein gun ban. I have the info from a former prosecutor in DC.

Mentioned links:

4 Pinocchios for a slashing NRA ad on security at Sidwell Friends School

Federal judge rules North Carolina’s ‘Choose Life’ license plate unconstitutional

 Advocacy, Not Journalism: 13 CNN Guests Want More Gun Control, Only 2 Argue to the Contrary

Obama, Biden Announce Gun Violence Reduction Plan (see the first comment)

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Filed under: AbortionGun ControlMedia

There are some surprise consequences from the passing of ObamaCare. (And by “surprise”, I mean “easily predictable”.) Hospitals are shutting down services and the electronic medical records that were going to save us all money may actually cost us more. Yeah, who could have possible predicted that? (Hint: Anyone paying attention.)

In 1999, almost 2,000 children were killed by guns. But in that same year, over 800,000 died from another killer. Just as much a tragedy, but one political party is trying to make sure it stays that way.

Mentioned links:

Southwestern Pa. hospital to stop baby deliveries

In Second Look, Few Savings From Digital Health Records

How many children are killed each year by gun accidents?

Abortion Surveillance — United States, 1999

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Filed under: AbortionGovernmentGun ControlHealth Care

How can something like this be prevented?

How can something like this be prevented?

This past December, the issue of gun control was again pushed to the fore when a shooting at an elementary school 11 days before Christmas killed many 6- and 7-year-olds and their teachers. It was a tragedy which most of us can’t even begin to understand.

To have a conversation about guns –a dialog — we need to consider all possible options. And to do that, we need to find out what works. Not just in theory; we need to know what has worked well over a long period of time. Perhaps we should do what the President does to keep his girls safe. I’d also like to look at the history of school shooting deaths in Israel.

“Israel?”, you might say. “What can a nation with a population of 8 million tell the US, a nation of 300 million, about gun laws?” What indeed. Let’s look at their history of school shooting deaths. What did they do to completely stop school shooting deaths for more than 30 years?

A city in the metro Atlanta area, Kennesaw, GA, passed a law in 1982 that all heads of households were to own a firearm. The law is never really enforced (it has enough exceptions in it if you really don’t want to), but it’s on the books.

What happened in Israel to stop school shooting deaths? What happened in Kennesaw after the  mandatory gun ownership law? Listen in to find out.

Mentioned links:

The SciFi Christian

Wikipedia: School shooting

Wikipedia: Ma’alot massacre

Wikipedia: List of school shootings in the United States

Wikipedia: Gun laws in Illinois, History

Chicago Homicides Exceed U.S. Iraq Deaths: Is It News?

2 teens on West Side among 15 shot, 3 fatally, on New Year’s Day

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Filed under: Gun ControlIsraelMiddle East

In this, the last episode for 2012, I have a special treat.

First, as the countdown to the Fiscal Cliff continues, tax increases seem to be the only way Democrats in Congress think that we can close the deficit gap. But Michael Barone points out that, no, tax increases alone will never be enough. It’s not the panacea that Democrats claim it to be. Another point is that higher tax rates don’t typically produce more tax revenue. So, what is the solution?

And the special treat is a guest contribution by Meryl Yourish. She and I contributed to the late, lamented Shire Network News podcast. She’s now a published author, but she agreed to do a special segment for my podcast. Meryl’s often noticed the many double standards that are applied to the country of Israel that don’t apply to its neighbors. That’s right; it’s Israeli Double-Standard Time!

Mentioned links:

Why tax hikes will never be enough

Federal Debt, Revenue and Expenditures as a Fraction of GDP

Video–Obama in 2009: ‘You Don’t Raise Taxes in a Recession’

October 2012 Employment Report – Not Particularly Good News

75 Percent of Obama’s Proposed Tax Hikes to Go Toward New Spending

Meryl Yourish – This Writing Life

Yourish.com

Darkness Rising: Book One of The Catmage Chronicles

Regarding the above-mentioned double standard (Yourish.com)

Bibi and the world’s double standard on Israel (Yourish.com)

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Filed under: Budget & SpendingEconomics & TaxesGovernmentGuest ContributorsIsraelMediaMeryl YourishMiddle East

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