Friday Digest

Turning Attention to the Fiscal Cliff

Nov. 9, 2012
“Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time, who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done, if we are always doing.” –Thomas Jefferson
Obama is prepared to lead

The dust had barely settled from Tuesday’s election before attention turned, as it should, to the looming fiscal cliff threatening the U.S. economy in the new year. The election outcome didn’t change the fact that America is headed down a path to financial oblivion. In fact, awarding Barack Obama with another four years most likely assured it, as reflected by the market’s sharp downturn in the election’s aftermath.

Just look at the mess he’ll inherit from the last four years!

(For a thoroughly comprehensive take on the election results, read Mark Alexander’s Halftime Is Over … We’re Back in the FIGHT!.)

Thanks to the political shenanigans of our elected representatives, a perfect storm of tax hikes and sequestration – automatic spending cuts – will hit all at once in January. All of the Bush-era tax rates will expire, sending the five tax brackets anywhere from 20 percent to 50 percent higher. The payroll tax cut will expire, costing the average worker over $1,000 next year. The Alternative Minimum Tax patch will also lapse, as will the lower death tax rate. More ObamaCare taxes kick in, particularly on the already-targeted top-bracket taxpayers.

Automatic federal spending cuts across the board (except for entitlements, of course) will also trigger, and the defense cuts in particular will hurt both our capability and the economy. Indeed, the day after the election, Boeing announced that its defense division will suffer a 30 percent cut in management jobs, and several facilities in California will close. For obvious reasons, the administration demanded that defense contractors wait until after the election to announce cuts.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) opened the public negotiation phase for a deal, offering that Republicans are open to increased revenues, but only if Democrats agree to keep income tax rates from going up and accede to reduced spending and entitlement reform. Boehner made clear that higher revenue should (and would) come from “a growing economy, energized by a simpler, cleaner, fair tax code, with fewer loopholes and lower rates for all.” He added a day later, “Raising tax rates is unacceptable.”

We expect an ugly fight from Democrats, who blew up the deficit only to complain that Republicans won’t play the role of tax collector to pay for it. This is especially true of Barack Obama, who will address the nation later today. He would rather push the economy over the cliff than give up his “new economic patriotism” – i.e., the belief that the wealthy should pay higher tax rates. Those higher rates will hit small businesses extremely hard and likely result in recession, according to the CBO, which also says the cliff will cause unemployment to spike beyond 9 percent.

It’s unlikely, however, that a “grand bargain” will be struck before the new Congress is seated in January, meaning that a temporary “bridge” may be built. But a deal isn’t looking likely afterward, either – not with Harry Reid promising to tighten the screws on the minority.

Meanwhile, massive deficits continue unabated. When Obama took office in 2009, the national debt was $10.6 trillion. As of Nov. 1, 2012, it stood at an obscene $16.2 trillion, and his budget proposals will push that number north of $25 trillion by 2022. The U.S. per-person share of government debt, according to the International Monetary Fund, now exceeds $53,400. That’s 35 percent higher per capita than Greece, Europe’s notorious economic basket case.

The federal government has racked up more debt since 2008 than it did in the first 224 years of the Republic. In other words, it took all the presidents from George Washington to Bill Clinton to match the debt built up under Obama’s first four years. And as Michelle Obama tweeted before the election, “If this is what the President can do in 4 years, imagine what he can do in twice the time.”

If that’s not enough, the Treasury Department noted last week that the government will again hit the debt ceiling by the end of this year. Yet the only plan Treasury has to address our ballooning debt is to continue printing more money to finance it.

The fact that the White House and Congress remain essentially unchanged after Tuesday’s election certainly doesn’t bode well for the nation’s economic plight. Obama undoubtedly views his victory as a mandate for more socialist policies and class warfare. But as we’ve said more than once this week, we won’t vacate the battlefield. We will continue the fight for Liberty.

Legacy of the American Revolution

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Government and Politics

Congressional Election Outcomes

The presidential election was obviously a terrible body blow for defenders of Liberty. But the presidential part of the ballot wasn’t the only game in town. Republicans and Democrats were similarly disappointed in their efforts to change control of either chamber of Congress, leaving the legislative branch unchanged. Democrats set a lofty goal of picking up 25 House seats to regain control of the chamber, but they fell far short of that, leaving Republicans in control 233-194, as we went to press.

Unfortunately, Allen West (R-FL) is fighting for his political life after calling for a recount in his district. West, a vocal Tea Party Caucus member and a former lieutenant colonel with the U.S. Army, was specifically targeted by the DNC in a campaign that would have been considered racist if he were a Democrat. The one-term congressman trailed Democrat challenger Patrick Murphy by less than one percentage point, but greater than the 0.5 percent needed to trigger an automatic recount. Were he to lose, however, he would be sorely missed by all freedom-loving Americans.

On the other hand, Chicago Democrat Jessie Jackson Jr. managed to keep his seat while convalescing at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Jackson disappeared from Congress and the campaign trail in June after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He remained in seclusion, but still managed to pull over 60 percent of the vote in Illinois’s 2nd Congressional District. Jackson vows to return to work, but he may not like what he finds when he comes back to Washington. Federal prosecutors are currently investigating a number of financial improprieties related to misuse of public funds to decorate Jackson’s Washington home, and reports are that he is working on a plea deal.

Republicans, once so confident that they could retake the Senate, saw those dreams go up in smoke Tuesday. Democrats were defending 23 seats, while the GOP had only 10, and Republicans needed only a net gain of four to swing the chamber, but fell short in part to some high profile flubs. In Missouri, Republican challenger Todd Akin had highly unpopular incumbent Claire McCaskill on the ropes before his comments on rape became a torpedo for Democrats to sink his candidacy. Tea Party favorite Richard Mourdock of Indiana was similarly sunk when weighing in on the same subject. Though his comments, by contrast, were entirely defensible, when added to Akin’s remarks, they likely brought him down as well. Republican Linda McMahon, one of the top executives of World Wrestling Entertainment, lost her second largely self-financed bid in Connecticut, and Connie Mack lost to Democrat incumbent Bill Nelson in Florida. Scott Brown was kicked out of the Massachusetts Senate seat he surprisingly won in a 2010 special election, losing this year to White House pal and fake Indian extraordinaire Elizabeth Warren. If even a liberal Republican like Brown can’t hold a seat in Massachusetts any more, there’s little hope for the state where the first Tea Party took place.

On a more optimistic front, Republicans fared well stateside. The GOP may end up with 32 total governorships, including a prominent pickup in North Carolina. Republicans were also able to hold onto Indiana, with 12-year Congressman Mike Pence fending off Democrat and Libertarian opponents. Republicans will likely remain strong on the state level, providing hope for anyone who still believes in federalism. These governors may be the last line of defense as Obama continues to erode Liberty in his second term, primarily as the shackles of ObamaCare are clamped onto our wrists.

Quote of the Week

“We conservatives … do not accept bipartisanship in the pursuit of tyranny. Period. We will not negotiate the terms of our economic and political servitude. Period. We will not abandon our child to a dark and bleak future. We will not accept a fate that is alien to the legacy we inherited from every single future generation in this country. We will not accept social engineering by politicians and bureaucrats who treat us like lab rats, rather than self-sufficient human beings. There are those in this country who choose tyranny over liberty. They do not speak for us, 57 million of us who voted against this yesterday, and they do not get to dictate to us under our Constitution. We are the alternative. We will resist. We’re not going to surrender to this. We will not be passive, we will not be compliant in our demise.” –radio talk-show host Mark Levin

On Cross-Examination

“[S]mall things beat big things [Tuesday]. Conservatism, in my humble opinion, did not lose…. It’s just very difficult to beat Santa Claus. … People are not going to vote against Santa Claus, especially if the alternative is being your own Santa Claus. Now, everybody is jumping on Romney’s chain today, getting in his chili. Look, he may have not been the most optimal candidate, but he’s a fine man. He would have been great for this country. Mitt Romney and his family would have been the essence of exactly what this country needs. But what was Romney’s recipe? Romney’s recipe was the old standby: American route to success, hard work. That gets sneered at. … In a country of children where the option is Santa Claus or work, what wins? And say what you want, but Romney did offer a vision of traditional America. In his way, he put forth a great vision of traditional America, and it was rejected. It was rejected in favor of a guy who thinks that those who are working aren’t doing enough to help those who aren’t. And that resonated.” –radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh

News From the Swamp: Here Comes Gun Control

Now that Barack Obama is safely in the White House for four more years and Democrats expanded their Senate majority, the gun grabbers are coming out of hiding. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), co-author of the 1994 semi-automatic rifle ban and long-time champion of gun control, is already working to concoct another “assault weapons” ban. Her efforts will also probably include restrictions on “high-capacity” (read: standard-capacity) magazines. In September of this year, she declared, “[I]t is time to say, once again, in legislation, weapons of war do not belong on our streets.” What is it with “on our streets”? Maybe it’s just us, but we don’t hang out in neighborhoods where people casually walk around with AR-15s on their shoulders, assaulting random passersby.

Meanwhile, Obama waited until the day after his re-election to quietly announce support once again for the UN’s small arms treaty that went off the rails earlier this year. Reuters reports, “[T]he U.N. General Assembly’s disarmament committee moved quickly after Obama’s win to approve a resolution calling for a new round of talks March 18-28. It passed with 157 votes in favor, none against and 18 abstentions.” All we can say is, keep your powder dry.

Economy

Hope ‘n’ Change: Now It’s Time for ObamaCare

Some of the earliest aftershocks of Obama’s re-election will come from the implementation of more ObamaCare regulations – and now that Obama has been re-elected, its implementation is sure. He should send a thank-you note to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, whose bizarre ruling earlier this year upheld the ObamaCare abomination. Close to 30 states were waiting for the election outcome before making a decision about either setting up statewide health insurance exchanges or letting the federal government do the job for them. They have until Nov. 16 to provide an answer, although some were hedging their bets by preparing their paperwork behind closed doors over the last several weeks while hoping for change.

Other important items that still need to be acted upon include federal rules about the coverage of health insurance policies, the exact structure of the health insurance exchanges and dealing with the individual mandate. And let’s not forget the numerous lawsuits fighting ObamaCare’s utter disregard for religious liberty. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius kept a low profile during the general election season, but we can expect to see a lot more of her again in the coming weeks as the Obama administration buckles down and prepares to straddle America with a devastating bureaucratic and fiscal nightmare.

Income Redistribution: A Carbon Tax in Our Future?

Now that Barack Obama has gained the additional “flexibility” he wanted, it’s clear that environmentalists are expecting some payback, particularly in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The storm is now the poster child for the premise that wild weather will become a regular occurrence due to anthropogenic global warming – because we’ve never had hurricanes before.

As a way to combat so-called global climate change, a group called the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions is advocating a carbon tax to address persistent financial shortfalls in the federal budget, saying the country has “lots of need for new revenue to address our challenges.” Analysts at HSBC Bank in London expect Obama to consider this plunder scheme, and estimated that an initial fee of $20 per metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent, pegged to rise at 6 percent a year, could raise $154 billion a year by 2022. Needless to say, it will also take that much out of the wallets of customers who use cars or electricity or heat their homes.

The Obama re-election also likely means the end of the Keystone XL pipeline. Envirofascists are trying to gather support for a Nov. 18 anti-Keystone rally in Washington, and Obama owes them a debt of gratitude. Whether they draw 20,000 or 20, the second Obama term has emboldened their push for making carbon-based forms of energy the one endangered species for which radical greenies have no sympathy. And given that Obama finally mentioned climate change in his victory speech, we don’t doubt that he has plans.

Security

Russians Demand Flexibility, Iranians Attack U.S. Drone

We’ve noted already how certain “surprises” were suddenly unveiled following Barack Obama’s victory Tuesday. National security is no exception given our inept commander in chief. Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, for example, quickly reminded the White House of Obama’s March comments about having more “flexibility” after the election to undermine U.S. missile defense. “We hope that President Obama after his re-election will be more flexible on the issue of taking into the account the opinions of Russia and others regarding a future configuration of NATO’s missile defense,” Rogozin said following the election. Whatever Obama may have meant by “flexibility,” it’s clear that he should not compromise the ability of the U.S. to defend itself. Not that we expect him to follow our advice.

In related news, CNN broke an exclusive – never mind that it was a week late – that “Two Iranian Su-25 fighter jets fired on an unarmed U.S. Air Force Predator drone in the Persian Gulf last week.” The drone was not hit, but it was flying in international air space. The administration said it didn’t report the attack because it was a “classified” mission. Sure, and we have some beachfront condos in Arizona to sell. That this news was suppressed until after the election duly promises more media cover for Obama’s inaction in national security events. Meanwhile, we can only imagine how the Iranians are going to put Obama to the test. These were just the first warning shots.

Benghazi, Post-Election

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, promised this week that his panel will continue its investigation into the attacks against the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform likewise vows to proceed, including the potential subpoena of White House officials. Chambliss wrote that they seek answers to “how terrorists were able to successfully breach our diplomatic facilities, why the administration obscured the role of al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists in its presentations to the American people, and why there appears to be a lack of urgency in finding and holding accountable those responsible for the deaths of four Americans.” Unfortunately, any answers now will be too little too late. Congress won’t be back in session until Nov. 15, nine days after the president was re-elected.

The Leftmedia certainly did its part to aid in the cover-up. CBS News waited until this week to release the part of Steve Kroft’s “60 Minutes” interview with Obama on Sept. 12, the day after the attack, in which the president refused to call it a terrorist action. The tape validates what Mitt Romney alleged at the second presidential debate. With help from moderator Candy Crowley, however, Obama smugly dodged the question, telling people to “check the transcript.” If they could have checked this video, they would have seen his deception.

Adding to the gravity of the situation, there are reports that a U.S. general disregarded orders from the Pentagon to “stand down” while the attack on the consulate was ongoing. The general determined that saving American lives took precedence. However, no sooner had he made that call than his second-in-command relieved him of his command and placed him under arrest. No word yet on his fate.

But not to worry. The guy who made the YouTube trailer that didn’t start the protest that didn’t happen will serve one year in prison for parole violations that include making the video. A scapegoat is a wonderful thing for a corrupt administration.

Three Years Later, Fort Hood Terrorist Goes to Civil Trial

Monday marked the three-year anniversary of the Fort Hood shooting that left 13 service members and civilians dead, including a pregnant woman whose unborn baby was the 14th victim. The Army has indefinitely postponed a court-martial for alleged shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan, so survivors and families of victims are taking the next best course and suing not only Hasan but also the estate of slain al-Qa'ida leader Anwar al-Awlaki, who communicated with Hasan via e-mail, and the U.S. government in a wrongful death lawsuit. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia.

Allegations in the suit are that the government disregarded the safety of those killed and wounded by allowing Hasan to be in a position where he could carry out the attack while knowing he was an al-Qa'ida sympathizer with radical Muslim leanings. Lead plaintiff Shawn Manning, who was wounded in the rampage, explained, “The Army has refused to acknowledge this was a terrorist attack, and I have exhausted all other options.” If the incident is deemed an act of terror, the survivors and families could receive benefits from the government as well as any proceeds from damages awarded in the case. Bravo for these valiant patriots!

Marine Corps Birthday and Veterans Day

On Nov. 10, 1775, the Second Continental Congress resolved to create two battalions of Continental Marines for the War of Independence from Britain. In 1798, President John Adams signed the Act establishing the United States Marine Corps. The 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps, General John A. Lejeune, issued Marine Corps Order No. 47, Series 1921, directing that on Nov. 10 every year, in honor of the Corps' birthday, the Order’s summary of the history, mission and tradition of the Corps be read to every command.

We at The Patriot Post offer our thanks for a job well done. For those interested in great items bearing the Marine Corps' insignia, please visit The Patriot Post Shop. Semper Fi!

Also, Sunday is Veterans Day. We recommend that you read Mark Alexander’s 2011 essay, The Most Noble of American Patriots. And be sure to thank a vet.

Culture

Down the Ballot: Marriage Referendums

While all eyes were focused on the presidential contest, anti-marriage initiatives were on the ballot in several states, and the results underscore that far more than the economy is at stake in our nation. For the first time, voters chose to redefine marriage to allow same-sex unions. In Maine, 53 percent of voters agreed to recognize same-sex marriage, and in Maryland and Washington State, 52 percent of voters backed same-sex unions. Similar attempts to get voter approval for same-sex marriage have failed in 30 states in recent years (including Maine in 2009), and in the handful of states allowing it, the courts or legislators – not voters – made the decision. Meanwhile, in Minnesota, voters defeated by a 52-48 margin a proposed constitutional definition of marriage as one man and one woman. Current statute defines it this way, but with a Democrat legislature and governor, this will likely change in the near future.

Ballots aside, the truth remains that traditional marriage existed long before the state and requires no government to validate it, even if the government has an interest in recognizing it. Same-sex marriage, on the other hand, cannot exist apart from the state. As Robert P. George, Ryan T. Anderson, and Sherif Girgis note in their book, “What is Marriage?: Man and Woman: A Defense,” “[M]arriage is a pre-political good springing from human nature itself. Prior to any governmental diktats, marriage is, of its essence, a comprehensive (mind-body) union of persons, ordered to the comprehensive sharing of family life.” Without the endorsement of the laws of nature, same-sex marriage advocates are left scrambling for allies elsewhere.

While the GOP has sometimes abandoned the fight over social issues, the Left has not. Those out to undermine marriage have been tireless in their efforts, and be prepared, they have no intention of letting up. They know the demographics – married people tend to vote conservative, a trend even more pronounced among women. The more leftists can undermine the institution, the better their electoral prospects are.

No National Guard to New York?

If ever an example of the utter irrationality of leftist fear and loathing of the Second Amendment were needed, look no further than New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. His Honor is already known as an extremist when it comes to the gun rights of Americans, having co-founded the anti-gun group Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Of course, in MAIG’s eyes, any gun owned by an ordinary citizen should be an illegal gun. But the mayor’s absurd stance was on full display after Super-storm Sandy swept through New York City last week.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz pleaded with Bloomberg to bring in the National Guard to help patrol and stabilize storm-scarred Brooklyn. However, Bloomberg argued that approving Markowitz’s request would be a waste of federal manpower and turn the borough into a police state. “We don’t need it. The NYPD is the only people we want on the street with guns,” Bloomberg said Wednesday during a press conference discussing the ongoing storm cleanup. Seriously, the National Guard can’t be trusted with firearms? Stupid is as stupid does.

The Mayor was every bit as tone deaf in this as he was when he waited until runners had already checked into their hotel rooms before canceling the New York City Marathon. And, of course, Bloomberg travels with his own phalanx of armed bodyguards, so what does he care about the safety and gun rights of ordinary citizens?

And Last…

We recently recounted the humorous story of a deer that was defacing an Obama yard sign, but another story from Sarasota, Florida, is just as amusing. A woman reported that her Obama yard sign had been stolen, and in its place she received a postcard from a neighbor. On the front was a picture of Ronald Reagan, under which it said, “Hero,” and a picture of Barack Obama, under which it said, “Zero.” On the back it read,

“My apologies for your Democrat yard signs, but I can explain. I live around the corner from you and when I see signs that support Democrats I fear for the safety of our neighborhood. When thieves drive through Sapphire Shores scoping out possible targets and see pro-Democrat yard signs they automatically assume that the subdivision is filled with retards and half-wits. The gangsters think it’s easy pickings because they already know that if a person votes Democrat they probably don’t have the sense to come in out of the rain, not to mention locking their doors or securing their valuables. It is common knowledge amongst burglars that Democrats are anti-gun and anti-Second Amendment so when they see campaign signs that promote Democrats they know the homeowners are not armed and therefore unable to protect themselves from attack.

"You are not concerned about a robber breaking into your home because you have the Sarasota Police Department to guard and protect you. You sleep safe knowing what a great job they did with tracking down the hooligans that took the signs depicting your misguided support.”

The woman called the postcard “scary” and “creepy,” but we’re not sure why she had a problem with someone taking her sign. Aren’t Democrats all about free stuff?

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team